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News & Info from The CivCity Initiative

Winter Resources!

Hey, did anyone notice winter this weekend? Yeah, we did too. Now's a good time to highlight some taxpayer-supported services  – including how you can track the progress of snow plows in real time! Follow this link for details on the city's website. And try not to burn too many hours watching the action.

Screenshot of the city of Ann Arbor's snow plow tracker.

Warming Centers: For anyone needing shelter during the day or night, Washtenaw County has posted a list of warming centers on its website. The site also includes information on how to get help paying your utilities, to avoid shutoff.

The Delonis Center, our community's homeless shelter at 312 W. Huron, has a "wish list" of items they need – toiletries, clothes, gift cards and more. Please check it out and see if there's anything you can contribute.

CivCity Needs Your Support!

We work hard to inform, educate and inspire participation in local civic life. But we can only do it with your support.

If you haven't yet contributed to our nonpartisan efforts, please make a one-time or monthly online donation. It's tax deductible and feels great! 
Or you can send a check to:
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

CivCity also accepts stock donations! Contact Mary Morgan at for details.


AAPS Board Vacancy: Update


On Friday, Dec. 9, the Ann Arbor Public Schools board interviewed candidates to fill a vacancy following the resignation of Donna Lasinski. Click here to watch those interviews online.

AAPS trustees Pat Manley & Christine Stead were among those who interviewed candidates for the board vacancy.

Applicants include three people who ran for the AAPS board on Nov. 8 but weren't elected – including current board chair Deb Mexicotte. Click here to see the full list of applicants as well as details about the appointment process.

The AAPS board is expected to make an appointment this week at its Wednesday, Dec. 14 meeting. That session starts at 7 p.m. at Forsythe Middle School, 1655 Newport. Or watch CTN Channel 18 or online here.

What We're Reading

In The Atlantic magazine, Eric Liu – founder of Citizen University – describes a weekly gathering he recently started in Seattle: "Civic Saturday."

He calls it a "civic analogue to church," where people discuss their shared purpose as citizens of this nation. Here's an excerpt from his essay

Whether you’re of the left or right, whether you’re terrified or excited about the administration to come, low participation, high cynicism, and creeping authoritarianism are signs of just how sick the American body politic is. It’s time to take responsibility for the cure. Go start a club. You just might make our democracy great again.

Sounds like the Dexter Forum on steroids. Could a gathering like this work in our community? Something to think about for 2017.

Final Thoughts

As we learned last week about layoffs at both the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, we're reminded of this quote attributed to James Madison, our nation's 4th president:  

“A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to Farce or Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” 
James Madison, looking concerned.
Please share this newsletter with your friends, family & colleagues – we'd appreciate it!
As we navigate this season's first significant snowfall, I'm thankful for everyone who makes sure the sidewalks are cleared in front of their homes and businesses. 

The city provides info on our responsibilities for sidewalk snow and ice removal. It's always great to see people who do more than what's required – for you, an extra thanks!

This issue of CivCity's newsletter points you to some civic resources for these winter months. Stay safe and warm, everyone!

– Mary Morgan, CivCity Founder & Executive Director


Upcoming Public Meetings

NOTE: Meetings are sometimes canceled at the last minute, so be sure to check the links for updated information.

Mon. Dec. 12: 4 p.m. Ann Arbor City Council planning retreat. Downtown Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave. Click here to view the full agenda. Open to the public but not broadcast on CTN.

Mon. Dec. 12: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor District Library Board. Downtown library fourth floor, 343 S. Fifth Ave. Click here to view board packet.

Tues. Dec. 13: 9:30 a.m. Ann Arbor Board of Review. City hall 5th floor conference room, 301 E. Huron. Make an appointment by calling the city assessor at 734-794-6530.

Tues. Dec. 13: 1:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Housing Board of Appeals. City hall council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the full agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Tues. Dec. 13: 6 p.m. Ann Arbor Energy Commission. City hall council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Wed. Dec. 14: 9 a.m. Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority Partnerships Committee. 150 S. Fifth Ave., 3rd Floor. Click here to view the agenda.

Wed. Dec. 14: 6 p.m. Ann Arbor Zoning Board of Appeals. City hall council chambers, 301 E. Huron. Click here to view the full agenda. Watch on CTN Channel 16 or online here.

Wed. Dec. 14: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Public Schools board. Forsythe Middle School, 1655 Newport. Agenda includes appointment to fill board vacancy. Click here to view the full agendaWatch on CTN Channel 18 or online here.

Wed. Dec. 14: 7 p.m. Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission. City hall basement conference room, 301 E. Huron. No agenda posted online.

Thurs. Dec. 15: 8:30 a.m. Ann Arbor pension & retiree health care boards. Pension office, 532 S. Maple. Click here and here to view agendas. 

Fri. Dec. 16: Noon. Deadline to take Open City Hall survey about a proposed closed-captioning ordinance. Click here to take the survey.

Sat. Dec. 17: 10-noon. State Rep. Jeff Irwin coffee hour. Espresso Royale, 214 S. Main, Ann Arbor. Chat with Rep. Irwin about happenings in Lansing or locally. His term ends Dec. 31, and this will be his last coffee hour.

Know of a nonpartisan civic-related event you'd like to publicize? Email Mary Morgan at

Support CivCity

CivCity is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit focused on increasing awareness of how local government works and motivating residents to get involved in civic life. Please support our work by sending donations to: 
The CivCity Initiative
118 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

You can also donate online by clicking this link – it's easy!

You'll get our heartfelt thanks written by hand (let's hear it for old school!) on a notecard featuring local public art or civic infrastructure. How cool is that?

This image is a detail from the mosaics at the Fourth & Washington parking structure.
CivCity Board of Directors
Devon Akmon
Paul Courant
Mary Morgan
Ingrid Sheldon
Linh Song

Special thanks for generous support from the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation, the Buhr Foundation, United Way of Washtenaw County, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation, the Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon, and the Ann Arbor Area Spirit of Woodstock Fund!

CivCity Online

Find more information – including CivCity's five-year strategic plan – on our website at
Be sure to join CivCity on Facebook, where we regularly post items of community interest. Ann Arbor Votes is also on Facebook!
On Twitter, you can follow us at @A2CivCity and get details about local public meetings and other civic-related info. Get election Tweets by following @AnnArborVotes!

You can also find us on Instagram @A2CivCity!


Copyright ©2015 The CivCity Initiative, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
118 S. Main St. Ann Arbor MI 48104

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