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December 3, 2012

Carmel (IN) Mayor James Brainard was featured in a USA TODAY front page article (El Nasser, H, “More small towns thinking big”, October 19, 2012, A1.), citing his leadership to make Carmel a place where people can “live, work and play.”

“Carmel is forging a national reputation because of its embrace of the arts, European'style street design and urban housing — all of which have given this former Quaker village and sleepy bedroom community a cosmopolitan flair unusual in suburbia,” the article noted.

Brainard, a Conference of Mayors Trustee, has championed urban design, including the use of roundabouts in transportation systems, and the arts, anchored by a new Center for the Performing Arts, attracting national attention to his efforts and the city of Carmel. Earlier this year, Carmel earned Money magazine’s number-one ranking in its annual index of best places to live in the U.S.

Lakewood (CO) Mayor Bob Murphy was also discussed in the article for his efforts to develop a pedestrian district, one that re-creates the feel of a village square, as well as his efforts to use the regional light-rail system’s six stops to spawn new neighborhoods and an arts district.

In last month’s edition of Real Simple magazine, Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz was featured with three other women mayors for their leadership in their communities.

The section on Kautz, called “The Visionary,” chronicled her entry into local politics, citing her desire to act to stem the decline of a nearby commercial shopping center. The article touts her subsequent successes in strengthening the city’s economy over her two decades of public service, notably redevelopment of the downtown area with its new performing arts center and a new park.

Kautz previously served as President of The U.S. Conference of Mayors (2009-2011). Also featured in the article were Perth Amboy (NJ) Mayor Wilda Diaz, Gary (IN) Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, and Piedmont (OK) Mayor Valerie Vonada Thomerson.

Miramar (FL) Mayor Lori Moseley took part in an event in her city where fifth graders from a dozen Miramar schools combined education, imagination and competition to build the future – “Miramar in 2040” – one carefully placed LEGO brick at a time.

“Changing Face of America – Miramar 2040: Build Your Dream Community” made Miramar the first city in the United States to partner with LEGO for the toy company’s international Lego Build the Change events already happening in Singapore, Denmark, England and Australia.

Four hundred children in 73 teams converged at Vizcaya Park recreation center October 10 with hand drawn site plans, an essay describing their vision of tomorrow, and tons of energy. The competition was held to mark the American Planning Association’s National Community Planning Month.

Irving Receives 2012 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Irving (TX) was informed by Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank on November 14 that it would be the first city in Texas, and the second in the nation, to receive the Malcolm A. Baldrige Award.

“Irving has taken best practices from the private sector and from businesses, and we’ve incorporated those practices into our strategic management of a government agency, a municipality,” said Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne. “What we’ve heard from residents is that they’re happier, they’re getting a lot more customer service and the government is being effective. It can be done.”

The Baldrige Award is given by the President of the United States to selected businesses, as well as education, health care and nonprofit organizations. Award recipients are judged to be outstanding in seven key focus areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results.

For the first time, Baldrige Award applicants also were required to have previously received their state’s performance excellence award. Irving met this criteria by earning the Texas Award for Performance Excellence in 2011.