the Governors Conference
If youre a political junkieRepublican or Democratyou might want to consider volunteering at the National Governors Association (NGA) Annual Meeting in Traverse City on July 20-23 at the Grand Traverse Resort.
Volunteers will meet and greet state governors, along with cabinet officials, business leaders, and national and local media representatives.
Conference organizers need about 200 volunteers in total. There are two requirements: volunteers must pass a criminal background check conducted by the Michigan State Police and attend a July 19 mandatory volunteer orientation to learn about their specific duties.
Drivers have already been chosen, but support is still needed for airport welcome, registration, hospitality events, greeters, and command center support.
If they state a preference and their skills on the application form, thats really helpful for us to put them in the right slot, said Rhonda Estes, volunteer coordinator.
Preference will be given to volunteers willing to commit to all three days of the event. Every effort will be made to provide volunteers with their area of choice, but they may be reassigned to where theyre most needed during the meeting.
All volunteers will receive a polo shirt and are invited to attend a Volunteer Appreciation Event following the Annual Meeting (date to be determined).
If youre interested, do apply immediately. For forms, go to the Governors Conference Website at www.visittraversecity.com/07amvol or pick them up at the Traverse City Conference and Visitors Bureau on Grandview Parkway and Union St., across from the open space. Feel free to call Rhonda Estes, volunteer co-chair, with questions at 231-929-0827.
New Winds Are Blowing
Rep. Howard Walker is taking another shot at encouraging windmill energy, in Michigan.
Walker is passionate about windmills, in part, because Michigan has a long history of producing traditional energy and has the brainpower, knowledge and infrastructure to supply alternative energy that doesnt drain natural resources.
His original bill to create uniform state standards for their operation was shot down last year, in part, because it gave local governments no control over where the windmills would go, noise, distance from the road, etc.
Walker believes that uniform state standards are important to companies who dont have the time or money to deal with a mish-mash of local ordinances. But townships believe that windmills should be zonedespecially because some people believe they are unsightly and ruin the picturesque views of the countryside.
So Walker is drafting a compromise bill that will add some local control. Townships, for example, could ban windmills in 10% of their municipalityviewsheds or sensitive areas, for example.
Im hoping to have more dialogue10 percent is a starting point, and the drafted set of guidelines is a starting point. I want to have discussions to get to a point where landowners and entrepreneurs who are interested in generating energy from the wind have enough certainty to make an investment. But we also need to provide enough protection for the local communities. I think we can get our heads together and work out a compromise.
The draft bill would allow windmills under a conditional or special use permit. In the last bill, they would have been allowed as a use of right.
This bill puts local municipalities in the loop of the approval process, so no one is surprised. And two, they would make sure the enterprise or land owner complies with all the guidelines outlined in the state statute, Walker said.
Walker also believes there is a manufacturing opportunity in Michigan for windmills. He confirmed with General Electric that theres a two-year backlog for the purchase of windmills.
To me this is a no-brainer. Lets manufacture windmills in Michigan. We have laid-off workers, empty factories and theres a demand. One of the pinch points in production is supplying gear boxes. Guess what? Michigan has an 80-year history of building gear boxes.
TC Film Fest Seeks Interns
The Traverse City Film Festival recently announced that it is offering unpaid internships for the third annual film festival, July 31-August 5, 2007.
The internships would run May through mid-August for students and young professionals who want hands on experience in festival management. Interns will help in one or more areas, including office administration, concessions and merchandise, development, box office, hospitality and guest services, bookkeeping and finance, scheduling and logistics, venue set up, theater operations, publicity, programming and publications.
Positions offer flexible hours, full or part time. Details are available on the festival web site at