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The Grand Rapids LipDub



To understand this video, you need to know that Grand Rapids, Michigan was named by Newsweek as one of ten dying cities in America. Grand Rapids didn’t take kindly to that news and decided to make this video, which broke the world record for the longest continuous video shot, incorporating the number of people it did. Watch it to the end, it’s riveting. Some of the featured “singers” are local leaders and VIPS. Got this from Peter Kageyama who is the author of For the Love of Cities which you must read. Now.



OUR TOWN: Fast Forward… 2 weeks from tonight, space is limited so make your reservation now!



Click here to learn more or RSVP.



News Release: State Experts Address Florida’s Economic Crisis and Recovery



(Click here to reserve your seat)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2012

STATE EXPERTS ADDRESS FLORIDA’S ECONOMIC CRISIS AND RECOVERY
Former Florida CFO Alex Sink and Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Mark Wilson to Headline Panel

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – April 23, 2012 – There are few places the economic crisis hit home harder than in the Sunshine State. On Tuesday, April 24, two leaders in Florida’s business and economic landscape will join The Village Square for an important conversation about how our state has responded and what still needs to be done.

Former Florida CFO Alex Sink and Florida Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Wilson will share their perspectives on how the crisis is playing out in Florida, what innovations are still needed to ensure Florida’s economic future, and what roles government and private business play in tackling the challenges ahead.

Sink, the 2010 Democratic nominee for Florida governor, is the founding chair of the board of the FloridaNEXT Foundation, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, dedicated to empowering young people, entrepreneurs and small businesses so they can drive the innovation needed to enhance Florida’s economy and quality of life. Find FloridaNEXT online at www.floridanext.org.

Wilson spearheads the Florida Chamber’s efforts to lead Florida to a new and sustainable economy. As the voice of business, the Florida Chamber’s efforts to secure Florida’s future include solutions, action and leadership centering around the Florida Chamber Foundation, the Florida Chamber’s Political Operations and the Florida Chamber’s advocacy efforts. The Florida Chamber of Commerce can be found online at www.floridachamber.com.

Also joining the conversation is Don Winstead, a public policy expert who was responsible for overseeing and tracking the distribution of Florida’s federal stimulus dollars for Governor Charlie Crist. Dr. Carol Weissert, Director of Florida State University’s LeRoy Collins Institute, will moderate.

“Wall Street, Main Street (and whatever happened to) Easy Street” will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, at 211 North Monroe in downtown Tallahassee from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A limited number of scholarship tickets are available. For more information or to purchase tickets, go online to www.tothevillagesquare.org or call 850-590-6646.

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Today’s Tallahassee Democrat: Florida leaders slated to discuss financial crisis



(Click here for more information about the program or to reserve your seat.) Most of us would agree that America’s fiscal crisis has been difficult, anxiety provoking and way too long. It’s also been confusing.

Economics has become so politicized that it’s hard for the average citizen to know what to believe. Is the answer intervention by the government as the spender of last resort? Or is it all the spending that’s damaging the economy, with taxation creating a burden for the businesses that would otherwise drive a recovery? Each argument has its own think tanks, its own facts, and its own version of American history.

Former Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and 2010 Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Alex Sink and Florida Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Wilson will join The Village Square on Tuesday, April 24, for an important conversation about the crisis — specifically how it’s playing out in Florida. What innovations do we need to make in our state to adjust to changing circumstances and what is the role of government and private business in a recovery? We’ll discuss how well our state has responded and what still needs to be done. Read the article online at Tallahassee.com.



OUR TOWN: Will ‘College Town’ help better connect university to local community?



It seems virtually impossible these days to drive around Tallahassee and not see some evidence of major construction or development in the works.  Surely the downtown area would be in your Top 5 list if you were asked to name the areas of town currently besieged by those bright orange road signs and heavy equipment.  But the Gaines Street project isn’t the only major development downtown.  FSU (or the Seminole Boosters to be exact) has a major project in the works right on the pathway from downtown to the south end of campus.  They’re calling it “College Town,” and their hope is that, along with direct benefits to the university, this new pedestrian-friendly entertainment and housing complex will also help better connect the university with the local community.  This vision includes images of business professionals, students and families all coming together to shop, dine and be entertained in College Town.

So this begs the question, if you aren’t already directly connected to the university on a daily basis in some way as a student, staff/faculty member, etc., would a multi-use development like this situated near downtown attract you enough to check it out?  And if so, do you think it would help you feel connected to the university any more than shopping or dining in other areas of town where you’re likely to be among students or “university-types” as well?  Isn’t Tallahassee in general already a “college town?”  Maybe the mere proximity to campus will help foster the connection.  Or maybe this idea of connecting the university to the community was needed to help seal the deal in discussions about this project with the City.

Check out The Village Square‘s discussion on the topic in our “Get Local” Tallahassee section of our We the Wiki website.  Feel free to add to it, too — additional sources, fact checks, even write an op-ed.  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.



News from The Village Square: Dinner Tuesday Night, OUR TOWN series continues



If you haven’t bought your ticket yet for Tuesday night’s dinner, it’s time! Early bird price good through Thursday. Click here to read all the latest news online!



ONE Week: Dinner at the Square, “Wall Street, Main Street, Easy Street”



Be sure to join us one week from today for “Wall Street, Main Street, Easy Street” a discussion about how we’ve responded to the financial crisis and what innovations and transformations our state still needs to make to recover. We’re delighted that former Florida CFO Alex Sink and President & CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Mark Wilson will be joining us as featured guests, along with Don Winstead (who tracked stimulus dollars for Governor Charlie Crist) and Dr. Carol Weissert who will moderate. Get all the info on the program and make your reservation HERE.



Register for FFF today for Early Bird Discount



Interested in joining us for our last “Faith, Food, Friday” of this season? The program is FREE but if you’d like to eat, today’s the last day for the early bird discount. Click HERE to register before it expires! We’ve got a great panel and great topic as usual, we’re only missing you.



OUR TOWN: Where have you been shopping lately?



When was the last time you visited the Tallahassee Mall?  And were you actually there to shop, or did you just go to the movies?  Sadly, the shopping center that was Tallahassee’s first official mall over 40 years ago now struggles to survive, following foreclosure last year due to debt exceeding $55 million.  Some say they don’t go to this mall because there aren’t any stores worth shopping at; others say the young trouble-makers that crawl the mall on a daily basis are what keep them away.  So which came first?  Did we all just stop shopping there, forcing stores to move out?  Or did the mall ‘s management drive away stores with steep rent and/or inadequate facilities?  And either way, where does this leave us as a community?

Check out The Village Square‘s discussion on the topic in our “Get Local” Tallahassee section of our We the Wiki website.  Feel free to add to it, too — additional sources, fact checks, even write an op-ed.  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.



“… reckless is the new normal…”



Beth Kassab in yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel calling out intemperance in the Trayvon Martin case.

We need to be really careful to keep our balance and stay close to facts.
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Thanks to Florence for the heads up… where would we be without smart people who read what other smart people write?



Young people working hard to raise money for Shands



Today’s the first day of University of Florida’s Dance Marathon. This video is the fun introduction (features my daughter Eden) – that played dramatically on all the screens at the O’Connell Center – of what they call the “overall” team, the 15 students who run the year-long giant fundraising operation. They’ve worked very hard all year in case anyone wants to practice the ultimate act of civility in a Florida State town…



OUR TOWN: Still dreaming of a new performing arts center



Did you realize Tallahassee is one of only 4 capital cities nationwide without an official performing arts center?  Yes, we have Ruby Diamond Auditorium, and it’s wonderful.  But it’s a university facility, so FSU performances will always have first dibs on it, making it increasingly difficult for even high-profile groups to book dates there.  And the Civic Center is a great place for some types of events, but the poor acoustics make it a poor choice for musical performances (if you’ve ever attended a concert there, you know).  So why not build a facility specifically tailored to the needs of the performing arts?  If such a center would help boost our local economy, improve educational opportunities, enhance our cultural experiences, AND add to the downtown revitalization efforts, what’s not to love?  Surely there are enough local supporters of the initiative to help back it.  And what about all the “new money” and notoriety the center would bring to town?  Well, fundraising efforts for this project over the past couple of years surprisingly haven’t nearly met their goals.   And the proposed plans have had to be downgraded to just one building with smaller capacity.  The price tag, however, is still $89.9 million to get the job done.  That’s no chump change for any capital city.

So do you think it’s a worthy investment for our town?  Or is this another ill-timed lofty goal that should be pushed to the back burner a while longer to make way for other priorities?  Check out The Village Square‘s discussion on the topic in our “Get Local” Tallahassee section of our We the Wiki website.  Feel free to add to it, too — additional sources, fact checks, an op-ed, or pros and cons of the gas tax.  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.



News from the Village Square: Announcing our dinner speakers



Find today’s newsletter online HERE.