Beaver Island's Lansing Reception
Many people deserve a round of applause for making the Lansing
Reception the best ever in terms of organization and effectiveness.
Attendees from the Island were well prepared with strategies on
how to present their case to the legislators and department officials,
and their efforts were rewarded by good attendance and substantive
discussions before, during, and after the reception. A number
of follow-up meetings have already been scheduled.
Representatives from many Island organizations gave a warm welcome
to the state leaders. Prior to this, individuals pressed their
causes with specific legislators, but during the reception everyone
focused on issues with Island-wide importance. The recent Lead-ership
Retreat, which focused on tools and techniques for effective advocacy
and lobbying, identified four areas that affect all community
1. Beaver Island is very creative in making the most of its resources,
but we send far more tax dollars to Charlevoix County and the
state than we get back, and we can't meet our needs doing this.
2. The Island requires special consideration when it comes to
formulas for health care and the school because they are based
on assumptions about our resources that aren't valid for such
an isolated, small community.
3. We need the County and State to provide equal access to basic
services like telephone connectivity, area-wide toll free dialing,
health care, and educational resources that are readily available
to mainland residents.
4. Homeland security mandates need special handling with remote
communities. Ferry and air transport is a lifeline, and new requirements
threaten the Island's fragile economy.
These events don't just happen. Once again, Bill and Tammy McDonough
deserve an ovation for pulling everything together and handling
the arrangements. That work isnt glamorous, but its
essential to making the reception worthwhile. Tammy sent invitations
to all the key officials and legislators and their staffs. She
also managed the catering arrangements so food and liquid refreshments
would arrive on time. Everything looked as good as it tasted,
too. Pat Anderson, Connie Wojan, Barb Murphy, and others lent
a had with last-minute decorations and distribution of materials.
In the meantime, Bill McDonough made arrangements for the reception
room, finalized a date that worked for the largest number of people,
arranged for Boat Company transportation, and helped make connections
with representatives of Island organizations and many key legislators
and department officials.
If you think it's tricky to schedule a dinner party for 8 people,
try increasing the number to 50 or more, especially when everyone
has extremely busy lives and a 400-mile round trip is part of
the challenge! Expenses were covered by special funding from St.
James and Peaine Townships as well as a small residual amount
in the Partnership fund. It was money well spent.
Thanks also must go to those who created some of the best informational
materials ever seen, another need identified at this year's Leadership
Retreat. A lot was accomplished at the Retreat, including targeted
planning of how to make the most of the reception. Jeff Cashman
was asked to create a fact sheet on BI issues for which the Island
needs state support; Connie Wojan provided the text in this team
effort to produce a colorful, accurate, and succinct summary of
both immediate and long-term priority issues. Jeff also created
a Power Point presentation with views of the Island that demonstrated
both the beauty and the challenges of living in such a remote
community. Kitty McNamara supplied her laptop, projector, and
know-how so the CD ran continuously during the reception. This
augmented the snazzy new Chamber brochure, recent editions of
the Beaver Beacon and Northern Islander, and a booklet on the
history of community health care that was privately funded. Congratulations
to all who were involved. Their efforts benefitted the entire
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