Prosperity: A Measurement of Success
By Brent Pearson, Resource Development Planner
It is not uncommon to pick up the daily newspaper and read a headline with the latest unemployment numbers. The article may reference the success of the economy's recovery from the throes of one of the deepest recessions in recent history. Unemployment continues to drop as the recovery enters its eighth year; however, this is not the only way to measure economic growth. As the world continues to change, it may be time to consider alternative forms of measuring success, such as prosperity.  

In labor market economics, jobs are king. The "official" unemployment rate (the rate that is most commonly reported) is simply the total unemployed as a percentage of the civilian labor force (employed plus unemployed). This statistic has some limitations as an analysis tool because it offers only a windshield perspective of what is truly happening on a national, statewide, regional, or local economic stage. Since consumer spending is a key measure to a robust economy - one where goods and services are free-flowing -- personal prosperity is just as important as measuring employment status. 
Ashley Aukes
Ashley Aukes
Communications Specialist
Aukes Appointed to MAGC Board of Directors

Region Nine's Communication Specialist, Ashley Aukes, has been chosen to serve on the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) 2017 Board of Directors. MAGC is a peer organization of communications professionals who are dedicated to improving public-sector communications. The board develops annual programs and special events as well as managing the organization's financial affairs and policies.

Learn more about MAGC at
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Over 100 artisan food makers, farmers, producers and distributors from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin 

Feast! Local Foods Marketplace  is the largest celebration of local foods in the region, connecting artisan food makers with both buyers and customers.

After the success of the first Feast! festival in 2014, it was clear that customers, makers, and buyers value this opportunity to connect and support a more robust local foods economy in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Now in its third year, the Feast! Local Foods Festival is a great holiday shopping opportunity for those looking to get a start on holiday shopping for fellow food enthusiasts!

When:  December 3, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Mayo Civic Center, Rochester
Rising Rural Property Taxes Highlights Annual Legislative Forum  

Rural residents and local elected officials are invited to attend the 34th Annual Rural Legislative Forum on Thursday, December 8th. This year's theme is: "Rapidly Rising Property Taxes...Challenging Rural Minnesota".  The forum will provide an overview of the property tax system in Minnesota, including how property taxes are calculated and the use of property tax funds. Participants will also hear about the impact of school bond issues on agriculture property taxes. 

The forum will be held from 3:30-8:00 p.m. at South Central College, 1920 Lee Boulevard, North Mankato. Registration cost is $15 per person, which includes a pork chop dinner and all printed materials. Advance registration is requested prior to December 8. For registration, contact the Blue Earth County UM Extension Office by phone at (507) 304-4325, or by e-mail at: .
The Story on Red Wing's Major Energy Action Plan

Solar Panel Construction
When cities make energy efficiency a priority amazing things can happen. For example, the City of Red Wing utilized renewable-energy grants and incentives to save 17,000 residents at least $1.1 million in future taxes. The city has made significant changes to maintenance and infrastructure including updates to the city hall, auditorium, library and the public works building. These changes have put Red Wing on the path to 100% renewable, sustainable, and resilient energy facilities.  
With 33 years of public service to the City of Red Wing, Jay McCleary was one of several civic leaders to accomplish the major energy efficiency and renewable energy projects throughout the city. McCleary will share the city's story about their initiatives and outcomes on December 9th from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the Minnesota Valley Room at the Intergovernmental Center, 10 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato. This event, provided by the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force, is free and open to the public. 
Marketing on a Budget | December 20th

You don't have to give away the farm to make an impact. Every business is different with its own unique structure when it comes to marketing budgets. However, rather than managing to an ROI metric, learn how to market by managing relationships, brand exposure, and other low cost/no cost tactics that can strategically set your business apart from the rest without breaking the bank.

Join us on December 20th to learn how to market on a budget from Tiffany Olson, Marketing Director for ISG. Olson has over 12 years of professional strategic marketing, communications and creative experience that has helped clients and businesses successfully market on a budget nationwide.

When:  December 20, 2016 | 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Where: Hamilton Hall, 209 S Main St, Blue Earth, MN 56013
Cost: Free, Refreshments will be provided.
Grant Funding Opportunities
Assistance to Firefighters Grants The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations, and State Fire Training Academies (SFTA) for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operations efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.    Learn More

Greater Minnesota Childcare Grants:  The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is accepting proposals for grants to local communities outside the metropolitan area to increase the supply of quality child care providers in order to support regional economic development. The maximum award is $150,000. Recipients must match state funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis
Deadline: Friday, January 6, 2017
  Learn More
Upcoming Events
December 3 | 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Mayo Civic Center, Rochester

December 8 | 3:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Rural Legislative Forum
South Central College, Mankato

December 9 | 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Renewable Energy Task Force: The Story of Red Wing's Major Energy Action Plan
Minnesota Valley Room, Intergovernmental Center, Mankato
December 14 | 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. 
RNDC Board of Directors Meeting
Third Floor Conference Room, Intergovernmental Center, Mankato

December 20 |8:30 - 10:00 a.m. 
Hamilton Hall, 209 S. Main Street, Blue Earth