Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grand Vision reflections

The Grand Vision workshop was yesterday evening, and was really exceptional. It's great to see a large (200+/-) diverse group working together and thinking about the future. There was a lot of energy, enthusiasm and creativity in the room.

Some of the greatest values in way The Grand Vision is set up are that it requires you to plan based on the growth that has been projected, and that in looking forward, you learn so much. In attending a couple of these sessions, I've seen people have "ah-ha" moments when a concept really became clear to them. Sometimes that concept is one that they couldn't grasp, or thought that they were opposed to.

Once all the data is aggregated, different scenarios will be presented for selection. This will occur this fall, and continues the power of this process. The end result will be used in planning decisions, grant writing, and future research. In the mean time, participants have greater understanding, and hopefully have become advocates for the process.

It's an honor to have been selected as a Champion for The Grand Vision process, and was really rewarding to see such great turn out for the Benzie workshop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Have your say- Regional Planning via The Grand Vision

I won't reinvent the wheel here, but rather quote the email reminder I recieved today from Jim Dulzo of the Michigan Land Use Institute regarding the Grand Vision regional planning workshop to be held tomorrow at Crystal Mountain Resort.

"Dear friend,
Well, tomorrow night’s a big one for Benzie. It’s our turn for
The Grand Vision—a big, communitywide collaboration on how we want our county and the region to grow over the coming decades.
The county workshops have been marvelously successfully—so far, they’ve attracted about 2,000 participants—a truly amazing turnout.
The workshops are free, fun, freewheeling, powered by complimentary light foods and beverages, and very neighborly.
Groups of people gather around big tables with county maps and figure out together how they want their community to grow, what they want to protect, and how they see roads and other transportation services evolving. All of that opinionating leads to quite a thing in September: the Grand Vision Decision—a big public rollout of three or four different "future scenarios," all well illustrated and explained, for folks to inspect and select.
So it’s last call for you and your friends to register; just click
here and sign up for tomorrow night’s 6:30 p.m. workshop at Crystal Mountain. Or call 866-441-5214. Registration is not strictly required, but it helps The Grand Vision team make sure there are enough tables, maps, and refreshments. Two hundred people showed up each evening in Leelanau and Kalkaska, so be prepared to bump into friends!
If you want to save a few dollars on gas, Benzie Bus is offering pre-registered service from many town centers. It’s just four bucks roundtrip from Lake Ann, Honor, Benzonia, Frankfort/Elberta, and Thompsonville, but reservations are necessary, at 231-325-3000.
Please forward this to your friends and encourage them to go, too. And if you are not on the Michigan Land Use Institute’s Benzie blast list and would like to be, just send an email to with the word "subscribe" w/o the quotes in the subject line, and we'll add you to our mailings. Thanks for clicking in on us, and we hope to see you tomorrow night!
Jim Dulzo

Managing Editor
Michigan Land Use Institute

Glenn Puit’s enjoyable video about the March regional transportation workshop will give you a real feel for tomorrow night. It’s right here if you’d like to check it out!"

This is a great initiative to look at the future of our region and think about how we're going to handle growth effectively.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Customers and friends

I closed yesterday on the sale of a house. I represented the buyers, a young couple who are friends of mine. The wonderful thing about this business is... I didn't even know them six months ago. We got to know each other as they planned their relocation to the area and we looked at homes together. I'm really pleased to have them as part of our community, and expect we'll continue to see a lot of each other. I'd gotten used to showing them properties quite regularly, to researching answers to their questions, and to Michaels "right on" when I explained something in a way that made sense to him, so it seemed strange when we went over a week without seeing each other.

As we sat down for closing, their twin daughters and toddler son took to coloring on the floor. Before we wrapped up, I had drawings from both girls, which I made sure were autographed. Both of them included a lake and me in the photos, so obviously they knew where my mind was headed with Memorial Day weekend coming, and with it the start of summer.

What's the real point here? Only that this job has rewards far beyond the commission. If it didn't, it wouldn't be worth doing for me. Sometimes it's helping someone realize a dream. Sometimes it's helping the local economy by finding a site for a new business. Sometimes it's helping someone out of a tough spot.

Sometimes it's just the memories, the stories, the lessons, the laughs. The best times though are when customers become friends.

Here are Jocelyn and Jaiden's pictures they drew for me. Thanks girls!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Tasty Topic

Another great thing about this area is...We've got great ice cream.  Moomers Ice Cream (Long Lake Township, between Lake Ann and Traverse City) has been selected as a finalist in Good Morning America's "Best Scoops in America" contest.  Moomers is a wonderful part of our community, and in addition to making great ice cream they host school field trips that allow kids to gain an understanding of how milk becomes ice cream.  Since they have dairy cattle on site, they truly start from the source!  My oldest son talked more about the cows being milked than he did about the ice cream!
Here's a link to the video story:
And here's one to vote for Moomers:
And a link to Moomers website!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Heading home

The last sessions of the day wrapped up, I'm headed home. I shared ideas over lunch with EVPs from the second largest board in the state and one of the smaller boards. This afternoon I attended a couple of leadership seminars (one of which I'll reflect on later) and finished up with the Michigan-Ohio regional Caucus from 4-5 before heading to the airport for my 8:00 flight. I'll make it into Traverse City by 11:40 which should get me home by 12:30 am. I've got a showing on one of my listings tomorrow morning and closings to work on for next week, so it's right back to work.

It's kind of amusing that while I was in DC, one of my customers from DC was in Beulah closing on the purchase of their new home.

Just chatted with a few of the other attendees on my flight and they seem to be just as fired up about the value of this event as I am.

I can't wait to see my family!
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Round Table Discussions

Sitting in the NAR Midyear meetings Pres/Pres elect round tables at Omni Shoreham, DC.

Talked about blogging, social networking, etc.

Next was best methods of communication. It sounds like many if not most associations are experiencing a lot of the same things we are.

This conference has been full of opportunities to share ideas and get information. I'm jazzed!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Market forecast and more

Today started with a presentation by NAR chief Economist Lawrence Yun. He provided some exceptional insight and analysis on the direction and future of the maket. There is a great deal of evidence that making a purchase now is a wise decision, including indications that inventory isbeginning to contract, and that the peak of the subprime crisis is past.

Now I'm sitting in a seminar about NAR's Surround Sound campaign, which will assist us in providing locally relevant information in our local markets.

There is a dynamic, positive attitude among participants- we've got a magnificent group of members and staff who believe strongly in what they do and are willing to tackle tough issues.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Metting with Representatives

Since my last post I've met and had discussion with Pete Hoekstra (101st) and Dave Camp (104th) and right now I'm waiting to meet with Bart Stupak of the 1st district.

I've found the Congressmen to be receptive to our messages, and interested in hearing about what we're experiencing in our market.

Report from Washington DC

I'm in DC for NAR's Midyear Legislative meetings. I'm writing this from the Boardroom of the REALTOR building. It's a beautiful building that features a lot of green and sustainable elements- a great representation of our association.

Shortly I'll be headed to the first of four visits with Congressional Representatives and Senators to discuss REALTOR issues.

While it hurts to leave my business and family for a week, the information exchange here is unparalleled.

More later...

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