MSAA General Membership Meeting, Thursday, October 6th, 8am, Celtic Room at Conor O’Neill’s


October 6th, 2016

Those present: Tom Murray, Conor O’Neill’s; Myra Fox and Celeste Gentile; Washtenaw Intermediate School District; Abigail Flis, Washtenaw Interagency Network 4 Autism and Phi Chi Theta; Nancy Shore, Q + M: Ann Arbor; Ron Stevens, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center; Cathy Marks, Ten Thousand Villages; Alan Freedman, Four Directions; Susan Pollay, Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority; Mary Ouzounian, Moosejaw; Doug Martelle, Ann Arbor Police Department; Sumi Kailasapathy, Ann Arbor City Council; Natalie Zolg, Abracadabra Jewelry; Marcus Schwimmer, Vault of Midnight; Amy Cameron, ITHAKA; Lynda Cole, Katie Peil, Alzheimer’s Association; Kevin Gudejko, Mainstreet Ventures; Joanne Bower, Pretzel Bell; Wayne Colquitt and Diana Ellis, Community Dental Center; Fran Stacey, Hooper Hathaway; Sara Hoffman, Bank of Ann Arbor; Tom Bianchi, 826Michigan; Kelley Rubelman, The Peaceable Kingdom; Neil VanHouten, Pangborn Collection; Jason Wells, Grizzly Peak/Mission Management; Rob Hoffman, Priceless Preservation

Tom Murray, President of MSAA
Greetings and Introductions

Myra Fox and Celeste Gentile, Washtenaw Intermediate School District – Out of the Box Hiring: The Benefits of Employing People with Disabilities
Ms. Fox reviewed the various programs and benefits available to employers who work with WISD and Michigan Rehabilitation Services to hire young adults with disabilities.
Employers who hire customers of MRS are eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, ranging from $1200 – $9600. In addition, there is no cost for businesses to participate in the program, nor any lengthy time commitment. Internships are available with no obligation to hire, as well as the Job Try Out Option, which allows employers to train and evaluate prospective employees before deciding to hire. Liability Coverage and Worker’s Compensation are provided during internships, and interns and employees receive training in Soft Skills Essential to Employment Success.

WIN4Autism and Phi Chi Theta at the University of Michigan will host A Community Conversation on Increasing Employment for Youth with Disabilities on Thursday, October 20th, at the 6th floor Colloquium of the Ross School of Business (701 Tappan Ave) from 7-8:30pm. Professors and panelists will discuss the program and the benefits of a diverse workforce.

BIZ Landscape Update
Phase One – In May the Main Street Business Improvement Zone distributed 24 planters in 3 high pedestrian traffic and high visibility areas: the south side of Liberty between Main and Ashley, the north side of Liberty between Fourth and Fifth, and the east and west sides of Fourth between Liberty and Washington. The planters will be given an early October planting for the fall and a final November dressing for the holiday/winter months.

Phase Two – 22 planters will be placed along William between Ashley and Fourth, along the north and south sides of Washington between Ashley and Fourth, and along the south side of Huron between Ashley and Fourth.

Phases Three & Four – The BIZ will work with local property owners and merchants to ‘fill in’ the BIZ zone, creating an inviting and colorful landscape throughout the area.

Any questions, please contact Kathy Macdonald,

Susan Pollay, Chair of Citizens Advisory Committee for the Regional Transit Authority: RTA Ballot Proposal – November 8th Election
The purpose of the RTA Transit Plan is to coordinate public transit in the four county region of Southeast Michigan – Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne (including Detroit.)
Currently there is no regional transit plan, and we are the only major region in the United States without coordinated, connected public transportation. This does not reflect the changing demographics and values of people who don’t want to have to rely on single occupancy vehicles, and inhibits our ability to grow a strong regional economy.
With voter-approved funding, the RTA would coordinate existing services, as well as add regional rail, bus rapid transit, commuter express options, and cross-county connectors. Specific plans for Washtenaw County include a regional rail connecting Ann Arbor to Detroit, a bus rapid transit line along Washtenaw Avenue, and airport service in Ypsilanti.
The ballot proposal will ask residents to approve a 1.2 mill property tax assessment, which would amount to about $8/month for the average homeowner. The RTA is required by state law to invest 85% of all funding collected from one county back to that county, with the remaining 15% to be spent regionally. The approval of the millage will also open up the possibility of accessing federal funds for the RTA.

The annual Downtown Treat Parade will be Monday, October 31st from 11am-5pm.

The MSAA annual retail showcase will be Thursday, November 3rd at 8am in the Celtic Room at Conor O’Neill’s. Please contact if you would like to present at the meeting.

The MSAA has moved offices, and is now located at 15 Research Drive, Ann Arbor, 48103.

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