It started with a stolen truck

By Andrea Brady

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It started with a stolen truck.

I received an email from a friend, saying her truck had been stolen out of her garage in South Milford at lunchtime when she ran home to grab a bite to eat.  Then, not more than an hour later, another friend from Miami Township emailed her friends, saying her car had been stolen out of her garage.

These two women did not know each other, and neither was on the other’s email list.  It seemed like too much of a coincidence, so I got in touch with both of them:  was there a connection here?

Sure enough, there was.  The same person had stolen both vehicles.  And because this information was shared between the police departments (City of Milford and Miami Township) more quickly than would otherwise have happened, they caught the perp (sorry, but I’ve always wanted to use that word) more quickly than they otherwise would have.

This sparked an idea:  our communities, while separate in how they govern and operate, are really one.  Where I live, in the City of Milford, we are next door and across the street from the Township.  Yet, there is no central place for people who live in these different areas to receive information.

Sure, you can receive newsletters from the City and from the Township; but they often contain too much information that just doesn’t pertain to you, and you must sift through to find the info you really want.

Isn’t there a better way?

This was the start of Milford-Miami Township Connections (MMT Connections http://mmtconnections.com/), a collaborative communications program between the Milford school district, the City of Milford, Miami Township, the Milford-Miami Township Chamber of Commerce, and the Clermont Chamber of Commerce.  The idea is to provide information from all these local entities in one place, and to provide it by topical area – Emergency Alerts, Crime Alerts, Construction, Arts, Athletics, Business Events, Special Events and Classes.  Anyone can easily sign up for information in a topical area and receive information from all entities at once.  For instance – no more having to look in three places for arts events from the school district, the City of Milford and the Township:  it’s all in one place.

And best of all, items like crime and construction alerts can now be shared across governmental boundaries, to anyone who is interested, quickly and easily.

This program has been extremely well-received, with two shy of 1,000 currently receiving one or more monthly newsletters.  It’s also quite cost-effective, costing each entity less than $100 per year, plus some time, to provide the service.

One of my goals when I joined the Milford Board of Education was to seek out new ways to communicate with the public.  This blog is one of those ways – I have written it for four years now, virtually every month, providing information not only on the school district, but what’s happening in education.  I’ve also hosted coffees and visited homes, as well as answered countless emails and phone calls, talked with people in the grocery store, and more.

But MMT Connections transcends that, and is one of my proudest accomplishments as a school board member as well as a member of the Milford-Miami Township community.  The ability to provide information easily and quickly is something we can do in this digital day, and I’m happy to have created a way to take advantage of the opportunities and made it that much easier to keep us all in touch.

Andrea Brady is a candidate in the November 5, 2013 school board election. Visit his website at kneppbradyforschoolboard.com.

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