About Me

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I currently serve as the mayor of the City of Milan. I feel transparency and open government are important to a thriving democracy. I invite you to post questions or comments ---if you have any ideas about things you'd like me to discuss, relating to the City of Milan, this blog is a great place to exchange ideas. You must include your name, (first and last) and town to have your comments posted here.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The cruel sister of decision


Decisions. Making them is easy. Reaching them is hard. For me, the hardest part; is doing the work I have to do because of the decisions I made. Oh, that, and um, ahem, living with them.

Friends, it's been 3 years since my last blog. THREE years. A lot has happened. Too much to even attempt to explain in detail. But I will attempt to do so in a time efficient list form:

Mayoral election, end of 23 year marriage, divorce, job change, mayoral election, job change, house sale, move, cosmetology school, career change, and coming up soon, the end of my mayoral term, and coming up soon; "What will I do now?"

Throw in some, "my kids are growing up," and some "on-line dating," for good measure and sprinkle in mayoral duties throughout and you've got a pretty busy full life.

So, in a nutshell that's what I've been doing instead of blogging.

Amazing where my life has taken me just because of some decisions I made.

No, I'm not running again. I made that abundantly clear many months ago. The election is set, my name's not on the ballot.

And, this really is the right thing for me to do. Both for me, and for the city. This was a tough decision. It took swallowing my ego.

I have to laugh!

My longtime, LONG time political nemesis, Michael Armitage is going to be my successor, and I support him. Three years ago, if anyone had told me this would be happening I never would have believed it. I'm SURE, if you were to ask Mike Armitage the same question, he'd say the exact same thing.

While I believe my choice to run back in 2008 was a hasty, spur of the moment idea---I do believe the work and the accomplishments of the council and city employees has been solid. Projects were envisioned and realized. The performance of the council has been productive, the meetings, tight and efficient.

Taxes were lowered, services streamlined, and everything I wanted to accomplish here—has been accomplished. At this point, I have no more ideas, and nothing left to give. That's how I know stepping down is the right thing to do.

Now the main thing I'm working on, and most concerned about is dealing with the cruel sister of Decision-- Transition.

For both the City of Milan---and personally, for myself.

I'm supporting Mike Armitage for mayor. I think he's going to do a good job. While I can joke about all the little chess moves between Mike and me, during my tenure as mayor, and his on the council---I have to say, with all sincerity, it has been a great learning process. I've learned that you should never close the book on someone, just because you disagree with something they've done or said.

Despite everything I've done to discourage, block, embarrass and harass him—he has risen above it all. ALL of the political games and barbs I threw at him over time; not letting him sit to my right, (the mayor pro-tem traditionally sits to the right of the mayor,) was probably the meanest…despite all of my political shenanigans; he's always been affable, amiable and enthusiastic. He really gave me no choice, really. I did not want to like him. I really didn't! I was gradually won over, because he always brought ideas to the table. He always brought a willingness to work, research, follow-up. Plus he shows up. He's earned my respect as well. He's everywhere. It's really his time now. I'm happy to help him transition, I'm constantly giving him advice; not that he wants it, asks for it, or will take it---I'm giving it to him just the same. And I truly wish him and the future council well.

The second part of the transition has to with me.

Of course I'll be returning to my first love, (no, not my ex) but writing. I plan to keep this blog and start posting here again.

There is no plan really---it's a transition---anything can happen. Like a raw ball of clay being shaped and stretched into something useful. My decision---is to transition my life into something useful.

Cheers for now!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Response to Milan News Leader editorial “Homefront: Communication will better serve community.”

July 30, 2010

To the editor:

This is my direct response to the July 27 editorial, "Home Front: Communication will better serve community, authored by Milan News-Leader managing editor Michelle Rogers.

Milan City residents should be assured that public safety, first and foremost, the safety of our children, is of paramount concern to myself, and the entire staff of our Milan Police Department, particularly our police chief.

The incidents on both June 4 and June 28 were tragic for the victims and their families, and the residents of Milan. I am proud of the response of the Milan Police Department to these incidents, and their work has generated many promising leads in catching this criminal.

I am also concerned that when the information was released to the Milan News Leader on July 16, there was a significant delay before the information appeared on the Milan News Leader website on July 26. As the current Mayor and a former newspaper reporter, I understand that the communication process between the City and newspaper staff is essential to insure the timely release of information to the residents of Milan. I will work with the City and newspaper staff to determine what issues in this incident caused this delay in printing this information, and will refine the communication process on the City's end so that these delays can be minimized as much as possible in the future. I expect the newspaper will take the same approach.

As with any major incident in the City of Milan, a careful review of the policies and procedures that were followed will help us to improve operations in the future.

The editorial by Ms. Rogers questions the period of time between when the second incident occurred, June 28th, and when a detailed written press release was provided to the Milan News Leader, on July 16. I am working with both the Chief of Police and the City Administrator to put together a timeline of the investigation and the decisions that were made between the incident and the media release. I have come to understand in my time as Mayor that each Police case has its own unique set of circumstances,

and it is crucial that all of the facts are considered before any conclusion is made.

I can assure you that if it is determined that there was a lapse in judgment that caused this information to be delayed to the public, I will demand that new policies and procedures are implemented to ensure that the safety and welfare of our citizens is considered above all else when determining how and when information is released to the public.

Finally, this incident has reinforced my opinion that the City must adapt to newer, direct means of communication to keep our residents informed. My staff has been developing a new City website since the beginning of this year, and I anticipate it will be launched at the end of August. With the launch of the new City website, the City is exploring new means of communicating with our residents, including RSS feeds from our website, and popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I believe the communication process with our residents can only be improved by incorporating these direct lines of communication.

I stand by the exceptional work of our Milan Police Department, and their attentive dedication to protecting the families who live in our community, and am working diligently to ensure that any communication issues in this particular incident are reviewed so that the City's communication process with the public can be improved in the future.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

If I could have spoke at commencement this is what I’d say…

This past weekend I had the pleasure of witnessing my youngest daughter's graduation ceremony at Milan High School.

Sitting in the audience listening to the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance" song, my eyes brimmed over with pride for my daughter and my community. The array of speakers made me realize that I too would love the chance to address the graduates.

The commencement ceremony is a milestone. It is a once in a lifetime rite of passage; and a moment to give our young people our very best, which hopefully they will take with them as they move on to adulthood.

This would not be a time for airing my petty complaints or to bore them with a list of my own personal achievements. If given the opportunity, I would approach this task of communicating something meaningful to our graduates, with humility.

I would have so much I would want to say. There is so much to impart to them, so much advice, so many lessons still unlearned.

While I am 46 years old, I still find that I don't know what I don't know. This process never stops, and I would tell them that.

I would attempt to give them words of encouragement tempered with truth.

I'd start here. My first advice to the graduates would be to tell them to be brave. Even if you are afraid.

Be brave. Stand up to those who bully you. Stand up to those who bully others. Look your enemies in the eye and hold your ground. Even if you are afraid, do it anyway. Be calm, even if your insides are quaking—be brave. It gets easier with practice.

When you witness injustice of any kind, be brave, and do something. When you witness cruelty, be brave. When faced with overwhelming problems and opposition---and those days are ahead of you—be brave, and be a part of the solution.

The world inside your classroom is not how the real world operates.

Out in the real world you should question authority. Question your leaders. High school has its purpose, but high school cannot function as a democracy. You've been programmed for 13 years not to question the judgment of those in authority, but remember, now that you are going to be adults, part of your responsibility is to hold others accountable. Be accountable. Be brave.

Defend your convictions. If you still don't know what you believe, then take the rest of your life to figure that out. Never stop. Read books and newspapers, watch the news, research issues, know what matters to people, and find out why. Learn and know what really matters to you. Figure out for yourself what is right and wrong. Figure out where your boundaries are, and what you will and won't tolerate.

Never base your opinions on those who yell the loudest. Those who yell to make their point, do so, because they do not have the tools of facts and logic to make their point. Know who you are by figuring out what you believe.

Be informed. Defend what you believe. Someday you'll find yourself surrounded by opinions that differ from your own. Be brave and be the lone dissenter if that's what you are. Sometimes you will have to go against the tide. Be calm, be rational. State your opinion. Look them in the eye. Be brave.

This next word of advice takes courage. Have integrity. Tell the truth. Tell the truth especially about yourself. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on. You will find that the world does not end when you own up to your mistakes.

Be honest about who you are. Do not try to convince people you never have problems, or that you have more money than you do, or that you are smarter than they are. Show people that you are strong, but you are vulnerable too. Be real. Be authentic. Be sincere.

Have integrity. Keep your commitments. If you say you will do it, and then do it. Keep your promises. Be brave, be truthful. If you make a mistake, and you will, we all do, be brave and apologize. If someone asks your forgiveness, be brave and forgive them. Keep your commitments.

Be respectful. Be on time. If you are late all the time you must break that habit. There is a saying that those who are perpetually late, really believe their time is more valuable than everyone else's. Show up early, have respect. And what goes along with this, is have a good work ethic. No matter what you are committed to, show up and give your all. Jump in with both feet and put your shoulders into the task. Get it done. Do this every day. Hard work really is satisfying.

Friendships. Throughout your life you will meet all sorts of people. You will find that there are mainly two kinds: those who wish you well, and those who do not. Learn to know the difference and stay positive. At times you will be surprised by those who are in your corner. Those who wish you well are positive and supportive of you and your goals, hopes and dreams. Weed out the negative.

Over the years I have heard many commencement speeches where the speaker encourages the students that they can do anything. Anything! While this is an encouraging message, I don't think it's entirely truthful. For example—I could never be an astronaut. I'm terrible at math and science, plus I'm afraid of heights. Be brave and take risks, but be realistic too. We all have our limits. If you want to be an astronaut but you're not strong on math and science, then find what it is you are good at, and pursue that. Please know, that we tend to really like the things we are good at. Base your hopes and dreams on what is real. You are young, now you can test your limits and stretch them beyond what you think is possible, but know there are always limits. Find your own barriers and see what you can do to expand them. But know that we all have baggage, barriers, fears and things we just aren't good at. Find out now what those things are, and figure out how to keep moving forward despite those limits.

Pursue what you are good at, what excites you, but know that you also have the freedom to fail. Accept failure when it comes and move on. Do not bask in the dark shadow of it and do not let it define you. Failure is a lesson. That's all it is.

Please know, that things can go horribly, unexpectedly wrong. It's at those times, when courage, honesty, a good work ethic and knowing who you are will see you through those bad times.

If I were able to speak to the graduates, I would tell them, that their lives will have their share of victories and failures. While you celebrate your victories be prepared for tough times too.

Academic achievement is important but will only get you so far. Remember what is truly important and keep your achievements in perspective.

Strive for goodness, honesty, courage, kindness and long lasting relationships. Strive for the chance to love your work and to love your family. If and when you have children, try to pass a solid work ethic and goodness, honesty, courage and kindness to them.

Be generous. Give your attention and time to the people and problems in your life that really matter.

Lastly, be grateful. You live in the greatest country in the world. You are free. You can travel great distances without asking anyone's permission. You can own property, you can start your own business, you can invent things. Be grateful for the big things, and say thank you for the small kindnesses too.

I would close my speech by telling them, that I am just so proud of them all and that I am truly honored and grateful for the opportunity to give them a little of my best on this momentous occasion.

Good luck, and good work graduates. Congratulations!

Kym Muckler


City of Milan






Monday, May 24, 2010

Milan uses 'green' technology in road repairs

Now that spring is in full bloom, as many of our Milan city drivers have noticed: so are the potholes. For two years now, here at the City of Milan we have implemented an innovative new pothole repair that not only makes for a longer lasting fix, but it is also cheaper and more environmentally responsible.
The process is called "Infrared Restoration," and the results of this fantastic new process can be seen throughout the city; most recently on Wabash Street.
Infrared Restoration uses an infrared heater over the needed street repair for 8 minutes.
After 8 minutes, the heat softens the asphalt so it can be raked into an even surface with a depth of 2-inches. Then it is sprayed with a rejuvenator which adds essential oils back into the asphalt that were lost over time. A small amount of fresh asphalt is mixed in with the old asphalt.
After it is thoroughly mixed, the surface is rolled smooth. This new process is fast; most repairs can be made in a matter of 10 minutes or so. It is long lasting because there are no seams around the repair.
The conventional method for pothole fixes was just to add more asphalt to the hole and roll it out. This left a seam around the edge that required regular maintenance using a sealant to keep rain water from eroding it. This new infrared restoration process has no seams around the repair, the "fix" is done and requires no maintenance, and it is less expensive because it just takes minutes to do a repair and completes the repair, essentially using the asphalt that is already there.
Here you can see the process in action on repairs made to Wabash Street about two weeks ago. Check out the demonstration video I included on this blog---it really is a neat process to watch!

Repairing potholes in our city is an ongoing process. Please be on the lookout for street crews using this technology on a pothole near you. This blogpost shows repairs being done on Wabash Street--but repairs are scheduled to be completed throughout the entire city.

This spring Marvin Street will be resurfaced from County to Michigan streets. This is a $125,000 project paid for through the Federal Stimulus program.

In addition a complete reconstruction of streets in the Riverside Subdivision will begin this spring, with the goal of rebuilding all of the underground water and sewer infrastructure as well as sidewalks, curbs and street resurfacing.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Don’t miss Taste of Milan this week!

Taste of Milan

Thursday, May 20, from 5-8 p.m.

Milan Senior/Community Center

This fantastic event gathers restaurants and caterers from around the Milan area together for a fantastic evening of food and fun. This year features an inflatable "bouncy house" just for the kids!

More details:


$10 adults, includes 5 taste tickets.
Kids ages 6-12 cost: $5, includes 3 taste tickets.
5 and under free.
Additional taste tickets are $1 each.

For every 2 adult tickets purchased prior to the event, you get one free child's admission!

A & J Travel, 52 East Main
Jones Insurance, 21 West Main
Milan Bakery, 42 East Main
Milan Physical Therapy, 905 Dexter St.
Monroe Bank & Trust, County St. @ Sanford Rd.

Taste of Milan is an event worthy of becoming a longstanding tradition here in our fine city. I am so proud of the Milan Area Chamber of Commerce. They are so good at creating and promoting events that showcase our area businesses, but even more importantly---are really fun! (Pictures below from last year's event.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My mother has her own cowboy town

Hello Milan City Residents,
This past Mother's Day, my family visited my mom and my stepdad's house in Pittsford, Michigan--which is just outside of Hillsdale. For the past several months, they have been building a cowboy town in their back yard. My mother's great-grandchildren were deputized and encouraged to "arrest" any of the adults for misbehavior, including using inappropriate language or bad manners. If arrested we were handcuffed and put into the jail.
It was really good time, I just wanted to share these photos of the cow boy town. It's a very special project my mom, (Sylvia [Boelter] Stiles) and my stepdad, (Roger Stiles) have been working on. The little ones really enjoyed it!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Square Foot Gardening !!

Here's my square foot garden from last year.

Top row: green beans that will grow vertically. Down the left side are vertically growing cucumbers. In the center is a tomato plant. Down the right side are basil plants. There are four pepper plants. But the two closest to the tomato were transplanted after I built more garden boxes.

I am so happy that the Milan Public Library is hosting a program on Square Foot Gardening, coming up on Thursday May 13 at 6:30 p.m.

My mom (a certified master gardener) has been using this method for years, and bought me the book, Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew several years ago for my birthday.

Square Foot Gardening is a method that has completely innovated and streamlined gardening for the home gardener. The square foot garden is easier to maintain, and following this method you can grow an incredible amount of food in a small 4' x 4' square. I love growing things like cucumbers, melons and squash vertically —for one thing the fruits do not get that ugly flat brown spot on them from sitting on the ground.

Square foot gardens are extremely beautiful to look at, and if you plant the right things in each 4' x 4' square you don't have to use pesticides, because some plants will act as natural pest repellents. I plant marigolds, garlic, and hot peppers in every garden box to keep away bugs—it works very well.

You don't have to use as much water when maintaining a square foot garden, and the size of this garden makes it very simple to weed.

I also like to grow things in a relay fashion so I have a non-stop supply. For instance radishes grow incredibly fast. You can plant 12 radish seeds evenly spaced in a 1' x 1' square, and in 4 weeks you'll have 12 radishes. So if you plant radishes every two weeks you will always have radishes. This works great for loose leaf lettuce too.

I love to start all of my gardens from seed. For one thing back in February, when it seems like winter is going to last forever, going through a seed catalog can really boost you out of those dull winter blahs. I order my seeds and start them in February or March, and at the same time I plan out my garden on pieces of graph paper.

I only plant one seed for every one plant I want to grow---most people will plant 2-3 seeds then pinch off the extra, but I have found that just planting one seed alone is successful and then there is no waste.

While this blog has nothing to do with City Hall, gardening is something that I feel so passionate about. Especially growing vegetables. No matter where you live, you can garden using this method. I highly recommend everyone attending this program at the Milan Public Library, on Thursday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. Everyone should have the experience of growing their own tomatoes. There is nothing better. Really.