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o�sou TH <br /> F dx <br /> :J b <br /> W eFacE � � <br /> y� a 1, a2 <br /> 1865 <br /> Office of the Mayor <br /> NEWS RELEASE <br /> Wednesday, April 11, 2007 <br /> 2:30 p.m. <br /> Government academy builds informed citizenry <br /> Contact: Mikki Dobski, Director of Communications&Special Projects, 235-5855 or 876- <br /> 1564, or Ann-Carol Nash,Assistant City Attorney, 235-5867 <br /> They've seen a firefighter get into gear and police dogs find contraband. They've walked <br /> backstage at the Morris Performing Arts Center and toured sites of South Bend's <br /> economic revitalization. They've participated in a mock Common Council meeting and <br /> an actual State of the City address. <br /> And come this Thursday, about two dozen participants will see the inside of a fire <br /> hydrant, review the new LED traffic signals and watch state-of-the-art street sweepers in <br /> the final session of South Bend's 10-week Local Government Academy. <br /> A commencement ceremony will be part of the two-hour session, which begins at 5:30 <br /> p.m. at the Public Works Service Center, 731 S. Lafayette Blvd. <br /> Participants in the academy don't just get a behind-the-scenes look at city facilities. They <br /> acquire an insider's understanding of the way city government operates. Class members <br /> can speak knowledgeably about the impact of the 2 percent property-tax Circuit Breaker <br /> or tell the difference between neighborhood, community and special parks. <br /> "With all of the dirty politics that makes the national news and the local Roseland circus, <br /> it is important to understand government better,"said South Bend resident Martin Bean, <br /> IT manager at Heraeus Kulzer Inc. "I will set higher goals for myself because of the <br /> academy, be involved, and pass on the pride the leaders have for the city." <br /> Since 2004, the City of South Bend has conducted six 10-week sessions of the academy <br /> to inform nearly 150 residents about the workings of their municipal government. "For <br /> government to work well in the system we have in this country, people need to <br /> understand what government does," said City Attorney Chuck Leone, who helped pattern <br /> the initial sessions after similar training programs in other cities. "It helps to have an <br />