I was fortunate to be awarded the 2012 Irving Hand Award, which APA-PA awards annually. Named after Irving Hand, FAICP and funded by Delta Development, the award funds a professional development activity for a planner. My proposal was to use the funding for mediation training, and I recently completed the first portion of my training. Mediation is defined as a process where a neutral third party without decision making authority assists parties in negotiating a mutually agreeable settlement. The process attracted me because as a community planner I frequently feel like that third party, trying to get a community and its many interests to come to an agreement on an issue – should we inventory our historic resources? should we regulate our historic resources? should we change the zoning in this area? should we be providing more active recreation area? I found the training encouraging, enlightening, and also a reinforcement of good planning practice, and would recommend it to any planner. To read my full write-up on the training, check out the APA-PA Spring 2012 Newsletter.