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Royal Oak Way now open

The City of Royal Oak celebrated the grand opening of Royal Oak Way, also known as The ROW, at a Small Business Saturday with Santa event on Nov. 24. The new public alley with decorative paving is part of the Downtown Development Authority’s plan to make downtown alleyways more attractive and will complement the new 581-space parking garage, office building, City Hall, police station and two-acre park.
 
The ROW will serve as a functional alley for deliveries, but with the option for seating, decorative lights, murals, special events and more. The ROW is the alleyway behind businesses along Main Street between 11 Mile and Third Street.
 
“The Small Business Saturday with Santa event is one of the first of many community events to be hosted in The Row,” said Sharlan Douglas, Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Royal Oak. “The City of Royal Oak is looking forward to expanding the alleyway project throughout the downtown.”
 
Additionally, an estimated 14 parking spaces will be added to the alley alongside the new parking garage and office building once completed. The alleyway will help connect pedestrians to the Royal Oak Library, Royal Oak Farmers Market and the two-acre park coming in 2020.

“It’s great to see Royal Oak creating other uses for downtown alleys,” said Aric Klar, owner of Toyology Toys. “Creativity like this helps make downtown Royal Oak more attractive, and this inviting new space will hopefully be used for events and more to help bring people to downtown Royal Oak.” 
 
The Small Business Saturday with Santa event in The ROW, featured family-friendly activities including photos with Santa, arts and crafts from Toyology Toys, ribbon cutting and brief remarks from Mayor Pro Tem Douglas, live entertainment from the Royal Oak Children’s Choir and coffee from Dessert Oasis.
 
For more information about the Rethink Royal Oak development, parking information, including a guide that advises available parking options and more, please visit www.rethinkro.com.
 
About Royal Oak
Royal Oak is a vibrant metro Detroit community home to nearly 60,000 residents located in Oakland County. Destinations within the 12-mile community include The Detroit Zoo, The Royal Oak Music Theatre, William Beaumont Hospital, Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle and a successful Farmers Market among others. The city’s recreational services include more than 50 public parks and was recently named one of the Top 10 Most Exciting Small Cities in America by Movoto and the Best Place to Live in Michigan by AreaVibes. To learn more about Royal Oak, visit https://www.romi.gov.

New Royal Oak health facility offers Eastern, Western medicine

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Holgistic, a new business in Royal Oak that bridges traditional medical care and alternative medicine, has opened. The business’ goal is to treat the root cause of conditions, not just symptoms.

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New gift amounts to $8 mil of giving to Beaumont heart and vascular care from Max and Debra Ernst

Orchard Lake residents Max and Debra Ernst have increased their support to Beaumont heart and vascular care to a total of $8 million, launching the new Max and Debra Ernst Heart Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. The center will be dedicated to consolidating cardiac care, particularly for patients with heart failure, into an area that is not only convenient but comprehensive to provide a variety of heart and vascular services. 

In 2009, the couple also gave $3 million to open the Ernst Cardiovascular Center in Memory of Ellen Ernst.

“Through their incredible support, Max and Debra have demonstrated that it doesn’t take a medical degree to save a life – all it takes is a heart and a desire to help others” said Marc Sakwa, M.D., chief, Cardiovascular Surgery,Beaumont, Royal Oak.

The 14,000-square-foot Max & Debra Ernst Heart Center will be located adjacent to the East Tower entrance of the hospital near the current Ernst Cardiovascular Center. The new $9 million center will consolidate many outpatient heart services into one area to help cardiac patients; particularly those with heart failure, better manage their condition and reduce emergency center visits and hospital readmissions. Construction began on the new center this month. It will open in the fall of 2019.

Across the nation more than one million people are diagnosed with congestive heart failure each year, which may lead to poor quality of life and frequent hospitalizations for advanced care.  Heart failure is also the leading cause of hospitalization for those 65 years of age and older.

“The new Max and Debra Ernst Heart Center will be an incredible resource for our team to better serve our patients, especially those living with heart failure,” said Simon Dixon, M.D., chair, Cardiovascular Medicine, Beaumont, Royal Oak. “By consolidating services in the new location, we provide better access and directed care for those patients who require extra care and require frequent office visits.” 

Board-certified cardiologists, trained cardiac nurses, social workers and dietitians will provide medication monitoring, heart failure management and progressive therapies to not only improve symptoms but enhance quality of life.  These services will be provided with compassionate and specialized patient and family-centered care, in a convenient and easily accessible location for patients requiring more support. 

“When we made the gift in 2009, we told everyone if we saved one life, it would be worth it. Since that time, we are very satisfied with the excellent care the team has provided,” Max Ernst said. “My gratitude for the success the heart team has achieved has led my wife and I to commit additional support for their vision.” 

The success of the first Ernst multidisciplinary center, which offers many services, including low-cost, preventive heart screenings for adults and high school students, has created the need for expansion. Since the center opened in 2010, specialists have cared for more than 30,000 patients becoming one of the premiere programs for structural heart and valve disease and cardiac surgery.  

Margaret Cooney Casey, senior vice president and chief development officer, Beaumont Health, added, “We are deeply grateful to Max and Debra Ernst for their continued generosity and vision for Beaumont. Their gift will save even more lives, and help thousands of patients and their families for years to come.”

Reiki, Yoga, and community outreach center opens in Waterford

Little Bird Holistic Arts has found a home in Waterford. And though it’s been serving clients since mid-August, the holistic wellness center celebrated with an open house Sunday, Sept. 23.

For Little Bird founder Carrie Mularoni, the open house was an opportunity to familiarize the public with the space itself but also Reiki, the energy-based healing technique that Mularoni teaches.

"The goal on Sunday was to open our doors and answer any questions people might have," Mularoni says. The open house opened and closed with a short meditation. Special vendors including a local soap maker and jeweler were also there for the event.

"This allowed me to reach people in a positive way."

Little Bird Holistic Arts offers a number of services, including Reiki, Yoga, sound therapy, and crystal healing. A retail section includes Himalayan salt lamps, crystals, jewelry, and more.

Mularoni first got involved in Reiki following an unfortunate accident. Eschewing the medications prescribed by her doctor, Mularoni studied Reiki, and she was, as she says, astounded by the results. She studied and became certified to teach the practice, eventually becoming certified to teach yoga, too.

Taking her time to open her own studio, Mularoni found the Waterford space and felt right about setting up shop there.

She wants Little Bird to be more than a studio but instead a community outreach center, one where everyone feels welcome.

"It’s very important for people to feel comfortable here," Mularoni says.

"I wanted a space where I could set people at ease, like if they were walking into a friend’s home."

She plans on hosting pop-up events, including others’ yoga classes, craft classes, and a kombucha-making workshop.

Little Bird Holistic Arts is located at 3792 Elizabeth Lake Rd. in Waterford.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


All-purpose vegan boutique to bring sustainable plant-based living to Oak Park

Nurah Ikpeama wants to revolutionize the way people shop for plant-based foods and products.

On the path to doing so, she’s taken an important next step. This Saturday, Aug. 25, Ikpeama is celebrating the grand opening of Electric Plate Vegan Shop, a multi-purpose space in the Crown Pointe Plaza building in Oak Park.

Electric Plate Vegan Shop is a vegan grocery boutique. The store will feature a mix of prepared foods and groceries--all vegan. Caffeine-free coffee is on the menu. Ikpeama will also host monthly forums on the plant-based lifestyle.

She’s also planning a vegan fest for later in the fall.

"For those of us living the plant-based lifestyle, we usually have to go to stores that aren’t dedicated to being vegan," Ikpeama says.

"Places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s might have vegan sections, but you still have to walk through the meat section. I don’t like that mix."

Ikpeama’s path to Electric Plate Vegan Shop began in 2015, when she transitioned from what she calls being a "dirty vegan" to a "clean vegan," a difference she explains as when she took plant-based cooking more seriously and stopped eating things like mass-produced cookies.

She began sharing her plant-based recipes on social media. Interest was so high that places around Detroit began inviting her to throw pop-up kitchen events. People then began to ask when she would have a permanent place of her own.

Electric Plate Vegan Shop is that place. Located on the third floor of the Crown Pointe building, Ikpeama says she chose the location because Oak Park is equally accessible from both the east and west sides.

Though not a full-service restaurant, Electric Plate will sell Ikpeama’s ready-made dishes. Most items, like her tacos and quinoa burgers, are served raw and don’t require ovens. The shop will also feature a variety of vegan-friendly groceries.

Electric Plate Vegan Shop is located on the third floor of 25900 Greenfield Rd. in Oak Park.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Oakland County Parks and Recreation commission dedicates Independence Oaks safety path

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission and Independence Township officials dedicated a new safety path that connects Independence Oaks County Park and Independence Oaks-North on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

The collaborative project brings more walkability to park visitors and community residents with the addition of a safety path and boardwalks over wetlands. The event was attended by Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commissioners and staff, Independence Township officials and staff, project partners, media and other stakeholders. A brief presentation was followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

“Trails are the number one reason people visit the Oakland County Parks, and we know that walking, running, biking and other forms of trail usage continue to increase in popularity not only in Oakland County, but across our nation as a whole,” Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “This safety path project provides an opportunity for park visitors and area residents to expand their recreation inside and outside our park boundaries.

The 1.6-mile trail includes 870 linear feet of 10-foot wide boardwalks through wetland areas and an 8-foot-wide asphalt trail with grass shoulders.

The $1.34 million was funded by $740,000 from the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission and $600,000 from Independence Township Safety Path funds.

Independence Township installed two resting stations, at the north and south entrances of Independence Oaks County Park. The north entrance station features a bench, bike rack, bike- fixing station and air pump. The township is installing several more resting stations for its new “Park to Park” trail project that will connect Independence Oaks County Park to Clintonwood Park, Depot Park, Deer Lake Beach Park and Bay Court Park.

Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Independence Oaks-North is located at 10089 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston

For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

After decades of attempts, bicycle and pedestrian trailway opens in Troy

He laughs when he says it, but Kurt Bovensiep can only laugh because it’s true. The city of Troy has been working on developing a bicycle and pedestrian trail system since 1974.

One obstacle after another, from property owner disputes to the Great Recession of 2008, has stymied efforts to develop a trail over the years. But in 2018, the city of Troy can finally say it has the beginnings of its own trails network.

While the grand opening celebration for Troy Trails & Pathways isn’t until Wednesday, Aug. 1, the trail itself is indeed already open. Enthusiasm for the trail was so high, says Bovensiep, that bikers and walkers were on the heels of construction workers as each section of asphalt was poured.

Today, riders can take the 1.3-mile asphalt trail from the Troy Town Center, through P. Terry & Barbara Knight Park, past Wattles Road (where a pedestrian safety island has been installed), and finish at Troy Historic Village. The trail largely takes users off city streets and sidewalks and into the woods.

"People are saying, I can’t believe I’m in the middle of suburban Troy yet feel like I’m in such a natural area," Bovensiep says.

This is just the beginning for Troy Trails & Pathways. While no specific plans have been announced, Bovensiep hopes to connect the trail to a larger network of trails, making it a viable alternative transportation route. The goal is to connect to the Clinton River Trail, either through Auburn Hills or Rochester Hills, which itself is planned to connect to the statewide Iron Belle Trail system.

The Troy city council has appropriated $750,000 for the trail for each of the next three years.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Troy Trails & Pathways for Wednesday, Aug. 1, with updates available online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Hummus-based shakes among unique offerings from fast-casual Mediterranean coming to Auburn Hills

A New York City-based chain of healthy Mediterranean fast casual restaurants is set to make its Michigan debut in Auburn Hills this fall. Michigan entrepreneur Chirag Modi is bringing The Hummus & Pita Co. to the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets food court. It has an expected opening date of October 2018.

It’s the first Midwest location for the expanding franchise. With three locations in New York City, the company is also planning locations in Danbury, CT; Denver, CO; Bell Works, NJ; and Los Angeles, CA.

The brand launched in 2011 and touts its fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine as an alternative to other fast-casual Mediterranean concepts. The menu items are made from scratch and on site, its pita and laffa breads are freshly-baked, and its meats are cooked in a traditional taboon oven. The Hummus & Pita Co. also carries a wide range of vegetarian dishes.

Perhaps what sets the company apart most from other Mediterranean restaurants will be its dessert hummus dishes and hummus shakes.

Chirag Modi is the operator bringing The Hummus & Pita Co. to Metro Detroit. Modi counts 17 years of pharmacy ownership among his business qualifications. He looks to carry that success over and into the restaurant industry.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak opens new Pediatric Emergency Center

Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak’s new Pediatric Emergency Center features child-friendly private rooms in a patient and family-centered environment designed to enhance the Level II pediatric trauma center. It opens July 16.

The 9,500-square-foot Pediatric Emergency Center features 16 private rooms which are twice the size of rooms in the former area. The larger rooms will be more comfortable and efficient for families. Three rooms also include special features designed for the safety of behavioral health patients.

“We know children can get stressed or scared when they come to the hospital. That’s why we worked with our patients and their families to design a comfortable, calming and inviting new Pediatric Emergency Center,” Kelly Levasseur, D.O., Beaumont Children’s pediatric emergency director, said.

Child Life specialists will use play therapy and other techniques to ease anxiety. Comforting artwork featuring animals from the Detroit Zoo and paintings from a local artist help to create a healing environment. A self-serve pantry with complimentary snacks and drinks will also be available.

A rooftop medical helipad offers direct, easy access to the center. Board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialists lead a team of experienced staff members who are on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If children need to be admitted, the inpatient pediatric unit at Beaumont Children’s is just an elevator ride away.

“The new center provides a quieter patient and family-centered environment with amenities that support the high-quality emergency care parents and families expect for children,” said Rosanna Morris, president, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Multiphase Renovation

The new Pediatric Emergency Center is part of a 125,000-square-foot, $120.8 million expansion and renovation project, expected to be complete in 2019. At that time, the Emergency Center will have 73 private adult rooms, 20 semi-private, 10 private behavioral health rooms and 16 private pediatric rooms.

During the renovation process, portions of the former center will remain in use, but 53 new private adult beds will be available for patients. The renovation also includes four expansive trauma care bays and an area offering quicker care for patients with minor injuries and illnesses.

Private rooms with glass doors and walls provide quiet accommodations. A “Beau to Go” café serves hot food and refreshments. Cellphone charging stations are available, too.

“We are expanding and renovating in phases so we don’t disrupt care for our community. The new center brings diagnostic testing closer to or at the bedside to enhance patient comfort and convenience, as well as safety and efficiency of care,” said Terry Kowalenko, M.D., chair, Emergency Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and professor and chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

MRI and CT imaging are located inside the center and point-of-care testing is available at the bedside, including portable X-rays, echocardiograms and Doppler ultrasounds to test for blood clots.

Southeast Michigan’s most preferred emergency center

As Southeast Michigan’s most preferred Emergency Center, Beaumont, Royal Oak’s Emergency Center is among the highest volume centers in the country with 130,733 visits in 2017.

Beaumont Health also offers emergency services at seven other hospitals in Southeast Michigan and at a freestanding emergency center in Canton. Beaumont consists of eight hospitals with 3,429 beds, 187 outpatient sites, nearly 5,000 physicians, 38,000 employees and 3,500 volunteers.

Construction and design partners for the project include: architect and engineer Harley Ellis Deveraux of Southfield; construction manager Barton Malow of Southfield; and design architect FreemanWhite of North Carolina.

SEMCOG announces $14 million in funding for walking and biking projects and planning assistance

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SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, has awarded nearly $13 million in Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding and over $900,000 in Planning Assistance Program funding to local communities for a total of 50 projects.

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Cat lounge opens in West Bloomfield

A kinder, gentler version of cat adoption is coming to West Bloomfield,  thanks to a partnership between the Pet Valu store on 14 Mile and the Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren organization. It's called the Meowtown Lounge, and it celebrated its grand opening with a party on Saturday, March 24.

Michelle Tooroian, President of Pet Adoption Alternatives of Warren, or PAAW, got the idea for the cat lounge after visiting one out of state. The idea is to create a more relaxed environment for visiting shelter and rescue cats. Rather than visit animals in a row of cages or some other sterile environment, PAAW has built a retro 1950s-themed lounge at Pet Valu. Whether cat or human, it's a more comfortable environment for all involved, and one that comes with many advantages over a traditional shelter or pet store.

"Instead of visiting cats in cages, you can just come in and sit on the couch, and see who comes up and sits on your lap," says Tooroian. "It's a better way for adopters to get to know the cats and their personalities. It's a higher quality match."

For a suggested admission price of $5 for half an hour or $8 for an hour, visitors can come in and visit with the cats at their own pace. There's no pressure to adopt a cat, though that is indeed a goal. But the lounge can be used by office workers on their lunch break and allows outside food. Or maybe it's great for people that love cats but can't have one at home, be it because of someone else's allergies or rules within a lease.

One hundred percent of the price of admission goes to help rescue animals, says Tooroian.

This is just the start for Meowtown Lounge. Tooroian is already looking at additional locations. She also plans on hosting community events and fundraisers at the space. Puppy parties, too, are in the works.

Meowtown Lounge is located in the Pet Valu at 33230 14 Mile Rd. in West Bloomfield.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

RedLine Athletics set to open multiple youth athletic training centers in Michigan

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RedLine Athletics, which operates youth athletic training centers that includes coaching from former professional athletes, announced it will open 12 locations in Michigan, with the first opening next month in Farmington Hills.

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ER docs run new urgent care in Milford

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A new urgent care facility capable of treating everything from the sniffles to broken bones opened this month in Milford. 

The practice is co-owned by physicians specializing in emergency medicine.  

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Orion Twp. completes phase 1 of Clarkston Road Safety Path

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Orion Township is a mile closer to connecting the Paint Creek and Polly Ann trails with the completion of a portion of the Clarkston Road safety path.

Bikers and pedestrians can now use the path, which consists of an elevated wooden boardwalk along the north side of Clarkston Road near Camp Agawam.

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CycleBar Studio expands to Bloomfield Hills in November

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CycleBar, a cycling studio with three others locations in metro Detroit, will be open a new location in Bloomfield Hills in November. The 3,000-square-foot facility will feature classes, in-house and online custom-specific workout data, and instructors.

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