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Oakland University bringing Plum Market to campus Fall 2018

Plum Market will become Oakland University’s newest dining partner and will be located in the newly renovated Oakland Center on the university’s Rochester campus.

Plum Market is a privately-owned Michigan-based company operating five full-service grocery stores, a location at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and more than 10 food service operations across Southeast Michigan and Chicago.
 
Plum Market was selected for its variety of healthier and innovative food choices and desire to help build a sense of community around dining. The company specializes in using only the freshest ingredients with an emphasis on organic produce and All Natural meats, and locally-sourced products. Oakland University serves a volume of 23,000 meals a week and just over 350,000 meals each semester.
 
Chris Reed, Director of the Oakland Center, said, “Along with our campus-wide food service vendor Chartwells Higher Education, OU is proud to partner with Plum Market as the flagship dining location in the Oakland Center, which is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion. The Plum Market location will include a CoffeeBar featuring freshly brewed Zingerman’s Coffee, so this opportunity to bring two well-known Michigan-based companies into this highly anticipated facility expansion provides something new and exciting for the OU community.” Plum Market will be the centerpiece on the main level of the new expansion.
 
Students will now have access to Plum Market’s variety of chef crafted options that are made from scratch. Typical menu options will include:
  • A Showcase featuring seasonally fresh composed salads and globally infused recipes
  • All Natural meat and seafood entrées available at our Carving Station
  • Grab & Go artisan sandwiches and Organic snacks
  • All Natural soups with vegetarian choices and meat-based options
  • A CoffeeBar featuring Zingerman’s brewed coffee and freshly baked goods offered daily 
The mission is to recreate how people think about eating.  With the growing attention to food quality and eating healthy, Oakland University and Plum Market’s partnership will focus on quality food, service, and a level of engagement with students and faculty will go beyond to meet the expectations. Plum Market customizes each menu to best fit the specific wants and needs of students and faculty, including accommodating food allergies.

“This is an exciting time for Oakland University, and the relationship with Plum Market will truly enhance the student experience on campus," said Glenn McIntosh, VP for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at OU. "Not only will this help attract new students, but it will also be a destination for the local community to visit campus and become a part of Oakland University.”
 
This program’s goals align directly with Oakland University’s vision to bring healthy, high- quality meals to college dining options.  “We could not be more excited to open this Plum Market location,” said Plum Market CEO and Co-Founder Matt Jonna. “It’s an honor to have our brand complement Oakland University’s newly renovated dining facility. We believe our concept brings fresh and healthy offerings many of the students and staff will appreciate.”
 
About Plum Market: Plum Market is your source for Natural, Organic, and Local food and beverage essentials. The Michigan-based company is privately-owned by Matt and Marc Jonna, and operates five full-service grocery stores across Bloomfield Township, Michigan; West Bloomfield, Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois; and has a location in the McNamara Terminal of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Plum Market’s Food Service division operates more than 10 locations across Southeastern Michigan.  For more information, visit www.plummarket.com, join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PlumMarket and follow us @PlumMarket on Twitter and Instagram. 
 
About Oakland University: Oakland University is a doctoral, research university located on 1,443 acres of scenic land in the cities of Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills in Oakland County, Michigan. The University has 140 bachelor's degree programs and 137 graduate degree and certificate programs. Oakland is a nationally recognized public university with nearly 20,000 students. Academics include programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, School of Education and Human Services, School of Engineering and Computer Science, School of Health Sciences, School of Medicine and School of Nursing.

'Soundings Series' speakers use music to unite, engage community

For nearly a year, the founders of the Soul Food concert series — Mark Stone, associate professor of music at Oakland University, and Dwayne Anthony, community relations specialist and arts commissioner for the city of Pontiac — have been bringing their message of peace and unity through music to the Oakland County community.
 
On Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, they’ll share how they did it — and how others can do it too — during the next installment of Oakland University’s popular Soundings Series, which features examples of faculty successfully taking their research out of the classroom and using it to make a positive difference in the world.
 
The next Soundings Series event — Soul Food: Music as a Ladder and a Bridge — will take place from 3-4:30 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Oakland Room at the Oakland Center.
 
“The overt mission of the Soundings Series is to help faculty on the OU campus learn how to become publicly engaged academics or intellectuals, wherever that may be on the spectrum of public engagement,” said Dave Stone, Ph.D., chief research officer for Oakland University. “The more covert mission is to get people of different disciplines in a room together.”
 
According to Anthony, bringing people together is what Soul Food is all about.
 
“We’re trying to grab all types of musicians, bring them in one room, and share their positivity and music with the community,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re one human race, so let’s promote love and togetherness. That’s what Soul Food is about, and that’s why we think it’s such important work to continue to do that.”
 
Presented by the Pontiac Arts Commission and sponsored by the OU/Pontiac Initiative, Soul Food was inspired by Professor Emeritus Marvin “Doc” Holladay, who established Oakland University’s World Music Program in 1975. It features different groups, representing a diverse range of cultural and spiritual traditions, sharing their message of peace and unity.
 
“One of the jobs of the Pontiac Arts Commission is to be a connector,” said Professor Stone, who also serves on the commission. “I often do find myself acting as a translator between cultural communities. That’s what Soul Food is about; this idea of common humanity that centers around the oneness in humanity. We have all different languages and music, and there are different religions and cultural traditions, but if we dig deep enough to what we’re really about, that’s where we start making the connections.”
 
A leading expert in global percussion performance and education, Stone has performed with the foremost musicians in Uganda, Ghana, Trinidad, South Africa, India and the United States.
 
“A lot of my research can be divided into two areas,” Professor Stone said. “One is researching music traditions, like those from Ghana, and understanding them. The other side is contemporary composition. I’m a composer, so when I go to India, I’m studying the music but at the same time I’m also doing performances with some of the top musicians in India. These are collaborative efforts, and that’s something I think other researchers can relate to because it poses a huge problem to be solved in terms of how you bring these two different traditions together and create something that really connects with an audience.”
 
The Soundings Series event will help faculty learn how to bridge that gap, as well.
 
“If you think about it, when people are singing, they’re singing together,” Anthony said. “They all have the same goal — to make the melody sound right. They’re not thinking ‘I’m black, you’re white’ — they’re just trying to sound good together. Everything else is thrown away in that moment when the music is really good and everyone is singing together. That’s what music does. It unifies. It takes you out of who you are.”
 
The next Soul Food concert will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 in Varner Recital Hall at Oakland University. Admission is free and the event will be followed by a post-concert reception and discussion led by OU Religious Studies faculty.
 
For more information about the Soundings Series, visit oakland.edu/research/soundings-series. To attend an event, RSVP to Leanne DeVreugd, program assistant for Women in Science, Engineering and Research (WISER) at Oakland University, at ldevreug@oakland.edu.

Oakland County cities, townships recognized for entrepreneurial climate, job growth

The iLab's eCities research group at UM-Dearborn, which analyzes the influence of entrepreneurship, economic development, and job growth, released its annual study that recognizes communities that create inviting business environments and encourage entrepreneurial growth and highlights how local governments are supporting and growing the business climate.

Some of the communities that received a five-star designation in Oakland County include Troy, Rochester Hills, and Huntington Woods; Berkley, Pontiac and Madison Heights are a few cities designated as four-star.

“It is a great benefit when residents can access the products and types of businesses within the city limits,” Berkley City Manager Matt Baumgarten said in a release. “We will continue to work toward maintaining a positive environment that fosters creativity and sustainability for Berkley’s entrepreneurs and all businesses to thrive in.”

According to eCities, the projected entailed researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research in the College of Business collecting data on 277 communities and their development. Then a panel with backgrounds in entrepreneurship, development, and government selected the ones to be recognized as the top communities.

Antiques Roadshow visits Rochester to create the future from the past

In answer to how a show about the past evolves for the future, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW visits Rochester, Michigan on Thursday, June 14 as part of an innovative production tour yielding new-look episodes! New in 2018, PBS's most-watched ongoing series, stops exclusively at distinctive, historic locations across the country.

"Holding events at these locations allows our cameras to film appraisals in and around places that are treasures in their own right, adding a new depth to our show," said ROADSHOW executive producer Marsha Bemko. "I can't wait to see what treasures we uncover in Rochester.  And stay tuned, we'll be revealing the historic location we've selected very soon!"

From each of the 2018 events, three episodes of ROADSHOW per city will be created for inclusion in the 15-time Emmy® Award-nominated production's 23rd broadcast season, to air in 2019. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW airs locally Mondays on Detroit Public Television at 8pm.

Admission to ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is free, but tickets are required and must be obtained in advance. Fans can apply for a chance to receive one pair of free tickets per household. The 2018 Tour ticket application process opens Monday, December 4 at 3pm ET. To enter the drawing for free tickets to a 2018 ROADSHOW event and to see complete application rules, go to pbs.org/roadshowtickets. For more information you may also call toll-free 888-762-3749.

Deadline for applications is Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 11:59 PM PT.

At each appraisal event, approximately 3,000 ticketed guests will receive free valuations of their antiques and collectibles from experts from the country's leading auction houses and independent dealers. Each guest is invited to bring two items for appraisal. To see FAQs about ANTIQUES ROADSHOW events, go to:pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/tickets/faq.

2018 Tour city locations and dates are announced below, historic venues in each city will be revealed closer to each event date.

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW 2018 Summer Tour Dates:
 
       April 12                Sarasota, Florida
       April 21                Tulsa, Oklahoma
       May 22                 Louisville, Kentucky
       May 29                 San Diego, California
       June 14                Rochester, Michigan
 
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW puts the reality in reality television! Produced by WGBH Boston, ROADSHOW is seen by an average of 8 million viewers each week. 

MORE INFORMATION:
 
About ANTIQUES ROADSHOW
Part adventure, part history lesson, part treasure hunt, 15-time Emmy® Award nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW begins its 22nd broadcast season in 2018 and is the most-watched ongoing primetime PBS series. The series is produced by  WGBH Boston for PBS under license from the BBC. The Executive Producer is Marsha Bemko. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance, Ancestry, and Consumer Cellular. Additional funding is provided by public television viewers. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW press materials, including streaming video and downloadable photos, are available at  pbs.org/pressroom. For more ANTIQUES ROADSHOW-including full episodes, appraiser information, tips of the trade, bonus videos, a comprehensive archive, teacher resources, and more-visit pbs.org/antiques. You can also find ROADSHOW on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagramPinterest, and Tumblr.

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children's series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at www.wgbh.org.

About PBS
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 120 million people through television and over 29 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS' broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS' premier children's TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents' and teachers' most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS PressRoom on Twitter.
 

Meadow Brook Hall presents "Landmark in Lights" 46th annual Holiday Walk

Meadow Brook Hall’s 46th annual Holiday Walk runs November 24- December 23.  
 
Visitors can tour the grand rooms of the great estate decked in elegant holiday decor, then stroll down candy cane lane to the land of “Santa & Sweets.” The 2017 Holiday Walk is sponsored by Oakland University Credit Union.
 
New things are happening at Meadow Brook’s annual Holiday Walk from “Holiday Lights and Winter Nights” and guided candlelight tours to an interactive “Kids Candy Adventure” and more!
 
The Meadow Brook estate will shine a little brighter this holiday season during “Holiday Lights and Winter Nights.” For these special evening tours guests will experience the National Historic Landmark trimmed in lights then walk the lit path to the “Land of Santa and Sweets” located at Knole Cottage and Danny’s Cabin, where they can warm themselves by the outdoor fire while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. Self-guided house tours will also be available during “Holiday Lights and Winter Nights.” Also new this year, children of all ages can participate in the “Kids Candy Adventure,” inspired by the Candy Land board game, where kids will search for treats and sweets while touring the mansion then collect their prize at Candy Cane Cottage.
 
Candlelight Tours will take place on November 26, December 10 and December 17.  Guests will enjoy an evening guided tour of The Hall complete with the ambient glow of candlelight and a champagne reception in the Ballroom. Cost to attend is $40 per person. Reservations are required. To make a reservation call (248) 364-6252 or purchase tickets online at meadowbrookhall.org.
 
Santa will be at his workshop located inside Danny’s Cabin on December 21 through December 23 from 1:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. Families are encouraged to stop in for a visit and snap a selfie with Santa! Tour admission required to visit with Santa.
Throughout the Holiday Walk, children can write a letter to Santa and drop it in his mailbox while visiting his workshop.
 
Meadow brook’s 46th annual Holiday walk, is open to the public from Friday, November 24 through Saturday, December 23, 2017. Tour hours are Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admittance at 4 p.m.), and “Holiday Lights and Winter Nights” takes place on December 11 and December 18 through December 23 from 5p.m. to 9 p.m. (last admittance at 8 p.m.). Tickets are $20 for adults, $7.50 for children 17 and under (accompanied by an adult); children age 2 and under are free. On Tuesdays, seniors age 62 and older will receive $5 off admission. All tours are self-guided and reservations are not required.

There is also a special rate for Oakland University faculty, Staff & Alumni at $15 per person and Oakland University students can participate at $5 per student with ID.

Finally, the often anticipated OU Community Night is scheduled for Monday, December 11. For more info on OU night click here: http://meadowbrookhall.org/programs/holiday-walk/ou-community-night/

Meadow Brook Hall is fully self-supporting, relying on special events such as the annual Holiday Walk for the preservation and interpretation of this National Historic Landmark. For more information about the Meadow Brook Hall Holiday Walk, call (248) 364-6200 or visit meadowbrookhall.org
 
About Meadow Brook Hall:
 
Meadow Brook Hall is the historic home built by one of the automotive aristocracy’s most remarkable women, Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of auto pioneer John Dodge, and her second husband, Alfred Wilson. Constructed between 1926 and 1929, Meadow Brook Hall represents one of the finest examples of Tudor-revival style architecture in America, and is especially renowned for its superb craftsmanship, architectural detailing and grand scale of 88,000 square-feet. It was the center of a country estate that included 1,500 acres, numerous farm buildings, recreational facilities, several residences and formal gardens.

Named a National Historic Landmark in 2012, Meadow Brook Hall strives to preserve and interpret its architecture, landscape, and fine and decorative art so that visitors may be entertained, educated and inspired by history.

OU Soundings Series to highlight importance of community engagement

Oakland University’s popular Soundings Series, which features examples of faculty successfully taking their research out of the classroom and using it to make a positive difference in the world, will return on Monday, Nov. 27 with a special presentation by Ali Woerner, associate professor of dance and co-founder of “Take Root,” a contemporary dance company-in-residence at OU.
 
The event will take place from 3-4:30 p.m. in 242 Elliott Hall. Woerner will be presenting information about Take Root’s Dance for Parkinson’s Disease Program, why it’s important and ways higher education can be used to improve the lives of others in the community. She will also be highlighting her own community engagement efforts in Oakland County.
 
“Community engagement is so important to what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s the way we started, and it’s the way we’ve survived. We let people know what’s going on. Not only that, but we get them to tell others about the program, or come to the class themselves. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting them in the room.”
 
Based on the Mark Morris Dance Group’s “Dance for PD” program, the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease program at Oakland University was developed to empower those living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), as well as their caregivers, spouses and family members, to explore movement and music through a program that engages their minds and bodies in an enjoyable social environment.
 
“We try to give them a space that’s safe,” Woerner said. “That’s really important, especially for this group of people who are dealing with being vulnerable every minute of their lives. They worry about being able to cross the street in time, about getting to the phone when it rings, etc. It’s just a constant thing for them. To give them an hour where they don’t have to worry, where they can just have fun, it’s great. Sure, we talk about how the movements are going to help them physically, but we don’t harp on it. That’s not our purpose. We’re there to make them feel good.”
 
According to Woerner, the classes are currently offered in three locations in Oakland County:
  • Oakland University, 201 Meadow Brook Road, Rochester, Mich.
  • The Older Person’s Commission, 650 Letica Drive, Rochester, Mich.
  • St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, 44405 Woodward Ave., Pontiac, Mich.
 “What I think is really interesting about this work is that the basis of it is dance, but it’s also dealing with a medical issue and a neurological disease,” Woerner said. “So it really cross-pollinates because you’re dealing with education, health sciences, nurses, physical therapy, dance therapy, music, etc. It’s really exciting because you’re touching all those groups. In fact, I think that’s why we’ve been as successful as we have been with the program.”
 
For more information about the Soundings Series, contact Leanne DeVreugd, program assistant for Women in Science, Engineering and Research (WISER), at ldevreug@oakland.edu, or visit the Soundings Series website at Oakland.edu/research/soundings-series.

Avon Players "A Christmas Story" opens Nov. 24

Excerpt

For many, the characters are as familiar as old friends at an annual reunion, and the exploits of the Parker clan are as vivid as an oft-told family legend. This holiday season, laugh along with your own near and dear as your favorite moments come to life on Avon Players' stage: the double dog dare that goes awry, the unfortunate pajamas, and the presence of a very distinctive lamp are just some of the reasons why audiences of all ages will enjoy A Christmas Story, running Nov. 24 - Dec. 9.

Read more

Five charities receive $50,000

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and local philanthropist Rick Frazier, founder of Others First, awarded five charitable organizations a total of $50,000 today to help veterans and children. Others First, a car donation charity, raised the funds. Frazier then asked Patterson to identify the organizations to each receive $10,000.

“Others First is a phenomenal program that helps members of our community who are in need, such as veterans and children,” Patterson said. “I was delighted to work with my staff to name the recipient organizations.”

Those organizations are Fisher House Michigan, Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council, Oakland County Veterans’ Services, The Rainbow Connection, and Yellow Ribbon Fund Inc.

“Others First is pleased to support these five outstanding charities as well as hundreds of other worthy organizations and are grateful to our generous car donors who make donations like this possible,” Frazier said.

About the recipient organizations
  • Fisher House Michigan in Ann Arbor: Fisher House is a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, close to the medical center or hospital they serve. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $320 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation. www.fisherhousemichigan.org/
     
  • Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council in Holly: The Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council supports volunteer veteran service organization units that provide the rifle volleys in support of the Department of Defense funeral honors team. www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/greatlakes.asp
     
  • Oakland County Veterans Services in Pontiac and Troy: Oakland County Veterans Services has been providing Oakland County’s 70,000+ veterans and their families with professional veterans’ benefits advocacy and assistance for over 60 years. It has a staff of highly trained and accredited veterans' benefits counselors who are dedicated to ensuring that the sacrifices of veterans are recognized, and that they and their families receive all veterans’ benefits to which they are entitled. www.oakgov.com/veterans/
     
  • The Rainbow Connection in Rochester: The Rainbow Connection, founded by Patterson, has fulfilled the dreams of thousands of Michigan children diagnosed with life threatening illnesses. The Rainbow Connection has never turned a child away and depends on the generosity of the Michigan community to make dreams come true for these brave children. The Rainbow Connection also addresses the special needs of its wish families. The Special Response Program assists families with financial difficulties such as rent, utilities and even funeral expenses brought on by having a child with a catastrophic illness.www.rainbowconnection.org/
     
  • Yellow Ribbon Fund Inc.: The Yellow Ribbon Fund Inc. provides practical support to injured service members and their families while they’re at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, and after they return to their hometowns. Since its beginning, more than 80 cents of every dollar spent has gone directly to programs and services, thanks in part to its small staff and a volunteer force that has grown to more than 1,300. www.yellowribbonfund.org/
About Others First
Others First is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to making a difference in the community by providing funding and support to a wide range of charitable causes. It supports various veterans’ organizations, children's programs, cancer research, animal groups, and many other worthwhile programs. Through its vehicle donation programs, Others First has raised millions of dollars to provide much needed services to the less fortunate. Its mission is to make a difference in as many lives as physically and financially possible. www.othersfirst.org/

Rochester College social entrepreneurship program helps boost jobs at local non-profits

Just a year into its Social Entrepreneurship program and Rochester College and its students have already made a difference in a local nonprofit. And with the start of the semester Wednesday, Aug. 30, the program seeks to repeat its successes once more.

In the fall of 2016, its first semester, Rochester's new Center for Social Entrepreneurship partnered with Detroit's Mariners Inn, a social services program dedicated to helping men battling homelessness and substance abuse. Students spent the first eight weeks studying social enterprises and business planning and then met with Mariners Inn to identify needs.

Jaymes Vettraino, Director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Rochester College, teaches the courses. He says the conversations between students and the nonprofit drive the program, not so much the instructor.

What they decided on was a parking lot business. Taking advantage of Mariners Inn's location across from the newly-constructed Little Caesars Arena, land is being re-purposed to accommodate event parking and could be ready in time for the Detroit Lions game on Sept. 10.

The goal, ultimately, was to find a way to increase revenue for Mariners Inn, create jobs for its clients, and supply the men with usable skills.

"Mariners Inn is really taking the concepts we presented to them and running with it," says Vettraino. "They're considering something similar for janitorial jobs and even hired a Social Enterprise employee to manage the mission."

"They're running with it in a meaningful and important way."

With a new school year comes a new partnership. This time, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship has partnered with Dutton Farm of Michigan. The non-profit works with people with physical, mental, or emotional impairments, providing them opportunities to participate in meaningful production activities, like making soaps, bath salts, and lotions. They also offer job placement services.

Learn more about Rochester College's Center for Social Entrepreneurship online.

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

OUCARES partnership earns national award for autism training

The Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Services (OUCARES) and partners at Oakland County and Oakland County Parks and Recreation, have been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The national awards program honors innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.
 
NACo selected the group as Best in Category for their collaboration on a unique training program where OUCARES staff members teach the park staff how to better recognize, understand and interact with individuals on the Autism spectrum.
 
“We have had a strong relationship with the county government and the parks and recreation department for several years,” said Kristin Rohrbeck, director of OUCARES. “The autism training program for park staff members just seemed like a natural progression of our partnership and everyone involved knew it would benefit the community.”
 
During this year’s autism training, park supervisors learned to recognize common characteristics of autism spectrum disorder and how to communicate effectively by breaking information down into simple steps, keeping verbal statements short and maintaining a low voice among other strategies.
 
After the training, the park staff have a chance to utilize their new skills each year when they host an OUCARES Autism Camp at Independence Oaks County Park. Campers are picked up and bused to the park for activities including pontoon boat rides, fishing, an inflatable bounce house, tropical maze and dinosaur slide, nature center hike and naturalist class instruction.
 
Then NACo President Bryan Desloge said of the award announcement, “Counties overcome complex challenges, provide essential services and constantly do more with less. We applaud these Achievement Award-winning counties for outstanding efforts to improve residents’ quality of life.”
 
Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications.
 
The program was also cited by NACo as one of this year’s 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work: http://www.naco.org/brilliant-ideas/oucares-day-camp-and-staff-training
 
NACo recognized this year’s winners at its 2017 Annual Conference and Exposition in Franklin County, Ohio.

Local Penn Station East Coast Subs owner pledges to raise $75,000 for The Rainbow Connection

Local Penn Station owner Bernie Marconi has partnered with The Rainbow Connection to bring the dreams of seriously ill children in Michigan to life. Penn Station, a fast-casual restaurant, is known for its grilled, made-to-order sub sandwiches, hand-squeezed lemonade and fresh-cut fries.

“The Rainbow Connection makes a huge impact on the lives of local children and their families who need our help,” said Bernie Marconi, owner of the Rochester & North Gratiot Clinton Twp. Penn Station locations, “We’re thrilled to partner with them and raise money to support their mission.”  Bernie Marconi and his wife Linda began this partnership in 2016 and have committed to supporting the Rainbow Connection year-round. “Our goal is to raise $75,000 for this local charity and to give back to the communities we serve.”

George Miller, Executive Director for TRC, is excited to be working with the Penn Station team.  “Bernie has a big heart and was quick to step up to help when he learned our wish referrals had increased by 37%.  With the popularity of the Penn Station restaurants growing bigger as people learn about their unique menu, the support they have already demonstrated will only improve.”

The Rainbow Connection makes dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses.  From something as simple as a computer or as unique as meeting the President of the United States or a glorious trip to Disney World, The Rainbow Connection has fulfilled the dreams of over 3300 Michigan children.

Donations are being accepted at both Penn Station locations to support The Rainbow Connection.

For more information or if you would like to be involved with The Rainbow Connection call 248-601-9474 or visit www.rainbowconnection.org

10 Michigan cities make list of '100 Safest Cities in America'

Excerpt: 

Ten of the top 100 safest cities in America are right here in Michigan.

Alarms.org released their annual "Top 100 Safest Cities" list and Michigan is well represented.

Here's some insight on how these rankings are decided from Alarms.org:

According to the FBI, violent crime has been decreasing over the past 10 years (down by 16.5% from 2006 to 2015) while property crime rates continue to gradually fall by 2% per year. Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) has shown that police have improved their methods for monitoring troubled areas and having more outreach. These methods help to prevent crime and encourage people to work to become model citizens.

At the same time, renovations of old buildings have brought life back to once dangerous areas by providing new shops and family entertainment options. The more entertainment and attractions a city has the more the need for more development and property values to rise.

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Oakland University unveils School of Music, Theatre and Dance

The Oakland University Board of Trustees voted at its August formal meeting to approve the creation of a School of Music, Theatre and Dance. This move follows a consistent expansion and transformation of programs offered by the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance over the past 32 years.
 
“We developed the School of Music, Theatre and Dance to be housed within the College of Arts and Sciences and led by Distinguished Professor of Music Education Jackie Wiggins, who will initiate the roles of Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance on an interim basis until a permanent associate dean can be hired,” said James P. Lentini, D.M.A., senior vice president for Academic Affairs, provost and professor of Music. “In addition, Dr. Wiggins will have an associate director and each of the departments will be headed by a department chair.”
 
“Growing Music, Theatre and Dance from a department into a school should help strengthen our position in the state and regionally, and also enhance our ability to continue recruiting some of the most talented students in all three disciplines,” added Kevin J. Corcoran, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It should help increase our visibility so that we may serve our region better and open the door to more collaborative learning opportunities and important philanthropic opportunities.”
 
“We are very thankful for the Board’s recognition that the creation of this school was warranted by our blossoming programs and was the next logical step in our development,” said Jackie Wiggins, Ed.D., associate dean and director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
 
Oakland University was founded in 1957 as a liberal arts college and a part of Michigan State University. The Music Department was established in 1959 and Varner Hall opened in 1970 as the university’s home of performing arts education.
 
Theatre and Dance began as extra-curricular programs at Oakland University. Then, in 1982, the theatre and dance programs joined the existing music department, forming a Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.
 
Oakland’s performing arts programs earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music, National Association of Schools of Theatre and National Association of Schools of Dance in 2001.
 
The department has flourished since that time, leading up to this week’s announcement of the formation of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
 
There are currently 172 faculty and staff members serving 3,400 Oakland University students with about 230 music majors, 110 theatre majors and 60 dance majors. Oakland’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance offers 23 degree programs – bachelor’s through doctoral – six minors and six professional certificate programs. A bachelor’s degree in Music Technology and Industry is also currently under review and the school maintains an active research center, the Center for Applied Research in Musical Understanding.
 
The School of Music, Theatre and Dance provides the campus and surrounding community with more than 200 performances and events each year. Its Music Preparatory Division teaches more than 300 community members each year, ranging from pre-schoolers through senior citizens.
 
Artists-in-residence affiliated with the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance include world-renowned jazz musician Regina Carter, the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and dance ensembles Eisenhower Dance and Take Root.
 
Professional partners of the school include the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Meadow Brook Theatre Ensemble, Oakland Youth Orchestras, the Oakland University Cooperative Orchestral Library and Synergy on Stage.
 
The school also supports major study abroad programs, including Traditional Music and Dance Study in Ghana, participation in the Hydrama Theatre Festival in Greece and Dance Study in Germany.
 
Oakland is one of the few universities in the U.S. to have a Brass Band, which has achieved national and international recognition. It also has one of the few undergraduate musical theatre programs to take students to New York to connect with and perform for agents and producers, and to get advice from working actors.
 
In addition, Music, Theatre and Dance alumni have been highly successful in working in performing arts careers, including a voice alumna who recently made her debut at the esteemed La Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy.
 
Learn more about the School of Music, Theatre and Dance by visiting the website.
 
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE SCHOOL OF MUSIC, THEATRE AND DANCE

The School of Music, Theatre and Dance provides pre-professional, professional, liberal arts, and general education in the performing arts through artistically-grounded academic programs and diverse performance opportunities.

Our work is kinetic, alive, visceral––occurring collaboratively among learners and teachers, realizing learner potential, cultivating unique artistic voice––in artistically rigorous, authentic, interactive environments. 

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The City of Rochester will unveil a bicentennial monument to honor the 200th anniversary of the founding of Rochester.

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