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Judson Center will honor National Autism Awareness Month with Bring Autism to Light

During the month of April, Judson Center will be honoring National Autism Awareness month as we Bring Autism to Light for world Autism Day (officially April 2nd).  The community is invited to the Autism2Light ceremony, as we light up 5th Avenue in downtown Royal Oak.

Autism2Light will be held on Monday, April 2 from 6-7pm on 5th Avenue, east of Washington Avenue.

Autism2Light is a family friendly ceremony that promotes understanding and awareness for autism.   With support from English Gardens, trees on 5th Avenue will officially light up in blue (the color for autism awareness) with the help of Judson Center President and CEO, Lenora Hardy Foster and City of Royal Oak leadership.  The Autism2Light ceremony will also include refreshments and the opportunity to pick up a free LED blue lightbulb for your home.

“We are excited to Bring Autism to Light to downtown Royal Oak and share this moment with our Judson Center families and supporters in the community.  We hope this event encourages awareness, understanding and most importantly, a dialogue that encourages acceptance for people impacted by autism," shared Lenora Hardy-Foster, President and CEO.

A preliminary kickoff to Bring Autism to Light will begin on Monday, March 19th, when Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier along with the City Commissioners, will present, for the second year in a row, an autism proclamation honoring National Autism Awareness Month and the life changing programs at Judson Center’s Autism Connections.  Royal Oak is also urging all employees, residents and members of the business community to join the movement.

Judson Center’s Royal Oak campus will shine bright in blue thanks to the support of English Gardens, and the community is invited to stop by Judson Center and pick up their free lightbulb, or visit any of Royal Oak’s three fire stations or the Royal Oak Public Library. 

Companies can also participate and Bring Autism to Light by shining blue for autism, designating a day to wear blue for autism awareness, and making a donation to Judson Center’s Autism Connections.

“The Bring Autism to Light campaign is now in its second year.  It was a huge success last year and we expect it to be one this year, because the need for services in Metro Detroit is growing, and so is the need for understanding.  Bring Autism to Light, truly does that. We want families to know, you are not alone and at Judson Center, we hear you, see you, and want to help," shared Lenora Hardy-Foster.

Since 2005, Judson Center’s Autism Connections program has been providing comprehensive services to the entire family impacted by autism.  Currently one in 68 children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and in Michigan, there are over 50,000 individuals living with ASD.

For more information on how to get involved in Bring Autism to Light, visit www.judsoncenter.org, or contact Kayla Collins at 248-837-2007 or kayla_collins@judsoncenter.org.

Cornerstone Community Financial upgrades and expands digital banking products and services

Cornerstone Community Financial (CCF) – a progressive, full-service, state-chartered financial institution owned and operated by its more than 25,000 members – is working to lead the way in digital banking among local credit unions with extensive investments in new and upgraded technology products and services.

 

On Feb. 20, 2018, CCF launched its new mobile banking application, which includes advanced features such as: a customizable landing page, security options of a passcode, fingerprint scan or facial recognition, personalized tabs for tracking spending by category, instant “on/off” controls for credit and debit cards to protect members in the case of loss or theft, upgraded mobile deposit services, new mobile wallet capabilities and the ability to integrate data from members’ other financial accounts outside of CCF. 

 

Scheduled for April 2018, CCF also will unveil a new online banking platform that will mirror the new mobile app, providing members a seamless digital experience whether using a smartphone, tablet or traditional PC.

 

To further enhance member experience, later this year, CCF will unveil a completely redesigned and overhauled website at www.CCFinancial.com.  Additionally, in late 2017, CCF upgraded all of its online loan and account application services.

 

“Over the past few years, Cornerstone has heavily invested in upgrading and expanding nearly every aspect of our technology…a new online banking platform, new mobile banking app, upgraded bill pay, new payment and E-signature services,” said Heidi Kassab, president and CEO of CCF.  “All of these improvements have made Cornerstone a leader on the digital banking forefront, as well as increased the safety and security of our digital banking offerings.”

 

Founded more than 65 years ago, CCF has continually evolved to meet the changing demands of the banking landscape and its members’ needs and expectations.  The credit union, which has six locations in Michigan and Ohio, aims to compete with traditional financial institutions in terms of pioneering technologies, products and services, while continuing to cultivate the personal, hands-on approach that members value in a local credit union. 

 

“Whether members want to be in touch with us face-to-face or through Facebook, we want to provide options that offer convenience, quality customer service and cutting-edge technology,” said Kassab.  “Our adaptability and forward-thinking, coupled with our passion for serving those in our community, is what has allowed us to thrive for more than six decades…and we have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.”  


It will be raining marshmallow at the Great Marshmallow Drop March 30

Thousands of children will scramble to retrieve one of 15,000 marshmallows falling from a helicopter at Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s Great Marshmallow Drop Friday, March 30 at 10 a.m. at Catalpa Oaks County Park in Southfield.

Children will participate by age groups: ages 4 and younger and individuals with disabilities; ages 5 – 7, and ages 8 – 12. The helicopter will fly over three times, once for each age group. The event is not a competition, just a fun time. Sponsored by Oakland County Credit Union, the collected marshmallow can be exchanged for a prize bag. Only one marshmallow is needed for a prize.

The event is free. Catalpa Oaks County Park is located at 27725 Greenfield Road in Southfield.

Children aren’t the only ones who can enjoy this event. Oakland County Parks is accepting volunteers 16 years old and older to help with Great Marshmallow Drop. Volunteers can serve as marshmallow marshals and chute controllers or assist in the prize tent and boundary areas. For more information, visit the VolunteerMatch.com or call 248-975-9717.

For details on upcoming events and activities, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Get social with Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Patterson appoints former OCC Chancellor as Deputy Executive

The former chancellor of Oakland Community College (OCC) will serve as Oakland County’s top economic development official beginning March 5. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has appointed Dr. Timothy R. Meyer as deputy county executive for the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. Patterson selected Meyer because of his invaluable experience preparing an educated and talented workforce for the 21st Century.

“Because of the continuing low unemployment rate in Oakland County, we face the challenge of maintaining a well-qualified workforce that has the education and skills for 21st Century jobs,” Patterson said. “While serving as chancellor of OCC, Tim worked closely with Oakland County’s economic development staff to create curricula and programs that fed graduates into the high tech jobs available at our Emerging Sectors companies.”

Patterson launched Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors initiative in 2004 to identify the top 10 growth sectors of the knowledge-based economy and attract companies in those sectors. Since inception, Emerging Sectors has had over 470 successes investing more than $4.6 billion creating 48,000 jobs and retaining 33,300. Meyer said he’s looking forward to the challenge of continuing to support the talent pipeline for Oakland County businesses.

“In my role as OCC chancellor, I developed a vision for ensuring today’s graduates have training and skills that are aligned with the requirements of 21st Century jobs,” Meyer said. “I’m grateful to Brooks for the opportunity to incorporate my experience into an already successful program at the county.”

Meyer was the longest-serving chancellor at OCC from January of 2008 to May of 2017. As the chief executive of Michigan’s largest community college, he developed an innovative strategic plan focused on student success; provided fiscally-sound leadership by initiating a three-year budget process; initiated a $25 million expansion of the Southfield Campus medical training facilities; launched the innovative Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program, an advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program with the state; and much more. Prior to OCC, he was president of Sault College in Sault St. Marie, Ont.

Meyer is the founding chair for the Pontiac Promise Zone Authority Board which underwrites tuition for students who graduate from Pontiac Schools and go to college. He also is a board member for Oakland Family Services whose mission is to provide individuals and families the opportunity to build brighter futures.

Meyer has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, a master's degree from North Dakota State University, a master of business administration degree from Lake Superior University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. He lives in Oakland County with his wife and three adult children.

Downtown leaders across Oakland Co. gather to learn the value of trails

Excerpt

Bikes, snowmobiles and boats are all popular ways for people to connect with the great outdoors. And communities throughout the country have learned how to capitalize on trailways to bring recreation users into their Downtowns. Lessons from those successful communities could help others attract new visitors and businesses, and Oakland County Main Street provided the perfect opportunity to share them at their two-day conference in Ferndale last month.

Read more

Waymo to convert Chrysler Pacificas into automated taxis

When customers hail a cab run by Waymo software, odds are they'll be climbing into the comfort of a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan built in Auburn Hills.
 
And that's all well and good, except when it comes time to tip the driver. These cabs will be driverless.
 
Waymo is, of course, Google's subsidiary in charge of making cars drive themselves, and Fiat Chrysler just announced that it'll send thousands of Pacifica's for Waymo's fleet of self-driving taxis. This is in addition to about 600 of them that Waymo has already converted.
 
“To move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” says FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”
 
Deliveries will begin at the end of 2018. The self-driving variety of these cars have been tested in 25 cities in the United States, including Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco and Phoenix.
 
"With the world's first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we've moved from research and development to operations and deployment," says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. "The Pacifica Hybrid minivans offer a versatile interior and a comfortable ride experience, and these additional vehicles will help us scale."
 
Waymo and FCA engineers worked together in designing mass-produced self-driving vehicles. In November, Waymo test-drove a fleet of autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. They were the first vehicles to achieve Level 4 autonomy. The Society of Automotive Engineers classification system runs from 1-5. Level 4 vehicles perform all safety functions and monitor road conditions for an entire trip.
 
Waymo will test its ride-hailing service this year in Phoenix. The new Pacificas will be used when the service expands to more cities across the country.

Celebrate the first signs of spring at Oakland County Parks and Recreation

With daylight savings time and the official start of spring just around the corner, it’s time to head outdoors and watch nature awaken from its winter slumber. Hike the trails to watch as birds fly back home, learn to identify maple trees as maple syrup season gets under way and explore spring constellations in the nighttime sky.

Make plans to attend Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s signature spring event, the Great Marshmallow Drop, on March 30 at Catalpa Oaks County Park. More than 15,000 marshmallows will drop from a helicopter to a field below where children, divided into age groups, will collect a marshmallow to exchange for a prize. Other upcoming events include:

March 4
  • Nest Box Monitoring Training is 1-3 p.m. March 4 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Oakland County Parks and Recreation manages 167 nest boxes at seven parks for Eastern Bluebirds and other native bird species. Nest boxes are monitored by trained volunteers through Oakland County Parks and Recreation's Citizen Science Program. This training session will provide information about the birds, monitoring techniques and other volunteer requirements. Volunteers are asked to check assigned nest boxes at least weekly March through August. Nest data is tracked in NestWatch through Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This program is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916.
March 8
  • Join in the fun of Pop In & Play from 6-9 p.m. March 8 at Springfield Oaks County Park, 12450 Andersonville Road, Davisburg. Meet i the Grand Hall Room for an evening of jumbo-sized games and crafts. This free, family-friendly game night will feature larger than life favorites like Jumbo Jenga, Colossal Connect Four, Towering Tic Tac Toe and Significantly-sized Scrabble. Light carnival snacks will be provided; pizza available for purchase. Some games require socks and closed-toe shoes. Details: OaklandCountyParks.com.
March 9
  • Gather up a group of friends and head out to Glow on the Road. This free, indoor cosmic event is scheduled from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, March 9 at White Lake Oaks Banquet Center, 991 Williams Lake Road in White Lake. Enjoy a variety of activities, including indoor cosmic putt-putt, glow-in-the-dark face painting and music. Wearing neon clothing is encouraged. No pre-registration is necessary. Details: NawrockiM@oakgov,com, 248-858-5267 or OakladCountyParks.com.
March 10
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. March 10 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. March 10. Presentations will be given by Chef Jeff Rose from C.A.Y.A. Smokehouse Grill ad Michael Metevia from Slows Bar-B-Q. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • A Pirate’s Life for Me! is 1-2:30 p.m. March 10 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about the piracy that took place o the Great Lakes, then head out onto the trail and put pirate skills to the test during a pirate scavenger hunt. Inside, enjoy a snack and make a craft. Come in pirate wear, if you would like. Cost is $7/perso and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.
  • Maple Magic is 2-4 p.m. March 10 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Learn to identify maple trees, take a hike to tap a tree and taste the sap. Learn the tools, tips and methods needed to make your own batch of maple syrup at home. Taste sweet maple treats and take home maple-based recipes. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
March 16
  • A St. Patrick’s Day Social will be held from 6-8 p.m. March 16 at Oak Park Parks ad Recreation: 14300 Oak Park Blvd. in Oak Park. Designed for individuals with disabilities ages 18 and older, activities include music, dancing and pizza. Cost is $10/participant; $5/caregiver and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-424-7081. Register by March 8. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for a registration form or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Astro Evening is 8-10 p.m. March 16 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Locate late winter constellations inside StarLab, a portable planetarium. Gaze at deep sky wonders through telescopes provided by the Oakland Astronomy Club (weather permitting). A star-studded craft and snack are included. This program is suitable for school-aged children and adults and does fulfill some astronomy merit requirements for scouts. Cost is $4/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.

March 17
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. March 17 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Wolf Cub Scouts: Paws on the Path is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. March 17 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • A educational series at the Oakland County Farmers Market is 10-11 a.m. March 17. Held in collaboration with Farver Creek Food & Fiber Farm i Oakland Twp., this moth’s topic will be “Flowers: From Seed to Floral.” Learn how to create vibrant colors throughout your home and garden with flowers. The educational series will be held the third Saturday of the month through April. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • X Marks the Spot is 2-3:30 p.m. March 17 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Find leprechauns at the nature center while enjoying an afternoon of trickery and treasure hunting as participants explore the activity of letterboxing. Program includes a snack, craft and outdoor excursion. Sport St. Patty’s Day green if you wish. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
March 20
  • Swing Into Spring will be held from 6-8 p.m. March 20 at White Lake Oaks Banquet Center, 991 Williams Lake Road in White Lake. Designed for individuals with disabilities ages 18 and older, activities include music, dancing and dinner. Cost is $10/participant; $5/caregiver and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-424-7081. Register by March 13. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for a registration form or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.

March 24
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. March 24 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. March 24. The presenting chefs will be Laura Romito from High 5 Salts with Benefits and Chef Kelli Lewton from Pure Food 2 U. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

March 30
  • There will be marshmallow fun for everyone during the Great Marshmallow Drop beginning at 10 a.m. March 30 at Catalpa Oaks County Park, 27705 Greenfield Road, Southfield. During this free event, 15,000 marshmallows will be dropped from a helicopter to be turned in for a prize. Children only need one marshmallow to exchange for a prize. There will be three age groups: 4 years and younger and individuals with disabilities; children ages 5-7; and children ages 8-12. The helicopter will fly over three times, once for each age group. Details: 248-424-7081 or OaklandCountyParks.com.

March 31
  • Webelos: Walkabout is set from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 2-4:30 p.m. March 31 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Compete or eat at the annual BBQ battle

Whether you plan to enjoy the battle or get in there and compete, mark  your calendar for the 8th Annual City of Oak Park and Oakland County Parks and Recreation BBQ Battle rib competition at the Oak Park Community Center grounds Saturday, June 16.

The event, held 11 a.m.-8 p.m., is free for spectators. In addition to the BBQ Battle, there will be kids’ activities, nature programs, music, mini-pub, grilling demos and, of course,  barbecue fare offered by vendors not in the competition.

The BBQ battle competition is limited to 36 teams. Entry is $50/team. Competitors may use wood, charcoal or gas. Registration deadline is June 9. Teams check in 7-9 a.m. the day of the competition and judging begins at 3:30 p.m.

Teams will compete for $1,500 in cash prizes. For more information, contact Jeremy Brown, 248-326-4900, or Maralee Rosemond at 248-691-2357.

The Oak Park Community Center is located at 14300 Oak Park Blvd. in Oak Park.

For details on upcoming events and activities, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Get social with Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Lawrence Tech College of Management gets prestigious accreditation from AACSB

AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, announced that Lawrence Technological University has earned accreditation for its College of Management.

Founded in 1916, AACSB is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools. Only 5 percent of the world’s 16,000 institutions of higher learning offering business degrees have earned its accreditation.

“AACSB accreditation recognizes institutions that have demonstrated a focus on excellence in all areas, including teaching, research, curricula development, and student learning,” said Stephanie M. Bryant, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “We congratulate Lawrence Technological University and Dean Bahman Mirshab on earning accreditation, and applaud the entire College of Management team – including the administration, faculty, directors, staff, and students – for their roles in earning this respected honor.”

AACSB accreditation provides a framework of 15 international standards against which business schools around the world assess the quality of their educational services. These standards ensure continuous improvement and provide focus for schools to deliver on their mission, innovate, and drive impact. AACSB-accredited schools have successfully undergone a rigorous review process conducted by their peers in the business education community, ensuring that they have the resources, credentials, and commitment needed to provide students with a first-rate, future-focused business education. 

“Through accreditation by AACSB, Lawrence Technological University's College of Management has met high standards of excellence and demonstrated its commitment to the Association's hallmarks of innovation, engagement, and impact,” said Virinder K. Moudgil, LTU president. “I commend Dean Bahman Mirshab and our faculty and staff for achieving this milestone. It advances LTU's historic motto of ‘Theory and Practice’ and assures that this university continues to provide exceptional educational experiences to our students.”

Added Bryant: “LTU College of Management’s commitment to earning accreditation is a true reflection of their dedication – not only to their students, alumni network, and greater business community, but to the higher education industry as a whole. Today’s students are tomorrow’s business leaders, and the addition of Lawrence Technological University to the network of AACSB-accredited business schools will have a lasting positive impact for their institution, both locally and globally.”

About AACSB International

As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – connects educators, students, and business to achieve a common goal: to create the next generation of great leaders. Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to nearly 1,600 member organizations and nearly 800 accredited business schools worldwide. With its global headquarters in Tampa, Fla.; Europe, Middle East, and Africa headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, AACSB’s mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. For more information, visit aacsb.edu.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


Meet 8 tech companies proving there's more to the Midwest

Excerpt

To those who see the Midwest as just a series of “flyover states” boasting little more than highways and cornfields, it may come as a surprise that this region is experiencing a tech revolution.

All across the heartland of America, tech startups are growing, drawn by gainful advantages like lower salary costs, higher standards of living for employees and less competition. Burnt out on the intensity of Silicon Valley? It seems the Midwest is the place to be.

Here are eight technology companies — all led by members of Forbes Technology Council — that are achieving success in the Midwest, including Ambassador in Royal Oak, Michigan. 

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10 members of 2018 JA Leadership Delegation to Japan announced

Excerpt: 

Laurie Van Pelt of Waterford, Mich., and director of management and budget for Oakland County, will be one of 10 Japanese American leaders from across the U.S. chosen as part of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation to engage with Japanese leaders in the business, government, academic, nonprofit and cultural sectors. 

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Clinton River Trail adds 4.5 miles of recreational trailways through Pontiac

After several years of haggling, the city of Pontiac has acquired 4.5 miles of an abandoned rail line to convert into a recreational trail system. The sale was made possible thanks to a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant and a matching donation from the Canadian National Railway Company, the seller of the property.

The former rail line, already stripped of its ties and rails, is now part of the Clinton River Trail, adding 4.5 miles to the already 16 mile-long system of trails and pathways. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday, Nov. 16, drawing city, county, and state officials, as well as members of the volunteer group Friends of the Clinton River Trail, to celebrate the addition.

Dubbed the North Spur, the new trail stretches from the Clinton River Trail at Opdyke Road and on up north to Pontiac's Jaycee Park, running between wooded areas and wetlands.

While the trail is already welcoming walkers, its condition is not yet suitable for most recreational bicyclists, says Friends of the Clinton River Trail President Fred Phillips. A couple of bridges are currently unsuitable for use, as well.

"Converting this abandoned rail line into a trail allows us to connect the Clinton River Trail with a number of schools, parks, and neighborhoods throughout Pontiac," says Phillips.

The addition of the North Spur is especially significant because it will eventually allow the Clinton River Trail to connect to downtown Pontiac without the use of sidewalks, on which the current trail system currently relies. That trailway connection is planned at a later date.

Phillips says that the next step for the trail is to contract with an engineering firm to come up with designs and cost estimates for physical improvements. Bringing the bridges up to code is a priority.

The original 16-mile span reaches across Oakland County, from Sylvan Lake to the west and on east through Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, and Rochester.

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

VIDEO: Art & Soul Dreams captures the soul of a child

In 2017, approximately 13,000 children resided in Michigan's foster care system. Of those, around 800 have little prospect of being returned to their homes. These children are in need of a "forever family." Art & Soul Dreams aims to make a difference in the lives of some of them.


Oakland County improves IT security assessment tool

Oakland County has launched an updated version of CySAFE, a free information technology security assessment tool to help small and mid-sized organizations assess, understand and prioritize their basic IT security needs, Deputy County Executive and CIO Phil Bertolini announced today. CySAFE 2.0 has five new controls: email and web protections, monitoring and review of third party services, physical and environmental security, penetration tests and red team exercises, and compliance.

“IT security threats are always evolving,” Bertolini said. “We’ve updated CySAFE so businesses and governments will have the latest from three well-known IT security frameworks when evaluating the security status of the apps they use to conduct business internally and externally.”

CySAFE 2.0 condenses and removes redundancies from three well-known IT security frameworks: NIST, CIS 20, and ISO 27001.

“CySAFE combines the 400-plus controls from all three frameworks into one condensed list, removing any redundant controls and assesses the controls against the organization's current IT security capabilities,” said Chris Burrows, Oakland County’s chief information security officer.

After downloading and completing an IT security evaluation form online, which takes 60-90 minutes, CySAFE 2.0 generates a priority list and trending graphs for an organization’s IT security needs. The most critical updates will be in red.

“The data an organization enters is private and only stored in Excel format,” Burrows said.

For more information about CySAFE 2.0, go to G2GMarket.com. CySAFE is a collaborative effort of five Michigan counties – Oakland, Livingston, Monroe, Washtenaw, and Wayne - and the state of Michigan.

Register for severe weather spotter classes

Registration is now open for Skywarn severe weather spotter training classes coordinated by Oakland County Homeland Security Division which begin in March. Skywarn is an effort to save lives during severe weather by having a network of well-trained spotters who can accurately observe weather phenomena and identify cloud features that lead to tornadoes and those that do not.

“Only one instrument can detect a tornado or funnel cloud with complete certainty - the human eye,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “While new technological and scientific tools have advanced the capability of meteorologists to predict severe weather, the trained spotter remains essential to the National Weather Service warning process. Trained spotters save lives.”

The Skywarn classes cover what kinds of weather phenomenon to report, how to report it, and severe weather safety. Classes are free and last 90 minutes.

“The more trained eyes we have in the field during a severe weather event, the better our service to the public will be,” Oakland County Homeland Security Division Manager Thomas Hardesty said.

To register, go to www.OakGov.com/homelandsecurity and click on the Skywarn logo to register or call 248-858-5300. Space is limited.

Upcoming Skywarn spotter training classes:

Wednesday, March 7 from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford

Saturday, March 24 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford

Monday, March 26 from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road, Southfield

Thursday, April 12 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
City of Rochester Hills City Hall, 1000 Rochester Hills Dr., Rochester Hills

Wednesday, April 18 from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Charter Township of Commerce Township Hall, 2009 Township Drive, Commerce Township

Thursday, May 10 from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Ortonville Old Town Hall, 476 Mill Street, Ortonville
2101 Articles | Page: | Show All
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