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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

Nonprofits and community groups from Oakland County Encouraged to apply for a Brooksie Way Minigrant

Not-for-profit organizations and community groups whose programming is designed to promote active lifestyles for Oakland County residents have until March 9 to apply for a Brooksie Way Minigrant.

The program has helped support nearly 150 projects throughout the county that range from a martial arts club for young people with cancer, a community garden and adult yoga classes to summer basketball camps and swimming lessons for children. Since it began in 2010, more than $200,000 in Brooksie Way minigrants has been distributed. The maximum award is $2,000.

They will be awarded April 24 at the kickoff for the 2018 McLaren Brooksie Way Half Marathon.

“This is one of the true legacies of The McLaren Brooksie Way and our family of races of which I am most proud,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “These minigrants continue to touch countless lives in our county, helping support the fitness programming so vital to our residents.”

Minigrant guidelines and applications as well as race registrations can be found at www.theBrooksieWay.com. Brooksie Way apparel and souvenir merchandise be purchased at the site too.

Patterson started the minigrant program as a way to put proceeds from the McLaren Brooksie Way Half Marathon back into the community. The Brooksie Way races, which include a 10k, 5k and “The Lil’ Brooksie” children’s race, were named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and the son of the county executive, who died in 2007.

The 11th running of the McLaren Brooksie Way Half Marathon is set for Sept. 23. The race, which can be run or walked, has become one of the most popular regional fall half marathons. The course begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the campus of Oakland University and includes parts of the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, Rochester Hills and downtown Rochester. MLive readers named the Brooksie as one of the top courses in Michigan.


Sandy Dorey recognized as outstanding therapeutic recreation professional

Sandy Dorey, recreation program supervisor for Oakland County Parks and Recreation, received the Karen Medve Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Therapeutic Recreation Profession from mParks, the Michigan Recreation & Park Association. Dorey, a Clawson resident, received the award at the organization’s annual conference Feb. 7 in Detroit.

A recreation therapist with Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) for more than 25 years, Dorey has established numerous adaptive recreation programs, served on various committees, partnered with community organizations and assisted local residents with finding the best services for their families.

“There’s great satisfaction that comes from matching a person with a disability to a recreation experience,” she said. “It can be as simple as having participants attend our monthly dances where they spend time with friends or helping a person that has recently had a stroke learn how to get back in the game of golf. The connection that I make with participants and their families is rewarding.”

Oakland County Parks and Recreation is a leader in adaptive recreation, which provides opportunities for individuals of all ages with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities. These programs foster a sense of community and offer a supportive environment for participants and caregivers.

February is National Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Month. Sponsored by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, it raises awareness about therapeutic recreation programs and the role it plays in improving health and well-being of participants.

OCPR’s therapeutic recreation activities are designed to encourage creative expression, maximize enjoyment of the outdoors and promote fun leisure experiences. At the parks, a variety of adaptive equipment is available, including adaptive golf carts, pedal boats, pool transfer chairs, picnic tables, all-terrain trail and beach chairs and hand cycles. There are also paved trails in the parks and campsites, cabins and yurts with accessible features.

For additional information, call 248-424-7081 or email Adaptive@oakgov.com.


Cranbrook hosts "Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy" book launch, lecture, and signing

Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is pleased to present the official book launch of Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy, in collaboration with Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Office and the assistance of Cranbrook Schools, on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 3pm. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a lecture and conversation with the book’s author, Brian Conway, and photographer, James Haefner, followed by a reception and book signing. 
 
Published by Visual Profile Books, Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy takes readers on a tour of iconic buildings and interiors designed by some of the world’s most renowned and celebrated architects and interior designers, including Eliel and Eero Saarinen and many of their associates. One breathtaking view after another invites readers to enter and explore the innovative design solutions presented on the book's pages.
 
“This book caps ten years of work by the State Historic Preservation Office to study, document, and claim recognition for Michigan as the center of mid-century modern design,” said Conway, author of Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy and the State’s Historic Preservation Officer for the last two decades. “The thirty-four masterpieces beautifully photographed and featured in this new book illustrate Michigan’s significant modern architectural history.”
 
Four of the featured projects are part of Cranbrook, including Saarinen House, Kingswood School, Cranbrook Art Museum, and the newly acquired Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House. Additional Cranbrook-related projects include the Saarinen Swanson-designed Koebel House in Grosse Pointe Farms and Eero Saarinen’s General Motors Technical Center in Warren.
 
Haefner, who photographed each of the 227 color images featured in this book, calls it “the crowning achievement” of his forty-year career in photography. “I doubt there will ever be another book on the subject that is more comprehensive than ours. In addition to visiting the thirty four incredible sites I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know the owners, who all shared in the excitement of our initiative.”
 
Copies of Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy will be available for purchase at the lecture for $60, plus tax. Proceeds from the sale of the book at the Book Launch benefit the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and the Michigan History Foundation. The Book Launch will take place at Cranbrook Schools Kingswood Auditorium located at 39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304.
 
Although admission is free, reservations are required as seating is limited. For additional information, or to make a reservation, please contact the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research at 248.645.3307 or visit http://center.cranbrook.edu.
 

McLaren psychologist is youngest winner of Oakland County Executive's 2018 Elite 40 Under 40 class

Lucetry B. Dalton, a clinical psychologist with McLaren Health System, was selected by a public online vote as the winner of the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2018.

The announcement was made Wednesday night at Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s State of the County address held at the Flagstar Strand Theatre in Pontiac. As the winner, Dalton was given the honor of introducing Patterson to the crowd of about 800.

“It was a very surreal feeling,” Dalton said. “I feel very blessed and humbled to receive this honor, not only because it validates the hard work that I have put in my entire life, but it is also a positive reflection of the city that bred me. Pontiac is one of those cities that is underprivileged and often looked down upon.”

At 28, Dalton is the youngest Elite 40 winner. The 2017 winner, Brooke Wilson Vitale, was 29. Dalton is a Pontiac resident who received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s and doctorate from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is employed by McLaren Health System in Flint. A graduate of Pontiac Northern High School, Dalton mentors, counsels and tutors minority youths from low income areas.

“I am a proud product of Pontiac, born, raised and educated there, and I still remain active in several hometown organizations,” Dalton said. “I want everyone to know that, despite its shortcomings, great opportunities and even greater people come from this city when given the chance.”

Patterson praised Dalton’s commitment to her hometown.

“She has tremendous passion for Pontiac,” Patterson said. “She is obviously a high achiever, and at such a young age. I see great things in her future and for Pontiac. Pontiac should be proud of her.”

About 220 applications and nominations were reviewed by a panel of judges, looking for the top 40 young professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County. The 40 honorees have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities. Of that group, the three candidates who scored the highest are placed before the public vote to determine a 2018 winner. This is the seventh year of the Elite 40 program.

"We are fortunate to have so many talented and passionate leaders who are committed to improving their professions and their communities every day,” Patterson said. “This is an outstanding class and they are wonderful ambassadors for Oakland County. Our future is in good hands.”

These are members of the 2018 Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 class. Ages listed for each class member are as of Jan. 1:
  • Katie Albano, 24, Artist/Dutton Farm Employment Program
  • Alexander A. Ayar, 36, Attorney – McDonald Hopkins
  • Ryan G. Beale, 38, CEO/Founder, Therapy Live
  • Janelle Kristen Best, 29, Executive Director, Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Cheryl Boodram, 36, Marketing and Development Manager, Chief Financial Credit Union
  • Sommer K. Brock, 38, Development Director, Cranbrook Schools Horizons-Upward Bound
  • Adam Burns, 34, Teacher, Troy Athens High School
  • Grace Cai, 38, Founder/Executive Director, Michigan Youth Empowerment Foundation
  • Alex A. Calderone, 36, Managing Director, Calderone Advisory Group, LLC
  • Dr. Lucetry B. Dalton, 28, Clinical Health Psychology Fellow, McLaren Healthcare System
  • Aurelia Gooden, 34, Engineer, General Motors Warren Technical Center
  • Mat Ishbia, 37, President/CEO, United Shore – United Wholesale Mortgage
  • Dr. Carmine Jabri, 37, President/CEO E.M.M.A. International Consulting Group
  • Chris Jackson, 28, Site Coordinator – Community Liaison, Accent Pontiac
  • Sam Logan Khaleghi, 34, Creative Director, Kyyba Films & SLK Media Group
  • Ann Marie LaFlamme, 30, News Anchor, WXYZ-TV
  • Claire Lannoye-Hall, 34, Curator of Education, Detroit Zoological Society
  • Shimon G. Levy, 32, Founding Principal, Northland Capital
  • Ky Lindberg, 36, Director – Detroit Metro, Read to a Child Inc.
  • Mike Losey, 33, Natural Resources Manager, Springfield Township
  • Jennifer Lucarelli, 35, Chair and Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences,
    Oakland University
  • Brad Lukas, 33, Director – Emergency Services, Beaumont Health
  • Greg Martin, 38, Executive Director, DRAW (Disaster Relief At Work)
  • Jennifer Meier, 38, Owner, Green Hippo Gifts
  • Kyle Nieporte, 31, Administrative Manager, Surgical Services, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
  • Katherine M. Pacynski, 29, Patent Attorney, The Dobrusin Law Firm, P.C.
  • Sarah Pazur, 37, Principal, FlexTech High School
  • Randall J. Peck, 34, Partner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
  • Shantha Kumari Rajendran, 36, Staff Engineer-Systems Lead, Panasonic Automotive
  • Scott Reynolds, 26, Project Architect, Auger Klein Aller Architects Inc.
  • Aaron Rzeznik, 30, Owner/Head Brewer, Drafting Table Brewing Co.
  • Adi Sathi, 27, Director – Asian Pacific American Engagement, Republican National Committee;
    Chief of Staff, Young Republican National Federation
  • Sarah Simko, 24, Organ Scholar, Christ Church Cranbrook
  • Sarah G. Thomas, 24, Owner, New Heights Assisted Living
  • Tara Tomcsik-Husak, 37, Executive Director, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit
  • Dr. Sara Whedon, 33, Owner/Chiropractor, A Place to Grow Chiropratic
  • Maria Willett, 26, Chief Assistant to the Mayor, City of Rochester Hills
  • Dr. Alexandra Williamson, 35, Owner/Optometrist, Michigan Eye and Contact Lens PLLC
  • Robert Wright, 27, Vice President, Genesis In-Home Care
  • Coleman Yoakum, 30, Founder/Director, Micah 6 Community

Patterson: Oakland County has "sizzling year"

Oakland County’s economic strength was front and center in L. Brooks Patterson’s 2018 State of the County speech Wednesday night at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Pontiac. Patterson began the speech announcing record investment in the county this past year: Sixty-two companies invested a best of $1.2 billion creating 9,500 jobs and retaining 8,400.

“That means more than one company per week locating or expanding in Oakland County,” Patterson said.

Twenty-seven of those companies were international firms from 13 countries investing $305 million in new operations or expanded facilities. Those countries include Brazil, China, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, and South Korea, among others.
“That’s a big exclamation point since these countries represent some of the largest economies in the world,” Patterson said.

The county executive highlighted three of the companies whose investment boosted Oakland County in “one sizzling year”:
  • DENSO International’s $75 million expansion of its North American regional headquarters in Southfield
  • Autoliv’s $22 million to consolidate operations in Southfield
  • LG Electronics $25 million for a 250,000-square-foot assembly plant in Hazel Park
Augmented reality has burst onto the scene while the tech sectors soar in Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors program. Emerging Sectors is an initiative Patterson launched in 2004 to attract 21st Century jobs in the knowledge-based economy. Augmented reality combines the real and virtual world to enhance training and experiences. One augmented reality company Patterson featured is Mackevision in Troy, a global leader in computer generated imagery or CGI. Mackevision has created the visual effects for the popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, since season four.

Robotics is also booming in Oakland County. Southeast Michigan has the highest number of robots in commercial use in the world. Such a market creates demand for robot manufacturing companies to locate here. More than two-thirds of Michigan’s robotics companies are in Oakland County, over 85 companies employing 4,400 individuals.

There are other indicators of Oakland County’s economic prowess.
  • India-based Mahindra invested $22 million to build the first new auto manufacturing plant in Southeast Michigan in more than a quarter century.
  • Speculative building is reemerging. Speculative building is when developers construct commercial buildings anticipating ease in finding commercial tenants.
  • Royal Air continues to invest millions of dollars at Oakland County International Airport, building private aircraft suites.
  • Finally, engineering staffing firms are thriving, filling technology positions by the project.

Patterson also highlighted a successful year in filling the skilled trades gap. The Oakland County Workforce Development Division administered $2.1 million in grants to 86 Oakland County companies providing skilled trades training to 1,500 existing employees and 1,600 new hires. As part of the continued effort to fill the skilled trades training gap, Patterson featured Oakland Schools Technical Campuses which train high school students in the skilled trades.

“These four campuses – one in each quadrant of the county – are where students can receive real-life training from instructors who actually work in their respective fields with state-of-the-art equipment that is currently used in their industries,” Patterson said. “Today’s campuses teach hands-on innovation approaches to talented students. I encourage both parents and universities to take a closer look at our professional career campuses here in Oakland County.”

Patterson introduced Southeast Michigan’s first off-road vehicle (ORV) in Oakland County. The Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission is collaborating with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to open the 235-acre park in Groveland Township this fall. Patterson also showed off the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center which opened in October on the county government campus in Pontiac.

Oakland County is continuing to enhance its efforts to prevent opioid abuse. Patterson announced that the Oakland County Health Division and its Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership will begin to educate patients this year about making better pain-management decisions, choosing opioids only as an extreme last resort. This builds on training offered to the local medical community over the past few years to prescribe opioids only to manage pain immediately following surgery or for a catastrophic accident.

Patterson paid tribute to Deputy Eric Overall who died in the line of duty early Thanksgiving morning when a fleeing felon ran him down. About two dozen of Overall’s loved ones who were in attendance stood to be recognized as the audience applauded them. The county executive also acknowledged Deputy David Hack who was catastrophically injured the morning of Jan. 4 after a vehicle struck him while he worked the scene of an accident in Rochester Hills.
 

The STEMinista Project introduces girls to the wonders (and comradery) of science

Fourth-grader McKenzie Randolph's interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) was sparked earlier this year when her mother, Felicia, took her to see Hidden Figures, a film based on the true story of female African-American mathematicians who worked at NASA during the 1960s.

"That was an eye-opening moment for my daughter," says the elder Randolph, a Metro Detroit pediatrician. "I remember, when she watched that movie, how amazed she was at the possibility of being involved in something that great, to put someone on the moon. She was just blown away."

Read more

Organization offers lifelong educational programming opportunities in Rochester area

Mary Eberline and Frank Cardimen believe in the power of lifelong learning. It's why they started Smart Towns, a continuing education program that aims to enrich the community through presentations on a wide range of topics, well after individuals have completed their traditional schooling.

"We're pushing the envelope because when you're looking at the demographics of our area -- Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Oakland Township -- we're becoming an older community," Frank says. "So we're creating continuing educational experiences for these people."

Smart Towns got its start in 2017 and, as Frank tells it, was so successful that they just had to do it again. More than 20 presentations will be given this year. And though they will cover a sleiu of topics, from micro-finance lessons to examining various anti-Catholic and anti-Islamic movements, Smart Towns 2018 will be united under one theme: Agents of Change.

The idea is that agents of change influence and alter all facets of our culture, from health to education, economics to the arts. The various events will occur throughout the year and will be held at the locations of the program's partners: Ascension Crittenton Hospital, Meadow Brook Hall, Oakland University, Rochester College, Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, and Rochester Hills Public Library.

Future presentations include a demonstration and performance from the Michigan Opera Theatre, and on topics that include the Panama Canal, medical science, and the first computer.

"We're looking at it in different ways of how our lives have been affected," Frank says. "We want to have people recommit to educating themselves. We think that's an important part of our role."

Visit the Smart Towns website for more information on this year's events. The next event is "Micro-Finance: Your Chance to be an Agent of Change (just Like a Nobel Prize winner!)," which takes place Jan. 30 at the Rochester College Auditorium.

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

County seeking public input on eating habits to better provide access to healthy foods

Excerpt

Around 26 percent of the 3,140 Oakland County adults surveyed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said they were obese.

The Oakland County Food Policy Council, formed in September 2016, which aims to increase consumption, accessibility, and affordability of healthy foods among county residents, is trying to combat that issue but it needs the public’s help.

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Senior living community opens new memory care addition in Waterford

Excerpt

Canterbury-on-the-Lake senior living community in Waterford Township has opened a new assisted living memory care center. The 24,500-square-foot addition is called The Meadows. It has 30 rooms, a large, secure central courtyard and a three-season porch that overlooks the 40-acre campus.

Read more

Southfield Fire Department receives improved Class 2 rating from Insurance Services Office

The Southfield Fire Department received a Class 2 rating in the latest Public Protection Classification (PPC) program sponsored by the Insurance Services Office (ISO). Southfield previously held a Class 3 rating.

Southfield joins just four other cities in Michigan with a Class 2 rating. The new rating, which takes effect May 1, 2018, places Southfield in the top 0.5 percent of 1,887 rated Michigan communities and the top four percent of the entire nation.

“Under the leadership of Chief Menifee, the Southfield Fire Department has continued to improve operational and organizational efficiencies,” commented City Administrator Fred Zorn. “Southfield residents and businesses are clearly protected by one of the finest fire and emergency medical response departments in the country.”

ISO’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) program helps to establish fire insurance premiums for residential and commercial properties by analyzing relevant data using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule. Classifications are assigned from 1 to 10, with Class 1 representing exemplary public protection and Class 10 indicating that a municipality’s fire protection program doesn’t meet minimum standards.

“Upgrading our ISO rating is a great accomplishment that proves our department is improving its service delivery system, fire prevention activities and ultimately making the community a safer place to live, work and play,” stated Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee. “This evaluation gives us measurable benchmarking statistics that the department can build on.”

The Class 2 rating for Southfield’s Fire Department may lower insurance rates for property owners in both Southfield and Lathrup Village, where the Department also provides full fire and EMS service. Insurance policy holders for properties within the Southfield Fire Department’s service area can contact their insurance provider to determine how the new classification may impact premiums.

“The men and women of the department have improved attentiveness to firefighter fitness and overall health, updated the department’s processes to include computer and GPS technology, introduced a new training model and implemented uniform industry standards to enhance firefighter safety,” added Chief Menifee. “I’m very proud of the progress the Fire Department has made through their great teamwork and dedication.”

For more information, contact the Southfield Fire Department at (248) 796-5600.

Oakland County extends deadline for companies to bid on development of autonomous vehicle pilot

Providers who have the ability to plan, build, deploy and maintain a pilot connected autonomous vehicle network that would ultimately make driving safer have until Feb. 15 to submit proposals to Oakland County.

The county extended the deadline for interested providers – either individually or as a collaboration – to present a system including signals, equipment and software. The system would enhance traffic safety by sending instantaneous electronic messages to vehicles, warning motorists of potentially dangerous driving situations such as a vehicle running a red light or stop sign or dangerous road conditions ahead. The county, with support from the Road Commission for Oakland County, is seeking bids that would provide this service at no cost to taxpayers.

This first-of-its-kind request for proposal was issued in December but was extended because of the complexity of the request and to give interested companies additional time to complete their bids, said Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development and community affairs.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson created the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force to make recommendations on how to deploy the world’s first countywide connected mobility system. Connected vehicle are able to transmit data about the vehicle and its location to other vehicles and to road infrastructure.

The 16-page request for proposal spells out in detail what is required of potential bidders. It challenges interested providers to create a system of dedicated short-range communication that can be easily adopted throughout the United States and other jurisdictions. Oakland County has more than 5,600 miles of roadway and 2,000 intersections that would use the system. Nearly 75 percent of the automotive industry has research and development operations in Oakland County.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. Potential bidders with questions about the request for proposal should contact Scott Guzzy of the county’s Purchasing Division at 248-858-5484 or guzzys@oakgov.com.

Free community event Feb. 27 to focus on healthy weight management

More than one third of Americans are obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. With diet, exercise and, sometimes, surgery, many of these medical conditions could be avoided.

Knowing which healthy lifestyle changes to make can help you manage your weight and well-being.

On Feb. 27, Beaumont Hospital, Troy, will host an event, “Living Well: How to Achieve a Healthy Weight and Lifestyle” in the Qazi Auditorium within the Moceri Learning Center, 44201 Dequindre in Troy. Doors open at 5 p.m. and presentations begin at 5:45 p.m.

“Our patients have many questions about managing their weight. This event is a great way to support our community and share knowledge that will assist patients and families to take an active role in their health and wellness,” Beaumont, Troy, President Nancy Susick, RN, said.

WWJ news anchor Jackie Paige will emcee the free event which begins with a health fair that includes:
  • dietitians
  • pharmacists with information about medications
  • free blood pressure screenings
  • integrative medicine experts
  • stroke education and awareness
  • CPR education and training
  • vein center experts
  • patient and family advisors
  • health and fitness experts
After the interactive health fair, Jackie Paige will share her personal weight loss story. Then, Beaumont’s Weight Control Center director, Wendy Miller, M.D., will discuss the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight through nutrition and medical weight management. Beaumont bariatric surgeon Kevin Krause, M.D., will explain what surgical weight loss options are available.  Registered dietitian Megan Jozefowicz will share healthy eating advice. And, exercise physiologist Christine James will demonstrate easy exercises you can do at home. The evening concludes with a panel discussion.

Throughout the event, there will be drawings for prizes.

Those planning to attend should enter the hospital campus on Emergency Drive, parking in the Northwest lot adjacent the Moceri Learning Center entrance.

Space is limited and registration is recommended. To register, visit beaumont.org/weight or call 800-633-7377.

Residents urged to get flu shots following increase in flu cases

The Oakland County Health Division strongly urges residents to get vaccinated against flu in the wake of increasing flu cases. As of January 6, Oakland County has more than 950 reported flu cases since October 1, 2017.

“We are currently in the midst of a very active flu season with widespread and intense flu activity. It is critical to get vaccinated, which is the best way to prevent the flu,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “You can also prevent the flu by washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when sick.”

The Health Division recommends everyone over the age of six months receive an influenza vaccination and take preventive actions. Those who are at a higher risk of flu complications such as children younger than 5-years-old, pregnant women, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions should especially get a flu shot.

“Getting an annual flu shot decreases the risk of getting the flu. It also helps decrease severity of illness, complications, and protects the entire community, especially those who are unable to be vaccinated,” said Stafford.

The flu virus can be spread to others as far as six feet away, mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Less often, a person may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth. Wash your hands often with soap and water to avoid spreading flu. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Flu shots are available at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield from Noon – 8 p.m. on Mondays and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics. Flu shots cost $25. The high-dose flu shot recommended for those 65 years and older is $47 and is covered by Medicare. Flu shots may also be available through your physician and at select pharmacies.

Payment options include cash, credit (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa), Medicare, Medicaid, and some insurance. Credit card fees apply. Please bring picture identification and all insurance cards to the clinic. OCHD participates in the Vaccines for Children Program. No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay; there is a discounted/sliding fee schedule available.

For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health; follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC; or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.

Epiphany Glass Studio spring show and sale

Experience the art of glassblowing by joining the new epiphany glass workshops held during the annual Spring Show and Sale, Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6, 2018 from noon to 6 p.m. each day at the epiphany glass studio in Pontiac, located at 770 Orchard Lake Road. Glass artist April Wagner and her team at epiphany glass studio will open their doors to the public all weekend to offer hourly glassblowing workshops, discounts on one-of-a-kind glass artwork, elegant wine decanters, colorful paperweights, functional glassware and bowls and ornaments galore. The event is free and open to the public.

The glassblowing workshops are a hands-on experience like no other. Participants may choose their own glass colors before working with one of the professional studio artists to create a vibrantly-colored, pulled glass flower in front of the 2400-degree epiphany glass studio furnaces.  Adults and children (age 6 and up) will use various hand tools and age-old techniques to create a unique flower of their own, while learning about the creation of glass art and the many beautiful forms it can take. Comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes are recommended. The workshops will only be offered a few times per year and space is limited, so registration in advance is recommended.  Visit the website at www.epiphanyglass.com and click on “Store,” followed by the “Workshops” tab.  The workshops will be held on the hour during the Spring Show and cost $55 per person. For more information, call (248) 745-3786.

Many of Wagner’s pieces are inspired by her love of nature, and she notes, “Everything in nature is beautifully designed and that design serves a function, color, scale and form.”  In her artwork, the vibrant colors, hues and shades of glass combined with the fluidity and flexibility of the medium, come together to provide limitless interpretation of the natural world through glass art. Working in a studio adjacent to a flowing river, Wagner finds daily inspiration in her surroundings and the seasons of the Midwest.  Patrons at the Spring Show will enjoy the epiphany glass studio gallery filled with sculptures of all sizes and colors, along with Zanfirico bowls showcasing traditional Italian caneworking at its best. Each Zanfirico piece is handmade from specially prepared glass “canes” in an array of beautiful spring hues and swirling designs.
 
epiphany studio is located at 770 Orchard Lake Rd. in Pontiac, 1/4 mile east of the intersection of Telegraph/Old Telegraph and Orchard Lake Rd, at the corner of Orchard Lake and Sylvan Ct.  The studio entrance is in the rear.  Call (248) 745-3786 for more information.
 
epiphany glass, www.epiphanyglass.com, is a state-of-the-art, 4,000 sq. ft. glassblowing studio and gallery located in Pontiac, Michigan.  Since 1997, epiphany’s distinctive look has been created by artist and owner April Wagner.  Wagner adds a contemporary twist to the traditional fazzoletto technique, which originated in the Venini factory of Murano, Italy, during the 1930s and was later popularized by Seattle glass artists. Her work is found in many public and private collections, including those of GM, Pfizer, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Vladimir Putin, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson. It is the only hot glass studio to receive WBENC certification.

OCC culinary community events -- prepared to be wowed by student chefs

If you like amazing food, prepared with skill and dedication, you’re in for a treat this season. Oakland Community College’s (OCC) award-winning Culinary Studies Institute continues its lineup of events open to the community. Join the College’s aspiring chefs for an incredible dining experience and enjoy the best in food and service. Events and dining are at OCC’s Orchard Ridge Campus, 27055 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. More information and tickets available at www.oaklandcc.edu/culinary.

Special Event Dinners
·         Chinese New Year Festival, February 22, 2018, 6:00p.m.: Join us to celebrate the auspicious Year of the Dog with a festive five-course dinner of traditional Chinese cuisine accompanied by wine service. Price is $55 per person. Signature drinks available for purchase.
·         Espionage Spy vs. Spy, April 19, 2018, 6:00p.m.: You are under specific instructions to enjoy a five-course dinner accompanied by a secret wine selection revealed to you at the appropriate time. Come dressed to kill and join us for a cocktail, wine or beer at our cash bar with passed appetizers as you assume your secret agent identity. Price is $55 per person. Signature drinks for purchase.
 
Lunch and Dinner Buffets
·         Valentine’s Grand Lunch Buffet, February 1, 11:15a.m. – 1:00p.m.: You and your sweethearts will be treated to a special menu featuring appetizers, salads, fish seafood poultry and beef entrées, starches and vegetables and a decadent dessert table. Price is $12/person and may be purchased at the event.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation Annual Report

The 2017 Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission Annual Report: Great Parks for Great People  showcases the key initiatives of the 13-park system. These include: the Five-Year Recreation Master Plan, results of the Community Needs Assessment Survey and the 2017 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for the Oakland University’s Center for Autism’s staff training and day camp. To read more, click here.

The Guild of Artists & Artisans announces the 2018 calendar of art fairs and events

The Guild of Artists & Artisans is a non-profit, membership organization of professional artists that produces six art events throughout the year, including the award-winning Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. Each event is a juried event, representing a diverse array of fine art mediums, with ceramics, painting, photography, glass, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media, drawing, printmaking and more. Entertainment and great food options at each of these fairs make them extra enjoyable and exciting events.

The 2018 calendar includes:Additional details on each event:

Royal Oak Market: Spring Art Fair (April 5-6) will feature 75 juried artists and kicks off the fair season.  This indoor event will include delicious food trucks, entertainment, beer and wine and is open until 10pm each evening, making this a perfect date night experience. 

Art Birmingham (May 12-13) is located in downtown Birmingham’s beautiful Shain Park, features 150 juried artists, free admission, art activities and a food court creating a great event to enjoy for Mother’s Day weekend. This fine art fair is produced in association with the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center (BBAC) and benefits the “Art for All” vision of the BBAC.

Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair (July 19-22) is one of four official partner fairs that comprise the award-winning and highly-respected Ann Arbor Art Fair. The 49th Annual Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair is a juried, fine art event featuring the members of the Guild of Artists & Artisans.  It is located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor and has 375 exhibiting artist booths, art demonstrations and features entertainment and delicious food.

The Levis Commons Fine Art Fair (August 18-19) features more than 135 artists and artisans including jewelry, ceramics, painting, glass, photography, fiber, and more. The perfect setting for an exceptional art fair, the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg, Ohio, is a unique open-air experience with sophisticated shopping, superb dining and entertainment.

Common Ground’s Birmingham Street Art Fair (September 15-16) is located in and around the streets surrounding downtown Birmingham’s beautiful Shain Park, features 150 artists, entertainment and food trucks.  Additionally, the fair includes a silent auction tent filled with beautiful artwork to bid on which directly benefits Common Ground, an important regional resource helping youths, adults and families in crisis.

Royal Oak Market: Art Fair Edition (November 15-16) features 75 artists and is conveniently located inside the Royal Oak Farmers Market. This fair stays open late and includes entertainment, food trucks, craft beer, and free parking and admission which makes it a fun and festive place to purchase a gift of fine art for someone for the holidays or a great date night experience.
We look forward to remaining a resource not only in covering these events but to access the hundreds of artists that are a part of it. So mark your calendars and see you at the events. 

Oakland County battles human trafficking with new website

On January 11th, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, in partnership with the Oakland County Health Division and Sheriff’s Office, held a press conference to address the issue of human trafficking. Also joining the commissioners were members of the public, community partners, law enforcement, and elected officials who are committed to promoting education and awareness about trafficking in Oakland County. Board Vice Chairman Michael Spiszopened the press conference with the announcement of the launch of a new website, a collaborative effort on behalf of the Oakland County Human Trafficking Task Force and its partners. The website, www.oakgov.com/humantrafficking, is intended to be a primary source of information about human trafficking for the region. It provides information and support for victims, parents, advocates, professionals, and anyone interested in learning more about the issue and how to help.

Oakland County Health and Human Services Director Kathy Forzley explained that human trafficking is a diverse and complex issue that affects 26 million victims worldwide, including men, women, and children. Forzley shared that the website, while attempting to be comprehensive with fact pages, a federal strategic action plan, and national hotline numbers, is still in its infancy. It’s intended to grow rapidly and expand to become a one stop shop for information and resources to assist victims, individuals, parents, or professionals in a coordinated community-wide and multi-disciplined response to human trafficking.

Commissioner Janet Jackson shared that she has been personally involved with addressing this serious problem since 2013. Jackson has coordinated annual countywide hotel outreach and awareness activities, partnering with SOAP (Saving our Adolescents from Prostitution) Metro Detroit. SOAP Metro Detroit is an anti-human trafficking and outreach hotel program that was created in response to FBI human trafficking sweeps in 2013.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard addressed the audience and emphasized that attacking this kind of insidious crime takes teamwork. While law enforcement plays an important role, the public also needs to be educated to recognize the signs and symptoms and to be aware that this can happen in any community. Bouchard shared, “Michigan is #8 for human trafficking in the country by most reports and that’s not a top ten list we want to be on.”
Sheriff Bouchard gave tips on what to watch out for regarding potential victims:
  • Being forced to work under harsh conditions
  • Working without pay
  • Fearful of leaving
  • Showing signs of injury
  • No freedom of movement
  • Not knowing their address
  • Limited social interaction
  • Mistrust of authorities
  • Worried about immigration status
  • No personal documentation
Southfield Chief of Police Eric Hawkins shared the impact that human trafficking has had on local police departments and their operations from the ground level stating, “When human tracking occurs in our local municipalities, there will be a corresponding increase in major crimes, social disorder, and quality of life complaints.” Hawkins added that it also forces officers to redirect valuable and scarce resources. When a human trafficking crime is suspected or reported, officers must alter their focus to investigate that crime, and, as a result, are taken away from important community policing and youth outreach programs.

Commissioner Eileen Kowall shared that she is honored to serve on the Oakland County Human Trafficking Task Force, and pointed out that it creates an important link to the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission, which has two goals:
  1. Assess the threat human trafficking poses to Michigan residents
  2. Develop policy recommendations to promote its exposure and prevention
Commissioner Kowall introduced Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and noted that, from the time the Attorney General took office, he took on a leadership role in the National Association of Attorneys General Pillars of Hope Initiative, formed the first human trafficking prosecution unit within the department of the Michigan Attorney General, and collaborated with legislators to form the first Michigan Human Trafficking Commission that focused on working with a victim-centered, trauma-informed approach.

Attorney General Schuette thanked the previous speakers, the public, judges, law enforcement, and elected officials for being there and for their partnership. He explained that when he first had the privilege of serving as Attorney General, he formed a bipartisan commission to focus on public awareness, training, data, and tougher penalties. He emphasized the importance of understanding that, men, women, and children who are trafficked are victims, not criminals.

Commissioner Spisz ended the press conference by thanking individuals and organizations for their support and their continued efforts to fight human trafficking, with special thanks directed toward the Oakland County Executive Office, elected officials, representatives from the FBIHomeland SecurityMichigan State Police, local law enforcement, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, and the Oakland County Human Trafficking Task Force. He encouraged the audience members to visit the new website and spread awareness by sharing Oakland County’s social media posts. He also reminded attendees to continue to wear the blue ribbons that were given out in support of Human Trafficking Awareness Month throughout the month of January.

Visit the Oakland County Board of Commissioners for current initiatives and upcoming events online. For more information about their Human Trafficking Task Force, visit their webpage.
Follow along with us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedInPinterest, and YouTube using #OaklandCounty for county news and events, or visit our website.
 

Age-friendly in the future: Engineering contest has students thinking about seniors' needs

Excerpt: 

In Valdada, in the year 2065, senior citizens get help from Herbie, a robotic personal assistant that can cook, clean, have conversations and even use Braille to communicate with the visually impaired.

"It looks like us, but it's animatronic," said Joseph Waller, an eighth-grader from New Era Christian School, who explained Valdada — and Herbies — to visitors at Novi's Suburban Collection Showplace. "It's made by Apple, so you know it's good."

Read more
 

When school's out, outdoor recreation keeps families happy, active

Whether students are out of class for winter break or have an unexpected day off due to weather conditions, embrace the snow and frosty temperatures at Oakland County Parks and Recreation. The 13-park system is a winter wonderland this time of the year with opportunities for nature viewing, outdoor recreation and learning enrichment.

 

Bundle up to enjoy a favorite activity or discover a new interest. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Addison Oaks County Park grooms the 2.5-mile Buhl Lake Trail for skiing. In addition to groomed ski trails, Independence Oaks County Park provides snowshoe and cross-country ski equipment rentals on Saturdays and Sundays. Ungroomed trails are available at Highland Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Rose Oaks county parks.
  • Set out on a winter hike. Take a walk on more than 70 miles of trails after a fresh snow for a breathtaking view. All parks, with the exception of Groveland Oaks County Park and Lyon Oaks Golf Course, are open for short walks and long treks.
  • Take the family ice skating on Crooked Lake in Independence Oaks County Park when conditions permit.
  • Try out fat tire biking at Addison Oaks County Park. Similar to mountain biking, fat tire bikes are built on a frame specifically designed to support wide, knobby tires. These over-sized tires provide a smooth ride, so they fare very well on groomed, snow-covered trail surfaces all season long.
  • Grab your favorite sled, tube or toboggan and head to the family sledding hill in Waterford Oaks County Park.
  • Check out platform tennis, the only racquet sport played outdoors in cold weather. After sow is removed, the courts’ special floor heating units provide a dry playing surface at Waterford Oaks County Park. Membership is required to play; trial memberships are available for new players.
  • Play disc golf year-round at Addison Oaks County Park’s 24-hole course. Disc Golf, also known as Frisbee golf, is played like ball golf, using a flying disc.
  • Let your furry friend run around in the dog parks at Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Red Oaks. Dog parks are typically ope one half-hour before sunrise until half-hour after sunset, or as posted.

Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or click here for a list of winter activities and amenities by park.

 

If you prefer the warmth indoors, participate in interpretative programs at Wint Nature Center and Red Oaks Nature Center or attend the popular cooking demonstrations at the Oakland County Farmers Market. Check out these upcoming events planned for January:

Jan. 13

  • Brownies: Home Scientist is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 13 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.
  • 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. Ja. 13. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Animal Investigators is 2-4 p.m. Jan. 13 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Become a nature detective and examine tracks, scat and other animal clues to tell that animal’s story. Make an investigator guide to take home for future animal mysteries then don snowshoes and head outdoors for a wintry walk to discover which animals have been active this season. Snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter walk will be substituted if there is not sufficient snow. This program is appropriate for ages 5 and older. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 13 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.

Jan. 14

  • A Platform Tennis Open House is 1:30-3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Waterford Oaks County Park, 1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford. Platform Tennis is the only racquet sport played outdoors in cold weather. After snow is removed, the courts’ special floor heating units provide a dry playing surface. No previous experience needed and no pre-registration is necessary to attend the open house. Instruction will be provided by the Waterford Oaks Paddle Club. Dress for the weather. Tennis shoes required. Extra equipment will be available for first-time players or those who do not have their own paddles or paddle balls. Details: 248-858-0916 weekdays or OakladCountyParks.com.

Jan. 20

  • Bears: Super Science is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. 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.
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 20 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.
  • A new educational series at the Oakland County Farmers Market begins from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 20 Held in collaboration with Farver Creek Farms, this month’s topic will be “Rise and Shine: A Day in the Life of a Modern Farmer.” Discover the career of the modern farmer and learn what it takes to start a backyard farming adventure. 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.
  • NatureFit: Snowshoe Try It! is 2-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about the history of snowshoes and then head outdoors for a guided snowshoe hike, campfire and snack. This program is appropriate for those ages 5 and older and snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter hike will be substituted if conditions do not permit snowshoeing. Cost is $5/person and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.

 

Jan. 27

  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 27 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. Ja. 27. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Bronwies: Potter is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 27 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 @OCParksAndRec.


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.

Farmington YMCA gets fitness center makeover

Excerpt

Hard hats and safety vests are not typical attire at the Farmington YMCA, but during the month of December they were standard issue for some Y staff, as well as construction workers who executed a complete makeover of the fitness areas at the Y.

“We are calling this update the Farmington Fitness Experience Makeover,” said Kyle Anderson, Executive Director of the Farmington Family YMCA.  “There are really three areas that will have a complete update,” continued Anderson

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Food drive adds new twist to Milford's MLK Day event

Excerpt

Organizers of the annual Huron Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration will collect soup ingredients the first 14 days of January. 

They’re asking shoppers at Kroger and Matti’s Fresh Market to add seven ingredients to their shopping lists and to donate that food after buying it.

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'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.

No. 100: Beaumont's Kidney Transplant Program reaches milestone

Kathryn Harvard, 60, of Ortonville, became the 100th patient to receive a kidney transplant at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak on Wednesday, Dec. 13. This marks the first time Beaumont Health’s Multi-Organ Transplant team has performed 100 kidney transplants in one year, doubling the number from a decade ago. Less than a quarter of the 244 kidney transplant programs in the U.S. perform 100 or more kidney transplants in a calendar year.

Alan Koffron, M.D., transplant surgeon and chief of Beaumont Health’s Multi-Organ Transplant Program, said, “This is monumental for several reasons, but mainly indicative of the enormous amount of effort and drive the team has put forth becoming a large kidney transplant program nationally, while maintaining superior results during this growth.”

Medical Director of the Beaumont Multi-Organ Transplant Center, Dilip Samarapungavan, M.D., attributes this growth to the pioneering efforts of the Kidney Transplant Program. He explained, “It is the combination of an innovative use of scarce donor organs, along with major efforts at finding the appropriate live donor so they might save a life, but also with donor safety a priority. We also have an incredible team that works relentlessly to ensure a successful outcome for every patient.”

The Beaumont Transplant Program offers advanced protocols tailored to the individual patient, balancing risk and benefit to provide the best possible results for each person. Based on Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients data, Beaumont has the shortest average wait time of 2.9 years for adult kidney transplants in Southeast Michigan – about two years shorter on average.

Since the inception of Beaumont’s kidney transplant program in 1972, more than 2,500 transplants have been performed.
Year to date, the Beaumont Multi-Organ Transplant Center has performed 100 kidney transplants and 26 liver transplants.

Beaumont’s Multi-Organ Transplantation Program
Beaumont Health’s Multi-Organ Transplantation program offers the latest technology and minimally invasive surgical techniques for kidney and liver procedures with a team comprised of highly trained surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians, kidney specialists, liver specialists, social workers, dietitians and financial consultants. The transplant team has pioneered innovations such as minimally invasive liver-directed therapy (liver tumors) and laparoscopic liver donation. Find out more at www.beaumont.org/transplant.

Allegiant increases summer flights to 126 nonstop flights in 2018, up from 52 in 2017

Allegiant is adding flights to Flint for the third time since they started serving the airport in April of 2016. Starting in May, the “sun and fun” airline will increase their ultra-low cost flights to Florida. Their summer flying from Flint will more than double year-over-year, from 52 in 2017 to 126 in 2018. Most flights will be flown on beautiful A320 aircraft.

On a weekly basis, the schedule will be:

                 Destination                            Flights per Week

  • Orlando/Sanford                                 5
  • Tampa Bay/St. Pete                            4
  • Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda                       2


“Allegiant has really become a part of the fiber of our airport,” stated Airport Director, Craig Williams.  “We couldn’t be more delighted to be able to offer the passengers of Southeast Michigan additional ultra-low cost, nonstop jet service to Florida.  Bishop Airport has a long history of providing the region with amazing access to top leisure destinations. We couldn’t be happier to continue growing that tradition with Allegiant."

Tickets are on sale now.  Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found only at Allegiant.com. Allegiant offers a unique option to travelers with low base fares and savings on rental cars and hotels. Travelers can book their entire vacation with Allegiant for less.


PROSPER 2018 Magazine tells the Oakland County story

PROSPER 2018, the official county magazine spotlighting Oakland County as a business and quality of life destination, is now available in various locations throughout the county and the state.

In its 12th year, the free full-color magazine tells Oakland County’s story through the people who make the county a preferred location to live, work, play and prosper. It features communities, education and businesses in its 100 pages. It includes a 16-page photo essay – “Pictures Tell the Story” – with custom images taken from various locations in the county throughout the year including Somerset Collection in Troy, the M1 Concourse in Pontiac and the Adventure Park at West Bloomfield, the largest forest climbing park in Michigan.

Ferndale’s eclectic gathering spot Otus Supply is featured on the cover.

“PROSPER provides a snapshot of the exciting people and businesses in Oakland County,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “It profiles many of our technology businesses, talented young leaders and quality of life elements that make our county such a wonderful place to live and work.”

The magazine includes sections on talented entrepreneurs, downtowns, technology, urban living and why international companies covet an Oakland County business address.

The magazine is funded by support from Oakland County communities, businesses and organizations. It is available in Oakland County public libraries, selected communities, schools, upscale hotels, Michigan Department of Transportation welcome centers throughout the state and Cobo Center in Detroit. PROSPER was produced by Hour Custom Publishing, a division of Hour Media.

A digital version is available at www.AdvantageOakland.com and www.OaklandCountyProsper.com.
 

Radon test kits Are half price during National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month, and Oakland County Health Division encourages residents to purchase radon test kits for only $5 this month to test their homes for the potentially harmful gas. OCHD recommends testing homes for radon during the cooler months as windows and doors remain closed.

“Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall, but it is preventable,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, Oakland County health officer. “We are offering radon test kits at half price to help Oakland County families protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Radon test kits for homes are available for purchase at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield:
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph, Building 34E, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
Office hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. To purchase more than 15 radon kits, please call 248-858-1312 to preorder. Please note that Health Division offices will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 15.

“You cannot see or smell radon,” said Stafford. “Testing your home is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk of radon exposure.”

Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is usually harmless outdoors. When the gas is trapped in a building or home, however, it can be a health hazard. The Environmental Protection Agency says there is moderate potential for elevated radon levels in Oakland County homes.

If high levels of radon are found, contact OCHD’s Environmental Health Services at 248-858-1312 in Pontiac or 248-424-7191 in Southfield. Visit www.oakgov.com/health or www.epa.gov/radon for more information.

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter, or call Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.
 

County employees set record for Casual Day donations

Oakland County employees donated a record amount of nearly $60,000 to support local charities this year through the county’s Casual Day program, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said during a special ceremony today in downtown Birmingham. On Casual Day, employees in participating departments and divisions may donate $1 to wear jeans or dress casually.

Patterson presented 21 organizations with checks totaling $30,500 during the event. Receiving Casual Day funds for the first time was Clarkston Community Schools Media Center, Humble Design in Pontiac, Neighbor for Neighbor in Springfield Twp., and Scarlet’s Smile in Commerce Twp. County employees also donated $19,484 during a special Casual Week from Thursday, Aug. 31 – Friday, Sept. 8 to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Employees gave an additional $9,700 during four Special Casual Days this year. A Special Casual Day is one that has a designated recipient.

“Oakland County employees are among the most generous individuals I know,” Patterson said. “They are eager to help not only our Oakland County neighbors but also our neighbors 1,000 miles away. Casual Day is just one of the many ways our employees give back to the community.”

This year’s 21 Casual Day recipients were:
  • American Diabetes Association, Southfield
  • Canine Advocacy Program, Novi
  • CARE House, Pontiac
  • Children’s Village Foundation, Pontiac
  • Clarkston Community Schools Media Center, Clarkston
  • D-MAN Foundation, Rochester Hills
  • Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Grace Centers of Hope, Pontiac
  • Helping Hearts Helping Hands, Clarkston
  • Humble Design, Pontiac
  • Kids Kicking Cancer, Southfield
  • Neighbor for Neighbor, Springfield
  • Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society, Pontiac
  • Operation Injured Soldiers, South Lyon
  • Oxford/Orion FISH, Lake Orion
  • Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rochester
  • Pink Ribbon Trail Blazers, Lake Orion
  • Scarlet’s Smile, Commerce
  • The Rainbow Connection, Rochester
  • Toys for Tots, Waterford
  • Walk the Line to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, Southfield
Since its inception in 1993, Oakland County employees have donated over $850,000, touching the lives of thousands of people. No taxpayer funds are used in the Casual Day program.
 

Holiday shopping means cash and prizes for winners in Small Business Saturday to Saturday promotion

Holiday buying turned lucrative for three area residents as they shared $7,500 in cash and prizes, just for making a purchase in Oakland County during the “Small Business Saturday to Saturday” promotion.

Waterford resident Pam McCoy was the grand prize winner of $5,000, courtesy of North American Bancard, for making a purchase at the Pigeon in the Parlour in Holly. She was given her check today by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson during a news conference at The Bird & The Bread in Birmingham.

“It’s nice to provide extra holiday cheer to this year’s contest winners and help small businesses in Oakland County attract more shoppers,” Patterson said. “Thanks to everyone who helped make ‘Small Business Saturday to Saturday’ a success. The holiday shopping season is critical to so many of the independent stores, restaurants and other businesses in our communities.”

Royal Oak resident Marion Reich won the second place prize of $2,000 from Bank of Ann Arbor for making a purchase at Atomic Coffee in Royal Oak. Richard Aginian of Bloomfield Hills won the third place prize of a $500 Southwest Airlines ticket voucher, courtesy of Flint Bishop International Airport. He made a purchase at the Tennis and Golf Company in Royal Oak. MaryAnn Brostek and Elyse Vermilye, the salespeople at the Pigeon in the Parlour in Holly who helped McCoy with her shopping split $500, courtesy of the Bank of Ann Arbor.

“Small Business Saturday to Saturday” encouraged holiday shoppers to make purchases at small, independently-owned, brick and mortar businesses. It attracted a record 1,156 entries from across Oakland County. Shoppers entered the contest by uploading copies of their sales receipts to a special website. Promotion receipts totaled more than $67,000 in sales. Winners were picked in a random drawing.

Shoppers could buy goods and services at any qualified small business in Oakland County but 250 businesses registered for the promotion and had a chance to win $1,000, courtesy of CEED Lending. The winner was Kimberly Alverson, owner of Goldfish Tea in Royal Oak.

The Birmingham Shopping District asked the county to conduct a random drawing of 16 names from all the entries that submitted receipts from Birmingham small businesses. The top winner, Amy Baum of Birmingham, received a necklace valued at $670 from Astrein's Creative Jewelers. Christina Wincek of Birmingham, the second place winner, received two airline tickets to anywhere in the continental United States from Departure Travel Management.

“We hope more communities and chambers will partner with us next year to increase the positive economic impact of the contest,” Patterson said.
 

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.

Anton Art Center announces second round minigrants for organizations and individuals

The Anton Art Center is the Region 10A Regranting Agency for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), and will award minigrants to nonprofit organizations, schools, municipalities and individual professional artists in Macomb and Oakland counties in support of arts and culture programming and professional or organizational development. Round 2 applications are due by 11:59pm on January 15, 2018 through www.mcaca.egrant.net.

Minigrants will be awarded in two categories:
  1. Arts and Culture Projects – organizations may apply for grants of up to $4,000.
  2. Professional or Organizational Development – individual professional artists and organizations may apply for
    grants of up to $1,500.
The Anton Art Center will offer a series of free informational workshops on minigrant guidelines and the application process. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis, and organizations will benefit from submitting a well-written grant application and supporting materials which conform to the guidelines. Though not required, new and prospective applicants are encouraged to attend this workshop.

Friday, January 5, 2018
9:00AM – Projects
10:30AM – Professional/Organizational Development
Anton Art Center
125 Macomb Place
Mount Clemens, MI 48043


For more information on MCACA Minigrants in Macomb and Oakland counties visit our website at www.theartcenter.org/minigrants, and to RSVP for a workshop, contact Phil Gilchrist, Executive Director at the Anton Art Center (pgilchrist@theartcenter.org, 586-469-8666). The Minigrant program is made possible by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

The Anton Art Center is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-5pm. With a mission to enrich and inspire people of all ages through the arts, we provide art exhibits, classes and a gift shop, and are located at 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens MI 48043. For more information, call 586-469- 8666 or visit us on Facebook or at www.theartcenter.org.

Beaumont Health expands thriving Integrative Medicine program to West Bloomfield

In search of relief from the cluster headaches that were dominating his life, Howard Sikora, 66, of Farmington Hills, made an appointment with Maureen Anderson, M.D., medical director of Beaumont Health’s Integrative Medicine program, after seeing her on a morning talk show.
 
“It felt like someone was sticking a knife in my head,” said Sikora, of the powerful headaches that occurred nightly at 3 or 4 a.m. “The pain medication other doctors prescribed barely touched it.  This went on every night for maybe a month, then they’d taper off before starting all over again. I’d been dealing with it for four or five years.”
 
Dr. Anderson recommended Sikora eliminate beef, dairy, gluten, artificial preservatives and sugar from his diet, sticking to other proteins, healthy fats, fruits, veggies and nuts for 90 days.
 
“Within two weeks, the headaches were gone,” Sikora said.
 
Slowly, with Dr. Anderson’s guidance, he began re-adding food groups one at a time.  
 
“Today I eat what is called a Paleo diet,” he explained. “If it comes from a box or a package, I don’t go near it.”
 
For Sikora, who continues to visit Dr. Anderson for maintenance, chemical additives – including artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, soy sauce, dairy and gluten -- appear to have been the trigger for his headaches.
 
“To say I’m thrilled with the outcome is an understatement,” Sikora said. “Dr. Anderson was the only one looking to prevent, not medicate.”
 
As demand for gentler, non-pharmacologic treatments continues to grow Beaumont Health is expanding its popular Integrative Medicine program to the West Bloomfield ambulatory care site at 6900 Orchard Lake Road.
 
“Last year our program provided 24,000 patient appointments from clinical massage to acupuncture to naturopathic doctor visits across three locations,” said Gail Elliott Patricolo, director of Integrative Medicine, Beaumont Health.
 
“We are so excited about this new location and proximity to our patient-base in the West Bloomfield area.”
Integrative medicine, based on ancient healing techniques and the most modern evidence-based methods, concentrates on mind, body and spirit to improve quality of life. These therapies can help people cope by enhancing wellness, relieving pain and managing anxiety and stress.
 
Treatments offered at the West Bloomfield location include acupuncture, clinical massage, medical facials, reiki, cupping and reflexology, along with integrative medicine consults with either a medical or naturopathic physician.
 
“People who are healthy or fighting an illness will find benefits to the services offered at Beaumont’s Integrative Medicine Program,” Elliott Patricolo said. “All of our services are offered by highly skilled and specially trained practitioners who understand our patients’ unique needs and are also overseen by a medical doctor.”
 
Integrative Medicine programs at the Royal Oak and Troy hospitals also offer acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, guided imagery, reflexology, cupping, gentle yoga and yoga therapy.  In addition to the new West Bloomfield facility, Beaumont Health has integrative medicine programs in Royal Oak, Troy and Grosse Pointe.

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.
 

New Year, New You! Wellness Expo is Jan. 6 at Royal Oak Farmers Market

MI Green Team, organizer of Michigan’s largest green and healthy community events, is pleased to announce its second annual New Year, New You! Wellness Expo at the historic Royal Oak Farmers Market. The expo will be held indoors on Saturday, Jan. 6, in tandem with the popular Saturday morning farmers market.
 
The new year’s first major healthy living expo will showcase dozens of products and services for a healthier body, mind, home, family, pet and more. Many exhibitors will offer show specials, free samples and door prizes. Health advocates will offer expert presentations, programs and demonstrations. Event-goers will enjoy live music, free massage, concessions and the Saturday farmers market. Admission and on-site parking are free of charge.
 
“We're excited about the response the first event received last year,” said John Batdorf, expo manager. "This year’s expo will offer an even bigger and better celebration of a happy new year and a healthy new you!"
 
The New Year, New You! Wellness Expo takes place from 8 a.m. through 1 p.m. at the Royal Oak Farmers Market shed, 316 E. 11 Mile Rd. Event details, directions, and VIP tickets -- which include a Lolë goodie bag and door prize drawing entry -- are available at NYNYWE.com.
 
MI Green Team L3C (MGT) is Michigan's leading green and healthy-living network and event producer. Its mission is to promote healthy living, business, community and environment. MGT is a Michigan “low-profit, limited liability company,” an innovative business entity that uses business best practices to pursue a socially beneficial purpose.

Oakland County Business Roundtable committees make joint recommendation to top county officials

Excerpt

The five Oakland County Business Roundtable committees believe there is a need for a comprehensive countywide communications and public affairs relations campaign.

The recommendation was made to top county officials at the 25th Annual Oakland County Business Roundtable meeting.

Read more

Clarkston's Vertical Drop Ski Shop offers U.S.'s first virtual skiing simulator

Excerpt

Vertical Drop Ski Shop, a full-service ski retailer in Clarkston, now offers the SkyTechSport Ski Simulator that combines smart sensor technology and virtual reality to create the effects of an actual ski slope for athletes of all levels.

Read more

Birmingham Museum to focus on Birmingham's bicentennial during 2018

In 2018, Birmingham will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its founding, when Elijah Willits first claimed his land parcel in the wilderness in what is now downtown Birmingham. Since then, the generations of its citizens have made all the difference in creating the unique character of a dynamic city with a small town heart. The Birmingham Museum wants to celebrate the past 200 years with an exhibition that takes a novel new approach: seeking crowd-sourced stories about the people of Birmingham, past and present. 

“This will be an exhibition ‘of the people by the people,’ said Museum Director, Leslie Pielack. “We want everyone, from students to seniors, to get in on this opportunity and share a story about someone from Birmingham who has made a lasting impression on them.” Submissions can be about anyone from the present or the past—a friend or family member, an ancestor, a neighbor, a famous person or someone less well known. The material gathered will be used to create a panel display that will be placed in the museum and online. Similar to archival initiatives such as National Public Radio’s Storycorps, the museum is primarily interested in the story and why the person is memorable, not exact facts. The museum will use the submitter’s own words when possible. And, says Pielack, “We will be able to add the material to our permanent archives, which will help us preserve this important information about Birmingham and its people.”
 
The museum has created an online form and hard copy for public submissions of 200 words or so, including options for uploading digital photos.  Deadlines of December 31, 2017 and March 31, 2018 are available for submissions for the exhibit, which will run throughout 2018. Photos or artifacts contributed by the public are especially welcome and will be displayed with the story panels.  
                                                   
The Birmingham Museum is located at 556 West Maple. Exhibit hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and until 8:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. Two hours of free parking is available at the Chester Street Parking Deck; credit card required for entry and exit.  For more information, call 248-530-1928 or visit www.bhamgov.org/museum . Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for students and seniors.  Kids 5 and under and Friends of the Birmingham Museum members are free.

Multinational automotive company invests $22.3M in Oakland County facilities, creates 105 jobs

The North American subsidiary of India-based Mahindra, Mahindra Automotive North America Manufacturing, is expanding in both the cities of Pontiac and Auburn Hills. The company has invested $22.3 million in facilities in each city, creating a total of 105 jobs.

In Pontiac, Mahindra will lease and transform a former General Motors facility into a warehousing and parts distribution center.

In Auburn Hills, the company has announced that its pre-existing facility will be upgraded to become its North American automotive headquarters. The facility will also include an engineering center. Three of its off-road utility vehicles and prototypes will be manufactured there.

As a result of its investment, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has awarded Mahindra an $850,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. According to MEDC officials, Michigan beat out Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas in competing for the jobs and investment.

"When an international company with a reach like Mahindra chooses Michigan for the third time in four years, that is a statement about our state’s business attractiveness, talented workforce, and leadership in automotive manufacturing," Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, said in a statement. "We’re pleased to support this global powerhouse as it further expands in Michigan and brings high-paying jobs to Michigan residents."

The 105 new jobs created by the development brings its Michigan employment numbers to 250. What's more, officials from Mahindra say the company plans on creating an additional 400 jobs and $600M in investment through 2020.

This is the first new OEM operation in Southeast Michigan in over 25 years, according to a release from Mahindra.

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

20,000 holiday gifts flying to 6,400 Michigan children thanks to Operation Good Cheer

Excerpt

Organized chaos would be the best way to describe the scene inside the hangar at Pentastar Aviation in Waterford the morning of Friday, December 1.

Over 20,000 gifts and hundreds of volunteers packed the facility, 7310 Highland Road, as Operation Good Cheer was in full swing. The annual initiative provides gifts to more than 6,400 foster care children, and adults, across Michigan.

Read more

Gov. Snyder taps Forzley for Public Health Advisory Council

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Oakland County Health & Human Services Director Kathleen Forzley to a four-year term on Michigan’s newly-formed Public Health Advisory Council. The council initially will develop an action plan for implementing the recommendations of the Michigan Public Health Advisory Commission which released a report in April recommending steps to ensure the protection and promotion of public health and safety in the state.

“Kathy has a reputation for excellence in bringing together public and private agencies to work together to enhance public health in Oakland County,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “Her knowledge, experience and skills in this area will be invaluable to the Public Health Advisory Council.”

The council also will provide advice about emerging issues in public health, monitor the effectiveness of Michigan’s public health response system, and review multiagency efforts to support collaboration and a unified approach on public health responses.

“I’m eager to represent the public on the Public Health Advisory Council and bring Oakland County’s best practices in public health to the table,” Forzley said. “We’ve learned how much can be accomplished in public health through communication and collaboration, which is an important focus of what I intend to bring to the council.”

Forzley, who will remain Oakland County health & human services director, will represent the general public on the council until her term expires Nov. 1, 2021. She is the first woman to serve as the director of Oakland County Health & Human Services, a position she has held since her predecessor retired April 28. She served as the county’s health officer and manager of the Oakland County Health Division since 2008. She was the administrator for Oakland County Environmental Health Services from 2003-2008. Prior to that, she was an environmental health services supervisor from 2001-2003.

Forzley joined Oakland County in 1992 as a public health sanitarian. Forzley holds a master of public administration degree and dual Bachelor of Arts in biology and Bachelor of Science in environmental health degrees, all from Oakland University.

Forzley joins a long list of individuals from the Patterson administration whose expertise Snyder has tapped to help state government:
  • Chief Deputy County Executive Gerald Poisson serves on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Executive Committee.
  • Deputy County Executive Robert J. Daddow had a role on the governor’s transition team.
  • Deputy County Executive/CIO Phil Bertolini is a board m ember for the Michigan Municipal Services Authority. He also is involved with a group started by Snyder’s CIO called the CIO Kitchen Cabinet, a body of select CIOs from around Michigan who meet to advise the State of Michigan on IT matters.
  • Director of Central Services J. David VanderVeen is on the Michigan Aeronautics Commission.
  • Kristie Everett Zamora, Oakland County’s arts, culture & film coordinator, sits on the Commission on Services to the Aging.
  • Former Deputy County Executive Douglas Smith held the position of senior vice president of the MEDC until the position was eliminated.
  • Former Oakland County Risk Manager Julie Secontine had served on Michigan’s Public Safety Communications Interoperability Board and later as state fire marshal.
“Oakland County has a reputation as being the best managed in the country because of the outstanding individuals in my administration,” Patterson said. “I’m always pleased when any of them can expand their role in public service.”

Local businesses receive more than $2.1 million from the state to hire or train nearly 3,100 workers

A total of 86 Oakland County businesses were awarded $2,154,000 in Skilled Trades Training Funds this week from Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency.

Oakland County employers – with the support of Oakland County Michigan Works! – were awarded funds to hire and train 1,584 new employees, expand the skills of 1,538 existing workers and create 46 new registered apprenticeships over the next year.

“This is wonderful news for our employers and job seekers,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The first year we applied three businesses received awards. Now, four years later, 86 businesses qualified for funding to find and train new and existing employees, as well as launch apprenticeships. Our Michigan Works! team of trained professionals worked with a broad range of companies to design training programs aligned with their changing needs.”

Since 2013, Oakland County employers have received more than $7.3 million of Skilled Trades Training Funds from Oakland County Michigan Works! and the state of Michigan. Workers will be trained and receive industry-recognized credentials in advanced manufacturing, software programming, construction trades and robotic operations.

Area companies receiving grants include: P3 North America (Southfield), Rayconnect (Rochester Hills), Independence Commercial Construction, Inc. (Waterford), Marada Industries – Magna (New Hudson) and Northern Sign (Pontiac). An industry-led collaborative application of regional construction companies was also funded to pursue a joint training effort.

“Our goal is to help companies find the talent they need to be successful,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, workforce development manager for Oakland County. “This includes making them aware of such resources as the state’s Skilled Trades Training Fund and then assisting them with the application process. It’s very rewarding to see so many companies’ hard work pay off.”

Oakland County Michigan Works! provides talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses, and career management, training and placement for job seekers at eight locations in Oakland County.

Contact OaklandCountyMIWorks.com or 800-285-9675 for more information.

Park West Gallery re-opens Southfield museum following renovations

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After extensive renovations, Park West Gallery has re-opened Park West Museum, a hub for Old Masters and contemporary artists inside its Southfield headquarters.

The project included the addition of two new salons and a redesigned floor plan to better showcase the museum’s works, including art by Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Joan Miró.

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Tamarack Camps expands outdoor education program with Adventure and Retreat Center

Excerpt

After operating as Tamarack Camps Outdoor Education in Ortonville for more than 50 years, the non-profit has rebranded its year-round, experiential team building, leadership training, and nature appreciation programs as the Tamarack Adventure and Retreat Center. Located on more than 1,100 acres in northern Oakland County, Tamarack Adventure and Retreat Center hosts schools, corporate teams, and recreational clubs for personalized programs during the day or overnight.

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Helping hands: Library, robotics team partner to produce limbs for kids

Excerpt

There’s giving a hand – and there’s giving 200 hands.

That’s one of this year’s goals for the Novi Public Library. Partnering with the Novi High School robotics team, the library is working to establish itself as an official chapter of e-NABLE, joining the group’s grassroots effort to create free 3D-printed limbs for kids overseas who’ve lost a hand, arm or fingers due to war, disease or natural disaster.

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year makes U.S. debut at Detroit Zoo

Britain’s foremost natural history museum has selected the Detroit Zoo as the site of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition’s U.S. debut for the 12th consecutive year. The show begins November 18, 2017, at the Ford Education Center and runs through May 13, 2018. It is free with Zoo admission.

“Words don’t do justice to this breathtaking exhibition, which showcases the most amazing images of wildlife from around the globe and raises awareness of the beauty and vulnerability of the natural world,” said Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS).

The exhibition of winners from the 2017 competition features 100 images dramatically displayed as illuminated large-format color transparencies. The images were chosen from nearly 50,000 entries by photographers from 92 countries.

Now in its 53rd year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.
The exhibition will be open during Wild Lights, the Detroit Zoo’s spectacular holiday display featuring more than five million LED lights. Presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions, Wild Lights will be held Nov. 18-19 and 24-26 and Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 20-23 and 26-31, 2017. Visit http://www.detroitzoo.org/events/wild-lights for information and tickets.

Spread warmth this winter with Coats for the Cold

The warmth of your generosity could help those less-fortunate this winter. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is accepting donations of new or clean, used coats through November 30th as part of their 30th annual “Coats for the Cold” coat drive.

Donated coats will be sent to a variety of local charitable organizations, who in turn distribute the coats to community members most in need.



“Coats for the Cold is an easy way for the community to reach out and help someone less fortunate stay warm this winter,” Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard said. “For the past 29 years, we have worked with local charitable organizations to provide free coats to those in need. The community’s generosity has been wonderful every year.”

Spotlight | Coats for the Cold Drop-Off Sites

This year’s coat drive is sponsored by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with 1-800-Self-Storage.comCOWS (Container on Wheels Mobile Storage)Real Estate OneGenisys Credit UnionAmp97 Detroit, and several other Oakland County charitable organizations.

As a special promotion this year, coat donors will receive $10 off of the cost of a pet adoption at the Oakland County Pet Adoption Center for each of the first five coats donated (limit $50).

If you’d like to know more about Coats for the Cold and other Community Outreach Initiatives of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, visit their website, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

Oakland County retailers encouraged to register to win $1,000 in Small Business Saturday promo

Oakland County small businesses that hope to see green during the upcoming holiday shopping season could pocket a little green for themselves - $1,000 – just for registering for Oakland County’s Small Business Saturday to Saturday promotion.

Small Business Saturday to Saturday begins Nov. 25 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving – and runs until Dec. 2. It offers shoppers who make a purchase of any amount at any independently owned small business in Oakland County the chance to win $5,000, courtesy of North American Bancard; $2,000, courtesy of Bank of Ann Arbor; and a $500 voucher toward travel on Southwest Airlines, courtesy of Bishop International Airport in Flint.

“This is a win-win for both the small businesses and the customers,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.

“Customers have this singular opportunity to do some holiday shopping, support local businesses and get a chance at an incredible payday. Business owners get the boost of having additional holiday traffic in their stores and the chance to win $1,000, just for registering.”

Shoppers must enter a picture of their receipt from a purchase made from Nov. 25- Dec. 2 at any small brick and mortar business in Oakland County to be eligible to win one of the prizes.

As an incentive to encourage small businesses to register and promote the contest to its customers, CEED Lending is offering a $1,000 American Express gift card to a randomly selected business and an additional $500 to the business employee who waits on the winning customer. There is no cost for a business to register.

Businesses may register online at www.AdvantageOakland.com/ShopSmall and are automatically entered into the $1,000 gift card drawing. Businesses will also be encouraged to remind shoppers not to forget small retailers for their holiday shopping. The program is patterned after the “Shop Small” campaign developed by American Express.

Free promotional materials are available to registered businesses at Oakland County’s One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Materials can be picked up Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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.

Oakland Early College hosts the Galileo-Saudi Arabia Leadership Project

Saudi Arabian counselors, principals and supervisors spent a full day immersed in Oakland Early College's (OEC) educational processes as part of the Galileo-Saudi Arabia Leadership Project at Oakland University. It is just one of the stops on their research and educational journey to rebuild Saudi Arabia's educational system.

A recognized leader for its partnership between higher education and high school, OEC staff and leadership showcased their non-traditional, hybrid model where students graduate with a dual high school diploma and Associates degree.

The November 1 visit included staff and student presentations, tours of campus and a lunch panel featuring OEC staff and students. The visiting group was eager to know more about the accreditation process, the benefits of a high school on a college campus and why students decided on OEC.

"I moved to the US from Saudi my senior year of high school. I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know what I want to be in 10 years. I don't even know what I'm going to eat for lunch today. I chose OEC because it gave me an opportunity to first have more time to get involved in the American system unlike a normal high school and be able to explore more creative programs like communications," said student, Rahaf Azzam.

When asked about student support, OEC instructor Kyle Heffelbower shared, "The OCC campus is actually really good with their academic supports for early college students. They have high school tutors through National Honor Society and the College provides tutoring resources. The academic skills center can help a lot of students with math and writing webinars. These are all good things that the College provides for college-level classes that our students can access because they are, in fact, college students."

OEC Head of School Jennifer Newman shared, "If I can leave you with one thought concerning early colleges, it is this: Slowly easing your high school students into the world of college, by gradually increasing their college workload over their high school career, will make them stronger students and much more likely to be successful when they enter the university world."

Hosted through Oakland University's Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership, the Saudi group will spend the next six months living and learning in Oakland County as part of the international program. The program is dedicated to improving the learning of all students, elevating the education profession, enhancing the leadership skills of teachers, and fulfilling the vital role of public education in achieving a civil, prosperous and democratic society.

About OCC - With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve.  More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

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.

Work off dinner with free park entry at Oakland County Parks

EVENT NAME:    Free park entry for Thanksgiving

WHAT:                 During Oakland County Parks and Recreation Appreciation Day, visitors can enjoy free daily park entry with access to natural areas, trails, dog parks and all park amenities.                                   

WHEN:             Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 2017
Park hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, or as posted at the park.

WHERE:          Six Oakland County Parks and three dog parks:

  • Addison Oaks County Park, 1480 West Romeo Road, north of Rochester
  • Highland Oaks County Park, 6555 Milford Road, Highland
  • Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, near Clarkston
  • Lyon Oaks County Park and Lyon Oaks Dog Park, 52221 Pontiac Trail, Wixom
  • Orion Oaks County Park, 2301 W. Clarkston Road, Lake Orion
  • Orion Oaks Dog Park, Joslyn Road between Clarkston and Scripps roads, Lake Orion
  • Red Oaks Dog Park, 31353 Dequidre, Madison Heights
  • Rose Oaks County Park, 10400 Fish Lake Road, near Holly


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


Southfield rec center renovations on track to be completed in January 2018

Renovations are underway at Southfield's Beech Woods Recreation Center. And while the improvements being made should make a better experience for everyone, the renovations will especially improve access for those residents making use of wheelchairs and other devices.

Among the improvements being made is the installation of a new elevator, significant because Beech Woods is the home of the southeast Michigan Jr. wheelchair basketball program. A second phase of renovations will see the repair of a handicap-accessible ramp, providing access to the Beech Woods picnic area. That picnic area is also scheduled to be improved.

Access, however, is just part of the renovation budget. Also included in the updates is a new floor for the gymnasium, updated locker room, and a renovated office space and lobby. The wellness center will also be expanded.

"The extensive renovations taking place at Beech Woods will provide residents with a vastly improved facility and amenities," Parks & Recreation Director Terry Fields said in a statement. "We’re very excited about the upgrades that will be made to the wellness center, gymnasium, office space, lobby and other improvements that will make Beech Woods more user-friendly and customer focused."

As a result of the renovations, the Parks & Recreation department's programs and offices have been moved to the John Grace Community Center, 21030 Indian St. For those voting in Precincts 34 and 35 in the Nov. 7, 2017, general election, polling stations have been temporarily moved to the Beech Woods Pro Shop, which is located on the original Beech Woods campus.

In January 2017, Southfield City Council approved a $2.5 million budgets for the renovations, which are scheduled to be completed in January 2018. Construction began in September 2017. Phase two of the project, which includes access to and improvement of the Beech Woods picnic area is funded in part by a Recreation Passport Grant, which itself is funded by the state's sale of recreation passports.

Beech Woods Recreation Center is located at 22200 Beech Rd. in Southfield.

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

Corporate Eagle debuts business jet that can reach Europe or Southern Hemisphere nonstop

Excerpt

Looking to reach Berlin, London, Paris, or the Southern Hemisphere nonstop in a private business jet? Corporate Eagle, based out of Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township, has just received delivery of a Dassault Falcon 2000EX jet, which recently underwent a $2.5-million renovation.

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New lighthouse on Dixie

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Lighthouse Clarkston celebrated the opening of their new, centralized location at 5850 Dixie Highway with a ribbon cutting.

“I hope it gets the word out to all of Oakland County that we’re here, and I just love the Clarkston community, all of Independence Township and Clarkston,” said Lighthouse Clarkston Manager Michele Robinson.

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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.

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Oakland's information security program grabs two national awards

Oakland County’s Information Security Program is capturing national attention with two cybersecurity awards from the Center for Digital Government at its seventh annual Cybersecurity Leadership and Innovation Awards program, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced.

“The two awards from the Center for Digital Government highlight just how innovative Oakland County’s cybersecurity team is under the leadership of Deputy County Executive/CIO Phil Bertolini and Chief Information Security Officer Chris Burrows,” Patterson said.

The Center for Digital Government bestowed its Cybersecurity Leadership and Innovation Award upon the county’s Information Security Program. It has delivered projects in governance, formalized program documentation, technical solutions, incident response, asset management, data management and improved patching process time (from three weeks to one week). The program has a dedicated team for monitoring and response, does outreach to local businesses, and offers the CySAFE self-assessment template and advisory assistance to all U.S. counties.

“Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, and as stewards of some of the public’s most important and sensitive data, it’s more critical than ever that we recognize the government, education and healthcare organizations that are raising the bar when it comes to the best ways to protect that information,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government.

The Center for Digital Government also honored CISO Burrows with an individual Cybersecurity Leadership and Innovation Award for his leadership in putting the Information Security Program together.

“I’m proud we were able to come up with solutions that will work,” Burrows said. “We have been able to secure highly sophisticated systems in a short amount of time, and I’m proud that people were open and worked really hard to secure this. It’s a team effort.”

Bertolini said the Information Security Program has changed how the county looks upon information security.

“We live in a world where cybersecurity threats are evolving faster than the technology to safeguard information,” Bertolini said. “Working in collaboration on those security threats helps keep the costs down while staying on the leading edge of new developments.”

Find the perfect Halloween outing with Oakland County's interactive map

Excerpt

With so many fantastic Halloween events and activities in Oakland County, it can be difficult to keep track. That’s why Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team has developed a custom map to bring you all of Halloween’s fun and fright in one easy-to-use package.

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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/

Flagstar Bank launches small business development funding in Pontiac

Flagstar Bank announced the first disbursement—$500,000—of its $2.5 million investment in small business development in Pontiac. This small business initiative is part of Flagstar’s five-year, $10 million commitment to help revitalize the city.

“We’re happy to have partnered with Flagstar to bring this $10 million commitment to Pontiac,” said Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman. “Small businesses are the backbone of any economic revitalization, and this funding from Flagstar gives a welcome boost to our community.”

Flagstar’s initial disbursement of $500,000 will be leveraged through a partnership with CEED Lending, a Small Business Administration lender. Although the program will offer direct grants and loans, most of the disbursements are expected to be a combination of SBA loans and Flagstar grants to achieve maximum leverage. By blending grants with loans, Flagstar is able to add collateral and security to loan requests, thus making the loans more creditworthy, providing more capital to borrowers, and lowering the repayment amount.

“This kind of funding can be a lifeline for struggling businesses that need a little help to thrive,” said Beverly Meek, CRA director for Flagstar. “One small business in Pontiac has already been approved for a loan/grant combination in the pilot phase, and another is awaiting CEED loan approval.”

Meek said funding also will be used to support manufacturing in Pontiac, non-SBA loans, and grant opportunities identified by Pontiac Main Street Advisory Council.

“Everything we’re doing, we’re doing with input from the community,” Meek said. “It was the community who told us small businesses—especially micro-businesses—needed grant money to help them qualify for SBA loans. Zero percent loans and grants was what we heard from the community.

“Another thing the community wanted was a one-stop website where small businesses could find everything they needed to start and do business in Pontiac. And Flagstar responded with a $10,000 grant to build a web portal for the city.”

CEED Lending, an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, provides small business loans to start-up and existing enterprises in nine counties in Southeast Michigan. CEED is the lender for the SBA loans associated with the program.

“The partnership with Flagstar is a great opportunity to move the needle on small business lending in Pontiac,” said Michelle Richards, executive director of CEED Lending. “We’re looking for good things to happen in Pontiac with CEED’s expertise in SBA lending enhanced by small business grants from Flagstar.”

Cranbrook Educational Community launches free mobile app for campus visitors

The Cranbrook Educational Community has introduced a new mobile app to help guests navigate and explore its 319-acre campus. Accessible on mobile devices, the app can be downloaded for free on the App Store or Google Play. A web version of the app is also available at http://cranbrook.oncell.com
 
"Cranbrook is one of the world's leading centers of education, science, and art. We have an Academy of Art and Art Museum, Center for Collections and Research, House & Gardens, Institute of Science, and Pre-K through 12th grade private Schools, all on one campus," said Dominic DiMarco, President of Cranbrook Educational Community. "Now we have one collective app to share the offerings of each of these program areas and enhance the visitor experience."  
 
Visitors can use the app to learn about Cranbrook on self-guided tours of approximately 100 public sites, navigate its campus with interactive maps, and find upcoming public events. If GPS location services are enabled, the app will alert users when they are nearby points of interest. A 'Favorites' function allows users to easily bookmark pages for quick access.
 
The Cranbrook app expands on and replaces former apps offered by Cranbrook House & Gardens and Cranbrook Institute of Science. The app was developed using OnCell's do-it-yourself app builder, a popular platform among cultural destinations. 

Japanese-style pavilion and garden coming to MSU Tollgate Farm & Education Center In Novi

A Japanese garden that will include a pavilion and 17 flowering cherry trees will be constructed at Michigan State University’s Tollgate Farm and Education Center in Novi.

The ceremonial launch for The Sakura Garden project is set for Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. Local dignitaries and sponsors as well as Mitsuhiro Wada, Consul General of Japan in Detroit and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, are expected to attend. The site is at 28115 Meadowbrook Road in Novi.

“I am honored to be present for the launch of the Sakura Garden project in Novi,” Wada said. “It is my hope that when the garden is completed, it will be a place where Japanese and American families congregate to enjoy cherry blossoms together.”

Patterson, who donated $10,000 toward the $150,000 project, said Oakland County has more than 270 Japanese-owned firms with business locations here. Japan is the largest source of foreign direct investment in the county.

“We wanted to create a destination that will last for generations and can be enjoyed by everyone,” Patterson said. “We have warm relationships with Japan and the many Japanese companies that operate here. This project just adds to the quality of life that makes our county so attractive.”

The project is the result of a partnership between Michigan State University, the Japanese Consulate of Detroit, the Japanese Business Society of Detroit, Novi and the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

Economic developers from Oakland County travel to Japan a least once a year to meet with the leaders of companies that are already here and in an attempt to attract other companies who may be interested in expanding operations to North America, said Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development.

“I’m grateful to the many Japanese firms operating in Oakland County and our other partners for supporting The Sakura Garden,” Spanos said. “Without their generous support, this project doesn’t happen.”

Fourteen other sponsors besides the county executive contributed $10,000 each to support the project and create an endowment to maintain the garden: Daifuku North American Holding Co., Deloitte & Touche (Japanese Services Group), Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc., KIP America, NGK Sparkplugs (USA) Inc., NHK International, Nissan Technical Center North America, One World Market, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Toyoda Americas Corp., Toyoda Gosei North America Corp., Toyota Boshoku America, Toyota Industries Electric Systems North America and Toyota Tsusho America, Inc.

The project is expected to be completed in summer 2018. Michigan also will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its sister-state relationship with Japan’s Shiga Prefecture. Matt MacDougall, a senior project manager with Oakland County, designed the pavilion.

Royal Oak Farmers Market transforms into an artists' market, just in time to beat holiday sales rush

The Guild of Artists & Artisans is proud to announce the Royal Oak Market: Art Fair Edition. This new show will take place indoors at the Royal Oak Farmers Market on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November, 17th from 11am – 8 pm each day.

The Royal Oak Farmers Market provides one of the premium market venues in Southeast Michigan and is conveniently located in the Civic Center at the corner of 11 Mile Rd and Troy Street in downtown Royal Oak.

This is a juried fair and admission is free for fairgoers. The event will feature 75 artists; fairgoers will find the same excellence and variety as in the Guild’s Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair.

THE DETIALS

When:

Thursday, November 16: Noon - 9 p.m.

Friday, November 17: Noon - 9 p.m.

Where:

Royal Oak Farmers Market
316 E. 11 Mile Road
Royal Oak, MI 48068

Cost:

Admission is Free.

 

url

http://www.theguild.org/fairs/royal-oak-market-art-fair-edition/

 

The Guild of Artists & Artisans is a non-profit, membership organization of professional artists. Established in 1970, The Guild’s mission is to promote community awareness, understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and to maintain a support network for artists, which provides educational, mentoring and marketing opportunities. The Guild is recognized and valued for its ability to showcase independent artists, bringing their artwork to the community via its juried fine art and fine craft fairs. It is a trusted source for artist and fairgoer alike. The Guild is best known for its award-winning Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair.


Pics of the Parks entries capture true nature

Stunning sunsets, glimpses of nature and a ton of fun in the parks were all captured in images submitted for the Oakland County Parks’ Pic of the Parks Photo Contest.

Forty-six photographers entered 146 images in the annual competition’s five categories: Parks; Artistic; Recreation; Kids; and Dogs. All photos were judged by members of the Oakland Camera Club.

Photographer and radio personality Spike, of Channel 955’s Mojo in the Morning Show, chose the Best of Show Photo, “Sunset on the Lake,” taken at Independence Oaks County Park by Wai Nguyen of Troy.  “This year's entries reflected so many great recreational uses of the parks, showing park visitors enjoying the vast array of activities and events offered by the parks system,” Spike said. “The image I chose, Sunset on the Lake, highlights the real star attraction – nature. This photo perfectly captures the serene lake, a beautiful sunset and the peaceful surroundings. The photographer used the leading lines of the stairs to pave an easy path to guide the eye upwards and inwards to the beckoning picnic bench on the dock. It makes me want to visit this park.”

This photo will be featured on the cover of the 2017 Oakland County Parks Annual Report. 

All contest entries are available for viewing at OaklandCountyParks.SmugMug.com. The Best of Show and First Place winners in each category receive mounted prints of their entries, which are on display at the Oakland County Executive Office Building through Oct. 20, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Executive Office Building is located at 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Other honorees will receive a certificate featuring their photo.

“This year the rules allowed for only one honor per category for each participant, in order to allow more participants to win recognition. As a result, 24 photographers earned honors in this year’s competition,” Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “We are grateful to these photographers for sharing the faces and places that are the Oakland County Parks.”

Other winners include:

Parks Category
1st Place – Eastern Kingbird, taken at Independence Oaks, Rob Craig of Berkley
2nd Place – Dock Entrance, taken at Independence Oaks, Vickie Johnson of Pontiac
3rd Place – Peaceful Reflections, taken at White Lake Oaks, Emily Barberi of Waterford
Honorable Mention – Deux, taken at Independence Oaks, Gloria Boddy of Clarkston
Honorable Mention – Barred Owl, taken at Independence Oaks, Mary Ann Kennedy of Waterford
Honorable Mention – The Dock, taken at Orion Oaks, Carole Baier of Pontiac

Artistic Category
1st Place – Cowboys, taken at Springfield Oaks, Kathy Rollins of Davisburg
2nd Place – Exploring, taken at Orion Oaks, Nancy Henahan of Farmington Hills
3rd Place – Flown in Fresh, taken at Waterford Oaks, Martha Myers of Oxford
Honorable Mention – Clouds, taken at Highland Oaks, Nichole Hortick of Waterford
Honorable Mention – Fall at Independence, taken at Independence Oaks, Diane Kish of Clarkston
Honorable Mention – Purple Haze, taken at Independence Oaks, Diane Wilks of Rochester Hills

Recreation Category
1st Place – Focus, taken at Independence Oaks, Martha Myers of Oxford
2nd Place – Fun in the Sunset, taken at Orion Oaks, Carole Baier of Pontiac
3rd Place – Into the Fog, taken at Independence Oaks, Allie Werner of Clarkston
Honorable Mention – Buhl Lake Kayaker, taken at Addison Oaks, William Spengler of Warren
Honorable Mention – Straight Away, taken at Addison Oaks, Frank Leone of Shelby Twp
Honorable Mention – Ele-fun Ears, taken at Addison Oaks, Toni Rose Arceno of Southfield

Kids Category
1st Place – Little Barrel Racer, taken at Springfield Oaks, Kathy Rollins of Davisburg
2nd Place – Let’s Race, taken at Springfield Oaks, Nichole Hortick of Waterford
3rd Place – Ryan Jumping, taken at Independence Oaks, Riley Kisser of Clarkston
Honorable Mention – Kallie with Flowers, taken at Lyon Oaks, Tina Gray of Commerce
Honorable Mention – The Cousin Catch, taken at Independence Oaks, Martha Myers of Oxford
Honorable Mention – Sharing Brownies, taken at Groveland Oaks, Jennifer Smith of White Lake

Dogs Category
1st Place – Smile, taken at Highland Oaks, Nichole Hortick of Waterford
2nd Place – Mr. Belvedere’s Big Smile, taken at Orion Oaks, Jon Olszowy of Ferndale
3rd Place – I Can Do Anything, taken at Orion Oaks, Linda Harms of Orion Twp
Honorable Mention – Harley Contest, taken at Orion Oaks, Lindsay Kotlarz of Commerce
Honorable Mention – Tug of War, taken at Lyon Oaks, Nancy Henahan of Farmington Hills
Honorable Mention – Gotta Get the Fishy, taken at Orion Oaks, Beth Champagne of Clarkston

Photographers are encouraged to keep shooting throughout the year at the 13 Oakland County parks. Entries will again be accepted between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 2018. The 2018 Rules and entry form will be available at OaklandCountyParks.com in April.

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


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 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/

Arts, Beats & Eats raises over $275,000 for charitable groups

Excerpt: 

Gate admissions, sponsors and beverage sales at this year’s Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival in Royal Oak raised more than $275,000 for local charities.

Read more

Oakland County Executive's Elite 40 Under 40 program in search of 'best of the best' for 2018

If you know a young entrepreneur, community leader, teacher or any person who has made significant contributions to their chosen field and the quality of life in the region and you want them recognized for their good work, don’t keep it a secret.

Nominations are being accepted for the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2018. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson started the program in 2012 to honor young professionals and thought leaders who excel in their field and have demonstrated dynamic leadership.

“The first six classes of Elite 40 members are comprised of incredibly talented men and women – some in their early 20s – who are passionate leaders who are making a difference in their communities, at their jobs and in people’s lives every day,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The problem won’t be finding 40 exceptional people for the Class of 2018. The challenge will be limiting the class to only 40 people. I encourage you to submit a name for consideration or even enter yourself.”

Nominees must live or work in Oakland County to be eligible. To submit a candidate, go to www.AdvantageOakland.com/Elite40 where two entry buttons can be found – one for those who want to nominate someone else and one for those who want to enter themselves. Nominations must be completed by noon, Oct. 30. If you enter yourself, you have until Nov. 3 at noon to submit a completed entry.

A panel of former Elite 40 class members will review and score all completed applications from Nov. 13 – Nov. 28 and reduce the number to the top 60 entrants. An independent panel of judges will choose the top 40 from Jan. 8 – Jan. 12, 2018. Of that group, three candidates who scored the highest will be placed before the public from Jan. 22 to Jan. 26, 2018 for an online vote to determine the winner.

The winner will be announced in February. All class members will be invited to participate in a host of county events. Past members have joined the Oakland County Business Roundtable and other advisory committees within the county.

Oakland County seeks public input for disaster plan

Oakland County residents and businesses can help the county update its emergency preparedness plan by attending a voluntary public meeting, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced today.

There will be two informational and planning sessions open to members of the public who wish to inform the county about their emergency preparedness needs in the event of a natural or manmade disaster:
  • Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 6-8 p.m. at Oakland County International Airport Main Terminal, J. David VanderVeen Conference Center, 6500 Patterson Parkway, Waterford
  • Monday, Oct. 23 from 6-8 p.m. at Farmington Hills Fire Station No. 5, 21455 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
“With the public’s involvement, we will work together to identify ways to improve our emergency preparedness,” Patterson said. “That is why we encourage residents and business owners to attend.”

Oakland County updates its hazard mitigation plans every five years to keep residents, businesses, and organizations well prepared and vigilant in compliance with federal requirements.

“Emergency preparedness planning helps to identify policies and actions that can be implemented over the long term to reduce risk and mitigate future losses,” said Thomas Hardesty, manager of Oakland County Homeland Security Division.

About Oakland County Homeland Security Division
The Oakland County Homeland Security Division is dedicated to supporting Oakland County cities, villages, and townships through a coordination of effort for logistical support during emergency operations by enhancing all-hazard preparedness along with comprehensive homeland security initiatives and first responder training. It develops and coordinates programs for natural, technological, national security, and nuclear/chemical/biological emergencies/disasters affecting Oakland County. For more information, go to OakGov.com/HomelandSecurity.

Hundreds celebrate opening of Flanders Park

Excerpt

Nearly 200 people turned out recently to celebrate the official opening of Flanders Park.

The park sits on a portion of the lot where Flanders Elementary School used to be. The school was opened in 1962 and was officially closed in 2010. The original principal, Frank Delewsky, was one of many former staff members and alumni in attendance at the party.

Read more

Industrial design: decor with an edge

Excerpt

Detroit may be the Motor City but Detroit Metal City may be just as apt.

The birthplace of Henry Ford’s assembly line and the automobile, our industrial roots run deep. Factories didn’t just churn out the products that helped define this region, they helped define us.

Read more

These 7 scary-looking Michigan craft brews aren't waiting for Halloween

Excerpt

There’s no need to wait until Halloween to get your scare on. 

Some craft beverage makers add a little anxiety to their ales, some horror to their honey mead, and screams to their stout.  At least that’s the impression you get looking at some of the labels on a few Michigan brews.

Read more

Tradition meets modern conveniences at The Lyon theater

Excerpt: 

There was a time when most  towns had a downtown movie theater — a place with one large screen where you'd walk up to get your ticket without going through the lobby of a multi-plex.

A fixture on E. Lake Street since the 1945, The Lyon is still that kind of theater. It reopened last month after  remodeling that includes new seats.

Read more

Make campground reservations 11 months in advance

Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s campgrounds are nearing the end of their season but now is the time for campers to make plans for next year as reservations can be made 11 months in advance.

Reservations are now open for summer 2018 including the major holiday weekends – Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.  In addition to campsites, Oakland County Parks’ two campgrounds, Addison Oaks near Oxford and Groveland Oaks in Holly, have four, four-person cabins each. Both also offer six-person cabins and yurts featuring two bunks and a queen bed. Pavilions are also available for rental.

There’s always plenty to do at OCPR campgrounds including foot and hand-pedal boat rentals and sand volleyball courts. Entertainment includes music, arts and crafts, games and contests. Campers also receive visits from the Oakland County Parks dunk tank, climbing wall and other mobile recreation units.

Addison Oaks is a 1,140-acre park with a "North woods" atmosphere, featuring two lakes, bicycle, kayak and canoe rentals, disc golf course, more than 20 miles of trail including a 2.5 mile paved loop, an inflatable waterslide and more. Groveland Oaks is a family camping park featuring a swimming beach with spiraling waterslide, large playscape, 18-hole mini golf course, skateboard park, paved hiking trails, specialty bike rental, bike skills course, arcade and big screen movies.

To reserve a spot, call 248-858-1400. Campsites, cabins and yurts with accessible features are available. All sizes of recreational vehicles can be accommodated.

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


Oakland County wins statewide IT security award

Oakland County captured the 2017 IT Security Project of the Year award from Michigan Government Management Information Sciences (MI-GMIS) at its annual conference, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The award recognizes the county's implementation of a process to identify information security vulnerabilities in its systems before new applications are deployed.

"Once again, Oakland County's IT Department demonstrates it is full of outstanding individuals who advance and support the use of technology within government to improve efficiency and customer service," Patterson said.

The Oakland County information security team, led by Chief Information Security Officer Chris Burrows, instituted processes that test the security integrity of the county's system. Some of the steps include:
  • Penetration tests conducted both internally and externally
  • A security scan on Oakland County's system before production release for internally developed applications.
  • A risk assessment framework to help system owners determine a risk treatment plan for the vulnerabilities identified in the internal and external penetration tests.
  • Application build guidelines were developed for use in the application development phase to reduce security vulnerabilities that may be introduced in the system, and much more.
"Implementing security and risk management lowers application rework costs, lowers security assessment costs, and results in fewer application security incidents which results in cost savings for the taxpayers of Oakland County," Burrows said.
Deputy Oakland County Executive and CIO Phil Bertolini agrees that these new steps to bolster information security at the county will save taxpayers money.

"It's just common sense - identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities when developing or adding new applications is a whole lot less expensive than discovering them after launching when it could be as much as 23 times costlier to resolve," Bertolini said.

For more information about MI-GMIS and the 2017 IT Security Project of the Year award, go to MI-GMIS.org.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center named 2017 exhibit award winner

The Detroit Zoo’s Polk Penguin Conservation Center received the 2017 Exhibit Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) on September 12 during its annual conference, held this year in Indianapolis. The award is the top honor bestowed annually upon accredited institutions for excellence in exhibit design.

“This award is the highest honor in exhibit design, and recognizes the Detroit Zoo for their dedication and expertise in designing a novel, immersive habitat that provides the best in animal care and welfare as well as a superior educational experience for visitors,” said Dan Ashe, AZA president and CEO.

The penguin center opened in April 2016 and led the Detroit Zoo to record-breaking attendance last year. Among the most spectacular features of the $31-million, 33,000-square-foot facility is a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where visitors can watch more than 80 penguins of four species – king, gentoo, macaroni and rockhopper – explore their habitat. An underwater gallery with a vast acrylic window and two acrylic tunnels provides breathtaking views of the birds below water and allows guests to get nose to beak with the charismatic birds in aquatic “flight”.

“An incredible amount of creativity, ingenuity and research went into the development of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center’s unique design, including crossing the Drake Passage to Antarctica and observing thousands of penguins in the wild,” said Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). “We wanted first and foremost to create an experience that allowed the penguins to thrive and that was also thrilling for our visitors. The result is the most extraordinary conservation center for penguins in the world that redefines ‘state of the art’ for zoo penguin habitats.”

While the facility provides a remarkable experience for people, the penguin habitat itself is designed to ensure an optimal atmosphere for the welfare of the birds. Their air temperature is set to a near-freezing 37 degrees Fahrenheit and the water at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The environment encourages wild behavior, from diving and porpoising to nesting and rearing young.

Inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic expedition and epic crossing of the Drake Passage, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center evokes the harsh and visceral ice world of the southern continent, recreated in a 360-degree 4-D entry experience on the deck of Shackleton’s ship that includes blasts of polar air, sea mist and snow. Reminiscent of a tabular iceberg with a crevasse and waterfall, the striking exterior conjures the stark and beautiful Antarctic icescape.

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center was designed by Jones & Jones, architects of the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life and National Amphibian Conservation Center, and by Albert Kahn Associates, architects of the Zoo’s Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex. World-renowned polar ecologist and penguin expert Dr. Bill Fraser, director of the Polar Oceans Research Group, was a key consultant on the project.

The AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and seven other countries; there are currently 231 accredited institutions, including the Detroit Zoo, which has been continuously accredited since 1985. The AZA is dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation.

Huntington Woods named one of the top communities for runners in U.S.

Excerpt: 

Huntington Woods was one of eight cities nationwide named a Runner Friendly Community by the largest running club in the U.S. for 2017.

The city was designated for the honor by the Road Runners Club of America, which was founded in 1958 and represents 1,500 running clubs with 200,000 members.

Read more

Top five artists chosen from 232 as 2017 MI Great Artist online competition gets down to business

Five artists will vie for the top spot in the 2017 MI Great Artist online competition and a share of more than $16,000 in cash and prizes.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the finalists.

“These are supremely talented individuals,” Patterson said. “Their skill and passion is evident in the incredible works they’ve created. I encourage everyone to go to Park West Gallery and see these wonderful pieces in person.”

The finalists listed alphabetically are:
  • Meredith Lea Bailey, watercolor on paper – Rochester Hills
  • Michael Bollerud, graphite pencil on paper – Taylor
  • Margret Grace McDermott, oil on panel and linen – Clarkston
  • Thomas Tunney, oil on panel – Commerce Township
  • Jennifer M. Whaley, graphite on paper – Rochester Hills
Patterson and Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West Gallery in Southfield, launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists. They will announce the winner during an Oct. 25 reception at Park West. It begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The work of the five finalists will be on display at the gallery from Oct. 26 – Nov. 2.

The finalists were among 232 artists from Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne counties who entered the online competition in September in hopes their entries would catch the discerning eye of the public.

After more than 34,500 votes were cast, the field was whittled down to 22 artists and presented to the judges: Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, vice president of museum operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, founder of Pangborn Design Collection and a former professor at the College of Creative Studies; artist and sculptor Don Tocco; and Kristie Everett Zamora, coordinator of arts and culture for Oakland County's Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

The MI Great Artist winner will receive a $1,500 cash prize; five submitted artworks framed by Park West Gallery; a group exhibition at Park West Oct. 26– Nov. 2, with an award ceremony and reception; a scholarship to attend three Business Basics workshops at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center; a one-hour consultation with an Oakland County business development representative; their artwork featured on a poster to promote one of Oakland County’s signature quality of life events; a solo exhibition at Park West; and a two-month solo exhibition at the Oakland County Galleria in the Executive Office Building in Waterford.

Four runners-up will each receive a $375 cash prize and other services. MI Great Artist partners include Oakland County, Park West Gallery, the Economic Growth Alliance, AdvantageOakland.com and Oakland County Prosper® magazine.

Detroit's Guardian Building gets high-end glass store

Excerpt:

Shopping in downtown Detroit just got more intriguing.

Epiphany Studios of Pontiac, which sells fine-art glass, has opened a handsome pop-up store in the Guardian Building that will be around at least through the holiday season.

Read more

County employees raise nearly $20k for Hurricane Harvey victims

Oakland County employees donated $19,484 during a special Casual Week to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey. On Casual Day, employees in participating departments and divisions may donate $1 to charity to wear jeans to work. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson called for a special Casual Week from Thursday, Aug. 31 – Friday, Sept. 8 when employees could dress casually every day in exchange for a donation to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

"As County Executive, there are many reasons I am proud of your commitment, professionalism, and hard work," Patterson said in an email message last week to employees thanking them for their donations. "This week, it was your generosity for the victims of Hurricane Harvey which exceeded my expectations."

To put the employee Casual Week donations for Hurricane Harvey in perspective, when Patterson annually hands out Casual Day checks to a variety of charities at Christmas time, the combined total of those checks is usually somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000. In one week, Oakland County employees raised more than a half-year worth of Casual Day donations.

The Casual Week donations will be sent to Harris County, Texas officials who have identified a number of individuals who lost their homes due to Hurricane Harvey flood damage and need help with basic necessities.

Since its inception more than 24 years ago, Oakland County employees have donated over $850,000, touching the lives of thousands of people. No taxpayer funds are used in the Casual Day program.

Aeronautics commission names VanderVeen chair again

The members of the Michigan Aeronautics Commission have elected Oakland County Central Services Director J. David VanderVeen as their chairperson for the second time. He first served in this role in 2012. VanderVeen has managed Oakland County airports for more than four decades.

“It’s a great honor to be asked to lead the aeronautics commission again,” VanderVeen said. “We will promote Michigan’s aviation businesses and airports with an eye on growth and safety.”

Earlier this year, the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame inducted VanderVeen into its 2017 class of honorees.

“There’s a reason this has been a banner year for Dave. His aviation peers recognize that Dave’s knowledge and experience in aviation and managing airports is second to none,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed VanderVeen to the aeronautics commission in June of 2011. VanderVeen oversees Oakland County’s three airports – Oakland County International Airport (OCIA) in Waterford, Michigan’s second busiest airport; Oakland Troy Airport in Troy; and Southwest Oakland Airport in New Hudson. The nation’s first LEED Gold-certified airport terminal at OCIA opened in August of 2011 under Patterson’s and VanderVeen’s leadership. The new terminal at OCIA features wind, solar and geothermal energy; advanced insulation; LED lighting; a living wall; and other energy efficiencies.

VanderVeen holds a private pilot license and is a member of the board of directors for the Michigan Business Aviation Association. He lives in Clarkston with his wife, Shelagh. The Michigan Aeronautics Commission encourages, fosters and participates in the development of aeronautics within the State of Michigan. It also makes rules and regulations for airports, flight schools, and other aeronautics activities.

Oakland County unanimously passes budget for 2018-2020

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s balanced, three-year budget 19-0 today which invests in people and technology for fiscals 2018-2020. The county will invest in capital projects that will transform the way employees communicate and collaborate with each other as well as with the public. Plus, the budget will boost the county’s efforts to position itself as an employer of choice.

“Thank you to all elected county officials who worked together to pass a balanced, three-year budget that responsibly addresses all known fiscal issues,” Patterson said, “The budget invests in technology that will vastly improve our ability to deliver great customer service and enables us to attract and retain outstanding employees.”

The technology upgrades in the budget include:
  • A unified communications system to replace its analog telephone and voicemail systems that will provide peer-to-peer video conferencing, establish private wireless access to enable mobility, and improve connectivity among county facilities.
     
  • Replacement of the county’s financial and human resources (HR) system in order to leverage improved business processes and technology. The county will identify and implement new enterprise-wide systems which will include modules for accounting, financial planning, receivables, payables, purchasing and vendor management.
     
  • Implementation of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) which will transform the county’s working environment and improve team member satisfaction while enhancing technical security and operational performance. The benefits of VDI include increased security, easier support, and better availability. It also enables new workforce strategies such as working remotely and enabling employees to bring their own devices.
     
  • Installation of a new firearms training system for sheriff deputies which uses five interconnected borderless screens to create a fully immersive 300 degree environment that trains deputies how to continue to assess situations and expand situational awareness during high stress incidents.
Because of the improving economy, there is increased competition for new hires. Therefore, Oakland County will provide a general salary increase of three percent for fiscal 2018, one percent for 2019, and one percent for 2020.

Oakland County will continue to monitor closely whether Michigan will meet its constitutional obligation to fully fund all of its mandates on indigent defense. If the state fails to meet the requirements of the Headlee Amendment, it could cost Oakland County taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

The proposed general fund budgets for fiscals 2018, 2019, and 2020 are $454,727,322; $462,382,572; and $467,494,245, respectively. The total budgets for all funds for those years are $878,474,167; $882,515,266; and $887,209,580, respectively.

To view the budget, go to https://www.oakgov.com/mgtbud/fiscal/Pages/default.aspx.

Enjoy fall fun at Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Autumn is a fabulous time to visit the parks and explore nature at Oakland County Parks and Recreation. With comfortable temperatures and spectacular scenery, plan an October camping trip to Addison Oaks and Groveland Oaks campgrounds, check out the bounty of fall produce at the Oakland County Farmers Market and enjoy Halloween events with the family. Celebrate autumn at these upcoming activities offered through Oakland County Parks and Recreation:

 

Oct. 1

  • Hometown Harvest is set from noon-3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. This fall extravaganza will feature live music, cider and donuts, farm animals and a festive craft. Children can try their skills on a climbing tower or jump away in a bounce house. Learn about some creepy critters and enjoy the start of fall colors at Suarez Friendship Woods. This free event is open to all ages. For more information, call 248-858-7759.

 

Oct. 5

  • Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host Awesome Autumn, a program for individuals 18 and older with developmental disabilities from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 5 at Waterford Oaks County Park Activity Center, 2800 Watkins Lake Road in Waterford. The event includes accessible hayrides and dinner. Cost is $10 participant/$5 caregiver. Pre-registration only; no walk-ins. Register by Sept. 27. Payment must accompany registration form, which can be found at OaklandCountyParks.com. Call 248-424-7081 or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for more information.

Oct. 6

  • Enjoy Dog Days Weekend Oct. 6-7 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Bring your pooch for a dog-gone good time. Dog lovers will enjoy dog fly ball, a silly dog show, dog swim, doggy games and hound hayrides. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

Oct. 7

  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Health & Nutrition for a Winter Squash Nutrition Program from 8 a.m.-noon Oct. 7 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Winter squash comes in so many wonderful varieties. Find out the difference between buttercup and butternut and all the rest of the winter squash grown locally. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

  • Brownies: Bugs is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Oct. 7 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. 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.

 

  • Put on your most eccentric hat and come to the nature center to celebrate Mad Hatter Day with a Mad Hatter TREE party from 1-2:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Take a walk through the forest ad learn about some of the weird, wonderful and wackiest things about trees. Afterwards head inside for a craft, snack and of course, “Tea Time.” Cost is $7/person. Call 248-858-0916 for more information.

Oct. 10

  • Visit the Buhl Estate during the Addison Oaks Historical Tour from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 10 at Addison Oaks County Park, 1480 W. Romeo Road near Oxford. The tour includes a pasta and salad bar lunch, hayride, cider and donuts. Cost is $25/person Pre-register by Sept. 29. Payment must accompany registration form, which can be found at OaklandCountyParks.com. Details: 248-424-7081 or Adaptive@oakgov.com.

Oct. 12

  • Enjoy yoga from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. The lesson will take place on the grassy area to the west of the market building. Free yoga mats are available for the first 50 participants. This program is held in collaboration with Healthy Oakland Partnership. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

Oct. 13

  • Boo Bash I is Oct. 13-14 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road near Oxford. Enjoy frightful fun with a costume contest for all ages, campground trick or treating, Halloween face painting, inflatables, haunted house, family games, costumed DJ dance, campsite decorating contest, Halloween crafts and wagon rides. Most events take place on Saturday; see postings at campground for specific times. For more information, visit OakladCountyParks.com or call 248-693-2432. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

 

Oct. 14

  • Join Oakland County 4-H staff and discover the endless opportunities available to youth and adult volunteers from 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 14 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Children can also create a simple, fun and free make-and-take craft courtesy of Michigan State University Extension – 4-H Youth Development. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

  • Be sure to come hungry to the Oakland County Farmers Market on Oct. 14 to enjoy the Food Truck Rally. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., visitors can indulge in savory BBQ, cool treats and freshly prepared culinary creations from popular vendors. The market will be open for shopping during the Food Truck Rally. Parking will be available at the market, the Road Commission of Oakland County lot located west of the market and at the lot located north of the market. The Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Market hours are 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

 

  • Fun in the Fall is set from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 14 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Press apples into cider, enjoy a fall snack and craft a leaf-print T-shirt. Hike the trails with a naturalist to see fall colors and learn how animals are preparing for winter. Bring a light-colored T-shirt for printing. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916.

 

  • Bring the family to Autumn Magic from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 14 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Press apples into cider, enjoy a fall snack and craft a leaf-print T-shirt. Experience the magic of nature in the fall with naturalist-led activities. Bring a light-colored T-shirt for printing. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916.

 

Oct. 18

  • Visit the Buhl Estate during the Addison Oaks Historical Tour from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 18 at Addison Oaks County Park, 1480 W. Romeo Road near Oxford. The tour includes a pasta and salad bar lunch, hayride, cider and donuts. Cost is $25/person Pre-register by Sept. 29. Payment must accompany registration form, which can be found at OaklandCountyParks.com. Details: 248-424-7081 or Adaptive@oakgov.com.

Oct. 20

  • Boo Bash II is Oct. 20-21 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road near Oxford. Enjoy frightful fun with a costume contest for all ages, campground trick or treating, Halloween face painting, inflatables, haunted house, family games, costumed DJ dance, campsite decorating contest, Halloween crafts and wagon rides. Most events take place on Saturday; see postings at campground for specific times. For more information, visit OakladCountyParks.com or call 248-693-2432. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

Oct. 21

  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Master Gardeners for a Bean Necklace Program from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 21 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Make a bean necklace and learn how a bean seed grows under the ground, then plant the bean seeds at home and watch how they grow above the ground. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

  • Jr. Girl Scouts: Geocacher is set from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 2-4:30 p.m. Oct. 21 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. 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.

 

  • Skullduggery is set from 2-3:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Discover the world of local wildlife and their surroundings. Become a forensic dentist and learn the story that teeth can tell you. Have you ever wondered about how animals think? The skull tells it all. Solve mysteries by using real animal skulls and test your own teeth on a tasty snack. Cost is $4/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916.

Oct. 24

  • Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host Halloween Happiness, a program for individuals 18 and older with developmental disabilities from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 24 at Southfield Civic Center, 26000 Evergreen Road in Southfield. The event includes music, dancing, trick or treating and pizza. Cost is $10/participant and $5/caregiver. Pre-registration only; no walk-ins. Register by Oct. 16. Payment must accompany registration form, which can be found at OaklandCountyParks.com. Call 248-424-7081 or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for more information.

Oct. 26

  • Equestrian Camping is Oct. 26-29 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road near Oxford. Enjoy an opportunity to camp with your horses at this event that is open only to equestrians. For more information, visit OakladCountyParks.com or call 248-693-2432. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

Oct. 28

  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Health & Nutrition for a Legumes Nutrition Program from 8 a.m.-noon Oct. 28 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Learn about the benefits of adding legumes like dried peas and beans to your diet. Children can make a bean mosaic to take home, too. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

  • Join Oakland County 4-H staff and discover the endless opportunities available to youth and adult volunteers from 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 28 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Children can also create a simple, fun and free make-and-take craft courtesy of Michigan State University Extension – 4-H Youth Development. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

  • Trick or Trees is set from 5-8 p.m. Oct. 28 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Come dressed i your favorite costume and enjoy a Trick-or-Treat Trail, costumed characters, face painting, cider and donuts and a nocturnal nature adventure. Bring a bag for each child's treats. Cost is $5/child, $1/adult by Oct. 25; $7/child after Oct. 25. Call 248-858-0916 to register. This event is sponsored by KIND Snacks. For more information, call 248-858-0916.

 

  • Trick or Treat at the Farmers Market is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Trick or treat with market vendors and enjoy kids' games and activities. This event is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OakladCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

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


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.

Oakland County hits milestone in popular financial reporting award

Oakland County has won the Award of Excellence for its Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for the 20th year in a row. The PAFR summarizes for taxpayers how the county spends their money. It is one of the ways County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's administration works to make county government more transparent and accessible to residents.

"Winning the PAFR award every year for two decades running is a testament to our fiscal services team," Patterson said. "Excellence is a part of Oakland County's culture."

The GFOA gives the PAFR award based on reader appeal, understandability, creativity, and overall quality and usefulness of the report, among others. The GFOA established it to encourage local governments to produce a high quality PAFR based on their comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for individuals without a background in public finance.

The PAFR award follows Oakland County's Award of Excellence for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which it won earlier this month for the 26th year in a row from the GFOA.

Fiscal Services Officer Lynn Sonkiss praised the team that put the PAFR together, particularly Gaia Piir, chief of fiscal services; Dave Nelson, fiscal services supervisor; Carol Morin, chief of fiscal services; and Pam Tremble, graphic artist.

"I am very proud to work with such dedicated staff who continue to make this GFOA award possible," Sonkiss said.

To view the Fiscal 2016 PAFR, go to oakgov.com/mgtbud/fiscal, click on "Information & Publications" then "Oakland County 2016 Financial Summary."

Birmingham ranks seventh nationally for retiring foodies

Excerpt

For retiring foodies, Birmingham is nothing short of paradise.

According to the nation’s largest referral service for senior housing options, Birmingham ranks as one of the top cities  in the country for food and alcohol connoisseurs looking for independent living.

Read more

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.

Detroit Institute of Arts to celebrate Japan Gallery opening Nov. 4

Excerpt

The Detroit Institute of Arts is planning a weekend of Japanese cultural events, including holiday drop-in workshops, drawing in the galleries, bilingual puppet performances, and more to mark the opening of a new Japan Gallery on Nov. 4.

Read more

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

School's in session, but the fun continues at Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Back-to-school time may usher in the unofficial start of autumn, but there is still plenty to see and do at Oakland County Parks and Recreation. Head out for a terrific day at the golf course, savor the late summer harvest at the Oakland County Farmers Market and take time for a few more trips to the campground. Make every last moment of summer count at these upcoming activities offered through Oakland County Parks and Recreation:

 

Sept. 15

Haunted Hallows I is Sept. 15-17 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Enjoy eerie fu with Halloween crafts, inflatable bouncers, sports games, family hayrides, Halloween face painting, campsite decorating contest, costumed DJ dance, campground trick or treating and a haunted island. For the campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.


Sept. 16

Join Michigan State University Extension – Master Gardeners for an Egghead Pet program from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Children will plant grass seed in a decorated eggshell, watch it grow at home and then within days can snip the resulting “hair.” This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

Sept. 21

Enjoy an evening of country music and line dancing at the Ellis Barn Bash from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 21 at Springfield Oaks County Park. The event will include a hayride, heritage games, photo booth and s’mores. Cost is $3/person and pre-registration is required. Springfield Oaks County Park is located at 12451 Andersonville Road in Davisburg. Call 248-858-0916 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.

 

Sept. 22

Haunted Hallows II is Sept. 22-24 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Enjoy eerie fun with Halloween crafts, inflatable bouncers, sport games, family hayrides, Halloween face painting, campsite decorating contest, costumed DJ dance, campground trick or treating and a haunted island. For the campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

 

Sept. 23

Join Michigan State University Extension – Health & Nutrition for an Apple Nutrition Program from 8 a.m.-noon Sept. 23 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Find out about the different varieties of apples and what each one is best used for. There will be recipes and tastings. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.

 

Sept. 24

Shop ‘til you drop at the Oakland County Farmers Market on Sept. 24 during the Community Garage Sale. Shop for hidden treasures from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford.

 

The Fall Color Car Classic is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 24 at Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road in Clarkston. There will be door prizes, 50/50 drawing and goodie bags. Concession food will be available. Trophies will be given to the top 15 cars. Register classic cars at OaklandCountyParks.com. Cost is $12 by Sept. 15 and $15 after. Proceeds benefit Alhambra Charities for persons with developmental disabilities. For more information, call 248-673-2826.

 

Sept. 26

A 4-person Scramble Series for men and women ages 50+ is set for Sept. 26 at Springfield Oaks Golf Course, 12450 Andersonville Road in Davisburg. Check-i is at 7:30 a.m. with a shot-gun start at 8:30 a.m. Pre-pay is $132/team or $33/person. Non-pre-pay fees are $168/team; $42/person. Event includes 18 hole green fees, cart rental, continental breakfast, lunch immediately after the round, contest holes and prizes. In the event of a rain out the day of, lunch will still be provided. Rainchecks will be issued for green fees and cart rental only. Optional Skins game: $20 per team, must be paid prior to the start of the round. The registration form is available at OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, contact Tournament Director Jan Villarreal at 248-634-2261 or email SpringfieldOaks@oakgov.com.


Sept. 29

Christmas in September is Sept. 29-30 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Get in the holiday spirit in September with Christmas crafts, pictures with Santa, fireside hot cocoa, campsite decorating contest, lighted hayride, caroling with Santa, big screen movie and a DJ dance. For the campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.


Sept. 30

The Scout Badge Day Bears: Fur, Feathers ad Ferns is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Sept. 30 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. 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.


Have a ball during Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special program

As the weather gets cooler, keep children active by registering them for the Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special program from October through November.

The program, designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, features activities such as parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters and basketball. It is held in conjunction with Oakland County Parks and Recreation and the Boys & Girls Club of South Oakland County.

Saturday Sports Special events are scheduled from 9:30-11 a.m. on Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28 and Nov. 4 and 18 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak.

“Children get together with their friends, play games and have a ball,” Recreation Therapist Sandy Dorey said. “I suggest that those interested register early. This is a popular program and registration is limited to 20 participants. Individuals must pre-register for each week they plan to attend.”

For more information, contact Oakland County Parks and Recreation at 248-424-7081 or Adaptive@oakgov.com.

Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


World War I and America coming this fall to the Orion Township Public Library

The Orion Township Public Library is one of 120 institutions nationwide that was recently awarded a World War I and America grant to host a series of events about the impact of WWI in America. The grant marks the 100th anniversary of the nation’s entry into the war in 1917.

 

“We apply for grants like World War 1 and America to bring high-quality speakers to our library at minimal cost, and to speak about subjects of interest to our patrons that align with our library mission ‘To serve and engage a thriving community of life-long learners,’” said Beth Sheridan, head of adult services at the Orion Library. “We hope that veterans and their families, and any interested patrons in our community, will attend these programs which will explore the American experience of the war and its role in shaping the contemporary world.”

 

The Orion Library is hosting the following events in October and November:

 

Discussion Series

Join Oakland University’s Dr. Karen Miller as she moderates a series of three discussions of readings drawn from the book World War I and America: Told by the Americans Who Lived It. Register for the whole series or any of the evenings online, and stop by the library to pick up the readings being discussed to read ahead of time. Discussions will also include other forms of media related to each evening’s themes.


Wednesday, October 11 @ 7:00p

Why Fight? The Experience of War, Race and WWI


Wednesday, October 18 @ 7:00p

American Women at War, The Home Front: Selling Unity, Suppressing Dissent


Wednesday, October 25 @ 7:00p

America on the World Stage, At Home/Coming Home; The Toll of War
 

Book Discussion

Monday, October 16 @ 7:00p

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Copies available after September 18 at the Adult Reference desk.

 

World War I “Hello Girl,” Oleda Christides

Wednesday, November 1 @ 7:00p

Join local storyteller Lois Keel as she shares the story of how bilingual operators helped General Pershing in France.

 

PTSD: a Discussion for Veterans and Their Families with Dr. Eric BeShears, clinical psychologist with the John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Tuesday, November 14 @ 7:00p

 

The Makings of America: A WWI Home Front Story

Saturday, November 18 @ 2:00p

Historian Dennis Skupinski will present an interactive program about WWI and Michigan.

 

For more information visit orionlibrary.org/ww1america.

 

This program is part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of The Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

The Orion Township Public Library is located at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362 and is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.  For more information visit orionlibrary.org.


Free community event for family caregivers like you

Caregiver Expo: Saturday, October 14, 2017
The Area Agency on Aging 1-B (AAA 1-B) is hosting its 18th Annual Solutions for Family Caregivers Expo to provide caregivers with valuable information, answers, and links to community resources and services.

Saturday, October 14
9 a.m. -  2 p.m.
The Suburban Collection Showplace (See a map and get directions)
46100 Grand River Avenue
Novi, MI 48374

FREE Admission and Parking! 
Pre-registration not required. Registration takes place at door. 
  • Visit with over 100 exhibitors to learn more about products and services available to assist caregivers.
  • Attend expert presentations throughout the day on a variety of topics (see below).
  • “Ask The Resource Specialist” and get answers to questions on Medicare, Medicaid, prescription assistance, transportation options and learn about specific services and resources available in your community.
  • Enjoy free morning refreshments.
  • Cash and carry lunch available.
  • Door prizes & giveaways!
  • Free chair massages
Presentation Schedule:  

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

  1. How to Protect Your Assets from the Devastating Cost of Long-Term Care
    Christopher J. Berry, VA-Accredited and Certified Elder Law Attorney
    The Elder Care Firm
    Attorney Berry will share the legal steps needed to plan for the long-term care journey for yourself or a loved one, and discuss the six ways to pay for long-term care. Included will be how to plan for governmental assistance with Medicaid and the Veterans Administration (VA) Benefit.
     
  2. Me, Myself and I (Caregiver Health)
    Charlene Whitt, Certified Health Education Specialist
    Caregiving is hard work. When you work hard you should take time for yourself to maintain your own health. However, finding that time can be harder than caregiving. This session is all about you and how to find yourself again.
     
  3. Making the Most of Your Medicare Benefits
    Michael Jakubic, Director of Medicare Sales
    Health Alliance Plan (HAP)
    Are you making the most out of your Medicare benefits? HAP’s Medicare expert will help you learn the various ways to fully utilize your Medicare benefits. Michael will review Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans to help you find the best plan for you.
     
  4. Hospice: End of Life Options
    Heather McPherson, Operations Manager
    Personal Touch Home Health Care Services, Inc.
    Today Americans are living longer. With longevity, knowing your end-of-life preferences has become more important. Heather will discuss hospice, palliative care, artificial life support, DNR, advanced directives, VSED, self-determination and their differences to help you be aware of and make informed decisions.

11 a.m. to Noon

  1. Long-Term Care: Resources, Programs and Options That Can Help
    Shavon Walton, Clinical Manager
    Area Agency on Aging 1-B
    Gary Evans, Vice President of Operations
    SameAddress (A program of the AAA 1-B)
    Long-term care options can be confusing. Knowing where to turn for services to help a loved one remain at home is important to them and you. Shavon will explore options available to caregivers like home-delivered meals, personal care, homemaking, support groups and more. Gary will share an innovative senior concierge service that’s available as well as ideas about ways to help caregivers.
     
  2. The Diamond in Your Disappointment
    Beth Weber, RN, HOPE Services
    Caring for the chronically ill involves a variety of unrecognized and misunderstood losses. In this session participants will learn about chronic sorrow or living loss, gain resources to manage recurrent triggers and find the hidden treasure in their troubles so they can persevere and endure with hope.
     
  3. Medicare Advantage or Medigap? What’s the Right Fit?
    Rosemarie Cook, Medicare Sales Consultant
    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
    Too often, Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers let financial considerations drive their plan choice: Which plan has the lowest premium? How complicated is it to use? But Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplemental plans are different in approach and coverage. This session will educate you on some of the key differences between Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement plans, so you can make informed decisions.
     
  4. Caring for the Caregiver: Creating Personal Resilience
    Jane Felczak, MSN RN CPPS, Principal Quality Consultant
    Henry Ford Health System
    Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from stress, pressure or disruption. Resilience education teaches you the ability to adjust rapidly to adversity in a healthy manner, and is an integral component of personal well-being. This program was designed to bring meaningful and validated tools to participants, combining the best available data and tools with humor and honesty.

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

  1. Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behaviors
    Lauren Cetnar, BAA, CTRS, Education Program Coordinator
    Alzheimer’s Association–Greater Michigan Chapter 
    Behavior is one of the primary ways for people with dementia to communicate their needs and feelings when language is lost. However, some behavior can be challenging to caregivers. Join us to learn how to decode behavioral messages, identify common triggers, and learn strategies to help understand and cope with some of the most common behavioral challenges of dementia-related diseases.
     
  2. Finding the Right Medical Care for Your Loved One
    Chris Popp, MD, Regional Medical Director
    Oak Street Health
    Rafe Petty, PhD, Regional Vice President
    Oak Street Health
    Managing a loved one’s medical care can be daunting for family caregivers. Finding the right healthcare provider can make a huge difference. Dr. Popp and Dr. Petty will explore how to work with providers to build a productive relationship and also introduce a different approach to healthcare for adults on Medicare that emphasizes devoting more time to patients in the exam room and beyond.
     
  3. Elder Law Mini-Course for Caregivers
    Jim Schuster, J.D., Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)
    Jim Schuster gives you the practical information for managing long-term care. You’ll learn simple, inexpensive steps to take to avoid the devastating costs or making common mistakes, essential legal documents to have, and how to get all of your Medicare, Medicaid and VA benefits without losing your home or life savings. Attendees will take home an information-packed course book.
     
  4. Resources You Might Not Know About: An Information Panel
    Kelly Elswick, Resource Specialist,
    Area Agency on Aging 1-B
    Judy Rathburn, Resource/Mobility Specialist
    MyRide2/Travel and Transportation
    Jenny Jarvis, Chief Strategy Officer 
    Area Agency on Aging 1-B (Moderator, Medicare Part D Open Enrollment)
    Nikki Puroff-Main, Seniors Helping Seniors
Get More Details: 
For complete details, download the 2017Solutions for Family Caregivers ExpoFlyer, visit michigancaregiverexpo.com, or call the Area Agency on Aging 1-B at 800-852-7795.

Help Spread the Word:
If you know any other caregivers who might find the expo helpful, please pass along this info. We've made sharing easy. You can forward this email to a friend or share the event's facebook listing on your own Facebook page.

Oakland County WIC program moves to new Walled Lake location

The Oakland County Walled Lake Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office will relocate to 1010 E. West Maple Road in Walled Lake beginning Sept. 5. The new office will be east of Pontiac Trail in the same building as Easterseals. The move comes after the announcement of the Walled Lake Community Education Center’s closing.

“We are excited about our new location and to continue serving our families in the Walled Lake area,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Oakland County Health Division. “Our clients will not experience a lapse in their services due to this move.”

WIC provides free nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and peer counseling, and referrals to community services for those that qualify. The federally funded program is available to income eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum women, and to children up to age five. Additional WIC offices are located at Oakland County Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield.
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph, Building 34E, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA) also offers Oakland County WIC locations in Addison Township, Holly, Madison Heights, Pontiac, and West Bloomfield.

“We are proud to partner with the Oakland County WIC program”, said Easterseals Michigan’s president and CEO, Brent Wirth. “This innovative collaboration provides an integrated approach to behavioral health and nutrition services that will better address health disparities of children, adults and families in Oakland County.”

WIC has demonstrated positive effects on pregnancy outcomes, child growth, and development. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that obesity rates in young children enrolled in WIC have decreased both in Michigan and nationally.

For more information about Oakland County’s WIC program, visit oakgov.com/health or find Public Health Oakland on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC.
 

Southfield Michigan Works! service center relocates to Lawrence Tech campus at City Centre

The Southfield Michigan Works! service center, one of eight Oakland County centers serving both job seekers and companies looking for talent, has relocated to the Lawrence Technological University Enterprise Center in the City Centre Business District.

A grand opening ribbon-cutting is set for Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. Scheduled speakers include Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver; LTU President Dr. Virinder K. Moudgil; and Jennifer Llewellyn, workforce development manager for Oakland County. The office is located at 21415 Civic Center Drive, Suite 116, in Southfield. The Southfield location is the first Michigan Works! center to be integrated within a local university.

“The Southfield Michigan Works! center offers services to more than 25,000 people from the area each year,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The relocation of the center to the LTU campus makes us accessible to our customers and the businesses which use our services every year and should further strengthen our presence in the area.”

Michigan Works! centers offer a broad array of career management, training and placement services for those looking for jobs. The centers also provide talent recruitment, labor market information, training support and other services to businesses of all sizes. The county executive and the Oakland County Workforce Development Board provide policy, direction and oversight for the Oakland County Michigan Works! Agency.

Southfield Michigan Works! center Manager Lisa Straske said her staff of 15 is looking forward to collaborating with LTU administrators and educators on a regular basis to offer additional training and other services for in-demand jobs. LTU was recently named one of the best universities in the Midwest, according to the Princeton Review. Only 156 colleges and universities in 12 Midwestern states made the list for 2018.“

Partnering with Lawrence Tech will be reinvigorating,” Straske said. “We’re committed to providing our customers with the best resources and services available to help them return to work. This move will allow us to offer new things to even more people, including an additional population of students.”

LTU President Moudgil added, "The strength of the LTU-city of Southfield partnership has resulted in a new office located on campus that greatly enhances access to needed services for the community of job seekers and employers looking to fill good-paying jobs."

The Southfield Michigan Works! service center move was made possible in part by funding from the city's $3.6 million Centrepolis SmartZone. “Centrepolis not only creates an educational arena where start-up businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn how to take their ideas to the next level, it creates more retail, business, and residential opportunities in the heart of Southfield – making this new shared space a perfect functional fit,” Siver said.
 

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

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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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Fun for all at Ford Arts Beats & Eats

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Ford Arts Beats & Eats, the annual festival filled with artwork, live music, and mouth-watering cuisine, is back for its 20th year this Labor Day weekend. From September 1st through 4th, festival-goers will be treated to special events and performances, including the 2017 Juried Fine Art Show and 200 live performances across several stages.

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Conservation-focused Hemingway Coffee to launch online business

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A conservation-focused coffee company connected to descendants of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway is set to launch in metro Detroit this week.

Hemingway Coffee, founded by Tom Black in his Bloomfield Hills home, is an e-commerce and distribution company that appeals to outdoor and conservation enthusiasts, according to a news release.

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Visit the breathtaking Cranbrook House & Gardens

Excerpt

From exquisite gardens, to a reflecting pool, and a stunning Japanese Garden, you’ll be enthralled with all that Cranbrook House and Gardens’ 40 acres of formal, woodland, and naturalistic gardens have to offer. The manicured gardens provide the perfect backdrop to the Cranbrook House, a National Historic Landmark and the oldest manor home in Metro-Detroit.

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Canines and owners invited to special Dog Swims at Oakland County Parks

Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s waterparks will go to the dogs during the annual Dog Swims Sept. 9-10.
 
Sponsored by Camp Bow Wow in cooperation with Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, dog swims will be held:
  • Saturday, Sept. 9 – Waterford Oaks Waterpark, 1702 Scott Lake Road., Waterford
  • Sunday, Sept. 10 – Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road., Madison Heights
Dog swims are divided into 50-minute sessions beginning at noon. Dogs will be grouped according to weight. All owners must show a valid Michigan dog license and proof of vaccinations at time of event. Each time slot will be limited to 75 dogs. Check in is 30 minutes prior to scheduled swim. Health department rules mandate no people are allowed in the water.
 
Registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com. The cost for pre-registration is $10 and includes a souvenir for the dog’s owner, waterpark entry, a swim session for the dog and contest entry. Contests will include best wet look and best swimsuit.  Mailed registration must be postmarked by Sept. 1. Email or fax registration accepted through noon, Sept. 6. On-site registration will be $15, based on availability.
 
For additional details email Dogs@oakgov.com.
 
Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

LTU event to show how Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Immersive Reality affect business

From immersive virtual reality (VR) caves to head-mounted devices (HMDs) to augmented reality (AR) headsets and more, a program at Lawrence Technological University will give attendees a chance to learn about these new tools in a relaxed environment and discover the positive impact they may have on the way business gets done.
 
Join the LTU Collaboratory on Thursday, Sept. 7 for a symposium from 8 a.m. to noon in the UTLC Gallery on the LTU campus, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield, for a hands-on demonstrations of the DAQRI Smart Helmet, the Microsoft Hololens, the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and a demonstration of immersive cave technology.
 
Expert presenters will include:
  • Jeff Brum from Mechdyne, on applications of virtual reality from training firefighters to developing a virtual aquarium for a research institute
  • Simon Wealans from DAQRI on how the smart helmet they developed can use augmented reality to save lives on the battlefield, help first responders in cities, and train new workers
  • Steve Couchman from LivePicture on how virtual reality headsets can be used in a design or marketing workflow
Registration is $15 if booked online at www.ltucollaboratory.com/events/ar-vr-ir-oh-my, or $20 at the door. A continental breakfast is included.
 
The event is sponsored by the LTU Collaboratory in partnership with the City of Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
 
For more information on how the LTU Collaboratory can help your company innovate and grow, visit www.ltucollaboratory.com.
 
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.

34,500+ public votes whittle down 232 artists as MI Great Artist Competition teduced to top 22

Fourteen Oakland County residents, five from Macomb County and three from Wayne County are the 22 artists who have a chance at becoming the 2017 MI Great Artist winner.
 
More than 34,500 public votes were cast in 12 days during the online art competition. The field of 232 entrants was reduced to 22 semi-finalists for consideration by a panel of judges. Originally the top 20 artists were to be selected but the closeness of the voting and the quality of the entries made it necessary to include the additional two artists.
 
“I continue to be amazed by the work of these talented artists and how the public has embraced the competition,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “In less than two weeks, we had more than 34,500 votes – 15,000 more than we had last year. The contest gets bigger and better each year. I thank the artists for entering and congratulate those whose work will go before the judges.”
 
A panel of judges will review the work of the semi-finalists beginning Tuesday and announce the five finalists on September 19. Their work will be displayed at Park West Gallery in October. Patterson and Park West Gallery founder and CEO Albert Scaglione launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists. They will announce the winner at an evening gallery reception on October 25. The finalists will share a prize package worth more than $16,000.
 
The judges are Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, vice president of museum operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, founder of Pangborn Design Collection and a former professor at the College of Creative Studies; artist and sculptor Don Tocco; and Kristie Everett Zamora, arts and culture coordinator for Oakland County's Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

The semi-finalists listed alphabetically are:
  • Meredith Lea Bailey - Rochester Hills
  • Michael Bollerud – Taylor
  • Nancy Jane Byrum – Wyandotte
  • Hailey Callahan - Rochester   
  • Rick Cook - Chesterfield
  • Caroline Del Giudice - Detroit 
  • Lacy Draper – Roseville
  • Kim F. Fujiwara - Rochester Hills
  • Andrew Groen - Rochester Hills
  • Margret Grace McDermott – Clarkston
  • Allison Michelini - West Bloomfield
  • Claudia Monet - Waterford
  • Kelly O'Hara - St. Clair Shores
  • Wendy C. Popko -Sterling Heights
  • Rachel Quinlan – St. Clair Shores
  • Arthur Mervyn Richards III - Madison Heights
  • Kimberly Kelly Santini - Lake Orion
  • William Bradshaw Ten Eick - West Bloomfield
  • Ellen Anne Tessada - Rochester Hills
  • Vasundhara Tolia - Bloomfield Hills
  • Thomas Tunney - Commerce
  • Jennifer M. Whaley - Rochester Hills
 
The MI Great Artist winner will receive $1,500; five submitted artworks framed by Park West Gallery; a group exhibition in October at Park West Gallery in Southfield, with an award ceremony and reception Oct. 25; and a selection of business services from the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center; among other prizes
 
Four runners-up will each receive $375 and other services.
 
MI Great Artist partners include Oakland County, Park West Gallery, AdvantageOakland.com and Oakland County Prosper® magazine. 
 

Turbine truck to speed down runway at OCIA Air Show

A Ford F-450 with three jet engines will throttle up at this year’s Oakland County International Airport (OCIA) Open House & Air Show on Sunday, Aug. 27. Homewrecker, a jet semi performance by McCart Jet Motorsports, is the newest act that will blow the hair off air show spectators.

“Homewrecker is expected to draw both aircraft and automotive enthusiasts alike as it speeds down the runway with the roar of its jet engines,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Of course, our aerial acts will continue to dazzle the crowd with some death-defying aerobatics, thanks to the many sponsors that support this family-friendly event.”

The OCIA Open House & Air Show Committee gave fans more of what they love by extending the air show from an hour to an hour-and-a-half last year. This year’s airshow will again run from 2-3:30 p.m. because of last year’s success.

Michael Vaknin of Dacy Airshows will have spectators on the edge of their seats with gyroscopic and high-g maneuvers in his Extra 300 airplane. Greg Koontz and the Alabama Boys combine comedy with aviation antics culminating in the landing of a Piper Cub on top of a moving pick-up truck.

Kevin Copeland of KC Aerosports in Traverse City was set to return this year, but he died in a tragic motorcycle accident last month. Copeland was a big part of the air show family who will be missed by many. The OCIA Open House & Air Show Committee sent condolences to his family.

Two World War II-era planes from Liberty Aviation Museum of Port Clinton, Ohio will make their first appearances at the open house – a B-25 bomber named “Georgie’s Gal,” a fresh B-25 restoration, and a Lake Erie Warbirds TBM Avenger, a dive bomber. They will join over 50 aircraft on the ground with which open house attendees can interact such as the Tuskegee motor gliders, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office helicopter and hovercraft, and University of Michigan Survival Flight helicopter.

“We love hosting a variety of warbirds at our annual open house and air show,” said J. David Vanderveen, Oakland County director of central services who oversees the airport. “There is just something about these restored planes once flown by the Greatest Generation that captures the imagination.”

Individuals can take-off in a helicopter for $35 or an airplane for $25 per adult, $20 for kids under 12, and $55 for one adult and two kids.

For children there will be a play area equipped with bounce houses and a rock wall. Bill Crell, “The NASA Guy,” will show off his latest experiments and demonstrations. Plus, there will be a health and safety fair from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. including the Michigan Child ID Program, which informs families about abduction prevention and provides fingerprinting for children.

Attendees also may tour the nation’s first LEED-Gold certified general aviation terminal. Open since 2011, the eco-friendly terminal features solar panels and wind turbines, solar hot water heater, and a geothermal field all designed to reduce energy consumption. Today, the terminal has reduced its energy consumption by 44 percent.

“Whether you’re an aviation buff or just a kid deep down inside, the Open House & Air Show has something for everyone,” said Louis Martin, chair of the OCIA Open House & Air Show Committee. “This truly is an event the whole family can enjoy.”

OCIA’s 32nd annual open house hours will be from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. General admission is free. There is a $5 fee per vehicle for parking. For more information, go to www.OakGov.com/aviation or go to OCIA’s Facebook page at OakGovAirport and click on events. The airport is located at 6500 Patterson Parkway in Waterford.

The OCIA Open House & Air Show Committee would like to thank its sponsors: Suburban Ford, Page Toyota, ABC Harley Davidson, Aviation Station, Magnum Helicopters, Oscar W. Larson, Corrigan Oil, Encompass Management Group, and LL Johns & Associates.

Showplace to host Brickworld LEGO Exposition

Excerpt

Brickworld is excited be bringing a premiere LEGO display and exposition to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The event will fill 40,000 square feet with displays, interactive activities and vendors.

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Mirror Dog Productions announces Michigan premiere of feature film Urban Myths September 29th

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Mirror Dog Productions announced that their feature film, Urban Myths, will premiere on September 29 at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan. The premiere will also serve as a charity fundraiser to benefit The Rainbow Connection. Urban Myths is a paranormal suspense thriller, drawing from ancient American tribal cultures and set in the deep woods of Michigan, all in a family-friendly format.

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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. 

Detroit Zoo's camel family grows by two humps

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There are two new humps in the Detroit Zoo's camel family.

Nine-year-old Bactrian camel Suren gave birth to a 125-pound female calf named Rusi on July 31, according to the zoo.

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Oakland County presents 3rd Annual Breastfeeding-Friendly Place Awards

Oakland County Health Division’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, in partnership with the Oakland County Breastfeeding Coalition, celebrated World Breastfeeding Week this morning by holding the 3rd Annual Breastfeeding-Friendly Place Awards. Three Oakland County organizations were awarded top prize in their respective category for taking extra steps to support breastfeeding mothers.

The award recipients are:
 
• Business Category – Pee Wee Patch in Lake Orion
• Pediatrician Category – Serenity Pediatrics in Bloomfield Hills
• Employer Category – South Oakland Shelter in Lathrup Village
 
“Organizations that support breastfeeding help lessen social stigma, and create an environment that is reassuring and open,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County Health Division. “Reducing breastfeeding barriers encourages mothers to start and continue breastfeeding, to the best of their ability, as the primary feeding method for their child.”
 
Nominations were submitted by employees, patients, or customers during the submission period (March 1-April 28), and then scored by WIC staff and members of the Oakland County Breastfeeding Coalition using the Health Division’s appraisal questionnaire. The questionnaire indicates an organization’s existing breastfeeding-friendly practices such as having a written policy in support of breastfeeding at the workplace and a quiet, private space for breastfeeding moms. Winners received plaques to commemorate the honor, and all nominated organizations were recognized with a certificate for their efforts.
 
Breastmilk helps keep babies healthy by:
 
• Supplying all necessary nutrients in proper proportions
• Protecting against diseases, infections, allergies, and obesity
• Being easily digested - reduced constipation, diarrhea, or upset stomach
 
Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They may find it easier to return
to their pre-pregnancy weight. Plus, breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mother and child. Mothers who are able to pump while at work and continue to breastfeed their infants miss fewer days of work on average than those who are formula feeding.
 
“We are proud to support these nominated organizations that are taking extra steps to encourage breastfeeding wherever people may play, work, or visit.” Jennifer Day, Chairperson of Oakland County Breastfeeding Coalition. “They are helping to create a baby-friendly community and deserve to be recognized.”
 
The Oakland County WIC program has a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor with specialized training to provide education and support to clients. To reach the Oakland County WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, call 248-431-1403.
 
For more information regarding breastfeeding, call Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533, visit www.oakgov.com/health. Find up to date public health information on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC.

About World Breastfeeding Week

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and the celebration kicks off with World Breastfeeding Week. This annual celebration is held every year from the 1st -7th of August in more than 120 countries, and promotes breastfeeding as one of the most effective steps a mother can take to protect the health of her baby. For more information, please visit http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org

Shelby Paint and Decorating to use all Michigan-made paint

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Shelby Paint and Decorating announced it will sell the company’s original Motor City Paint and Stain at its locations in Shelby Township, Rochester Hills, and Grosse Pointe Woods.

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Budding soap mogul invited to speak at conference

Excerpt

For such a young man, Spencer Kelly is certainly accomplishing a lot in life.

Last year, the Oxford Virtual Academy/homeschooled student unleashed his entrepreneurial spirit and founded his own business.

This year, Spencer, an Orion Township resident, will be a panelist and exhibitor at the US Autism & Asperger Association’s (USAAA) 12th Annual World Conference and Expo to be held in Portland, Oregon Aug. 24-27.

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Zingerman's Cornman Farms, Planterra Conservatory named top 22 garden wedding venues in the world

Harper’s Bazaar recently named Zingerman’s Cornman Farms and Planterra Conservatory to its list of “The 22 Best Garden Wedding Venues in the World.”  As the only midwest locations chosen, both venues are honored to be showcased among outdoor spaces from California and New York to Italy and South Africa.

Harper’s partnered with the experts at The Venue Report to curate the list of wedding venues, which are described as “22 polished yet pastoral gardens...wish a dose of formality” suited for couples looking to wed in a natural setting. Writer Carrie Goldberg highlights the perks of exchanging nuptials at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms in Dexter, Michigan as well as Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield:

Cornman Farms features a historic barn, farmhouse, gardens, animal quarters, and space for tents or lawn games. Watch chefs prepare an intimate farm-to-table feast dinner or host an al fresco evening in the garden.

With European curved trusses, indoor koi ponds and a dramatic stone archway, the Planterra Conservatoryhouses a wide collection of lush, exotic botanicals. Providing views of the stars on a clear night and soft, natural light during the day, this venue is practically perfect for any party and promises stellar light for photos.”

Kieron Hales, Executive Chef and Owner at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms is thrilled with the recognition.

“I’m super excited that the four years of work on the grounds of the property has gotten to a stage where we can get nationally recognized and placed on a list with so many beautiful venues, including our good friends at Planterra. To be on a list with them is a real honor,” says Kieron, adding that he’s very proud of the staff who’ve worked so hard to improve the grounds, especially the crew that has put in painstaking efforts this year.

David DiVincenzo, Special Events Director at Planterra, shares in the excitement and said it’s amazing to see his and his team’s vision recognized in the national spotlight.

“It is truly an honor to be featured on this select list of exquisite wedding venues.   We are delighted to have such a wonderful team of gifted designers and dedicated horticulturists who create such a unique and stunning environment in which our couple’s visions come to life.”
 
About Zingerman’s Cornman Farms
Zingerman’s Cornman Farms is a historic, multi-award winning event space, wedding venue and working farm in Dexter, Michigan. The 42-acre farm and its venues were restored from their 1834 foundations with the most discerning guests in mind. Featuring a beautiful exhibition kitchen, chef’s garden, a classic farmhouse, four-season barn and a stunning tent pavilion, guests can enjoy the beauty of the countryside just minutes from downtown Ann Arbor. Learn more at www.cornmanfarms.com.
 
About Planterra
The Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield Michigan is a glass enclosed botanical garden, full service event and wedding venue. The curved truss structure was imported from Belgium in 2009, and is the headquarters for Planterra Corporation, an interior landscape firm serving corporate and institutional customers with tropical plants and horticulture service throughout the U.S. Planterra hosts an award-winning team of in-house floral and event designers, horticulturalists and hospitality professionals. More information on the Planterra Conservatory can be found at http://planterraevents.com

Public online voting begins Thursday for next MI Great Artist

Think you have an eye for art?

Here’s your chance to get an eye full as online public voting begins Thursday at noon for the 2017 MI Great Artist competition. Artists from Oakland, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, St. Clair, Shiawassee and Wayne counties – 231 of them – entered the competition in hopes their work catches the eye of the voting public. The 231 will be whittled down to the top 20 semi-finalists and then the final five artists, who will share of a prize package worth more than $16,000.

“This is the most entries we’ve ever had – more than double our previous high of 109 artists,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “I expect we could top 30,000 votes cast. There is so much talent in the region. I encourage everyone to go online and vote for their favorites.”

Individuals may vote for their favorite artist at www.MIGreatArtist.com once every 24 hours. You may vote for as many artists as you like each day but you can vote for an individual artist only once every 24 hours when the system resets and allows additional voting. Voting ends at noon Aug. 28.

Patterson and Park West Gallery founder and CEO Albert Scaglione launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists.

Artwork from the top 20 artists will be posted on the website Aug. 30. Judges will review the top 20 beginning Sept. 5 and will announce the top five Sept. 19. There will be an exhibition of the five semi-finalists at Park West in October. Patterson and Scaglione will announce the winner at an evening gallery reception Oct. 25.

The judges are Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, vice president of museum operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, founder of Pangborn Design Collection and a former professor at the College of Creative Studies; Don Tocco, an artist whose work includes award-winning photography, paintings and portrait sculptures of famous global leaders; and Kristie Everett Zamora, arts and culture coordinator for Oakland County's Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

The MI Great Artist winner receives $1,500; five submitted artworks framed by Park West Gallery; their artwork featured on a poster to promote one of Oakland County’s signature quality of life events, printed by Park West Gallery; a solo exhibition at Park West Gallery; and a two-month solo exhibition at the Oakland County Galleria in the Executive Office Building in Waterford and business counseling services from the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Four runners-up will each receive $375; framing by Park West Gallery and other services.

MI Great Artist partners include Oakland County, Park West Gallery, AdvantageOakland.com and Oakland County Prosper® magazine.

Oakland County continues digital winning streak

Oakland County is among the most digitally-advanced counties in the United States for the 13th year in a row, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The 2017 Digital Counties Survey by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) has ranked Oakland County among the top counties that maximize services and improve transparency through the strategic use of technology.

“The ongoing innovation by Oakland County’s information technology team delivers high-quality, cost-effective services both to our customers as well as other governments,” Patterson said. 

“Our commitment to digital excellence continues to garner national recognition.”

Among Oakland County’s IT achievements is collaborating with other governments in the cloud. The county launched G2G Cloud Solutions (G2Gcloud.com) to improve government services by sharing technology with other government agencies at little or no cost, thereby reducing the cost of government. The county also developed G2G Marketplace (G2Gmarket.com) to offer solutions from government partners and approved vendors to government agencies through an online store experience.

“Everything we do is about discovering more efficient ways to deliver government services through the use of technology while collaborating with other governments,” Deputy County Executive/CIO Phil Bertolini said. “G2G Cloud Solutions and G2G Marketplace are the result of our vision as a digital county.”

Todd Sander, CDG executive director, said being a digital county plays a key role in serving residents.

“Digital counties are leveraging technology to improve the ways they conduct business and engage with citizens in increasingly innovative and exciting ways. The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their work to reduce costs, encourage citizen engagement, increase efficiencies and proactively address citizen expectations,” Sander said.

NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said being a digital county helps residents while saving taxpayers money.

“As technology continues to grow in all facets of our lives, county governments are adapting and innovating. The Digital Counties Survey spotlights how counties deploy technology to enhance services and benefit residents while being responsible stewards of taxpayer resources,” Chase said.

For more information about the 2017 Digital Counties Survey, go to http://bit.ly/CDG-DigitalCos2017.

Tech upgrades in Patterson's budget recommendation

Oakland County will transform the way employees communicate and collaborate with each other as well as with the public by investing in a unified communications system to replace its analog telephone and voicemail systems. That’s one of several technology upgrades County Executive L. Brooks Patterson calls for in his balanced budget recommendation for fiscal years 2018-2020.“

Over the next five years, we’ll make a significant investment in capital projects that will maintain and improve technology,” Patterson said.

The unified communications system will provide peer-to-peer video conferencing, establish private wireless access to enable mobility, and link all county facilities. Some of its high-tech features include:
  • Conversion to a digitally based Voice Over Internet Protocol
  • Campus-wide wireless cloak to allow access for employees and guests
  • Video calling to/from all devices on the network
  • Expanded use of instant messaging
  • Expanded network capacity to allow faster communications
Other county technology projects include replacement of the county’s financial and human resources (HR) system, implementation of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and installation of a new firearms training system for sheriff deputies:
  • Oakland County’s current PeopleSoft Financial and HR System lacks many of the work process improvements offered by more modern systems because its HR component is nearly 20 years old and its financial component is over a decade old. The county will identify and implement new enterprise-wide systems which will include modules for accounting, financial planning, receivables, payables, purchasing and vendor management. Not only will the county be able to perform these key functions more efficiently, but it will help improve transparency by making records more accessible and easier to compile.
  • VDI will transform the county’s working environment and improve team member satisfaction while enhancing technical security and operational performance. It is the practice of running a user desktop inside a virtual machine that lives on a server in the county’s datacenter. The benefits of VDI include increased security, easier support, and better availability. It also enables new workforce strategies such as working remotely and enabling employees to bring their own devices.
  • The firearms training system requested by the Sheriff’s Office is a simulator which uses five interconnected borderless screens to create a fully immersive 300 degree environment that trains deputies how to continue to assess situations and expand situational awareness during high stress incidents.
Patterson’s recommended budget also will boost the county’s efforts to position itself as an employer of choice. Because of the improving economy, there is increased competition for new hires. Therefore, Oakland County will provide a general salary increase of three percent for fiscal 2018, one percent for 2019, and one percent for 2020.

“Competition in the labor market is evident and it is becoming more of a challenge to recruit and retain experienced, high-quality employees,” Patterson said. “Thus, the recommended budget includes slight incremental adjustments to employee compensation.”

Other items of interest in Patterson’s proposed budget include funding to assist local communities with road improvements:
  • The Tri-Party Road Funding program leverages county dollars for county road improvements with an equal match amount from the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) as well as the participating local community. The proposed budget assumes the Board of Commissioners will continue to authorize $2 million annually for this discretionary program, leveraging a total of $6 million annually.
  • The pilot Bi-Party Road Funding program to assist local cities and villages with local residential and commercial road improvements in an effort to attract, retain and grow business; retain jobs and encourage community investment; and maintain a safe road infrastructure. It will leverage $1 million of county funds for local road improvement projects with a total benefit of no less than $2 million.
The proposed general fund budgets for fiscals 2018, 2019, and 2020 are $454,704,473; $462,359,483; and $467,470,913, respectively. The total budgets for all funds for those years are $878,423,569; $882,464,428; and $887,158,499, respectively.
“This budget recommendation was accomplished through a partnership of all Oakland County officials. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Oakland County employees for their dedication and hard work,” Patterson said.

To view Patterson’s budget recommendation, go to www.OakGov.com/fiscal and click on “Information & Publications.”

RE/MAX releases June metro Detroit housing report, home prices up 7.5 percent

Excerpt

RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan released its latest housing report of metro Detroit for the month of June.

The shortage of available homes continues to impact the market, driving up home prices. A total of 5,271 homes were sold this June, meaning home sales have increased 0.6 percent from last year. Home prices are 7.5 percent higher than last year, with a June median sales price of $206,502. Oakland County saw the biggest increase in home prices over last year at 10 percent. However, Livingston, Macomb, and Oakland counties each saw decreases in total home sales.

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Rochester plans ribbon cutting for bicentennial

Excerpt

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

The city will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Rochester Municipal Park.

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Legal street racing registration open for Dodge's Roadkill Nights

Excerpt

Auburn Hills automaker FCA US announced that registration is open for legal drag racing on Woodward Avenue as part of the Roadkill Nights event, sponsored by Dodge and TEN: The Enthusiast Network, which will take place on Aug. 12 at the M-1 Concourse in Pontiac. The drag racing event and car festival has a total cash purse of $29,000, with $10,000 awarded to the fastest Dodge car.

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River otters move to renovated habitat at Detroit Zoo

Excerpt

The Detroit Zoo announced that the North American river otters are moving into a newly-renovated and expanded habitat. Following a gift from the Edward Mardigian Family Foundation, the habitat was increased to 2,500 square feet of space from 680 square feet, highlighted by new indoor and outdoor elements.

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Soak up the sunshine at Oakland County Parks and Recreation this August

The hustle and bustle of a busy summer give way to long, sunshine-filled days in August. Savor every last moment of summer by enjoying a relaxing day at the campground, splashing around at the waterpark, hitting the links and taking the family to these upcoming activities offered through Oakland County Parks and Recreation:
 
Aug. 2
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com. 
Aug. 3
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 4
  • Enjoy a wet and wacky weekend with water wars, bubble blast, water color art, H20 inflatables, dunk tank, paddleboat races, slip and slide, wagon rides, DJ dance and band Aug. 4-5 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
Aug. 5
  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Health & Nutrition for a Blueberry Nutrition Program from 8 a.m.-noon Aug. 5 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Come out and try Michigan blueberries and learn how to purchase them for quality and how to store and preserve them. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • Join Oakland County Parks and Recreation for Air Fair from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 at Groveland Oaks County Park, 14555 Dixie Highway, Holly. The event includes hot air balloons, inflatable bouncers, avian presentation, glider demo, balloon crafts, remote controlled airplanes, kite making, hayrides, food vendors, face painters, big screen movie, DJ dances and a band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Oakland County Wheelchair Daze – Presented by the Filippis Foundation, a program for individuals of all ages with any form of disability and their immediate families, will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 at Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Presented by the Filippis Foundation, the event includes carnival games, barrier-free boat rides, music, dancing, cotton candy and BBQ lunch. The entire event is free, including park admission and parking. Wheelchair Daze is sponsored by Canine Companions for Independence, Cascade Dafo, Chantel Giacalone, Crawl Walk Jump Run Therapy Clinic, MobilityWorks Restorative Medical and Colony Marine. Pre-register by July 25 at OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-424-7081. For more information, email Adaptive@oakgov.com.
  • A Let’s Be Scientists Mini-class is set from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Head to the nature center for a day of experiments, learning and fun. Make soda geysers, do an experiment with skittles, make a concoction to take home and more. This is a kids-only event, so leave parents at the door. All supplies and snack are included. The program is suitable for children ages 5 and older. A signed release form is required with registration. Cost is $12/child. For more information or to register, call 248-858-0916.
Aug. 7
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 9
  • Come out for Make a Splash: Wookie Wednesday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9 at Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford Oaks County Park, 1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford. Come dressed as an intergalactic character and enjoy the following activities: Water gun T-shirt tie-dye (participants need to bring their own light colored T-shirt), pool noodle lightsabers craft, nature activity and Nerf gun target practices. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 10
  • Enchanted Forest Friends is 10:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 10 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Don your wings or pointed hats and join us for a program exploring those elusive forest friends: Fairies and Gnomes. Learn the difference between these two mythical beings and discover what makes them magical. Enjoy a treat and a story, then head outside to spot any evidence of their mischief. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. 
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 11
  • Funtastic Family Fest is Aug. 11-13 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Enjoy fun family times featuring games and contests, comedy magic show, dodgeball, face and body painting, nature hike, dunk tank, creative crafts, scavenger hunt, paddleboat races, hayrides, big screen movie, DJ dances and a band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Enjoy a Corn Roast Aug. 11-12 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. Dine on roasted corn and potatoes and enjoy a corn-on-the-cob-eating contest, inflatables, face painters, DJ/karaoke, pie eating contest, corn husk figures, wagon rides and a band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
Aug. 14
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 15
  • Behind the Scenes Mini-Camp is set from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 15-16 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Ever wonder what naturalists do behind the scenes? Go off trail, peek into a nest box, help feed the nature center’s captive animals and more. This mini-camp is a must for any naturalist-in-training. Crafts and snacks will be provided each day. Dress for the weather; hiking shoes are a must. A signed release form is required with registration. Cost is $10/child for one day or $17/child for both days. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or Wint Nature Center at 248-625-6473 on Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. 
Aug. 16
  • Behind the Scenes Mini-Camp is set from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 16 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Ever wonder what naturalists do behind the scenes? Go off trail, peek into a nest box, help feed the nature center’s captive animals and more. This mini-camp is a must for any naturalist-in-training. Crafts and snacks will be provided each day. Dress for the weather; hiking shoes are a must. A signed release form is required with registration. Cost is $10/child. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or Wint Nature Center at 248-625-6473 on Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 17
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com. 
Aug. 18
  • Bikes, Balloons and Balls is Aug. 18-20 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Ride and roll with bike races and contests, team ball games, balloon crafts, relay races, big screen movie, clown, hayrides, DJ dances and a concert under the stars. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Enjoy recreation activities, DJ dance and band Aug. 18-19 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400. 
Aug. 19
  • NatureFit: Kayak/Try It! is set from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Aug. 19 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. If you have ever wanted to try kayaking, this beginners program is for you. Learn kayaking basics and enjoy a naturalist-guided tour exploring the highlights of beautiful Crooked Lake. This program is suitable for ages 11 through adult. Up to one hour will be spent on the water; meet at the Independence Oaks Boathouse. Space is limited so register early. Cost is $8/person, which includes kayak rental, water and snack. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or Wint Nature Center at 248-625-6473 on Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • A Pet Vaccination Clinic will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 19 at Orion Oaks Dog Park. No appointment is needed; everyone welcome. A number of dog and cat vaccines will be available along with heartworm tests, flea protection, microchips and dog licenses. All are available for a nominal fee; cash is preferred, but MasterCard, Visa and Discover are accepted as well. The vaccination clinic is presented by All About Animals and the Dog License event is presented by Animal Control & Pet Adoption Center. For pet safety, bring dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier. Orion Oaks Dog Park is located on Joslyn Road between Clarkston and Scripps roads. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Get involved with BMX Racing at Waterford Oaks County Park. A BMX Free Trial Day is from 2-5 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Waterford Oaks BMX Track, 1702 Scott Lake Road in Waterford. There will be no charge for admission, bike rentals, helmet rentals or track time during the event. Long sleeve shirt, pants and closed-toe shoes (no Crocs) required. Bring a peg-free bike and/or full-face helmet if available. The fun will include free inflatables (socks required), climbing tower, bike safety checks courtesy of Performance Bicycle of Bloomfield Hills and USA BMX Membership sign ups. Enter to win BMX T-shirts and Family Fun Passbooks. This event is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Call 248-858-0915 for more information.
  • Insect Safari is 2-4 p.m. Aug. 19 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Spend some time investigating the creeping, crawling and fluttering world of insects. Expand your knowledge of these colorful creatures through hands-on and interactive experiences including sweep net exploration. A ‘bee-licious’ snack will be provided in celebration of National Honey Bee Day. Come dressed for the weather. This program is suitable for ages 5 and older. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 24
  • Be sure to come hungry to the Oakland County Farmers Market on Aug. 24 to enjoy the Food Truck Rally. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., visitors can indulge in savory BBQ, cool treats and freshly prepared culinary creations from popular vendors. The market will be open for shopping during the Food Truck Rally. Parking will be available at the market, the Road Commission of Oakland County lot located west of the market and at the lot located north of the market. The Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Market hours are 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Aug. 25
  • It’s Epic Eras weekend Aug. 25-27 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Get in the groove with tie-dying, hula hoop dance demo, pie eating contest, team games, Tin Can Campers vintage trailers, glow crafts, face painting, hayrides, big screen movie, DJ dances and a black light bash with an oldies band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Go Back in Time Aug. 25-26 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. Go retro with tie-dying, hip headbands, hula hoop dance demo, candy bar bingo, face painting, neon glow crafts, team games, wagon rides, black light bash, DJ dance and an oldies band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
Aug. 26
  • Join Oakland County 4-H staff and discover the endless opportunities available to youth and adult volunteers during Family Market Day from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Participate in a children’s activity about healthy eating. Get ideas for healthy school and work lunches as well as information on nutrition and food safety from the Michigan State University Extension - Health & Nutrition. Also, children can create a simple, fun and free make-and-take craft with Michigan State University Extension – 4-H Youth Development. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Master Gardeners for a Daisy Dying Program from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. By placing daisies in colored water, participants will discover how plants take up food through their roots and stems to produce flowers, fruits and leaves. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • A 4-person Scramble Series for men and women ages 50+ is set for Aug. 29 at Springfield Oaks Golf Course, 12450 Andersonville Road in Davisburg. Check-in is at 7:30 a.m. with a shot-gun start at 8:30 a.m. Pre-pay is $132/team or $33/person. Non-pre-pay fees are $168/team; $42/person. Event includes 18 hole green fees, cart rental, continental breakfast, lunch immediately after the round, contest holes and prizes. In the event of a rain out the day of, lunch will still be provided. Rainchecks will be issued for green fees and cart rental only. Optional Skins game: $20 per team, must be paid prior to the start of the round. The registration form is available at OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, contact Tournament Director Jan Villarreal at 248-634-2261 or email SpringfieldOaks@oakgov.com.
For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @OCParksAndRec.

10th annual Troy Traffic Jam takes place Sunday, August 6 at the Columbia Center

Troy Historic Village is excited to announce that the 10th annual Troy Traffic Jam car show will take place on Sunday, August 6th from 10am – 3pm at the Columbia Center on Big Beaver Rd. Troy’s premier car show features all the chrome and muscle that car enthusiasts come to expect with over 300 vehicles anticipated to be on display. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event, the Traffic Jam is unveiling a new logo that will be featured on t-shirts. It’s bright, fun and classy, just like the cars that will be there! The Troy Traffic Jam is a free, fun and family-friendly event with plenty of activities, music and food to keep the entire family entertained.

The event is made possible by major sponsors KIRCO/Columbia Center, Kelly Services, The Suburban Collection, American House, and the City of Troy. Troy’s Director of Economic and Community Development Mark Miller shared the following news about this year’s car show, “I’m happy to announce that this year the new free Troy Trolley will be running during the Traffic Jam. Visitors can enjoy the show and hop the trolley to the Somerset Collection or great restaurants along the Big Beaver corridor.”

The Troy Traffic Jam car show started 10 years ago with the strong support of Alan Kiriluk, founder and chairman of KIRCO, a Troy, Michigan based commercial real estate development, construction, and property management organization. The car show has grown through the years to nearly 300 vehicles that included a 1932 Stutz DV-32 Super Bearcat, a 1930 Packard Phaeton, and a 2015 Chrysler Challenger Hellcat, to specialty vehicles such as a MUTT, or Multi-Utility Tactical Transport from General Dynamics Land Systems, which will be part of the show again this year. The 2016 show was highlighted by an ultra-rare Tucker 48, a recent barn find in Ohio, and was debuted by owner Mark Lieberman at the Troy Traffic Jam! Road and Track even live-streamed an interview with Lieberman from the show that received over 14,000 hits. “We’re so excited to say that Mr. Lieberman will be back again this year with another rare Tucker”, said Loraine Campbell, Executive Director of Troy Historic Village.

This year the Troy Traffic Jam is proud to have a piece of Hollywood History…the 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom once owned by legendary movie star Marlene Dietrich. It’s sure to be a huge draw at the car show. Other anticipated highlights include a 2017 limited edition Mustang Shelby 35, and a 40 Ford Coupe – winner of the 2015 Detroit Autorama Preservation Award – owned by metro Detroit native Mike Stowe. Stowe purchased the car in 1958 for $125 which needed immediate restoring. “On the way home it seemed to be running funny. I decided to remove a head to check the condition of the motor. When I looked down the hole where the piston should be, I discovered one was missing. I was able to see the crankshaft with no rod in it. That engine came out and was thrown away”, said Stowe.

The Troy Traffic Jam also provides kids’ activities. This year the KidZone, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Troy, will include face painting, kid and car-friendly crafts, and an opportunity for children to vote for their favorite cars. Another fun kid activity will be a remote control car obstacle course sponsored by Mahindra. Music at the show is provided by DJ Bob Steel, and plenty of great food and beverages will be available for purchase from Kona Grill and Insalata, as well as an ice cream cart with Good Humor brands.

Individuals interested in displaying their vehicle(s) are welcome to register at TroyTrafficJam.com. The entry fee is $20 per car. All registration fees for the Troy Traffic Jam are tax deductible and support the Troy Historic Village.

Additional sponsors for the event include Community Choice Credit Union, Morgan Stanley, Mahindra, Independent Bank, DiLisio Contracting, along with 11 other local businesses. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Interested businesses can contact Ronica Bhattacharya at fund@thvmail.org or visit TroyTrafficJam.com to view sponsorship levels and complete an online sponsorship form.

About Troy Historic Village
Troy Historic Village is located at 60 West Wattles Rd., Troy MI. The Village which is open year-round showcases ten historic structures in a charming five-acre complex. Visitors of all ages can explore Michigan history by witnessing and sharing the lifestyles of the pioneers who established homes and farms in rural Troy Township during the 1800s. Troy Historic Village serves the counties of Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb, providing a memorable and interactive experience for all visitors. Offering a wide variety of activities for children and a diverse range of lectures and events for adults, the Village aims to enhance appreciation of history while using Troy's rich and evolving story as a backdrop. Their goal is to conserve local history, connect the community with heritage and continue outstanding educational programs.

About KIRCO
KIRCO is an award winning, full service, vertically-integrated commercial real estate organization. Having planned and developed over 30 million square feet, KIRCO is a major developer of build-to-suit own or lease properties coast to coast. The company's vertically-integrated structure, including development, construction and property management, works together as one extraordinary unit to bring out the best in every project in which it plays a role. KIRCO is third-generation family owned and operated, and has expertise in the office, industrial, retail, senior living and healthcare sectors. Founded in 1974, KIRCO is headquartered in Troy, Michigan with presence in Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation lifeguards honored for saving a life

Teamwork and training synched when lifeguards at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights pulled an unconscious swimmer from the water in mid-June.

“The lifeguard on duty noticed an 11-year-old male in the water not moving. The lifeguard responded, performed a save and opened the boy’s air way.  The child did not show signs of breathing so the lifeguard administered rescue breaths in water, while a team of lifeguards responded and removed the child from the wave pool,” Matt Pardy, Red Oaks Park Supervisor, said.
 
According to Pardy, once the child was on the pool’s deck, lifeguards performed an assessment and determined the child had a pulse but was not showing signs of breathing.  Using a bag-valve-mask and oxygen, lifeguards administered rescue breaths for the child.  Prior to the two-minute reassessment, the child began to cough/vomit up water and regained consciousness. EMS transported the child to a hospital where he was examined and released later in the evening having made a full recovery. The incident occurred on June 15 at 12:19 p.m.
 
“The Red Oaks lifeguards acted decisively in the rescue, expertly applying their training and following the established emergency action plan.  These efforts resulted in a child's life saved.  We enthusiastically congratulate these lifeguards for their service as they exemplify what it means to be a professional lifeguard,” Luke Martinez of Jeff Ellis & Associates said.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s 100 lifeguards are trained through Jeff Ellis & Associates International Lifeguard Training Program. Ellis is an aquatic safety and risk management consultant.

For their participation in saving the child’s life, six lifeguards were honored with the Lifeguard in Action Award from Ellis & Associates.

Individuals who received this honor are:  
•Joshua Turner - Waterford
•Dilon Lemond - Davisburg
•Sam Kuznia – Royal Oak
•Joe Heaton - Roseville
•Rebecca Dorey - Clawson
•Zach Owczarzak – Clarkston
 
“The Lifeguard in Action award is given to lifeguards who positively contribute to the efforts of a team (or acting individually) in saving a life.  While there may be many examples of this every year, we look to highlight individuals who either performed exceptionally well or went above and beyond to get the positive outcome,” Martinez said. “It is hard to articulate this as there are a lot of intangibles. Suffice it to say that we do not give these awards out very often, which I think adds to the meaningfulness of the honor.”

Joshua Turner and Dilon Lemond were recognized by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission at its July 12 Commission meeting.

“Joshua and Dilon were the first two lifeguards to recognize the distressed boy in the water and respond to render first aid. They were the critical first step in saving this child’s life,” Sue Wells, Manager of Park and Recreation Operations, said. “The Parks Commission wanted to honor these young men for their dedication to their job and commitment to safety.”

Turner and Lemond are assigned to work at Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford, but had been assisting at Red Oaks Waterpark the day of the incident.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation provides 100 lifeguards to monitor the aquatic safety of its 215,000 annual visitors at two waterparks and one beach. Lifeguards are on duty through Labor Day at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights, Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford and Groveland Oaks County Park Beach near Holly.

OCPR’s lifeguard staff has received Ellis & Associates International Aquatic Safety Awards for exceptional safety every year since 2010.
 
For details on upcoming events and activities, visit OaklandCountyParks.comGet social with Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Waterford Mott teacher brings back science lessons from NASA summer institute

Excerpt

Waterford Mott High School teacher Sharon Spencer joined educators from across the nation for the LiftOff Summer Institute at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas last month.

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Seger sponsors Dale Carnegie program at Children's Village

Rocker Bob Seger’s generosity is bringing life-changing skills to at-risk teens at Oakland County Children’s Village. For the second year in a row, Seger is sponsoring the Dale Carnegie Teen Program at Children’s Village which is taking place through July 21.

“Oakland County is grateful for Mr. Seger’s support and continued generosity,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “His participation sends a powerful message to our at-risk youth that they matter and their success matters.”

The first class of 12 at-risk Children’s Village teens graduated from the Dale Carnegie Teen Program in June of 2016 with inspiring results. They learned public speaking and decision-making skills. Their self-confidence grew every session. Most importantly, the students learned to replace negative attitudes with positive thoughts and actions.

“I got to watch each of these students change right before my eyes. I know that this year we’ll again see incredible changes in all the teens taking the course,” said Aaron Danish, a Brother Rice High School student who, as a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Teen Program, was inspired to bring it to Oakland County Children’s Village. Now, he is a volunteer graduate assistant with the program.

“I saw the big difference this program made for me and my classmates,” Danish said. “We gained confidence and learned goal setting and public speaking skills. It occurred to me that those who need it most rarely have the financial means to get this kind of training and support.”

So he spoke with his mother, Dr. Myra Danish, a board member of Children’s Village Foundation, and together they contacted Seger who immediately embraced the program. Based on last year’s inspiring and lasting results, Seger agreed to support it again this year.

Danish participated as an assistant in the 2016 course under the direction of Kathy Tosoian, a Dale Carnegie instructor. Tosoian will return this year to lead the course with Danish at her side.

The sessions and graduation are closed to the public and media.

About Children’s Village and Children’s Village Foundation
Children’s Village is the Oakland County’s residential facility for children and youths who are in need of out-of-home services. Youth are placed in Children’s Village by court order or by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Children’s Village provides residential care and comprehensive treatment services for youth and their families. To learn more about Children’s Village, go to www.OakGov.com/Village.

The Children’s Village Foundation provides funding for extra-curricular educational programs as well as special projects and activities. The foundation is made up of volunteers from the community and every dollar raised has a direct impact on the children. For more information about Children’s Village Foundation, visit www.CVFoundation.com.

Rochester Marine honored for helping save woman's life on Mount Fuji

Excerpt:

Christopher Ehms, a Marine and Rochester native, was honored after helping save a woman’s life on Mount Fuji in Japan.

Cpls. Ehms, Otto Thiele and Eric Goodman and Lance Cpls. Antonio Martinez and Avelardo Guevara Osuna were hiking Mount Fuji on Independence Day weekend when Thiele heard another hiker crying for help.

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Soak up the sunshine at Oakland County Parks and Recreation this August

The hustle and bustle of a busy summer give way to long, sunshine-filled days in August. Savor every last moment of summer by enjoying a relaxing day at the campground, splashing around at the waterpark, hitting the links and taking the family to these upcoming activities offered through Oakland County Parks and Recreation:
 
Aug. 2
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
Aug. 3
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
Aug. 4
  • Enjoy a wet and wacky weekend with water wars, bubble blast, water color art, H20 inflatables, dunk tank, paddleboat races, slip and slide, wagon rides, DJ dance and band Aug. 4-5 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
Aug. 5
  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Health & Nutrition for a Blueberry Nutrition Program from 8 a.m.-noon Aug. 5 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Come out and try Michigan blueberries and learn how to purchase them for quality and how to store and preserve them. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
 
  • Join Oakland County Parks and Recreation for Air Fair from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 at Groveland Oaks County Park, 14555 Dixie Highway, Holly. The event includes hot air balloons, inflatable bouncers, avian presentation, glider demo, balloon crafts, remote controlled airplanes, kite making, hayrides, food vendors, face painters, big screen movie, DJ dances and a band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
 
  • Oakland County Wheelchair Daze – Presented by the Filippis Foundation, a program for individuals of all ages with any form of disability and their immediate families, will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 at Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Presented by the Filippis Foundation, the event includes carnival games, barrier-free boat rides, music, dancing, cotton candy and BBQ lunch. The entire event is free, including park admission and parking. Wheelchair Daze is sponsored by Canine Companions for Independence, Cascade Dafo, Chantel Giacalone, Crawl Walk Jump Run Therapy Clinic, MobilityWorks Restorative Medical and Colony Marine. Pre-register by July 25 at OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-424-7081. For more information, email Adaptive@oakgov.com.
 
  • A Let’s Be Scientists Mini-class is set from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Head to the nature center for a day of experiments, learning and fun. Make soda geysers, do an experiment with skittles, make a concoction to take home and more. This is a kids-only event, so leave parents at the door. All supplies and snack are included. The program is suitable for children ages 5 and older. A signed release form is required with registration. Cost is $12/child. For more information or to register, call 248-858-0916.
 
Aug. 7
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 9
  • Come out for Make a Splash: Wookie Wednesday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9 at Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford Oaks County Park, 1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford. Come dressed as an intergalactic character and enjoy the following activities: Water gun T-shirt tie-dye (participants need to bring their own light colored T-shirt), pool noodle lightsabers craft, nature activity and Nerf gun target practices. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 10
  • Enchanted Forest Friends is 10:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 10 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Don your wings or pointed hats and join us for a program exploring those elusive forest friends: Fairies and Gnomes. Learn the difference between these two mythical beings and discover what makes them magical. Enjoy a treat and a story, then head outside to spot any evidence of their mischief. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 11
  • Funtastic Family Fest is Aug. 11-13 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Enjoy fun family times featuring games and contests, comedy magic show, dodgeball, face and body painting, nature hike, dunk tank, creative crafts, scavenger hunt, paddleboat races, hayrides, big screen movie, DJ dances and a band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
 
  • Enjoy a Corn Roast Aug. 11-12 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. Dine on roasted corn and potatoes and enjoy a corn-on-the-cob-eating contest, inflatables, face painters, DJ/karaoke, pie eating contest, corn husk figures, wagon rides and a band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
Aug. 14
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 15
  • Behind the Scenes Mini-Camp is set from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 15-16 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Ever wonder what naturalists do behind the scenes? Go off trail, peek into a nest box, help feed the nature center’s captive animals and more. This mini-camp is a must for any naturalist-in-training. Crafts and snacks will be provided each day. Dress for the weather; hiking shoes are a must. A signed release form is required with registration. Cost is $10/child for one day or $17/child for both days. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or Wint Nature Center at 248-625-6473 on Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
Aug. 16
  • Behind the Scenes Mini-Camp is set from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 16 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Ever wonder what naturalists do behind the scenes? Go off trail, peek into a nest box, help feed the nature center’s captive animals and more. This mini-camp is a must for any naturalist-in-training. Crafts and snacks will be provided each day. Dress for the weather; hiking shoes are a must. A signed release form is required with registration. Cost is $10/child. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or Wint Nature Center at 248-625-6473 on Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 17. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
Aug. 17
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at Red Oaks Waterpark, 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights. Walk the River Ride for fun and exercise. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome. This program is for adults only. Cost is $5/visit. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
Aug. 18
  • Bikes, Balloons and Balls is Aug. 18-20 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Ride and roll with bike races and contests, team ball games, balloon crafts, relay races, big screen movie, clown, hayrides, DJ dances and a concert under the stars. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
     
  • Enjoy recreation activities, DJ dance and band Aug. 18-19 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
 
Aug. 19
  • NatureFit: Kayak/Try It! is set from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Aug. 19 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. If you have ever wanted to try kayaking, this beginners program is for you. Learn kayaking basics and enjoy a naturalist-guided tour exploring the highlights of beautiful Crooked Lake. This program is suitable for ages 11 through adult. Up to one hour will be spent on the water; meet at the Independence Oaks Boathouse. Space is limited so register early. Cost is $8/person, which includes kayak rental, water and snack. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or Wint Nature Center at 248-625-6473 on Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
  • A Pet Vaccination Clinic will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 19 at Orion Oaks Dog Park. No appointment is needed; everyone welcome. A number of dog and cat vaccines will be available along with heartworm tests, flea protection, microchips and dog licenses. All are available for a nominal fee; cash is preferred, but MasterCard, Visa and Discover are accepted as well. The vaccination clinic is presented by All About Animals and the Dog License event is presented by Animal Control & Pet Adoption Center. For pet safety, bring dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier. Orion Oaks Dog Park is located on Joslyn Road between Clarkston and Scripps roads. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
  • Get involved with BMX Racing at Waterford Oaks County Park. A BMX Free Trial Day is from 2-5 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Waterford Oaks BMX Track, 1702 Scott Lake Road in Waterford. There will be no charge for admission, bike rentals, helmet rentals or track time during the event. Long sleeve shirt, pants and closed-toe shoes (no Crocs) required. Bring a peg-free bike and/or full-face helmet if available. The fun will include free inflatables (socks required), climbing tower, bike safety checks courtesy of Performance Bicycle of Bloomfield Hills and USA BMX Membership sign ups. Enter to win BMX T-shirts and Family Fun Passbooks. This event is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Call 248-858-0915 for more information.
 
  • Insect Safari is 2-4 p.m. Aug. 19 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Spend some time investigating the creeping, crawling and fluttering world of insects. Expand your knowledge of these colorful creatures through hands-on and interactive experiences including sweep net exploration. A ‘bee-licious’ snack will be provided in celebration of National Honey Bee Day. Come dressed for the weather. This program is suitable for ages 5 and older. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
 
Aug. 24
  • Be sure to come hungry to the Oakland County Farmers Market on Aug. 24 to enjoy the Food Truck Rally. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., visitors can indulge in savory BBQ, cool treats and freshly prepared culinary creations from popular vendors. The market will be open for shopping during the Food Truck Rally. Parking will be available at the market, the Road Commission of Oakland County lot located west of the market and at the lot located north of the market. The Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Market hours are 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Aug. 25
  • It’s Epic Eras weekend Aug. 25-27 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway in Holly. Get in the groove with tie-dying, hula hoop dance demo, pie eating contest, team games, Tin Can Campers vintage trailers, glow crafts, face painting, hayrides, big screen movie, DJ dances and a black light bash with an oldies band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-634-9811. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
 
  • Go Back in Time Aug. 25-26 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road in Leonard. Go retro with tie-dying, hip headbands, hula hoop dance demo, candy bar bingo, face painting, neon glow crafts, team games, wagon rides, black light bash, DJ dance and an oldies band. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
Aug. 26
 
  • Join Oakland County 4-H staff and discover the endless opportunities available to youth and adult volunteers during Family Market Day from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Participate in a children’s activity about healthy eating. Get ideas for healthy school and work lunches as well as information on nutrition and food safety from the Michigan State University Extension - Health & Nutrition. Also, children can create a simple, fun and free make-and-take craft with Michigan State University Extension – 4-H Youth Development. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
 
  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Master Gardeners for a Daisy Dying Program from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. By placing daisies in colored water, participants will discover how plants take up food through their roots and stems to produce flowers, fruits and leaves. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
 
  • A 4-person Scramble Series for men and women ages 50+ is set for Aug. 29 at Springfield Oaks Golf Course, 12450 Andersonville Road in Davisburg. Check-in is at 7:30 a.m. with a shot-gun start at 8:30 a.m. Pre-pay is $132/team or $33/person. Non-pre-pay fees are $168/team; $42/person. Event includes 18 hole green fees, cart rental, continental breakfast, lunch immediately after the round, contest holes and prizes. In the event of a rain out the day of, lunch will still be provided. Rainchecks will be issued for green fees and cart rental only. Optional Skins game: $20 per team, must be paid prior to the start of the round. The registration form is available at OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, contact Tournament Director Jan Villarreal at 248-634-2261 or email SpringfieldOaks@oakgov.com.
 
For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @OCParksAndRec.

County Executive's Emerging Sectors business attraction program tops $4 billion total investment

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the Emerging Sectors® business attraction and retention strategy he created in 2004 to diversify the county’s economy has surpassed $4 billion of total investment.

The strategy had four successes in June totaling $367 million of new investment, resulting in more than 1,700 new and retained jobs. When combined with figures since inception in 2004, the program has 450 business successes resulting in total investment of $4.3 billion; 44,562 new jobs and 29,920 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country. Patterson said the strategy is responsible for new investment in the county, on average, of $915,000 every day for 13 years.

“The Emerging Sectors program has been an incredible success,” Patterson said. “It has changed the face of Oakland County’s economy.”

The milestone was reached 13 years after Patterson introduced the program to diversify Oakland County’s economy which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targets international companies that show an interest in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that identified Oakland County as a possible business location. The targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, medical technology, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

“I wanted to wean us off our reliance on automotive, for which we paid such a heavy price during the Great Recession,” Patterson said. “I tried to balance my expectation with some realism about our likely success but I had no idea we would move so quickly.”

The most successful sectors have been health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $1.1 billion of total investment, and IT/communications (Tech 248), at $801 million.

The companies that put Emerging Sectors over the top in June, including country of origin if not U.S.-based, business sector and location of Oakland County facility, are:
  • Elektrobit: Germany, advanced electronics, Farmington Hills
  • Autoliv Electronics America: Sweden, advanced electronics, Southfield
  • Williams International: aerospace, Pontiac
  • Cynerge Consulting: communications/information technology, Pontiac
Oakland County aggressively seeks international investment, with about 1,100 foreign-owned firms from 39 countries having business locations here. The county attracted $371 million of foreign direct investment in 2016 – about 38 percent of the county’s known private investment of nearly $900 million for the year. Through June, 18 international companies from seven countries announced new investment totaling $162 million and more than 4,700 new and retained jobs.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb accompanied Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on a trade mission to Europe last month in an effort to attract companies to Oakland County. At the same time, Economic Development Director Irene Spanos was in Washington D.C. at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The event attracted company representatives from more than 40 countries interested in establishing operations in the U.S.

Patterson lauded Gibb, Spanos and their team for attracting the new investment.

“Since coming together as a team less than five years ago, Matt and Irene have grown investment in the program by nearly $3 billion – a feat unmatched in the state,” Patterson said.

The success of the Emerging Sectors program has increased as it has matured. In 2008, Patterson hosted a celebration at the Cranbrook Institute of Science to honor the first 70 Emerging Sector companies whose total investment surpassed $1 billion. With the Great Recession at its peak, it took until 2013 for the program to reach $2 billion in total investment. More than 500 representatives from Emerging Sector companies and other guests were invited to a “What Goes into $2 Billion?” celebration on the arena floor at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The program reached $3 billion in 2015, which was marked by a celebration at Pentastar Aviation in an airport hangar at Oakland County International Airport. All of the celebrations were privately funded by sponsors.

Patterson said he would hold out until the program reaches $5 billion for the next celebration.

“This came on us too quickly,” he said.

Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge returns to Pontiac's M1 Concourse

Excerpt

Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, a drag racing event and car festival, today announced it will return to the M1 Concourse in Pontiac for its second year on Aug. 12.  

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Patterson calls on residents to take emergency preparedness survey

Oakland County residents and businesses can help the county update its emergency preparedness plan by participating in a voluntary online questionnaire, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced today. Feedback from the confidential 10-minute survey will enable Oakland County’s Homeland Security Division to better serve residents and businesses before, during and after an emergency or disaster.

“Oakland County has a continuous commitment to planning, training, and exercising response capabilities for all types of disasters,” Patterson said. “This voluntary and confidential questionnaire will assist our emergency preparedness staff in identifying which hazards are of most concern to our residents and businesses as well as which services the community may need during an emergency.”

Some sample questions are:
  • If a disaster (i.e. snow storm) impacted Oakland County, knocking out electricity and running water, would your household be able to manage on its own for at least three (3) days?
  • Do you believe that your household and/or place of business might ever be threatened by the following hazards? Please rate what hazards present the greatest risk.
  • What might prevent you from leaving your place of residence if there was an evacuation order? Please select ALL that apply.
  • In an evacuation, would you or anyone in your household require special assistance?
“The success of our response to a disaster will depend on how well we have prepared in advance,” said Thomas Hardesty, manager of Oakland County Homeland Security Division. “The more survey responses we receive from residents and businesses, the better we will be able to prepare for an emergency.”

To fill out the questionnaire, go to http://oakland.preparedness.sgizmo.com/s3/. The survey will remain open until Sept. 1. For a hard copy version of the survey, please contact the Oakland County Homeland Security Division at oakhsd@oakgov.com or call 248-858-5300. Businesses which are interested in having their employees confidentially participate in the survey in order to utilize the data to update their business emergency preparedness plans may contact Homeland Security Division to make those arrangements.

Oakland County adheres to federal requirements to update its emergency preparedness plans every five years in an effort to keep residents, businesses, and organizations well prepared and vigilant. Oakland County last conducted an emergency preparedness survey in 2012. The purpose of emergency preparedness planning is to identify policies and actions that can be implemented over the long term to reduce risk and future losses.

About Oakland County Homeland Security Division

Oakland County Homeland Security Division is dedicated to supporting Oakland County cities, villages, and townships through a coordination of effort for logistical support during emergency operations by enhancing all-hazard preparedness along with comprehensive homeland security initiatives and first responder training. Oakland County Homeland Security Division develops and coordinates programs for natural, technological, national security, and nuclear/chemical/biological emergencies/disasters affecting Oakland County. For more information, go to OakGov.com/HomelandSecurity.

Celebrate the Spirit of '45 Day with the Detroit Tigers

Celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the end of WWII with The Detroit Tigers, The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial and WWII re-enactors in period uniform as the Detroit Tigers host the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park.

Click here to buy tickets.

Buy your ticket by July 20 and receive a special Hank Greenberg commemorative stamp and cachet (envelope) shown to the right. Read more about Hammerin’ Hank below.

A portion of the proceeds benefit The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Major League Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis wrote President Roosevelt, inquiring as to the appropriateness of continuing Major League Baseball in the face of the declaration of war.

Roosevelt’s famous answer was conveyed in the document known as the “Green Light Letter.” In part he wrote “if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000 of their fellow citizens – and that in my judgment is thoroughly worthwhile.”

Nowhere was this more the case than in the factories of the Arsenal of Democracy where loyal Michigan workers rooted for their Tigers throughout the war years.

Detroit’s Hank Greenberg was a trailblazer for Major League Baseball players’ support of the war effort.

Greenberg served even before the US declared war, being drafted in early 1941. He was a superstar that proudly traded uniforms. After giving up the 1941 season, he was honorably discharged two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Within a few months he had re-enlisted. He returned to baseball In July 1945 after being honorably discharged for a second time. He then led the Tigers to the AL pennant when he dramatically hit a grand slam in the ninth inning of the last game of the season.
Then of course to cap off victory in Europe and victory in Japan, the Tigers captured the 1945 World Series, cementing their bond with these times.

Note that as a bonus, Sunday, August 13 is a Sunday Kids Day featuring a pregame interactive kids area and the “Every Kid, Every Sunday” giveaway guarantee where every fan 14-and-under will receive a free Victor Martinez poster. In addition, Kids Days will feature free rides for kids on the Fly Ball Ferris Wheel and Carousel, presented by Kroger, free face painting, and Kids Run the Bases following the game, weather permitting.

Beaumont Health first in Michigan to treat cancer patient with protons

Bill Baker, an 86-year-old Mid-Michigan man with brain cancer, is the first patient to receive treatment at Beaumont Health’s new Proton Therapy Center in Royal Oak, Michigan.
 
Said Craig Stevens, M.D., Ph.D., chairman, Radiation Oncology, Beaumont Health, “Beaumont’s Proton Therapy Center is the first in Michigan to treat cancer patients with this powerful and precise form of treatment that deposits energy directly in the tumor, sparing nearby healthy organs and tissue from harm. It was many years in the making, but we never gave up in our efforts to bring this advanced cancer therapy to patients and families in Michigan.”
 
Beaumont’s center is one of just 25 operational proton therapy centers in the U.S.
 
“This means that cancer patients from other states and countries will travel to Michigan for proton therapy, making Beaumont even more of a destination center for cancer care,” said Dr. Stevens.
 
According to independent research, conducted by NRC Health, Beaumont Health is one of the most preferred providers of cancer care in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
 
How proton therapy works
 
Proton therapy is a high-tech alternative to X-ray radiation. A scanning beam of proton radiation with online image guidance offers greater precision to destroy cancerous cells, sparing adjacent healthy tissue with fewer side effects.
 
Proton therapy uses positively charged atomic particles, traveling up to two-thirds the speed of light, to fight cancer. A cyclotron, or particle accelerator, creates protons from hydrogen molecules. The proton beam is sent to the treatment room through a transport system consisting of magnets, called the beam line, finally arriving in the gantry, a device that rotates around the patient. The beam is directed to the patient through a nozzle that targets the tumor.
 
While proton therapy is not effective against all cancers, Dr. Stevens explained it is effective in treating many solid and localized tumors, including:
 
• pediatric cancers
• soft tissue cancers that develop in bone or muscle
• brain and skull base tumors
• eye tumors
• head/neck cancers
• abdominal/pelvic tumors
• liver tumors
• lung and thoracic cancers
• left-side breast cancer
 
“Proton therapy is an ideal treatment option for many patients, especially those with tumors close to vital organs,” added Dr. Stevens. “For children, those most vulnerable and susceptible to the damage of traditional radiation therapy, proton therapy offers less radiation exposure while reducing side effects.” 
Advanced technology
 
“Our IBA ProteusOne single-room treatment system includes precision technologies,” said Dr. Stevens. “Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy, which combines Pencil Beam Scanning and 3-D Cone Beam CT, can target a tumor within less than a millimeter.”
 
Pencil Beam Scanning refers to the delivery of protons in a thin beam. Like a pencil, the beam uses back and forth motions to target the treatment area – the shape, size and depth. It “paints” a radiation dose on tumors layer by layer. Compared to X-ray beams, which pass through a patient, proton beams deliver targeted radiation to the tumor and then stop – resulting in no exit dose.
 
Radiation oncologists at Beaumont are well versed in precise image guidance, having developed cone beam CT technology almost 20 years ago. Image guidance allows doctors to analyze soft tissue and bone contrast to see tumor changes.
 
Single-room facility
 
Unlike larger, multiroom proton treatment facilities, Beaumont’s compact, single-room treatment center is more affordable to build and maintain. Along with advanced, image-guided technology, Beaumont’s facility includes the Philips Ambient Experience system that lets patients select a color theme, music and video for relaxation during treatment.
 
“Our center offers the most advanced proton technology available anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Stevens. “We will have the ability to potentially cure patients that have failed conventional treatment at other centers.”
 
In February 2015, construction began on the $40 million Proton Therapy Center. The two-story building is 25,200-square-feet, including a basement. The first floor houses the Proton Therapy Center, including a cyclotron and gantry that produces and delivers proton beams to a single-room treatment area. The second floor will soon be the home of Beaumont’s Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders.
 
Beaumont chose Ion Beam Applications S.A., or IBA, of Belgium, to manufacture, install and maintain the proton system. An Atlanta-based proton therapy development group, Proton International, is lending its operational expertise. 
Beaumont’s Facilities Management department oversaw design and construction, with Kasco Construction as the contractor and SmithGroupJJR, as the architect.
 
Comprehensive cancer care
 
Proton therapy is an important addition to Beaumont’s comprehensive arsenal of leading-edge cancer treatments. Beaumont’s Radiation Oncology department is ranked among the nation’s best for advanced technology, innovative treatment and research. Advanced radiation treatments developed at Beaumont include adaptive radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, intensity-modulated arc therapy, high-dose rate brachytherapy and hyperthermia therapy.
 
To learn more about the new center and its capabilities, call Beaumont’s Radiation Oncology program at 248-551-8402 or go to www.Beaumont.org/proton-therapy.
 

Get ready for Shakespeare Royal Oak 2017

It's that time of year! Get ready for the 17th season of the professional Shakespeare Royal Oak festival in Starr-Jaycee Park! Opening night is July 27 and the season runs through August 6. We are so excited! 

Three Great Shows.
 
Join us for The Taming of the Shew, opening Thursday July 27, with eight evening performances through August 6. Our fun Daylight Show (recommended for age 8 and up), is a Water Works' original Shakespeare in Love & War, running six days, July 29 to August 5. Water Works Teen Ensemble, our popular high school experience, presents their version ofHamlet, with three shows July 29 to July 31. And finally, KidsAct! camp which runs July 31-Aug 5 for grades 1-8 is filling up with registrations.  
 
Fun in the Park.
 
We offer Michigan craft beer and wine during all of our professional shows, plus fresh made popcorn and fun snacks. Concessions are cash only and please bring proper ID. We welcome you to bring your own picnic for outside the theatre area (no alcohol allowed there). You'll find free and easy parking on Farley Field at the west end of the park. And be weather aware, temps might be higher during the day, but our night time shows are quite comfortable under the canopy of trees and the evening breeze! 
 
More information, including easy ticket purchasing (good for any performance), and show schedules are available at our website  www.shakespeareroyaloak.com.
 
So grab a blanket or your lawn chairs, bring your family and friends, and be entertained and amazed by the talented local professionals of Shakespeare Royal Oak! 

Board announces business workshop on August 9th

On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, in partnership with the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs and Purchasing, will present a business workshop for local business owners and entrepreneurs. The event is free and will begin at 2:00pm in the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center at 2100 Pontiac Lake Road (Building 41W) in Waterford, Michigan.

The program is designed to provide business owners, entrepreneurs, vendors, suppliers and contractors with information about the many free business services and resources the County offers. Attendees can learn how to become a registered vendor with Oakland County, access the One Stop Shop Business Center’s many resources, explore business financing options and connect with Oakland County Michigan Works! offices. Oakland County Commissioners Janet Jackson, Michael Spisz and Gary R. McGillivray will host the event, which will also feature a Q&A session and tabletop exhibits.

“Oakland County offers many opportunities for business owners to improve their companies, open a new business or expand their reach into a larger market,” said Commissioner Michael Spisz, Vice Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. “I hope to see a lot of local businesses participate and take advantage of this event.”

“Small business entrepreneurship is the life blood in communities,” stated Commissioner Janet Jackson. “It is essential, as the Board of Commissioners, to provide information and forums that help educate and foster fledgling businesses. These activities can level the playing field and spur economic development for all of our residents.”

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners created this executive summary event in response to many questions from the local business community, and it is a great opportunity to explore the many services Oakland County offers to help local businesses grow and thrive.

“This will be a great opportunity to learn how your company can bid on projects Oakland County has available,” added Commissioner Gary R. McGillivray. “You will also learn about Oakland County services that will benefit your business free of charge!”

To register, go to www.oakgov.com/boc and click on the “Register Today!” link under the “Oakland is Open for Business!” section on the home page. For more information, please contact Connie Srogi at 248-858-4078 or srogic@oakgov.com.

"All the World’s a Stage" at Ferndale's Front Porch Music Festival

Excerpt

Jacques’ 400-year old proclamation that “all the world’s a stage” was proven spot-on last Saturday, as front porches and gardens became soundstages and backdrops for Michigan’s newest (and quaintest, and probably best-foliaged) music festival, The Front Porch. It was a perfect day to showcase the talents of local musicians along with neighborhood beautification efforts (and to test some drivers’ patience).

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Detroit Zoo heats up for Wild Summer Nights

The Detroit Zoo gets even wilder on Wednesdays during July and August with the annual Wild Summer Nights concert series, presented by Genisys Credit Union. Concerts take place in the Main Picnic Grove from 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 5 through Aug. 30, 2017, and are free with Zoo admission.

Wild Summer Nights features a variety of music from local bands, including children’s, pop, blues, country, rock and classical. Guests are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets; outside alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Food, snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks are available for purchase from Zoo concessions.

Concert Schedule:

• July 5 – The Euphorics (pop)
• July 12 – Detroit Social Club (country blues)
• July 19 – Tom Seley and the Troublemakers (children’s)
• July 26 – Michigan Opera Theatre (opera)
• August 2 – Steve King & the Dittilies (Motown)
• August 9 – Athens Creek (indie folk)
• August 16 – Detroit Symphony Orchestra (classical)
• August 23 – Gary Greenfelder Orchestra (big band)
• August 30 – Cosmic Groove (pop)

Farmington DDA Director: 'We want everyone to succeed'

Excerpt

Smart development, public/private partnerships and a friendly “hello” are some of the keys to growing a successful downtown, according to the new DDA director for the city of Farmington.

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New report ranks Oakland University third-safest college in nation

Oakland University ranks among the safest colleges in the nation, according to a new report from a national trade organization dedicated to furthering public knowledge on home safety and security issues.
 
The National Council for Home Safety and Security ranked Oakland third on its list of the Top 100 Safest Colleges in America. According to the organization’s website, the list was compiled using the most recent data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the National Center for Education Statistics.
 
OU Police Chief Mark Gordon called the report “a testament to the cooperation and commitment that the Oakland community has toward creating a safe environment.”
 
The report looked at accredited public, private and not-for-profit institutions that offer four-year degree programs and have student populations above 15,000. More than 2,000 colleges and universities were assessed. The top-ranked colleges had low overall crime rates, both on campus and in the surrounding community. Additional information about the report’s methodology can be found here.
 
Oakland University was ranked as the safest college in Michigan, ahead of Michigan State University (No. 10) and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (No. 29). The University of New Hampshire was ranked No. 1 on the list, followed by Brigham Young University at No. 2.
 
These rankings come on the heels of a 2016 report from CollegeChoice.net, which ranked Oakland No. 7 on its list of the 50 Safest Large Colleges and Universities in America.
 
Based in Washington D.C., the National Council for Home Safety and Security is a national trade association comprised of licensed alarm installers, contractors, and other relevant trade groups across the United States.

Beaumont Health supporting crisis text and chat

Beaumont Health has provided a gift of $40,000 to support expanding the Crisis Text and Chat service at Common Ground.    
A Resource and Crisis Helpline telephone service is free and available 24-hours per day, seven days a week. However, due to limited funding, text and chat service has only been available from 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Monday through Friday. Beaumont’s gift will more than double the current coverage, expanding the text and chat service to 4 p.m.–2 a.m., seven days a week.

“Providing an avenue for troubled and confused youth to reach out for support will help prevent tragedies such as teenage suicide,” said David Wood, M.D., chief medical officer, Beaumont Health and a longtime supporter of Common Ground. “Teenagers are often more comfortable and feel ‘safer’ texting than speaking with someone on the phone. Our hope is that the expansion of the text and chat line will save lives.”

Common Ground’s 24-Hour Resource and Crisis Helpline added text and chat service approximately five years ago to reflect societal shifts in communication. The Oakland Community Health Network is the primary funder of the Resource and Crisis Helpline. 

Common Ground has a stated goal of providing text and chat service 24/7 and hopes the Beaumont sponsorship will serve as a springboard to secure additional funding. The benefit of text and chat is to provide a lifeline to those seeking crisis support, but who prefer not speaking on the telephone, or are in situations which do not permit them to do so safely. Expanding the hours will provide greater access to crisis intervention services, particularly to those in greatest risk age group of 10-14 years old.     

Beaumont Health
Beaumont Health is Michigan’s largest health care system, based on inpatient admissions and net patient revenue. A not-for-profit organization, it was formed in 2014 by Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare to provide patients with the benefit of greater access to extraordinary, compassionate care, no matter where they live in Southeast Michigan. Beaumont Health has total net revenue of $4.4 billion and consists of eight hospitals with 3,429 beds, 174 outpatient sites, nearly 5,000 physicians and 36,000 employees and 3,500 volunteers.  In 2016, Beaumont Health had 177,508 inpatient discharges, 17,536 births and 567,658 emergency visits. For more information, visit beaumont.org.

Common Ground
Common Ground is a nonprofit organization that has served as an expert on mental health issues and crisis intervention since 1971. Through its 24-hour Resource and Crisis Helpline and in person, Common Ground uses a trauma-informed approach to provide professional, compassionate services to over 80,000 people annually. Common Ground’s core purpose is to move people from crisis to hope through three impact areas: responding to crisis, providing safety and advocacy, and building communities of support.  For more information, please visit www.CommonGroundHelps.org or call 248-456-8150.

Orion Township Public Library receives Friends donation

The Friends of the Orion Township Public Library recently presented a check for $10,000 to the Orion Township Public Library for funds raised at the Friends Passport to Spring Gala event which was held at the library at the end of April.

Over 300 guests attended The Passport to Spring: A Visit to Poland event when the library was filled with Polish music, food, culture, and entertainment.

“This donation will be used to upgrade the technology in the Teen Room at our library,” said Karen Knox, director, Orion Township Public Library. “Orion teens would like to be able to have access to the latest video game systems, chargers for their portable devices, and special software on the computers. With this generous donation from the Friends, we will be able to provide our teens with upgraded technology, which encourages them to keep coming to the library.”

Library staff plan to add these upgrades to the Teen Room this summer. Be sure to stop in a take a look!

The Friends of the Orion Township Library is a 501(c)3 organization whose volunteer members are dedicated to supporting and improving the library by raising funds for services, programs, projects, and resources not provided for by the general library budget.

The Friends are always looking for new members and volunteers! If you are interested in learning more about the Friends of the Orion Township Library, please visit orionlibrary.org/friends.

For more information, visit the Orion Township Public Library at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362, orionlibrary.org or call 248.693.3000.  The library is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.
 

Free or low-cost business classes offered in July/August at One Stop Shop Business Center

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance are encouraged to attend high-value, low- or no-cost business workshops offered by the experts at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call 248-858-0783.

July/August Workshops:

Starting a Business
July 6 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 27 | 10 a.m. - noon Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Aug. 3 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Thinking about starting a business? This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. This workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products and services. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with the necessary steps to getting started. If you are ready to start your business this workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

Market Research Basics
July 11 | 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Aug. 31 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Ready to grow your business? Our Market Research Basics workshop helps you discover ways to find your ideal customers, identify your competitors, perform competitive analysis, identify new site locations, target direct mail campaigns, reveal untapped markets and expand to new and appropriate markets. If you are ready to grow your business, the Market Research Basics workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

Social Media for Business Growth
July 12 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Business Power Tools – An overview for using LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to grow any business.
Whether you call it social media, social networking, web 2.0 or internet marketing, the question on every professional’s mind is this: “Is social media a waste of time or an essential power tool for business in a post phonebook world?”

Amid all of the distractions, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emerging as essential tools for marketing your business. Join Terry Bean from Motor City Connect for this entertaining and educational seminar as he takes you through the tools and rules of social media. You’ll learn what works, what to avoid and how to use LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow your network, engage prospects and generate profit. Get ready to kick your internet marketing presence into
gear.

This class is designed to use these tools for profit. It covers:
• Three things you MUST do to find success on each platform
• How to use status updates that gain attention
• Ways to manage priorities so you’re not stuck in an endless loop
• How to make posting simpler
• The fastest way to grow your audience
• Which platforms are best for you

Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
July 12 | 9-11 a.m.
Aug. 9 | 9-11 a.m.
Have a need for alternative financing for your business? Is your business located in Oakland County?

Consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and processes necessary to apply for and obtain a small business loan. If you are interested in alternative financing for your Oakland County small business, then the CEED Lending Small Business Orientation is for you. CEED Lending is an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

August Workshops

Five Steps to LinkedIn Mastery
Aug. 3 | 9-11:30 a.m.
While Facebook looks like any number of reality TV shows, LinkedIn is the business documentary you need to watch. You've done the "Google myself" thing, right? Most people are surprised (and excited) to find their LinkedIn profile is the first result. Since Google uses LinkedIn that well, shouldn't you?

When you use LinkedIn right, it's much easier to:
- Be found by prospective clients and/or employers
- Locate and learn about the decision makers you need to meet
- Stay current in your industry
- Stay top of mind with your network
- Check out future employees and partners
- Use all of the bells and whistles you didn't know existed

LinkedIn really is a power tool. It's part SEO monster, part contact manager, part resume, part research tool and it's ALL business. The better we all get at networking, the better all of our networking will be.

Speaker: Terry Bean, Founder of Networked Inc. and Motor City Connect
Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

Team SBA Financing Roundtable
Aug. 29 | 9 a.m.-noon
Need the inside scoop on how to obtain a business loan? Attend the Team SBA Financing Roundtable to find out how banks evaluate your application. Learn how to improve your chances for a business loan and how SBA loan guarantee programs can help you get financing. This workshop is best suited to those with good credit, a solid business idea and funds of their own to invest in the business. If you want to improve your chances of obtaining a business loan, then this workshop is for you.

Note: Because the SBA does not provide loan guarantees to real estate investment firms, including purchasing and rehabbing houses for resale, this type of financing is not discussed at the roundtable.
Cost: Free | Registration Required

Walk-in Start Up Thursdays in Waterford and Novi

WalkIn-StartUp Small Business Counseling
July 6 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 3 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
In Waterford: One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford
In Novi: Novi Civic Center - Community Development Center Room, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi
Whether you opened a business or you’re thinking about it, the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center has resources to help you. We can provide you with confidential small business counseling. You receive one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant – with no appointment necessary. Consultants offer direct answers to your questions about startups, suggest next steps and provide guidance on business planning tools. These high value services are offered at no charge to you. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each session is limited to 15 minutes.

Oakland County Parks hosts full day of play at Independence Oaks County Park

Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host a full day of play with inflatables, zip line, climbing tower, games and Get Outdoors! adventures Tuesday, July 11 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Independence Oaks County Park in Clarkston.

The Come Out & Play event is free and open to the public. For the zip line, children must be between 45 and 250 pounds and 42 inches tall. A waiver form, available at the park, must be signed by a parent or guardian. The non-water inflatables require socks.
In addition, there will be face painting, an interactive nature touch table and a treat for each child. The Get Outdoors adventures will include GO! Fish and Go! Cache.

Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw, in Clarkston.

For more information, contact John Haney, 248-858-1486, HaneyJ@oakgov.com.

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

Deals signed and relationships built by Michigan business leaders during Europe trade mission

Excerpt

Some of the state’s top economic development minds have returned from a trade mission to Europe with a positive forecast for statewide foreign investment.

Gov. Rick Snyder, Deputy Oakland County Executive Matt Gibb, Automation Alley Executive Director Tom Kelly, Trevor Pawl, Michigan Economic Development Corporation vice president of international trade and Michigan aerospace and manufacturing company executives all visited the International Paris Air Show last week.

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Oakland County tops in state population growth

Excerpt

In the past six years, no other Michigan county added more new residents than Oakland County. And no community, from the smallest townships and villages to the largest cities lost a single resident during that time, including a resurgent Pontiac.

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LTU wins grant to boost STEM education from Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Excerpt

Lawrence Technological University is one of 24 schools nationwide to be selected for a new program to boost minority participation in STEM study and careers.

The $1 million grant was awarded to Lawrence Tech under the Inclusive Excellence Initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the largest private, nonprofit supporter of science education in the United States. More than 500 colleges and universities nationwide applied for grants under the initiative. Lawrence Tech was the only institution in Michigan to be selected.

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Five Oakland County alternative transportation projects receive part of $9.2 million in funding

Excerpt: 

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is helping fund five county alternative transportation projects. 

The council’s annual Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is providing $9.2 million in funding for 22 projects across the region during Fiscal Year 2018, which begins Oct. 1.

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Erebus Escape aims to be one of the largest escape room facilities in US

Excerpt

Erebus Escape is located at 34 Oakland Ave. in Downtown Pontiac. Edward and James Terebus, co-owners and creators of Erebus Haunted Attraction, are transforming this 30,000 sq. ft. building into what they hope will be one of the largest escape room facilities in the US.

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Wright's Affleck House is a hidden gem in Bloomfield Hills

Excerpt

Among the Michigan Society of Architects’ 50 most significant structures in Michigan stands the Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills.

It was the first of 27 homes in Michigan designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Oakland County selected for National Health Survey

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announces that Oakland County is one of 15 counties in the United States selected to participate in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) beginning June 14. This comprehensive study of health and nutritional status provides important data about public health issues from a national perspective.

“The information collected helps us better understand health issues and improve quality of life in Oakland County,” said Patterson. “The Health Division and CDC are working closely to make this study successful. I strongly endorse your participation if you are selected.”

Approximately 530 randomly selected county residents will asked to participate in a voluntary survey. An interviewer from NHANES will schedule an appointment with the resident to complete the confidential in-home survey. Some will then be asked to participate in a health examination at a local site free of charge. All interviews and examinations are given by CDC NHANES health professionals who show identification upon arrival.

“This is an excellent chance for residents to gain valuable personal health information while helping identify health risks in our communities,” said Shane Bies, Public Health Nursing Services Administrator for Oakland County Health Division. “The survey is a unique opportunity that provides important information about major health conditions.”

For the past 55 years, NHANES has had a prominent role in improving the health of all people living in the U.S. All counties in the United States have a chance to be selected for NHANES participation each year, and 5,000 residents across the nation participate annually. All ages, races, and ethnicities are included in order to represent the U.S. population as a whole.

For more information about NHANES, visit oakgov.com/health and click the NHANES banner image on the homepage.
For up-to-date public health information, visit oakgov.com/health, find Public Health Oakland on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

About NHANES
Public health officials, legislators, and physicians use the information gathered in NHANES to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation. NHANES findings provide critical health-related information on a number of issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, NHANES data is used to produce national references and create standardized growth charts for pediatricians across the country.
 

New Birmingham library addition sparkles in the sunlight

Excerpt

Stroll around the newly-renovated adult services section of the Baldwin Public Library and the first thing you’ll notice is the sunlight streaming into the room. It wasn’t there before.

A key component of the $2.1 million renovation plan was the inclusion of windows in the exterior limestone wall of the library addition that was designed by famed architect Gunnar Birkerts. The curved addition, built in the early 1980s, was meant to convey the feeling of a garden wall surrounding the original 1927 library building.

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Trailway opening draws crowd

Excerpt

Community residents, dignitaries, law enforcement and Michigan Department of Natural Resources representatives gathered at Wixom’s Gunner Park on Tuesday, May 30 for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open Michigan Air Line Trailway, a cooperative effort between Walled Lake, Wixom and Commerce Township.

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Patterson appoints "Black Belt" as IT Director

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has recruited Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Michael R. Timm to be the county’s next director of information technology. A Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is a systems professional who focuses on process improvement through better team dynamics and lean operations.

“Oakland County is one of the most digitally-advanced counties in America,” Patterson said. “Mike’s impressive resume indicates he is well qualified to keep Oakland County on the leading edge of developments in information technology.”

An innovative information technology leader with over 30 years of experience in the private sector, Timm was the director of business planning and the project management office at Meridian Health Plan. While there, he established the office, built the team, implemented the business plan, and put in place key process metrics for its entire IT organization. Prior to that, he was the director of delivery at Entrega Systems Group.

“Oakland County has a reputation for excellence in government, including in IT, which I am very excited to become a part of,” Timm said. “I’m delighted that County Executive Patterson has determined that my years of experience in the private sector will add value to his administration.”

His career began in 1985 with Electronic Data Systems (EDS), a former division of the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), as a systems engineering manager/account manager supporting the General Motors North America account. He eventually rose within the HP organization to become a program manager/managing consultant for a number of industries including public utilities, rail transportation, insurance, shipping/logistics, and manufacturing. He left HP in August of 2012.

Deputy Oakland County Executive and Chief Information Officer Phil Bertolini said the county will benefit from Timm’s experience. “Brooks’ administration is always building the best team possible to benefit our residents. We have found the right team member in Mike Timm to help us lead our technology efforts forward,” he said.

Timm, 55, has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute, now Kettering University, and a master of business administration degree with an emphasis on information technology from Northern Illinois University.
 

Foreign investment is focus as economic development leaders head to D.C. and Paris

Oakland County economic developers are hoping to give the county’s sizable international business presence a boost as teams head to the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C. and the Paris Air Show this weekend.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb is leaving for Europe Saturday to attend the Paris Air Show, the largest air show in the world, to meet with mobility and aerospace companies in hopes of convincing them to expand into Oakland County. While Gibb is in Europe, Economic Development Director Irene Spanos will attend the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, a three-day event that promotes foreign direct investment in the United States. It begins Sunday.

“International investment is vital to our continued growth,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Oakland County is a preferred destination for international investment. The international diversity of our business community – nearly 1,100 foreign-owned firms from 39 countries – is one few states, let alone countries, can match.”

Gibb is part of a delegation that includes Gov. Rick Snyder and a group from Oakland County-based Automation Alley, one of Michigan’s largest technical and manufacturing business associations. Gibb also plan to meet with auto-related companies in Germany and Italy before returning home June 24.

SelectUSA attracts more than 2,000 attendees from economic development organizations as well as domestic and international firms from 42 countries, service providers, media and senior administration and government officials are expected to attend, including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, General Motors chairman, CEO Mary Barra and Mani Iyer, president of Mahindra USA, a global tier one auto supplier with locations in Auburn Hills and Troy, where its North American technical center is based.

Spanos is a member of the U.S. Investment Advisory Council, which offers counsel to the secretary on ways to make the country more attractive for foreign direct investment. Spanos met with Ross in May.

In 2015, Spanos was appointed to the Foreign Direct Investment Frontlines Coalition – an economic development steering committee created by the Washington, D.C.-based Organization for International Investment.

President Barack Obama attended the summit in 2015 and 2016. President Donald Trump may attend this year, Spanos said.
More than 40 countries are expected at SelectUSA, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Oakland County is focusing on automotive, aerospace, information technology, medical devices and industrial machining/robotics. Spanos and Mark Adams, a senior business development representative, have 20 meetings scheduled with companies from a host of countries including the Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The county will share the Michigan Economic Development Corp. booth.

Spanos said she has already contacted two of the companies – one each from India and Taiwan – and both have altered their travel plans to include a visit to Oakland County after the summit.

“They are so interested in learning more about Oakland County,” Spanos said. “We’ve had five successes in the past two years from SelectUSA and we’re still working on leads we got from those two years.”

Oakland County has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. About four international firms a month – on average – opened new business locations or expanded existing facilities in Oakland County in 2016. Foreign direct investment in the county in 2016 (investment from a company headquartered outside the U.S.) increased for the third consecutive year; totaling $371 million – about 38 percent of the county’s known private investment of more than $898 million.

Through the first five months of 2017, 16 international companies from six countries either located or expanded in Oakland County, investing about $140 million and creating or retaining more than 3,900 jobs, Spanos said. The countries of origin are China, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Switzerland.
 

Oakland County wins two NACO "Best in Category" awards

Oakland County snagged 15 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards for 2017, the most of any county in Michigan, including two national “Best in Category” winners, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced today. Oakland County was the only county in the United States to win more than one national “Best in Category” award.

“Oakland County has a reputation as being the best managed county in the country,” Patterson said. “The reason we earned this reputation is because we continue to innovate in government in order to improve our services.”

Oakland County’s first national Best in Category NACo Achievement Award winner was in the Community and Economic Development category. “Realtor to the Rescue” is a public-private partnership between the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office and local REALTORS™ that connects the concierge-style professionalism and customer service of licensed real estate professionals with families looking for a home who may be less than familiar with the property tax foreclosure process. Under Michigan law, the county treasurer is required to sell tax foreclosed properties at two annual auctions to recover delinquent taxes owed.

“On behalf of the entire team at the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office, we’re thrilled that this program has been honored by NACo. That it was selected as ‘Best in Category’ is an additional honor and credit to the many people who have worked to make it a success,” said Meisner. “This public-private partnership would not be possible without the energy and insight of Pat Jacobs and the North Oakland County Board of Realtors™ (NOCBOR). We worked cooperatively to develop a system to utilize the expertise of licensed Realtors™ within the property tax foreclosure process.”

The other national Best in Category NACo Achievement Award was the “OUCARES Day Camp and Staff Training” by Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) in the Parks and Recreation award category. OUCARES is the Oakland University Center for Autism. OCPR sought unique training for its supervisors in 2016 to better understand how to interact with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s part of OCPR’s mission to provide individuals of all abilities with the recreational equipment, programs and services they need to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle at its 13 parks.

“We’re proud that Oakland County Parks and Recreation continues to look for ways to improve accessibility to equipment and activities,” said J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County director of central services and Patterson’s representative on the OCPR board. “This helps ensure County Executive Patterson’s vision of improving the quality of life through healthy and active lifestyles.”

Other Oakland County NACo Achievement Awards for 2017 are:
  • Children and Youth: “Expanded Safe and Healthy Kids Program to Prevent School Bullying,” Board of Commissioners
  • Children and Youth: “MSUE Tollgate 4-H Summer Teen Leadership Program,” MSU Extension
  • Civic Education and Public Information: “College Series,” Information Technology
  • Civic Education and Public Information: “LOCK-IT-UP Oakland,” Board of Commissioners, Sheriff
  • Community and Economic Development: “One Stop Ready,” Economic Development & Community Affairs
  • Community and Economic Development: “Pilot Local Road Improvement Matching Fund Program,” Board of Commissioners
  • Health: “Colorectal Screening Initiative,” Health Division
  • Health: “Screening for Diabetes and Latent TB Infections,” Health Division
  • Information Technology: “GIS Road Show: Bringing Back the Maps,” Information Technology
  • Information Technology: “Inmate Locator Service,” Information Technology, Sheriff
  • Information Technology: “Website Transformation Strategy,” Information Technology
  • Personnel Management, Employee and Training: “Public Health Emergency Preparedness Annual MCMDD Interactive Training,” Health Division
  • Risk and Emergency Management: “Rescue Task Force Integration,” Homeland Security Division
Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard said the NACo Achievement Awards for “LOCK-IT-UP Oakland” and “Inmate Locator Service” highlight why collaboration in government is key to creating effective programs and services.

“We are pleased that NACo has recognized our hard work with the Board of Commissioners on LOCK-IT-UP Oakland and the county’s IT Department on our Inmate Locator Service,” Bouchard said. “It underscores the fact that public officials and government departments must work together to achieve great results.”

Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael J. Gingell said teamwork is what drives Oakland County to excellence.
“It is an honor to receive national recognition for the innovative programs and services developed and executed in Oakland County,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael J. Gingell. “Oakland County continues to be a model county, not just in Michigan but across the country, when it comes to demonstrating the exceptional results that can be achieved when we work together as a team to tackle challenges and better serve our residents. We are grateful for the recognition and will strive to continue to operate at this high standard of excellence.”

To get the details about these award-winning Oakland County programs, go to NACo’s searchable awards database at
 http://www.uscounties.org/cffiles_web/awards/award_srch.cfm.

Oakland University receives $10,000 AT&T grant to support K-12 STEM outreach workshops

The Oakland University Foundation has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the AT&T Aspire Program. The grant is specifically targeted to support K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Outreach Workshops for high school students offered by the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department and the Pawley Lean Institute at Oakland University.

“Through AT&T Aspire, we are investing in students today – at home, in the classroom, at work – to prepare them for success tomorrow,” said Jan Mallon, contributions manager for AT&T. “We see tremendous value in OU’s program and are pleased to award a contribution to the Oakland University Foundation.”

The K-12 STEM Outreach Workshops promote Industrial and Systems Engineering and Lean Learning by introducing ISE as a field of study to high school students from both a college and career perspective. They are offered during normal school hours and conducted in the OU Engineering Center.

“Led by Bill Edwards and other ISE faculty, visiting high school students get to conduct hands-on projects in Lean and Product Lifecycle Management while working with our ISE students and alumni,” said Robert Van Til, Ph.D., chair and Pawley professor of lean studies in the ISE Department.

There are multiple components to each session, including:

• Hands on, tool orientation
• Lean/Continuous Improvement exercises
• Ergonomics using simulation tools
• Product Lifecycle Management
• Manufacturing Systems Simulation

“This grant can be used to support student expenses as we expand to multiple high schools in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne County,” said Dennis Wade, director of the Pawley Lean Institute. “In particular, the exposure to ISE will spark interest in the STEM fields of study for both education and potential careers within engineering, and we thank AT&T for their support.”

According to Wade, the $10,000 grant is actually the second grant from AT&T. The first grant, also for $10,000, was received in December 2015.

“Supporting efforts like this are important for students as they prepare for a career but are also important to employers, like AT&T, as we look to find and hire well-trained people,” said Mathew Resch, director of public affairs for AT&T Michigan.

For more information about the Pawley Lean Institute, visit www.oakland.edu/lean. To learn more about ISE, visit www.oakland.edu/ise.

The Brooksie Way welcomes McLaren as title sponsor as popular fall race celebrates 10th year

McLaren Health Care, a leading integrated health system in Michigan, has signed a three-year contract to be the title sponsor of The McLaren Brooksie Way as the race celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he was thrilled the health care organization had signed on to support the race, which is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father who died in 2007. He was the son of the county executive.

“Lining up McLaren as the title sponsor was a coup for us,” Patterson said. “It is a statewide, pre-eminent health care organization that gives back to the communities it serves. We’re delighted to welcome McLaren to our quality of life event.

The McLaren system maintains operations in 350 facilities across Michigan, including 12 hospitals, and has a statewide network of more than 47,000 physicians and ancillary providers. Among its facilities in Oakland County are McLaren Oakland in Pontiac and the McLaren Clarkston campus in Independence Township.

“McLaren Health Care is very pleased to elevate our longtime support of The Brooksie Way as the new Presenting Sponsor,” said Philip Incarnati, president and CEO of McLaren Health Care. “While our core mission is to care for complete health care needs, it is also our role as a health care leader and community advocate to engage in programs that focus on overall health and wellness. The Brooksie Way has become a signature event in our state that definitely fits those parameters and, as an added benefit, fosters community engagement and collaborative partnerships. With these common goals, we are proud to share our name with The Brooksie Way and maintain a level of support that complements our role as health care leader in Michigan.”

Returning this year is The McLaren Brooksie Way Middle School Challenge, which offers every middle school student in Oakland County the chance to register for The Brooksie Way 5k race for only $5, a $30 discount from the normal price. Registration information is being distributed to Oakland County middle schools this month.

In celebration of its 10th year, The McLaren Brooksie Way is also saluting runners and walkers who have participated in a Brooksie race each year. Each member of the select group who registers this year will be given a special running shirt noting their accomplishment, an invitation to a special race week reception and those who finish one of this year’s races will be given a customized medal created especially for 10-year participants. Through 2016, 84 people had participated each year in a Brooksie Way race. The 10-year runners and walkers are sponsored by Oakland County Credit Union.

The McLaren Brooksie Way is among the most popular regional fall half marathons, 10k and 5k races in the state. The Road Runners Club of America named the race the 2017 official half-marathon of Michigan. The races are set for Sept. 24 and open to runners and walkers. They begin and end at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the campus of Oakland University. The half-marathon includes parts of the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, Rochester Hills and downtown Rochester. The 2016 race attracted more than 5,700 runners and walkers. All participants will have access to free racer photographs.

Entrants for any of the Brooksie Way races can realize significant savings by registering early at www.TheBrooksieWay.com. Participants can also register online for the popular Team Challenge – which sold out last year – and celebrate after the race in the exclusive Team Challenge tent. Registration fees discounts have been extended until June 10. The names of those who register before July 4 will be entered into a random drawing for a $500 travel voucher courtesy of Flint’s Bishop Airport, official airport of The McLaren Brooksie Way.

For the third year, the race contains a charity fundraising component. Participants can register in advance to raise money for any of the following charities: Brooksie Way Minigrants, Glenda’s Club, Hope Water Project, Grace Centers of Hope, Teachers Pet, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Michigan Special Olympics, OLSHA (Oakland-Livingston Human Service Agency), OUCares and North Oakland YMCA. Those who register for a charity will receive $10 off their race registration fee.

The popular Lil’ Brooksie Kid’s Race is set for Sept. 23, the day before the bigger races. Kroger is the official half-marathon sponsor. The 5k race is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Crittenton sponsors the Health & Fitness Expo on Sept. 22-23 at the OU Student Recreation Center. Oakland University is the race host.

The Oakland Press is the finish line sponsor and will also be producing a commemorative color magazine on the race. Dell Computer is the 10k sponsor, Oxford Bank is halfway arch sponsor, Oakland Community College is the Mile Marker sponsor, Park West Gallery sponsors the Info Tent, the Suburban Collection is volunteer sponsor and Shelton Buick GMC is race vehicle provider.

New library director: library is great equalizer, welcoming to all

Excerpt

Donna Olson likes to point out the extensive gardens at the front and rear of Salem South Lyon District Library.

"It's the first thing you notice. I like to think it's very welcoming," said Olson, recently appointed library director after several months serving as interim director when Doreen Hannon retired.

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Milford's Currents Music Festival returns June 10 with 11 featured acts

Excerpt

The Currents Music Festival is returning to Milford’s LaFontaine Family Amphitheater Saturday, June 10.

This year, 11 bands will be featured along with food stands provided by Blue Grill, Smoke Street BBQ and The Proving Grounds Coffee and Ice Cream, which will be located in Central Park.

Read more

Oakland County expands Nurse-Family Partnership program

Low-income women in Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, and Madison Heights who are pregnant with their first child will have access to the one-on-one support they need to have a healthy pregnancy and improve their child’s health and development. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced today the expansion of the Oakland County Health Division’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program which provides a public health nurse early in pregnancy and continues ongoing home visits until the child is two years old.

“Pregnant women and infants who have access to nursing care are less likely to develop health and other complications later on,” Patterson said. “That’s why it was a no-brainer to expand this program into other communities with vulnerable populations.”

A public health nurse helps first-time moms:
• Have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby
• Build a strong network of support
• Make the home a safe place for baby to live and play
• Get referrals for healthcare, childcare, job training, and other support services
• Find ways to continue education and develop job skills
• Set goals for the future and find ways to help reach them

“The Nurse-Family Partnership program helps develop strong family foundations that contribute to healthier and stronger communities in Oakland County,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Partnering first-time moms with our public health nurses empowers them to create a better life for their children and themselves.”

NFP received grant funding from the Michigan Department of Education to begin serving single first-time moms in Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, and Madison Heights.

The program has been a model of success in Pontiac. Since inception in 2004, NFP has served nearly 730 Pontiac families. Some notable achievements of the program include an improvement in the number of babies born at a healthier birth weight, a decreased number of mothers smoking during pregnancy, and increased rate of breastfeeding, and all Pontiac NFP children being fully immunized by 24 months of age.

Referrals are now being accepted. To enroll, one must qualify as a low-income woman who lives in the cities of Pontiac, Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, or Madison Heights, and are less than 28 weeks pregnant with her first baby.

For more information or to enroll in this free program, call the Oakland County Health Division’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program at 248-858-1406. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533. To learn more, go to OakGov.com/Health, select the services tab and click on Nurse-Family Partnership.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation earns national autism inclusion award

Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its OUCARES Day Camp and Staff Training program aimed at a better understanding of how to interact with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
 
In 2016, OCPR supervisors received a unique training opportunity provided through the Oakland University Center for Autism, also known as OUCARES. During the training session, OCPR supervisors learned to recognize common characteristics of autism spectrum and how to communicate effectively with visitors with autism.
 
OCPR enjoys a unique relationship with the OUCARES. Each summer OCPR hosts an OUCARES Autism Camp at Independence Oaks County Park. Campers are picked up and bused to the park for a wide variety of activities.
 
“Each year, campers look forward to experiencing the outdoors and socializing at the parks,” Kristin L. Rohrbeck, director of OUCARES, said. “The parks staff is always extremely kind and helpful with our unique population. The parks have gone above and beyond by having OUCARES offer autism training for their staff to help them understand the disability and equip them with helpful strategies and technique to effectively work with our campers.”
 
“Oakland County Parks and Recreation is committed to providing people of all abilities with the recreational equipment, programs and services they need to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle at its 13 parks,” OCPR Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “To better serve patrons with developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers, OCPR makes training its staff members a priority.”
 
Autism affects the way the brain processes information, OCPR supervisors learned during the training session. OUCARES leaders shared that autism affects people in four major areas:
  • Communication
  • Social interaction
  • Sensory integration
  • Learning styles
The growth of OUCARES demonstrates a clear need for autism outreach in Oakland County. OUCARES began in 2004 with just one program and 25 families. Last year, it held more than 25 programs and assisted 1,400-plus families.

“The training for OCPR staff members was a one-time opportunity, but the lessons park supervisors took away from the training session has been repeatedly shared throughout the year with seasonal staff,” Stencil said. “The goal is to provide excellent customer service throughout the parks system.”
 
The award for the OUCARES program will be presented in July 23 at the NACo annual conference in Columbus, OH. Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs among America’s 3,069 county governments.  NACo brings county officials together to advocate on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service. 
 
For details on upcoming events and activities, visit OaklandCountyParks.comGet social with Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
 

New Art & About event will transform Downtown Berkley into a living gallery

The Berkley Downtown Development Authority is excited to kick off a new series of summer events beginning Friday, June 9th, from 6 - 9 p.m., in downtown Berkley. Every second Friday evening, from June to October, downtown businesses will open their doors to metro Detroit artists and performers who will showcase their many talents. Event-goers will be able to engage with the artists as they play, display, and sell their work, while at the same time enjoy a variety of merchant specials.

“We’re very excited about the potential for these events,” said Lindsey Tocco, Art & About Committee Chair. “Our downtown is the perfect place for an event like this with its eclectic business mix. And, the response by the artists for a first time event has been amazing. We weren’t sure what to expect but everyone has been so enthusiastic that we can’t wait to see how this event will grow!”

Event-goers will also have the opportunity to:
  • Hop on the shuttle between Coolidge/Catalpa and 12 Mile/Greenfield to view the
    event from every angle
  • Enjoy light snacks and beverages while drinking in Berkley’s eclectic atmosphere
  • Shop merchants specials and enjoy some of the best independent businesses in the area
About the Berkley DDA: The Berkley Downtown Development Authority is a community-driven organization focused on enhancing the shopping experience, economic vitality, and physical appearance of Coolidge Highway and Twelve-Mile Road — Berkley’s traditional commercial Districts. It strives to achieve this mission by being creative, focused, transparent, forward-thinking, and engaged with all downtown stakeholders and the community-at-large. 
 

Free or low-cost business classes offered in June/July at the Oakland County One Stop Shop

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance are encouraged to attend high-value, low- or no-cost business workshops offered by experts at Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call (248) 858-0783.

June/July Workshops:

Market Research Basics
June 13 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 11 | 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Ready to grow your business? Our Market Research Basics workshop helps you discover ways to find your ideal customers, identify your competitors, perform competitive analysis, identify new site locations, target direct mail campaigns, reveal untapped markets and expand to new and appropriate markets. If you are ready to grow your business, the Market Research Basics workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

Starting a Business
June 15 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 6 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 27 | 10 a.m. - noon

Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Thinking about starting a business? This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. This workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products and services. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with the necessary steps to getting started. If you are ready to start your business this workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required 
 
Social Media for Business Growth
June 21 | 9-11:30 a.m.

Business Power Tools – An overview for using LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to grow any business.
Whether you call it social media, social networking, web 2.0 or internet marketing, the question on every professional’s mind is this: “Is social media a waste of time or an essential power tool for business in a post phonebook world?”
Amid all of the distractions, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emerging as essential tools for marketing your business. Join Terry Bean from Motor City Connect for this entertaining and educational seminar as he takes you through the tools and rules of social media. You’ll learn what works, what to avoid and how to use LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow your network, engage prospects and generate profit. Get ready to kick your internet marketing presence into gear.

This class is designed to use these tools for profit. It covers:
  • Three Things You MUST do to Find Success on Each Platform
  • How to Use Status Updates That Gain Attention
  • Ways to Manage Priorities So You’re Not Stuck in an Endless Loop
  • How to Make Posting Simpler
  • The Fastest Way to Grow Your Audience
  • Which Platforms Are Best for You
Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

July Workshops

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
July 12 | 9-11 a.m.

Have a need for alternative financing for your business? Is your business located in Oakland County? Consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and processes necessary to apply for and obtain a small business loan. If you are interested in alternative financing for your Oakland County small business, then the CEED Lending Small Business Orientation is for you. CEED Lending is an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required 

Walk-in Start Up Thursdays in Waterford and Novi

WalkIn-StartUp Small Business CounselingJune 1 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
July 6 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

In Waterford: One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford
In Novi: Novi Civic Center - Community Development Center Room, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi

Whether you opened a business or you’re thinking about it, the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center has resources to help you. We can provide you with confidential small business counseling. You receive one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant – with no appointment necessary. Consultants offer direct answers to your questions about startups, suggest next steps and provide guidance on business planning tools. These high value services are offered at no charge to you. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each session is limited to 15 minutes. 

The City of Wixom is pleased to announce the second annual Wixom Block Party

The City of Wixom is pleased to announce the second annual Wixom Block Party! Activities at this year’s party include great food, a best meatball contest for area restaurants, a cannoli eating contest, football bowling, cornhole game, pet adoption, and live music from county music star and Highland, Michigan native Audrey Ray.

Vendors are being sought for this event. Interested vendors may apply to Debra Barker, Economic & Community Services Director, at dbarker@wixomgov.org.

Memorial ceremony honors fallen veterans

A crowd of several thousand veterans, families, friends and the general public are expected to attend a Memorial Day Ceremony at the Great Lakes National Cemetery honoring military service members who died in the service of their country.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly will host the 12th annual observance, set for 1:00 p.m. Sunday, May 28th. Colonel Clark C. Barrett, Michigan Army National Guard is the keynote speaker.

There will be patriotic music by Emily Esralian. The Holly VFW Post #5587 will present the colors and perform a rifle salute during the ceremony. Wreaths will be presented by organizations and taps will be played.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery is one of two such national shrines in Michigan. Opened for burials in 2005, the cemetery’s 544 acres will be the final resting place for an estimated 244,000 veterans and their dependents. Thus far, approximately 33,000 veterans and dependents have been interred at the site.

Sunday’s ceremony is one of many across the area and the nation. The Memorial Day Ceremony is a great opportunity to honor our service members who gave their lives to secure our freedom.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Road in Holly, Michigan. If you have any questions about this ceremony, please contact GarthWootten, Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council President, at wootteng@oakgov.com or 248-858-0785.

Oakland County scores a AAA bond rating again

Oakland County has captured a AAA bond rating with a stable outlook from both Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s for the 19th year in a row, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Treasurer Andy Meisner, and Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash announced. The two bond ratings agencies assigned their highest credit scores to Oakland County’s $4.8 million Evergreen and Farmington Sewage Disposal Systems North Evergreen Interceptor Bonds, Series 2017.

“Nearly two decades of AAA bond ratings is validation of our multi-year budget and decision to transition away from traditional forms of retirement benefits to ones that reflect what the private sector is doing today,” Patterson said.
Meisner agreed that the county’s financial position is stronger.

“The AAA bond rating is a symbol of Oakland County excellence and leadership that helps us serve our citizens and save money,” Meisner said.

The AAA rating will enable Nash to obtain the lowest interest rates the market allows to finance the bonds.

“The AAA rating allows my office to negotiate the best possible interest rates on the loans we use to invest in our water, sewer and drain infrastructure,” Nash said. “It has been most beneficial to our operating the largest drain office in Michigan. We are proud of the exceptional budget and management practices that allow Oakland County to earn this rating.”

Moody’s said the county’s finances will remain strong into the future.

“We expect the county’s fiscal position to remain healthy going forward,” Moody’s said. “General fund operations were positive for an eleventh consecutive year and the county’s available general fund balance… grew to… 62% of general fund revenue.”

That’s more than seven months of general fund revenue for the county. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada recommends governments keep two months of general fund balance on hand.

Moody’s also cited the county’s rolling three-year budget with a five-year outlook and low pension burden because the county moved employees from a traditional pension retirement system to a 401(k)-style retirement in the 1990s. Moody’s also based the rating on the county’s continued strong economic growth. In the county’s three-year economic outlook released last month by the University of Michigan, economists forecasted that by 2019, Oakland County will recover all the jobs it lost from 2000 to the summer of 2009 due largely to the Great Recession and auto bankruptcies.

Valentine Distilling Co. wins double gold awards for Mayor Pingree bourbons

Excerpt: 

Two of Ferndale-based Valentine Distilling Co.’s bourbons ranked in the highest class at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last month. Forty-three spirits experts participated at the Hotel Nikko from April 20-23, where judges critiqued more than 2,100 entries through blind tasting, awarding the bronze, silver, gold, and double gold medals.

Valentine’s 10-year Mayor Pingree Blue and Black label bourbons received the most prestigious medal awarded, the double gold, which is awarded to the very best among entries that receive a gold medal rating from judges.

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Novi students are national DECA champs

Excerpt:

When it comes to business and marketing, four Novi High school students know their stuff.

The four students were crowned national champions last weekend at the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

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One house at a time, Rebuilding Together helps Oakland County

Excerpt

Standing inside her White Lake home, amongst the sound of hammers banging and saws grinding, Patty Young stood quietly taking it all in.

All around her, a small army of volunteers – mostly representing Milford Presbyterian Church and Highland United Methodist Church – performed much-needed repairs on her home.

They had come to represent the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Oakland County on National Rebuild Day Saturday, April 29.

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Birmingham breaks ground on 'state-of-the-art' fire station

Excerpt

Birmingham broke ground on a new fire station.

"It is exciting to be building another civic structure in the city of Birmingham," Mayor Mark Nickita said at a groundbreaking ceremony. “The Chesterfield Fire Station will be a state-of-the-art facility and will be an asset for the city, serving our residents and firefighters for decades to come."

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Novi music festival gets new name, dates

Excerpt

Now that the city of Novi has a new signature festival — The Main Event Novi, presented by Diversified Members Credit Union — it just needs Mother Nature to cooperate so people can head “downtown” this summer for two days of live music, beer and wine and great food from local restaurants.

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LTU students demonstrate museum docent robot

A team of Lawrence Technological University robotics engineering students conducted a flawless test of a robot designed to give the world a chance to virtually visit a historic Detroit auto plant.
 
The students demonstrated the robot at the annual meeting of the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex, the nonprofit that runs the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant as a museum.
 
The robot is designed to follow a strip of magnetic tape around the museum, following a docent. Cameras and microphones on the robot will allow people who log into a museum website to see and hear about the automotive displays at the Piquette plant. A screen on the robot will also allow those taking the virtual tour to type in questions they’d like to ask the docent.
 
Jerry Mitchell, a retired Wayne State University anatomy professor who chairs the Piquette plant’s board, called the LTU students “wonderful young people, an inspiration to all of us” who make him “more optimistic about the future of our country.”

The students built a custom-made steel chassis for the robot, which is powered by rechargeable batteries and uses wheelchair motors and wheels to get around. They named the robot H.E.N.R.Y., for “Historical Engineering Narrated Remotely for You.”

The nine students who worked on the project are Zachary Cowan of Rochester Hills, Matt DiMilla of Brownstown Township, Patrick Feliksa of Rochester Hills, Christopher Leclerc of Canton Township, Ryan Martin of Redford Township, Charles Morton of Muskegon, Luis Rodriguez of Valencia, Venezuela, Nicole Turkus of Grosse Pointe Woods, and Joey Yudasz, team captain, of Waterford Township. They started building the robot in November under the supervision of LTU robotics lab instructor James M. Kerns.

The Piquette plant was home to Model T production from 1904 to 1910. On Jan. 1, 1910, Henry Ford’s more famous Highland Park plant opened, home of the first moving assembly line. At Piquette, automotive assembly was still done the old-fashioned way – workers put an automotive frame up on sawhorses and bolted and welded the rest of the parts onto it, rolling it out the door when it was done.

While no model of efficiency compared to the moving assembly line, the Piquette plant did set records for its time, at one point churning out 110 Model Ts a day.  

The museum last year attracted 18,000 visitors from more than 50 countries. Sunday’s visitors, according to museum director Nancy Darga, included people from Cuba, Ecuador, Germany and Sweden. The museum is listed as an automotive heritage site with the Automotive National Heritage Area, part of the National Park Service system.
 
Since taking over the building in 2000, museum volunteers have been worked to restore its 355 windows, shored up its brickwork, and have created display cases of important automotive history objects. Henry Ford’s original office has been restored. Dozens of historic vehicles from the early 20th century are now on display in the museum. Volunteers also spent the past year and a half improving and standardizing the informational signs that stand in front of each vehicle on display.
 
Most recently, volunteers have worked on restoring the secret third-floor laboratory where Henry Ford and a small group of close associates designed and first built the Model T, Ford’s first car that truly met his vision of a practical automobile the average American could afford and properly maintain. The restored room will officially open on the Model T’s birthday in September.
 
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.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation wins three state awards

Oakland County Parks and Recreation has received three Community Service Awards from the state organization, mParks (Michigan Recreation and Park Association), for its support of outdoor recreation. 
 
The Oakland County Farmers Market’s cooking demonstrations with edibleWOW magazine, the market’s annual Oakland Uncorked event with the Waterford Chamber of Commerce and Volunteers Barb and Gary Smithson were all honored at a special ceremony in Lansing April 19. The awards recognize individuals and groups who show outstanding support to recreation and park programs.
 
Oakland County Farmers Market hosts six “Cooking with edibleWOW” demonstrations at the market during the winter focusing on local chefs and restaurants. The events are on Saturdays and hosted by edibleWOW Magazine owner and publisher, Robb Harper. The demos are free for anyone to attend, thanks to edibleWOW’s partnership.
 
Harper plans the seasonal meal for the demonstrations with the chefs to be sure as many local fruits and vegetables as possible are used.  The chefs discuss how to cook the ingredients for sale at the market, food preservation and other kitchen skills.
 
For five years, the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce and the Oakland County Farmers Market have enjoyed a unique collaboration on an event with a regional draw of more than 300 people annually. Oakland Uncorked offers guests 21 years and older an evening of culture and entertainment while experiencing the best Oakland County has to offer in culinary tastings, fine wines and craft beer.
 
In addition to planning and promoting Oakland Uncorked through its newsletter, website and e-marketing messages, the chamber also hosts monthly networking meetings at the market, and has sponsored a “Cash Mob” event in which nearly 50 chamber members descended en masse on the market to shop with vendors.
 
Barb and Gary Smithson have volunteered with Oakland County Parks and Recreation since 2015. They help with nature education programs at Red Oaks Nature Center, dog swims at Red Oaks Waterpark and special events like Pumpkin Fest, Glow on the Road and Haunted Hallows. In addition, they are dog park ambassadors at Red Oaks Dog Park.
 
For details on upcoming events and activities, visit OaklandCountyParks.comGet social with Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Oakland County launches website for safe disposal of prescriptions

In honor of National Prescription Take Back Day, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, and the Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership launched a new website, www.OakGov.com/PrescriptionDrugs that hosts an interactive map identifying disposal programs locations throughout the county.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues today. Ninety-one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose,” Patterson said. “The Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership is working diligently to address this issue at a county-wide level and collaborate with those working on the front line of this epidemic every day.”

Disposal locations include Oakland County Sheriff’s Operation Medicine Cabinet, local police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) locations, as well as pharmacies throughout Oakland County. The map will be updated continuously as new programs are implemented.

“The Sheriff’s Office is committed to educating and participating in programming which? combats prescription drug abuse,” said Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard. “We launched Operation Medicine Cabinet in 2009 and as of today, offer 36 drop-off locations around the county where residents can safely dispose of unwanted or unused prescription medications. This ensures these drugs are not getting into our waterways and drinking water, but also keeps prescription medications out of the hands of any one who may be battling addiction.”

The website also hosts educational materials about how to monitor, dispose, and secure prescription medications to prevent prescription drug abuse. Medical professionals can also use the site to find online trainings for continuing medical education credits and community resources for patients.

“Drug overdose and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase everywhere, including Oakland County, and prescription opioids are a driving factor in this increase,” said Kathy Forzley, health officer of the Oakland County Health Division. “Medical professionals can help prevent abuse and stop addiction by safely prescribing opioid medications and actively using the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS).”

On Saturday, April 29, the DEA will host its 13th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in seven years. This initiative aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse and medications. For more information about the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, go to the DEA Diversion website?.

“America is experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose, and death due to the abuse of prescription drugs. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon. “The most common way that prescription drug abusers obtain their pills, is from their own friends and family. Please do your part to reduce substance abuse by participating in DEA’s Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and removing unwanted prescription drugs from the home.”

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health?, find Public Health Oakland on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

About Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership

In March of 2015, the Oakland County Health Division formed the Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership to create a coordinated strategic action plan for reducing prescription drug abuse and overdoses in Oakland County. The partnership has a strong coalition of partners who have an active interest in preventing prescription overdose deaths. For more information on the Partnership, visit www.OakGov.com/PrescriptionDrugs?.
 

Report: Oakland County's economy reaches "cruising altitude," add 44K jobs

Excerpt

An economic outlook report compiled by economists at the University of Michigan released today indicates that following a job growth rate of 2.4 percent from 2009-2016, Oakland County is projected to see job growth of an average of 2 percent for the next three years, and the addition of 44,000 jobs by 2020.

In their annual forecast of the Oakland County economy, Gabriel Ehrlich, director of the U-M Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, and colleague Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy, predict that the county will add about 15,000 jobs this year, 14,000 next year, and 15,300 in 2019.

Oakland’s unemployment rate of 4.2 percent in 2016 was below the national average of 4.9 percent, and is expected to drop to 4 percent this year, 3.7 percent in 2018, and 3.5 percent in 2019.

The largest job gains forecast through 2019 are in professional and business services, private education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. While manufacturing saw a boost in 2016, adding 2,232 jobs, the forecast shows slower growth in the next three years.

In particular, motor vehicle manufacturing, which led the early stages of the economic recovery in 2011 and 2012 before slowing more recently, will see fewer new jobs over the next three years.

"Oakland County's economy appears to have reached a comfortable cruising altitude after a turbulent start to the millennium," says Ehrlich. "If our forecast proves to be correct, the span of Oakland's current recovery will extend to at least 10 years."

With a population of 1.2 million, the county tied for 10th place on a prosperity ranking when compared with 38 other counties of similar size nationwide.

Erlich and Grimes add that employment in higher-wage industries (average annual wages of $75,000 or more) will increase by 6.6 percent (16,000 jobs) in Oakland County over the next three years, and middle-wage jobs paying between $35,000 and $74,999 are expected to grow 5.7 percent (nearly 18,000 jobs). Together, these wage tiers comprise more than 75 percent of the net new jobs created countywide through 2019.

"The growth in Oakland County continues to skew toward the better-compensated end of the wage scale, although not quite as tilted toward the higher end as in the past six years," says Grimes. "This growth pattern bodes well for Oakland's sustained economic prosperity."

A full copy of the report will be made available online in May. 

Read more.

Serenity Pediatrics presents 'Doctor for the Day' family health and safety celebration

Dr. Hannan Alsahlani and the Serenity Pediatrics team are hosting the Serenity Pediatrics "Doctor for the Day" Health and Safety Celebration on Saturday, May 6th from 4 p.m. ­ 7 p.m.  The event is free to attend and open to the community and public.  The event will feature food, fun, an outdoor train, princesses and superheroes, and interactive 'kid doctor' stations manned by Oakland University Medical School Students where children will learn how pediatric checkups are done and about the tools used for conducting checkups. The event will also feature participation with the Bloomfield Hills Fire and Safety Department and Stan The Fireman will also be on-hand to talk about fire safety and perform a magic show.
 
"As both a pediatrician and the mother of four, I have found that an excellent way to ease anxieties about the doctors office is to create a fun experience that educates children and makes them feel comfortable with the check up process. Doctor for a Day will teach children about the tools that are used during doctors office visits such as a stethoscopeotoscope as well as performing blood pressure checks on each other and stuffed animals," states Dr. Alsahlani.
 
Dr. Alsahlani recently opened Serenity Pediatrics in the building that formerly housed the Bloomfield Hills post office. The building underwent a 36-month redesign and build-out with a goal of preserving the existing structure of the former post office, featuring state-of-the-art energy efficiency and green-building materials. The building has no gas line and is heated and cooled by a heat exchange pumps that circulates water and antifreeze 400 feet deep into the parking lot. The building has energy efficient glass windows with heavily insulated envelope to minimize waste and heating and cooling the building. The building has LED lights and solar tubes that bring in natural light into the building and to minimize electricity use. Next year, the building will have 20 kw solar panels installed that will save the time electricity into batteries that will be used when the sun is not shining. 
 
To help ease any anxieties young patients may feel about going to the doctor, Serenity Pediatrics features a toy clinic where children can get check-ups on their toys before visits, and a saltwater aquarium with Dory¹s and Neemo¹s. Serenity Pediatrics features a concept new to Metro Detroit ­ a newborn waiting room. The practice is currently accepting new patients and accepts Medicaid and other insurance plans to ensure everyone has access to Dr. Alsahlani as their pediatrician.
 
In addition to founding Serenity Pediatrics, Dr. Alsahlani, DO is Assistant Professor at OUWB Medical School and a member of the Pediatric Resident Faculty at William Beaumont Children's Hospital in Royal Oak. She is a frequent blogger for the William Beaumont Parenting Blog.  In addition to general pediatric medicine, Dr. Alsahlani is regularly sought as a specialist for infant sleep training, preventative pediatrics, young adult and adolescent mentoring, among many of her specialties.
 
The practice will be offering monthly community programs. Up-coming programs include an Adolescent Mentoring Program; CPR Classes; an Anti-Bullying Program; as well as Girl and Boy Empowerment Programs.
 
Serenity Pediatrics is located at 71 E Long Lake Rd in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. For more information about Serenity Pediatrics "Doctor for the Day" Health and Safety Celebration on Saturday, May 6th or the practice, please contact 248-533-0000 or visit https://www.facebook.com/serenitypediatrics/.
 

OCCMHA is now Oakland Community Health Network

Beginning May 1, 2017 Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) is officially being renamed Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN), and is utilizing the tagline: developmental disabilities, mental health, and substance recovery in its updated logo design.
 
The name change is inspired by ongoing concerns that the agency’s previous name did not accurately identify what services are available to Oakland County residents.  
 
Another noticeable addition to the agency’s name is the word “network.” This change was made to better describe the agency’s operating infrastructure, which includes contract relations with more than 30 healthcare organizations and approximately 300 service sites across the county.
 
Additionally, in late summer, OCHN is moving its administrative offices from Auburn Hills to the office building it recently acquired at 5505 Corporate Dr. in Troy, near the I-75 and Crooks exit. OCHN’s Access services will continue to be located at the Resource & Crisis Center in Pontiac.
 
More information about OCHN’s name change and relocation will be communicated to the community through a variety of strategies. Information is also available on the agency’s website at www.oaklandchn.org or by contacting Customer Services at (800) 341-2003.
 
About OCCMHA
Oakland Community Health Network is the public mental health system responsible for identifying, influencing, and delivering services and supports to approximately 25,000 Oakland County residents, including individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, adults with mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbance, and persons with substance use disorders. Most of these individuals have Medicaid.
 
OCHN’s current network of service providers include: Common Ground, Community Housing Network, Community Living Services, Community Network Services, Easterseals Michigan, Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, Oakland Family Services, Inc., and Training and Treatment Innovations. A complete list of substance use service providers is available on OCCMHA’s website. For more information about OCCMHA call (800) 341-2003 or visit www.occmha.org.  
 

Seventh Annual Tulip Festival and Photo Contest hosted by White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery

Sunny days, warmer weather and flowers in bloom are signs that spring has arrived in Michigan. At the same time, the Seventh Annual Tulip Festival and Photo Contest at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery in Troy, is underway now through May 31, 2017 featuring a spectacular palette of blooms with all the dazzle of Holland’s best, without the cross-state drive.
 
The 2017 Tulip Festival promises to be the best showing ever. White Chapel has planted more than 50,000 tulips across its walkable acres, in more than 30 different varieties, including numerous rare blooms. Rich and colorful combinations will blossom into a vivid sea of petals. This year, the gardens of White Chapel will feature favorites like Red Impressions, White Triumphators, and Orange Emperors as well as rare blooms such as hot pink Barcelonas, yellow and red La Courtines and double pink Capetowns.
 
“Our annual tulip display is a tradition and celebration of spring,” said David R. Krall, Vice President, White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery. “We have a colorful display of tulips, imported directly from the Netherlands, including new and unique varieties rarely found anywhere else in the world.”
 
White Chapel has made it easier for everyone to participate in its Seventh Annual Tulip Festival Photo Contest with the addition of a “Selfie” prize category along with its traditional photo awards. White Chapel is offering gift cards to photo contest award winners.
 
Criteria for the photography contest include:
  • Photos must be taken in the White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery tulip gardens. 
  • Individuals can enter the photo contest by uploading photos to its website located at (www.whitechapelcemetery.com).  
  • People can vote for the best photos on the White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery website. Visitors also will find a tulip garden guide and map on the website. 
Photo contest prizes include:
  • First Prize – a $500 gift card and a $500 White Chapel credit voucher;
  • Second Prize – a $200 gift card and a $200 White Chapel credit voucher;
  • Third Prize – a $100 gift card and a $100 White Chapel credit voucher;
  • “Selfie” category – a $200 app gift card (such as Apple store or Google Play). 
For a complete list of photo contest details, visit www.whitechapelcemetery.com.
 
Southeast Michigan residents can see the tulips in bloom at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and Holidays. For bloom times, call White Chapel at (248) 362-7670 or visit www.whitechapelcemetery.com to receive an exclusive Bloom Alert! email notice with the latest information describing when the colors are at their peak. The Tulip Garden Guide & Map is available from the White Chapel website and can be used to help visitors plan their individual flower tour. White Chapel encourages local tulip aficionados, garden and photo clubs, church groups and families to come and enjoy this wonderful right of Spring.
 
“Each year, we plan new tulip bulbs because we want to expand and enhance our variety of flowers,” added Krall. “We invite the community to stop by to see our wide variety of tulips.”
 
Once tulip season ends, a mix of flowers will be planted in the White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery gardens for everyone to enjoy throughout the summer.
 
White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 621 W. Long Lake Rd. (just West of I-75) in Troy.  For more information, visit www.whitechapelcemetery.com.
 

Commerce Township to combat invasive species through county partnership program

Excerpt

Officials in Commerce Township have had enough of an invasive weed that is choking area wetlands, sucking water away from native plants and robbing species of their natural habitat. The township will participate in a countywide cooperative invasive species management program to primarily combat phragmites, invasive, feather-topped reeds.

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Polk Penguin Conservation Center helps boost Detroit Zoo visitors by 200,000 in 2016

Excerpt:

One year after moving and adding penguins at the Detroit Zoo into their new home at the 33,000-square-foot Polk Penguin Conservation Center, attendance has increased to 1,698,053 visitors, a 200,000-person increase from the previous year.

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Chaldean Cultural Center to open at Shenandoah Country Club on May 2

Excerpt

After more than a decade of curating artifacts and replicas, the Chaldean Cultural Center Museum at the Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield Township will open its doors on May 2.

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Four Story Burger gets a starring role

Excerpt:

It’s a winning combination: an appealing menu featuring well-prepared classics, and a creative design firm that provided the personality of the decor. That’s the backdrop at Four Story Burger, the new restaurant on the fourth floor of Birmingham’s Emagine Palladium Theatre.

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Detroit Soup micro-granting concept coming to Pontiac

A micro-granting and community dinner concept pioneered in Detroit is making its debut in Pontiac this month with the first Detroit Soup community potluck. Organizers are now taking submissions for projects to be funded from a community pot at the event.

 

Organizer Scott Stewart moved to Pontiac last year to take his first job out of college at Central Michigan at the Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network, where he serves as marketing and development manager. The Troy native chose to call Pontiac home to be close to his job and is now actively discovering the community.

 

"If I'm going to be working in a community, I might as well live in it," says Stewart. He first pitched the idea for Pontiac Soup after speaking with groups of entrepreneurs in the city. "They all said 'That's something that we would want, something that will get people started, and get ideas out there.' I said, 'Well, perfect!'."

 

Detroit Soup launched in 2010. The concept helps lift grassroots projects by providing seed funding contributed by the community. For a small door fee, attendees participate in a community potluck dinner while receiving project pitches from a preselected group of community leaders. After pitches are complete, attendees vote, and a winner is selected, receiving the total amount collected at the door.

 

Since its inception, Detroit Soup has $132,687 over 151 dinners, according to its website. Projects have run the gamut from urban agriculture to community radio to the construction of benches for city bus stops.

 

Submissions to Pontiac Soup can be made here.


Pontiac Soup will take place on May 20, 2017 from 6-8 pm at the Pontiac Creative Arts Center, located at 47 Williams St, Pontiac, Michigan 48341. Doors will open at 5 p.m. Suggested donation is $5. Find out more at Pontiac Soup's website.

Patterson names new manager of Homeland Security Division

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has appointed Thomas G. Hardesty as manager of the county’s Homeland Security Division, a position he begins today. Hardesty will be responsible for ensuring the county’s preparedness for natural or manmade hazards.

“Thom’s extensive background in law enforcement will be an asset to our Homeland Security Division,” Patterson said. “I have confidence in his 30 years of experience, education, and training.”

Hardesty, who retired in 2014 as deputy director of the Auburn Hills Emergency Services Police Division, has served as the administrator for the Oakland County Medical Examiner since October of 2015. He is looking forward to his new responsibilities as he transitions into the county’s emergency manager position.

“I’m grateful to Mr. Patterson for the opportunity to serve the county in such an important role,” Hardesty said. “As manager of the Homeland Security Division, I will work with our communities to keep our residents and visitors safe.”

Hardesty, 52, joined the Auburn Hills Police Department as a patrolman in 1989. He rose through the ranks serving as detective from 1992-1998, road patrol sergeant from 1998-2001, lieutenant of the Technical Services Division from 2001-2003, lieutenant of the Patrol Operations Division from 2003-2006, and lieutenant of the Criminal Investigations Division from 2006-2012 when he became deputy director of the Emergency Services Police Division. He began his law enforcement career as a Beverly Hills public safety officer in 1987.

Hardesty earned a bachelor of arts in management and organizational development from Spring Arbor University (2001) and a master of public administration in criminal justice administration from the University of Michigan in Flint (2008). He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (2008), Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command (2002), and the Washtenaw Community College Police Academy (1987). He belongs to the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Oakland County Chiefs of Police.

A Davison resident, Hardesty and his wife Stephanie have five children. 

Drive in, drop off hazardous household waste at NoHaz collections set for Oakland County communities

With nearly 5 million pounds of household hazardous waste properly disposed of since its inception in 2003, the NoHaz Consortium is providing Oakland County residents with an opportunity to do the safe and responsible thing with their household waste.

NoHaz collection events are scheduled from April through October, giving residents convenient opportunities to get rid of everything from outdated computers and dead batteries to paints, pesticides and more. Last year, nearly 4,600 residents loaded up their vehicles, drove to collection events and dropped off more than 633,140 pounds of household hazardous waste

“Oakland County residents have embraced the NoHaz program and responsibly and properly disposed of almost 5 million pounds of hazardous household waste since the program began in 2003,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “I encourage them to take advantage of one of the upcoming collection events and thank them for their participation.”

All 2017 NoHaz collection events run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays as follows:
  • June 24, Oakland University, 2200 N. Squirrel Road., Rochester
  • July  22, North Sashabaw Elementary School, 5290 Maybee Road., Clarkston
  • Sept.16, Oakland Community College, Highland Lakes Campus, 7350 Cooley Lake Road, Waterford
  • Oct.  28, Wildwood Amphitheater, 2700 Joslyn Court, Orion Township
Residents of the 16 NoHaz Consortium communities may dispose of their HHW for a nominal fee of $10, $15 or at no charge, depending on their community. Any Oakland County resident who does not reside in a NoHaz community may dispose of acceptable materials at any collection event, for a fee of $50.

NoHaz communities are Addison Township, Groveland Township, Independence Township, Lake Angelus, Lake Orion Village, Leonard Village, Oakland Township, Orion Township, Oxford Township, Oxford Village, Pontiac, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Rose Township, Springfield Township and Waterford Township.

Dozens of different household waste products are accepted including: household paints, stains, driveway sealer, asphalt roofing tar, computers, televisions, laptops, DVD/VCR players, cables, accessories, game systems, electronic games, motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, batteries, pesticides, fungicides, pool chemicals, muriatic acid, aerosols, cleaners, polishes, needles, syringes, inhalers, EpiPens, medication (excluding controlled substances), propane cylinders and tanks, fluorescent lamps and mercury. A complete list of accepted materials can be found at www.nohaz.com.

The NoHaz Consortium is a group of communities that provide residents a safe, reliable and environmentally responsible way to dispose of household hazardous waste. Collection events are coordinated and administered by the Planning Division of the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. The Planning Division makes arrangements for the safe and responsible disposal of the materials received.

NoHaz also sponsored a poster contest to educate and engage elementary students about the importance of recycling and proper disposal of household hazardous waste.

The winners are:
  • First place – Nicole Schroeder, fifth grade, Deerfield Elementary School, Avondale Schools,Rochester Hills
  • Second place – Adriana Dimovski, fourth grade, Holy Family Regional School, Rochester Hills
  • Third place – Claire Varzaru, fifth grade, Orion Oaks Elementary, Lake Orion
They will each receive a certificate, a gift card and their artwork is featured on 2017 NoHaz posters.

Get out of the house for fun at Oakland County parks

Excerpt

You can stop looking for an island resort to take in some zip lining or climbing. Opportunities are right in your back yard at Oakland County's 13 public parks.

While offering some of the region's most pristine land, Oakland County parks provide recreation choices galore, from geocaching to field sports, hunting, fishing, bicycle motocrossing, water and winter sports and, of course, picnicking.

Read more.

OCC partners with Secretary of State for motorcycle safety courses

Ready to experience the open road on two wheels? Oakland Community College (OCC) and Michigan Secretary of State are offering three Motorcycle Safety programs through June.  A motorcycle endorsement is required to drive on public roads; the motorcycle safety course is required for teens.

Basic Rider Course- Web Enhanced: Designed for someone who has minimal experience operating a motorcycle, this course focuses on the development of basic riding skills. 3 hours of online preparation is to be completed prior to class start date. This course is offered Apr. 22-23; Apr. 29-May 1; May13-15; June 3-5; June 10-12 and June 24-26.

Basic Rider Course- Traditional: Same content and course duration as the Basic Rider Course-Web Enhanced, however this is all in-person instruction. Available May 20 –May 22.

Returning Rider Course: A one-day course designed for the experienced but unlicensed rider to become licensed and legal. Many experienced, licensed riders use this course as a refresher and skills tune up. This session takes place May 7 or June 18.

Courses will be held at OCC's Auburn Hills campus at 2900 Featherstone Road. Full details on each course are available here or contact the office at (248) 232-4167.

To obtain an endorsement, drivers must successfully pass a motorcycle safety course, OR pass a written and vision test at a Secretary of State office, obtain a motorcycle temporary instruction permit which allows drivers to practice riding legally on the streets, pass a motorcycle skills test at a third-party testing organization like OCC, and present your skills test certificate at a branch office.

Michigan has 488,765 residents with a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license and 249,547 registered motorcycles.

Detroit-area chefs explore magical part of Italy

Excerpt

Luciano DelSignore, one of metro Detroit’s most celebrated chefs, traces his love of food back to Italy’s Abruzzo region.

There, he spent summers on his grandparents’ farm, learning and helping them tend to livestock, harvest fruits and vegetables. Food in Abruzzo, he says, is rarely mucked up with too many ingredients, remembering how he gathered eggs for his grandmother and how those eggs ended up an breakfast dish.

Read more.

Pontiac nonprofit leaders boost skills through OU certificate program

When Oakland University leaders launched a Nonprofit Management Certificate program in 2016, part of their mission was to engage and support the surrounding region, including the city of Pontiac, with which the university shares a strategic partnership. 
 
Kevin Corcoran, dean of OU’s College of Arts and Sciences, said “the certificate is exactly the kind of program that uses the talent and expertise of our faculty and staff to serve our community and strengthen our region.” 
 
With a focus on promoting community development, the university recently awarded full-tuition scholarships to six individuals in the program who have strong ties to nonprofit organizations in Pontiac.
 
Tamara Orza-Ramos is the founder of Instituto de Capacitación Socioeconómica (Institute of Socioeconomic Empowerment), a nonprofit serving Pontiac’s Hispanic community by connecting residents with opportunities to strengthen their economic, social, educational and civic powers.
 
Kermit Williams is a Pontiac city councilman, as well as a board member for Pontiac-based nonprofits High Place Community Outreach, a summer enrichment program; Identify Your Dreams Foundation, which is dedicated to enriching the lives of children who have lost a family member to violence; and Leaders of the Future, which provides leadership training and community service opportunities for high school students.
 
Coleman Yoakum is the director of the Micah 6 Community, a nonprofit focused on improving health and wellness, stabilizing neighborhoods and fostering spiritual growth in Pontiac. He is also a board member for Leaders of the Future and Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County.
 
Ryan Russell is the assistant director of Dream Center of Pontiac, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization committed to building a resilient and self-sustainable community by addressing hunger, poverty, addiction, education and human trafficking. He is also the program director for the Oakland County Sheriff Police Athletic League, which provides recreation opportunities for Pontiac youth and builds connections between the department and community.
 
Kristen Lambert is a registered art therapist and president of the board at The Art Experience, a Pontiac-based community nonprofit art studio dedicated to improving lives through the arts.
 
Norbert Burrows is president of the Street Sweepers Team, a group that works with other nonprofits to provide scholarships and mentoring programs for youth in Pontiac.
 
The scholarship recipients are working toward completing the yearlong program, which follows curriculum guidelines from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council and is composed of six courses:
  • Management Best Practices in the Nonprofit Sector
  • Entrepreneurship and Fund Development
  • Financial Management and Accountability for Nonprofit Managers
  • Performance Metrics in Nonprofit Management
  • Leadership and Human Resource Management in NPOs
  • Communication, Marketing and Outreach for Nonprofit Managers
Each course consists of classroom and online instruction, which allows for a more comprehensive education, according to program coordinator Suzanne Rossi.
 
“Typically, our students are working professionals who can only devote so much time to the classroom,” she said. “The online aspect provides some flexibility and allows for more information to be covered.”
 
The courses are taught by executive leaders with a wealth of expertise in the nonprofit sector. Among those leaders is Gary Dembs, founder and president of the Non-Profit Personnel Network, who teaches the course in Leadership and Human Resource Management in NPOs.
 
Dembs said Oakland’s certificate program fills a “definitive need” in the community, given the lack of formal education focused on nonprofits and the robust job growth in the sector.
 
“The nonprofit sector is the fastest-growing job sector in the country, when you take into account all the jobs in government, education, health care, human services, arts and culture, and trade associations,” said Dembs. “But there aren’t a lot of programs that teach people how to operate a nonprofit. The students in our program get real-world perspectives and up-to-the-minute information on trends in this sector.”
 
For more information about the program, visit the website.
 

Life is purr-fect for cat adoption cafe in Ferndale

Excerpt

Walk into the Catfé Lounge in Ferndale and you’ll find yourself in the company of kitties looking to share a space with you on any number of red sofas. Part of the Ferndale Cat Shelter, the café is a 1,000-square-foot public space where cats of all ages mingle with that day’s visitors.

The goal? To convince guests that the cat they didn’t know they wanted is ready to come home.

Read more.

More than $157,000 raised by walkers and sponsors of OLHSA's 27th annual Walk for Warmth

OLHSA, A Community Action Agency, hosted its 27th annual Walk for Warmth events, sponsored by Genisys Credit Union, on Feb. 4, 2017 at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets and Feb. 18, 2017 at the Hartland Educational Support Service Center. More than 1,000 participants, in the form of walkers, sponsors and volunteers, came together to raise funds for the Emergency Utility Assistance Program that keeps Oakland and Livingston county families safe and warm in their homes.

So far the total amount raised through Walk for Warmth is at $157,648 with $75,422 from the Oakland Walk for Warmth and $80,206 from the Livingston County Walk for Warmth. To reach the $180,000 goal, $24,352 is needed.

"People who seek our assistance struggle every day to stretch their limited resources to meet all their basic needs,” said Susan Harding, OLHSA CEO. “Funds raised at the Walk for Warmth events help them make their resources go a bit further and improve the quality of their life.”

Every dollar raised goes to heating homes in Oakland and Livingston counties, including many with young children and elderly, who are most vulnerable to cold and illness. Donations stay in the county where they are raised.

At both events this year participants of all ages enjoyed exercising indoors, giveaways, children’s activities, a free commemorative t-shirt and interacting with various mascots, including those from the  Detroit Zoo, Rainforest Café and SEA LIFE Michigan. In Oakland County, PK from 89X kicked things off and walkers received goodie bags, blood pressure screenings and massages. In Livingston County, KSI was honored as Team of the Year, receiving tributes from state legislators, and walkers enjoyed a photo booth, life-size penguin balloon display, refreshments and more.

There’s still time to help OLHSA reach its goal of raising $180,000 for the emergency utility assistance program. To donate visit, www.crowdrise.com/WalkforWarmthOakland2017 for Oakland County and
www.crowdrise.com/WalkforWarmthLivingston2017 for Livingston County.

Walk for Warmth is Oakland County and Livingston County’s premier walk-a-thon event, giving back 100 percent of proceeds to the Emergency Utility Assistance Program at OLHSA, A Community Action Agency.

OLHSA is a Community Action Agency improving the quality of life for people facing crisis while strengthening families, communities, seniors and youth since 1964. Over 209,000 services were provided in 2016 in the pursuit of helping people and changing lives. www.olhsa.org

Last call to register for Oakland County's 32nd annual Economic Outlook Luncheon set for April 27

Online registration closes Friday for the 32nd annual Oakland County Economic Outlook Forecast luncheon, which is set for April 27 at the Detroit Marriott Troy.

University of Michigan economists Dr. Gabriel Ehrlich and Donald Grimes will present a three-year projection on employment prospects in private manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors with breakdowns for all industry categories for Oakland County. The outlook report is a main component for Oakland County’s long-term planning and promotion activities. Every attendee receives a copy of the summary report.

“Their perspective on the county’s economic health is both insightful and helpful,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The event is always sold out and these seats will go fast.”

Tickets are $50 per person can be purchased online at www.AdvantageOakland.Eventbrite.com. Registration closes Friday or when capacity is reached. More than 600 people attended the event in 2016. The Detroit Marriott Troy is at 200 W. Big Beaver Road, east of Interstate 75, in Troy. The luncheon begins promptly at 11:30 a.m.

The luncheon is hosted by Chase, Oakland Community College and the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. 

Patterson: Make emergency plan for severe weather

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson urges families to download and fill out an emergency plan during Severe Weather Awareness Week in Oakland County which takes place April 16 - 22, 20??17. Just go to OakGov.com/HomelandSecurity? and click on the link for the Family Emergency Plan.
 
“When families, schools and businesses are prepared for severe weather, it saves lives and property,” Patterson said. “In fact, we’ve made it easy for every family to have an emergency plan. Just go to our website, print the severe weather plan, and fill in your family’s vital information. It just takes a few minutes.”
 
Patterson declared the week of April 16 - 22, 2017 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Oakland County. The county’s Homeland Security Division will engage in various public education activities that week. Plus, it will conduct a countywide test of the Oakland County Outdoor Warning System on Wednesday, April 19 at 1:00 p.m.
 
During the 2016 severe weather season, there were 42 storm-based warnings issued for Michigan and two recorded tornadoes (the average is five). The warning lead time average was 14.9 minutes for all severe weather events.
 
“Homeland Security puts a lot of effort into educating individuals about severe weather safety and the Outdoor Warning System,” said George Miller, director of the Oakland County Health and Human Services Department, who oversees Homeland Security Division. “The April 19 siren test will be an opportunity for individuals, schools and businesses to test their emergency preparedness plans.”
 
For more information about emergency preparedness or Severe Weather Awareness Week, go to 
OakGov.com/Homela?ndSecurity. To reach Oakland County Homeland Security Division by phone, call 248-858-5300.
 

Great Lakes National Cemetery to honor Vietnam veterans

What: A Vietnam War Anniversary commemoration ceremony to thank and honor Veterans of the Vietnam War.

When: April 1, 2017 at 10:00 A.M.

Where: Great Lakes National Cemetery Ceremony Assembly area (Rostrum, Amphitheater)

Contact: Roy Luera, Cemetery Director - Office: 248-328-0386

Background: The Department of Veterans Affairs Great Lakes National Cemetery will honor the service, sacrifice, and enduring achievements of the Armed Forces with an anniversary event. The event will commemorate Vietnam War Veterans and include a pinning ceremony to all Vietnam Veterans in attendance.

The lapel pins will be presented in a dignified manner to each Vietnam veteran during the event, and include accompanying remarks to reflect the nation’s thanks for their service and sacrifice.

Oakland County rises to one of the top 10 healthiest counties in Michigan

Oakland County is the 10th healthiest county in Michigan, ranking ahead of neighboring Wayne and Macomb counties in health outcomes, according to the County Health Rankings Report released today. Oakland enters the top 10 for the first time since the rankings began in 2003, while maintaining the number two ranking in health behaviors for the fourth year in a row and significantly improving in the quality of life measure, moving to the top five.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson credits this achievement to his administration’s focus on quality of life initiatives, including Energizing Connections for a Healthier Oakland (ECHO), a countywide health improvement initiative focused on achieving a community where every person that lives, works, attends school, worships, or plays in Oakland County is a healthy person.

“Promoting active and healthy lifestyles is at the heart of our public health programs and quality of life initiatives,” Patterson said. “ECHO is one among several programs where we work with community partners to find shared solutions and innovative ways to make Oakland County a healthier place to live, work, and play.”

Oakland County has improved or maintained its position in 32 areas of measure in the County Health Rankings Report produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Those areas include quality of life, health behaviors, access to exercise opportunities, adult obesity, teen birth rate, unemployment, and violent crime rate.

“These results reflect the hard work and commitment of the Oakland County Health Division’s numerous community collaborative efforts, work of our partners, and our dedication to improve the overall health and quality of life for residents,” said Kathy Forzley, health officer for Oakland County. “We are pleased with the rankings and are encouraged to continue to work to advance the well-being of our residents.”

The report is the only tool of its kind that measures the overall health of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties. It highlights key health factors that affect health, including health behaviors, access to and quality of clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. For more information about the rankings or to review the report, go to oakgov.com/health.

Oakland County Health Division has a variety of programs and services that support healthy lifestyles by promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors, improving infant health, increasing accessibility of health services, ensuring a safe and clean environment, preparing for emergencies, and reducing the threat and preventing the spread of diseases.

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

Into the lab with Pontiac's Exferimentation Brewing

For co-owners Eric Benton, Andrew Stamper, and Scott Boughton, it's passion that has them brewing beer until 3 a.m..long after their shifts in the automotive industry have ended for the day.

The three friends opened Exferimentation in July 2016, though they started working on their quirky signature beers for several years before that. The co-owners consider themselves the "mad scientists" of the brewing trade, eschewing the traditional ales and lagers for something more unique. Hence the name http://exferimentationbrewing.com/Exferimentation, from"Experimenting with fermentation."

There's Clownpocalypse, a toasted coconut cream ale born out of a conversation co-owner Eric Benton had about a zombie clown apocalypse. There's the Pink Tickler, a hibiscus wheat beer that's also the brewery's most popular. And there's a red ale with rosemary, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, a pineapple-rhubarb wheat beer, and a lemon-coriander sour beer, to name just a few. The trio is always working on other unique flavor combinations, testing them out on their all too willing loyalty program members, the Mad Scientist Club.

It all started out so innocently.

"We started homebrewing on my back porch and progressed from there to a small industrial space in Rochester," says Benton. "We had a club and brewed ten gallons at a time. We had that for 18 months, and by the time we got to the end of the 18 months, we had 30 people showing up and drinking all of our beer. They were drinking more than we could make," says Benton. "We figured that it was time to go pro."

Though it may seem like a current trend, homebrewing has been around for thousands of years. And like the many brewers before them, the Exferimentation crew learned how to brew beer through the trial-and-error process. Come up with an idea, see what works, let people try it, and proceed based on their enthusiasm for the product.

Keeping their focus on the beer, Exferimentation has spent the bulk of their money so far on brewing equipment. Work on the tasting room, a storefront in downtown Pontiac, was done themselves. The trio rehabbed the floors, installed the tile, and built the bar and tables all by hand. And this done in the evenings and weekends, working around their "regular jobs."

In searching for the right space for their bar, Exferimentation looked at a couple of locations before finding downtown Pontiac. The historic storefronts, walkability, and the potential for economic revival made it obvious that it was the city that Exerimentation was about to call home.

"We didn't know that we wanted Pontiac until we went into Pontiac to look. And then we absolutely knew that we wanted Pontiac," says Benton.

Benton's big on the city's future, saying that he thinks it's about two to three businesses away from a development tipping point, leading to it becoming a bustling destination for a night on the town.

The building where Exferimentation is located, 7 N. Saginaw St., is already abuzz. Directly across from the recently renovated Flagstar Strand Theatre, 7 N. Saginaw St. hosts a vintage clothing store and, not one, but two breweries. Five days after Exferimentation signed the lease on their storefront, Fillmore 13 Brewery signed theirs. The two breweries share a hall. But the competition doesn't irk the Exferimentation team one bit. All it means, says Benton, is that there are more people drawn downtown.

Part of that, he says, is that he knows craft beer fans are the type to try as many new beers as possible, and not settle into a single establishment. It's a "the more, the merrier" situation that creates the foot traffic a business desires. 
 
And in talking about beer towns, Benton has his eyes set on a certain city in west Michigan known for its dozens of breweries, which holds the title of Beer City, USA.

"Look out Grand Rapids, here comes Pontiac."

Name and title: Eric Benton, co-owner (other owners are Andy Stamper and Scott Boughton)

Year Exferimentation opened: Opened 7/21/16

One interesting job you had before running Exferimentation: I was the chocolate and frappucino buyer for Starbucks.

What's the best brewery soundtrack: Best soundtrack to me is Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons.

What's your favorite beer flavor of all time: We love citrus around here, especially grapefruit. It's becoming commonplace these days, but grapefruit with its slight bitterness fits just right with an IPA.

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

Patterson appoints first woman to lead Health and Human Services

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has appointed Kathleen Forzley to be the next director of the Department of Health and Human Services. Forzley will be the first woman to lead the department which oversees the county’s Health Division, Homeland Security Division, and Children’s Village. She will replace George Miller who retires April 28.

“Kathy Forzley will do an outstanding job as director of the Health and Human Services Department,” Patterson said. “Her leadership overseeing more than 40 public health programs as the county’s health officer has not only garnered many national and statewide awards but also has bolstered Oakland County’s reputation for excellence in public health.”

Forzley said she welcomes the challenges that go with being director of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“I’m grateful Brooks has confidence in my experience to take the reins of his largest department,” Forzley said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunities that come with the additional responsibilities.”

Forzley is the first woman to take the top spot in Health and Human Services, but she is not the first woman to break such barriers in Oakland County government. Patterson also appointed the first women to be directors of other major county departments. They are:
  • Management and Budget (Laurie Van Pelt, director)
  • Human Resources (Judith Eaton, retired)
  • Corporation Council (Judith Cunningham, retired)
  • Risk Management (Julie Secontine, currently Michigan fire marshal)
  • Economic Development & Community Affairs (Maureen Donohue Krauss, currently chief economic development officer for the Indy Chamber).
With a focus on population health improvement, Forzley has worked to align community partners and resources to address complex health issues through numerous collaborative efforts, including the creation of Oakland County’s health improvement initiative known as Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland (ECHO). She also has served in leadership roles for health initiatives on a regional and statewide level through her participation on the Michigan Public Health Advisory Commission, Michigan Local Public Health Accreditation Commission, Southeastern Michigan Health Association Board, and is the current President of the Michigan Association of Local Public Health.

“Kathy was the visionary for the Energizing Connections for a Healthier Oakland (ECHO) initiative which is redefining public health,” said George Miller, the retiring director. “She has the knowledge and the work ethic to take on such a large department. I am extremely pleased that Mr. Patterson has chosen her to be my successor.”

Forzley, a Troy resident, has been the county’s health officer and manager of the Oakland County Health Division since 2008. She served as the administrator for Oakland County Environmental Health Services from 2003-2008. Prior to that, she was an environmental health services supervisor from 2001-2003. She joined Oakland County in 1992 as a public health sanitarian. Forzley holds a master of public administration degree and dual Bachelor of Arts in biology and Bachelor of Science in environmental health degrees, all from Oakland University. Forzley and her husband, Murray, have three daughters and one grandson.

Country Day student wins national art honor

Excerpt

Detroit Country Day School senior student Rishuv Mehta earned the Best in Category award for Digital Arts in a national 2D3D art contest sponsored by the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Read more.

More meatballs! New meatball diner opens in Birmingham

Excerpt

Sam Abdelfatah looked at the restaurant scene around metro Detroit and realized something was missing.

Nobody was selling meatballs.

"The meatball is a classic dish, and I felt it was kind of overshadowed over the last 15 years," he said. "I wanted to bring it back to the spotlight and take it to a different level."

Read more.

Let's get dirty! Tough Mudder coming to Oxford June 3-4, 2017

One of the messiest and most popular endurance events is coming to Oxford Township this summer, so it’s time to get in shape and stock up on the laundry detergent.

Tough Mudder is scheduled to take over the 1,200-acre Koenig Sand & Gravel mining property on June 3-4.

"I can’t tell you how excited and honored we are to play host to Tough Mudder," said Oxford Township Trustee Jack Curtis, chairman of the Economic Development Subcommittee.

"This is the type of thing that really puts a community on the map. Thousands and thousands of people attend these events all over the country and all over the world. This is going to be a huge shot in the arm for the Oxford area."

Tough Mudder is a team-based obstacle course that tests participants’ physical and mental strength, stamina and ability to work together to achieve common goals. Folks of all ages tackle the course, from teenagers and millennials to Baby Boomers and senior citizens.

"These aren’t people looking for medals or trophies," Curtis said. "These are people who like to be active, stay in shape, push their bodies to the limit and overcome whatever challenges they can find. These are people who work hard and play even harder. We’re happy to have them come here and bring their vitality and energy to our community."

Koenig Sand & Gravel will have three courses going that weekend – a full 10-to-12-mile Tough Mudder with 21 hard-core, military-style obstacles; a 5.2-mile Tough Mudder Half featuring 14 obstacles; and a quarter-mile Mini Mudder for children ages 7-12.

Based on current projections, more than 6,000 people (participants, family members and spectators) are expected to attend June 3 with another 1,200 to 1,300 folks the next day.

"This is going to provide some terrific exposure for Oxford," Curtis said. "All these people are going to see everything we have to offer, from our historic downtown filled with fantastic restaurants and unique shops to our relaxed, rural atmosphere with its lakes, parks, trails and horse farms."

"We’re confident Tough Mudder is going to give our local economy a big boost," Curtis continued. "Tough Mudder participants are exactly the type of people who are going to visit the two new craft breweries and the new Texas barbecue restaurant that are expected to open here soon. They’re the type of people who are going to check out all the fitness and recreation-centered businesses located inside the 208,000-square-foot Legacy Center."

Curtis noted Oxford Township is the ideal place for folks who enjoy leading an active lifestyle.

"We’ve got miles and miles of trails to hike, bike and run. We’ve got two disc golf courses. We’ve got plenty of businesses that offer exercise opportunities. We’ve got more than 500 acres of park land. We’ve got fields on which to play baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse. We’ve got public tennis courts. We’ve got lakes and indoor pools to swim in. If you can’t find it here in Oxford, you’re not looking very hard."

Tough Mudder representatives are anxious to transform Koenig Sand & Gravel into one of their famous courses. A combination of Mother Nature and decades of mining activity have made the site perfect for this unique brand of outdoor fun.

"Koenig’s got it all," Curtis said. "There’s woods, paths, hills, cliffs, open fields, lakes and streams, and plenty of gravel and thick, concrete-like mud everywhere, You couldn’t ask for a better setting for Tough Mudder. Koenig is going to challenge folks and then some. I think this is going to be one of their more successful sites. People will be talking about this one and looking forward to coming back."

Curtis hopes Tough Mudder will make its visit to Oxford an annual thing.

"It’s the perfect marriage," he said. "We’ve got everything they need – an ideal venue that’s easy to access via M-24, I-75 and I-69, a supportive and diverse local business community full of potential sponsors and vendors, and a cooperative group of forward-thinking local officials who want to see their town prosper.

"They’ve got what we want – thousands of visitors with disposable income, a brand that’s well-known and respected both nationally and internationally, and tons of publicity."

Tough Mudder is currently seeking volunteers to staff its Oxford event and businesses that wish to participate as sponsors and/or on-site vendors.

"This isn’t just something where they come in, do their thing and leave," Curtis said. "They’re looking to forge relationships and take on partners. They want to work with us, not just benefit from us, and we appreciate that. It’s a two-way street when you join the Tough Mudder family."

To learn more about Tough Mudder, please visit www.toughmudder.com.

*****

About Oxford Township
Oxford Township is home to 20,526 residents (including Oxford Village) and experienced the third highest population growth (28.2 percent) in Oakland County based on the 2010 U.S. Census. Its diverse business community ranges from a revitalized downtown district to a healthy manufacturing sector. For two straight years, the village was recognized by a University of Michigan-Dearborn study as one of the top communities in the state when it comes to fostering economic development and entrepreneurial growth.

Oxford is served by a professional fire department, which protects the community 24-7 and currently holds the record for the fastest cardiac care time in the county.

Oxford Community Schools is the first public school district in Michigan to receive PreK-12 authorization from the International Baccalaureate organization.

It's Spring - Let's hike an Oakland County trail

Now that spring is finally here, there’s no better time to get outside and take in the sounds and sights of spring. Did you know that Oakland County and its surrounding areas offer miles and miles of trails for your enjoyment? Whether you want to jog through a park, stroll through to check out spring flowers, take a family bike ride, or saddle up on a horse, there’s a perfect trail for you.

View a partial list below to find a trail in your area and visit our Trails Page for an interactive trail viewer map. The map will allow you to sort by parks and trails and take note of a trail’s surface area. You can even view a trail’s elevation by clicking on it.

Read more here

Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research receives $100,000 endowment

Thanks to a recently created endowment, the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research will be able to bring a speaker of national significance to Cranbrook's campus each year. The Center for Collections and Research will select speakers whose work intersects with the history of Cranbrook and its legacy for future generations, beginning with David Sax and the "The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter" on Sunday, April 9, at 3pm.
 
The endowment was created by longtime supporters of the Cranbrook Educational Community, Cranbrook President Emeritus Lillian Bauder, and her husband, Donald Bauder. Dr. Bauder served as Cranbrook's President and Chief Executive Officer from 1983 to 1996, a period during which she not only developed Cranbrook's first community-wide strategic plans, but also created a master plan that ultimately led to the building of the Vlasic Early Childhood Center, the Williams Natatorium, the Cranbrook Academy of Art's New Studios Building, and the expansion of the Cranbrook Institute of Science.
 
In 1996, Dr. Bauder became Vice President of Masco Corporation, a position she held until she retired in 2007. Seven years later, Dr. Bauder was named a recipient of Cranbrook's prestigious Founders Award. Dr. Bauder and her husband now reside in Columbia, Maryland, but continue their personal dedication to Cranbrook as demonstrated by several endowments that they have established. One supports the President's Award for Excellence, a program that Dr. Bauder started while President, while a second supports the operations of Cranbrook's life-transforming Horizons-Upward Bound program. Most recently, the Bauders designated $100,000 of their gifts to Cranbrook to support a third endowment -- the Center for Collections and Research's new annual Bauder Lecture. "During my presidency at Cranbrook," Dr. Bauder recently recounted, "I repeatedly found inspiration in the words of Cranbrook's founder George Booth, whose extraordinary vision for an educational community set the standards for my own work at Cranbrook. Through the establishment of this annual endowed lecture, I hope that a new generation will find meaning and purpose in Cranbrook's history and legacy and the way that it intersects with contemporary life."  
 
In the inaugural Bauder Lecture, David Sax -- award winning author of "The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter" -- will explain how the return of tangible products and processes are proving best for business by giving us exactly what digital cannot: tactility, authenticity, and soul. Among other topics, Sax shines a spotlight on the recent revival of printed books and independent bookstores, the revitalized vinyl record industry and the reintroduction of turntables, the concept of using notebooks and journals to formulate ideas, and the interest in analog watches as exemplified by Shinola in Detroit. The lecture, offered free of charge to the public, will take place at Cranbrook Schools Performing Arts Center, located at 550 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. Copies of David Sax's book will be available for purchase at the lecture and in advance through the Center for Collections and Research. Following the lecture, guests will enjoy a book signing and reception in historic Page Hall.
For more information on the lecture or to purchase a copy of "The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter", please call the Center for Collections and Research at 248.645.3307, email center@cranbrook.edu, or visit www.cranbrook.edu/center.  

Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy Country Drive Car Tour

Six Rivers is hosting a classic car tour highlighting the natural beauty of the region on two lane, paved roads through the northern portion of the Detroit metro region on Sunday, May 7, 2017. The tour will be for classic cars, vintage sports cars, and exotic cars, giving people an opportunity to spend a nostalgic day touring the beautiful backroads of the region with their friends and other car enthusiasts.

The tour will begin at M1 Concourse in Pontiac with check-in, a continental breakfast, and a parade lap around the track to kick off the tour. Cars will follow a route of approximately 85 miles, ending at Miller’s Big Red Farms in Washington. Afterglow activities at Miller’s will include libations, delicious food, and a preview tour of their new distillery, dining, and agricultural-based family recreation activities.  The purpose of the event is to introduce participants to Six Rivers Land Conservancy and its work to preserve the natural and agricultural landscapes that are part of the region’s rich heritage. This exclusive tour is limited to 100 cars, so register today to ensure your place in the Country Drive Car Tour! (Final approval of vehicle models is left to the discretion of the event committee.)

Register today! Click here for the registration form. You can email the completed form (click here), fax it to 248-601-0106, or call in and register over the phone at 248-601-2816.

Interested in sponsoring this unique event? Click here to learn about our sponsorship opportunities!

If you have any questions regarding registration or sponsorship, please contact Angela Wilhelm, Development Director, by email or at 248-601-2816.

Read more.

Euro-Peds Foundation announces increase in treatment and travel grants

Euro-Pêds Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, announced it will award $45,000 in treatment and travel grants during 2017 to assist children from Michigan and nationwide with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injury and other gross motor challenges receive treatment at Euro-Pêds®National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy in Pontiac. The total grant funding amount available represents an increase of about $5,000 over the previous year. Families with financial needs can apply for up to $1700 toward treatment and $800 toward hotel expenses. Euro-Pêds also has several local hotel partners with discounted rates to further support families who travel for treatment. Grant applications and donation opportunities are available on the Euro-Pêds Foundation website: www.europedsfoundation.org.

Grant applications must be received at least four weeks prior to starting a treatment session. In 2016, Euro-Pêds Foundation assisted 25 children with treatment and/or travel grants that totaled approximately $41,000. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Euro-Peds Foundation has served 39 families since 2015.

“While Euro-Pêds National Center accepts most insurances, large deductibles and co-pays still prevents some families from seeking treatment. Our foundation provides funds to children and young adults who can benefit from longer, intensive physical therapy at Euro-Peds. Using a European approach and special tools in combination with longer, more frequent treatment sessions, patients achieve greater mobility and improved functional skills. This leads to more independence and better health,” said Michelle Haney, PT, MSPT, Director of Euro-Pêds National Center for Intensive Pediatric PT and Euro-Pêds Foundation Founder and President. “We believe every child deserves a first step. Most Euro-Peds patients advance at least one functional level with their treatment program.”

In July 2015, Euro-Pêds National Center purchased and moved to a new facility at 3000 Centerpoint Parkway in Pontiac, Mich.; near I-75 and M-59 at the intersection of Square Lake and Opdyke roads. The facility has large, private therapy suites for the entire family and features close, front entrance parking and extra-wide hallways for mobility equipment, biking, bowling and other fun therapy games at the one-level, 8,400 sq. ft. building. Intensive physical therapy is a complementary treatment to other traditional physical therapy programs and Euro-Pêds welcomes the opportunity to coordinate care with any other medical provider.

ABOUT EURO-PÊDS® FOUNDATION
Established in 2013, the Euro-Pêds Foundation (EPF) raises funds and disburses treatment and travel grants to families of children with gross motor disorders in need of financial assistance for specialized, intensive physical therapy at Euro-Pêds National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy in Pontiac, Michigan. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Foundation also assists in providing education about therapeutic interventions for the children and their caregivers. EPF believes every child deserves a first step. For more information, visit www.EuroPedsFoundation.org or call 1-844-EURO-PEDS (844-387-6733).

ABOUT EURO-PÊDS® NATIONAL CENTER FOR INTENSIVE PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
Euro-Pêds® National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy has helped more than 1500 children and young adults with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, spina bifida and a variety of other gross motor disorders learn new skills to improve mobility, self-esteem and independence.

Located in Pontiac, Michigan, the Center opened as North America’s first intensive pediatric physical therapy center in 1999 for families throughout the U.S. and beyond seeking a specialized regimen of practice conditions, including use of the Universal Exercise Unit and optional patented suit therapy to optimize motor training and significantly improve motor skills. For more information about Euro-Pêds’ individualized programs based on intensive therapy techniques originally pioneered in Eastern Europe and blended with best practices developed in the United States, visit www.EuroPeds.org or call (248) 857-6776.
 

CMNtv public access television orientation April 1

Excerpt

Make television at Community Media Network! Visit our studio on April 1, 2017 at 1:00 PM for a free orientation and learn about the wide array of video production courses that you can take to bring your big ideas to the small screen. Orientation will cover CMNtv’s course selections, field equipment, editing software, and a tour of our studio. 

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Public art: Colorful, creative and hip

Excerpt: 

When it comes to art in downtown Farmington, DDA executive director Annette Knowles is frank: It’s sparse.

Not necessarily for long, though. Later this year, the Downtown Development Authority is planning to unveil the first in a series of public art installations around the downtown, with the goal of making Farmington more colorful, creative, memorable, and hip.

Read more.

Health Division seeks nominees for Breastfeeding-Friendly Place Award

The Oakland County Health Division Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is seeking nominations for its 3rd Annual Breastfeeding-Friendly Place Award. Awards will honor Oakland County pediatrician offices, employers, and businesses that are taking extra steps to support breastfeeding mothers.

Complete an online nomination form at www.oakgov.com/health. Award nomination entries are due Friday, April 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

"Businesses, employers, and pediatrician offices that support breastfeeding mothers by providing a comfortable, welcoming environment send a clear message that breastfeeding is a normal and accepted way to feed babies," said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager/health officer. "They are helping to develop healthy children."
Breastmilk helps keep babies healthy by:
  • Supplying all necessary nutrients in proper proportions
  • Protecting against diseases, infections, allergies, and obesity
  • Being easily digested - no constipation, diarrhea, or upset stomach
Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. They may find it easier to return to their pre-pregnancy weight. Plus, breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mother and child. Mothers who are able to pump while at work and continue to breastfeed their infants miss fewer days of work on average than those who are formula feeding.

Award winners will be announced during National Breastfeeding Month at the Breastfeeding-Friendly Place Awards event on August 9.

Prior award winners include:
2016
  • The Mind Body Collective of Waterford – Business Category
  • Southfield Pediatric Physicians, PC of Bingham Farms – Pediatrician Office Category
  • City of Novi Police Department of Novi – Employer Category
2015
  • Mom & Baby Shop, Novi – Business Category
  • Pediatric Care Corner of West Bloomfield – Pediatrician Office Category
  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital of Pontiac – Employer Category
For more information, visit www.oakgov.com/health or call Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

Leadership Oakland celebrates the tenth year of high school leadership program

Leadership Oakland will once again take an active approach to get young people to explore their own potential and contribute to their communities with its tenth Junior Leadership Oakland (Junior LO) program this summer.  Junior LO is a three-day leadership program for students who will be entering their senior year of high school in the fall and wish to build upon their leadership abilities.  With no cost to students, the program seeks to generate opportunities that will ignite leadership potential, create exposure to a wide variety of career paths, and provide interaction with a network of business professionals and community leaders.
 
“There is a lot of bright, young talent in our area looking for ways to develop and channel their skills and passion. Leadership Oakland is honored to offer a program that helps them define and chart their future.  In return, our region grows stronger through their vision and action,” comments Leadership Oakland Executive Director, Nancy Maurer.
 
More than 250 high school students have participated in the Junior LO program since its inception.  Over the course of three days, participants will explore leadership on three levels; personal, professional, and public.  Students will be challenged to define their own sense of leadership, creating goals that will align their desired image as a leader and their future choices.  
 
Junior LO will take place on June 19-21 at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills campus.  The application deadline is May 1, 2017.  Students can find the application and learn more about the program by visiting www.leadershipoakland.com and clicking on the Junior LO tab under programs. This year’s Junior LO sponsors are Genisys Credit Union, Oakland Community College, Crossroads for Youth and Oakland County Planning & Economic Development Services.
 
About Leadership Oakland
Established in 1990, Leadership Oakland is a 501 (c)(3) organization focused on business and community leadership development. The organization provides a nine-month Cornerstone Program to participants from businesses, organizations and governmental agencies that are selected based on an application process. Leadership Oakland graduates are key business and community leaders serving as catalysts on boards of various organizations throughout the region.

Dodge partners with Universal Studios on The Fate of the Furious

Excerpt

Auburn Hills-based automaker FCA US announced that Dodge has entered a promotional partnership with Universal Pictures for The Fate of the Furious, which will arrive in theatres on April 14. Dodge has been part of the Fast and Furious franchise since its inception, and is launching a multitier marketing campaign including television ads, social media and digital extensions, and licensed products in advance of the film.

Read more.

Ferndale community celebrates student artists: save the date reception

The Artist In You is a community-wide celebration of 2D student art, featuring works by young talents from Ferndale High School, University High, and Center for Advance Studies and the Arts (CASA). Students will compete to have their winning piece converted into public art.

A public reception with live music will take place Tuesday, April 25 from 6-9pm at the Ferndale Area District Library to celebrate the young talent and art in the community. One student artist is eligible to have their artwork enlarged, reproduced, and displayed on one prominent business in the Ferndale Area. The top three artists will have their pieces re-printed and mounted at their respective schools. Also, these top three scoring artists will receive Achievement Awards of $200, $100, and $50. All student winners will be announced at the reception.

The Artist In You is a collaboration of the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce and Ferndale Public Schools, with support from the Ferndale Area District Library.

The Artist In You provides students with a unique opportunity to exhibit, market, and gain exposure for their creative work at a formative age. The FAC event creates a lasting contribution to the vibrant landscape of Ferndale through their artwork reproductions. Works from 2015 and 2016 The Artist in You winners still hang on buildings along Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. The costs to replicate the winning 2017 artwork will be donated by Ideation Signs & Communication, from Royal Oak, Michigan. Visit: https://www.ideationorange.com

"The Ferndale Area District Library is delighted to welcome back The Artist in You event," says Interim Director Darlene Hellenberg."We're excited to see what this year's artists create. We love knowing that we'll be able to share it with our patrons. It means that these talented students will receive the exposure they deserve."

Emily Pitchford-Boeuf, Director of USArt Boutique, a mobile art gallery featuring local Artist, will share her experience at the Ferndale High School to the Students. As a young curator and business owner, Emily will enlighten the classroom with her expertise. (Exact May date to be announced.)

Jim Shaffer and Associates Realtors (Keller Williams Realty) is the “Presenting Sponsor” for Artist in You. Other sponsors include Gage Products as “Student Masterpiece Sponsor”, Ferndale Public Schools as “Student Masterpiece Supporting Sponsor”, Credit Union ONE as “Community Art Sponsor” and Kabot Orthodontics as “Creative Youth Supporter.”

“Giving our children this artist experience is a pleasure to do," says Kim Hart, Executive Director (FAC). "It's a joy to see our City come together to support our budding artists. It's an event the Chamber is passionate about putting together."

Interested in sponsoring The Artist In You?

Contact Kim Hart, Executive Director, Ferndale Area Chamber at 248-542-2160 or email: director@ferndalechamber.com. If you are interested in supporting our Student Artists, please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/artistinyou.

The Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit, member-based organization that has been serving as the cornerstone of the Ferndale business community for more than 80 years by promoting commerce and economic development.

For more information contact the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce at 248-542-2160, or email director@ferndalechamber.com. 

Oakland NEXT bringing "A Future You Didn’t Know Existed" pilot program to area schools

Excerpt

Oakland NEXT, one of five Oakland County business roundtable committees, created the program, “A Future You Didn’t Know Existed”, as a way to give students career advice based on the experiences of committee members.

Oakland NEXT is a committee created to focus on the next generation of leaders in Oakland County through a branding campaign designed to highlight and retain the human capital within Oakland County.

Read more.

Oakland County's high-tech prowess on display in 2017

Oakland County’s best accomplishments lay ahead especially in high-tech investment, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said during his annual State of the County address before an audience of more than 600 guests at the Auburn Hills Marriot Pontiac at Centerpoint. He began by spotlighting the new $40 million Proton Therapy Center at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak slated to open this spring.

“It is a giant leap forward in cancer treatment – one that Oakland County’s Medical Main Street played a significant role in supporting,” Patterson said. “We personally lobbied Lansing so that Beaumont could receive state approval for its Certificate of Need for the Proton Therapy Center. We did so because we recognized the value of having advanced cancer treatment in the heart of Oakland County, both from a quality of life and business attraction standpoint.”

The Proton Therapy Center, which will be one of only 36 in the world, is a high-tech alternative to standard radiation treatment. Proton therapy’s greater precision destroys cancer cells but spares adjacent healthy tissue and reduces side effects.

Medical Main Street, Oakland County’s initiative to drive medical tourism to the region, continues to evolve. In 2017, it will have an additional focus on commercializing medical technologies. Medical Main Street’s Advisory Roundtable will partner with Oakland County’s One Stop Shop to provide key services to help academia, hospitals, and private businesses take that next step after researching and developing their medical advancements.

“Oakland County will become a pipeline for delivering 21st Century medical innovations to market,” Patterson said. “That, my friends, is 21st Century progress.”

Oakland County is also becoming the premier location in the United States for developing advanced vehicle technology. Patterson cited Uber’s announcement in January that it has selected a site in the city of Wixom where it will test autonomous driving technology as well as Google’s opting last year to locate its 53,000-square-foot research and development center for self-driving cars in Novi.

“Why are leading Silicon Valley companies turning their eyes toward Oakland County as the place to develop advanced vehicle technology? Certainly, it’s the fact that 75 of the top 100 global tier one automotive suppliers in advanced vehicle technology have locations in Oakland County,” Patterson said.

“In addition, we have the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force which we launched back in 2014,” Patterson said. “In three short years we already have a couple dozen companies working in this space.”

To continue to attract these companies to Oakland County, the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs recently conducted a skills needs assessment in the connected mobility sector. The report uncovered a new job classification that was previously unknown to workforce development professionals. The position is a hybrid of electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and software developer. Plus, it provided insight into the greatest challenges faced by hiring managers in advanced automotive technology. One that stands out is that some engineering degrees outdated because the complexity of connected mobility requires a hybrid of engineering, computer, and technical skills.

“Information is power,” Patterson said. “Rest assured now that Oakland County has these survey results, we will be sharing them with industry leaders, colleges and universities, high schools, and workforce development professionals. And if the previous three skills needs assessments are an indication, there will be a strong response from our educational and training institutions to modify and create curriculum that will feed a new generation of highly skilled young people into the advanced automotive technology sector.”

Oakland County is making strides to attract the next generation of thinkers, doers, and dreamers in its Oakland Next initiative. Oakland Next is the county’s branding effort to harness young talent in Oakland County - to introduce high school and college students to the fact that so much of what they are looking for both in terms of quality of life and careers they will find right here in Oakland County.

One example is Manufacturing Day. For two years in a row, hundreds of Oakland County high school students the opportunity to tour dozens of advanced manufacturing plants at companies such as BASF, DENSO International, Hirotec America, Lear Corporation, Magneti Marelli, and more.

“You should really see how the faces of these students light up the first time they walk into one of these advanced manufacturing plants,” Patterson said. “They are in awe when they walk in and see robotics and advanced engineering hard at work. Many experience a moment when they realize that they don’t need to leave Michigan to pursue a high-tech career. It certainly is not their grandfather’s manufacturing plant.”

Manufacturing Day tours have been so effective that this year, using it as a model, Oakland County will launch “Info Tech Day,” when hundreds of high school students from around Oakland County will tour numerous Information Technology companies to see that their aspirations to pursue that high tech career can be fulfilled right here at home.

Patterson said the knowledge-based economy jobs are not just in private industry. Some are right here in Oakland County government. For example, the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office is now a teaching facility after it signed a contract with Wayne State Medical School and the Detroit Medical Center to instruct their medical students who are studying pathology. In addition to those students, 25 to 30 medical students from all over the United States come to our Medical Examiner’s Office every year for weeks at a time in order to complete their pathology rotation in medical school. “Though it is a handful of students, we think it is a tremendous opportunity to highlight both the availability of knowledge-based careers and the quality of life here in Oakland County to young talent from other parts of the country,” Patterson said.

The city of Pontiac is making a comeback.

“Pontiac has come to represent an often told America story: An urban center in America’s heartland falls on hard times, at least in part because of the changes in U.S. manufacturing, in particular the auto industry. But like so many urban centers, Pontiac is seeing a renewal because of private investment by individuals with vision. Individuals who see the potential, the future,” Patterson said.

Patterson recognized and thanked a number of entrepreneurs who are helping Pontiac rebound. Among them was Pete Karmanos, Jr., whose MadDog Technology subsidiary Lenderful, an online mortgage buying experience, is investing $1.75 million in downtown Pontiac and creating 52 jobs. Patterson quoted Karmanos’ words about investing in Pontiac in his speech:
"Establishing a core technology hub in Pontiac will draw many more technology-centric companies in the near term. For employees this represents a close, convenient place to work. This competitive location will draw people from all around the region.”

Patterson said he can make assurances of technology growth in downtown Pontiac in the future because it has plentiful underground fiber optic infrastructure – a necessity to attract and retain tech companies.

Other Pontiac investors he praised:
  • Vince Deleonardis and Auch Construction for building its new 20,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Pontiac
  • Brad Oleshansky and partners for investing $50 million in the M1 Concourse project at South Boulevard and Woodward
  • Kyle Westburg and partners for investing in and restoring the Flagstar Strand Theatre and Performing Arts Center
  • Ed Lee of Lee Contracting who has been investing in the Pontiac area for over 25-years, bringing much-needed jobs to help revitalize the city and has purchased the old Wisner School, Wisner Stadium, and the former Pontiac Central High School to turn those buildings into usable space for a variety of purposes.
  • And Southfield-based REDICO and Pacific Coast Capital Partners who are investing $180 million to transform the defunct Bloomfield Park project on Telegraph near Square Lake.
A significant sign that Oakland County continues a significant recovery from the Great Recession is significant private investment at Oakland County International Airport. Corporate Eagle is investing $8 million for a new 80,000-square-foot hangar facility. Edsel Ford’s Pentastar Aviation is exploring building lifestyle hangars – the aviation equivalent of M1 Concourse for cars. Kirt Kostich of Royal Air expanded by 43,200 square feet with the completion of two passenger buildings and a third to store aircraft with a total price tag of $3.2 million. Plus, the airport itself will invest $8 million in the coming year to rebuild taxiway Charlie or taxiway C, the busiest taxiway in all of Michigan.

“Dave VanderVeen, Oakland County’s director of central services who oversees the airport, often opines that aviation is the first sector into a recession and the last out of one. So, when I report to you tonight that Oakland County International Airport is expanding its footprint for corporate business development projects this year - projects worth millions of dollars in private investment - you get the sense that Oakland County’s economy continues to strengthen from the days of the Great Recession,” Patterson said.

Finally, Oakland County will see a number of improvements in public safety in 2017. The county has begun to replace the county’s 911 infrastructure from a copper network which has reached the end of its useful life as it dates back to 1963. A new regional fiber optic network called Emergency Services Internet-protocol Network or ESINet will prepare the way for the Next Generation 911 system in Oakland County. ESINet 911 calls will be routed using geographic information system coordinates. It will enable 911 callers to not only make voice calls to emergency dispatchers, but also they will be able to send photographs, videos, in-car crash system data, and texts from emergency scenes.

Oakland County continues to prepare for active shooters. Over the past five years, Sheriff Mike Bouchard and Oakland County Homeland Security Division, under the leadership of Ted Quisenberry, have leveraged federal grants to help equip and train our local police departments to neutralize an active shooter. Across nearly the entire county in virtually every department are police officers who are part of “OakTac” response teams. OakTac stands for Oakland County Tactical Response Coordinating Group. They are trained and equipped to enter a building and contend with an active shooter.

OakTac is comprised of 36 agencies and serves over 96 percent of the population in Oakland County. There are over 2,100 Oakland County law enforcement officers who have received this training.

In 2017, we are going to implement additional training which could increase the likelihood of survivability for victims of an active shooter. Oakland County Homeland Security Division will begin to train firefighters and emergency medical personnel to strap on bullet-resistant vests and enter an active shooter scene not far behind an OakTac team, even as that OakTac team continues to locate the threat to neutralize it. In these “warm zones,” firefighters and EMS personnel will triage, treat, and evacuate victims. In recent active shooter scenes, it has been found that victims who were alive when firefighters and emergency medical personnel were able to enter the building ultimately survived.

Oakland County Children’s Village is playing a key role in our region in the fight against human trafficking. As law enforcement on all levels continues to fight human trafficking and rescue local children from forced prostitution, Children’s Village is providing services and a safe haven for these rescued underage victims.

2017 Restaurant of the Year: Mabel Gray

Excerpt

Don’t let the name fool you: There’s nothing drab about Mabel Gray.

The Hazel Park restaurant glows an ardent orange during packed dinner hours, smoldering with the heady aromas of North African green harissa and pungent Thai fish-sauce caramel from its kaleidoscopic global pantry.

Read more.
 

Royal Oak entrepreneur is youngest winner of Oakland County Executive's 2017 Elite 40 Under 40 class

Brooke Wilson Vitale, the owner of specialty bakeries in Royal Oak and Birmingham, was selected by a public online vote as the winner of the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017.

The announcement was made at Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s State of the County address held at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac at Centerpoint. As the winner, Vitale was given the honor of introducing Patterson to the crowd of more than 600 people.

“It’s a really big honor,” Vitale said. “I was really surprised and very flattered.”

At 29, Vitale is the youngest winner in the six years of the contest. She is the owner of Love & Buttercream, a bakery she opened in 2012 after turning a hobby into her passion. An Oakland County native and Michigan State University graduate, she worked for a time in Chicago but the allure of returning home was too strong to ignore.

“There’s something about this area that I can’t quite put into words,” she said. “It’s a set of values, a culture, a feeling of support and a feeling of home. It’s something magical and unique that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the nation. It was the perfect place to let my dreams fly.”

Patterson was effusive in his praise for Vitale.

“Brooke is an excellent choice,” Patterson said. “She is creative, thoughtful, has an incredible business sense and is precisely the kind of young leader we want to keep in Oakland County.”

The bakery idea was hatched in a kitchen in her parent’s basement and took flight. Her business, which began with three employees, has expanded to 29 women – all under age 35. She credits her team with her success.

“They’re the ones that make me look good,” said Vitale, who is married and has a 1-year-old son. “They are the ones committed to this business. I’ve been lucky beyond what I can comprehend.”

The bakery’s cookies were named HOUR Detroit’s “Best Cookie” in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Love & Buttercream was also named Eater’s “Top 5 Bakeries in Metro Detroit.” The bakery provided wedding cakes and desserts for 600 couples in 2016 and is the exclusive provider for wedding cakes for the Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters on the Detroit River.

Nearly 400 applications and nominations were reviewed by a panel of judges, looking for the top 40 young professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County. The 40 honorees have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities. Of that group, the three candidates who scored the highest are placed before the public vote to determine a 2017 winner. This is the sixth year of the Elite 40 program.

"I am continually amazed at the caliber of young leaders we have,” Patterson said. “We think the whole class is superb and the top three are outstanding. The future of our county is very bright.”

More than 2,900 votes were cast for the three finalists. The other finalists were:
  • Richard J. Chalmers, D.O., 36, Director of Family Medicine Residency, McLaren Macomb Hospital
    Chalmers, of Rochester Hills, began his family practice in 2010 with the McLaren Medical Group and was named director of the family medicine residence program at McLaren Macomb Hospital in 2015. He is an assistant clinical professor at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is director of the hospital’s Medical Outreach Clinic, which treats uninsured patients at no cost. Chalmers has been to Guatemala three times as part of a team of doctors, nurses and volunteers through DOCARE International, providing care to more than 3,000 patients. Chalmers is married and has two sons.
  • Carrie Schochet, 37, CEO/Founder, Purple Squirrel Advisors
    Schochet, of Rochester Hills, heads a Troy-based boutique executive search firm that connects unique C-level and senior executives with leadership positions. She is also founder of CFO Next, a group she launched in 2013 when she discovered a lack of resources and networking opportunities for transitioning or unemployed senior financial executives. The group placed 60 people into new career opportunities in the first two years and assisting another 20. She is a passionate philanthropist, raising funds for a number of non-profits, including ALS research, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Power Company Kids Club. In 2016, she co-founded 100 Businesses Who Care to connect executives who want to make an impact in metropolitan Detroit. The group is set to give a $50,000 donation to a local non-profit twice a year starting in 2017. Schochet is married and has three children.
The remaining members of the 2017 Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 class are:
  • Hallie Armstrong, 37, Senior Naturopathic Doctor, Beaumont Health
  • Matthew Baumgarten, 32, Berkley City Manager
  • Andrea Carollo, 37, Realtor, Max Broock Realtors
  • Alicia Chandler, 37, General Counsel – Continuing Care, Trinity Health
  • Nathan Clinton-Barnett, 32, Vice President of Clinical Services, Safe Balance LLC
  • Alex Delavan, 34, Director of Sponsored Programs, Oakland University
  • David DeLind, 30, Marketing Program Manager, 1986
  • Derek Dickow, 37, Founder, Steward Media
  • Matt Einheuser, 31, Watershed Ecologist, Clinton River Watershed Council
  • Joanne Forbes, 34, Department Chair of Art, Design/Humanities, Oakland Community College
  • Sean Forbes, 35, Co-Founder, DPAN.TV The Sign Language Channel
  • Kristin Griffith, 30, 2nd Grade Teacher & Elementary Technology Educator, Auburn Hills Christian School
  • Anthony Grupido, 21, CEO, Handsleight LLC
  • Sherikia Hawkins, 35, City Clerk, City of Pontiac
  • Michael Hohf, 31, Sr. Vice President & Financial Advisor, Advance Capital Management
  • Adam Jahnke, 33, Principal and Co-Founder, Vault Equity Partners
  • Yasser Khan, 37, Executive Vice President & Chief Sales Officer, IBM Miraclesoft
  • Jessica Knapik, 38, Program Analyst, Walsh College
  • Anjan Kumar, 38, Assistant Director of Medical ICU, Pulmonary & Critical Care Associates – St. John Hospital & Medical Center
  • Andrew Kurecka, 29, Manager of Outcomes Research, MedNetOne Health Solutions
  • Samantha Mariuz, 25, Director of Authorities, City of Auburn Hills
  • Sam Marzban, 34, Detective Sergeant, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tylar Masters, 37, President, Tylar & Company
  • Dustin McClellan, 26, Pontiac Director, The Power Company Kids Club
  • Maureen McGinnis, 38, Judge, 52-4 District Court
  • Shaun Moore, 38, Director of e-Learning, Oakland University
  • Tany Nagy, 37, Owner, Pulse Design Studio
  • Jeena Patel, 37, Partner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
  • Emily Paula, 26, Human Resources Business Partner, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Katya Pruett, 37, Manager Public Relations and Communications, BorgWarner Inc.
  • Katheryn Rohrhoff, 34, Staff Nurse, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital
  • Pratheep Sevanthinathan, 36, Owner, Seva Law Firm
  • Kayla Smith, Executive Director, 26, Hazel Park Promise Zone Authority
  • David Tessler, 34, VP & Co-Owner, Rain Marketing Inc.
  • Leyanna Torres, 32, Principal Product Engineer NAOSS Packaging Manager, ZF TRW
  • Kathryn Tuck, 37, Director of Foundation Giving, Leader Dogs for the Blind
  • Danielle Zuccaro, 34, Director Human Resources, Common Ground

Troy-based funeral home marks 100 years

Excerpt

The family that owns Troy-based A. J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors, is commemorating 100 years of providing funeral services and comfort to families. The original location was established in Highland Park in 1917.

Now the firm has three locations, two in Troy and one in Royal Oak.

Read more.
 

Oxford pub partners with Birmingham brewery for signature craft beer

Excerpt

Sullivan’s Public House of Oxford will soon have its own craft beer. Birmingham brewery, Griffin Claw Brewing Co., worked with the Oxford restaurant’s owners, Jerry and Jamie Cremin, to create Sullivan’s Irish Ale.

Read more.
 

Oakland County offers free severe weather spotter training

Registration is now open for Skywarn severe weather spotter training classes coordinated by Oakland County Homeland Security Division which begins 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,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “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 1.5 hours.

“The more trained eyes we have in the field during a severe weather event, the better our service to the public will be,” Patterson 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:

Saturday, March 18 from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford

Tuesday, March 21 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Commerce Township Offices, 2009 Township Drive, Commerce Township

Thursday, April 6 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Karl Richter Campus Community Center, 300 East St., Holly

Monday, April 10 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Orion Center, 1335 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion

Wednesday, April 12 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road, Southfield
 

Common Ground seeking new volunteers for 24-hour crisis helpline

Common Ground is seeking new crisis helpline volunteers at the Resource and Crisis Center in Pontiac, Michigan. The organization’s volunteer program offers severel benefits including: free certification and training courses, experience in a mental health environment, career development and career opportunities.  

Volunteer responsibilities include: Providing crisis intervention through telephone conversations, online chat and text messages, offering information on Common Ground’s programs and services, assisting speech and hearing impaired individuals, and participating in shift debriefings.

Those interested will also be asked to participate in a brief orientation and screening session and extensive training. Once trained, volunteers will be required to commit to at-least one shift a week over the duration of one year.

There is no experience required to volunteer at the organization. However, Common Ground asks that those interested have a willingness to work in a diverse environment, retain confidential information, have the ability to think clearly in emergency situations, and have the ability to communicate effectively.

The Resource and Crisis Center stands as a key-component in the organization’s crisis intervention methods. Volunteers will assist in providing confidential crisis intervention, emotional support, and debriefing by: phone, online chat and text.

The required volunteer training takes place three times a year in the winter, spring and fall seasons. The spring training session is set to begin Saturday, March 18, from 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

If interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Melissa Hope, at mhope@commongroundhelps.org or at 248-451-2614.
 
About Common Ground
Common Ground is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teens, young adults and families move from crisis to hope. Founded in 1971, the organization has utilized several intervention services and response methods to serve the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Last year, through counseling, support, and safety provisions, Common Ground was able to service more than eighty-thousand people in need of help. For more information about Common Ground and its services, visit commongroundhelps.org. 

Oakland County Parks and Recreation wins two state awards

Oakland County Parks and Recreation has won two mParks’ (Michigan Recreation and Park Association) state-wide awards for enhancing accessibility for all visitors. One award lauded OCPR’s efforts to increase water and trail access and the other praised uniquely designed hay wagons providing access to people of all abilities.
 
The hay wagons were awarded the Golden Wrench Award which recognizes resourceful staff members who have designed an inventive or resourceful cost or labor saving device. The new increased accessibility projects in the park were selected for mParks Park Design award.
 
The Park Design award was given to a collection of projects at Addison Oaks, Groveland Oaks and Independence Oaks county parks that included the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) parking spaces and accessible routes constructed to ADA guidelines. These improvements provided universal access to recreation opportunities such as kayaking, fishing, boating and nature hikes.
 
This focus on providing more access to trails and water came as a result of a recent public survey that showed residents’ top priorities for parks was maintenance and trails. New universally accessible trails now lead to universally accessible recreation opportunities.
 
“Accessibility for all of our park users is a top priority for Oakland County Parks and Recreation,” Executive Officer Dan Stencil said.  “Our ADA Transition Plans guide our park improvements to ensure that we’re meeting patrons’ needs within the parks and families and friends can enjoy the parks together.”
 
OCPR staff members were successful in obtaining grants to offset the cost of these projects. A fishing dock and a kayak launch were added to Addison Oaks with funding provided by the Michigan Recreation Passport Grant. The fishing dock was completed in spring 2016 and the kayak launch the previous fall.
 
Natural Resources Trust Fund Grants were used to construct a fishing dock at Groveland Oaks County Park and a kayak launch at Independence Oaks County Park.  The fishing dock was recently completed and the kayak launch was completed last fall.
 
OCPR staff managed and installed the projects. They created a boardwalk leading up to the docks and built a special foundation to compensate for soft ground near the water.
 
OCPR also saw the need to provide visitors of all abilities with the pleasure of a hayride through the parks. However, when searching for an adaptive wagon to purchase, none were found that met the proposed uses for the wagon.  The solution was to build one.
 
The two new wagons were created using car trailers. The back door folds down becoming a ramp for wheelchair access and many seniors who find steps difficult.  A hand rail gives added support to those walking up the ramp. As 2016 was the first season for the wagons, additional enhancements are continuing to be made. A second handrail is planned for each wagon so that a caregiver walking a rider up the ramp will also have a handrail for support.
 
Sand was mixed with paint on the ramp of the wagon to provide a non-slick surface for caregivers providing assistance and those with walkers. 
 
Special latches were built to lock the wheelchairs in place. The two benches on either side are open on one end to allow someone in a wheelchair to transfer onto the bench if they prefer.
 
Each wagon holds 20 people including two wheelchairs. The new wagons have been added to the parks system’s fleet, providing additional recreational opportunities for park visitors.
 
Oakland County Parks Supervisor and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Sandy Dorey has used the wagons for several events including adaptive and senior programs.
 
“The seniors at the Buhl Estate historical tours at Addison Oaks County Park gave us many rave reviews,” she said.  “Many of them had not been on a wagon ride in years.  The design of the new wagons made it easy for them to walk right up the ramp.  Most wagons have steps that are difficult to maneuver.”
 
Dorey said at a parks campground program, a grandparent was able to join the family for a ride because of the wagon’s accessibility.
 
For information on Oakland County Parks and Recreation, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Leader Dogs for the Blind receives $56,000 energy efficiency incentive from Consumers Energy

Leader Dogs for the Blind has received $56,071 in energy efficiency incentives from Consumers Energy.
 
The incentive is for energy efficiency upgrades recently made at Leader Dogs’ Rochester Hills headquarters, and highlights Consumers Energy’s commitment to help businesses across Michigan lower their costs. Since 2009 Consumers Energy has helped Michigan save more than $1 billion through energy efficiency efforts.
 
“Leader Dogs for the Blind was pleased to be able to partner with Consumers Energy to help maximize our savings potential through these energy efficiency improvements. The savings from implementing these measures will help us focus on raising future Leader Dogs so we can successfully pair them with blind and visually impaired individuals who come to us from all over the world to gain independence,” said Susan Daniels, president and CEO of Leader Dog.
 
The following building improvements and energy efficient retrofits were completed in order to receive the energy efficiency incentive:
  • Installing a high efficiency central boiler plant. The boilers are 95-98 percent efficient and have unlimited modulation for maximum energy efficiency. While the boilers have their own intelligent decision-making, they are also tied into the building’s automation system for maximum control and oversight. 
  • The building’s automation system continually monitors and tracks 77 independent zones delivering only the exact amount of heating and cooling needed to meet the requirements of those areas. It also has tremendous oversight capabilities and can warn of problems and show energy usage trends in every area of the building. The building automation is also capable of scheduling periods of reduced energy usage when areas are unoccupied.
  • High efficiency air handling units were also installed and three of the four contain energy recovery systems to recover otherwise wasted energy. These units are capable of reclaiming energy before it is exhausted and transfers that energy back into the building.
 
“We are pleased to help provide energy solutions to reduce energy costs for Leader Dogs for the Blind which will hopefully help enhance its mission to empower those who are blind or visually impaired with lifelong skills and independence,” said Tim Sparks, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy supply operations.
 
About Leader Dogs for the Blind
Leader Dogs for the Blind is a nonprofit organization that empowers people who are blind or visually impaired with lifelong skills for independent travel through the use of a Leader Dog or a white cane. Since its founding in 1939, Leader Dogs for the Blind has graduated over 15,000 client/dog teams. All services of the organization are provided free of charge. The organization also provides training in the use of pedestrian GPS equipment, trains guides dogs for people who are Deaf-Blind and holds a summer camp for teens. For more information on Leader Dogs for the Blind, call (888) 777-5332 or visit www.leaderdog.org.
 
About Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

When business cross pollinates: A luxury wedding venue comes to fruit

Excerpt

Initially planned as a greenhouse to supply flowers and plants for commercial building interiors, the Planterra Conservatory has blossomed into an exotic wedding location. Shane Pliska, President of Planterra Corporation, explains how this metamorphosis developed, and shares advice for business owners who are looking to transform their own companies.

Read more.

Business students get real-world economics lesson, help community

Excerpt

The Art & Apples Festival® is a staple of Rochester’s annual festival scene, attracting hundreds of artists and tens of thousands of visitors over the course of three days each September. Until the 2016 event, the exact number of attendees and the financial impact of the festival on the greater Rochester area was unknown by Rochester’s Paint Creek Center of the Arts (PCCA), festival organizer for more than 30 years.

Read more.
 

Birmingham's Townsend Hotel named best in Michigan

Excerpt

Whether it’s the Egyptian cotton sheets or world-class Rugby Grille restaurant, everything about the Townsend Hotel stands out.

Read more.
 

Leadership Oakland to explore next generation of leaders in Breakfast of Champions series

Organizations are set to experience a double tsunami within the next 10 years as one large generation of the workforce retires and another is eager to take the helm. The next generation leaders – commonly known as Generations X & Y (Millennials) – have some very different views on what it means to lead and live successfully. What does this mean for organizations as they try to remain competitive and retain talent? And how can they effectively manage leadership development and transition within diverse generational style.

Join Leadership Oakland for the next session of its highly popular Breakfast of Champions (BOC) series on February 21 for the Annual Young Professionals panel discussion. The breakfasts are open to the public. The BOC series will be held at the MSU Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy, MI 48098

The cost is $32 for LO alumni association members and $36 for non-members and guests and includes a complete breakfast. Pre-registration required. To register, contact Carol Dendler at 248.952.6880 or register online at: http://www.leadershipoakland.com/breakfast-of-champions/

February 21, 2017, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.  
“The Changing Face of Leadership– Young Professionals Panel”

The face of leadership is changing as a new generation begins to ascend. These bright, innovative professionals definitely have some ideas of their own. This is one of our most popular events! In a special panel discussion, they’ll share their views on leadership, success, how to work effectively with them, and what it takes to be an impactful leader. We also will be joined by Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson’s Elite 40 under 40 for this event. 
Jennifer Korman, LOXIX (moderator) – Domain & Change Management Analyst, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Panelists:
Talisa Norton, LOXXVII – Co-Owner/COO, All Pro Color
Sara Stoddard, LOXXIV – Chief of Emergency Management, Oakland County Homeland Security Division
Jordan Twardy, LOXXV – Community & Economic Development Director, City of Ferndale
 
The final breakfast in the series features: 
April 4, 2017, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
‘Joyce Jenereaux – Staying Relevant in a Noisy World’

With the world whirling at warped speed most days, how does a leader keep up and stay relevant? Perhaps no one knows that challenge better than Joyce Jenereaux, former publisher and president of the Detroit Free Press and Michigan.com. Joyce successfully navigated the digital revolution to transform the traditional newspaper to meet the needs of today’s hyper-connected society. Recently retired and on to new ventures, she’ll share the leadership and business lessons she learned along the way.
The Leadership Oakland Breakfast of Champions Series is sponsored by: Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, HAP, DTE Energy Foundation, Corp!, Baker College and SMART.

Established in 1990, Leadership Oakland is a 501 (c)(3) organization focused on business and community leadership development. The organization provides a nine-month Cornerstone Program to participants from businesses, organizations and governmental agencies that are selected based on an application process. Leadership Oakland graduates are key business and community leaders serving as catalysts on boards of various organizations throughout the region. 

LOHS students Cell Out for Soldiers

Excerpt

Amidst the wave of red t-shirt-clad teenagers were the typical sights one would expect at a high school: laughter, smiles, conservation, a reluctance to go to class.

What was missing from the scene? The texting, the lack of eye contact – the cell phones.

A record 1,950 high school students went phoneless on Friday, voluntarily taking part in Lake Orion High School’s third annual Cell Out for Soldiers fundraiser.

Read more.
 

The man who built Detroit: Lawrence Tech offers Albert Kahn exhibits, events

Albert Kahn, the man who designed Detroit’s powerhouse industrial buildings, is the focus of several events and exhibitions at Lawrence Technological University this winter.
 
In the first half of the 20th Century, Kahn (1869-1942) revolutionized the design of industrial buildings around the world, and his prolific architectural office also saw the production of many commercial, institutional, and residential structures of lasting significance. As the centennial of numerous Kahn landmarks draws near, there is renewed and well-deserved interest in Kahn’s work.
 
The Albert Kahn Research Coalition is collaborating with the LTU Library and the LTU College of Architecture and Design’s Lectures and Exhibitions Committee to present exciting public programming to highlight this innovative period in architectural history. Other partners in this coalition are the University of Michigan, the Belle Isle Conservancy, the Detroit Institute of Arts,
the Detroit Historical Society, and the Detroit-based design firm that bears the founder’s name, Albert Kahn Associates. The purpose of the coalition is to preserve Albert Kahn’s legacy and educate the community on the importance of his work.
 
The exhibitions open at Lawrence Tech on Friday, Feb. 3 with “Albert Kahn under Construction,” on display in the UTLC Gallery, 21000 W. Ten Mile Road, Southfield. This digital exhibition focuses on the remarkable archive of construction photographs assembled by Kahn’s firm as they built the powerhouses of American industry, from Highland Park to Willow Run. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and admission is free. This exhibit is curated by Claire Zimmerman, University of Michigan associate professor of architecture and history of art, and the LTU College of Architecture and Design Exhibitions and Lectures Committee, chaired by Diedre Hennebury, assistant professor of architecture and design.
 
On Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., Joel Stone, Senior Curator at the Detroit Historical Society will speak on “The Ubiquitous Mr. Kahn: Albert Kahn’s Architectural Legacy” in the A200 Auditorium of Lawrence Tech’s Architecture Building. This presentation will examine Kahn’s career and the vast legacy of architectural treasures he created for the people of southeast Michigan. A gallery viewing and reception will follow. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.
 
A partner exhibition will run from Friday, Feb. 17 through March 10 at LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology, 4219 Woodward Ave., Detroit. In this midtown show, LTU’s College of Architecture and Design is partnering with the Belle Isle Conservancy for an exhibit titled “Albert Kahn at the Crossroads: The ‘Lost’ Belle Isle Aquarium and Horticultural Building Blueprints.” This compelling exhibit features several rediscovered blueprints from a private collection. Opened in 1904, the Belle Isle Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in North America and the oldest aquarium-conservatory combination in the world. Independent architectural history scholar, Chris Meister and the Belle Isle Conservancy Historic Preservation Committee will provide a gallery talk Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Detroit Center for Design + Technology. The talk will be part of a ticketed evening event called “Deeper Dive: Albert Kahn” hosted by the Belle Isle Conservancy and will discuss the development of the public aquarium and botanical conservatory as building types. Ticket information is available at www.belleisleconservancy.org/deeperdive.
 
The culminating program of the Albert Kahn series is the Albert Kahn Research Symposium from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3 at Lawrence Tech. During the morning, Zimmerman will moderate a series of presentations on current research about Kahn. After a luncheon, another panel examines “Restoration and Adaptive Reuse of Kahn Buildings,” moderated by Dawn Bilobran, who has roles with three organizations – the Belle Isle Conservancy, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and Preservation Detroit. Panelists include Chris Meister; Alan Cobb, CEO of Albert Kahn Associates; and Donald Bauman, Director of Architectural Development and Historical Preservation at Albert Kahn Associates. The symposium will also include exhibit viewing, and an open house in LTU’s Albert Kahn Collection, which consists of Kahn’s personal library, originally part of Kahn’s New Center office. Its components were disassembled, moved, and reassembled inside rooms of the LTU Library in 1982. Visit www.ltu.edu/albertkahn or call (248) 204-3000 for information and registration.
 
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.

ACHC launches the Youth Connections Magazine

The Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities (ACHC) announces the inaugural edition of the Youth Connections Magazine. The magazine provides helpful information for parents to navigate the transitional and sometimes difficult stages of adolescence. Today’s teens face challenges unforeseen even just a few years ago, parents need all the help they can get to guide children to succeed in school and life. 
 
The quarterly publication focuses on the prevention and reduction of substance misuse and violence, while enhancing social, emotional, and mental health support for youth. With the support of the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) and the combined efforts of coalitions, parents, educators, youth-serving organizations, church and business leaders, the ACHC is working to build a better community. Through these partnerships ACHC is able to provide valuable, evidence-based programs, services, and activities to help youth and families thrive.
 
“The Youth Connections magazine is another example of the important work ACHC is doing in our communities,” said Christina Nicholas, OCCMHA Administrator of Substance Abuse Services. “This publication is an opportunity to engage and empower youth and families to make positive choices.” 
 
There is a great amount of activity and excitement that is creating a positive impact. Part of these efforts is this magazine, the ACHC’s inaugural edition of Youth Connections Magazine!  
 
“With all doing their part to keep youth safe and healthy in Oakland County, our focus is to drive prevention, support, and recovery efforts that make a positive impact,” said Julie Brenner, ACHC Executive Director. “ACHC continually strives to meet the needs of our youth and their family.”
 
The magazine is published quarterly by the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities. To obtain a hard copy, contact the ACHC at (248) 221-7101. 

The e-edition of the inaugural publication can be found online here: https://issuu.com/edgemarketing/docs/ycmag_achcmi_dec2016_issuu
 
Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, founded in 2004, is a 17+ coalition prevention partnership based in Oakland County and is funded by Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority. ACHC also represents the Oakland County chapter of Families Against Narcotics (FAN). Together, the members mobilize a diverse group of persons and organizations from all community sectors to take coordinated action in building healthier communities. For more information call (248) 221-7101 or visit www.achcmi.org
 

Oakland County Executive's 2017 Elite 40 Under 40 class set; public to pick 'best of the best'

Nearly 400 applications and nominations were reviewed by a panel of judges, looking for the top 40 young professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County. The 40 honorees have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities. 
 
"I am continually amazed at the caliber of young leaders we have,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We think the whole class is superb and the top three are outstanding. The future of our county is very bright and the region is in good hands.”
 
The members of the 2017 Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 class are:
 
  • Hallie Armstrong, 36, Senior Naturopathic Doctor, Beaumont Health
  • Matthew Baumgarten, 32, Berkley City Manager
  • Andrea Carollo, 37, Realtor, Max Broock Realtors
  • Richard J. Chalmers, 36, Director of Family Medicine Residency, McLaren Macomb Hospital
  • Alicia Chandler, 37, General Counsel – Continuing Care, Trinity Health
  • Nathan Clinton-Barnett, 32, Vice President of Clinical Services, Safe Balance LLC
  • Alex Delavan, 34, Director of Sponsored Programs, Oakland University
  • David DeLind, 30, Principal Marketing Specialist, DTE Energy
  • Derek Dickow, 37, Founder, Steward Media
  • Matt Einheuser, 31, Watershed Ecologist, Clinton River Watershed Council
  • Joanne Forbes, 34, Department Chair of Art, Design/Humanities, Oakland Community College
  • Sean Forbes, 34, Co-Founder, DPAN.TV The Sign Language Channel
  • Kristin Griffith, 30, 2nd Grade Teacher & Elementary Technology Educator, Auburn Hills Christian School
  • Anthony Grupido, 21, CEO, Handsleight LLC
  • Sherikia Hawkins, 35, City Clerk, City of Pontiac
  • Michael Hohf, 31, Sr. Vice President & Financial Advisor, Advance Capital Management
  • Adam Jahnke, 33, Principal and Co-Founder, Vault Equity Partners
  • Yasser Khan, 37, Executive Vice President & Chief Sales Officer, IBM Miraclesoft
  • Jessica Knapik, 38, Program Analyst, Walsh College
  • Anjan Kumar, 38, Assistant Director of Medical ICU, Pulmonary & Critical Care Associates – St. John Hospital & Medical Center
  • Andrew Kurecka, 29, Manager of Outcomes Research, MedNetOne Health Solutions
  • Samantha Mariuz, 25, Director of Authorities, City of Auburn Hills
  • Sam Marzban, 34, Detective Sergeant, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tylar Masters, 37, President, Tylar & Company
  • Dustin McClellan, 26, Pontiac Director, The Power Company Kids Club
  • Maureen McGinnis, 38, Judge, 52-4 District Court
  • Shaun Moore, 38, Director of e-Learning, Oakland University
  • Tany Nagy, 37, Owner, Pulse Design Studio
  • Jeena Patel, 36, Partner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
  • Emily Paula, 26, Human Resources Business Partner, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Katya Pruett, 37, Manager Public Relations and Communications, BorgWarner Inc.
  • Katheryn Rohrhoff, 34, Staff Nurse, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital
  • Carrie Schochet, 37, CEO/Founder, Purple Squirrel Advisors
  • Pratheep Sevanthinathan, 36, Owner, Seva Law Firm
  • Kayla Smith, Executive Director, 26, Hazel Park Promise Zone Authority
  • David Tessler, 34, VP & Co-Owner, Rain Marketing Inc.
  • Leyanna Torres, 32, Principal Product Engineer NAOSS Packaging Manager, ZF TRW
  • Kathryn Tuck, 37, Director of Foundation Giving, Leader Dogs for the Blind
  • Brooke Wilson Vitale, 29, Owner, Love & Buttercream LLC
  • Danielle Zuccaro, 34, Director Human Resources, Common Ground

Spring 2017 Master Gardener Volunteer training class

The Michigan State University Extension Office in Oakland County will be offering a spring class to train Master Gardener Volunteers in 2017.

Classes will be held  from March 9 - June 15, 2017 on Thursdays from 5:30 – 9:30 pm at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center on 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford.

Do you love gardening and sharing your experience with others? 

Consider becoming a Master Gardener.

Being in the Master Gardener Program requires a passion for gardening and a willingness to commit to sharing gardening knowledge to educate future generations on a wonderful, healthy hobby.

Applicants attend 14 weeks of training classes to learn basic horticulture principles and environmentally sound practices.
Each weeks session will cover a different area of horticulture. Topics will include: Plant Science, Soil Science, Lawn Care, Annual and Perennial Flowers, Woody Ornamentals, Tree Fruit and Small Fruit, Vegetables, Household and Nuisance Pests, Indoor Plants, Gardening Practices to Protect Water Quality, and Diagnostics.

Once the program is completed, at least 40 hours of community-based service is required, before they earn the title of certified Extension Master Gardener.

Over the last ten years, 1001 local residents participated in Master Gardener training classes with the Oakland County office of the M.S.U.Extension..

Applications must be completed by February 24th 2017.  
Cost of the program is $300 (there are no other out-of-pocket costs). Payment is required at the time of enrollment.
Link to Application

More information about the M.S.U. Master Gardener Volunteer program can be found at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/master_gardener_volunteer_program  

Questions about the Oakland County Master Gardener classes can be directed to Deirdre Hope at 734-546-8657 or hopedeir@anr.msu.edu.

Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership recognized as 2017 Harvard Ash Center Bright Idea

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized the Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership as part of the 2017 Bright Ideas in Government initiative. The Partnership is part of a cohort that includes programs from all levels of government — school districts, county, city, state, federal agencies, and tribal nations, as well as public-private partnerships — that represent the next horizon in government work to improve services, solve problems, and work on behalf of citizens.

"Addressing the prescription drug abuse epidemic requires partnerships at every level to strengthen education, prevention, and treatment," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “I applaud the work of the Health Division and our partners as we look forward to continuing ongoing efforts to halt drug addiction.”

The Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership was convened March 2015 by the Oakland County Health Division and is comprised of multidisciplinary members who actively work to prevent prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths. Partnership members include local physicians, pharmacists, substance abuse treatment and prevention agencies, court judges, law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Attorney’s Office, public health, academia, and grassroots organizations.

The Partnership is led with in-kind resources from OCHD staff, including a director, administrator, health education supervisor, and a health educator. Staff time includes planning and implementation of trainings, meetings and events, correspondence, coordination of promotional campaigns and subcommittees, and research. Achievements include creating and sustaining a diverse partnership, implementing a Drug Death Review Committee with Oakland County’s Medical Examiner, providing SCOPE of Pain trainings to more than 160 physicians, reaching over 300,000 residents via transit advertising, and establishing three subcommittees.

“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center. “Small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all — what makes government work best is the drive to do better and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”

This is the fifth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching, have sufficient operational resources, and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

Please visit the Government Innovators Network at http://innovations.harvard.edu for the full list of Bright Ideas programs, and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards.

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, find Public Health Oakland on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC or call the Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu. For more information, contact Daniel Harsha, Associate Director for Communications, Ash Center at 617-495-4347.

Consumers Energy partners with Judson Center and donates over $200,000 in support of programs

Since 2012, Consumers Energy has partnered with Judson Center and supported their mission and programs through the North American International Auto Show Charity Preview. This year’s involvement in the Charity Preview has surpassed expectations with a total of $217,200 given throughout the five years of support.
 
“Consumers Energy truly embodies the spirit of Judson Center’s community of caring. With their support, we are able to help over 8,000 children and families in southeast Michigan and throughout the state.  We are very grateful for our partnership and their compassion in our shared community. Their unwavering support not only helps, but does make a difference as it enhances our services for children who have been traumatized, for children who have an autism diagnoses, for families who are looking for therapy to help cope with a trauma and for young adults with developmental disabilities who deserve and are able to work.  They care as much as we care,” said Lenora Hardy-Foster, Judson Center CEO.
 
“We are committed to the Michigan communities we serve, and that starts with providing opportunities for families and the next generation of children in our state,” said David Mengebier, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of governmental, regulatory and public affairs. “We are pleased to support the Judson Center in making a difference in the lives of Michigan families over so many years.”
 
Judson Center is a non-profit human service agency that provides expert, comprehensive services in  southeastern Michigan that strengthen children, adults and families impacted by abuse and neglect, autism, developmental disabilities, and mental health challenges so they are successful in their communities.  Since opening its doors in 1924, Judson Center has grown to change the lives of 4,000 children, adults, and families each year. Judson Center has five regional offices in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne. Headquarters are located at 4410 W. 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073. 
 

International companies boost Oakland County economy for third straight year

More than $1 million a day of new international investment fueled Oakland County businesses in 2016 as foreign direct investment increased for the third consecutive year, totaling $371 million, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Wednesday.

Foreign direct investment – investment from a company that is headquartered outside the United States – accounted for 46 percent of the county’s total private business investment of $810 million in 2016. The county has realized foreign investment in the past three years of $899 million. Coupled with 2014-15 totals of $1.5 billion for overall business expansion, attraction and retention investment, the county has had $2.3 billion of new development in three years – a hefty figure that even surprised Patterson.

“I knew it was going to be good; it’s well beyond good,” Patterson said. “Look at the countries where the investment originated. It’s encouraging to see 11 successes from China. We’re finally getting into that lucrative market.”

The countries of origin for the 2016 international business successes include 14 from Germany; 11 from China; five from Japan; two each from Canada, France, Italy and Spain; and one each from Australia, India, Ireland, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. The new investment created nearly 6,400 new and retained jobs. Oakland County has more than 1,050 global firms from 39 countries.

Significant international investment in 2016 came from Ireland-based Par Sterile Products; Germany-based auto suppliers BorgWarner and Jenoptik Automotive North America; Daifuku Webb Holding Co. of Japan; Switzerland-based Autoneum North American; TREMEC of Mexico and Martinrea International Inc. of Canada. The total investment from those companies was $222 million, resulting in 2,683 new and retained jobs.

“This is a sector of our economy that doesn’t get a lot of attention but this is a significant source of jobs and tax revenue,” Patterson said. “Oakland County gets more investment than many states and rest assured we’re going to press forward with this program.”

The $810 million in 2016 is investment in which the county’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs played a role in landing. Patterson estimated the actual economic impact is millions of dollars more because of other sizeable investment in which the county did not play a role. 

Business development trips which tout the advantages of locating in Oakland County are planned to Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland in 2017. The county will send a delegation to Washington D.C. in June for the Select USA Summit to meet with international companies interested in expanding into the United States. The county attended the 2015 Select USA Summit and attracted two international companies to Oakland County as a result and is working on three additional leads from 2016, said Irene Spanos, economic development director for the county.

The centerpiece of the county’s business attraction effort is the Emerging Sectors® business development strategy, which was created in 2004 to diversify Oakland County’s economy – an economy which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targets international companies that are interested in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that view Oakland County as the right business location.

Targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, alternative energy, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

The county’s Business Development Team works closely with Emerging Sector companies, providing assistance in such areas as site selection, workforce development, financing strategies, and coordinating state and local incentives. Team activity focuses on Emerging Sectors companies as well as more traditional businesses such as automotive. Of the 47 international successes in 2016, 24 were either new to Oakland County or have expanded within the county. 

Since inception, Emerging Sectors has had 424 business successes resulting in total investment of about $3.8 billion; 40,558 new jobs and 25, 518 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country. 

The most successful sectors in total investment are health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $1.1 billion, IT/communications (Tech 248), at $668 million; alternative energy about $631 million and advanced electronics at $625 million.
 

Hiking makes you happier: Let your 2017 trail adventures begin!

Winter weather may appear frightful, but a hike with good friends is nothing short of delightful. Hiking is good for you too and offers more than the sights, sounds and scents of nature. It’s an easy and effective cardio workout that lowers blood pressure,blood sugar levels, reduces risk of heart disease, strengthens muscles, helps control weight and boosts your mood. It’s also a great way to make new friends. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, former president of the American Hiking Society, “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.” Perhaps 2017 is the year to remember that we humans were born to hike.

My love affair with nature goes back to my barefoot days as a 3-year-old running rampant in rural Connecticut, chasing bugs, hugging trees and searching for wild beasts found only in my imagination. Not much has changed, but more often than not, now I wear hiking boots when trekking, have some idea where I am going, and preach and practice a degree of situational awareness when stepping off an established trail in distant lands, or on the wilder side of Oakland County. Big trees still taunt me to climb their low-hanging branches, small streams fascinate me, frozen woodlands entice me, and wildlife tracks tempt me. Even a simple ten minute walk in the woods leaves me smiling.

When I step outside into nature, I’m stepping into a world of health and happiness, freed (at least temporarily) of world worries, and I’m constantly reminded of the timeless words of John Muir, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” I am lucky, for I discovered that secret years before I stumbled upon his writings in college, and I quickly surrendered unconditionally to the world of nature.The first week of the New Year is drawing to a close, but that leaves us with fifty-one more weeks to set out on a trail in Oakland County. Hundreds of miles of easily accessible public trails are found here. Parklands and trails add richness and value to the landscape of the county. There are numerous looped trails where getting lost is not possible, as well as primitive footpaths in our hilly and expansive State Recreation Areas that can be both physically and mentally challenging for those that are not prepared. The websites of Huron-Clinton Metroparks and Oakland County Parks have details on many of our most popular parks and trails. Local municipalities promote city and village trails, and their nature related events, as do our nature conservancies. Six Rivers Land Conservancy hosts winter hikes and cross country ski events across the county and beyond, and The Solar Club offers hikes, trips and classes for outdoors people in all of Southeast Michigan. North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy and Headwaters Trails focus on rural events, including winter owl walks. Heavner Canoe Rental even offers winter paddling  on the Huron River and has special kayaking events in partnership with Kensington Metropark, combined with visits to their farm center.

I started my 2017 hiking season at Proud Lake State Recreation Area, a multi-use wildland with over twenty miles of trails managed by the Michigan Department of Resources as a participant/observer in their New Year’s Day celebration cosponsored by Heavner Canoe Rental and local MeetUp groups including the Michigan Adventures Club. Over 100 outdoor enthusiasts attended this annual event, and that’s where all the accompanying photos were captured. Some hikers just took short meanders around the River Annex building after sharing in a bountiful potluck feast and happy camaraderie, while others hiked for three or four hours and stayed for an early evening campfire. A few dozen people opted to paddle on the Huron River. I joined a group of hikers that first circled wetlands along the Marsh Trail and then crossed over the Huron River at a popular pedestrian/kayak crossing and went for another six or seven miles along heavily wooded trails. The first day of the New Year was a delightful day of smiling happy people, whom at times were slipping along on icy boardwalks and climbing up fallen forest giants. The nature lovers among us admired skunk cabbage emerging through ice, and the round-lobbed hepatic that will flower soon after the snows of winter melt.

Don’t wait for spring to hike. Find a trail and make it your goal to trek about the Wilder Side of Oakland County and I predict it will make for a healthier and happier New Year.

Jonathan Schechter is the Nature Education Writer for Oakland County Government and blogs weekly about nature’s way, trails, and wildlife on the Wilder Side of Oakland County.

For the latest county news and events, visit our website and use #OaklandCounty on our FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn pages.

Radon test kits are half price during National Radon Action Month

Oakland County Health Division encourages residents to purchase radon test kits for only $5 during National Radon Action Month in January to test their homes for the potentially harmful gas.

“Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall, but it is preventable,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Oakland County Health Division is offering radon test kits at half price to help Oakland County families protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The Health Division recommends testing homes for radon during the cooler months as windows and doors remain closed.

“You cannot see or smell radon, and people tend to ignore the possibility that it might exist at high levels in their homes,” said Kathy Forzley, Health Division health officer. “Testing your home is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon.”

Radon test kits for homes are available for purchase at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield:
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph, Building 34E, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. To purchase more than 10 radon kits, please call 248-858-1312 to preorder. Please note that Health Division offices will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16.

Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is usually harmless outdoors. When the gas is trapped in a building or home, however, it can be a health hazard. The Environmental Protection Agency says there is moderate potential for elevated radon levels in Oakland County homes.

If high levels of radon are found, contact Health Division’s Environmental Health Services at 248-858-1312 in Pontiac or 248-424-7191 in Southfield. Visit www.oakgov.com/health or www.epa.gov/radon for more information.

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, find Public Health Oakland on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC or call the Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.
 

Record 1.7 million visit Detroit Zoo in 2016

Excerpt

The Detroit Zoo drew nearly 1.7 million visitors last year, setting a new all-time high record and increasing the number of people coming through its gates for the 11th consecutive year.

Read more.
 

McLaren Clarkston introduces online, self-scheduling ER visits

Excerpt

While it’s not the nature of emergency medicine to schedule treatment, McLaren Clarkston has introduced InQuicker, an online two-click scheduling platform that lets patients with non-life threatening conditions check in, view estimated wait times, and stay at home until they can be seen by a provider.

Read more.
 

County Farmers Market holding cooking demonstration series

Excerpt

Local chefs are now offering their tricks of the trade at the Oakland County Farmers Market. The farmers market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. is once again hosting its cooking demonstration series every other Saturday through March.

Read more.
 

Three Oakland County groups to share more than $4,800 as Brooksie Way Minigrants top $171,000

A soccer program for children with autism and their siblings and an initiative to provide bike helmets to second graders in Waterford and Pontiac were among three programs which will share more than $4,800 in Brooksie Way Minigrants.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the winners during a Brooksie Way event at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester.

“The Brooksie Way, through its minigrant program, has impacted so many lives in our community and continues to make a difference,” Patterson said. “I’m grateful to our generous sponsors and the thousands of runners and walkers who participate in The Brooksie Way races each year who are truly the ones who make this program possible.”

The Brooksie Way awards minigrants of up to $2,000 to not-for-profit organizations and community groups three times a year. It has helped support approximately 130 projects that promote healthy and active lifestyles and fitness programming in the county. Since it began in 2010, more than $171,000 in Brooksie Way minigrants has been distributed.

Organizations that will share $4,848 in minigrant funding are:

• Donelson Hills Elementary School in Waterford will use the funds to erect a Gaga Ball pit for the school playground. The game is played in an octagon enclosure and is similar to dodge ball.
• McLaren Oakland Foundation in Pontiac will use the grant to expand its Safe Wheels and Heels Program, which will furnish properly fitting bike helmets to second graders in Pontiac and Waterford.
• OUCARES – Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Services will offer a recreational soccer program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their siblings and friends.

Patterson started the minigrant program as a way to put proceeds from the Brooksie Way Half Marathon back into the community. The Brooksie Way races, which include 10k, 5k and several children’s events, were named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young married father and the son of the county executive, who died after a snowmobiling accident in 2007.

The Brooksie Way has become one of the most popular regional fall half marathons. It spawned a 5k winter race, The Brooksie Way Chill at the Mills, as part of the increasingly popular Fire &Ice Festival. The festival takes place Jan. 20-22, 2017 and the Chill at the Mills is set for Jan. 22. The race drew 300 participants its first year, 600 in the second and 800 in 2016. Registrations for the 2017 race are expected to top last year’s numbers, race director Deb Flynn
said.

Participants can register for the Chill at the Mills at www.TheBrooksieWay.com. Those who register before Jan. 6, 2017 can save $10 from the race day fee of $37. All participants receive a long-sleeve Chill at the Mills t-shirt and race finishers receive touch screen gloves. Advance packet pickup will be available at Runnin’ Gear stores.

The Chill at the Mills is sponsored by Shelton Buick-GMC in Rochester Hills.
 

Indiana native named Main Street Oakland County Program Coordinator

John Bry, whose 20-year professional career has been spent on the development and revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods across the country, is the new program coordinator for Main Street Oakland County.

Bry becomes the main contact between Oakland County and the 22 communities that comprise Main Street Oakland County – the only full-service, county-level Main Street program in the United States and the oldest Main Street program in Michigan. Bry replaces Bob Donohue, who left earlier this year to head up economic development in South Lyon.

“His passion for downtowns and historic preservation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Irene Spanos, who directs economic development for Oakland County. “He has years of experience in many Main Street programs, and I expect to see great things and new initiatives for our downtowns. We’re lucky to have him.”

Bry, an Indiana native, has a graduate degree in historic preservation from Ball State University and has been executive director for Main Street programs in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. He owned a consulting business and offered technical advice on downtown and community revitalization to more than 100 communities in 14 states. He is a certified Main Street manager.

Bry has successfully written grant applications for more than $3 million to fund heritage and revitalization projects throughout the United States.

“John is an ideal fit for the position,” said Planning Division Manager Bret Rasegan. “He has experience at both ends of the spectrum, as both a downtown manager applying the Main Street approach and at the program coordinator level providing technical assistance to local downtowns.”

MSOC is one of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s most successful economic development initiatives. In 2015, member communities generated $38 million of new investment, created 31 businesses and 214 full-time jobs. Since 2001, total public and private investment is more than $706 million, 971 new businesses were opened and nearly 7,100 jobs created.

Main Street Oakland County is comprised of 22 communities: Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Highland, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Village of Leonard, Walled Lake, Waterford and Wixom. Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center. For other communities interested in the program, visit MainStreetOaklandCounty.com.
 

Film captures genius of Detroit-based architect Eero Saarinen

Excerpt

Fans of Detroit's architectural history are in for a treat this month as PBS-TV airs the documentary "Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future," as part of its acclaimed American Masters series.

Read more.
 

Oprah shines a light on Auburn Hills business

Excerpt

Every year in December, Oprah Winfrey picks a few of her “Favorite Things” to highlight for the holidays in her “O” Magazine.  These are smart, stylish, can’t-live-without items, perfect for holiday gift-giving.

This year, one of those “things” was a unique iPhone case, designed and sold by K. Carroll Accessories right here in Auburn Hills.  

Read more.
 

Walled Lake Central teacher earns state honor

Excerpt

Nancy Kattoula, Walled Lake Central High School world language teacher, was recently named a recipient in the Excellence in Education Award for the State of Michigan.

Read more.
 

Troy Historic Village is offered a $50,000 federal grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

Troy Historic Village (THV) is delighted to announce that the Troy Historical Society (THS), which operates and runs THV, is one of only five Michigan cultural organizations to be awarded a Humanities Access Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This significant federal grant will provide THS with a unique opportunity to raise $100,000 in two years for expanded programs and services, and to establish a permanent Endowment Fund.
 
“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”
 
“This grant is the shot of adrenalin the Troy Historical Society needs to expand our programs and put the Village onto the path of a fiscally sound future,” said Executive Director Loraine Campbell. “Raising the matching funds is a big challenge, but we have already secured the first donations.”  By April 30, 2017 THS must generate up to $25,000 through new restricted donations and memberships. NEH will match those funds, dollar for dollar. The total ($50,000) will be deposited and earn interest in a restricted bank account. THV has already raised some funds thanks to generous donations from a small group of Villagers. The goal is to raise the balance, through a membership drive for new individual, family, and business members!
 
Between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018, THS must generate another $25,000 through additional donations, memberships, matching grants, and a fundraising event. Further details will be published in future editions of the Village Press and on their website (www.troyistoricvillage.org) and social media pages. These funds will also be matched by NEH and deposited into the account.
 
Between June 2018 and 2021, THS will use the $100,000 and accumulated interest to implement new education and enrichment programs in the Village and increase the number of History to You (H2U) outreach programs provided throughout the seven-county Southeast Michigan region. Funds have also been budgeted for technology to support Village interpretive programs, supplies, and marketing. Finally, in 2020 THS will establish a permanent endowment fund and implement a program to encourage and accept legacy gifts and major donations. The endowment fund, required by the grant, will provide a source for long-term financial support for Village operations.
 
“I want to congratulate the Troy Historical Society on their successful grant proposal,” said Mayor Dane Slater. “The Troy Historic Village is our city’s cultural gem. “Through the Society’s hard work, it will shine brightly for future generations.”
 
Troy Historical Society is encouraging Village members and the public to invite their family and friends to become members of THS or to give a THS membership as a birthday, anniversary, or thank you gift. Businesses also can support the Village by purchasing a group package of THS memberships that can be given to their employees as a reward or gift. Every new membership will be matched dollar for dollar by NEH.
 
Troy Historic Village is a small dynamic history center owned by the City of Troy and operated by the Troy Historical Society. THV provides outstanding, engaging education programs that are rich in humanities content to over 20,000 Village visitors each year, including 13,000 students (grades K-5 and 8th grade), chaperones, and teachers from public, private, and charter schools in the tri-county (Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne Counties) metro-Detroit region.

ABOUT TROY HISTORIC VILLAGE
Troy Historic Village is located at 60 West Wattles Rd., Troy MI and is open year-round. The Village showcases ten historic structures in a charming five-acre complex. Visitors of all ages can explore Michigan history by witnessing and sharing the lifestyles of the pioneers who established homes and farms in rural Troy Township during the 1800s. Troy Historic Village serves the counties of Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb, providing a memorable and interactive experience for all visitors. Offering a wide variety of activities for children and a diverse range of lectures and events for adults, the Village aims to enhance appreciation of history while using Troy's rich and evolving story as a backdrop. In 2016 the Troy Historical Society’s marks its 50th Anniversary of conserving local history, connecting the community with heritage and continuing outstanding educational programs.
 
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Royal Oak Farmers Market to host New Year wellness expo

MI Green Team (MGT), organizer of Michigan’s largest green/healthy-living community events, is pleased to announce its second Healthy People & Planet event at the historic Royal Oak Farmers Market. The New Year, New You! Wellness Expo, presented by Lolë of Royal Oak and Rochester, will be held indoors on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 from 8 am to 1 pm.

The event will coincide with the popular Saturday morning farmers market.

The annual expo will showcase hundreds of products and services for a healthier body, mind, home, family and more. Many exhibitors will offer show specials, free samples and door prizes. Local experts will offer wellness presentations, programs and demonstrations. Event-goers will enjoy live music, free massage, food and fun activities for all ages. Parking and admission are free of charge.  

“We're excited to join the Saturday morning market and add to the crowd of health- and local-minded shoppers," stated John Batdorf, expo manager. "The expo will offer visitors many ways to promote healthy living on every level."

Event information as well as exhibitor and volunteer registration is available on-line at www.NYNYWE.com.

MI Green Team L3C is Michigan's leading green/healthy-living network and event producer. Its mission is to promote healthy living, business, community and environment. MGT is a Michigan “low-profit, limited liability company”, an innovative business entity that uses business best-practices to pursue a socially-beneficial purpose. 

 

Enjoy a winter wonderland this January at Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Bundle up and head outdoors to enjoy all the frosty weather that January has to offer by going cross-country skiing, ice skating, fat tire biking, snowshoeing, sledding and ice fishing. If you prefer, stay indoors and participate in activities and programs at Wint Nature Center and Red Oaks Nature Center. Check out these upcoming events:
 
Jan. 1
  • Christmas tree recycling runs until Jan. 30 at the following Oakland County Parks: Addison Oaks; Catalpa Oaks; Glen Oaks Golf Course; Groveland Oaks; Independence Oaks; Lyon Oaks; Oakland County Farmers Market; Orion Oaks; Red Oaks Golf Course; Springfield Oaks; and White Lake Oaks Golf Course. Drop off trees from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There is no charge to drop off trees, but plastic, tinsel and wire must be removed. No commercial trees accepted. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.
 
Jan. 7
  • NatureFit: Snowshoe Try It! is 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 7 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about the history of snowshoes and then head outdoors for a guided snowshoe hike, campfire and snack. This program is appropriate for those ages 5 and older and snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter hike will be substituted if conditions do not permit snowshoeing. Cost is $5/person and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.
 
Jan. 14
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Jan. 14 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. Jan. 14. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Fireside Chat: Legends of Michigan’s Past is 3-4:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Stay warm this winter by cozying up at the fireplace and learning all about the Anishanabe, who lived in Michigan hundreds of years ago. Join a naturalist for an afternoon of interactive storytelling and legends as well as traditional Native American games. Make a historic native trade item to take home. Cocoa, coffee and a snack will be served. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
  • If you have ever wanted to try ice fishing, attend Ice Fishing 101 from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 14 at Twin Chimneys Shelter in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about ice fishing equipment and techniques, then try your hand at the sport if ice and weather conditions permit. If not, alternative fishing activities will be substituted. Participants ages 17 and older must have a valid Michigan fishing license. This program is appropriate for individuals ages 5 and older. Cost is $5/person and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.
 
Jan. 21
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Jan. 21 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.
  • Wolves: Digging into the Past is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 21 at Wint 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.
  • Daisies: Clover Petal – Use Resources Wisely is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 21 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. 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.
 
Jan. 28
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Jan. 28 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. Jan. 28. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Daisies: Rosie Petal – Make the World a Better Place is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 28 at Wint 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.
  • Cross-Country Ski School is scheduled from 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 28 at Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn to ski using your own gear or ski rental is included. Adaptive equipment is available; call ahead to reserve. Cost is $15/person. Daily pass or annual vehicle permit is required for park entry. Registration form is available at OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call John Haney at 248-858-1486 or email HaneyJ@oakgov.com.
  • Nature Sprouts is 10-11:45 a.m. Jan. 28 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. The winter session of this nature program for 3-6 year olds accompanied by an adult will focus on “Shapes in Nature.” Indoor and outdoor hands-on nature discovery activities include a story, hike, craft and snack. Cost is $4/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
 
For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @OCParksAndRec.
 

More than 1,400 workers to benefit from job training funds awarded to 50 Oakland County companies

Fifty Oakland County companies in 19 communities received more than $1.2 million from the state’s Skilled Trades Training Fund, enabling them to hire about 327 new employees while upgrading the skills of more than 1,400 current employees.

Oakland County employers – through Oakland County Michigan Works! – have received more than $3.5 million from the state since 2013 to retrain or hire 4,181 employees. Workers will be trained in occupations such as software programming, computer-aided design, welding, and robot operations. The funds also support 23 new apprenticeships.

“This state economic development program elevates the skills of our workforce and strengthens our businesses, creating a significant return on our investment,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Programs such as this keep us competitive in a quickly changing economy.”

Area companies receiving grants include auto suppliers BorgWarner ($123,889), Richard Tool & Die ($12,600) and Karma Automotive ($65,210); Lee Industrial Contracting of Pontiac ($32,223) and Drought, a Royal Oak company that makes organic raw juices ($1,417).

Employers must apply for the state funds through their local Michigan Works! office. The grants are monitored and the companies must report on how the funds were used and that employees designated for job training actually receive it, said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of Workforce Development for the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

Oakland County Michigan Works! provides talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses, and career management, training and placement for job seekers at eight locations in Oakland County. Contact OaklandCountyMIWorks.com or 800-285-9675 for more information.

Oakland County buyer best in Michigan

Oakland County employee Joan Daniels is Michigan’s Buyer of the Year, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The Michigan Public Purchasing Officers Association (MPPOA) bestowed the honor upon Daniels, who is a buyer for Oakland County Compliance Office Purchasing Unit.

“Oakland County has an outstanding reputation for transparency and open bidding when it comes to implementing purchasing contracts,” Patterson said. “We’ve earned that reputation in no small part because of the excellence of our purchasing employees like Joan Daniels.”

Daniels is known for her creative approach to solving problems that maintain a fair playing field for vendors. For instance, she worked with Oakland County’s Information Technology Department to launch an Oakland County Purchasing page on LinkedIn. The page has enabled the county to identify and communicate with new vendors who may have never been exposed to government procurement before. It has helped the county locate vendors who perform more obscure services and broaden the field of competitors to provide the county services.

She also helped Oakland County Parks & Recreation improve purchasing of items for resale at its five golf course pro shops. She invited various suppliers to a vendor show that allowed them to market the merchandise they felt would benefit the pro shops. The vendors were gathered in one place and parks & rec golf personnel visited each one to discuss the products, marketing, and pricing. Daniels helped develop contracts with various suppliers for the suppliers who provided the merchandise that best fit each pro shop.

Daniels is a graduate of Oakland University. She received her Certified Professional Public Buyer designation in 2010. She is a resident of Orion Township.
 

Farmington looks at historic resources

Excerpt

Driving around Farmington neighborhoods, looking at old houses and old buildings and taking photos of them.

To the non-initiated, it might seem bizarre.

That’s what Ron Campbell and his team were doing this summer. For them, it’s just another day at work. Campbell is a preservation architect with Main Street Oakland County. He and his team have been conducting a “reconnaissance-level” or drive-by survey to see if they can identify any additional Farmington homes and businesses that might be worth designating as historic.

Read more.
 

Governor appoints Forzley to Health Commission

Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Oakland County’s Health Officer Kathleen Forzley to the Public Health Advisory Commission, a 24-person body which will complete an assessment of the current public health service delivery system in Michigan. They will review the organization of public health functions within and across the state’s executive departments; the division of responsibilities between state and local public health authorities; and the regulatory framework established by the Public Health Code, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Oakland County Health Division recently conducted a similar public health assessment which was a game changer in terms of delivering public health services to our residents,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Kathy’s leadership and experience in completing our assessment will without a doubt be an asset to the Public Health Advisory Commission.”

Back in 2014, Forzley and Director of Health and Human Services George Miller launched an initiative called ECHO which stands for Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland. The county and its public health partners conducted a comprehensive countywide assessment of residents and businesses in 2015 to get the big picture of health practices in the county and the health status of our residents. This was the most comprehensive assessment on this scale in Michigan.

Health Division looked at 11 core categories which included health resource availability, behavioral risk factors, maternal and child health, environmental health, and more. Oakland County is utilizing the data to reshape the focus of its public health policies and initiatives in a way that will have the greatest impact on improving the overall health of residents.

In June, Oakland County and its 32 health partners in this effort announced a Community Health Improvement Plan based on the ECHO survey. We asked Oakland County businesses and organizations to align their health and wellness strategies with ECHO. Buy-in from Oakland County companies will help move the needle on public health forward in Oakland County.

“We learned a great deal about our health in Oakland County,” Forzley said. “I will share those insights with the governor’s Public Health Advisory Commission in order to help improve public health services in Michigan.”

Forzley, a Troy resident and manager of the Oakland County Health Division, holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental health and a master’s degree in public administration from Oakland University.
 

Cranbrook teams up with MIT to boost learning

Excerpt

Cranbrook Schools, already one of the top private schools in the nation, is joining together with another educational powerhouse — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — so its teachers can learn from some of the best at the collegiate level.

Read more.
 

Novi Emagine to get state's largest screen

Excerpt

Emagine Novi plans to have the largest movie screen in Michigan by spring 2017.

A $4.5 million renovation plan for the location was announced by Emagine Entertainment, which has 18 locations in Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. Emagine Novi, which opened in 2002, was the company's original theater in metro Detroit.

Read more.
 

3D gummies come to Novi

Excerpt

The world’s first 3D printer for gummy candy, the Katjes Magic Candy Factory, showed off its wares at Novi's Twelve Oaks mall with its new partner, Go! Games and Toys, the UK-based startup that brought an all-new GMO-free and vegetarian candy experience to shopping centers around the U.S. with an innovative Magical Mix & Make concept.

Read more.
 

Students find leadership in themselves

Excerpt

A new leadership program is working to empower students throughout Clarkston elementary schools.

Andersonville Elementary Principal Kim Fletcher describes the program, entitled The Leader in Me, as a way to allow children to find the leader and the greatness in themselves.

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Resource Day showcases over 40 agencies for housing, health, counseling and other services

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Once a year the work that Leah McCall and others at Alliance for Housing of Oakland County do year-round gets laid out in an inspiring in-person kind of way. The 40+ agencies that are part of OaklandHomeless.org are normally connected by email, phone and meetings. But once a year they come to Resource Day. This year they were tucked away in every corner of the Genesis Church in Royal Oak, connected like the combs of a beehive and buzzing with collaborative energy. Common Ground, Easter Seals, HAVEN, HOPE and dozens others were part of the Nov. 16 event.

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Lawrence Tech named a Bicycle Friendly University

The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Lawrence Technological University with a bronze Bicycle Friendly University award. Lawrence Tech is the only university in the tri-county Detroit area with the designation, which is good for four years.
 
The league named 51 new and renewing BFUs in 25 states this week. The organization has now named a total of 164 BFUs in 44 states and Washington, D.C. “We applaud this round of BFUs for raising the standard and being innovative in making bicycling a safe, convenient and enjoyable option for students, staff and visitors alike,” said Bill Nesper, program director for the league.
 
In recent years, Lawrence Tech has added bike lanes, bicycle signage, and bicycle racks around campus, including at new buildings like the A Alfred Taubman Engineering, Architecture, and Life Sciences Complex, and at the university’s new outdoor athletic field. Lawrence Tech also provides a free bicycle repair station and bicycle pumps at its Don Ridler Field House, and offers free winter bicycle storage to students. The university’s campus safety department has also been trained in bicycle safety, and the university’s Tech Transit student transportation system is now bicycle-friendly.
 
“We have more and more students living on campus now, and becoming more bicycle-friendly is part of the ongoing physical transformation of a commuter campus into a residential campus,” said Philip Lucas, Lawrence Tech student engagement coordinator.
 
Lucas thanked Lawrence Tech alumnus Mike Darga, BSCE’85, and his wife, Nancy, for a gift that made pursuing the award possible. And Lucas said the city of Southfield has also been instrumental in the designation. He said the city’s recent street improvement projects “have tied in the campus with the Southfield City Centre area, making it easier for students and staff to use bicycles to get from campus to other areas in the city.”
 
Darga said he and his wife made a five-year pledge to the university to improve its bike-friendliness. “I had been involved in Tour de Troit, which holds bicycle rides all through the city, and I ran into LTU folks there, including Professor Constance Bodurow,” said Darga, a senior project manager at Giffels Webster, a Detroit-based engineering firm. “We decided to do what we could to encourage biking on LTU’s campus. It’s a way to tie the campus to the community without the need for motorized transportation.” Bodurow is associate professor of architecture at LTU and founding director of studio[Ci], a multidisciplinary research team within LTU’s College of Architecture and Design. (More at http://studio-ci.net.)
 
With the BFU designation, Lawrence Tech will have access to tools and technical assistance from the league to become even more bicycle-friendly.
 
To apply or learn more about the BFU program, visit www.bikeleague.org/university. The league also offers Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State and Bicycle Friendly Business programs.
 
Lawrence Tech joins Aquinas College, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan-Flint, as having the designation in Michigan.
 
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.
 

Bloomfield Hills' Reverie launches New line of mattresses

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Bloomfield Hills-based sleep technology company Reverie has launched its new product lineup for fall 2016, which features six new mattresses that can be customized to an individual’s comfort level.

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Novi second at marching band competition

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Autumn colors and smells delighted the senses Oct. 29, but it was the unseasonably warm weather that added to the enjoyment of the hundreds that filled the Canton High School bleachers to watch 10 area bands take the gridiron with outstanding performances of music, marching, color and choreography.

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Historical Society collects funds to move train depot

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The Milford Historical Society has raised approximately $17,000 since kicking off a fundraising campaign last month to move and restore the community's historic train depot.

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Celebrate Christmas in the Village

Come celebrate Christmas at Troy Historic Village where Santa will make a special appearance on Saturday, December 3rd! The Village is also an official drop-off location for Toys for Tots and will collect new, unwrapped toy donations between November 7th and December 5th.
 
Troy Historic Village will host its annual Christmas in the Village event on Saturday, December 3rd from 1-3pm. Guests can share in the sights and sounds of 19th and 20th century Christmas traditions as they explore ten restored and decorated historic buildings. Children can make a craft in an 1877 one-room schoolhouse; visitors of all ages can enjoy blacksmithing demonstrations in the 1870s Wagon Shop which originally provided Troy residents with iron farm tools, household utensils and wagon parts; and 19th century authentic cooking demonstrations in the 1840s log cabin. Families may visit with Santa inside Old Troy Church which was built in 1837 and originally located at Troy Corners (Livernois and Square Lake Rds.) where it served as a place of worship until 1963 and as an antique store until 1997. Another special treat for guests this year will be live music throughout the Village including an appearance by the cast of To Be Productions’ Little Women: The Musical to sing show tunes and traditional Christmas carols, as well as live harp and classical guitar performances that can be discovered while touring the Village.
 
The Village Gift Shop will be open for business for your Christmas shopping needs. “As we conclude our 50th Anniversary year, our holiday event will focus on simple family traditions that create lasting memories. We look forward to welcoming old and new friends to the Village, sharing with others through Toys for Tots, and experiencing traditional Christmas cheer!” said Loraine Campbell, Executive Director, Troy Historic Village. Price of admission is $5/Troy Historical Society Members, $7/Non-member and kids under 4 are free. There will be free onsite parking at the Village. For more info, visit www.troyhistoricvillage.org or call 248-524-3570.
 
As an official drop-off location for Toys for Tots, the Village will collect new, unwrapped toys during the December 3rd Christmas event and between November 7th and December 5th during business hours (M-F, 10am-3pm) which will be donated to less fortunate children in the community.
 
Christmas in the Village is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union with holiday greenery and hot mulled cider provided courtesy of the Troy Garden Club. Proceeds will benefit the Troy Historical Society that operates Troy Historic Village which is open year-round and includes ten historic structures in a charming five-acre complex located in the heart of Troy, Michigan. Here visitors of all ages can explore Michigan history by witnessing and sharing the lifestyles of the pioneers who established homes and farms in rural Troy Township during the 1800s.
 
Troy Historic Village is located at 60 West Wattles Rd., Troy MI. The Village showcases ten historic structures in a charming five-acre complex. Visitors of all ages can explore Michigan history by witnessing and sharing the lifestyles of the pioneers who established homes and farms in rural Troy Township during the 1800s. Troy Historic Village serves the counties of Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb, providing a memorable and interactive experience for all visitors. Offering a wide variety of activities for children and a diverse range of lectures and events for adults, the Village aims to enhance appreciation of history while using Troy's rich and evolving story as a backdrop. 2016 marks the Troy Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary of conserving local history, connecting the community with heritage and continuing outstanding educational programs.
 

Glide into winter on the Detroit Zoo's new skating rink

Detroit Zoo visitors can execute an Axel, complete a camel spin or simply float freestyle this winter on a new skating rink located in front of the frozen façade of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

The 1,548-square-foot Winter Rink, which can accommodate 31 skaters, is open now through February 2017.  Guests ages 4 and older can skate between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily (last session is sold at 3:30 p.m.), weather permitting.  Skaters under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

A limited number of skates are available for rent for $7, which includes a 25-minute skating session.  The cost for guests who bring their own skates is $3.  Personal skates must be inspected by the rink attendant to ensure proper sharpness; sharpening will be provided.

“This is a perfect fit for the season and another great reason for families to visit the Zoo during the winter,” said Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society.

The Winter Rink is not made of ice, but of a synthetic plastic known as Glice® – a material composed of heat-pressed layers of polymers – so no water or electricity is required for operation.  The Detroit Zoo is one of only two zoos in the country to install a Glice® rink (the other is the Columbus Zoo).  Visit www.glicerink.com for additional information.

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center opened in April and is home to more than 80 penguins of four species – king, gentoo, macaroni and rockhopper.  It features a 326,000-gallon aquatic area, an underwater gallery with a vast acrylic window and two acrylic tunnels that provide breathtaking views of the penguins above, around and below, allowing guests to get nose to beak with the charismatic birds.

 

OUWB Department of Emergency Medicine undergoes expansion

The new Emergency Center at Beaumont Hospital – Royal Oak is taking shape after more than a year under construction on the multi-year project promising improvements in capacity, patient privacy and service.

When complete, the 125,300-square-foot center will nearly double the size of the current 70,000-square-foot facility, which remains open during construction. The first phase is new construction, and is expected to be complete in spring 2017 with renovations made in phases thereafter until fall 2018. 

A $120.8 million renovation and expansion

Interior improvements include 133 adult private and semi-private rooms; a medical observation unit with more than 50 beds; and a dedicated pediatric emergency area with pediatric emergency medicine trained staff led by board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialists. 

The updates in technology will include devices that can send results to medical staff fast and efficiently. Heart and trauma patients will be evaluated quickly with noninvasive heart monitoring and testing equipment. The easily accessible MRI machine will speed up the patient imaging process. 

“Our emergency room is the busiest in the entire state and our patient volume continues to grow,” said OUWB Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine Terry Kowalenko, M.D., who is the President and Chief Medical Officer of the Beaumont Medical Group; and Senior Vice President of Beaumont Health. “The new center will be meeting the needs of the community more than ever.”

The details will make a difference to patients, too, as the facility will have an expanded lobby, and an intake / prompt care area. The space is designed to be more senior-citizen friendly, and among the changes, it will include a special “Fitbit” (fitness tracker) room, and a patient and family center, where advisory counseling will be available. 

With this expansion and renovation project, Beaumont Hospital – Royal Oak will continue to be the only accredited Level One Trauma Center in Oakland and Macomb counties, which means the center can handle the most severe trauma cases 24/7. The new helicopter-landing pad will have an elevator that leads directly to the trauma bays.

Clinicians dedicated to medical education 

While the Emergency Medicine department juggles the challenges of working among the construction, they also continue their research projects, community outreach, and mentoring of residents and OUWB medical students. 
  • Currently, more than 37 OUWB medical students are being mentored by 20 Emergency Medicine clinical faculty members on their Embark research projects. 
  • OUWB Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine Dr. Terry Kowalenko, was recently selected to be President-Elect of the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM). 
  • Emergency Medicine welcomes 14 residents a year. Currently, OUWB Charter Class alumna, Stephanie Goike, M.D., is a resident. 
  • OUWB Emergency Medicine clinical faculty member Robert Swor, M.D., Director of Research & EMS, along with 9 OUWB medical students, rolled out SaveMiHeart, a statewide initiative with a goal to double cardiac arrest survival in Michigan by 2020 by using bystander (hands only) CPR. 
  • Under the direction of OUWB Emergency Medicine clinical faculty member Amit Bahl, M.D., emergency ultrasound continues to evolve with the development of a comprehensive training curriculum for Beaumont Health residents.

Alumna Jacquelyn Wagner to sing at La Scala

“I always knew I wanted to be an opera singer. At no time has that changed,” said music alumna Jacquelyn Wagner (BM ‘03) who enjoys a successful career in Europe singing in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. 

This season Wagner will take her place among the world’s leading sopranos when she makes her debut at La Scala in Milan, Europe’s most prestigious opera house.

Jacquelyn will sing the lead role of Eva in Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersingervon Nürnberg from March 16 through April 5, 2017.

At Oakland University, Wagner earned a BM in Voice Performance, studying with Adjunct Assistant Professor of Voice Edie Diggory, with whom she had begun to work in high school. “She is one of the best voice teachers I have come across,” said Wagner. “The results that she can produce are unreal. She shaped my voice into what it is today.”

Professor John-Paul White, head of OU’s voice program, recognized Wagner’s unique qualities immediately. “Jacquelyn came to us with a beautiful voice," White said. "The first time I heard her sing as an incoming freshman, I was blown away. Given the beauty of her voice and her artistry, I never had any doubt she would have a rewarding career, but I think she benefited from our combined department with music, theatre and dance instruction because she was able to develop her stage presence. We encourage our students to take classes across the disciplines to improve their performance skills.”

Wagner continued her education at Manhattan School of Music where she completed an MM studying with opera star Mignon Dunn. She first sung in Europe after she auditioned for opera roles in New York as part of the New York International Opera Auditions (NYIOP) program. Her first contract was with Marseilles Opera in France where she performed the role of Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte. At the end of the season Wagner, who had been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, left to study German Lied and German language.

Already this season Wagner has appeared in Carmen at the Royal Palace in Seville, and as Desdemona in Otello with Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, but undoubtedly La Scala in March will mark a highpoint in her career, as it would for any singer.

Wagner enjoys her life in Europe, not just her work, but what she calls “the spectacular things: the history, museums, churches, nature.” Even so, she hopes one day to sing more often in American opera houses. She sang Arabella by Richard Strauss at the Minnesota Opera in 2013, and we look forward to any upcoming announcements that would allow more old friends and colleagues to enjoy her artistry. Maybe next season? Meanwhile toi, toi, toi at La Scala.

Read more about Jacquelyn Wagner on her website.
 

After 35 years, Royal Oak vegetarian restaurant gets better and better

Nick Raftis is the third owner of Inn Season Cafe, the small but mighty vegetarian and vegan restaurant located on the outskirts of downtown Royal Oak. But for Raftis, Inn Season Cafe is as much an institution as it is a business.

Raftis grew up in the 1960s and '70s, a time when vegetarian options were scarce, when, as Raftis tells it, your average restaurant left vegetarians little choice but to order a hamburger without the meat. Things are different these days, though, and dining options for vegetarians are much more varied and available.

In the face of rising competition, Inn Season has managed to not only stay open but thrive. 
 
Inn Season Cafe was established in 1981 and Raftis purchased the business in 2002. But Raftis doesn't believe in resting on one's laurels. The key to success, he says, is change.

"You have to change according to the times," Raftis says. "Our food quality has gone way up. As the compromised integrity of the food products in our normal food channels have become corrupted, we've moved to those where we know where it's grown, how it's grown."

Focusing on local and organic food products is just one way Inn Season Cafe has been able to stay successful. Raftis has another philosophy for running a business and that's to make necessary long-term decisions. 
 
While it might be painful to make those infrastructure upgrades that don't result in any immediate and obvious returns, it's the customers who notice. As Raftis says, "You can get cheap with the money but it fafects the experience."

Raftis himself has an interesting backstory. He was born in Detroit and grew up through the cultural shifts of the late 1960s. As a teenager, he spent time hanging out at the Hare Krishna temple in Detroit. A vegetarian by the age of 16, Raftis would travel around India when he was 18 years old. 
 
He's owned several businesses since then, including an engineering firm, the Sunflower Cafe in Ann Arbor, and a video rental store in Saginaw. A singer and songwriter, he's currently recording an album produced by local rocker Tino Gross of the Howling Diablos.

Though it may have been established in 1981, the restaurant doesn't feel out of date. Raftis points out that only the ceiling and molding – and maybe a mirror – remain from the dining room's past. 
 
The kitchen equipment has been modernized, and the HVAC system is up to date. You could say that the one constant is the food, but the Inn Season Cafe team is constantly trying to improve that, too.

The person that makes the food, however, has been leading the Inn Season Cafe kitchen for over two decades. Raftis, of course, credits much of the restaurant's success to Chef Thomas Lasher and recently sold him a stake in the business. 
 
Lasher creates delicious healthy food, an important distinction from vegetarian and vegan plates that can often feel bland and uninspired, says Raftis. Whether you're a vegetarian, vegan, or even a meat eater, Lasher creates dishes that are healthy and satisfying.

"The good food, when you eat it, you feel energized. Like, hey man, let's go do something. Let's get up and walk around," says Raftis. "And that's the way people feel when they eat here."

35 years and counting.

Oakland County joins PACE program to promote energy efficiency for businesses

Oakland County has joined the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. As a result, 62 percent of Michigan residents are now covered by PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), a program that offsets the upfront costs of energy efficiency upgrades through a special property tax assessment.

PACE helps businesses finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that save money in the long run but require expensive investment up front. It allows property owners this ability through a special property tax assessment with local governments. The tax assessment then frees up lenders' ability to provide up to 20-year, low rate, fixed-interest loans.

Andy Levin, president of Lean & Green Michigan and managing partner of Levin Energy Partners, believes that the addition of Oakland County creates a critical mass of statewide involvement. The group will now spend more time on speaking to and educating property owners on the benefits of the program.

"The fundamental thing is that PACE is above and beyond politics. It's a straight-up pro-business idea," says Levin. "It has the potential to revolutionize commercial and industrial buildings the same way 30 year fixed mortgages revolutionized the residential market."

While Oakland County is the 20th Michigan county to officially embrace PACE, it already has a number of PACE success stories within its borders. The City of Southfield was the first jurisdiction in the state to become a member of the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. And two of the four completed PACE projects in Michigan have occurred in Oakland County, including Orion Township-based Powers Distributing.

Powers successfully used PACE to finance a 95kW solar system on the roof of its recycling center as well as the installation of LED lighting throughout the facility. The beer distributor expects to save $48,000 per year in energy costs.

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

Spanish retailer Zara to open first Michigan store in Somerset Collection

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Zara, a popular Spanish clothing and accessories retailer, plans to open a two-story store at Somerset Collection North in Troy by next year’s holiday season. The new location will be the retailer’s first store in Michigan.

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Walled Lake high marching band headed to London in '18

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Marching band members at Walled Lake Northern High School were “high-stepping” Tuesday after receiving an invitation to perform at London’s New Year’s Day Parade in January 2018.

A delegation of British parade officials visited the 1,685-student school to personally extend the prestigious invitation, one of only 16 high school marching bands asked to take part in the 31/2 hour event. This year, more than 640,000 people lined the 21/2-mile parade route. About 8,000 people from 20 counties participate in the parade, which is broadcast to millions globally.

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Game of Clues escape room opens in Waterford

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Game of Clues escape room has expanded and moved from Novi to Waterford. The owner is Waterford resident, Jennifer Bismack, who works two jobs in addition to operating the Game of Clues. She has been an escape room enthusiast herself and decided that she could build a more rewarding experience for participants.

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Kelly's Karamels of Troy featured on QVC TV

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Kelly Martin, owner of Troy company Kelly’s Karamels, appeared on QVC TV shopping network, Oct. 26. She promoted an exclusive sweet offer for viewers — a 2 lb. box with an assortment of Kelly’s Karamels. It is the first national venture for Kelly’s Karamels and Martin said she is grateful for the opportunity.

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Applications are now open for $100,000 college scholarship program

Michigan high school seniors who have a passion for giving back and a desire to stay in state for college and beyond have the chance to win one of twenty $5,000 scholarships through the annual Community Choice Scholarship Program.

Since 2009, the Community Choice Scholarship Program has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships to 160 Michigan students and remains one of the largest scholarship programs in the credit union industry both in Michigan and nationally. It was created at the height of the Great Recession as a way to combat the droves of students who were leaving Michigan to pursue their education and career elsewhere.  

“Retaining Michigan’s young talent is vital to the continued resurgence of our state’s economy,” said Steven Hernandez, Foundation Development Coordinator of the Community Choice Foundation. “These scholarships not only act as a stepping stone to help students grow their careers here in Michigan, but also serve as a reminder that they have an entire organization and network back at home rooting for them as they head off to college.”

To be eligible, applicants must live in Michigan, plan on attending a Michigan college or university, and must pledge to stay in Michigan after college. They must also maintain a minimum GPA of a 3.0 and have a strong record of Giving Big to their community through volunteerism or public service.

Students are encouraged to apply now. Applications are being accepted online at CommunityChoiceFoundation.com through Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

The newest 2017 scholars will be welcomed to the group during an award presentation in April.

The Community Choice Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, relies on generous support from the Credit Union, local businesses, the community and Credit Union members to make the scholarship program possible. Sponsorships begin at $500 and go up to a full $5,000 scholarship level. Donations of every amount are accepted. To donate, or for questions regarding the application process, please contact Foundation Coordinator Steven Hernandez at 877.243.2528, ext. 1978 or email SHernandez@CommunityChoiceCU.com.

About Community Choice Foundation: Since 2008 Community Choice Credit Union has put its Give Big philosophy into action through the Community Choice Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Foundation is committed to improving the communities served by Community Choice Credit Union through donations and volunteerism, as well as a scholarship program that provides 20 scholarships each year totaling $100,000 to local students who pledge to attend college in Michigan and commit to giving back to the state by building their careers here. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $880,000 to local charitable programs and events.

About Community Choice Credit Union: Established in 1935, Community Choice Credit Union offers a wide variety of financial products and services for both consumers and businesses. Any individual who lives, works, studies or worships in the following counties is eligible to become a member of Community Choice Credit Union: Allegan, Genesee, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, St. Clair, Washtenaw or Wayne County, Michigan. Since 2008, Community Choice has invested more than $992,623 and 17,294 volunteer hours into its charitable Give Big efforts throughout Michigan. If you’re looking for an experience that’s different from your current banking relationship, let’s get together. For more information, visit CommunityChoiceCU.com.
 

Veterans Day ceremony to honor all who served

Veterans, their families, friends and the general public are invited to attend a Veterans Day ceremony honoring all who served in the armed forces of our country.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly will host the observance, set for 11:00 a.m. Friday, November 11th. Col. Kenneth S. Pratt, USAF (Retired) will be the keynote speaker.

The ceremony will feature patriotic music by New Century Chorale and Grand Blanc High School Chorale. Presentation of colors, a rifle salute and taps will be conducted by Holly VFW Post #5587. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and POW/MIA will also make a wreath presentation. The invocation and benediction will be conducted by Monsignor Ronald Browne from the Archdiocese of Detroit. 

The Great Lakes National Cemetery is one of two such National Shrines in Michigan. Opened for burials in 2005, the cemetery’s 544 acres will be the final resting place for an estimated 244,000 veterans. Thus far, over 31,000 veterans and their eligible dependents have been interred at the site.

Friday’s ceremony is one of a multitude across the area and the nation. The Great Lakes National Cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Rd. in Holly, Michigan. If you have any questions about this ceremony, please contact Garth Wootten, Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council President, at wootteng@oakgov.com or 248-858-0785.

300 businesses in region receive job survey to Create Profiles for employment in autonomous vehicles

Businesses in Southeast Michigan this week are being asked to identify the skills and abilities employers require of potential hires wanting jobs in the rapidly evolving connected/autonomous vehicle industry.

About 300 employers from Oakland County and surrounding counties in Southeast Michigan were sent the Skills Needs Assessment Project (SNAP) Connected Mobility survey to help determine what knowledge, skills and abilities – from the employer’s perspective – are necessary for job seekers to succeed in the industry. Original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and information technology are among the companies being surveyed.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said information gleaned from the survey will be used to create customized job profiles for educators to help develop curriculum and content, give real-time employer-driven information to students and adults to help them make important career decisions and to create a pipeline of qualified job applicants for employers. Businesses have until Nov. 30 to complete the survey.

“This is a highly technical and rapidly changing field and we’re asking these employers what they are looking for when hiring instead of us guessing what they might need,” Patterson said. “This survey – the first of its kind in the nation – is creating the framework to define the jobs that are not yet defined, the jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago.”

The SNAP Connected Mobility survey is the fourth in a series of employer job surveys commissioned by Oakland County and the Oakland County Workforce Development Board. SNAP began in 2009 with a study of skills and knowledge required for jobs in the Emerging Sectors®, which identifies top growth sectors in the region such as medical, communications, information technology and advanced materials. A second study was completed in 2013 on advanced manufacturing. The most recent was completed in 2014 identified the challenges and job opportunities facing area health systems. The first three reports are available online at under the BUSINESS section of www.AdvantageOakland.com.

Oakland County has been at the forefront of the movement towards connected car/autonomous vehicles. Patterson’s connected vehicle task force is beginning to implement a countywide connected vehicle ecosystem that will act as a pilot for the entire region. The county is home to dozens of major research and development facilities for many of the global companies operating in mobility including Autoliv, Continental, Denso, Delphi, Google, Lear, Nissan, P3 and Valeo.

“The technology and the workforce for the future of mobility are all right here,” said Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb. “The study results will give us real-time employer-driven information to keep Oakland County and Michigan in the driver’s seat.”

The survey is being conducted by EdEn Inc., a Rochester-based research firm which produced the first three surveys. The project emanated from a recommendation of the Oakland County Business Roundtable Workforce & Education Committee and is funded by Oakland County, the Oakland County Workforce Development Board/Oakland County Michigan Works! through a grant from Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The survey results are expected in early 2017, said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of the Oakland County Michigan Works! division. Employers who did not receive the survey but wish to participate can do so at www.OaklandCountySkillsSurvey.com. Those with questions about the project should contact Llewellyn at llewellynj@oakgov.com.
 

Oakland County business consultant adds another award to his resume

Tom Raymond, a business consultant with the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center, recently received the 2016 Top Mentor Award from SCORE National/Detroit Chapter. The award recognized Raymond for his work on WalkIn/StartUp Thursdays, a collaboration between SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the One Stop Shop Business Center that offers free business counseling services to budding entrepreneurs without the need for making an appointment. Raymond received the award during SCORE’s annual luncheon held at Red Run Country club in Royal Oak.

Raymond’s primary focus with the business center is startup and small businesses. A former business owner and one-time special agent in the Office of Special Investigations with the U.S. Air Force, a member of the vice president’s security detail in the Middle East who was once employed by Playboy enterprises to provide security for the Hugh Heffner family, Raymond has been honored several times by SCORE and was named Small Business Association Counselor of the Year for the state of Michigan in 2013.

Since 2011, Raymond has assisted more than 400 startup and existing business owners.

New disc golf course built in Oxford

An 18-hole disc golf course at Oakwood Lake Township Park has opened, the second such course in the township of roughly 20,000 people. And like the first course, at Seymour Lake Township Park, the Oakwood course is free and open to all.

Unlike the Seymour course, which is characterized as long with wide open approaches to the holes, the new course at Oakwood is tighter, weaving through the forests and requiring a more strategic approach rather than just a strong arm.

Oakwood was designed by Miles Lawrence, co-founder of the Murder Mitten Disc Golf Club. The MMDGC was started as a fundraiser league in 2011 to help maintain the course at Seymour. The Oakwood course will also benefit from the MMDGC, which hosts tournaments and a Sunday doubles league to raise money.

"I always thought that being able to design a course would be an interesting thing to do," says Lawrence. "It had the potential, but could we do it?"

Lawrence had learned about the Michigan Disc Golf Organization donating disc golf baskets to various courses throughout the state and figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. Lawrence, who worked a seasonal job with the Oxford Parks and Recreation Department this past summer, approached his bosses about building a second disc golf course.

Oxford agreed, MDGO donated the equipment, and Lawrence and a handful of volunteers set out into the park, cutting down a few trees and clearing brush to carve out the 18-hole course.

"Oakwood was a park that not a lot of people knew about. It's really nice, just not a lot of people were out there. We thought that maybe this course would attract attention," says Lawrence. "There were 200 people out on opening weekend."

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

Retired Oakland County Michigan Works! manager honored twice by state workforce development agency

The former manager of the Oakland County Michigan Works! division was honored with two awards for his contributions to workforce development efforts in the state.

John Almstadt, who retired from Oakland County on March 1 after 38 years of service, was given the Ralph Loeschner Outstanding Service Award and the Champions of Workforce Development award on Oct. 3 during the Michigan Works! annual conference in Mount Pleasant.

“I’m extremely proud of John who was a great employee of my administration for many years,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “He is missed by all who worked with him. His successor has big shoes to fill.”

Jennifer Llewellyn, who replaced Almstadt, praised him for his professionalism and the impact he has had on the workforce development community and on her career. Almstadt’s work touched tens of thousands of lives during his career.

“John is a workforce development legend,” said Llewellyn, who nominated Almstadt for the Loeschner Award. “He is highly respected across Oakland County and throughout the state of Michigan. He has impacted and changed the lives of so many through his work. I am truly humbled to be his successor. He has huge shoes to fill.”

The Loeschner Award is named in honor of Ralph Loeschner, a respected advocate and promoter of Michigan Works! programming who died in 2004. The Champions of Workforce Development honors Michigan Works! agency heads who “exemplify the highest standards of leadership and who have made a significant contribution to workforce development in Michigan.”

“I’m thrilled to receive these awards which recognize a lifetime of work,” Almstadt said. “It’s nice to be included with other people who have made such important contributions to workforce development. I thank Mr. Patterson and the administration for their support over the years. You never get awards such as these without the help of many other people along the way.”

Almstadt is a graduate of Adrian College and American University in Washington D.C. He began his professional career as a school teacher and then came to the county to oversee youth training programs. He was ultimately promoted to oversee the county’s workforce development initiatives, which includes the eight Michigan Works! centers throughout the county and the workforce development board.

He also oversaw the creation and production of a series of reports – the Skills Needs Assessment Project – which identified the skills, experience and education needed to work for emerging technology, health care and manufacturing companies, and assists educators in preparing the curriculum needed to help talent succeed.

Oakland County is one of 16 agencies in Michigan that provides free talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses and career management, training and placement for job seekers. More than 1,200 people visit Oakland County Michigan Works! centers every day.
 

The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham opens new hospitality space

Excerpt

The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham has opened its new luxury event space, The Clancy Room, which can be reserved for group dining, private meetings, and intimate gatherings.

The Clancy Room, formerly The Corner Bar, occupies 2,000 square feet and features an art deco style interior with marble floors, wood-paneled walls, glass chandeliers, and a flexible floor plan, which can cater up to 150 guests.

Read more.
 

Beaumont first in Michigan to offer new breast cancer treatment

Excerpt

Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak is the first health system in the state to offer the Intrabeam intraoperative radiotherapy system, a new partial radiotherapy treatment option for breast cancer patients.

Read more.
 

The City of Wixom receives minigrant from the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs

The City of Wixom has been awarded a Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs Minigrant via a Regional Regranting Agency. The grant, in the amount of $3,825, is distributed by the Anton Art Center, which is the Regional Regranting Agency for Macomb and Oakland Counties.
 
The grant will allow the City of Wixom to host the traveling exhibit entitled Forbidden Art, a collection of images of artwork created by concentration camp prisoners while imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II. This exhibition originated at Poland’s famed Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and is made up of twenty large color photographs of drawings and sculptures made by inmates of the Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Ravensbrück concentration camps. Each of the photographs is accompanied by a historical commentary and a narrative account as to why the piece was created.
 
Forbidden Art will be installed at the Wixom Public Library from March 20 through April 6, 2017. This exhibit was developed and is presented in North America by The Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools. It has been displayed at prominent institutions such as the United Nations, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, and many universities.
 
An opening reception is planned for the evening of March 19, 2016. Please see www.WixomGov.org for more information. 
 

Flagstar Strand Theatre announces donor wall design competition

The newly renovated Flagstar Strand Theatre in Pontiac, Michigan is accepting artist proposals to design  an original work of art for the theater that will also function as a  donor recognition installation.  The Flagstar Strand Theatre is a dynamic live performing arts venue with a history that dates back to 1921.  The restored theater proudly acknowledges the heritage of Pontiac's talented jazz artists and musical gatherings from the 1930's through the 60's and incorporates  repurposed materials from the  former Pontiac Central High School in its reconstruction.  With ardent admiration for the city of Pontiac's musical and creative roots, the Flagstar Strand Theatre carries on to create a new legacy of arts and entertainment.

The commissioned donor wall will be installed in the theater's main foyer, facing the front entrance and greeting visitors as they enter.  All mediums will be considered, including those requiring a light source.  The design must take into consideration the public's ability to walk within close range of the wall and should extend no more than one foot out from the wall.  The design must also include the capability to  add donor names as necessary after final installation.

The dimensions include one large central wall, 10.14 ft. wide by 10.92 ft. tall.  In addition, there are two side panels, each measuring 3.6 ft. wide by 10.92 ft. tall.  The project does not necessarily need to fill up all of the space.  The commissioned design will receive an award of $10,000 for the fabrication and installation of the final project. 

Please include as much detailed information as possible in the design proposal.  Drawings, sketches, or computer generated designs should include descriptions of colors, dimensions, and materials.  Files must be sent as JPEG or PDF files, no larger than 2MB.  Label each attached document with the artist's last name, first name and design title.  Please include a brief narrative description of the proposed design and information  about the artist(s): CV, website, web links or images of similar previous work.

All design proposals must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on November 1st.  For further information and to submit a proposal, please send an email to info@flagstarstrandtheatrepontiac.com
 

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan awarded grants totaling $53,,000 to 15 nonprofits

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan awarded grants totaling $534,000, from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) Charitable Foundation Fund to a diverse group of 15 nonprofit organizations that provide services to children and youth in the region. This is the largest round of grantmaking in the DADA Charitable Foundation Fund’s 17-year history, more than double previous years. Grants range from $15,000 to $50,000 each.
 
Programs and organizations that received grants are:
  • Autism Alliance of Michigan (http://autismallianceofmichigan.org) – Southfield, $50,000 for support to provide resources for low-income families to help them successfully navigate Michigan's special education system
  • buildOn (www.buildon.org) – Detroit, $20,000 for support for an after-school, anti-violence program for high school students in Detroit 
  • Care House of Oakland County Inc. (www.carehouse.org) – Pontiac, $35,000 for support for the expansion of child abuse prevention trainings for education professionals and others who are obligated by law to report suspected abuse
  • Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program (www.downtownyouthboxing.org) – Detroit, $20,000 for support for an after-school coding program for youth in Detroit
  • Fraser First Booster Club (www.fraserfirst.com) – Fraser, $42,000 for support for a universally-designed recreational park in Macomb County, accessible for all abilities
  • Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan (www.gshom.org) – Ypsilanti, $30,450 for support for implementing Healthy Futures, a program that improves the physical, mental and emotional health of girls in low-income communities in Washtenaw County
  • Give Merit Inc.(www.meritgoodness.com) – Detroit, $15,000 for support for the expansion of a mentoring and career preparation program for Detroit youth
  • JVS (www.jvsdet.org) – Southfield, $36,400 for support for Pathways to Careers, a program that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities obtain and maintain integrated competitive employment
  • Macomb Community College Foundation (http://www.macomb.edu/alumni-donors/about-the-foundation/index.html) – Clinton Township, $45,450 for support over two years for an intensive reading and writing coaching program for high school students in Macomb County
  • Michigan Science Center (www.mi-sci.org) – Detroit, $40,000 for support for a hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum enrichment program for all fourth-grade students in Detroit Public Schools
  • Oakland Family Services (www.oaklandfamilyservices.org) – Pontiac, $50,000 for support for the Before 3 to Succeed awareness campaign to increase the number of children screened for developmental delays
  • Project Healthy Community (www.projecthealthycommunity.org) – Detroit, $50,000 for support over two years for building organizational capacity to better serve children and families in northwest Detroit
  • St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (www.stjoesoakland.org) – Pontiac, $40,000 for support for preventive dental health care education and expanded access to pediatric dental services for special needs children
  • Starr Commonwealth (www.starr.org) – Albion, $30,500 for support for the expansion of training that holistically responds to the effects of trauma on children and adults in Macomb County
  • Wild Swan Theater (www.wildswantheater.org) – Ann Arbor, $29,200 for support for an original main stage and touring production for elementary school audiences, inspired by folktales from Arab culture
“This year grants are the largest in the DADA Charitable Foundation Fund’s history because of the increased support received from the DADA,” said Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “Thousands of children throughout metro Detroit will benefit from the services provided by these 15 organizations.”
 
“The Detroit Auto Dealers Association is whole-heartedly committed to making a positive impact in our local communities and supporting nonprofit organizations that enrich the lives of children,” said Rod Alberts, Executive Director, DADA.
 
More than $5 million in grants have been awarded to 138 organizations and the funds have created a $2.4 million endowment.
 
The DADA Charitable Foundation Fund was established at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan in 1998 by the DADA, a trade association composed of more than 200 automobile dealers in metropolitan Detroit. The Fund represents a lasting legacy of the DADA’s charitable commitment to southeast Michigan.
 
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs.  Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $870 million through more than 58,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties.  For more information, please visit www.cfsem.org.      
 
Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) was founded in 1907 by 17 local car dealers, and has grown to more than 220-member car and truck dealers who donate their time and resources to a host of community activities. Currently, the DADA members collectively employ more than 16,500 people. Many members participate in the NAIAS, LLC, which is responsible for the production of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). To find out more about Detroit Auto Dealers Association, visit dada.org. To find out more about the NAIAS, visit naias.com.
 

OU INC client successfully spins off innovative Company and launches Into new market

The Oakland University Incubator (OU INC), a Smart Zone Business Accelerator, took occupational therapist, Nathan Barnett, under its wing and mentored him on how to transform his idea of creating an objective system for accurately testing an elderly person’s balance and devising treatment suggestions to minimize the risk of falls. Out of Barnett’s collaboration with OU INC, he will officially launch his revolutionary new “Safe Balance” concept this coming Friday into an emerging health care market for addressing the needs of the elderly in preventing debilitating or deadly falls.

OU INC gave Barnett the tools needed to realize his goal. The Incubator provided Barnett with access to resources and networks, as well as funding through the Business Accelerator Fund along with guidance from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.While balance testing has been around a while, the subjective measures utilized lacked reliability, consistency and ability to accurately detect the presence of a heightened risk of debilitating or deadly falls. Barnett believes that without a proper metric to identify risk, fall related injuries will continue to skyrocket.

Barnett created the Dynamic Arc: Functional Balance Testing System. The Dynamic Arc is a portable device with a software component that identifies the presence of a fall risk, quantifies the impairment severity and provides clarity to the physician and/or therapist to facilitate focused treatment.

Barnett’s company, Functional Innovation Enterprises soon became an attractive business investment. In the spring of 2016, Avantius Medical Equipment was formed as a joint venture between Barnett and entrepreneur Frederic Jouhet.

This is a new concept for a very old problem,” said Barnett. “ Safe Balance” is revolutionary because of the many ways it can prolong independence for the elderly and create peace of mind for them and their loved ones. An unexpected fall can have catastrophic consequences. Safe Balance plays a key role in preventing this from happening. I couldn’t have taken my idea to a market-ready position without the guidance and resources of OU INC.”
 
Surging growth and opportunity in the balance testing market, led Barnett and Jouhet to spin off the old company into a new one called Safe Balance.
 
Safe Balance currently serves all levels of senior communities from Independent Living, Senior Living and Nursing Home/Rehabilitation Centers. The advantages of Safe Balance are decreased liability exposure, and greater peace of mind to family/residents.  More information can be found at www.safe-balance.com.
 
About OU INC
OU INC is a Smartzone Business Incubator and Innovation Center, in collaboration with the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and strategic industry partners. With a focus on the energy, medical device, and information technology sectors, OU INC provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions for developing business ventures and accelerating ideas to market. OU INC is a designated Soft Landing Facility through the International Business Innovation Association for international companies. For more information go to http://www.oakland.edu/ouinc.
 

OUCARES' collaboration with Oakland County Parks wins national award

The Oakland University Center for Autism’s Outreach Services (OUCARES) was recently honored with a 2016 Removing Barriers Special Award from the National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials. The recognition was for a program that allows OUCARES summer camp participants to engage in activities such as fishing, boating, rappelling and climbing at Independence Oaks Park in Clarkston. 
 
“The mission of OUCARES is to improve the quality of life of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” said Kristin Rohrbeck, director of OUCARES.  “When OUCARES’ summer campers are at the park, they show more positive emotion, engage more with their peers, and learn to follow directions in order to participate in all of the fun activities — all things that can improve their quality of life. OUCARES is proud to have this strong relationship with Oakland County Parks that helps us fulfill our mission.”
 
The program, which is in collaboration with Oakland County Parks (OCP), also involved providing training to OCP staff members and those at other parks throughout Michigan
 
During the training session, OCP supervisors learned to recognize common characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how to communicate effectively by breaking information down into simple steps, keeping verbal statements short and maintaining a low voice, among other strategies.
 
OUCARES Program Coordinator Stephanie Laubach was instrumental in developing the training.

“It has been an honor to work with not only the Oakland County Parks, but also with the Michigan Recreation & Parks Association to assist in developing inclusion & accessibility within their parks," Laubach said. "Educating park personnel about autism and successful strategies in working with a person on the spectrum will broaden the understanding and acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder."
 
Founded in 2004, OUCARES provides a vast array of programming for individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities, including sports, social clubs, summer camps and employable skills training.
 
Learn more about OUCARES at oakland.edu/oucares.
 

Ford C3 grant to Lawrence Tech aims to cut affordable housing cost in half

Lawrence Technological University has received a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge grant that could revolutionize the production of affordable housing – starting with one new home in Pontiac.
 
The grant will help fund the construction of HOUSE02, a proof of concept home that will use the techniques developed over the past two years by LTU architecture professors Scott Shall, Jim Stevens, Ayodh Kamath, and Brian Oltrogge, and LTU architecture graduate students.
 
The goal is to build a home at a cost of $50 to $65 per square foot. That would put the cost of a modest, 1,000-square-foot home at $50,000 to $65,000 – not the $110,000 to $150,000 achieved through traditional construction methods, Shall said.
 
The techniques will make it more likely for affordable housing to attract financing on a large scale, as well. For a video of Lawrence Tech students and faculty discussing this issue, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8demrSIp0R0&feature=youtu.be.
 
The LTU professors and students worked with Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County on the research.
 
In addition to the Ford grant, an anonymous philanthropist has donated $6,000 and a city lot in Pontiac for the construction of HOUSE02.
 
“We’ve been working with students and professionals to figure out how digital fabrication can more rigorously inform the building delivery process used to make affordable housing,” Shall said. “Through our research, we have found ways to use computer simulation, digital fabrication, and products such as structural insulating panels and reclaimed material to reduce the cost and environmental footprint of affordable housing, as well as the time required to build the home.”
 
The Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) is a grant competition launched in 2008 when Ford Motor Company Fund reached out to its national network of colleges and universities and invited them to compete for grants based on local sustainability projects. Ford C3 works with partners in higher education that are focused on the critical areas of business, design and engineering. Ford C3 is designed to use school and company resources in creative ways, challenging schools and students to design projects that address pressing community needs and make more relevant connections with students. Ford C3 differs from many traditional college grant programs by requiring significant student input, involvement and leadership from beginning to end. As a result, winning proposals have a distinct student perspective on what it means to have a sustainable community. Ford C3 is an educational initiative of Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. More details about the program and previous winners can be found at https://www.fordblueovalnetwork.org/ford-college-community-challenge.
 
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.
 
About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Next Generation Learning and other innovative programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com.
 
About The Ford College Community Challenge
Through the Ford College Community Challenge, Ford Motor Company Fund aims to support colleges and universities as they work with students to design and develop tangible community projects that address critical local needs in new ways, with a focus on helping the community become a more sustainable place to work and live.
 

Lawrence Tech dedicates $16.9 million Taubman building on Southfield campus

Excerpt

Lawrence Technological University dedicated its new $16.9 million A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Architecture and Life Sciences Complex at its Southfield campus.

The 36,700-square-foot, three-level structure contains laboratories, a glass atrium and a staircase enclosed by a three-story gray orb made of carbon-reinforced fiber that floats above a 1-foot deep reflecting pool.

Read more.
 

Medical Main Street in United Kingdom and Ireland on trade mission

A business development team from Oakland County’s Medical Main Street is spending the week in the United Kingdom and Ireland selling medical device and life science companies on the benefits of expanding their operations into Oakland County.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb and business development representative John Wolf-Meyer are meeting with nine Ireland-based companies on Thursday and Friday, making the business case for locating in Oakland County. Gibb and Wolf-Meyer are also accompanying state officials, including Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, in business attraction meetings with automotive and aerospace companies during the week.

“Medical Main Street has matured to the point that it’s opening doors around the globe,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We have a waiting list of companies wanting to meet with us in Ireland. It’s an international recognition of the approach we’ve taken to assisting companies who want to expand into Oakland County. This proves the strength of Medical Main Street.”

Ireland is fertile ground for the medical device and diagnostic manufacturing industry as 20 of the world’s top 30 medical technology companies have significant operations in Ireland, according to the state of Michigan. The sector is the second largest exporter of medical devices in Europe and accounts for eight percent of the total, with most of the manufactured products destined for the United States and other foreign markets. The industry employs 25,000 people.

More than 100 companies are involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing a diverse range of products. Thirty-three percent of the world’s contact lenses and 50 percent of the ventilators worldwide are manufactured in Ireland and 30 million people rely on injectable devices made there, according to state statistics.

Launched in 2008, Medical Main Street is branding the region as a global center of innovation in health care and the life sciences. It has helped 53 companies expand or locate in Oakland County, generating investment of more than $1 billion while creating or retaining more than 8,500 jobs.

Medical Main Street is also taking on an increasing international flavor. In May, Patterson signed a “Friendship City” relationship with the People’s Republic of China and its life science program, China Medical City, to explore opportunities for promoting and commercializing new products and technologies in life science, business, education, energy and the environment.

The county itself has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. More than 1,050 foreign-owned companies from 39 countries have business locations in the county. Foreign Direct Investment in the county (investment from a company headquartered outside the U.S.) for 2015 totaled about $357 million – more than double the $171 million from 2014 – and accounted for about 43 percent of the county’s total private business investment of nearly $835 million, said Economic Development & Community Affairs Director Irene Spanos, .

Through the first five months of 2016, 23 international companies from 11 countries either located or expanded in Oakland County, investing more than $144 million and creating over 1,000 jobs, Spanos said. The countries are Germany (seven companies), Japan (4), China (3), Italy (2) and one company each from Australia, India, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, and Switzerland.

In October, a team from Medical Main Street will be attending the Innovation Summit at the Cleveland Clinic, which focuses on the next wave of growth in the industry and the best practices for commercialization, Spanos said.
 

Health division kicks off flu season

Oakland County Health Division launched their annual flu vaccination program on Oct. 4, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The flu vaccine guards against as many as four flu viruses which are most likely to occur this season.

“Our goal is to keep our residents healthy this flu season,” Patterson said. “We urge them to take the necessary precautions against the flu including getting vaccinated.”

Flu shots are available for $25 at both Health Division clinics in Pontiac and Southfield. Individuals 65 years and older qualify for a high-dose flu shot which costs $43. Flu shot clinic hours are Noon – 8p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. These are walk-in clinics. Prepayment and registration are not needed.

“Get a flu shot to protect yourself and loved ones,” said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager/health officer. “The flu typically takes the lives of 36,000 Americans a year. Getting an annual flu shot reduces the risk of getting the flu and protects the community around you.”

The Health Division will also hold four walk-in community outreach clinics on the following dates:
  • Oct. 12, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    Walled Lake Community Ed, 615 N. Pontiac Trail, Walled Lake
  • Oct. 18, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Rochester OPC, 650 Letica Drive, Rochester
  • Oct. 19, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois, Troy
  • Nov. 1, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
Community outreach clinics are walk-in only, pre-payment and registration are not necessary.

Payment options include cash, credit (Visa, MasterCard), Medicare, and/or Medicaid, and some insurance. Credit card fees apply. Please bring picture identification and all insurance cards to the clinic.

Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.
 

The Oakland County Executive's Elite 40 Under 40 program in search of "best of the best" for 2017

If you know a young entrepreneur, community leader, teacher or any person who has made significant contributions to their chosen field and the quality of life in the region and you want them recognized for their good work, here is your chance.
 
Starting Wednesday at 9:01 a.m., nominations are being accepted for the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson started the program in 2012 to honor young professionals and thought leaders who excel in their field and have demonstrated dynamic leadership.
 
“There is a sea of engaged, eager and passionate leaders who are committed to making a difference in business, the community and in people’s lives,” Patterson said. “We are blessed to have so many talented young people who are vital to Oakland County and the region. If you know one or more of these young men and women – or you want to nominate yourself – I encourage you to submit a name for consideration.”
 
Nominees must live or work in Oakland County to be eligible. To submit a candidate, go to www.AdvantageOakland.com/Elite40 where two entry buttons can be found – one for those who want to nominate someone else and one for those who want to enter themselves. Nominations must be completed by Nov. 1. If you enter yourself, you have until Nov. 4 at noon to submit a completed entry.
 
A panel of former Elite 40 class members will review and score all completed applications from Nov. 17 – Dec. 1 and reduce the number to the top 60 entrants. An independent panel of judges will choose the top 40 from Jan. 8 – Jan. 6, 2017. Of that group, three candidates who scored the highest will be placed before the public from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27, 2017 for an online vote to determine the winner.
 
The winner will be announced in February. All class members will be invited to participate in a host of county events. Past members have joined the Oakland County Business Roundtable and other advisory committees within the county.
 

Crowdfunding campaign launched for Lake Norcentra Park

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Rochester College with the City of Rochester and Rochester Hills today announced a new crowdfunding campaign through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. The campaign will support the project to enhance and preserve 14 acres of green space, wetlands, and woodlands in the heart of Rochester and Rochester Hills, which will be open and accessible to the public while connecting directly to downtown Rochester via the Clinton River Trail.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal or $50,000 by October 22, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MSHDA and MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit: www.Patronicity.com/LakeNorcentra.

“We are excited to support the creation of Michigan’s first community-service learning park as part of the Public Spaces, Community Places program,” said MEDC Community Development Director Katharine Czarnecki. “The space creates more green space, increases direct connectivity to the local downtown, enhances boat and trail access and activates new space accessible for the public.”

The Lake Norcentra Park project affects 14 acres of Rochester College’s campus. The park sits next to the Clinton River Trail less than a mile from downtown Rochester. Lake Norcentra Park will offer the public free access to outdoor art, food, leisure activities, and nature with direct access from the Clinton River Trail connecting directly to Downtown Rochester.

Lake Norcentra Park features will include: Concessions and picnic garden accessible from Clinton River Trail, Public art installations (including Rochester Community Mural), Bench and hammock seating, Green space, Bike parking and repair station, Interpretive signage that shares the historic and natural features of the park, ADA-compliant pedestrian trails, Boat access (Clinton River), Fishing access (Clinton River and Lake Norcentra), Indoor/outdoor community activity center, Gathering places for outdoor learning programs and social activities, Live art, food, and music programs year-round, and K-12 outdoor science camps and field trips.

“The League strongly believes in the concept of placemaking and creating spaces that draw and attract people to a community,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “Having vibrant, accessible park areas are great placemaking tools for any community and if people support this crowdfunding effort for Lake Norcentra Park it can be a source of pride for the community for years to come.”

“Families at the college have known this place for decades and it’s special to a lot of them. Anything worth loving is worth sharing. We think it’s time to open Lake Norcentra Park to our neighbors in the community so it can become special to them as well,” said Tom Rellinger, VP of Development, Finance, and Operations at Rochester College. “We hope the park is a great asset to active lifestyles, education, and preserving nature in the Rochester region for decades to come.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, MSHDA, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity where local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, non-profits and other business entities can apply at https://patronicity.com/puremichigan.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit www.michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 93,000 jobs are currently availa