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Annual survey from Bingham Farms firm reveals consumers' technology habits

The Bingham Farms-based mobile strategy and development company jacapps has recently analyzed and released the results of an annual national survey of new technology devices and emerging mobility solutions.

Jacobs Media Strategies, the parent company of jacapps and also based in Bingham Farms, performed and released the survey, dubbed Techsurvey 2018. More than 64,000 respondents completed the survey this year.

The findings are intended to demonstrate how consumers use technology. Its findings are many.

Out of the more than 64,000 respondents, one in four considered themselves "early adopters" of new technologies. That rate is larger among men, 28 percent, Millennials, 32 percent, and African Americans, 31 percent.

The survey also found that the younger the generation, the more likely they are to allow radio and music apps to access location data, use push notifications, and allow microphone permission. For example, 57 percent of Gen Z respondents allow access to location data while just 46 percent of Baby Boomers do.

The contrast is starker for push notifications, with 54 percent of Gen Z and 27 percent of Boomers allowing so, and for microphone access, at 47 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

During the 2017 holiday season, 41 percent of men and 40 percent of women did most or all of their holiday shopping online. Just 30 percent of Gen Z did so, perhaps on account of their young age, but 50 percent of Millennials and 44 percent of Gen X shopped almost exclusively online. Boomers still fought the crowds at the nation’s malls, with just 28 percent of Boomers shopping almost exclusively online.

Alarm clock sales must be down, as the majority of respondents now use their mobile devices as their alarm clocks.

Visit jacapps online to view more of the results.

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


Health and wellness-minded senior living community celebrates grand opening in Rochester Hills

They’ve been moving in residents since June, but the newest senior living community in Oakland County celebrated its ribbon cutting on Thursday, Aug. 9 with drinks, dining, dancing, and tours of the facilities.

The 97-bed facility at Stonecrest of Rochester Hills is roughly 50 percent full since opening. It’s a remarkably good rate, says Lara Anderson, Director of Marketing at Stonecrest Senior Living. It usually takes 14 to 18 months to reach that mark, she says.

"We do a lot of research before securing land and start building. Detroit market data showed us that a need was there and Rochester Hills leased up some of the quickest," Anderson says.

"We’re right there on Rochester Road and close to downtown."

Stonecrest not only focuses on the physical health of its residents but also on their mind and spirit. A life enrichment program focuses on seven metrics, with programming that encourages residents to be friendly, active, aware, imaginative, spiritual, together, and gracious.

A special memory care staff is on hand to care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Stonecrest provides memory care staff with continuing education classes to provide up-to-date care.

There is also a special staff to help patients navigate their VA benefits.

The Rochester Hills location is the second of three Stonecrest facilities planned for metro Detroit. A Troy location opened in July 2017. A third location, in Northville, is scheduled open by the end of the year and is currently in the pre-leasing stage.

"We offer the same product at each location, but take a unique approach to the different interiors," Anderson says.

"Rochester Hills is especially calm and comforting."

Stonecrest of Rochester Hills is located at 1775 S. Rochester Rd. in Rochester Hills.

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


Downtown Berkley debuts its custom-designed shopping bags for a cause

Want to support downtown Berkley and a good cause? And how about looking good while doing it?

That’s what Berkley’s Downtown Development Authority is hoping for, at least. The Oakland County city’s DDA recently debuted the product of its Downtown Berkley Shopping Bag for a Cause program. What results is a custom-designed handbag from Hamtramck’s Better Life Bags.

The Better Life Bags company employs women with significant barriers to employment. The bags are hand cut and sewn in Hamtramck. Armadillo Printwear, located on Twelve Mile Road in Berkley, is the screen printer.

"The development of Downtown Berkley Shopping Bag for a Cause is a meaningful partnership between the Berkley DDA and Citizens Bank that makes an impact in our community," Rebecca Smith, founder and CEO of Better Life Bags, said in a statement.

"This project has allowed us to expand employment--an additional 300 hours of work to the women we employ--for the life of this project. In the world of the under-employed, that is significant."

The bags feature a snapshot of the birds on the Elwin & Co. Bakery mural on Coolidge Highway. That mural was created by Malt, a.k.a. Brown Bag Detroit, during the DDA’s 2017 mural program.

The bags are available for $10 each or $5 with a purchase at a number of downtown Berkley retailers, including Berkley Eyewear and Local Sunglass Co., Have You Any Wool?, The Neighbor’s Shoppe, Peninsulas, and Vitrine Gallery & Gifts.

The program is sponsored in part by Citizens Bank.

"A year ago, the Berkley DDA started looking at how it was spending its money on promotional products for its events," said Vivian Carmody, executive director of the BerkleyDDA.

"The Board decided it needed to 'walk the talk' of supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs and thus began our journey to locally sourcing a bag. We knew we needed a corporate partner, and Citizens Bank seemed the perfect match because of its emphasis on workforce development."

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


Bellagio Hair Studio in Troy celebrates fifth-year anniversary

Excerpt

For Joan Grohar of Clarkston, driving 25 minutes to get her hair done at Bellagio Hair Studio is well worth it.

“It gives you the feeling of space, even though the square footage is not that large. Even when it’s crowded, you still feel like you’re getting personal attention and you get your spa moment,” Grohar stated. “We lived in Bloomfield for years, so I’m adjusting to driving long distances. This is worth it. That receptionist, when she greats you with that smile, it just makes your day.”

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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. 8

  • Come out for Make a Splash: Wookie Wednesday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 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 (while supplies last), star-themed nature activity and Nerf gun target practices. This event is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School. Activities are free with paid admission to the waterpark. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 8 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 $8/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 16. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

Aug. 9

  • 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 $8/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 16. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

Aug. 10

  • It’s Campground Carnival weekend Aug. 10-12 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway ear Holly. Enjoy carnival games, clowns, face painters, a caricaturist, candy bar bingo, inflatables, dunk tank, big screen movie, hayrides, DJ dance and a band. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Enjoy a Corn Roast, corn-on-the-cob eating contest, inflatables, face painters, DJ/karaoke, pie-eating contest, corn husk figures, wagon rides and a band Aug. 10-11 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road north of Rochester. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

Aug. 11

  • Children can join Michigan State University Extension Health & Nutrition professionals for a Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • The Oakland Conservation District will host a Monarch program from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Discover the beauty of the Monarch butterfly while learning about its life cycle and how you can help the declining population. Visit OakladCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • Enjoy fitness demonstrations, inflatable bouncers (socks required), crafts and other activities during Healthy Oakland Partnership’s Family Market Day from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Eligible participants receive a $5 coupon for the purchase of locally-grown produce. This program is sponsored by McLaren Oakland and Summit Dental Group. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • Under the Night Sky is 7-8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Join a naturalist for an evening of celestial exploration. Learn about bats, owls, flying squirrels and more before heading out on the trails to meet some of Michigan’s elusive nocturnal animals in person. Experience StarLab, a portable planetarium, to brush up on your summer constellations. This program is appropriate for school-age children and adults. Cost is $4/person. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Join Oakland County Parks and Recreation for Cosmic Commotion Perseids Meteor Shower from 9 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Aug. 11 at Addison Oaks County Park, 1480 W. Romeo Road, north of Rochester. Held i Walker Field, the event will include watching the meteor shower, crafts, games and s’mores. Brig a blanket or chair for viewing. Activities are free with daily park entry fee or 2018 Oakland County Parks and Recreation Annual Vehicle Permit. For more information, call 248-858-5267.

Aug. 13

  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 13 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 $8/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 16. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

Aug. 14

  • Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host the Trail Blazer Walking Series, a free 6-week program that explores a different park each week, from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Explore the Sensory Trail on a one-mile hike with a naturalist. Trails are available for longer hikes. Brig bug spray and refillable water bottle. A free pedometer is available while supplies last. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

Aug. 15

  • Come Out and Play is scheduled from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15 at Catalpa Oaks County Park, 27705 Greenfield Road in Southfield. This fun, free event will feature inflatables, a climbing tower, retro games and a zip line. Purchase delicious treats from local food trucks, too. Details: 248-858-1486.
  • River Walk is from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 15 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 $8/visit. The River Walk is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 16. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

Aug. 16

  • The Oakland County Health Division will be at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford, for a free health education program from 8:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 16. Details: OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495.
  • A Food Truck Rally is scheduled from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Enjoy sweet and savory offerings from local food trucks and shop with market vendors for fresh produce, homemade products, baked goods, fresh flowers and artisan crafts. This event is presented by Genisys Credit Union and sponsored by Summit Dental Group. Call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • The final River Walk for the 2018 season 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 $8/visit. For more information, call 248-424-7081 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

 

Aug. 17

  • It’s Art Venture weekend Aug. 17-19 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway ear Holly. Enjoy adventures in art with a magic show, henna tattoos, creative art crafts, stone portraits, balloon sculptures, face painting, pet portraits, big screen movie, hayrides, DJ dance and an outdoor concert. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Enjoy campground recreation activities, a DJ dance and band Aug. 17-18 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road north of Rochester. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

Aug. 18

  • The Oakland County Health Division will be at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford, for blood pressure and BMI checks from 8:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 18. Details: OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495.
  • Children can join Michigan State University Extension Master Gardeners for a Daisy Dyeing program from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 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.
  • Walk with a Doctor from 9:30-10 a.m. Aug. 18 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. The walk will begin on the grassy area to the west of the market building, weather permitting. Held in conjunction with Healthy Oakland Partnership, this program will be held on the third Saturday of each month through October. It is sponsored by Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. Call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • Visit the Oakland County Farmers Market during its popular Food Truck Rally from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Enjoy unique foods from local food trucks and shop with market vendors for fresh produce, homemade products, baked goods, fresh flowers and artisan crafts. Participating food trucks vary at each Food Truck Rally event. This event is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • A Pet Vaccination Clinic will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 18 at Springfield Oaks County 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 the Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center and sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. For pet safety, bring dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier. Springfield Oaks County Park is located at 12451 Andersonville Road in Davisburg. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Plant Folklore is set from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 18 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Behind every plant in our woods is a fascinating story. During a hike, discover the plants that have fed, healed, clothed and poisoned Michiganders throughout history. Make bracelets with hand-dyed yarn and take home recipes for making wild snacks. This program is appropriate for school-age children and adults. Cost is $5/person. 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. 19

  • Discover the sport of FootGolf during the White Lake Oaks FootGolf Kickoff event from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19 at White Lake Oaks Golf Course, 991 Williams Lake Road in White Lake. This is a scramble-style outing with 2-person teams. Check-in is at 3:30 p.m., games and clinics are from 4-4:45 p.m. and a shotgun start is set for 5 p.m. All ages and abilities are welcome, but youth younger than 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult and participants must be at least 18 years old with valid driver’s license to drive a cart. The fee is $15/person through Aug. 10 and includes play, cart, complimentary item and food (soccer ball not included; cost is $5 or bring your own). After Aug. 10, cost is $20/person. Call 248-858-0916 for registration or more details.

Aug. 24

  • It’s Time Warp weekend Aug. 24-26 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway near Holly. Enjoy far out fun with tie-dying, throwback costume contest, hula hoop demo and lessons, tin can campers vintage trailers, glow crafts, team games, neon face/body painting, black light bash, big screen movie, hayride, DJ dance and an oldies variety band. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Enjoy going retro during Back in Time weekend Aug. 24-25 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road north of Rochester. Activities include 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. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.
  • Test your skills at traditional golf, FootGolf and disc golf during the G3 Golf Tournament: Swing, Kick, Throw from 5-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 at Red Oaks Golf Course, 29600 John R Road in Madison Heights. This is a nine-hole tournament for 2-person teams with three holes of each type of golf. Cost is $18/person until Aug. 17 and $20/person Aug.18-21.  The registration fee does not include a cart. Carts are available for rent on a first-come first-served basis. Registration form is available at OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, call 248-424-7081.

Aug. 25

  • Join Michigan State University Extension – Health & Nutrition for a Pickles Program from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Kids can make a pickle, take it home and finish it in their refrigerator to enjoy later. Adults can learn about cucumbers, pickling and food preservation. This program is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or call 248-858-5495 for more information.
  • A Grandparent/Grandchild Mini Camp is 2-4 p.m. Aug. 25 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Sped time in nature with your nana, papa or special adult mentor as we explore windy wonders – all things related to flight and wind. Enjoy a cloud-related activity and snack, make a pro paper airplane, learn about flight with animals and plants, craft a bubble wand and more. Cost is $6/person. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

 

Aug. 26

  • A Bar Bash is 4-6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 at Springfield Oaks County Park, 12451 Andersonville Road in Davisburg. Enjoy heritage games, a hayride, country music and s’mores. Learn to line dance and take photos in a photo booth. Cost is $3/person. Pre-registration with payment required. Call 248-858-0916 weekdays. For more information, visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

 

Aug. 28

  • A 4-person Scramble Series for men and women ages 50+ is set for Tuesday, Aug. 28 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 $160/team or $40/person. Non-pre-pay fees are $196/team; $49/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 be provided. Rainchecks will be issued for green fees and cart rental only. The registration form is available at OaklandCountyParks.com. For more information, contact Tournament Director Maria George at 248-634-2261 or email SprigfieldOaks@oakgov.com.

Aug. 30

  • Enjoy Labor Day weekend Aug. 30-Sept. 3 at Addison Oaks Campground, 1480 W. Romeo Road north of Rochester. Enjoy a summer finale of fun featuring bingo, tie-dying, magic show, inflatables, face painting, team games, arts and crafts, DJ dance, karaoke, wagon rides and a band. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

Aug. 31

  • It’s Labor Day weekend Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at Groveland Oaks Campground, 14555 Dixie Highway near Holly. Enjoy dodgeball, bingo, face and body painters, team games, contests, dunk tank, magic show, inflatables, DJ dances and outdoor concerts. Events vary each day. For the summer campground recreation schedule, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. To make a camping reservation, call 248-858-1400.

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


New Franklin gallery uses art to heal

The Village of Franklin is a quiet, tree-filled area that harkens back to another era. That's why it's the perfect place for a new art gallery centered around healing and meditation. 

Jacqueline Drake opened her gallery, by the same name, at 32611 Franklin Road in May this year and hasn't wasted any time connecting with her customers. Drake runs "healing art" workshops for the Gilda's Club, cancer and crisis centers, and hospitals and businesses.

"I wanted to take my workshops to the next level by creating a full-experience that touches all your senses in a healing environment," Drake explains.

Drake's two-month classes, such as her Mindfulness and Meditation Through Painting, are aimed at helping people slow down from busy lifestyles and to focus on being "present in the moment." The purposely small classes often start with a guided meditation before participants paint what they experienced.

"I teach them how to compose a piece by using their very own insights into themselves that they have discovered during the meditation," says Drake.

Participant Eileen Harryvan described the gallery and Drake's classes as a "break from the rest of the world" and a place to get "a little boost of peace and calm."

Drake says the gallery was 20 years in the making and that Franklin was natural choice for her after moving to the area 10 years ago. She says part of why a therapeutic art space works is because of the historic village's pace of life. "Franklin village is known to be a quaint little village in the middle of busy metropolitan area," Drake says. "I believe the village itself has many healing qualities because it connects people with a simpler time."

Drake's historic building on the village green bares the slogan "The Town that Time Forgot," a sign that Drake couldn't bring herself to alter when she and her husband did a six-week renovation blitz. "To finally build and create my dream business was daunting, crazy and exciting all in one breath."

Drake has plans to expand the gallery's calendar to host more events, including a music night for local singers and songwriters to perform and record, poetry readings, and listening events.

"I believe I am just beginning on a long journey to create a community space, " Drake says, "and am constantly looking for ways to have a positive impact on the community while helping people experience the beauty and powerful influence that art has." 

Pontiac revs up for Phoenix Derby Races


Among the creative and energetic minds in Pontiac, inspiration can spring from the everyday.

When folks from Main Street Pontiac recognized the natural slopes on some downtown Pontiac streets, they sparked an idea for a fun community event that takes advantage of the forces of gravity. What if Main Street Pontiac sponsored a race down one of those hills and invited the creative talent of high school students and local businesses?

The idea went from zero to 60 very quickly.

On August 25, Main Street Pontiac will host its first ever Phoenix Derby Races, an old-fashioned event designed to spark friendly competition while offering the chance for kids to put some design and STEAM skills to work to build and race a wooden, non-motorized car.

The event, open to Pontiac resident high school students, will encourage kids to form a team, work with mentors to build wooden gravity-powered cars, and race the cars down a select Pontiac street which will be closed to traffic, all in one day. There will also be a bracket-oriented competition for adults who want to join in the fun.

“This originated as a fun idea for racing a car, soapbox derby-style, down a city slope,” says Daniela Walters, president of Main Street Pontiac. “We turned it into a placemaking event for the community.”

During their brainstorming sessions, Walters met with friends and fellow Pontiac supporters Marijayne Renny and Joe Kalle to hammer out details. They bounced around ideas for different types of sponsorships, worked through logistics, and talked about having a “Best Derby Hat” contest to encourage attendees and supporters to dress the part.

They also selected a standard car kit to supply to each team to kick off the event. “Folks will need to be comfortable using tools,” says Kalle. “But the kit will be easier to put together than anything I have assembled from IKEA.”

To test ease of build, Walters corralled a group of law clerks, interns, and attorneys from Dobrusin Law in Pontiac, where she is a patent attorney, to build their selected kit. Ideally, engineer and design professionals from Pontiac businesses will sponsor and mentor teams to help the kids create, refine, and decorate their vehicles.

Several businesses and nonprofits have committed their support already, including Main Street Pontiac, Dobrusin Law, DASI Solutions, General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, LocalHop, LBI Limited, Alley Cat Café, the City of Pontiac, and McLaren Hospital. Event organizers are seeking additional sponsorship.

A goal of the event is to build scholarships for rising seniors who enter the race.

“We wanted to create a scholarship opportunity, hopefully up to three to five scholarship to any post secondary education, including trade school, two- or four-year college. It’s not based on winning the race, it’s based on an essay,” says Walters.

The event is free for kids to enter and participate, and is designed to be a fun, team-oriented event for students, mentors, and sponsors.

“Our goal is to promote STEAM careers, to spark an interest in building and designing, and to help kids learn how to communicate as a team and with mentors,” says Walters.

Find more information about the Phoenix Derby Races here and here.

You're invited to the MSU Tollgate Farm to Table Dinner

Michigan State University alumni and friends of MSU Tollgate Farm are invited to the Tollgate Farm to Table Dinner on Saturday, August 25 at Tollgate Farm in Novi. From fruits and vegetables to lamb and cornish hens, the Tollgate Farm to Table Dinner will feature locally-grown food from MSU Tollgate Farms or within a 25-mile radius. 

Enjoy an evening outdoors on the farm with scenic hills and countryside practically unknown elsewhere in present-day Oakland County.

The evening will feature:
  • Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a four course meal prepared by local chefs coordinated by MSU alumnus Jeff Rose, an accomplished chef with CAYA (Come As You Are) Smokehouse and Grill. Other chefs include, Alan Mehar (Compass Group Detroit), Jay Grundy (Red Dunn Kitchen), & Chris Johnson (Meeting House).
  • A menu highlighting food grown locally at either MSU Tollgate Farm or within a 25-mile radius.
  • A Wagon ride to the dinner location.
  • Taste the Local Difference verification as a Certified Local Food Event.
Tickets to the dinner are $150/person and proceeds will support MSU Tollgate Farm's educational programming. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan surpasses $1 billion in grants distributed

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has provided $1 billion in grants, primarily distributed throughout the seven counties of southeast Michigan, since it began in 1984.
 
“We are focused on supporting positive change in our region,” says the Community Foundation’s President, Mariam Noland. “The Community Foundation has provided over $1 billion to help charitable organizations meet important needs. At the same time, thanks to our generous donors, the Community Foundation has built assets of over $900 million to continue to strengthen the community into the future.” 
 
Since its inception, the Community Foundation has partnered with local nonprofits to support the arts, health and human services, education and leadership development, and has led an array of special projects like the GreenWays program and the New Economy Initiative.
 
Nearly $11 million in grants were approved and distributed in the second quarter of 2018. The awarded grants went to a diverse array of nonprofit organizations and programs primarily benefitting the seven-county region of southeast Michigan.
 
“The second quarter grants represent a range of incredibly diverse nonprofit organizations and provided services,” says Noland. “The impact of these grant will be felt throughout the region and beyond.”
                                                       
Among the grants awarded at the June annual meeting include:
  • Action for Healthy Kids - $25,000 for the implementation of evidence-based healthy eating and physical activity initiatives in St. Clair County Schools
  • American Heart Association - $50,000 to create cardiac ready communities in Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties through CPR community training initiatives
  • Association of Chinese Americans, Inc. - $54,500 for English classes, health workshops, and gardening programs to increase the health of the Asian American community
  • Charter Township of Harrison - $9,600 to create and install a public arts sculpture in Harrison Township’s Waterfront Park
  • Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance - $20,000 for social justice and advocacy training for the Cody Rouge Youth Council
  • CultureSource - $80,000 for an adaptive leadership program for cultural sector leaders
  • Detroit Crime Commission - $60,000 to provide data and intelligence analysis for the Detroit Police Department to dismantle human trafficking rings
  • Detroit PAL Inc. - $4,000 for maintenance and improvement of baseball diamonds at St. Hedwig Recreational Center
  • Fair Michigan Foundation, Inc.$15,000 for the Fair Michigan Justice Project, which investigates and prosecutes hate crimes targeted at members of the LGBTQ community
  • Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County - $25,700 to build the capacity of the Habitat University Program to serve more clients with financial education and coaching
  • Health Emergency Lifeline Programs - $24,000 to develop and implement a media, marketing, and public relations strategy for the Corktown Health Center
  • Jefferson East Inc$57,000 for the implementation of the Jefferson-Chalmers Targeted Redevelopment Area, a public financing method for community improvement projects
  • Jewish Ensemble Theatre - $25,000 for marketing to highlight JET’s 30th season, including main stage and student outreach productions
  • Judson Center - $50,000 for an independent living skills program for teenagers with autism
  • Living Arts - $100,000 over two years for Detroit Wolf Trap professional development residencies and workshops for early childhood educators and caregivers of young children
  • Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength - $25,000 for the expansion of youth organizing programs focused on juvenile justice reform
  • Michigan Education Excellence Foundation - $50,000 for the Detroit Promise Path Campus Coach Program
  • SME Education Foundation - $50,000 for a high school advanced manufacturing program and a STEM enrichment program for Pontiac High School
  • South Oakland Center - $60,000 to expand an online crowdfunding platform that supports individuals and families experiencing homelessness
  • Southfield, City of - $25,000 for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force youth leadership program
  • Southwest Solutions - $22,825 to more effectively serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck
  • United Community Housing Coalition - $100,000 for tax foreclosure prevention, counseling and support services for Detroit residents
  • University of Michigan - Dearborn - $50,000 to launch Halal Metropolis at the Center for Arab American Studies, an exhibition and community conversation series highlighting the Detroit Muslim community
  • Urban Justice Center - $50,000 for the Detroit Justice Center to pilot a community legal worker program
  • Wayne State University - $40,000 to expand the Success After Financial Exploitation program to provide financial safety training for family caregivers of seniors 
Included in the totals for the quarter are grants made by supporting organizations of the Community Foundation as well as grants recommended by donors who have established charitable funds with us.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation recognized with national award

Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s (OCPR) Recreation Assistance Partnership Program (RAPP) has been awarded the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials’ (NACPRO) 2018 Park and Recreation Program Award.

The national award was presented July 15 at NACPRO’s Summer Meeting in Nashville, Tenn. The Parks and Recreation Award is given to recognize a unique or exceptional program, activity or event, which provides an outstanding example for others to follow. Nominations are judged on uniqueness, effectiveness in achieving program goals and public response.

Since its inception in 1982, RAPP has provided recreation yearly to more than 1 million Oakland County residents who might not otherwise have had access to recreation.

“The RAPP program is important to our local communities and to Oakland County Parks and Recreation,” Brandy Boyd, Chief of Recreation Programs and Services, said. “With this program we have supplemented day camp programs, special events, senior programs and so much more. We have also partnered with local municipalities and non-profit organizations to create new and lasting special events. We are so fortunate that the OCP Commission not only supports this program but also keeps encouraging staff to provide more recreation experiences to its residents.”

Through the RAPP program, grants are awarded in the form of OCPR mobile recreation program activities which include outreach programs, nature education and bus transportation to cities, villages and townships; community parks and recreation departments; schools; downtown development authorities; non-profit organizations; and underserved populations.

A RAPP grant provides up to two outreach programs such as Get Outdoors! Cache, Get Outdoors! Fish adventures and inflatables, one nature education plus one bus trip.  One example was a trip to a Detroit Tigers baseball game for a group of children from Pontiac. The RAPP grant provided bus transportation for the 30-mile trip to the stadium in downtown Detroit, a city most had never been to and to an event they might not have had an opportunity to experience.

In 2017 a nature component was added to the grant programs. The requests for nature programs doubled from 20 to 40 this year.

The RAPP program ensures that recreational needs of the diverse citizen population throughout Oakland County are met.

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


New Braille books for the youth department at the Orion Township Public Library

The Orion Township Public Library, with assistance from Seedlings Books in Livonia, MI, recently received a generous $1,000 grant from the Village Club Foundation in Bloomfield Hills, MI to enhance and expand their Braille book collection in the youth department.

 

“We focused on adding books that included words and pictures along with braille, so they can be used by a wide variety of kids and families, helping kids with vision loss along with teaching sighted readers about braille,” said Ashley Lehman, youth services head. “We also added a few longer Juvenile chapter books, Like Palacio’s Wonder, and Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.”

 

The Village Club Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Village Club in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The foundation's purpose is to further educational, cultural and civic activities; to promote philanthropic projects; and to operate for the good of the community.

 

For more information about the Braille book collection 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.


Oakland County flexes its tech muscle

Oakland County, Michigan is among the most digitally-advanced counties in the United States for 14 years running, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. The 2018 Digital Counties Survey by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) has ranked the county among the best in the country that maximize services and improve transparency through the strategic use of technology.

“Oakland County’s IT Department, under the leadership of our CIO/Deputy Executive Phil Bertolini, continues to innovate and collaborate with other governments in the cloud,” Patterson said. “Oakland County has a global reputation for digital excellence because of their commitment to riding the leading-edge of technology.”

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.

“It’s gratifying that the Center for Digital Government recognizes the incredible value we provide to our customers by using technology to improve services and transparency,” Bertolini said. “The team in Oakland County’s IT Department is relentless at finding technology solutions that help us achieve our goals.”

The survey, conducted by CDG in partnership with NACo, identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services, encourage open data, collaboration and shared services, enhance cybersecurity and contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts.

“Innovative counties are utilizing technology and data to better inform and protect themselves and their citizens, to save taxpayer money and to provide a better citizen experience,” said Teri Takai, executive director, CDG. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for all the efforts they are making to improve the lives of their residents and others.”

“Effective technology has proven to be a key tool for efficiency in many facets of county government,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “We applaud this year’s Digital Counties Survey winners for showcasing the value of innovation and adaptation. Their embrace of cutting-edge approaches has benefited residents while ensuring good stewardship of taxpayer resources.”

For more information about the survey, click on https://bit.ly/2N82J7t.

Astronomy adventures in Oakland County

Excerpt: 

Summer is the perfect time for adventures and discovery! In Oakland County, the night sky presents a constant source of wonder and awe. There are many fun ways to delve a little deeper into the world of astronomy because the county is well equipped with observatories, planetariums, and astronomy clubs.

Find the best places in and around Oakland County to view the stars with our interactive star gazing map and grab a telescope to observe the worlds above us. Check out the cavernous craters of the Moon, the massive mountains nestled on Mars, or the rings on Saturn radiating light into the night sky. The possibilities for discovery are endless.

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Mark your calendar – Air Fair is coming

The annual Air Fair extravaganza is once again returning to Groveland Oaks County Park Saturday, Aug. 4. Make it a weekend of camping or come in for a day of fun.

Presented by Genisys Credit Union, a full day of activities is planned before the hot air balloons hit the sky. Starting at 10 a.m., there will be children’s activities, a magic show, hay wagon shuttle, inflatable bouncers, face painting, the Glider Club, a LEGO station and a Home Depot craft. The Howell Nature Center’s Live Birds of Prey program and Alexandria’s Nature Bus will be provided by the Spirit of Alexandria Foundation.

Sponsored by General RV Center – White Lake, hot air balloons will take to the skies from 6-7 p.m. The Cosmic Groove Variety Band will perform at 8 p.m. The fair concludes with a special night glow at 9 p.m.

Activities are included with a 2018 annual vehicle permit or daily park pass which is required for park entry. Permits and daily passes may be purchased at the park on the day of the event. Annual permits are also available at OaklandCountyParks.com.

For details on Air Fair, contact John Haney at 248-858-1486 or HaneyJ@oakgov.com.

Groveland Oaks County Park is located 14555 Dixie Highway near Holly.

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


Investigate 'unexplained phenomena' and solve the mystery at new escape room in Ferndale

The latest entertainment destination to open in Ferndale is The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms, a theatrical and Detroit-centric take on the escape room phenomenon. We asked Sherry Gershon, Fifth Wall's Chief Operations Officer, and co-owner, all about it.

How would you describe The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms to someone you just met?

A: The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms is a place in which people can play a game together that challenges their mind while having fun. There is a variety of puzzles that appeal to a myriad of different personality types, so there is something for everyone.

Escape Rooms have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. What makes yours unique?

A: The Fifth Wall Escape Room is a division of The Fifth Wall Society, which is an organization that investigates unexplained phenomena and strange occurrences. The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms present puzzles that have affiliations with said phenomena to solve the mysteries of the room. The Fifth Wall is also unique in that every escape room has an association with a Detroit area or Michigan story.

How did you get into the Escape Room business?

A: Seeing a need for fun and games, The Fifth Wall Society decided to turn some of their investigations into play for the community.

How big a role does creativity play in your business?

A: Creativity is the number one role in this business. We have to be creative in the narrative of the game, the design of the room and puzzles, and creative in how to execute the puzzles so they work and make sense the public. We are not shy to use a plethora of mediums in which to decorate and dazzle the eye. From wallpaper to stone, metals, and materials we are not allowed to mention, our entire space is stunning!

How do your business and the city of Ferndale complement one another?

A: Our business and Ferndale go hand in hand. We are both places in which people come to have fun and enjoy themselves. Ferndale is known to be diverse in community and rich in festivals. This winning combo attracts people who are not afraid of a challenge or something new--which is precisely what The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms embodies.

The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms is located at 1930 Hilton Rd., Ste. 100, in Ferndale.

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


Automotive company donates money and equipment to Detroit urban farming efforts

Fresh off a recent story of its innovative Mahindra Education Development Commission for the Arts program, the Auburn Hills-based automotive company Mahindra Automotive North America is once again in the news for its practices in community engagement.

The company has awarded $127,000 in grant funding and farm equipment to eight southeastern Michigan non-profits. Each non-profit is associated with urban farming programs in Detroit.

The investment comes as part of the company’s Mahindra Urban Agriculture Grant Program. Since its founding in 2015, the program has awarded 13 local non-profits with $425,000 in funding and farm equipment. Each gift was made to support sustainable farming and gardening in both the cities of Pontiac and Detroit.

"It’s an honor to be affiliated with each of our urban agriculture grant recipients," says Richard Haas, MANA’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

"Their services are truly making a difference, and we couldn’t be prouder of the impact the company’s support is having on increasing accessibility to fresh, nutritious produce at affordable prices to residents throughout the city of Detroit and in Pontiac."

A grant celebration and benefit concert was held Thursday, June 21, at the Lafayette Greens urban garden in downtown Detroit. Seminal Detroit garage rock band the Detroit Cobras played at the event.

Awarded non-profits include American Indian Health and Family Services, Boggs Education Center, Eastern Market Corporation, Full Circle Foundation, The Greening of Detroit, Keep Growing Detroit, Micah 6 Community, and Pingree Farms.

The grant program is part of Mahindra’s RISE mission, which aims to help the communities where it operates.

According to Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, "There are few better examples of our RISE philosophy in action than the work Mahindra Automotive North America is doing in Detroit."

Click here to read more about Mahindra’s community engagement efforts.

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


Ferndale hopes to improve downtown parking experience with new app

A fresh vegan and vegetarian dinner at GreenSpace Café. A round of drinks at the recently re-modeled Dino’s Lounge. A quick match of axe-throwing at Detroit Axe. Downtown Ferndale has a lot going for it these days.

And with all of the shopping, nightlife, and entertainment options that the city has to offer, that means that Ferndale has become a magnet destination, drawing in people from all over the region. With so many visitors comes the question of parking.

There are nearly 1,300 parking spaces available in downtown Ferndale, each available at 50 cents an hour. City officials say that paying for parking has gotten a whole lot easier, thanks to the roll-out of the city’s newest parking app, ParkFerndale.

Powered by technology company Passport, ParkFerndale replaces the previous parking app. It is free to download through both Apple and Android stores.

The improvements brought by the new app are numerous, according to the city. These include a customized design for Ferndale, the elimination of zone numbers, zero convenience fees when extending a session via phone, and parking validation codes from local businesses. Drivers don’t have to wait for a future parking session to use a validation code, which is also new.

"Ferndale is an innovative city with forward-thinking residents, business owners, customers and visitors," said Ferndale Assistant City Manager Joseph Gacioch. "The ParkFerndale app will provide a customized experience to help users better navigate their time spent in our city."

Also new is the ParkFerndale.com website, complete with parking news and parking permit information. Residential and business parking permits can now be purchased online.

The developer of the app, the Charlotte, North Carolina technology company Passport, is the same company used for parking in the city of Detroit.

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


Jax Kar Wash: Shining your machine for 65 years

Excerpt: 

A lot of crazy things can happen in a car wash. Just ask Bruce Milen or his son Jason Milen, second- and third-generation owners of Jax Kar Wash. 

While they haven’t witnessed anything like the classic “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode — in which Larry David and Cheryl Hines get stuck in the malfunctioning car wash after she has just downed a dose of colon cleanser — the Milens have their own hilarious stories to laugh about.

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Farmington Hills fire department rated one of best in state

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The Farmington Hills Fire Department recently earned a Class 2 rating from the Insurance Services Office, joining just six other fire departments in the state of Michigan to receive this high ranking. This score also positions Farmington Hills among the top 2 percent of all fire departments nationwide.

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Canterbury Village announces weekend pop-up market

Olde World Canterbury Village, located in Lake Orion, Mich., recently announced plans to open a renovated Weekend Pop-Up Market this fall featuring local Michigan vendors and artisans. Opening in September, Canterbury Village Weekend Pop-Up Market will be a free, indoor weekend shopping experience similar to Pop-Up Markets across the country that have grown in popularity.

“It was time to do something new here at Canterbury Village,” said Keith Aldridge. “We have a beautiful setting and facilities, and we want to offer that to local artisans and vendors looking for a space to sell their retail and products. It’s a great partnership with the community and helps us give back to local entrepreneurs.”

The landmark location, once home to the historic Scripps mansion, currently houses Yates Cider Mill at Canterbury Village, as well as Aldridge’s Always Christmas and other boutique shops. The Village also hosts events attended by hundreds throughout the year.

Canterbury Village Weekend Pop-Up Market is currently seeking artisans, vendors, specialty food items and boutiques to be featured in market areas. Vendors will have the option of leasing space for one week or for the entire season. Long term leasing will also have access to storage space.

“The Weekend Pop-Up Market will be perfect for those looking to sell their items for the holiday season,” said Aldridge. “With Yates at Canterbury Village located here, it also makes a great fall family day. We are truly excited about seeing more of the community visit Canterbury Village once again.”

Canterbury Village is located at 2359 Joslyn Court in Lake Orion. For more information, or to become a vendor, call 248-390-3974 or email ka@canterburyvillage.com. For more information on upcoming events at Canterbury Village, visit www.canterburyvillage.com.

P3M chosen for pioneering connected-vehicle infrastructure project

Oakland County, Mich. and the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) have selected P3 Mobility (P3M) of Toronto through an open bid to launch a first-of-its-kind pilot program to test connected vehicle infrastructure and determine whether an innovative business model to monetize that infrastructure is viable. The business model will involve a public-private partnership. They made the announcement in conjunction with the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS America) of America annual meeting in Detroit.

“The pilot program has the potential to revolutionize transportation not just in Oakland County but for the world by seeing whether we can monetize connected mobility infrastructure,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “On an engineering and business level, this is our moon shot.”

In Patterson’s 2014 State of the County speech, he announced the formation of the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force whose job is to tap industry experts to develop a business model for implementing connected vehicle infrastructure throughout the county. P3M will help the task force take the next step on developing and testing a leading-edge business model.

“This is no small task. After all, Oakland County has 5,600 miles of roads and 1,600 intersections with traffic signals,” RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz said. “We in Oakland County, however, are visionary. We don’t view the magnitude of the task as an obstacle but a challenge to which to put our best and brightest minds to solve.”

P3 Mobility will install wireless smart intersection technology at 10-12 intersections and research the user experience to better understand the optimal pricing of various road services and their projected income potential. The exact location, dates of installation, and cost of the project will be determined.

“We are delighted to have been selected for this groundbreaking project in Oakland County,” P3M CEO Erin Milligan. “During the pilot, we will engage Oakland County residents at every level which will include conducting extensive market research to learn what they think about and want for future connected mobility in their community.”

RCOC is no stranger to connected-vehicle technology – including connected-vehicle infrastructure - and has a global reputation for its leadership in the field. It was the first local agency in the United States to introduce a connected-vehicle project in 1992 when it launched its FAST-TRAC adaptive traffic signal system. Since then, it has been a key player in numerous connected-vehicle technology tests and deployments, partnering with the Federal Highway Administration, Michigan Department of Transportation, all the major auto manufacturers, many tier 1 auto suppliers and many of the leading connected-vehicle companies from around the world.

“The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute published an article a few weeks ago that says implementing connected vehicle technology and infrastructure could prevent up to 8.1 million car crashes and 44,000 deaths,” Patterson said. “Taking another step closer to countywide connected vehicle infrastructure is another step closer to preventing automobile deaths and injuries.”

For more information go to OakGov.com/AdvantageOakland, select “Programs” and click on “Connected Vehicle”; RCOCWeb.org, and P3Mobility.com.

About P3 Mobility

P3M provides a software platform which enables secure and authenticated subscriptions to various smart road services. The "P3" in their name stands for public-private-partnership as they believe that intelligent road infrastructure can be built and funded through such a model. P3M has identified and formed partnerships with leading companies in the Connected Autonomous Vehicle, market research and consulting sectors to bring Oakland County a consortium of world-class expertise. The list of International and North American partner companies which provided support in their RFP response included: Marsh, WSP, Integral Blue, E-Scrypt, Miovision, Savari, Paxgrid CDN, IMG Rebel, Head Research, Giants and Gentlemen, Mobile Comply, Future Help Design, Veterans Life USA, Axcess Internet, Lease Web, Invest Stratford, and Stonebridge. P3M aims to engage the diverse expertise of its partner firms to demonstrate a level of success in the pilot phase which will pave the way for a full-scale roll-out in Oakland County, the State of Michigan and throughout North America.

Marquette Castings in Royal Oak starts manufacturing in Michigan

Excerpt

Royal Oak’s Marquette Castings has launched a new line of cast iron and carbon steel skillets that are designed and produced in Michigan. Products were previously designed in Royal Oak and manufactured in China.

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Kresge announces 2018 Artist Fellows

Excerpt: 

Kresge Arts in Detroit announced its 2018 class of Artist Fellows, divided this year between the "live arts" — dance, theater and playwriting — and film and music.

Sixteen artists and two collectives in the tri-county area will get $25,000 apiece, no strings attached.

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Auburn Hills' Dodge announces fourth annual legal drag racing at M1 Concourse in Pontiac

Excerpt

Auburn Hills’ FCA Wednesday announced its fourth annual Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, a day of legal drag racing and thrill rides scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 11 at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac. Roadkill, a Motor Trend Group brand, is producing the event. 

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"Shepard Fairey" and "Punk Graphics" at Cranbrook

Excerpt

Call Shepard Fairey the bait. 

Cranbrook Art Museum Director Andrew Blauvelt wanted to mount a large show on punk's influence on graphic art from the 1970s and 1980s, but worried no youngsters would show up. 

That's where "Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989-1999" comes in, a small show that takes up one of the galleries at the end of the sprawling, visually dazzling "Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986."

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UHY Michigan celebrates 50 years; donates 50k

This year marks the 50th anniversary for UHY LLP Michigan (formerly Follmer Rudziewicz). To commemorate this special milestone, the firm has exciting plans, including pledging $50,000 in the form of $1,000 donations to 50 different local charities who need it most. They’re also sponsoring a temporary exhibit filled with 20th century accounting artifacts at the Detroit Historical Society in the Streets of Old Detroit.

What started in 1968 as a two-man operation in Southfield has evolved into one of southeast Michigan’s largest accounting firms. Founder Gordon Follmer, 81, is still largely a part of the business as he was 50 years ago. Client retention is another reason the firm has enjoyed success, and there are several clients who have been with them since day one. In the year 2000, a multi-firm merger formed UHY in the US and today has 18 locations across the country.

“Fifty years in business is a huge accomplishment in itself”, said Tom Callan, CEO of UHY’s Michigan practice. “Being able to enjoy the year-over-year growth and employee involvement and excitement makes this anniversary that much more special”. Callan has been with the firm since 1992, starting off his career as a junior accountant. The average tenure for UHY’s partner/principal group is 20 plus years, of which over half of them came fresh out of college and have stayed their entire career.

To kick off the half-century celebration, the firm held an extravagant birthday party at the Crofoot in Pontiac, buried a time capsule, passed out employee gifts and grand prize giveaways that will continue through the end of the year, displayed several oversized banners in and around their buildings, and sealed every piece of busy season mail with a special anniversary gold logo – to name a few.

In additional to charitable contributions, future plans include more employee and client surprises, billboards and other advertisements, and maybe even a community event collaboration with a very familiar city also celebrating its 50th birthday.


Brewery celebrates first year with Feelgood Tap and ethical clothing launch

HomeGrown Brewing Company is celebrating its first year in business by joining the Michigan Feelgood Tap program and selling T-shirts made from water bottles. Since opening in April last year, the Oxford brewery has been focusing on being socially and environmentally responsible and owners John and Marie Powers said this next step is a way of “putting their money where their mouth is”.

The Feelgood Tap program supports Michigan-based charities, and means that $1 of a selected beer at HomeGrown will go to a nominated cause, starting with their Mexican Lager release this Thursday. The charity program was launched in 2016 by Stephen Roginson of Batch Brewing Company (in Corktown Detroit) and 33 Michigan breweries have joined the program already.

“There are enormous opportunities for breweries to give back to the communities they are in, and that they depend on,” says John Powers.

"We're delighted to add yet another member to the Feelgood Tap family in Oakland County, and our first in Oxford," said Feelgood Tap founder Stephen Roginson. "We're looking forward to doing exciting work with HomeGrown and, along with their patrons, creating a lot of change for important causes both local to Oxford and across the state."

As part of its ethical drive, HomeGrown has also launched a new clothing range, with t-shirts made by Vapor Apparel using recycled materials. The yarn used in the clothing, named Eco Repreve, is made from 100 percent recycled fibers, even from soda pop and water bottles.

“It’s incredible that we can take items like water bottles and recycle them into clothing – and they actually feel really comfortable,” says Marie Powers. “When we heard about it we thought ‘we have to be a part of this’.”

The brewery also looks to its own backyard when sourcing ingredients. HomeGrown sources vegetables from Oxford’s Simple Gift Farms, meats from Oxford’s East River Organic Farm, coffee from Lake Orion’s White Pine Coffee, honey from Oxford’s Golden Apiaries, malt from Motor City Malt House, hops from MI Hops in Traverse City, yeast strains from Craft Cultures in the Upper Peninsula, and wine from Michigan’s Black Star Farms. Completing the cycle, spent grain from the brewing process goes to local farms to be used as feed and the brewery donates surplus food to local food bank.

Head Brewer Joe Powers said the benefits of getting ingredients from local producers are obvious. “To be able to source everything from hops to yeast in our own state is incredible, and makes for a top-quality beer.”


Oakland County Fair returns to Springfield Oaks County Park July 6-15

Pack up the family and head for the Oakland County Fair at Springfield Oaks County Park in Davisburg July 6-15.

This year, the fair will feature “Walking with Giants,” a dinosaur and dragon encounter, Presented by Prehistoric Adventures, the creatures are 8′ tall and 16′ long and are anatomically correct, with incredibly realistic eye blinking, tail swooshing and a mighty roaring sound.

The fair will also feature Ron Diamond's Comedy Hypnotism Show, “Magic of the Mind”; Barnyard Express, a mobile educational farm center; and Knights of Valour jousting along with other main arena events, contests, fair food, Big Rock Amusements carnival, fireworks, a free concert and livestock.

Fair parking, which includes admission, is $12/vehicle and $6/motorcycle. Presenting sponsor, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, offers free parking Friday, July 6 and Thursday, July 12 with a 2018 Oakland County Parks and Recreation Vehicle Permit. Fireworks will begin after dusk following the Friday night concert.

“The Oakland County Fair celebrates Oakland County’s rural agricultural heritage and gives kids the chance to see farm animals up close,” Oakland County Parks Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “There’s some new excitement at the fair this year with walking dinosaurs and jousting.”

Main arena events in the evening include an off-road demolition derby, Figure Eight Races, Superkicker Rodeo, Night of Destruction and Monster Trucks. Tickets for these events may be purchased at OakFair.org.

Springfield Oaks County Park is located at 12451 Andersonville Road in Davisburg.

For a complete fair schedule, visit OakFair.org.

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


Learn about trails and parks during Trail Blazer Walking Series

Put on your walking shoes and learn about Oakland County Parks by hiking through different parks on summer evenings as part of the Trail Blazer Walking Series.

Beginning July 10, the program will feature one-mile hikes led by Oakland County Parks and Recreation staff who will discuss unique park facts throughout the walk. Held each Tuesday for six weeks beginning at 7 p.m., the walk schedule includes:

  • July 10  Addison Oaks   
    1480 West Romeo Road, Leonard
    Learn about invasive species and other ecological features in the area
     
  • July 17  Waterford Oaks  
    1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford
    Learn about bluebirds and other animals in the area
     
  • July 24  Catalpa Oaks
    27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
    Discover historical tidbits about the Catalpa Oaks community
     
  • July 31  Lyon Oaks 
    52251 Pontiac Trail, Wixom
    Learn about invasive species and other ecological features in the area
     
  • Aug. 7  Independence Oaks 
    9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
    Join a naturalist on a hike around Crooked Lake
     
  • Aug. 14  Red Oaks Nature Center
    30300 Hales St., Madison Heights                       
    Explore the Sensory Trail


Programs are free. Park entry fee is required at Addison Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Independence Oaks and Red Oaks County Parks. Walkers are urged to bring bug spray and a refillable water bottle. Free pedometers will be given while supplies last. For details, contact Sandy Dorey at 248-424-7077.

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


Oakland County still among the top in population growth amidst state's 83 counties

Excerpt: 

Oakland County’s Lyon Township outpaced all but four Michigan communities in population growth since 2010.

According to 2017 U.S. Census Bureau’s data, the township, which was among the state’s top five fastest-growing communities from 2010 through 2017, increased its population by 36.6 percent since 2010, or 5,310 residents. The southwest county community grew 804 residents between 2016 and 2017, the latest data available from the Census.

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Royal Oak brings quirky charm to streets with 9 old pianos

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It can happen to the nicest of old pianos — to be suddenly disowned, then consigned to oblivion.

But how lucky for nine discarded uprights, getting a new lease on life in downtown Royal Oak.

Granted, they’re homeless — they’ll spend the summer outdoors. But each will have just enough overhead protection to stay dry, in reasonable tune and ready for street play, night or day, said Jason Gittinger, a former rock 'n' roll drummer who chairs the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts.

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They're big, they're bold, they're baaaack

More than 40 lifelike animatronic dinosaurs that snarl and move – and some that spit – have taken up residence at the Detroit Zoo to provide a mega-dose of Vitamin Z for visitors of all ages.  Dinosauria, presented by Children’s Hospital of Michigan, runs May 25 through Sept. 3, 2018.  The blockbuster summer attraction – the largest outdoor dinosaur exhibit of its kind in the country – was last featured at the Zoo in 2015.

Visitors enter a veritable “zoorassic world” as they travel back in time along a lush, winding, 3-acre DinoTrail recreating prehistoric life.  The enormous creatures lurk at every turn, including adult dinosaurs, youngsters and even a nest with eggs and hatchlings.  The robotic dinosaurs are built on steel frames and covered with foam rubber skin painted in intricate detail.  High-tech electronics and air pistons power the dinosaurs’ menacing claws and gnashing teeth while a sound system gives them their “voices”.

Dinosauria is open daily through Labor Day, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 8 p.m. Wednesdays in July and August).  Tickets are $6 with Detroit Zoo admission for visitors ages 2 and older and are available at main admissions, the Dinosauria ticket booth or online.

A dino dig site and fossil-sifting station give budding paleontologists the opportunity to search for clues about the lives of dinosaurs.  Kids can also build a dinosaur from magnetic parts.  Knowledgeable volunteer DinoGuides are stationed along the DinoTrail where guests can examine dinosaur skulls, teeth, claws and other biofacts.

The DinoStore at the DinoTrail’s exit is stocked with dinosaur-themed T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, games, gifts and other tempting remembrances to help visitors take the Dinosauria experience home.

The prehistoric adventure continues at the Wild Adventure Zone in the Ford Education Center.  Featured at the 4-D Theater is “Sea Monsters 4-D: A Prehistoric Adventure”, a 15-minute movie that takes audiences back 82 million years for a look at the sea’s most dangerous predators.  “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The Ride” at the Simulator Ride finds the sub-zero heroes from the worldwide blockbuster venturing into a mysterious underground world after Sid the sloth stumbles across three abandoned dinosaur eggs and decides to raise the hatchlings as his own. Tickets for both experiences are $5 with Detroit Zoo admission and are available at main admissions, the Wild Adventure Zone ticket booth or online.

OU English professor wins national writing contest

Oakland University English Professor Kathleen Pfeiffer, of Rochester Hills, has been named a winner of the 2018 Michigan Writers Cooperative Press (MWCP) Chapbook Competition for her newly published memoir, Ink. The annual competition features submissions from writers throughout the U.S., with winners receiving publication and marketing support. 

Composed of three essays, Ink is an artfully woven tapestry of emotions and events, drawing on personal recollections and historical research. In it, Pfeiffer chronicles memories of her brother Gerry, who died at age 11 after a seven-month battle with brain cancer.

Pfeiffer, who was 13 at the time, looks back at her younger self as she grappled with issues of grief, loss, faith and hope.

“I wrote this as a way to make meaning out of loss, and to take an experience of grief and turn it into an opportunity for growth and empowerment,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s also a story about particular times and particular places – what it’s like growing up in the late ‘70s and going to college in the mid-‘80s, and also what it’s like trying to forge a career as a writer and professor during the time I’m in now.”

In recent years, Pfeiffer has devoted much of her time to studying memoirs and teaching classes focused on the genre. She used her knowledge and experience to craft Ink, which she describes as her first significant work of creative nonfiction.

As part of her research for the book, Pfeiffer revisited pop culture of the time, reviewed yearbooks, cards and notes, and consulted with friends and family. She also searched archives of newspapers from the Connecticut town where she grew up.

“I wanted to check my memories and reconstruct what day-to-day life was like back then,” Pfeiffer explained. 

Chapbook competition judge Melissa Grunow called Ink a “refreshing and hopeful remastering of the grief memoir (that) will resonate with anyone seeking explanations for the unexplainable and closure for the heartache that never stops hurting.”

Pfeiffer sees the book as an example of how people can use their past to bring new, more constructive, meaning to their present.

“You don’t have to be stuck in a story that no longer suits you,” she said. “It’s possible to construct a different story about your past as you go through life and to revise the meaning of your personal history in order to move forward.”

Pfeiffer will be honored on June 10, at a public reading and reception at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Her book is available at Amazon.com.

Ink in performance

Oakland University Dance Professors Ali Woerner and Thayer Jonutz created a dance version of Ink, with their dance company, Take Root. To view a performance, click here. 

Family Grand Adventures planned in Oakland County Parks

Oakland County Parks and Recreation has planned “Grand Adventures” for grandparents, parents and children this summer.

“Grand Adventures is a great intergenerational program for families to get outside and explore their favorite Oakland County Parks and discover new ones,” Brandy Boyd, Chief of Recreation Programs and Services, said.The program is designed for quality family time exploring parks, finding new adventures and spending the summer making amazing memories.”

The Grand Adventures guide book will be available at Oakland County Parks and area senior centers.  The booklet includes information on activities and events throughout the parks system. It enables users to track their “grand” times, checking off parks as they visit and sharing memories in a special section. Various parks and events will provide stickers and Selfie Stations as well as a stamp in the booklet to commemorate their times together.

Grand Adventures participants are encouraged to visit as many Oakland County Parks as possible throughout summer. The program will culminate in a special play day on Grandparents Day, Sunday, Sept. 9, from 1-4 p.m. at Waterford Oaks County Park. Checked-off activities booklet holders will receive a special coin for a prize.

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


Snap into summer with the annual Pics of the Parks Photo Contest

Oakland County Parks and Recreation invites park visitors to capture and share their park experiences in the annual Pics of the Parks Photo Contest.

Submitted photos must fall into a PARK’D category: Parks, Artistic, Recreation, Kids, Dogs. All photos must be taken within the 13 Oakland County Parks with a limit of two entries per category. Entries must be submitted via email per the official rules.  An entry form is required. The entry form and official rules can be found on OaklandCountyParks.com/Get Involved. Photos can be taken in any season but can only be submitted between May 28 and Sept. 3

Photos will be judged by members of the Oakland Camera Club with the winners announced by Oct. 13. A Best of Show will be awarded, along with first, second, third and honorable mention winners in each PARKS category. The Best of Show photo will appear on the cover of the 2018 Oakland County Parks Annual Report

The top six entries (Best of Show and first place in each category) receive a mounted print of their entry. The print will be displayed at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park in Clarkston from mid-October through mid-December. All entries and winners will be displayed on OaklandCountyParks.SmugMug.com

“Pics of the Parks Photo Contest is a celebration of the faces and places that make up Oakland County Parks,” Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “This contest gives us the opportunity to see our parks through the eyes of our visitors and provides guests a way to visually share their experiences. Last year, 46 photographers entered 146 images in the contest. The photos get better and better each year.”

Information about the 13 Oakland County Parks locations, special events and recreation opportunities are available at OaklandCountyParks.com. Normal park entry and admission fees to access the parks are required.

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


Foreign investment is focus as economic development teams head to Washington D.C. and Germany

Oakland County economic developers are hoping to give the county’s sizable international business presence a boost as they head to the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C. and Germany in search of new businesses.


Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development, leads a team that is attending SelectUSA, a three-day event that promotes foreign direct investment in the United States beginning Tuesday. While Spanos and her team are in Washington, business development representative Charlene Page will be in Germany at Global Connect Stuttgart 2018 and later in Frankfort, selling auto suppliers and others on the benefits of landing in Oakland County.


“Oakland County has made a name for itself globally as a preferred business destination,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We’ve had direct foreign investment of more than $56 million from our relationship with SelectUSA and we’re working on 25 more leads. These are companies headquartered outside the United States and so far, this year, we’ve attracted nearly $47 million of foreign investment from eight countries, bringing more than 900 jobs. We truly have an international business community.”


Oakland County continues to be among the top destinations in the United States for foreign direct investment. More than $1.2 billion of foreign direct investment has been made in the county in the past four years, including $305 million in 2017. The hope is that more international firms will soon be coming, joining the 1,100 international firms from 39 countries having business locations here.


Spanos has 16 meetings scheduled with automakers; aerospace, medical device and robotics companies who have expressed an interest in meeting with Oakland County. The companies are from France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan and Switzerland.


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, including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross as well as other cabinet members.

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. The Summit is described as the highest profile event in the country dedicated to promoting foreign investment in the U.S.


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.


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.


Oakland County has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. About two foreign firms a month – on average – opened new business locations or expanded existing facilities in Oakland County in 2017.


On June 27, Patterson will be hosting a delegation from the Torino (Italy) Chamber of Commerce.


Volunteers, winter event win state honors

Service to others is the theme three winners of the 2018 mParks (Michigan Recreation and Park Association) Community Service Awards have in common. Oakland County Parks and Recreation nominated the Fire & Ice Festival, The Daisy Project- MI and volunteer Steve Stolaruk for the awards that recognize events, programs, groups and individuals that provide recreation and service to others.

Fire & Ice Festival

The Oakland County-Executive Office, Rochester Downtown Development Authority, Rochester and Oakland County Parks and Recreation collaborate annually to host the Fire & Ice Festival, a winter celebration in downtown Rochester. In its 10th year, the three-day community affair was Friday, Jan. 19 – Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. From dog sled rides and ice skating, to zip lining and fireworks, Fire & Ice has it all.

Even with warmer than usual temperatures, the 2018 Fire & Ice Festival drew approximately 55,000 visitors. The tube sledding hill and cross-country ski area were replaced with a zip line and climbing tower. Event staples include the Big, Bright Light Show, live music and an ice sculpture carving competition.

The Daisy Project-MI

Adaptive recreation, which provides opportunities for individuals of all ages with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities, is a priority for OCPR. The system’s 13 parks offer a variety of adaptive equipment designed to make it easier for everyone to maximize enjoyment of the outdoors and have fun leisure experiences with friends and family. However, the sandy beach area at Groveland Oaks County Park often was a challenge for individuals with mobility issues to navigate. Funding from the Daisy Project – MI made it feasible to install a Mobi-Mat.

A Mobi-Mat is a non-slip portable roll-out pathway with a patented 3-D design surface that allows individuals of all abilities, including wheelchair users, to access the water.

The Daisy Project-MI is a non-profit organization whose mission is to obtain medical equipment and other recreation items for special needs families that will help to enhance their quality of life.

Steve Stolaruk

Since the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission, Michigan Department of Nature Resources and Groveland Township started talking about creating an off-road vehicle park, Steve Stolaruk had been the biggest supporter of the idea.

Stolaruk, of Rochester Hills, sold his sand and gravel mine in Holly to the MDNR to provide about half of the land necessary for the future off-road vehicle park. He was a special guest at the first of the two Dixie Gully Run test events and was inspired by what he saw. From 2014-2017, Steve had one or two of his employees working six days a week sculpting every inch of the 113-acre property in an effort to get the park developed as soon as possible. His volunteer work equaled thousands of dollars in free material and time. He built hills, dug ponds and mud pits, cut hill climbs, leveled prospective parking areas, and roughed-in more than five miles of winding ORV trails. He also brought in refrigerator-sized boulders and concrete slabs (and more than 150 mammoth tree trunks) to the site.

Until his death on Feb. 12, 2018 at the age of 91, his excitement never waned.

The Community Service Award winners were recognized April 18 in Lansing.

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


Two transformative park projects take shape in Rochester Hills

Two parks are under development in Rochester Hills, one humble in size and one more grand in scope and scale.

A gravel pull-out near the intersection of Avon and Livernois roads is being transformed into a fully-developed park. Work on the Eagles Landing trailhead has begun, with picnic tables, trash cans, and a well-defined parking lot recently put in place. With access to the Clinton River, the shore functions as a kayak launch, as well.

Ken Elwert, director of Parks and Natural Resources for Rochester Hills, says that the improvements are just beginning and that a fully-developed park, along with proper kayak launch, are scheduled to be completed in the next three to five years.

Southwest of Eagles Landing is Innovation Hills, a 110-acre eco-park that is being developed in six phases. The $7 million project, a combination of public and private funding sources, will take several years to be completed, though some features could debut by the end of summer.

Both parks are currently accessible.

"I think with Rochester Hills in general, the citizens, politicians, and businesses, they’re all here for the livability of the city," Elwert says. "These parks are something that the residents and businesses wanted, and the government responded."

One intriguing aspect of the Innovation Hills project will be the development of a playground that is friendly to those with autism. While the playground should appeal to all, this one will avoid using bright colors and will incorporate calming "cocoon-like" spaces, both features designed with autistic children in mind.

Other amenities will include a 2,000-foot boardwalk, four miles of walkable trails, two new ponds, a community building, and much more. Elwert is hopeful that the first mile-long trail loop and boardwalk will open by late summer or early fall, and perhaps some water features by late fall.

Construction of the playground will begin in 2019.

"Innovation Hills will complement the other larger parks, not duplicate them," says Elwert. "It’s going to be a more Up North experience."

Innovation Hills is located at 2800 W. Hamlin Rd. in Rochester Hills.

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


Royal Oak Golf Center: A swingin' time for everyone

Excerpt

It’s a perfect 76 degrees on a stellar blue-sky afternoon at the Royal Oak Golf Center. The air is sweet with the smell of new-mown grass and the constant sound of range balls being whacked, and pals Matt Song of Franklin and John Calso of West Bloomfield are geeked about the new Power Tee system they’re trying out.

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Holly business commissions muralist to create vibrant scene on Battle Alley building

Excerpt: 

Kevin Burdick of Fenton finished the mural on the back of the RHL Group Investments building in Battle Alley last week, and people are still walking up to take photos of the mural, and Burdick himself, in front of the colorful scene.

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Farmington High School unveils performing arts center

Excerpt

You couldn't blame Lily Talevski for not immediately recognizing her surroundings Wednesday when she walked into the Performing Arts Center at Farmington High School.

After all, it looks dramatically different than it did the last time Talevski, a 2014 Farmington graduate, performed on its stage.

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Handmade: Designer has finger on pulse of knitwear

Excerpt

She’s fashionably modern, on the cutting edge for designing up-to-date knitwear, and willing to share her knitting skills with others by instructing classes at local yarn shops and elsewhere.

Meet Cassondra Rizzardi, 30, of Ferndale, who learned to knit and crochet as a young child from her grandmother.

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Birmingham Chocolate bars meet Westborn potato chips in product collaboration

Excerpt: 

Westborn Market customers can satisfy their Birmingham Chocolate cravings through a new product line called Eat Good Chocolate.

The two businesses have teamed to create a line of chocolate bars in seven different flavors that are sold at Westborn Market under its private label partnership program. 

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Treasure: Henry Ford explores Eames designs

Excerpt

Some of my favorite designs in “The World of Charles and Ray Eames,” which recently opened at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (thehenryford.org) in Dearborn, are also some of the smallest. One was a charming child’s plywood elephant that dated to 1945; the other was a deck of cards from 1952.

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Birdie's Something Chocolate makes a ganache with panache

Excerpt: 

A treasured recipe that starred at family gatherings for years has turned into a second career for Kathleen “Birdie” Sheridan. It’s for a rich chocolate ganache that her chef son, Andy Sheridan, has developed into a surprisingly versatile treat. In fact, Birdie’s Something Chocolate became a full-time job for the freelance writer and food stylist from Troy, who had been writing articles for local and national publications for 15 years before immersing herself in chocolate.

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The best spots to see flowers bloom in Metro Detroit

Spring took it's time getting here this year, but now that it has finally arrived we have found the best places to get your flower fix. From quaint formal gardens to fields of color, you don’t have to look far (or spend a fortune) to see some spectacular yard work.

Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle
10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday
900 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207
Free admission

The oldest continually-running conservatory in the United States, the Belle Isle conservatory officially opening in 1904, and got its (latest) name from a Detroiter who donated her 600-plant orchid collection to the city in the 1950s

Divided into five "houses," including a lush sunken Fernery and an elegant Lily pond, the conservatory still boasts one of the biggest orchid collections in the country. Check out the Show House for seasonal displays (currently a medley of Lilies, Hydrangeas, and Hellebores), and take a wander around the rest of Belle Isle for some great Spring vistas (like daffodil-drenched look-out points).

Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
8 a.m. - 8 p.m., March to December
22314 Northline Road, Taylor, MI 48180
Free admission

Because it's an open-air Victorian-style conservatory (originally built for a flower show in 1998), the late start to Spring has delayed it's blooms a bit. From late June onward though, we can expect a riot of color from both the plants and the incorporated arts program the garden hosts, along with music shows as well. 

Birds and Blooms is the theme for the garden this year, with a lean towards educating the public about our winged friends and the flowers they like.

Meadow Brook Hall
10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Memorial Day onwards
350 Estate Drive, Rochester, MI 48309-4401
Free admission

The historic Dodge family's garden looks like something lifted straight from the pages of "The Secret Garden" (don't pretend you didn't read it). The formal English-style grounds have colorful rock walls, trimmed hedges, and ivy-lined doorways, making for a rather enchanting spring/summer experience. These gardens are known for their Virginia Bluebells in the surrounding wooded areas, and later in the year the rose garden is a thorny paradise too, providing a treat for the senses. 

Cranbrook House and Gardens 
9 a.m. - 5 p.m., best from Memorial Day to October
380 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303-0801
Free admission

The season gets started here with Daffodil Hill in bloom (4,000 bulbs were planted in the last two years) and then the picturesque Reflecting Pool hits its peak with Peonies. The Sunken Garden is a highlight, with beds along field-stone walls planted with a mixture of perennials and annuals, featuring pink, red, and white begonias this year. The Japanese Garden here is unique as well, with purple Liriope and Tree Peonies, and the Native Plant Rescue program is something to check out too. 

Flower Lane at The Ford House
9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday
1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236
$5 admission (free for children under 5) 

If you're willing to travel a little further afield (pun intended), the Flower Lane at Ford House is an amazing flower-viewing experience. 

Like most gardens, this will get a late start this year, but Daffodils, Virginia bluebells, and Tulips are the first to emerge. Last year, landscapers planted 6,000 Tulip bulbs, so you can expect to be tiptoeing through them when you visit. Carpets of white, yellow, and blue perennials brighten a stroll through the landscape designed by famous Danish-American architect Jens Jensen. Delphiniums, Lupines, Veronica, Shasta daisies and Daylilies also pave the way through the lane, while the grounds also have a Tribute Garden, Rose Garden, and a Butterfly House.
 
The Peony Garden at Nichols Arboretum
Sunrise to sunset
1610 Washington Hts, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Free admission

For all things pretty, head to this 100-year old garden which has the largest collection of Heirloom Peonies in North America. 

Tree Peonies are the first to bloom here, marking the start of Spring with each flower lasting only a day or two. Then the Herbacious Peonies should stake a claim at the beginning of June, and from then on it's full bloom season with up to 10,000 flowers showing off their petals. Those in the know recommend picking your visiting times, apparently flower color and fragrance are best in the mornings and late afternoon, and the season can wrap up quickly so get a bloom update (from mid-May onwards) before you go.

Can't miss flower events

The gardens we've mentioned have clubs, lectures, workshops, and flower sales, but Flower Day at Eastern Market on May 20th will also brighten your day. And if you’re a bit of green-thumb, another tour in downtown Detroit worth a mention is the Historic Indian Village Home and Gardens tour in June. 

Goodwill Industries expands reach in Oakland County managing Michigan Works! office in Pontiac

The Oakland County Workforce Development Board today approved the selection of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit as the new service provider for the Oakland County Michigan Works! center in Pontiac.

The announcement gives Goodwill Industries its third Michigan Works! service center in the county. It also manages locations in Highland Township and Novi.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with Goodwill Industries,” said Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development, which oversees workforce development. “Oakland County Michigan Works! remains fully committed to the citizens of Pontiac and the surrounding communities. We expect a smooth transition and this move will significantly enhance the breadth and quality of services offered to job seekers and businesses in the area.”

Goodwill Industries will begin operating the Pontiac center July 1 and the transition should be completed early this fall. The building location is expected to be announced by early summer. Goodwill Industries replaces Oakland Schools, which did not bid to renew its contract.

“Goodwill Industries is pleased to further expand its work into Oakland County as operator of the MI Works! Service Center office within the city of Pontiac,” said Dan Varner, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. “We’d like to thank the Oakland County Workforce Development Board for this opportunity and look forward to deepening our partnership.”

Oakland County Michigan Works!, a partner of the American Job Center Network, helps more than 45,000 job seekers prepare for careers and conduct job searches each year. The agency provides services to businesses, including talent recruiting and training support. Other centers are in Ferndale, Oak Park, Southfield, Troy and Waterford.

“We’re excited to welcome Goodwill Industries to Pontiac,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, workforce development manager for Oakland County. “We expect this transition to be seamless and we’re committed to offering quality services to Pontiac and the surrounding communities.”

Troy's Kresge Foundation and others invest in the largest U.S. pay-for-success fund to date

Excerpt

New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc., Steve and Connie Ballmer, and The Kresge Foundation in Troy announced $40 million in investment commitments to The Community Outcomes Fund, a fund to scale pay-for-success investments in the United States.

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Robotics champions of the world

Excerpt: 

Hugs and high-fives started a few seconds before the countdown reached zero, making it official – Team RUSH 27 is the 2018 World Champion. “The team was excited beyond belief,” said Clarkston High School senior Jason Richards about Team RUSH 27’s victory at the FIRST Robotics World Championships at Ford Field in Detroit.

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The Barber Pole: a step back in time in Downtown Birmingham

Excerpt

Now in its 70th year, The Barber Pole is Birmingham’s oldest, still-operating business, and it hasn’t changed much at all through seven decades and three generations of owners.

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Light Up the Night at Oakland County Parks' special event

EVENT NAME:           Light Up the Night

WHAT:                       Glow-in-the-dark activities, games and music

WHEN:                      Saturday, June 9
                                  9-11 p.m.

WHERE:                   
Addison Oaks County Park, 1480 West Romeo Road, Leonard, MI 48367

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

This event will include cosmic putt-putt, glow-in-the dark face painting, games, music, StarLab (an inflatable planetarium) and T-shirt printing. Bring a plain, dark T-shirt to print. Contact NawrockiM@oakgov.com or call 248-858-0916 with questions.


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


Weekly run club encourages thirst for vitality in Pontiac

Daniela Walters makes an excellent point about beer and running: they go well together.

 

That’s why Exferimentation Brewing Company, Pontiac’s scientific-sounding brewery, is the perfect place to host a weekly grass-roots run club.

 

“If you figure each glass of beer is 120 to 150 calories, and each mile you run can burn about 100 calories, you don’t feel so guilty,” says Walters, a local patent attorney with the Dobrusin Law Firm who, together with Exferimentation, is coordinating the run club.

 

Open to every experience level from absolute beginner to seasoned marathoner, run club is an opportunity for people to gather, share training wisdom, and see the neighborhoods of Pontiac from a pound-the-ground perspective.

 

“This will be a comfortable, welcoming setting with different pace groups, advice, and motivational support. Community running is a big help to overcome the barriers in your own mind, and it’s a group of people to motivate and distract you so you can do the extra half mile or mile,” says Walters, who runs regularly, and has participated in a few competitive distance events.

 

Launching on May 8, run club will start each Tuesday evening at 5:30, and continue through the end of October. The club is a collaborative effort between Exferimentation and Main Street Pontiac, a downtown-promoting nonprofit that focuses on arts and culture, makerspaces, and health and wellness efforts in the city of Pontiac.

 

“With Healthy Pontiac, We Can! and McLaren Oakland here in Pontiac, this is the perfect ecosystem for health and wellness, and the run club is one of our first health initiatives here in Pontiac,” says Walters, president of Main Street Pontiac.

 

A downtown filled with runners makes the city appear vibrant and healthy, too, an important optic for revitalization. And all participants are welcome relax and refuel with friends at Exferimentation after every run.

 

“We do try to have a healthier angle at the brewery,” says Exferimentation general manager Seth Leininger, pointing out the antioxidant value of their hibiscus wheat beer’s pink-purple hue.

 

Leininger will be the one who stays behind to mind the brewery and serve customers their favorite craft beers and ciders, but he says run club is a perfect fit for pub co-owners and fitness enthusiasts Scott Boughton, Eric Benton, and Andy Stamper. They originally started a run club when they opened the Pontiac brewery in 2016, and fit in a weekly run, in between growing their brewing business and working their full-time jobs in the automotive industry.

 

“[The club] didn’t really pick up again last spring. Everyone was too busy, or there was too much going on. Now Healthy Pontiac has helped us gain some momentum by researching what night of the week and what time would be best,” Leininger says.

 

While he wants runners to come back to Exferimentation, to quench their thirst after running, Leininger hopes the club starts strong and grows quickly.

 

“I know that about 20 people responded to the interest survey, and I would love to see 20, but an average of about a dozen people running each week would be a successful group, too.”

 

Join the run club by showing up at Exferimentation, 7 N. Saginaw, Pontiac. 5:30 p.m. on May 8, and every Tuesday through October.

 

Discover Michigan's parks and waterways with SEMCOG's ParkFinder app and Water Resources Plan

SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, wants southeast Michigan--and everyone else, for that matter--to know just how special its natural resources are. The regional planning partnership is championing two recent developments that work to inform people of our parks and waterways systems.

Released March 22nd, the Water Resources Plan for Southeast Michigan emphasizes that not only are issues like water cleanliness and stormwater management vital to our region, but that water is also a powerful economic driver, as well. The report champions the Blue Economy, connecting quality of life issues to waterfront accessibility.

"We know that for our region, the Great Lakes, rivers, and streams are important to our quality of life, to retain residents and to attract new ones," says Kevin Vettraino, Manager of Plan Implementation at SEMCOG. "What is the main selling point for southeast Michigan? Our water."

Vettraino points to waterfront reclamation projects in places like Detroit and Port Huron, where once inaccessible industrial sites were replaced with popular riverwalks that attract people and help reinvigorate local economies.

SEMCOG also recently released the Southeast Michigan ParkFinder app, available for Apple and Android smart phones. The app is free to download.

The app provides information on 2,600 of the region’s parks, including lists of amenities. Users can pull up a map and drop a pin, and the app shows the different parks nearby.

Users can also search for park by amenities desired, whether they’re looking for a quick visit to a playground or dog park, or an overnight trip with camping facilities and more.

"The state is already doing a good job with tourism programs like Pure Michigan. It’s time for southeast Michigan to promote its wonderful amenities," Vettraino says.

"It shouldn’t be a secret that we have really robust park systems."

The ParkFinder map is also available online.

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


Pentastar Aviation ranks among top fixed-based operators in country

Pentastar Aviation, a leader in the world of business aviation, has once again been named one of the top Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs) in the country by the most respected publications in the aviation industry. In two separate surveys, Aviation International News’ AIN FBO Survey 2018 and Professional Pilot’s 2018 PRASE Survey (Preferences Regarding Aviation Services and Equipment),Pentastar claimed the #3 ranking in the country as voted by their readers. They were also named the #1 FBO in the Great Lakes Region in the AIN survey and the #2 Best Independent FBO in the Professional Pilot survey.
 
“We are extraordinarily proud that our commitment to world-class customer service continues to be recognized,” said Greg Schmidt, President & CEO Pentastar Aviation. “In a very competitive industry, it is gratifying not only to be recognized, but to also be the only aviation services provider in Michigan to receive such an honor.”

 “While Detroit-area Oakland County [International] Airport is a competitive market for general aviation handling with no fewer than six FBOs, Pentastar Aviation continues to soar,” writes Curt Epstein, AIN. “Pentastar, which is open 24/7 with on-duty maintenance staff and CSRs, is likely the only FBO in the U.S. with its own jetway. Part of the Stargate Terminal, a separate 10,000-sq-ft structure…, is used to handle jetliners and aircraft carrying clientele who desire discretion, such as visiting sports teams, entertainers, and dignitaries.” 

AIN has its subscribers evaluate FBOs they have visited in the past year based on five categories — line service, passenger amenities, pilot amenities, facilities and customer service representatives. The current survey process, in which Pentastar has annually been recognized among the top FBOs, provides overall cumulative average scores from 2013 to the present.
 
The Professional Pilot PRASE Survey is an annual tabulation of customer opinions of aviation ground services. Each year, Pro Pilot polls executives in charge of flight departments, aviation managers, chief pilots, pilots, CEOs and other qualified subscribers to recognize industry-leading service providers. PRASE is heralded as the gold standard of aviation ground service leaders, and Pentastar has ranked among the top ten FBOs on this survey every year since 2005.
 
Pentastar has been recognized annually for over a decade by those who appreciate their commitment to exceed the industry standards for both safety and service excellence. 
 
About Pentastar Aviation
Pentastar Aviation, wholly owned by Edsel B. Ford II, is a leader in the world of business aviation, providing aircraft management, advisory services, aircraft maintenance, avionics services, interior services and award-winning FBO services. Air charter transportation services are provided by Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a U.S. FAR Part 135 on-demand air carrier, or by other U.S., FAR Part 135 certificated on-demand air carriers arranged by Pentastar Aviation, LLC. Their team is committed to delivering the highest standards of safety and service excellence to their customers.

Pentastar Aviation has been servicing regional and global travelers for more than 50 years and is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). For more information, please visit www.pentastaraviation.com.

Cornerstone Community Financial hosts annual "Shred Day"

WHATCornerstone Community Financial’s annual “Shred Day” event, a free public event that will include two Shred-it trucks on-site to safely and securely destroy unneeded personal and financial documents, including: paperwork, CDs, IDs and credit cards, stapled and spiral-bound items and more.
 
To avoid the risk of identity theft or other financial crimes, the experts at CCF recommend individuals shred anything that includes a home address, signature, banking or investment account number, social security number, medical or legal information, credit card and mortgage documents and anything that includes a credit score.
 
In addition to shredding services, a donation truck from Goodwill Industries will be hosted on-site to collect any household donations from spring cleaning efforts, plus complimentary sweet treats for all in attendance.
 
WHEN: Saturday, May 19, 2018
              9 a.m. – Noon (or until trucks are full)

 
WHERE: CCF West Troy Branch (parking lot)
                3001 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy

 
WHOCornerstone Community Financial is a progressive, full-service, state-chartered credit union, owned and operated by its members, which currently number more than 27,000.  Originally established in 1951 as Motor Parts Credit Union, CCF today has six branch locations in Michigan and Ohio, more than 65 employees and more than $260 million in total assets under management.  More information on CCF is available at www.ccfinancial.com.

The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce celebrates 30 years in Michigan

The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce (SACC DETROIT) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  An Anniversary Reception is planned for May 18th at 6:30 pm at Andiamo Ristorante on Telegraph in Bloomfield Township.  The anniversary dinner is open to the public. Reservations can be made on the SACC website at www.saccdetroit.org.
 
SACC Detroit is a regional chamber under the national organization – SACC USA (www.sacc-usa.org). The chamber’s mission is to enhance trade, commerce, and investment between the Detroit region and Sweden. Since their inception in 1988, the organization has grown to over 150 members made up of industry, government and academia.
 
“Sweden and Michigan have a lot in common,” commented SACC Detroit Chairman, Andreas Waller, “From the shared primary industries that both Sweden and Michigan align like the  Automotive Industry, the Medical Device Industry and the Machinery Industry where there is great collaboration between our companies, to the climate that is similar between Michigan and Sweden, we think there are great opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.” 
 
Waller continued: “Our goal moving forward is to connect Michigan companies with other Swedish companies in the USA through the other SACC chapters around the nation and to continue to bridge technologies from the USA to Sweden and back again”.  Waller said “We want to be the conduit for Sweden firms that want to expand in the USA. We can help them with their US location with the help of our membership which is made up of existing US Swedish-owned firms and professional service providers that work with foreign direct investment (FDI) companies.”
 
“We see this 30th year anniversary dinner as a milestone for the Michigan and Sweden relationship and the beginning of the next phase of this strategic relationship between the governments and industry” mentioned Christina Lidgren, Executive Director of SACC Detroit. Lidgren continued,” We invite all businesses that want to do more business with Sweden, to join SACC Detroit and be connected to the SACC Chapters around the USA and with Swedish industry directly. Everyone is welcomed!”
 
For more information attending or sponsoring the 30th Anniversary Dinner, membership in SACC Detroit or other upcoming events, visit www.saccdetroit.org

Amtech sponsors the First Annual Acton Oakland Children's Business Fair

Could a ten-year-old invent the next Über? Attendants will find out at the First Annual Acton Oakland Children’s Business Fair on May 19.

Designed to showcase kids’ entrepreneurial genius, this event is sponsored by Acton Academy of Oakland County, the Acton School of Business, Amtech Electrocircuits and generous support from donors and volunteers. It runs from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at 530 Pine St, Rochester, 48307. This event is free and open to the public.

At this event, 30 young entrepreneurs, aged 6-13, will be challenged to create a product or service, develop a brand, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers. The children are responsible for the setup, sales, and interacting with customers.

This event has acted as a springboard to many successful ventures. One previous competitor from 2009, Makaila Ulmer of Bee Sweet Lemonade, is now sold in Whole Foods Market in Texas as a result of her young business savvy.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s business innovators and leaders. The Children’s Business Fair gives students the opportunity to spread their entrepreneurial wings and get a head start on promising business careers,” said Jeff Sandefer, founder of the Acton School of Business, one of the sponsors of the fair.

Both adult sponsors and young entrepreneurs are available for interviews on camera or off.

For more information, please contact Jay Patel at 248-607-0648 or cbf@acton248.org.

Cafe space opens in newly renovated Huron Valley Council for the Arts HQ

Downtown Highland Township has a new gathering space, which, according to some in the community, is something that is long overdue.

It also has a newly renovated headquarters for the non-profit arts organization Huron Valley Council for the Arts, something that was also in need.

As it turns out, these two developments are one in the same. This week, the Huron Valley Council for the Arts is celebrating its grand re-opening after four months of renovations. And while there are many improvements to point to, it is the addition of a café space that has HVCA executive director Erin Sabo most excited.

"Highland doesn’t have a coffee shop in town. We want to fill that void--a place to come in and hang out. We’re happy to give that," says Sabo.

“We believe that art brings communities together and now we actually have the space to do that.”

The roof has been repaired. New carpeting has been installed and a new paint job performed. The addition of a private rehearsal space freed up the room for the new café, which includes tables, public wifi, and a coffee maker.

The goal is to have the HVCA headquarters become a true community space, one where neighbors come in to read, write, draw, study, have meetings, work on their laptops, and all the other things people do at coffee shops. It also makes it easier to promote HVCA programming, which includes classical and contemporary concert series, arts clubs for kids, and festivals, as well as their mission: To promote the arts.

"We’re trying to break down the barrier for the people that think museums are stuffy places. We want them to know that this is their place," says Sabo.

"It’s not a bad way to have a cup of coffee, surrounded by beautiful things on the wall."

The HVCA is celebrating its grand re-opening with a week’s worth of events, including open houses, hands-on projects for children, and a Saturday, April 28, performance from Scottish troubadour Jim Malcolm.

Huron Valley Council for the Arts is located at 205 W. Livingston Rd. in Highland.

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


Oakland County's economy continues to grow

Excerpt

The tempo of Oakland County's job growth moderated in 2017, but that slow down appears to represent a "temporary hiccup" before it picks up to a more robust pace similar to 2015 and 2016.

Job growth for the next three years is forecast to average 1.9 percent per year or an increase of more than 42,000 jobs from 2018 to 2020, said University of Michigan economists.

Read more

Detroit Zoological Society educator honored with national award

Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) Curator of Education Claire Lannoye-Hall has been presented with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Distinguished Informal Science Education Award during the National Conference on Science Education in Atlanta.  The NSTA awards honor K-12 teachers, principals, professors and other professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education.

“Claire is an inspirational and effective educator. She plays an essential role in creating and implementing education programs for our community that ignite a passion for wildlife and wild places.  We are so proud of her achievements and feel honored to have her as part of our team,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO.

Lannoye-Hall has worked for the DZS for 16 years, building and facilitating partnerships with local school districts and helping thousands of students and teachers connect their classrooms to real-world learning experiences.  She also works with teachers through carefully planned and implemented professional development workshops to take their science curriculum a step further.

“Claire works tirelessly to keep on the forefront of current educational methods and needs, sharing this information with her team at the DZS and incorporating it into programming,” said Dwight Sieggreen, past president of the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

Lannoye-Hall is an advocate for making science accessible – she has developed camps, early learner programs, afterschool programming and teen volunteer opportunities that do just that.  In 2009, she helped form the DZS’s partnership with Oakland County’s Children’s Village – a residential treatment and detention center for youth.  This program instills a respect and reverence for the natural world through various activities, including gardening and taking part in amphibian conservation projects alongside DZS staff.

Lannoye-Hall also leads the DZS’s involvement in the Adopt-A-School program in Peru, which aims to preserve the rainforest one child at a time.  The DZS has partnered with the Civil Association for Conservation of the Peruvian Amazon Environment since 1999, supporting children and teachers in rural areas of the rainforest.  Each spring, more than 3,000 students and teachers receive a year’s worth of basic school supplies, delivered by Lannoye-Hall and a group of volunteers.

Lannoye-Hall was also named one of Oakland County’s “Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2018”, which recognizes young professionals in the community who have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities.  

Clarkston High wins top award at FIRST robotics championship; other area students recognized

Excerpt: 

Numerous Oakland County teams in elementary through high school won accolades at the four day FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit, held through Saturday, April 28.

Read more

OCC students showcase work at annual film festival

Filmgoers and the community are invited to the 8th annual Oakland Community College Student Film Festival featuring the works of OCC student filmmakers. Students will screen their short films to the public on May 24, 2018 at the college’s Smith Theatre in Farmington Hills.

“OCC’s Student Film Festival is a juried event showcasing a diverse and outstanding selection of short films created by OCC students,” said Jack Cronin, OCC Cinematic Arts faculty member.

According to Cronin, the jury is made-up of a three-person panel including former cinematic arts students, industry professionals and faculty. “There are several criteria the jury looks at including technical and aesthetic quality. The jury decides which films are shown at the Festival and which ones win. Each year we feature a grand prize winner and two honorable mentions. The grand prize winner receives a GoPro camera to continue their great work.”

The Festival is produced by OCC’s Cinematic Arts Program. Featured films cover all genres and each is under 15 minutes in length. The free event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. The Smith Theatre is located at 27055 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, Mich. For more information about OCC’s Student Festival, contact Jack Cronin at jdcronin@oaklandcc.edu.

About OCC’s Cinematic Arts Program - The Cinematic Arts Program awards an Associate in Arts degree. This program incorporates a theoretical and practical field of study, providing the student with a multidimensional experience in the study and application of cinematic arts. Subsequent to completion of the program, students will be prepared to enter the film/video industry or pursue a bachelor’s degree in film/video production studies.  

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 40,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Clarkston Food Truck Rally to feature 16 food trucks

Excerpt

The Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional Network will host the third annual Food Truck Rally on Friday, May 18.

Read more

Chef plans Japanese bakery with traditional, cutting-edge pastries

Excerpt

Chef Doran Brooks promises his pastries will never bore you. 

Comfort you? Yes. Bring a little fun to your dessert plate? Absolutely. Add an unexpected twist to a traditional tiramisu or chocolate mousse? Expect it.

Read more

Eighth Annual Tulip Festival and Photo Contest hosted by White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery

Tulips in bloom is a highlight of spring in southeast Michigan. Notably, a spectacular palette of blossoms with all the dazzle of Holland’s best, without the cross-state drive can be seen during the Eighth Annual Tulip Festival and Photo Contest at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery in Troy, beginning April 30 through May 20, 2018.
 
The 2018 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. 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 wonderful 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 Eighth 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.whitechapelcmetery.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.
 
“We plant new tulip bulbs yearly 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.

Fillmore 13 sets out to manufacture and distribute craft beers from Pontiac with $100,000 grant

Fillmore 13 Brewery was one of several Pontiac businesses receiving funding on March 14 as part of The Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program funded by Flagstar Bank. The grant program aims to offer one award annually to support manufacturing businesses to grow in Pontiac.

 

The brewery, which opened its doors in downtown Pontiac in March of 2017, was awarded $100,000 to launch manufacturing and distribution of its craft beers under the brand Fillmore 13: Brewed in Pontiac, MI.

 

Lee Roumaya, the owner of Fillmore 13, says he plans to use the funds to acquire canning and bottling materials as well as hire two new staff to assist with distribution. Funds will also support marketing and promotion of the product line regionally to bars, restaurants, and retailers.

 

“This will be a huge help for us, and it'll give us the opportunity with the funding to move forward,” says Kourmaya. “It'll help pay for more labor in the brewery, more products, a canning system, and a promotional program to get our name out there, and let people know we exist, and we are making beer in Pontiac.”

 

Kourmaya expects it will take three to six months before Fillmore 13 products will be available in bars, restaurants, and stores.

 

Brewer Bo Holcomb recommends Fillmore 13’s Abricot Belgian Ale. “It’s served right to the line between being a traditional Abbey Pale, and then with the addition of the apricot, opens it up to a lot of other beer drinkers that might sort of stay away from a Belgian style.”

 

This is the second announcement of grants under the Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program. On January 8, 11 grantees were announced in the first round of funding. Today, nine more are being announced in the second round of funding including:
 

  1. Fillmore 13 - $100k

  2. Your World Electric - $10k

  3. Libby International - $10k

  4. K&R Studios - $10k

  5. Plug N Play - $10k

  6. Upholstery with Class - $4k

  7. E&K Arts and More - $5k

  8. Epiphany Studios - $6k

  9. Max Out Fitness - $10k


The Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program is committed to investing $700,000 per year into Pontiac over five years. Of the total $3.5 million overall planned investment, approximately $500,000 will be allocated in the form of grants and $250,000 in the form of business loans, with an average grant size of $10,000 and an average loan size of $5,000 to $25,000. The disbursement is being leveraged through a partnership with CEED Lending, a Small Business Administration lender.

Family creates Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation in honor of late OU graduate

Inspired by their daughter’s memory, the parents of an Oakland University graduate and psychology major who was killed last June in a car crash on I-75 have established the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation as a way to keep their daughter’s legacy alive while continuing to support the research she was passionate about at OU.

“Shelby was a kind, generous, passionate, strong and intelligent person,” said Marc Seyburn, Shelby’s father. “It was her passion for the Posttraumatic Growth lab at Oakland University that inspired us to create the foundation. Shelby had a vision for the PTG program, and we wanted to help support that vision because there are so many people that could be affected by this research.”

Posttraumatic Growth, or PTG, is defined as the positive psychological changes that can occur through the struggle with traumatic experiences, with the idea that human beings can be changed by their encounters with life challenges, sometimes in radically positive ways.

“The current direction of health psychology is to help people to be more resilient,” said Kanako Taku, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at OU and Shelby’s mentor. “But Shelby and I discussed that while that may be good, if we help people to continue struggling instead of bouncing back quickly, then there may be a deeper or broader sense of personal growth. Shelby thought maybe we don’t have to be resilient; maybe we can still be vulnerable and experience personal growth.”

According to Taku, Shelby joined the PTG lab in the fall of 2015 and specialized in the study of PTG in adolescents.

“She had always been interested in this particular age group and found that there are numerous areas with undiscovered information,” Taku said. “Generally, Shelby explored the different mental states and personalities of adolescence before and after they experience trauma, along with looking at the different levels of trauma and social support.”

Prior to her death, Shelby Seyburn worked in the PTG Lab for two years, and spent the last year as lab manager.

“Shelby was my mentor in the lab,” said Velinka Marton, a junior at OU. “Between school and family, she was spread in so many different directions, but she always made sure everyone else in the lab was doing OK. She was a very nurturing and loving person.”

As a member of Dr. Taku’s lab, Shelby was able to become a published author and speak at national conferences. She also helped establish the “Teen Parent Program” within the Department of Psychology. The program is designed to reach teen parents through a psychoeducation that encourages them to think about PTG and build social support.

“Pontiac has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in Michigan, and Michigan has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the U.S.,” said Whitney Dominick, a third-year Ph.D. student at OU who worked with Seyburn in the PTG lab. “This is a major problem because teen parents are much more likely to drop out of high school early, not be able to find a stable job, and they’re also at risk for pre-term births, postpartum depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Shelby really wanted to focus on how we could help these teen parents.”

According to Dominick, the goal of the Teen Parent Program was to foster a sense of social support.

“Shelby wanted the teen parents to connect with each other and be able to have that social support with each other, the school staff and with us on the research team at Oakland University,” Dominick said. “She also wanted to educate them about posttraumatic growth, about how they could experience this, and how they could help other people, thereby extending that social support.”

Initially funded by a $1,500 Community Engagement Grant from the College of Arts and Sciences, Dominick said the Teen Parent Initiative will be able to continue thanks to the generous support of the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation.

“I think Shelby would love it,” she said. “Shelby was very passionate about her research, which really focused a lot of social support. This program (the Teen Parent Program) really helps with that aspect by helping people get involved, and I think she would appreciate knowing that it was going to continue.”

Currently, the program has only been implemented in one school in the Pontiac area, but with funding provided by the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation, Dr. Taku is hopeful it can be expanded to other areas.

“Shelby’s passion is still alive and this is a great way to continue her legacy,” Dr. Taku said.

In addition to funding PTG research at Oakland University and helping to expand the Teen Parent Program, the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation will also help fund undergraduate and graduate student travel to regional, national and international conferences via “travel grants.”

The grants are specifically targeted toward students in the Oakland University Psychology Department that are participating in a research lab and desire to attend a professional conference to present materials. All psychology students participating in a lab at Oakland are eligible to apply for the grant, which will vary in amount between $250 and $500. The grants can be used for travel, lodging, registration and meals.

“I think it’s very rare for something like this to happen,” said Lauren Harrison, a research assistant at OU who joined the PTG lab in the winter of 2016. “Typically, if a child passes away, the family mourns; but something massive like this, that has multiple purposes, doesn’t really emerge. I think it’s very admirable, and a perfect way to honor Shelby’s memory.”

For more information about the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation, or to make a donation, visit shelbystrong.life.

To learn more about OU’s Department of Psychology, visit oakland.edu/psychology.


66 Michigan shelters and rescues to participate Empty the Shelters free adoption day

After successfully placing nearly 10,000 cats and dogs in loving homes through nine free adoption events in the last 24 months, BISSELL Pet Foundation (BPF) announced its next Empty the Shelters (ETS) event will take place in 13 states, including Michigan, on May 5, 2018. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based nonprofit will pay all adoption fees at 66 shelters and rescue organizations across Michigan, including the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center. BPF will thank families for choosing adoption by giving them an AdoptBox filled with: a 5lb bag of pet food donated by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, treats, toys, valuable wellness information and coupons for new pet owners, where available while supplies last.
 
“We are a small organization doing our best to give every pet a loving home,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “Getting animals out of shelters and into homes is critical. Empty the Shelters does just that by encouraging people to choose adoption first.”
 
Nationwide, approximately 2.7 million pets are euthanized each year because they can’t find homes. Currently, only 23% of dogs and 31% of cats in family homes come from an animal shelter or humane society. BPF’s events have demonstrated that waiving fees motivates quality adopters, with more than 6,000 pets adopted in the state of Michigan alone in the last 2 years. Surveys from previous ETS events found 99.4% of adopters have already, or plan to, recommend adoption to family and friends; 52% of adopters were first-time adopters.
 
“This event will give national attention to the importance of adoption,” continued Bissell. “May 5 will be our largest Empty the Shelters event to date and we expect it to have a significant impact beyond the states participating.”
 
Shelters and rescues taking part in ETS are required to partner with other animal welfare organizations to help fill the empty spaces once pets have been adopted. Families adopting at ETS will be required to pay licensing fees for their pet – costs may vary by county.Standard adoption requirements will apply. Adopters are encouraged to review those requirements prior to May 5.
 
This year, BPF is appealing to people to choose adoption and find the pet of their dreams or to help give the gift of a family to a pet through a donation. 100% of donations for the event will fund adoption fees for homeless pets in the 13 participating states. For more information about Empty the Shelters, including a list of participating shelters and rescue organizations, and to donate, please visit www.bissellpetfoundation.org/ets.
 
About BISSELL Pet Foundation:
BISSELL Pet Foundation is a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to help reduce the number of animals in shelters through pet adoption, spay/neuter programs, microchipping and foster care. Founded in 2011 by Cathy Bissell, BPF is an extension of her long-standing love for animals and commitment to their welfare. The foundation is supported by generous donors and BISSELL Homecare, Inc. Up to $10 for every pet product purchased helps fund the foundation’s mission.
 
About BISSELL Homecare, Inc.
For more than 140 years, BISSELL Homecare, Inc. has developed innovative floor care solutions that make cleaning up after families and pets easier. BISSELL supplies households across the globe with many products that are specifically engineered with pet families in mind; offering solutions for stains, odors, pet shedding and accidents for those who love their pets, but not the mess. For more on the complete line of BISSELL products, visit www.bissell.com.

Troy Chamber hosts 13th annual Nonprofit Management Conference, presented by PNC Bank

The Troy Chamber of Commerce and its Non-Profit Network (NPN) will host the 13th Annual Nonprofit Management Conference, presented by PNC Bank on Thursday, May 17, 8 a.m.–3:10 p.m., at Walsh College, Troy campus (3838 Livernois). This affordable management conference for nonprofit professionals, board members and volunteers is sponsored by PNC Bank, Walsh College and the Troy Chamber of Commerce.
 
 “We are proud to say that throughout the 12-year history of this conference, the Troy Chamber has provided low-cost training and networking opportunities to more than 1,500 nonprofit professionals from all over southeast Michigan,” explains Jody House, Troy Chamber Vice President and Staff Liaison to the Non-Profit Network. “The kind of training offered during this one-day conference can be key to growing nonprofit core competencies among staff, board members and volunteers alike,” she says.
 
Patricia Mooradian, President & Chief Operating Officer of The Henry Ford, will be kicking off the conference with a keynote presentation. Since joining the Henry Ford in 2000, Ms. Mooradian has developed a ten-year strategic plan focusing on increased attendance, new visitor experiences and amenities, new educational products and benchmark hospitality. She also introduced new tourism and sales initiatives and spearheaded The Henry Ford's brand development.
 
Following the keynote, continental breakfast and networking, the conference continues with two breakout sessions, lunch, and two afternoon sessions. Throughout the day, there will be a mini-expo with exhibitors showcasing products and services to help nonprofits operate their organizations better and more efficiently. 
 
At each breakout session, attendees choose one of four sessions with topics covering eight core areas of nonprofit management: Governance/Operations, Marketing, Technology, Human Resources/Volunteers/Staff, Fund Development/Donor Relations, Leadership/Board Development, Strategic Planning and Finance/Accounting.
 
The cost for the conference, breakfast & lunch included, is $60 for Troy Chamber members and $110 for non-members. Two or more attendees from the same non-member organization will receive a $10 discount per person. Space is limited and reservations must be made in advance.

To register, call the Troy Chamber at 248-641-3694 or email: jody@troychamber.com. For more details on the event, including topics and descriptions of the breakout sessions and speakers, click here.

OU Anthropology professor deploys drone to combat hunger in Africa

Oakland University professor Jon Carroll, Ph.D., is part of a pioneering team of scholars harnessing the latest advances in science and technology to promote sustainable agriculture in Africa. 
 
Carroll recently traveled to Liwonde, Malawi to work on a research project helping farmers boost crop production in the face of mounting threats posed by climate change. The project, called “Precision Agriculture for Smallholder Systems in Africa,” is part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

It is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is in collaboration with Michigan State University’s Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, and Kansas State University’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab.
 
Carroll worked extensively with the Center for Global Change while in graduate school at Michigan State and was asked to join the project because of his expertise in using unmanned aerial vehicles for various research endeavors. These include archaeological excavations in Israel and a historical survey of Chateau de Balleroy, a 17th-century castle in Normandy, France.
 
“They knew of the work I had been doing in different parts of the world, and they thought that drone capability would be a great asset to the project,” said Carroll, a Registered Professional Archaeologist, FAA-licensed drone pilot and assistant professor in OU’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice.

So, how can a drone be used to counter the ill effects of climate change on crops in Africa and elsewhere? It starts with high-precision aerial photography that drones can provide to help researchers assess crop health.
 
As Carroll explained, “What we are doing is bringing highly detailed aerial imagery together with weather station data to understand what’s going on with these farm fields. This approach is widely available in the U.S., but in Africa they simply don’t have access to these technologies.”
 
The drone captures images with special cameras that allow researchers to quantify how much water and chlorophyll is in the plants. It also allows for 3-D measurements of plants in different parts of the field. Based on this data, researchers can recommend potential solutions to low crop yields.
 
“The answer could be water or fertilizer, or it may be that they are growing the wrong types of crops for that soil,” Carroll said.

Researchers are also working to develop models that can better predict seasonal and environmental patterns, which have been disrupted by climate change.

According to USAID, recurring droughts have ravaged Malawi’s agriculture sector, threatening the livelihoods of Malawi’s smallholder farmers, who constitute 80 percent of the country's population. In addition, 38 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line and 47 percent of children have stunted growth.

“It’s a big problem, potentially disastrous.” Carroll said. “We went down there in February because that’s their growing season, and it didn’t rain once while we were there.”
 
Carroll’s research team worked in conjunction with other research groups, which included government officials and scholars from Malawi and other places. Aside from the influx of visitors, the appearance of a flying object was a source of fascination for children and families in the community.

“This is an area where people are just not used to seeing this type of technology, so any time that I flew the drone, we always had a crowd,” he recalled. “Entire families would come out to see what was going on, and I would make it a point to try to explain to the people what we were doing and answer their questions, either in English or through an interpreter.”
 
Carroll called his time in Malawi “one of the most profound” research experiences of his life.
 
“I’ve worked in different parts of the world, usually on archaeological questions, and most of the people that I study have been gone for hundreds or thousands of years,” he explained. “This was a very different kind of project because I was surrounded by the people who were going to be affected by this research.”
 
Carroll lauded the College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice for their support of his work and for helping put Oakland at the forefront of drone-driven, global research efforts.
 
“This is one capability we have that many other institutions in the region don’t,” he said. “Oakland is leading the way in using drone technology in different parts of the world, and for different purposes. None more urgent than helping those whose survival depends on achieving sustainable food production.”

Orion Township Public Library starts its own Repair Cafe

What do you do with a broken toaster? Or a piece of clothing that needs to be altered? Or with a hair dryer that won’t work? Toss it? No way! The Orion Township Public Library is organizing the first Repair Café on Saturday, April 14 from 1:00p to 4:00p.

 

Various volunteer repair experts will be available to help make all possible repairs FREE of charge. Tools and materials will also be on hand. People visiting the Repair Café will bring along their broken items from home. Toasters, lamps, hair dryers, clothes, bikes, furniture, toys...anything that is broken is welcome, and can most likely be repaired.

 

 “The Orion community has been very supportive of the Orion Green-Up and NOHAZ days, so we wanted to bring Repair Café to Orion as another opportunity to practice sustainability,” said Beth Sheridan, head of adult services. “Repair Café not only promotes fixing things rather than throwing them away, but also those with practical repair skills are given the opportunity to share that knowledge. Above all, Repair Café wants to show people how fun repairing things can be; it’s a win-win for everyone, including the environment!”

The Repair Café concept arose in the Netherlands, in 2009, and was formulated by Martine Postma, at the time an Amsterdam-bases journalist/publicist. In 2010, she started the Repair Café Foundation (see Repaircafe.org). This foundation provides support to local groups around the world wishing to start their own Repair Café.

 

For questions about the Repair Café contact Beth Sheridan at esheridan@orionlibrary.org, or 248.693.3000 x332. 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.


Antiques Roadshow reveals Rochester event will be held at historic Meadow Brook Hall

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW visits Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, Michigan on Thursday, June 14 for an all-day appraisal event as part of an innovative production tour yielding new-look episodes! For the first time ever, PBS's most-watched ongoing series is stopping exclusively at distinctive, historic locations across the country.
 
"Holding events at historic locations like Meadow Brook Hall adds a new depth to our show by filming appraisals in and around places that are treasures in their own right," said ROADSHOW executive producer Marsha Bemko. "I can't wait to see what finds we uncover in Rochester!"
 
From each of the 2018 events, three episodes of ROADSHOW will be created for inclusion in the 15-time Emmy® Award-nominated production's Season 23, to air in 2019. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW airs locally Mondays at 8pm on Detroit Public Television.
 
Admission to ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is free, but tickets are required and must be obtained in advance. For this 2018 Tour event, ticket applications closed on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. A limited number of ticket recipients were selected at random from all eligible entries for the Rochester event.
 
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.
 
In addition to Rochester, the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW 2018 Tour will visit Sarasota, Florida on April 12; Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 21; Louisville, Kentucky on May 22; and San Diego, California on May 29.
 
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW puts the reality in reality television! Produced by WGBH Boston, ROADSHOW is seen by around 8 million viewers each week.

Spring has sprung at Oakland County Parks and Recreation

The signs of spring are everywhere at Oakland County Parks and Recreation. Hike the trails to watch as birds happily prepare for warmer weather, learn tips for planning a vegetable garden and check out the spring produce making an appearance at the Oakland County Farmers Market.

 

Spring is also the time to start making your summer plans. Oakland County Parks and Recreation has a full slate of summer activities scheduled, including the popular Come Out and Play series, Sink or Sail Cardboard Regatta, Cosmic Connection Perseids Meteor Shower event, Feather Fest and Make a Splash series. New this year is Camp Oak Ventures, weekly adventure day camps for children ages 6-12 years old. Check out information about these events at OaklandCountyParks.com.

 

Events planned in April include:

 

April 21

  • A educational series at the Oakland County Farmers Market is 10-11 a.m. April 21. Held in collaboration with Farver Creek Food & Fiber Farm i Oakland Twp., this moth’s topic will be “Planting Produce: A Vegetable Epic.” Learn simple tips ad tricks to get started on your vegetable garden. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.

 

  • A Pirate’s Life for Me! is 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 21 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about the piracy that took place o the Great Lakes, then head out onto the trail and put pirate skills to the test during a pirate scavenger hunt. Inside, enjoy a snack and make a craft. Come in pirate wear, if you would like. Cost is $7/perso and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.

 

  • Nature Fit: “Hearty” River Hike is 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 21 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Bring the family out for a heart-healthy, naturalist-led hike rain or shine. Exercise your body and celebrate Earth Day weekend. Trail snacks and water will be provided. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Cost is $4/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.

 

  • Caring for Planet Earth is 1:30-3:30 p.m. April 21 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Continue the legacy of Earth Day by learning how you can help the environment in your backyard. Drop in for a compost demonstration and make “seed bombs” for pollinators. Take a hike to learn about stewardship activities at Friendship Woods. Dress for the weather. This free event is sponsored by Pure Oakland Water. Details: 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.

 

April 28

  • Tiger Cub Scouts: Backyard Jungle is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. April 28 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.

 

April 29

  • Nature Fit – Sprig Photography Hike is 2-3:30 p.m. April 29 at Wint Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Grab your smartphone or DSLR and explore elements of photography including perspective and composition. Capture the color, beauty and texture provided by nature during a hike. A Facebook group will be created to share your best shots. Trail snacks and water are provided. 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.

 

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


Artisan market coming to downtown Rochester this spring

Work is underway at the former Heller's Jewelry building in downtown Rochester. Pamela Walther and her husband Ryan are currently in the midst of extensive renovations to the building, which will soon become home to their Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market. The Walthers hope for a spring opening.

Bizzy Buzz has already accepted 22 artist vendors and is currently on the hunt for more. Items fashioned from glass, pottery, metal and more will make up their inventory of locally made fashion, jewelry, and home decor items. The Walthers are even carrying records from famous Detroiter Jack White's Third Man Records, complete with a listening station to preview records.

"For local artisans, what makes us different than other markets is that the vendors don't have to be here," Pamela says. "Just keep the shelves stocked. We'll take care of the rest."

The building itself is a piece of locally-made art in its own right. Built in the year 1900, the renovation process has peeled away decades worth of modifications to the building. The drop ceilings have been removed to expose the original tin-tiled ceilings. Even the walls have been removed to expose tin tiles covering the bricks. Pamela says those tiles will be relocated to cover the cinder block-walled addition in the back, leaving the original exposed bricks up front.

Another discovery was a bank vault built in the 1890s. While the previous owner of the building kept his lunch in the vault, the Walthers are planning on using it as the Third Man Records listening booth and display area.

"It's just the perfect spot. As much work as the building needed, we decided to give it a go," says Pamela. "We put the word out to the artisans and got a real good turnout."

"It won't take long to fill up."

Local artisans interested in having Bizzy Buzz carry their products can apply online via the company's website.

Bizzy Buzz is located at 409 S. Main St. in downtown Rochester.

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

Mentorship group for child entrepreneurs wins Pontiac SOUP seed funding prize

More than 100 people invested in the community of Pontiac at the latest Pontiac SOUP event this past Saturday, March 3. They gathered to choose the winner of the micro-granting contest and dinner. The winner, Young Entrepreneurs Squad Foundation, walked away with $802 to help get their project off the ground.

This was the second Pontiac SOUP event and the first of 2018. The organization, which comes from the original Detroit SOUP concept, plans on carrying out the events four to five times a year from here on out.

"Pontiac SOUP is a beautiful thing because when you are a new organization and don't have all the funding, every cent helps," says YES Foundation founder Mary Evans.

YES Foundation offers children ages six to ten years old mentorship services, entrepreneurship training, workforce development, and more. These are real businesses that kids are running, says Evans, ranging in businesses that make and sell ice cream, jewelry, bow ties, and more--and all owned and operated by children in the six to ten age range.

Pontiac SOUP has the stated goal of providing seed funding for organizations doing great work in the city of Pontiac. At the events, four finalists are chosen to present on behalf of their organizations, and the audience participates in a Q&A session with each. The five dollar cover is put toward the cash prize. It's also a social event, with performances from local artists and a dinner. Attendees then vote on a winner.

The organization also tries to connect the runners-up with resources like business plan counseling and public speaking coaching.

"We're looking for what makes the greatest impact, to get it off the ground or take a project to the next level," says Pontiac SOUP co-founder Scott Stewart.

Click HERE to learn more about Pontiac SOUP and its forthcoming events.

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

50 years of color: Exhibit honors longtime artist

Excerpt

The Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center is honoring Leslie Masters, a longtime artist officials call "a major force among our educators, a thriving and working artist whose commitment has not wavered in 50 years."

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Lori Blaker, CEO of TTi Global in Bloomfield Township, awarded 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award

Excerpt: 

Norway-based Business for Peace, an international foundation aiming to support, inspire, and recognize global business leaders, has announced Lori Blaker as one of three recipients of the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace award. Blaker is president and CEO of TTi Global, a staffing, recruiting, and consulting firm in Bloomfield Township that operates on five continents and has more than 2,000 employees.

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Escape adds adventure to a bowling alley

Excerpt

When Jeff Forman purchased the bowling alley formerly know as Troy Lanes four years ago, he had a few ideas for some updates. As of this month, those updates are now operational under the bowling alley’s new name, Escape, and they added a lot of new amenities.

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Scarlet's Park clears more hurdles, closer to reality

Excerpt

Scarlet’s Park in Commerce Township has cleared significant hurdles with legal agreements between Commerce Township and the nonprofit foundation Scarlet’s Smile to bring the specialty park to the area.

The park honors 5-year-old Scarlet who is battling Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a disease similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS.) There is no cure.

Read more

First Oakland Schools Scripps Regional Spelling Bee worthy of n-o-t-a-b-i-l-i-a

Rahul Reddy, an eighth-grader at Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy in Pontiac, is the winner of the first Oakland Schools Scripps Regional Spelling Bee. After nine rounds, he correctly spelled notabilia, which, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means "things worthy of note."

Annabella Evangelist, a seventh-grader at Our Lady of Sorrows School in Farmington, was the runner up. 
 
This year's event, which was held at Oakland Schools Main Campus, was sponsored by Oakland Schools, the Oakland Schools Education Foundation, Bank of Ann Arbor and Ehlert Charitable Fund.
 
A total of 79 fifth- through eighth-graders from all over Oakland County competed in the Bee. The winner receives many prizes, including a trophy and an automatic invite to the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 27-June 1, 2018 in Maryland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cornerstone Community Financial upgrades and expands digital banking products and services

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Patterson appoints former OCC Chancellor as Deputy Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

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

Read more

Waymo to convert Chrysler Pacificas into automated taxis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compete or eat at the annual BBQ battle

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lawrence Tech College of Management gets prestigious accreditation from AACSB

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

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

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

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

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

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

About AACSB International

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

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


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

Excerpt

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

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

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

Read more

10 members of 2018 JA Leadership Delegation to Japan announced

Excerpt: 

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

Read more

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.

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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

Read more

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.

Read more

'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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Excerpt:

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.

Read more

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

Excerpt: 

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'

Excerpt: 

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

Fun for all at Ford Arts Beats & Eats

Excerpt

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.

Read more

Conservation-focused Hemingway Coffee to launch online business

Excerpt: 

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more.

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."

Read more.

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.

Read more

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

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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