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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.


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.


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.


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

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.

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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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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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.

Oakland County joins PACE program to promote energy efficiency for businesses

Oakland County has joined the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. As a result, 62 percent of Michigan residents are now covered by PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), a program that offsets the upfront costs of energy efficiency upgrades through a special property tax assessment.

PACE helps businesses finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that save money in the long run but require expensive investment up front. It allows property owners this ability through a special property tax assessment with local governments. The tax assessment then frees up lenders' ability to provide up to 20-year, low rate, fixed-interest loans.

Andy Levin, president of Lean & Green Michigan and managing partner of Levin Energy Partners, believes that the addition of Oakland County creates a critical mass of statewide involvement. The group will now spend more time on speaking to and educating property owners on the benefits of the program.

"The fundamental thing is that PACE is above and beyond politics. It's a straight-up pro-business idea," says Levin. "It has the potential to revolutionize commercial and industrial buildings the same way 30 year fixed mortgages revolutionized the residential market."

While Oakland County is the 20th Michigan county to officially embrace PACE, it already has a number of PACE success stories within its borders. The City of Southfield was the first jurisdiction in the state to become a member of the Lean & Green Michigan PACE program. And two of the four completed PACE projects in Michigan have occurred in Oakland County, including Orion Township-based Powers Distributing.

Powers successfully used PACE to finance a 95kW solar system on the roof of its recycling center as well as the installation of LED lighting throughout the facility. The beer distributor expects to save $48,000 per year in energy costs.

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

Farmington Hills joins recycling effort

Excerpt

Farmington Hills residents wondering what to do with unwanted clothing have a new solution: a free, weekly curbside collection program for clothing and small household items provided by Simple Recycling.

Read more.
 

DTE Energy and Vectorform expand Powerley energy saving app in Royal Oak

Excerpt

Powerley, a partnership formed by DTE Energy and Royal Oak-based Vectorform to pioneer the way homeowners manage their energy through a smartphone app, has grown its operation in the last year and is now employing nearly 20 employees. Powerley also moved into new office space in downtown Royal Oak.

The company’s technology platform connects a homeowner's smart meter to Powerley's Energy Bridge and smartphone mobile application to provide real-time, energy consumption information, which allows consumers to more efficiently use energy and see immediate cost savings.

Read more.
 

Rochester Comm. Schools fifth grader "slam dunk" winner in 2016 Oakland County NoHaz poster contest

A Rochester Community Schools fifth grade student was chosen as the winner of the 2016 NoHaz poster contest for his basketball-themed entry that illustrated the safe and responsible way to dispose of household hazardous waste.

Domenic Bruno, a student at North Hill Elementary School, called his entry "Slam Dunk the Junk." It was chosen from among more than 250 entries submitted by elementary schools in Orion Township, Rochester, Rochester Hills and Waterford Township.

"It is impressive to see the depth of knowledge these students have regarding recycling and the proper disposal of household hazardous waste,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “They really do a great job of telling the story. I congratulate them, and their teachers and their parents, for instilling in them the importance of being responsible stewards of our environment.”

The winning artwork was incorporated into the 2016 NoHaz publicity posters, which are on display throughout the 17 member municipalities of the NoHaz Consortium. The consortium initiated the art contest to educate and engage students about the importance of recycling and proper disposal. Bruno received a gift card and award certificate, as did several other finalists. All students who entered received a NoHaz certificate of appreciation.

The NoHaz Consortium provides residents with a safe and responsible means for the disposal of household hazardous waste. Collection events are scheduled throughout the season.

"These collection events demonstrate the commitment and understanding our residents have to being environmental responsible and ensuring our communities remain great places to live, work and play," Patterson said.

The 2016 collection events are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the following Saturdays:
  • April 30 at Oxford Middle School, 1420 Lakeville Road, Oxford
  • May 21 at North Sashabaw Elementary School, 5290 Maybee Road, Clarkston
  • June 11 at Oakland University, Parking Lots 35, 37, in Rochester
  • Sept. 10 at Oakland Community College Highland Lakes Campus, 7350 Cooley Lake Road, Waterford
  • Oct. 15 at Wildwood Amphitheater, 2700 Joslyn Court, Orion Township
NoHaz member communities are Addison Township, Clarkson, Groveland Township, Independence Township, Lake Angelus, Lake Orion, Leonard, Oakland Township, Orion Township, Oxford Township, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Rose Township, Springfield Township and Waterford Township. Visit www.NoHaz.com for more details on NoHaz or the collection events. 

MI Earth Day Fest knocks it out of the park

Large crowds returned to the MI Earth Day Fest in the Rochester Municipal Park, thanks in part to good weather and to improved downtown Rochester parking. Attendees came from all around metro Detroit, and as far away as Flint, Marine City and Grand Rapids. Event organizer MI Green Team L3C estimated weekend attendance at 30,000. Event goers were welcomed with Whole Foods Market tote bags, filled with goodies and sponsor giveaways.

Local officials, including first-year Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing, were on hand for the kickoff/awards ceremony where local kids received recognition for their winning art projects from USGBC Green Schools Committee, and four sustainability leaders were inducted into the MI Green Hall of Fame. These included Jim Leidel of Oakland University, Kathy Vosburg of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, Deanne Bednar of the Strawbale Studio, and John Carlos of GreeningDetroit.com, whose award was presented by Matt Gibb, Deputy Oakland County Executive. In addition Wendy Barthelemy of Rochester PTA Green Schools was recognized by Carmen Welch, DTE Energy Director of Customer Experience, for her participation in the pilot of a new school fundraising program, the DTE GreenCurrents Enrollment Challenge.

Large audiences enjoyed a full weekend lineup of live music and dance performances on the Emagine Entertainment Stage. Rochester Hills vocal coach Jennifer Kincer presented the program of outstanding local talent and performing groups, including the Pistons PAC and Motor City Irish dancers, the School of Rock, and the Blood & Wine and Kent Koller trios. The stage also hosted several special events including awards for the Earth Day Parade and the 2nd annual RARA Earth Day 5K, and appearances by Scrat and Sid from the Ice Age movies.

“It was great to see people enjoying themselves -- with entertainment, healthy food, door prizes, kids' activities and free massage -- at an event whose purpose is to address so many important and pressing issues. It’s definitely a big part of the event’s focus on solutions and celebration. And, it was a fun way for attendees to relax after serious shopping and sampling at 100 green and healthy products exhibits, checking out expert presentations and wellness programs, and exploring networking opportunities," said the festival’s Outreach Manager, Steve Litz.

The festival’s message – to Make Earth Day Matter -- extended well beyond the festival itself, thanks to generous media partnerships and coverage, which included live TV news feeds on Friday and Saturday, many articles in local newspapers and magazines, and PSAs on local radio stations. Media partners were Fox 2 Detroit, WNIC 100.3 FM, WWJ Newsradio 950, The Oakland Press, The Macomb Daily, Rochester & Rochester Hills Gazette, CMNtv and GreeningDetroit.com.

Event Manager John Batdorf lauded the event’s sponsors, “We landed the dream team of sponsors this year, including SMART Bus, which displayed its newest propane-powered bus, and DTE Energy, which promoted its GreenCurrents voluntary renewable energy program and displayed a plug-in hybrid. The Home Depot of Rochester Hills provided supplies and volunteers, and our newest sponsor, MacKellar Promotional Marketing, provided organic cotton t-shirts, hats, and bamboo award plaques. The event was able to offer free admission, programs and shuttle parking with the generous support of these sponsors."

Photos of the event are available on the festival’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/miearthday under photo album “2016 MI Earth Day Fest.” Dates for next year's 12th annual MI Earth Day Fest have been scheduled for Earth Day weekend, April 21-23, 2017. Details will be available at www.miEDF.com.

MI Green Team L3C (MGT) is Michigan's leading green/wellness network and event producer. Its mission is to promote green living, business and community. MGT is a Michigan “low-profit, limited-liability company,” an innovative business entity that uses business best practices to pursue a socially beneficial purpose. Net profits from MGT events are donated to local green programs. For more information, visit www.migreenteam.com.
 

MI Earth Day Fest returns to Rochester Municipal Park/City Center

The MI Earth Day Fest will return to last year’s new location in the popular Rochester Municipal Park & City Center area, on the banks of the Paint Creek. The 11th annual green/wellness festival will kick off on Earth Day, Friday April 22, and run throughout the weekend. Admission to the event and all programs is free of charge and open to all ages.

“It's never been more important to celebrate Earth Day and there's no better way than participating in the MI Earth Day Fest”, stated the festival’s Outreach Manager, Steve Litz. “The event is one of the largest and liveliest Earth Day celebrations on the planet.”

The festival offers many opportunities for attendees to shop, learn and celebrate green and healthy living. More than 100 exhibitors will offer eco-friendly products and services, free samples, show specials, door prizes and giveaways. Leading environmental and wellness community groups will provide expert presentations, hands-on workshops and networking round-tables in the Connect Café tent. Free massage, yoga and other wellness programs will also be available.

Food trucks and vendors will offer a variety of healthy and delicious organic/natural meals, snacks and drinks. The Whole Kids Korner will host activities, arts and crafts, as well as strawbale and tower climbs. Jennifer Kincer, Festival Entertainment Manager and popular emcee, will present a full weekend line-up of family-friendly music and dance on the main stage, including award-winning local groups, talented newcomers and daily headliners.

Several special events are planned throughout the weekend including a Friday 7pm awards ceremony recognizing winners of the 2016 MI Green Hall of Fame, USGBC My Green School Art Contest and DTE GreenCurrents Earth Day Challenge, as well as a Saturday 11am parade and a Sunday 8am RARA 5k Fun Run. 

Event Manager, John Batdorf, commented on the event’s venue, “A major Earth Day event belongs at this beautiful setting in a city like Rochester, which integrates an award-winning downtown and many natural attractions.” Batdorf continued, “With the festival established at this great location and downtown construction completed, resulting in hundreds of new parking spaces, we’re planning for the return of large crowds seen in previous years.” 

Free admission and programming are sponsored by DTE Energy GreenCurrents, Emagine Entertainment, MacKellar Promotional Marketing, Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), The Home Depot, and Whole Foods Market.

Festival details and directions, as well as participant information, is available online at www.miEDF.com.

MI Green Team L3C (MGT) is Michigan's leading green/wellness network and event producer. Its mission is to promote green living, business and community. MGT is a Michigan “low-profit, limited-liability company,” an innovative business entity that uses business best practices to pursue a socially beneficial purpose. Net profits from MGT events are donated to local green programs. For more information, visit www.migreenteam.com.

Drive in, drop off hazardous household waste at NoHaz collections set for five OC communities

Residents of 17 North Oakland Household Hazardous Waste (NoHaz) communities will have five opportunities to responsibly rid their households of hazardous waste from April through October.

The first collection is set for April 30 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Oxford Middle School, 1420 Lakeville Road in Oxford. The event gives residents easy-access opportunities to get rid of everything from outdated computers and dead batteries to paints, pesticides and more. Last year, nearly 4,000 residents loaded up their vehicles, drove to collection events and dropped off more than half a million pounds of hazardous household waste.

“Oakland County residents have embraced the NoHaz program and responsibly and properly disposed of more than 4.2 million pounds of hazardous household waste since the program began in 2003,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “I thank the residents for their participation and encourage them to take advantage of one of the upcoming collection events.”

The 2016 NoHaz collection events are held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The other times and locations are:
  • May 21, North Sashabaw Elementary School, 5290 Maybee Road, Clarkston
  • June 11, Oakland University, parking lots 35 & 37, Rochester
  • Sept. 10, Oakland Community College, Highland Lakes Campus, 7350 Cooley Lake Road, Waterford
  • Oct. 15, Wildwood Amphitheater, 2700 Joslyn Court, Orion Township
Residents of the 17 NoHaz Consortium communities may dispose of their hazardous household waste for a nominal fee of $10; or at no charge, depending on their community. Residents of non-member communities pay $50. Check www.nohaz.com for a detailed list of fees by community.

NoHaz communities are Addison Township, Clarkston, Groveland Township, Independence Township, Lake Angelus, Lake Orion, Leonard, Oakland Township, Orion Township, Oxford Township, Oxford, 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, batteries, cleaners, polishes, needles, syringes, inhalers, EpiPens, medication (excluding controlled substances), propane cylinders, 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.
 
76 OakGreen Articles | Page: | Show All
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