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Clinton River Trail adds 4.5 miles of recreational trailways through Pontiac

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Oakland County improves IT security assessment tool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Register for severe weather spotter classes

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Skywarn spotter training classes:

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 10 from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Ortonville Old Town Hall, 476 Mill Street, Ortonville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sandy Dorey recognized as outstanding therapeutic recreation professional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patterson praised Dalton’s commitment to her hometown.

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

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

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

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

Patterson: Oakland County has "sizzling year"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Organization offers lifelong educational programming opportunities in Rochester area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

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

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

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Senior living community opens new memory care addition in Waterford

Excerpt

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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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