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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.


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."

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.


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.
 

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.

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. 
 

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

Public online voting begins Thursday for next MI Great Artist

Think you have an eye for art?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakland County continues digital winning streak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech upgrades in Patterson's budget recommendation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt

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

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

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