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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.

Residents urged to get flu shots following increase in flu cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakland County Parks and Recreation Annual Report

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

Oakland County battles human trafficking with new website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Jan. 13

  • Brownies: Home Scientist is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 13 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. Ja. 13. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Animal Investigators is 2-4 p.m. Jan. 13 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Become a nature detective and examine tracks, scat and other animal clues to tell that animal’s story. Make an investigator guide to take home for future animal mysteries then don snowshoes and head outdoors for a wintry walk to discover which animals have been active this season. Snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter walk will be substituted if there is not sufficient snow. This program is appropriate for ages 5 and older. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 13 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.

Jan. 14

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

Jan. 20

  • Bears: Super Science is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 20 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • A new educational series at the Oakland County Farmers Market begins from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 20 Held in collaboration with Farver Creek Farms, this month’s topic will be “Rise and Shine: A Day in the Life of a Modern Farmer.” Discover the career of the modern farmer and learn what it takes to start a backyard farming adventure. The educational series will be held the third Saturday of the month through April. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • NatureFit: Snowshoe Try It! is 2-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about the history of snowshoes and then head outdoors for a guided snowshoe hike, campfire and snack. This program is appropriate for those ages 5 and older and snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter hike will be substituted if conditions do not permit snowshoeing. Cost is $5/person and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.

 

Jan. 27

  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 27 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. Ja. 27. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Bronwies: Potter is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 27 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.

 

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


PROSPER 2018 Magazine tells the Oakland County story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radon test kits Are half price during National Radon Action Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

County employees set record for Casual Day donations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakland County cities, townships recognized for entrepreneurial climate, job growth

The iLab's eCities research group at UM-Dearborn, which analyzes the influence of entrepreneurship, economic development, and job growth, released its annual study that recognizes communities that create inviting business environments and encourage entrepreneurial growth and highlights how local governments are supporting and growing the business climate.

Some of the communities that received a five-star designation in Oakland County include Troy, Rochester Hills, and Huntington Woods; Berkley, Pontiac and Madison Heights are a few cities designated as four-star.

“It is a great benefit when residents can access the products and types of businesses within the city limits,” Berkley City Manager Matt Baumgarten said in a release. “We will continue to work toward maintaining a positive environment that fosters creativity and sustainability for Berkley’s entrepreneurs and all businesses to thrive in.”

According to eCities, the projected entailed researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research in the College of Business collecting data on 277 communities and their development. Then a panel with backgrounds in entrepreneurship, development, and government selected the ones to be recognized as the top communities.

Anton Art Center announces second round minigrants for organizations and individuals

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

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

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


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

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

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

Excerpt

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

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

Read more

Gov. Snyder taps Forzley for Public Health Advisory Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spread warmth this winter with Coats for the Cold

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

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



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

Spotlight | Coats for the Cold Drop-Off Sites

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

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

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