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OLHSA seeks to improve wellness of residents in local communities through program offerings

As 2015 progresses, many individuals and families will struggle with keeping their New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle because of financial issues. OLHSA, A Community Action Agency, has many programs available to low-income residents of Oakland and Livingston Counties that can help them keep their resolutions and improve their overall well-being throughout the year.  Programs include The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Early Head Start (EHS), Head Start (HS), Mothers, Infants, Children (MIC) in Livingston County and the Summer Food Service Program in Oakland County.  

Adults looking for the best possible nutrition starting at home have various options. TEFAP provides various supplemental food staples to low-income households on a quarterly basis. WIC is a free health and nutrition program available to help pregnant women and mothers with infants and children under age five eat well and stay healthy. In Livingston County, women who are pregnant, postpartum, breast-feeding or have children up to 6 years old and are not receiving benefits through the WIC program can receive supplemental nutrition assistance through MIC.

Outside of the home, parents can see that their children receive proper nutrition and exercise by enrolling them in OLHSA’s EHS/HS programs. These programs give children a strong foundation with well-balanced school meals and opportunities for physical activity during and outside of school hours. When school isn’t in session, OLHSA provides a nutritious breakfast and/or lunch to youth in churches, parks, schools and recreation centers in and around Pontiac through the Summer Food Service Program.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census Bureau between 19.5 and 30.8 percent of Michigan’s residents are obese and 16 percent of the population is living below poverty level,” said Ronald B. Borngesser, OLHSA’s CEO. “We believe that everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, should have access to resources that help them to lead healthier lives. Our representatives work diligently with clients to connect them to services that meet their specific needs.”

For more information on OLHSA’s complete services, visit www.olhsa.org/complete-services.

OLHSA is a Community Action Agency improving the quality of life for people facing crisis while strengthening families, communities, seniors and youth since 1964. Over 187,000 services were provided in 2013 in the pursuit of helping people and changing lives. www.olhsa.org

Neiman Marcus backs Humble Design with yearly fundraiser

Humble Design, a Metro-Detroit based non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless families in need, is being backed by Neiman Marcus for the third year in a row. To date, Humble Design has furnished the homes of 465 Detroit-area families who emerged from homeless and abuse shelters.
The event, ‘The Beauty Within’ will be held on March 4, 2015 from 6-9 pm on the first floor of Neiman Marcus inside Somerset Collection. This elegant evening of pampering, shopping and socializing will benefit deserving families in need.
Chuck Bennett, of The Social D, will be the Master of Ceremonies as strolling hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served for all to enjoy. Guests can also sample beauty services such as a hand massage, mini facials, and a skin care analysis. The trusted cosmetic vendors of Neiman Marcus will be providing these services. DJ Jared Sykes will keep the mood light and the crowd entertained.
“We greatly value our partnership with Neiman Marcus,” said Julie Nagle, Director of Humble Design. “They continue to support us and help raise awareness for our mission. Without corporate partners like them, we would not be able to continue our mission and help those who really need it.”
Tickets are $100 and are available for purchase via the Humble Design website at www.humbledesign.org under the event tab. Raffle tickets will also be sold upon entry. Items include a private brewery tour, various restaurant gift cards, tickets to upcoming event in metro-Detroit, spa packages, a tour of the Detroit Public Library, jewelry and more. A percentage of all sales made during the evening will be graciously donated back to the organization.
Humble Design will be making a large announcement regarding their first inaugural annual event. This annual concert will take place on September 19 at the well-known Fillmore Theatre in Detroit. They expect that the featured artist will draw a crowd upwards of 900 people. More details to follow.
Humble Design is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping homeless families in need.  Humble Design turns four bare walls into a clean, dignified and welcoming home by repurposing gently used household goods.  Humble Design partners with local area homeless and abuse shelters to identify families who are emerging out of shelters. Many of theses families are victims of abuse and have left behind all personal items upon escaping and entering an emergency shelter.  When these families move into their new residence, Humble Design comes in and makes their house a home!  Giving them back their dignity and hope for the future!

Free community ice rink invites families downtown


Lee Collick doesn't necessarily have a passion for building ice rinks or even skating for that matter.

But the Royal Oak resident and Department of Public Services employee has a passion for making the city better, especially considering it is the place he has called home his entire life.

Read more.

Registration open for 2015 HealthPlus Brooksie Way races

Runners and walkers can save themselves up to $30 on entry fees by registering now online for the eighth annual HealthPlus Brooksie Way.
Online registration at www.TheBrooksieWay.com saves half marathon runners and walkers off the $75 entry fee charged to those who register on the eve of the Sept. 27 race. Entrants for the 10K and 5K will also realize significant savings by registering early. Participants can also register online for the popular Team Challenge – which sold out last year – and celebrate after the race in the exclusive Team Challenge tent.
“This is one of the premier road races in Michigan,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The community has embraced the Brooksie and the proceeds are given back to the community through programming that supports and promotes healthy and active lifestyles through Brooksie Way Minigrants.”

The Brooksie Way Minigrant program has returned more than $125,000 to support local health and fitness activities. The grants are awarded three times a year.

The HealthPlus Brooksie Way, now in its eighth year, is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and the son of the county executive, who died in 2007. It has become one of the most popular regional fall half marathons. The 2014 race attracted 5,800 runners and walkers. The course begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University and includes parts of the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, Rochester Hills and downtown Rochester.

The popular Kid’s Race – sponsored by Fifth Third bank – is set for Sept. 26. Kroger, the official half marathon sponsor, will soon offer race applications in all Michigan stores.

The Brooksie Way conducted the second annual “Chill at the Mills’ race on Sunday in conjunction with Rochester’s Fire & Ice Festival. There were more than 600 registrants for the 5k, an increase of 100 participants from the inaugural year. The race was sponsored by Shelton Buick GMC. 

Lawrence Tech honored for institutional focus on community engagement

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has named Lawrence Technological University among the 361 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification, which recognizes institutional focus on community engagement.
The institutions that have qualified for this classification represent less than 8 percent of the total number of colleges and universities in the country.
“These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions,” said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, which administered the selection process.
Lawrence Tech’s was first added to the list in 2008. The current designation was based on a comprehensive 65-page application that demonstrated the nature and extent of its engagement in the community. “We are seeing renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices, and deeper community partnerships,” said Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the Community Engagement Classification.
Lawrence Tech has distinguished itself as one of the first universities in the country providing leadership education for all of its undergraduates. Lawrence Tech’s Leadership Program covers all four years and includes a commitment to community service and volunteering. 
“We work to ensure all students develop their leadership skills and community service experience with an emphasis on character, integrity, and professionalism,” said LTU Assistant Provost Jim Jolly.
This spring Lawrence Tech will open its Detroit Design + Technology Center on Woodward Avenue. LTU’s College of Architecture and Design will consolidate four programs that it already has in Detroit and introduce additional outreach programs.
Lawrence Tech continues to maintain strong academic programming in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM subjects. The university has developed and supported a number of programs designed to encourage middle school and high school students to pursue these subjects in college, and last year organized and hosted the first national championships for the World Robot Olympiad.
“LTU is a private university serving a public purpose, and our students, faculty and staff live that credo every day,” said Lawrence Tech President Virinder Moudgil.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. 

A listing of the institutions that hold the Community Engagement Classification can be found at nerche.org, the website of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


SOGI conference 2015 to promote safe schools for LGBT students

With a goal to create more supportive and inclusive educational environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex (GLBTQQI) individuals, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Initiative of Oakland University's School of Education and Human Services will host the fourth annual Michigan SOGI Education Conference on Friday, Feb. 6.

The event, which takes place at the Auburn Hills Marriott at Centerpoint in Pontiac, will feature expert presentations, roundtable discussions, best practices for integrating SOGI issues into school and work, and ongoing networking opportunities – all focused on meeting the needs of GLBTQQI students, staff, faculty and administrators.

"This may be our best lineup of presenters yet," said Dr. Timothy Larrabee, associate professor and director of the SOGI Initiative Taskforce. "We have drawn presenters from across the country. Our keynote speaker hails from Washington. A nationally recognized expert in 'trans' rights, Jenn Burleton, is flying in from Oregon, and we have several presenters joining us from Illinois."

He added, "At the same time, we have not lost our local focus. The Southeast Michigan chapter of GLSEN is back to discuss starting and maintaining gay-straight alliances. We will hear from students in Novi. Experts from University of Michigan-Dearborn, Wayne State University and Michigan State University will be here. We will also discuss the intersections of SOGI issues with race, religion, health and education."

Kris Hermanns, executive director of Pride Foundation, will present the keynote address "The New Frontier: Ensuring Safe Schools for all LGBT Students." Hermanns has more than 20 years of experience as a strategist, fundraiser and nonprofit executive. Before joining Pride Foundation, she was the deputy director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Prior to that, she served as a program officer with The Rhode Island Foundation. In addition, Hermanns also worked as associate director for Brown University's Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service. She has served on the board of directors of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and is a Green Bay Packers shareholder.

This year's emcee is Steve Spreitzer, president and CEO of the Michigan Roundtable. Spreitzer has held various leadership positions in the organization, having served as director of programs, and managed the Roundtable's Interfaith efforts and Walk2gether Michigan. He has also worked in community mental health, criminal justice ministry and legislative advocacy. His work has gained recognition from the World Sabbath for Religious Reconciliation, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, the Catholic Youth Organization and the Hindu American Foundation.

The Auburn Hills Marriott at Centerpoint is located at 3600 Centerpoint Parkway in Pontiac. To view a map, along with other hotel information, visit the website.

Registration for the event, which includes a breakfast and lunch, is $100 for the general public and $25 for full-time students. Organizations wishing to host an information table can do so for $50. Sponsorships and donations can be arranged through the online registration site at oakland.edu/SOGI/register. Online registration closes Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 5 p.m.

On-site registration on the day of the event is payable by credit card or electronic check (ACH) only. For additional information, visit the conference website at oakland.edu/SOGI, or contact the SOGI Initiative Office at (248) 370-4614 or sogi@oakland.edu. Follow conference developments on Twitter at @OUSOGI, #SOGICON.

About Oakland University

Oakland University is a doctoral, research-intensive university located on 1,443 acres of scenic land in the cities of Rochester and Auburn Hills in Oakland County, Michigan. The University has 135 bachelor's degree programs and 135 graduate degree and certificate programs. Oakland is a nationally recognized public university with more than 20,500 students. Academics include programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, School of Education and Human Services, School of Engineering and Computer Science, School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing.


Kroger and UDIM will donate 51,468 gallons of milk to six Michigan food banks

More undernourished children and adults will have nutritious milk to drink during the coming year thanks, in part, to Kroger customers and associates who donated to the second annual “Pour It Forward” campaign. Kroger and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), on behalf of Michigan dairy farm families, will contribute a record 51,468 gallons of Kroger brand milk to six Michigan food banks as a result of Kroger customer and associate monetary donations.
Michigan food banks benefitting include Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Food Bank of South Central Michigan, Food Gatherers, Forgotten Harvest, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan and Greater Lansing Food Bank. “Pour It Forward” launched November 5 and continued through December 16, with customers purchasing paper gallon slips at Kroger registers, which Kroger and UDIM then converted into gallons of milk.
“Our goal was to raise enough money to supply 50,000 gallons of milk to meet the growing demand for nutritious foods among Michigan families in need,” said Jayne Homco, President, The Kroger Co. of Michigan. “We are so grateful to our customers and associates for generously contributing funds this holiday season to help surpass this goal – especially as milk is the item most requested by local food banks.”
“Pour It Forward” originated in 2013, when Kroger and UDIM donated 32,900 gallons of milk to Forgotten Harvest and Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. Based on the program’s success, Kroger and UDIM decided to extend the campaign to benefit other food banks working to meet the nutritional needs of Michigan’s less fortunate.
“Michigan dairy farm families thank Kroger customers for helping food banks increase access to protein-rich milk,” said UDIM Chief Executive Officer Sharon Toth.  “For nearly a century, dairy farmers have worked to address hunger and to ensure every American has access to nutrient-rich foods, such as milk and dairy products.  UDIM is able to continue this dairy farmer legacy through our partnership with Kroger on the ‘Pour It Forward’ campaign.” 
Kroger will continue to help feed Michigan families with its “Bringing Hope to the Table” campaign, which includes 91 Kroger stores collecting food in Wayne, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Livingston counties on weekends, January 10 through February 1. For more information, visit www.WOMC.com.
About The Kroger Co. of Michigan
Incorporated in Michigan in 1909 and headquartered in Novi, The Kroger Co. of Michigan includes 17,000 associates, 124 Kroger stores, 62 fuel centers, 102 pharmacies and the Michigan Dairy.
Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 375,000 associates who serve customers in 2,640 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.  The company also operates 786 convenience stores, 320 fine jewelry stores, 1,240 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club.

Pontiac honors the volunteers that make the city shine

Every year the community of Pontiac, organized by the Pontiac Downtown Business Association (PDBA) honors volunteers and organizations that help make the community shine.  Glen Konopaskie, President of the PDBA, honors each awardee along with a co-presenter Patrice Waterman, President of the Pontiac City Council to each of the volunteers as a thank you for their time, service and commitment to the community.

The community of Pontiac and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association invited guests for an evening of fun and appreciation at the Pontiac Community Awards hosted at Downtown 51 Grille on December 17.

The annual event has become a tradition for the community to come together to honor volunteers and angels that give the city spirit.  Nine award categories were handed out for Design, Volunteer of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in the Community, both a Youth and Senior Award, as well as recognition to a Service Group, Municipal partner, and Community Partner award.  Glen Konopaskie, President of the PDBA, honors someone every year at the event with the President’s Award for an incredible partnership and commitment to the community also.  The volunteers donate over 15,000 hours of their time towards recovery, celebration, and programming that positively affect our great city.

Deirdre Waterman, Mayor of the City of Pontiac had the following to say about the volunteers “Together we make the City and Downtown Pontiac shine.  Thank you to all the volunteers.  Earlier this year we launched the Spirit of Pontiac campaign to bring our community together.  You have all shown how volunteering and organizing drives the communities growth both from a civic mindset and economic engine powered by people.”

Glen Konopaskie, President of the Pontiac Downtown Business Association started the event off by noting some incredible growth.  Konopaskie stated “We started the year off with more awards for our organization, secured national accreditation for our Main Street program for our second year, and have had meetings with other Cities about how we overcome a $0 budget with economic struggles to effect positive change through volunteers, leadership, and organization.”

Konopaskie also stated the achievement of the PDBA in “reaching a major goal this year with part time STAFF for downtown for the first time ever!  The staff includes a part time Downtown Manager, maintenance, and two part time administrative assistants shared between the Treasurer's office, President's office and the downtown managers office.  With roughly $50 million dollars invested since 2011 and almost $70 million dollars more already committed our turnaround strategy is working!”
The awardees this year included:

ELEKTRICITY Night Club for the Design Award
ELEKTRICITY Night Club is recognized by the Pontiac Downtown Business Association for this year’s Design Award”.  Recognizing design that embraces a brand within our Downtown does not happen effortlessly.  For their cohesive design that attracts tens of thousands of visitors a month, we’d like to thank Amir Daiza and his team.

ELEKTRICITY has created a design element utilizing their architectural elements that attract a young population to the Downtown.  It looks beautiful at night, but also shines as a gem in the evenings.  They have also shared their design aesthetics with us such as last year’s Community Awards program.

Kathie Henk, The Henk Studio & Jim Terebus, Erebus Haunted House - Volunteer of the Year Award
Volunteers tend to work great in teams, and this year we recognize two team leaders who volunteer their time as well as coordinate others to suddenly make things happen.  In recognition of the years spent on volunteering and leading our downtown and city we honor both Kathie Henk and Jim Terebus.

As an example of the ways that Kathie Henk of The Henk Floral Studio and Jim Terebus of Erebus Haunted House volunteer, for years they have helped paint the town red for the holiday’s by hanging and un-hanging our street banners with their respective teams.  For their leadership and volunteer time we thank both Kathie and Jim and their respective teams.

Downtown 51 Grille for the Outstanding Achievement Award
Many people see businesses as for-profit entities, but within our community we also have those businesses that have a kind heart.   For their outstanding achievement and having a kind heart we’d like to thank Downtown 51 Grille.  

They been giving back to the community from simple acts such as free hot chocolate for children during the Holiday Extravaganza parade since 1996 to this year.  More specifically they also helped to raise $1,500 dollars this year through their Summer Solstice event to be re-invested through the Pontiac Downtown Business Association.  The money was used to help make Downtown Pontiac more green.

For consistently giving back to the community, Downtown 51 Grille we thank you for all you do.

Tarrikk Brown for the Youth Award
Tarrikk Brown represents the youth of the community because of his involvement with Ministerial Alliance at New Mount Moriah International Church.  Earlier this season he was honored by the Holiday Extravaganza Parade as the Pontiac Junior Grand Marshall.

When you hear Tarrikk speak, in particular to children of the community, he inspires them and speaks to their hearts and young minds.  Thank you Tarrikk for representing our City and for your achievements which lead to your recognition as a Junior Grand Marshall.  Additionally the Oakland County of Commissioners honors you with a Certificate of Recognition as well.

Maureen and Bo Young for the Senior Award
We honor the lifetime support and volunteer efforts of an incredible couple within our community.  In recognition of the many ways in which they both support and enhance the City of Pontiac we thank Maureen and Bo Young.

For years of being active business owners, civic leaders, and inspirational volunteers Maureen and Bo offer their time and energy to the community and have been doing so for decades.  

Each have spent time in civic roles within the community, have sat on and even chaired non-profit boards, and even had a business named as their namesake - Bo’s Smokehouse.  You see them both attend steering committees around the city offering their leadership where needed.  Beyond that they have raised their two sons to carry their torch within the community.

The Pontiac Garden Club for the Service Group Award
The Pontiac Garden Club is truly an amazing organization.  Producing leadership and helping to literally beautify our city through the grace of flowers and plantings.   The Ladies of the Garden Club and Lenora Lighthall accepted the service group award.

The Pontiac Garden Club meets regularly to educate their members on the secrets of the Green Thumb.  They also donate not only time but money towards the cause.  Members have been actively involved in the community for years keeping our city gorgeous throughout the year.  

They undertake initiatives such as planting and maintaining Huron Street in Downtown Pontiac, around our civic and historic buildings, and even gifts for those in our nursing centers.

For this, and More, we say Thank you for all you do for us Pontiac Garden Club.

Waterford Regional Fire Department for the Municipal Award
This year we have seen more from this particular municipal partner.  Every year organizations help to maintain efficiency by volunteering or beginning initiatives within the community.  For continuing to make our City safer we thank the Waterford Regional Fire Department.

The Waterford Regional Fire Department has become a stronger partner of the community and embracing our firemen and women during the recent transition.  Their commitment to the community has been shown through actions such as the National Night Out initiative every year, and their support of the smoke house as an education for our youth and residents.  Most recently they have also partnered with our downtown building owners to improve the training and preparedness to deal with our historic and tall structures.

For this, and More, we say Thank you for all you and our fireteam does for us, our residents, our businesses, and our visitors.

Kyle Westburg of West Construction for the Community Partner Award
This next business has seen a lot of press recently as they help grow the economic growth of Downtown.  Along with renovating historical landmarks and bringing them back to life, they also make incredible community partners.  Kyle Westburg of West Construction accepted the Community Partner Award.
This downtown business, has brought back historic landmarks such as the old Sears building into the recent Lafayette Market and Lofts.  Most recently we have heard of their next initiative involving The Strand Theatre.  Each project brings back a historical landmark into an operational entity to be enjoyed by all.  

They do not forget their community either with other initiatives such as helping to finance as well as install the historic wayside markers throughout Pontiac.  These wayside markers show off the pride in the community to it’s automotive historic heritage and attracts visitors to honor our past.

We look forward to your next amazing projects to share with the community!

Russ Di’Bartolomeo of 7 North and Robert Carazim of Canvas Pontiac for the Community Award
Our Community Award this year recognizes two organizations for bringing back the ever important art.  Robert Karazim from Canvas Pontiac and Russ Di’Bartolomeo from 7 North were recognized for their programs community achievements.   

Russ has been welcomed with open arms as the new owner of the 7 North building.  As it was previously known as the Pontiac Art Center, it looks to restore art incubation.  You may have noticed their new tenants, the Oakland County Pioneer Historical Society who have done an amazing pop-up museum to demonstrate the historical program that has travelled the country.  The building has also seen craft and art exhibitors during events such as the Dream Cruise and Holiday Extravaganza Parade.
Canvas Pontiac, under Robert Karazim’s leadership has consistently seen growth of public art available to the community.  The upcoming season of Canvas Pontiac will prove to be even more fantastic than ever before with the upcoming announcement of Pontiac 3D.  Additionally the program’s success has been recognized by other county’s and states, in which they are looking at the program for how it brings art into a community’s place-making and economic development.  This year we are also proud to announce the partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts with the Canvas Pontiac art program.  

Andy Meisner, Oakland County Treasurer for the Presidents Award
When you get to name the treasurer of the county as a partner, it’s an incredible asset already, however personally this awardee and partner is more than that.  Andy Meisner, Oakland County Treasurer and his team have represented the community of Pontiac in significant ways throughout the year.
Andy Meisner, Oakland County Treasurer has been a critical parter to the City of Pontiac, and Downtown.  Leveraging his role as treasurer, he has facilitated weekly tours to bank partners to show off the investment opportunities in the community.  These tours have helped improve conversations with our local businesses and their respective banks.

Beyond that Andy Meisner is also a fan of the arts.  He has connected his passion of the arts to assist our Canvas Pontiac program.  Next year we are proud to announce an incredible partnership made possible through Andy Meisner between the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and the Canvas Pontiac program.  

Andy cares for our community  by facilitating connections that grow our local economy and enlighten our spirits.  The community of Pontiac and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


2nd annual Brooksie Way / Fire & Ice Festival "Chill at the Mills" 5k race registration open online

Online registration is now open for the second annual Brooksie Way Chill at the Mills 5k race, set for Jan. 25 in downtown Rochester.

Runners and walkers can register online at www.TheBrooksieWay.com or download a race application and mail it in. Those who register by Jan. 15, 2015 will receive a long sleeve cotton T-shirt. Race finishers will also receive a winter wear item with the Brooksie Way logo. About 500 people signed up for the inaugural race.

“We had a wonderful turnout for our first Chill at the Mills and I expect even more people for our second race,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy what winter has to offer.”

New this year, Chill at the Mills registrants will receive a discount code worth $10 to be used towards entry fees any HealthPlus Brooksie Way Race in 2015 or the 2015 Brooksie Way Training Program. The coupon code will be emailed after the Chill at the Mills takes place.

Runners and walkers begin and end their journey behind the Rochester Mills Beer Co.; 400 Water St. Finishers may select an official Chill at the Mills winter wear item. Registration is $26 and increases to $31 on Jan. 6. Race day registration is $36. Registration forms are also available at Runnin’ Gear stores in Rochester, Waterford and Brighton in January.

Russ Shelton Buick GMC is the presenting sponsor for the race.

A pancake breakfast is being held race morning from 9 a.m. to noon at the Rochester Fire Department benefiting Rochester Youth Assistance.

Chill at the Mills is held in conjunction with the Fire & Ice Festival in Rochester, sponsored by Oakland County, Rochester, Downtown Rochester and Oakland County Parks. Fire & Ice is set for Jan. 23-25, 2015. 

Patterson distributes Casual Day funds to 15 charities

A disabled Vietnam veteran and an organization whose founder just returned from mission work in Honduras are among the recipients of Oakland County Casual Day funds this holiday season. A total of 15 charitable organizations and the veteran shared $29,000 donated by county employees on casual days throughout the year. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson distributed the checks during a news conference today.

In addition, another $8,000 was given to other organizations or individuals during the course of 2014.

“That’s $37,000 worth of generosity from Oakland County employees who have donated money this year to help out those in need through our Casual Day program,” Patterson said. “For more than two decades, Oakland County employees have impacted thousands of people through their donations.”

County staff will privately deliver a $1,000 check to a disabled Vietnam veteran who reached out to Mr. Patterson to help him find funds to repair a failing septic system that potentially would have driven the veteran and his family from their home. After the county’s Community & Home Improvement and Veterans’ Services divisions succeeded in finding grants to aid with the $25,000 septic repair, Patterson donated $1,000 in Casual Day funds to the veteran, who wishes to remain anonymous, for Christmas.

This year’s recipients include:
  • The American Diabetes Association - Bingham Farms
  • The Baldwin Center – Pontiac
  • The Child Abuse and Neglect Council (CARE House) – Pontiac
  • The D-MAN Foundation - Rochester Hills
  • The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • Give-A-Christmas Year Around – Royal Oak
  • Grace Centers of Hope – Pontiac
  • HAVEN – Bingham Farms
  • Helping Hearts Helping Hands, whose founder Erica Cale returned just this week from mission work in Honduras – Clarkston
  • Kids Kicking Cancer – Detroit
  • McLaren Children’s Clinic – Pontiac
  • Oxford/Orion FISH - Orion Township
  • The Rainbow Connection – Rochester
  • Rebuilding Together Oakland County – Farmington Hills
  • Walk the Line to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery – Southfield
Oakland County’s Casual Day program allows employees in participating departments and divisions to wear jeans or dress casually on Thursdays or Fridays for a minimum donation of $1. Since its inception 22 years ago, Oakland County employees have donated well over $700,000 dollars, touching the lives of thousands of people. No taxpayer funds are used in the Casual Day program.

Celebrate the holidays at the Jingle Bell Ball

EVENT NAME:          Jingle Bell Ball         
WHAT:                       Individuals 18 years and older with developmental disabilities are invited to celebrate the holidays at the Jingle Bell Ball. Sponsored by Oakland County Parks and Recreation and Wright and Filippis/Filippis Foundation, the evening will feature dinner, music, dancing and a visit from Santa. Dinner will be served until 7:30 p.m.
WHEN:                       6:30-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday Dec. 10
WHERE:                     Waterford Recreation Center (formerly CAI), 5640 Williams Lake Rd, Waterford
COST:                        $8/person prior to Dec. 5; $10/person beginning Dec. 6. Participants must be pre-registered and pre-paid. No refunds. Visa, MasterCard and Discover accepted.
Contact 248.424.7081 or adaptive@oakgov.com.
For more information, visit DestinationOakland.com. Join the conversation on FacebookInstagram and Twitter @DestinationOak.

Auburn Hills Chamber wins Michigan Outstanding Chamber of the Year

The Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals (MACP) recognized the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce with a 2014 Outstanding Chamber of Commerce Award at the MACP Leadership Conference & Annual Meeting held in Muskegon on October 2, 2014.

“The Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce received this award based on its accomplishments in leadership and governance, financial stewardship, business advocacy and member programming,” said Bob Thomas, Director for the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals. “Among the chamber’s noted achievements were the demonstration of financial stewardship required to grow from a small chamber to a mid-size chamber, its innovation in programming for women, its collaboration with other non-profits in the area, and the commitment to excellence in its governance structures.”

The Outstanding Chamber of Commerce award is presented to chambers of commerce that achieve high scores on a comprehensive application judged by chamber of commerce professionals from other state associations around the country. Applicants must demonstrate quality, innovation, and effectiveness of programming in the areas of leadership and governance, finance, business advocacy and programming/membership development. The award is modeled after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Accreditation process for recognizing best industry practices.

The Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals is the industry association for over 270 chambers in Michigan. Its mission is to build excellence in chambers of commerce through organizational and board-level resource support, professional development for chamber staff and to promote the importance of chambers of commerce across the state.

Genisys Credit Union encourages children to "Don't Be a Monster"

The Halloween season is full of fun, but it’s not funny to be singled out, picked on or bullied by your peers.
Genisys Credit Union, which provides services to anyone who lives or works in the Lower Peninsula, is helping to spread that message to local students by partnering with Erebus Haunted Attraction and Olympia Entertainment’s local stage favorite Evil Dead: The Musical at the City Theatre to bring the national program Don’t Be a Monster to local middle schools in southeast Michigan. Don’t Be a Monster is an anti-bullying program that seeks to educate youth about bullying, diversity and inclusiveness while empowering them to stand up for their peers and make positive choices for themselves.
“Studies show that 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 experience bullying and that 70.6 percent of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools,” said Jackie Buchanan, President and CEO at Genisys Credit Union. “We care about the youth in our community and want to help them understand how name calling, teasing, spreading rumors, leaving people out and other actions can hurt people. We are pleased to support the efforts of Don’t Be a Monster.”
Don’t Be a Monster began in 2012 and is a joint effort between haunted houses and non-profit organizations around the country. Erebus, a four-story haunted attraction in Pontiac, is a proud participant in the program.
Anti-bullying efforts are close to the heart of Ed Terebus, co-owner of Erebus. He said he had a speech impediment, due to an accident at the age of three, up until the sixth grade and as a result was picked on, mocked and teased in school. He wants to help other students avoid the emotional turmoil he went through.
He does this by bringing the anti-bullying message of Don’t Be a Monster to local junior high and middle schools. During a 45-minute presentation, students see video clips of Frankenstein, or “Frank,” getting picked on by a 13-year-old classmate. She singles him out because he looks different. To many students, Frank initially appears to be the monster, but in the end, they see that Frank isn’t a monster – he shows them that the bullies are the real “monsters.”
“Monsters come in all shapes and forms,” said Terebus. “We want to tell kids Don’t Be a Monster.”
The presentations, held in October during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, also include games, discussion and an appearance by Frank. Students receive a Don’t Be a Monster wristband as well.
Terebus said in this age of social media, it is even more important to squash bullying. He said when he was a student there was some relief when he got home because the teasing stayed at school. Now that’s no longer the case and many children can’t escape the pain even at home.

“People come to Erebus to be scared,” he said. “When you go to school, no one wants to be scared.”

Olympia Entertainment and Evil Dead: The Musical have joined Genisys Credit Union in support of the Don’t Be a Monster campaign. Guests have the opportunity to donate $5 to Don’t Be a Monster by purchasing tickets online through www.OlympiaEntertainment.com/EvilDead_DontBeAMonster using promo code GENISYS or by showing their Erebus ticket stub at the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices; limit 8 tickets per purchase. The promotion lasts through Oct. 15.
Evil Dead: The Musical will be playing at the City Theatre from Oct. 1-25. Based on Sam Raimi’s 80’s cult classic films, Evil Dead: The Musical brings to life the familiar story of a boy and his friends who go on a weekend getaway to an abandoned cabin and then things go terribly awry.
Genisys Credit Union members who use the promo code GCU at www.hauntedpontiac.com for advance weekday tickets to Erebus will receive $3 off their ticket and $5 will go to the anti-bullying program as well.
To donate to Don’t Be a Monster directly, visit www.hauntedpontiac.com and click on the tickets link or call Erebus at (248) 332-7884. For more information on the Don’t Be a Monster campaign, visit http://dontbeamonster.org/
Genisys Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that has been committed to helping its members financially since 1936. Based out of Auburn Hills, MI, Genisys is one of the largest credit unions in Michigan, with over 144,000 members and 23 branch locations. They also provide business loans and a range of services for small to mid-sized businesses.  Genisys Credit Union is proud to be making a difference in their communities, and truly believes that Genisys is “where you come first”. Connect with Genisys on Facebook and Twitter by following “GenisysCU”. For convenient access to your account, download the Genisys iPhone App in the iTunes Store and Android App in the Google Play Store. For more information or a calendar of events, visit Genisys online at www.genisyscu.org.

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland wins "Generative Space Award"

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO), a member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, was awarded the 2014 Generative Space Award, which recognizes national health care organizations whose architectural designs and organizational cultures combine to produce breakthrough, sustainable improvements in health and health care.

"We didn't just construct a new building, we created a living, breathing hospital that plays an integral part in our patient's healing process," said Jack Weiner, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital.  "From the integrated technology, to lights, to art, to the size and shape of patient windows, the design of the new South Patient Tower utilizes proven methods and techniques to further promote positive outcomes for our patients."

Only one other organization received the 2014 Generative Space Award this year, and since the awards began in 2010 only eight organizations have been named as recipients.  SJMO is the only acute-care hospital in the country to have ever earned the award.

The Generative Space Award is presented by the CARITAS Project, a nonprofit global network committed to the creation of transformational environments that enhance human health.

In its physical design, the new patient tower at SJMO incorporates the most current knowledge about healing environments, including the integration of eight leading-edge technological elements to improve caregiving, decrease risk, and reduce stress on patients and caregivers. The organization’s culture has been carefully developed to be responsive to all the requirements of modern medicine: patient-centered, adaptable, collaborative, and professional in all respects.

Physically, the patient tower includes, among many other things, large single-patient rooms, incorporation of natural light throughout the facility, and beautiful settings for prayer, meditation, and restoration throughout the building and grounds.  A lobby fireplace and water features, extensive use of curated art in patient rooms and public areas, and special touches such as swan-shaped towels and large flat-screen televisions, create a five-star hospitality experience in a de-institutionalized setting.

The organization’s culture is centered on its “Six I’s”—intentional, individuality, interaction, interpretation, inspirational, and institute—and on its understanding that all stakeholders are engaged in a journey that is both personal and connected to others.  The Six I’s have been used as the basis for a three-day training program for all associates, called the “Journey Intensive.” More than 2700 SJMO associates have attended this training.

About The CARITAS Project
The CARITAS Project is a global enterprise committed to the creation of transformational environments that enhance human health.  The organization advances the belief that social and physical environments are shaped by cultural values and works to develop the tools — sustainable methods, techniques, and systems — necessary to create intentional, human-centered cultures that have respect for human dignity at their very core.
About St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a 443-bed comprehensive, community, teaching hospital and a long-time leader in health care in Oakland County.  Founded in 1927 by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has won numerous local and national awards for patient safety, quality and performance, and consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide.  A member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a technologically leading hospital that combines advanced medicine and personal care to assist patients on their path to wellness. With dedicated physicians, nurses and hospital staff committed to providing quality care throughout the patient stay, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has truly personalized the patient care experience.

For more information about health services offered at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, please visit stjoesoakland.org
About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving six counties in southeast Michigan including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 164-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, and 113-bed St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  Combined, the six hospitals are licensed for 1,697 beds, have six outpatient health centers, five urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 14,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 3,200 physicians.   SJMHS has annual operating revenues of about $1.9 billion and returns $127 million to its communities annually through charity care and community benefit programs.
SJMHS is a member of CHE Trinity Health, the second largest Catholic health care system in the country. Based in Livonia, Mich., CHE Trinity Health operates in 20 states, employs nearly 87,000 people, has annual operating revenues of about $13.3 billion and assets of about $19.3 billion. Additionally, the new organization returns almost $1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs.
For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit www.stjoeshealth.org.

Disabled veterans invited to Oakland County Parks

Disabled veterans are invited to Autumn Fest, the annual Oakland County Parks and Recreation picnic complete with an afternoon of activities at Independence Oaks County Park in Clarkston Saturday, Oct. 4 from 1-4 p.m.

The free event for veterans with disabilities, sponsored by Barrick Enterprises in cooperation with the BP Fueling Communities Grant, includes a picnic lunch with lawn games, pontoon rides, fishing, pedal boats, bikes and hand cycles, music and shuttle rides to Wint Nature Center.

The picnic will be held at the Twin Chimneys area at the park. Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw Rd. in Clarkston. 

To reserve a spot, contact 248.424.7081 or adaptive@oakgov.com.

For more information, visit DestinationOakland.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @DestinationOak.
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