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Orion Township Public Library teen department wins Best Buy Community Grant

The Orion Township Public Library was recently awarded the Best Buy Community Grant to help fund teen technology programming.


“The grant will strengthen the library’s ‘ThinkLink’ partnership with Lake Orion Community Schools,” said Teen Librarian, Dan Major. “This program provides library material delivery to schools as well as after school programming for middle school students.”


The money from the community grant will be used to purchase touch screen stations for three middle schools and Lake Orion High School.  These stations will allow students to request books for delivery and register for programs at the library.  The grant will also be used to convert our computer lab into a modern Makerspace.  The plans for the Makerspace include new equipment like a VHS/DVD converter, photo scanner and digitizer, laser engraver, digital art station, video editing software, and more.


“In addition, several Best Buy employees have generously volunteered for the ‘ThinkLink After School’ program,” said Major. “They will show middle school students some of the latest and greatest technology and teach them to create new and exciting projects in our freshly renovated Makerspace.”


For questions about the Best Buy Community Grant contact Dan Major at dmajor@orionlibrary.org, or 248.693.3000 x413. The Orion Township Public Library is located at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362 and is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.  For more information visit orionlibrary.org.

Clawson's Three Cats Cafe and The Show: Dine, shop, repeat, drink!


If you’re old enough to remember downtown Detroit’s beloved J.L. Hudson’s store, it was a magical oasis, especially around the holidays. You’d walk inside, dazzled by the displays, shop for gifts until your feet hurt, then head up the escalator to the cafe in the mezzanine for a quick repast of soup, salad, maybe a hotdog or a pastry. Then you’d get back to shopping.

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At The Red Wagon Shoppe in Troy, festive drinks make fabulous gifts


Nothing says “celebrate” like popping open a fine bottle of champagne, watching the pale effervescence as you pour, toasting with a clink of your flute and feeling the tickle of tiny bubbles as you savor the first sip.

Salut! Let the party begin.

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LTU hosting 800+ high school students in DECA business competition December 14


Lawrence Technological University will host the 2018 DECA High School District Competition on Friday, Dec. 14. The university will host more than 800 students from 21 Oakland County high schools in competitive presentations and educational exercises in marketing, business, finance, leadership, and entrepreneurship competency areas.

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Sweet treat: Mrs. Mason's Co. premium brittle


Vonnie Miller has been hooked on Mrs. Mason’s scrumptious brittles nearly 20 years.

“It’s crunchier than other brittles,” says Miller, who is the community development director at Stagecrafters in Royal Oak.

“Hers is so natural.”

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Oakland County deputy receives November 2018 Officer of the Month award

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has named Deputy Michael Miles, of the Oakland County (MI) Sheriff’s Office, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for November 2018. 

During the early morning hours of January 28, 2018, Deputy Miles was on patrol in the Orion Township area. At around 2:30 am, a car traveling at a high speed passed him, so the he turned his patrol vehicle around in pursuit of the speeding vehicle.

Deputy Miles activated his lights and sirens as he attempted to catch up to the vehicle. He saw the fleeing vehicle lose control on a gravel road and crash into a wooded area, flipping and landing on the driver’s side. The vehicle quickly burst into flames with the driver trapped inside.

Deputy Miles arrived at the burning vehicle and immediately checked on the driver, who was still conscious. Using his expandable baton, the deputy broke the glass sunroof and began pulling the driver out of the car. The driver’s large height and weight, as well as his broken leg, made it difficult to extract him from the car, but Deputy Miles was able to finally drag him away from the burning vehicle. Responding emergency units soon arrived to help the driver.

“This is a reminder of the types of incidents our deputies can encounter each and every day,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “While our deputy had been in pursuit of this speeding vehicle, it was [his] instinct to risk [his] own life to save this individual from a burning vehicle. If not for the quick action of our deputies, this individual may have not survived this incident.”

“Pulling someone out of a burning car takes extreme heroism, which Deputy Miles displayed,” Memorial Fund Chief Executive Officer Craig W. Floyd said. “This suspect owes his life to the deputy and we’re honored to give Deputy Miles the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award for November 2018.”

Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.

Deputy Michael Miles, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2018, will be honored at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in 2019.

About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a private non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which contains the names of 21,541 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund recently opened the new National Law Enforcement Museum, which tells the story of American law enforcement by providing visitors a “walk in the shoes” experience. The Museum is working to expand and enrich the relationship shared by law enforcement and the community through the Museum’s educational journeys, immersive exhibitions, and insightful programs. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation lifeguards earn prestigious International Aquatic Safety Award

Recognizing their commitment to training and safety, Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s lifeguard staff earned the Gold International Aquatic Safety Award from Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc. for the 2018 season.

Receiving this award demonstrates that Oakland County’s aquatic facilities consistently exceed industry standards in risk management and epitomize aquatic excellence. Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s lifeguard staff has received Ellis & Associates, Inc. International Aquatic Safety Awards for exceptional safety every year since 2010.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation provides more than 100 lifeguards to monitor the aquatic safety of about 200,000 annual visitors at two waterparks and one beach.

The awards are presented based on the results of multiple random unannounced aquatic facility operational safety audits throughout the year. These audits include undercover video surveillance of individual lifeguards, individual and team basic life support and rescue skills, and simulated emergencies. The audit concludes with administrative, supervisory and facility evaluations.

"Oakland County Parks and Recreation operates outstanding aquatics facilities with a keen eye towards safety,” Luke Martinez of Ellis & Associates, Inc. said. “With the top notch leadership of the management team and the amazing lifeguard instructors employed by Oakland County, it is not a surprise to see them achieve this distinction!"

Lifeguards are on staff early June through Labor Day at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights, Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford and Groveland Oaks County Park Beach near Holly.

The awards are only given to Ellis clients who score in the top 30 percent of the audit criteria, according to Red Oaks Park Supervisor Matt Pardy.

"This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication Oakland County Parks and Recreation lifeguards put into the job every day of the summer. There is a huge amount of responsibility on our lifeguards to keep park visitors safe at both waterparks and the beach,” Pardy said. “Guest safety is a top priority at our aquatic facilities and the award recognizes that commitment."

OCPR lifeguards receive an initial 24 hours of training that teaches them all lifeguard skills and is a part of the lifeguard applicant screening process. Once hired, the lifeguards receive approximately 27 hours of additional orientation and on-site facility training.

This training is supplemented with four hours of mandatory monthly in-service training, random Vigilance Awareness Training® drills and spot drills where lifeguard skills are tested both in the water and in providing CPR, AED, and Supplemental Oxygen support care.

Additionally, Oakland County Parks and Recreation has all aquatic facility supervisors trained in Model Aquatic Health Code compliant training, including Ellis’ vanGUARD Aquatics Leadership Training.

Founded in 1983, Ellis & Associates, Inc. is an International Aquatic Safety and Risk Management Consulting firm dedicated to the prevention and elimination of drowning. Known for industry firsts and innovations that revolutionized the way a lifeguard protects swimmers, Ellis & Associates provides consulting, training, and education services to more than 600 organizations which operate thousands of aquatic facilities, spanning five continents. Ellis & Associates’ client facilities boast an unmatched safety record due to their commitment to training “test-ready” and accountable lifeguards and voluntarily adhering to safety standards of operation and best practices that are the recognized benchmark in the industry.

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

Oakland Schools' Superintendent finalist for national Women in School Leadership Award

Oakland Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson is a finalist for the Women in School Leadership Award, a national recognition given out annually by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
“I am beyond thrilled to be a finalist for this award,” said Dr. Cook-Robinson. “AASA’s mission of recognizing women leaders is an important one and I am honored to be part of this prestigious group.”
The award is designed to recognize the exceptional leadership of current female administrators who make a difference in the lives of students while also paying tribute to the talent, creativity and vision of outstanding female educational administrators in the nation’s public schools. Candidates are judged based on leadership in meeting the learning needs of students, personal and organizational communication strength, constant professional improvement of knowledge and skills and active community involvement. Award recipients will be announced during the AASA National Conference on Education, Feb. 14-16, 2019, in Los Angeles.
AASA is a professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education.
Click to see Dr. Cook-Robinson’s nomination video for the Women in School Leadership Award.

Holiday shoppers can win $5,000 and more in Oakland County's "Small Business Saturday" contest

One holiday shopper can win $5,000 just by making a purchase at any independent retailer or service provider in Oakland County during “Small Business Saturday” Nov. 24.

Shoppers who buy goods or services from thousands of independently owned small businesses in communities across the county are eligible to win. One lucky shopper will win the $5,000 grand prize, courtesy of North American Bancard. Second prize is $2,000, courtesy of Bank of Ann Arbor. Third prize is a $500 voucher toward air travel, courtesy of Flint Bishop International Airport.

“It’s so important to remember our local small businesses during the holiday shopping season,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This is a win-win for our businesses and the shoppers. Our communities welcome the increased foot traffic this event generates for local retailers, restaurants and other businesses.”

To enter, shoppers must text ShopTextWin to 41411 to receive a text message with a link to a shopper registration page where they upload their contact information and a photo of their store receipt. All entries must be received by 4:30 p.m. Nov. 27. Prizes will be awarded by Dec. 12.

As an incentive to encourage small businesses to register and promote the contest, CEED Lending is offering a $1,000 prize to a randomly selected business. Bank of Ann Arbor will award $500 to the business employee who waits on the customer who wins the grand prize of $5,000. There is no cost for a business to register and any small business in Oakland County can sell the winning receipt.

Many registered merchants are offering sales and prizes of their own Nov. 24. Participating merchants, contest rules and registration information are found at www.AdvantageOakland.com/ShopSmall. A separate shopping contest is being conducted for Oakland County employees, who are not eligible to enter the public contest. Top prize is $500, courtesy of Oakland County Credit Union. Winners of the employee contest can receive an additional $250 if they are Oakland County Credit Union members.

Nearly 10,000 students to attend MiCareerQuest Southeast, region's largest career exploration event

Students from 107 southeast Michigan high schools are set to converge on the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi as MiCareerQuest Southeast – the region’s largest-ever career exploration event – connects 9,700 students with representatives from 114 companies and organizations.

The students, from schools in Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, will engage in a broad range of interactive, hands-on activities with more than 500 working professionals from 114 exhibiting organizations in four growing career quadrants: advanced manufacturing, construction, health sciences and information technology. More than 125 of the most in-demand occupations in the state will be showcased. The day-long event is set for November 28.

“The Suburban Collection Showplace will be bulging at the seams with so much to see and do, as our young people explore so many exciting career opportunities,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who plans to attend. “I expect this event, which directly addresses employers’ calls for help in filling critical jobs, to be inspiring and engaging for all those participating.”

MiCareerQuest Southeast is coordinated by Michigan Works! and the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. The Michigan Talent Investment Agency (TIA) is the presenting sponsor of the event.

During their visit, students and their chaperones will move between career quadrants over a two-hour period. The venue will host three separate sessions from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an average of 3,200 students in each. At least 150 school buses will transport the students and their 600 chaperones to the event. Advanced school registration was required.

Nearly 200 volunteers from Michigan Works! agencies across the state, the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, county government offices, local community colleges and other groups will be on-hand to assist.

“There has been a steady build-up of excitement for this event, among the schools, exhibitors and everyone who has volunteered to help,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, Oakland County’s manager of workforce development. “This is the first time an event of this nature and size has ever taken place in the southeast Michigan region. I’m expecting a great day.”

Macomb County’s Romeo High School plans to send its entire freshman class of 450 students. In 2019, as part of its transformation into the state’s first Ford Next Generation Learning community, the school will launch a special career academy for students in grades 10-12.

“Every student will be part of a career academy, preparing them with the more advanced skills they need to be successful in college, their careers and life,” said CTE Director Natalie Davis. “We believe MiCareerQuest Southeast is the perfect opportunity to expose our ninth-grade class to what career pathways are available to them prior to academy selection.”

According to Michigan Talent Investment Agency data, almost half of the companies the agency works with across the state indicate they struggle to find qualified people to fill their job vacancies. Wanda M. Stokes, director of the Talent Investment Agency, said MiCareerQuest Southeast is a unique event to help address the long-term challenge of filling this talent pipeline.

“The Talent Investment Agency’s WorkShare program is proud to serve as the 2018 Presenting Sponsor of MICareerQuest Southeast,” Stokes said. “The unique, experiential learning approach that MICareerQuest takes provides students with hands-on exploration of high-demand, high-wage careers in their region. Immersion into hands-on learning is what ultimately helps students find their passion, so they can, in turn, discover their purpose. MICareerQuest understands that extending career exploration beyond the walls of the school and creating opportunities for students to engage with business professionals is critically important in providing students with a variety of career path choices.”

In addition to the Talent Investment Agency, major event sponsors include platinum sponsors Beaumont Health in health sciences and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in advanced manufacturing. Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, the Building and Construction Trades Council and MUST (Management & Unions Serving Together) are joint platinum sponsors in the construction quadrant.

Other major sponsors include Oakland Community College, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, Michigan Works! Southeast, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Oakland County Michigan Works!, SEMCA Michigan Works!, Kelly Services, Automation Alley and Ascension Michigan.

Beaumont Health will showcase several occupations. Aaron Gillingham, chief human resources officer, said Beaumont is investing in the future for the region’s children.

“There’s no better place to be than in front of 10,000 students to highlight the great career options we have at Beaumont and across the medical sector,” he said. “MiCareerQuest Southeast will educate people on the types of opportunities available now, as well as the types of careers they can have in the future.”

A list of occupations to be showcased, including the organizations who are staffing exhibits, is attached. For more information, visit oakgov.com/micareerquestse.

Entrepreneurs collaborate to build up downtown Farmington

When the Azar family opened up Basement Burger Bar in downtown Farmington nine years ago, little did they know they would gain some wonderful friendships and entrepreneurial comradery with fellow downtown Farmington business owners.
“We opened 1up Arcade to be kind of a retro 1980s arcade bar with all of the old school games,” says Christina Azar. “We plan on doing a ton of events up there. Eventually, we will try to do a Mario Kart (TM) competition.”
“We should all work together and come up with ways to collaborate,” says Azar. “Honestly, Farmington is such a great city. We love it, I mean that’s why we chose to expand in Farmington.”
Sharing with skateboarders
Rob Woelkers, owner of Plus Skateboarding for the past 15 years and skateboarding enthusiast of 30 years, is one of the downtown business neighbors who has collaborated with Basement Burger Bar.
On September 21, the Azars held a soft opening of 1up Arcade, located conveniently upstairs to the bar. Woelkers was instrumental in gaining attention for both businesses from the community.
On that same day, Plus Skateboarding’s held its annual skateboard competition and The Volcom national skateboard team was in town for a tour at the Farmington Hills Riley Skatepark.
“We like to collaborate, and Rob approached us,” says Azar. “He had a national skateboard event and asked us if he could throw a party here and bring in some celebrity skateboarders. So, they wanted to come to play games and they did.”
“We have always had an after party after the competition with the judges and everybody who helps out,” says Woelker. “It worked out that that team was in town so we told them they should come to the after party, and the Azars opened up their new arcade bar for us and the guys. So, it was fun for the guys on the team to do that.”
Famous professional skateboarders like Omar Hassan and 14-year-old skateboarders CJ Collins and Louie Lopez were also in attendance, which gave the businesses some nice publicity.
It’s a date night!
The Azars are also giving away “Farmington Date Nights that capitalize on downtown business collaboration.
Azar says the giveaway idea evolved after the Farmington Police asked them for a donation.
“We gave them a Basement Burger Bar gift card and a 1up certificate for tokens, and then we gave him some free tickets and popcorn to the Farmington Civic Theater from (general manager) Scott Freeman,” he says.
“So, it’s a come in, eat, go play, have a drink, go watch a movie kind of night,” says Azar.
And it can all be done in downtown Farmington.

Inaugural Deaf and Loud Symphonic Experience with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra set for Dec. 16


Classical music will meet hip hop, pop, and world-class percussion when Eminem publisher 8 Mile Style Music presents The Deaf and Loud Symphonic Experience, starring three renowned deaf artists performing an unprecedented concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at Orchestra Hall in Detroit.

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40 years of friendship celebrated between Pontiac and Kusatsu, Japan


Forty years ago the city of Kusatsu, located in the Shiga prefecture of Japan and the city of Pontiac agreed to become sister cities, setting up a decades long friendship that was recently revived by members of the Pontiac community.

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What Little Caesars Arena looks like as 30,000 Lego bricks from Legoland


The attention to detail is stunning. A master builder from Legoland of Auburn Hills has built this replica of Little Caesars Arena.
Here are pics and fun facts of the mini arena made from 30,000 Lego bricks.

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Wixom police launch "Stuff the Squad Car" campaign to collect items for families in need


The Wixom Police Department is calling on the community to help fill a patrol car with clothing, toys and books. 

As part of its"Stuff the Squad Car" campaign, the department will donate all new, unwrapped items to the Hospitality House, a Commerce Township-based food pantry, for distribution to over 600 needy children during the organization's annual Santa Shop on Dec. 15. 

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