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

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

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

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

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

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

Patterson praised Dalton’s commitment to her hometown.

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

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

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

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

Patterson: Oakland County has "sizzling year"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

Organization offers lifelong educational programming opportunities in Rochester area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Read more

Senior living community opens new memory care addition in Waterford


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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free community event Feb. 27 to focus on healthy weight management

More than one third of Americans are obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. With diet, exercise and, sometimes, surgery, many of these medical conditions could be avoided.

Knowing which healthy lifestyle changes to make can help you manage your weight and well-being.

On Feb. 27, Beaumont Hospital, Troy, will host an event, “Living Well: How to Achieve a Healthy Weight and Lifestyle” in the Qazi Auditorium within the Moceri Learning Center, 44201 Dequindre in Troy. Doors open at 5 p.m. and presentations begin at 5:45 p.m.

“Our patients have many questions about managing their weight. This event is a great way to support our community and share knowledge that will assist patients and families to take an active role in their health and wellness,” Beaumont, Troy, President Nancy Susick, RN, said.

WWJ news anchor Jackie Paige will emcee the free event which begins with a health fair that includes:
  • dietitians
  • pharmacists with information about medications
  • free blood pressure screenings
  • integrative medicine experts
  • stroke education and awareness
  • CPR education and training
  • vein center experts
  • patient and family advisors
  • health and fitness experts
After the interactive health fair, Jackie Paige will share her personal weight loss story. Then, Beaumont’s Weight Control Center director, Wendy Miller, M.D., will discuss the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight through nutrition and medical weight management. Beaumont bariatric surgeon Kevin Krause, M.D., will explain what surgical weight loss options are available.  Registered dietitian Megan Jozefowicz will share healthy eating advice. And, exercise physiologist Christine James will demonstrate easy exercises you can do at home. The evening concludes with a panel discussion.

Throughout the event, there will be drawings for prizes.

Those planning to attend should enter the hospital campus on Emergency Drive, parking in the Northwest lot adjacent the Moceri Learning Center entrance.

Space is limited and registration is recommended. To register, visit beaumont.org/weight or call 800-633-7377.

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.

Epiphany Glass Studio spring show and sale

Experience the art of glassblowing by joining the new epiphany glass workshops held during the annual Spring Show and Sale, Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6, 2018 from noon to 6 p.m. each day at the epiphany glass studio in Pontiac, located at 770 Orchard Lake Road. Glass artist April Wagner and her team at epiphany glass studio will open their doors to the public all weekend to offer hourly glassblowing workshops, discounts on one-of-a-kind glass artwork, elegant wine decanters, colorful paperweights, functional glassware and bowls and ornaments galore. The event is free and open to the public.

The glassblowing workshops are a hands-on experience like no other. Participants may choose their own glass colors before working with one of the professional studio artists to create a vibrantly-colored, pulled glass flower in front of the 2400-degree epiphany glass studio furnaces.  Adults and children (age 6 and up) will use various hand tools and age-old techniques to create a unique flower of their own, while learning about the creation of glass art and the many beautiful forms it can take. Comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes are recommended. The workshops will only be offered a few times per year and space is limited, so registration in advance is recommended.  Visit the website at www.epiphanyglass.com and click on “Store,” followed by the “Workshops” tab.  The workshops will be held on the hour during the Spring Show and cost $55 per person. For more information, call (248) 745-3786.

Many of Wagner’s pieces are inspired by her love of nature, and she notes, “Everything in nature is beautifully designed and that design serves a function, color, scale and form.”  In her artwork, the vibrant colors, hues and shades of glass combined with the fluidity and flexibility of the medium, come together to provide limitless interpretation of the natural world through glass art. Working in a studio adjacent to a flowing river, Wagner finds daily inspiration in her surroundings and the seasons of the Midwest.  Patrons at the Spring Show will enjoy the epiphany glass studio gallery filled with sculptures of all sizes and colors, along with Zanfirico bowls showcasing traditional Italian caneworking at its best. Each Zanfirico piece is handmade from specially prepared glass “canes” in an array of beautiful spring hues and swirling designs.
epiphany studio is located at 770 Orchard Lake Rd. in Pontiac, 1/4 mile east of the intersection of Telegraph/Old Telegraph and Orchard Lake Rd, at the corner of Orchard Lake and Sylvan Ct.  The studio entrance is in the rear.  Call (248) 745-3786 for more information.
epiphany glass, www.epiphanyglass.com, is a state-of-the-art, 4,000 sq. ft. glassblowing studio and gallery located in Pontiac, Michigan.  Since 1997, epiphany’s distinctive look has been created by artist and owner April Wagner.  Wagner adds a contemporary twist to the traditional fazzoletto technique, which originated in the Venini factory of Murano, Italy, during the 1930s and was later popularized by Seattle glass artists. Her work is found in many public and private collections, including those of GM, Pfizer, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Vladimir Putin, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson. It is the only hot glass studio to receive WBENC certification.

OCC culinary community events -- prepared to be wowed by student chefs

If you like amazing food, prepared with skill and dedication, you’re in for a treat this season. Oakland Community College’s (OCC) award-winning Culinary Studies Institute continues its lineup of events open to the community. Join the College’s aspiring chefs for an incredible dining experience and enjoy the best in food and service. Events and dining are at OCC’s Orchard Ridge Campus, 27055 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. More information and tickets available at www.oaklandcc.edu/culinary.

Special Event Dinners
·         Chinese New Year Festival, February 22, 2018, 6:00p.m.: Join us to celebrate the auspicious Year of the Dog with a festive five-course dinner of traditional Chinese cuisine accompanied by wine service. Price is $55 per person. Signature drinks available for purchase.
·         Espionage Spy vs. Spy, April 19, 2018, 6:00p.m.: You are under specific instructions to enjoy a five-course dinner accompanied by a secret wine selection revealed to you at the appropriate time. Come dressed to kill and join us for a cocktail, wine or beer at our cash bar with passed appetizers as you assume your secret agent identity. Price is $55 per person. Signature drinks for purchase.
Lunch and Dinner Buffets
·         Valentine’s Grand Lunch Buffet, February 1, 11:15a.m. – 1:00p.m.: You and your sweethearts will be treated to a special menu featuring appetizers, salads, fish seafood poultry and beef entrées, starches and vegetables and a decadent dessert table. Price is $12/person and may be purchased at the event.

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.

The Guild of Artists & Artisans announces the 2018 calendar of art fairs and events

The Guild of Artists & Artisans is a non-profit, membership organization of professional artists that produces six art events throughout the year, including the award-winning Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. Each event is a juried event, representing a diverse array of fine art mediums, with ceramics, painting, photography, glass, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media, drawing, printmaking and more. Entertainment and great food options at each of these fairs make them extra enjoyable and exciting events.

The 2018 calendar includes:Additional details on each event:

Royal Oak Market: Spring Art Fair (April 5-6) will feature 75 juried artists and kicks off the fair season.  This indoor event will include delicious food trucks, entertainment, beer and wine and is open until 10pm each evening, making this a perfect date night experience. 

Art Birmingham (May 12-13) is located in downtown Birmingham’s beautiful Shain Park, features 150 juried artists, free admission, art activities and a food court creating a great event to enjoy for Mother’s Day weekend. This fine art fair is produced in association with the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center (BBAC) and benefits the “Art for All” vision of the BBAC.

Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair (July 19-22) is one of four official partner fairs that comprise the award-winning and highly-respected Ann Arbor Art Fair. The 49th Annual Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair is a juried, fine art event featuring the members of the Guild of Artists & Artisans.  It is located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor and has 375 exhibiting artist booths, art demonstrations and features entertainment and delicious food.

The Levis Commons Fine Art Fair (August 18-19) features more than 135 artists and artisans including jewelry, ceramics, painting, glass, photography, fiber, and more. The perfect setting for an exceptional art fair, the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg, Ohio, is a unique open-air experience with sophisticated shopping, superb dining and entertainment.

Common Ground’s Birmingham Street Art Fair (September 15-16) is located in and around the streets surrounding downtown Birmingham’s beautiful Shain Park, features 150 artists, entertainment and food trucks.  Additionally, the fair includes a silent auction tent filled with beautiful artwork to bid on which directly benefits Common Ground, an important regional resource helping youths, adults and families in crisis.

Royal Oak Market: Art Fair Edition (November 15-16) features 75 artists and is conveniently located inside the Royal Oak Farmers Market. This fair stays open late and includes entertainment, food trucks, craft beer, and free parking and admission which makes it a fun and festive place to purchase a gift of fine art for someone for the holidays or a great date night experience.
We look forward to remaining a resource not only in covering these events but to access the hundreds of artists that are a part of it. So mark your calendars and see you at the events. 

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.
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