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Oakland County Parks hosts full day of play at Independence Oaks County Park

Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host a full day of play with inflatables, zip line, climbing tower, games and Get Outdoors! adventures Tuesday, July 11 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Independence Oaks County Park in Clarkston.

The Come Out & Play event is free and open to the public. For the zip line, children must be between 45 and 250 pounds and 42 inches tall. A waiver form, available at the park, must be signed by a parent or guardian. The non-water inflatables require socks.
In addition, there will be face painting, an interactive nature touch table and a treat for each child. The Get Outdoors adventures will include GO! Fish and Go! Cache.

Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw, in Clarkston.

For more information, contact John Haney, 248-858-1486, HaneyJ@oakgov.com.

For details on upcoming events and activities, visit OaklandCountyParks.comGet social with Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Deals signed and relationships built by Michigan business leaders during Europe trade mission


Some of the state’s top economic development minds have returned from a trade mission to Europe with a positive forecast for statewide foreign investment.

Gov. Rick Snyder, Deputy Oakland County Executive Matt Gibb, Automation Alley Executive Director Tom Kelly, Trevor Pawl, Michigan Economic Development Corporation vice president of international trade and Michigan aerospace and manufacturing company executives all visited the International Paris Air Show last week.

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Oakland County tops in state population growth


In the past six years, no other Michigan county added more new residents than Oakland County. And no community, from the smallest townships and villages to the largest cities lost a single resident during that time, including a resurgent Pontiac.

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LTU wins grant to boost STEM education from Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Lawrence Technological University is one of 24 schools nationwide to be selected for a new program to boost minority participation in STEM study and careers.

The $1 million grant was awarded to Lawrence Tech under the Inclusive Excellence Initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the largest private, nonprofit supporter of science education in the United States. More than 500 colleges and universities nationwide applied for grants under the initiative. Lawrence Tech was the only institution in Michigan to be selected.

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Five Oakland County alternative transportation projects receive part of $9.2 million in funding


The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is helping fund five county alternative transportation projects. 

The council’s annual Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is providing $9.2 million in funding for 22 projects across the region during Fiscal Year 2018, which begins Oct. 1.

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Erebus Escape aims to be one of the largest escape room facilities in US


Erebus Escape is located at 34 Oakland Ave. in Downtown Pontiac. Edward and James Terebus, co-owners and creators of Erebus Haunted Attraction, are transforming this 30,000 sq. ft. building into what they hope will be one of the largest escape room facilities in the US.

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Wright's Affleck House is a hidden gem in Bloomfield Hills


Among the Michigan Society of Architects’ 50 most significant structures in Michigan stands the Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills.

It was the first of 27 homes in Michigan designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Oakland County selected for National Health Survey

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announces that Oakland County is one of 15 counties in the United States selected to participate in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) beginning June 14. This comprehensive study of health and nutritional status provides important data about public health issues from a national perspective.

“The information collected helps us better understand health issues and improve quality of life in Oakland County,” said Patterson. “The Health Division and CDC are working closely to make this study successful. I strongly endorse your participation if you are selected.”

Approximately 530 randomly selected county residents will asked to participate in a voluntary survey. An interviewer from NHANES will schedule an appointment with the resident to complete the confidential in-home survey. Some will then be asked to participate in a health examination at a local site free of charge. All interviews and examinations are given by CDC NHANES health professionals who show identification upon arrival.

“This is an excellent chance for residents to gain valuable personal health information while helping identify health risks in our communities,” said Shane Bies, Public Health Nursing Services Administrator for Oakland County Health Division. “The survey is a unique opportunity that provides important information about major health conditions.”

For the past 55 years, NHANES has had a prominent role in improving the health of all people living in the U.S. All counties in the United States have a chance to be selected for NHANES participation each year, and 5,000 residents across the nation participate annually. All ages, races, and ethnicities are included in order to represent the U.S. population as a whole.

For more information about NHANES, visit oakgov.com/health and click the NHANES banner image on the homepage.
For up-to-date public health information, visit oakgov.com/health, find Public Health Oakland on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

Public health officials, legislators, and physicians use the information gathered in NHANES to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation. NHANES findings provide critical health-related information on a number of issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, NHANES data is used to produce national references and create standardized growth charts for pediatricians across the country.

New Birmingham library addition sparkles in the sunlight


Stroll around the newly-renovated adult services section of the Baldwin Public Library and the first thing you’ll notice is the sunlight streaming into the room. It wasn’t there before.

A key component of the $2.1 million renovation plan was the inclusion of windows in the exterior limestone wall of the library addition that was designed by famed architect Gunnar Birkerts. The curved addition, built in the early 1980s, was meant to convey the feeling of a garden wall surrounding the original 1927 library building.

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Trailway opening draws crowd


Community residents, dignitaries, law enforcement and Michigan Department of Natural Resources representatives gathered at Wixom’s Gunner Park on Tuesday, May 30 for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open Michigan Air Line Trailway, a cooperative effort between Walled Lake, Wixom and Commerce Township.

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Patterson appoints "Black Belt" as IT Director

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has recruited Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Michael R. Timm to be the county’s next director of information technology. A Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is a systems professional who focuses on process improvement through better team dynamics and lean operations.

“Oakland County is one of the most digitally-advanced counties in America,” Patterson said. “Mike’s impressive resume indicates he is well qualified to keep Oakland County on the leading edge of developments in information technology.”

An innovative information technology leader with over 30 years of experience in the private sector, Timm was the director of business planning and the project management office at Meridian Health Plan. While there, he established the office, built the team, implemented the business plan, and put in place key process metrics for its entire IT organization. Prior to that, he was the director of delivery at Entrega Systems Group.

“Oakland County has a reputation for excellence in government, including in IT, which I am very excited to become a part of,” Timm said. “I’m delighted that County Executive Patterson has determined that my years of experience in the private sector will add value to his administration.”

His career began in 1985 with Electronic Data Systems (EDS), a former division of the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), as a systems engineering manager/account manager supporting the General Motors North America account. He eventually rose within the HP organization to become a program manager/managing consultant for a number of industries including public utilities, rail transportation, insurance, shipping/logistics, and manufacturing. He left HP in August of 2012.

Deputy Oakland County Executive and Chief Information Officer Phil Bertolini said the county will benefit from Timm’s experience. “Brooks’ administration is always building the best team possible to benefit our residents. We have found the right team member in Mike Timm to help us lead our technology efforts forward,” he said.

Timm, 55, has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute, now Kettering University, and a master of business administration degree with an emphasis on information technology from Northern Illinois University.

Foreign investment is focus as economic development leaders head to D.C. and Paris

Oakland County economic developers are hoping to give the county’s sizable international business presence a boost as teams head to the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C. and the Paris Air Show this weekend.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb is leaving for Europe Saturday to attend the Paris Air Show, the largest air show in the world, to meet with mobility and aerospace companies in hopes of convincing them to expand into Oakland County. While Gibb is in Europe, Economic Development Director Irene Spanos will attend the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, a three-day event that promotes foreign direct investment in the United States. It begins Sunday.

“International investment is vital to our continued growth,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Oakland County is a preferred destination for international investment. The international diversity of our business community – nearly 1,100 foreign-owned firms from 39 countries – is one few states, let alone countries, can match.”

Gibb is part of a delegation that includes Gov. Rick Snyder and a group from Oakland County-based Automation Alley, one of Michigan’s largest technical and manufacturing business associations. Gibb also plan to meet with auto-related companies in Germany and Italy before returning home June 24.

SelectUSA attracts more than 2,000 attendees from economic development organizations as well as domestic and international firms from 42 countries, service providers, media and senior administration and government officials are expected to attend, including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, General Motors chairman, CEO Mary Barra and Mani Iyer, president of Mahindra USA, a global tier one auto supplier with locations in Auburn Hills and Troy, where its North American technical center is based.

Spanos is a member of the U.S. Investment Advisory Council, which offers counsel to the secretary on ways to make the country more attractive for foreign direct investment. Spanos met with Ross in May.

In 2015, Spanos was appointed to the Foreign Direct Investment Frontlines Coalition – an economic development steering committee created by the Washington, D.C.-based Organization for International Investment.

President Barack Obama attended the summit in 2015 and 2016. President Donald Trump may attend this year, Spanos said.
More than 40 countries are expected at SelectUSA, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Oakland County is focusing on automotive, aerospace, information technology, medical devices and industrial machining/robotics. Spanos and Mark Adams, a senior business development representative, have 20 meetings scheduled with companies from a host of countries including the Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The county will share the Michigan Economic Development Corp. booth.

Spanos said she has already contacted two of the companies – one each from India and Taiwan – and both have altered their travel plans to include a visit to Oakland County after the summit.

“They are so interested in learning more about Oakland County,” Spanos said. “We’ve had five successes in the past two years from SelectUSA and we’re still working on leads we got from those two years.”

Oakland County has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. About four international firms a month – on average – opened new business locations or expanded existing facilities in Oakland County in 2016. Foreign direct investment in the county in 2016 (investment from a company headquartered outside the U.S.) increased for the third consecutive year; totaling $371 million – about 38 percent of the county’s known private investment of more than $898 million.

Through the first five months of 2017, 16 international companies from six countries either located or expanded in Oakland County, investing about $140 million and creating or retaining more than 3,900 jobs, Spanos said. The countries of origin are China, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Switzerland.

Oakland County wins two NACO "Best in Category" awards

Oakland County snagged 15 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards for 2017, the most of any county in Michigan, including two national “Best in Category” winners, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced today. Oakland County was the only county in the United States to win more than one national “Best in Category” award.

“Oakland County has a reputation as being the best managed county in the country,” Patterson said. “The reason we earned this reputation is because we continue to innovate in government in order to improve our services.”

Oakland County’s first national Best in Category NACo Achievement Award winner was in the Community and Economic Development category. “Realtor to the Rescue” is a public-private partnership between the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office and local REALTORS™ that connects the concierge-style professionalism and customer service of licensed real estate professionals with families looking for a home who may be less than familiar with the property tax foreclosure process. Under Michigan law, the county treasurer is required to sell tax foreclosed properties at two annual auctions to recover delinquent taxes owed.

“On behalf of the entire team at the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office, we’re thrilled that this program has been honored by NACo. That it was selected as ‘Best in Category’ is an additional honor and credit to the many people who have worked to make it a success,” said Meisner. “This public-private partnership would not be possible without the energy and insight of Pat Jacobs and the North Oakland County Board of Realtors™ (NOCBOR). We worked cooperatively to develop a system to utilize the expertise of licensed Realtors™ within the property tax foreclosure process.”

The other national Best in Category NACo Achievement Award was the “OUCARES Day Camp and Staff Training” by Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) in the Parks and Recreation award category. OUCARES is the Oakland University Center for Autism. OCPR sought unique training for its supervisors in 2016 to better understand how to interact with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s part of OCPR’s mission to provide individuals of all abilities with the recreational equipment, programs and services they need to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle at its 13 parks.

“We’re proud that Oakland County Parks and Recreation continues to look for ways to improve accessibility to equipment and activities,” said J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County director of central services and Patterson’s representative on the OCPR board. “This helps ensure County Executive Patterson’s vision of improving the quality of life through healthy and active lifestyles.”

Other Oakland County NACo Achievement Awards for 2017 are:
  • Children and Youth: “Expanded Safe and Healthy Kids Program to Prevent School Bullying,” Board of Commissioners
  • Children and Youth: “MSUE Tollgate 4-H Summer Teen Leadership Program,” MSU Extension
  • Civic Education and Public Information: “College Series,” Information Technology
  • Civic Education and Public Information: “LOCK-IT-UP Oakland,” Board of Commissioners, Sheriff
  • Community and Economic Development: “One Stop Ready,” Economic Development & Community Affairs
  • Community and Economic Development: “Pilot Local Road Improvement Matching Fund Program,” Board of Commissioners
  • Health: “Colorectal Screening Initiative,” Health Division
  • Health: “Screening for Diabetes and Latent TB Infections,” Health Division
  • Information Technology: “GIS Road Show: Bringing Back the Maps,” Information Technology
  • Information Technology: “Inmate Locator Service,” Information Technology, Sheriff
  • Information Technology: “Website Transformation Strategy,” Information Technology
  • Personnel Management, Employee and Training: “Public Health Emergency Preparedness Annual MCMDD Interactive Training,” Health Division
  • Risk and Emergency Management: “Rescue Task Force Integration,” Homeland Security Division
Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard said the NACo Achievement Awards for “LOCK-IT-UP Oakland” and “Inmate Locator Service” highlight why collaboration in government is key to creating effective programs and services.

“We are pleased that NACo has recognized our hard work with the Board of Commissioners on LOCK-IT-UP Oakland and the county’s IT Department on our Inmate Locator Service,” Bouchard said. “It underscores the fact that public officials and government departments must work together to achieve great results.”

Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael J. Gingell said teamwork is what drives Oakland County to excellence.
“It is an honor to receive national recognition for the innovative programs and services developed and executed in Oakland County,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael J. Gingell. “Oakland County continues to be a model county, not just in Michigan but across the country, when it comes to demonstrating the exceptional results that can be achieved when we work together as a team to tackle challenges and better serve our residents. We are grateful for the recognition and will strive to continue to operate at this high standard of excellence.”

To get the details about these award-winning Oakland County programs, go to NACo’s searchable awards database at

Oakland University receives $10,000 AT&T grant to support K-12 STEM outreach workshops

The Oakland University Foundation has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the AT&T Aspire Program. The grant is specifically targeted to support K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Outreach Workshops for high school students offered by the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department and the Pawley Lean Institute at Oakland University.

“Through AT&T Aspire, we are investing in students today – at home, in the classroom, at work – to prepare them for success tomorrow,” said Jan Mallon, contributions manager for AT&T. “We see tremendous value in OU’s program and are pleased to award a contribution to the Oakland University Foundation.”

The K-12 STEM Outreach Workshops promote Industrial and Systems Engineering and Lean Learning by introducing ISE as a field of study to high school students from both a college and career perspective. They are offered during normal school hours and conducted in the OU Engineering Center.

“Led by Bill Edwards and other ISE faculty, visiting high school students get to conduct hands-on projects in Lean and Product Lifecycle Management while working with our ISE students and alumni,” said Robert Van Til, Ph.D., chair and Pawley professor of lean studies in the ISE Department.

There are multiple components to each session, including:

• Hands on, tool orientation
• Lean/Continuous Improvement exercises
• Ergonomics using simulation tools
• Product Lifecycle Management
• Manufacturing Systems Simulation

“This grant can be used to support student expenses as we expand to multiple high schools in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne County,” said Dennis Wade, director of the Pawley Lean Institute. “In particular, the exposure to ISE will spark interest in the STEM fields of study for both education and potential careers within engineering, and we thank AT&T for their support.”

According to Wade, the $10,000 grant is actually the second grant from AT&T. The first grant, also for $10,000, was received in December 2015.

“Supporting efforts like this are important for students as they prepare for a career but are also important to employers, like AT&T, as we look to find and hire well-trained people,” said Mathew Resch, director of public affairs for AT&T Michigan.

For more information about the Pawley Lean Institute, visit www.oakland.edu/lean. To learn more about ISE, visit www.oakland.edu/ise.

The Brooksie Way welcomes McLaren as title sponsor as popular fall race celebrates 10th year

McLaren Health Care, a leading integrated health system in Michigan, has signed a three-year contract to be the title sponsor of The McLaren Brooksie Way as the race celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he was thrilled the health care organization had signed on to support the race, which is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father who died in 2007. He was the son of the county executive.

“Lining up McLaren as the title sponsor was a coup for us,” Patterson said. “It is a statewide, pre-eminent health care organization that gives back to the communities it serves. We’re delighted to welcome McLaren to our quality of life event.

The McLaren system maintains operations in 350 facilities across Michigan, including 12 hospitals, and has a statewide network of more than 47,000 physicians and ancillary providers. Among its facilities in Oakland County are McLaren Oakland in Pontiac and the McLaren Clarkston campus in Independence Township.

“McLaren Health Care is very pleased to elevate our longtime support of The Brooksie Way as the new Presenting Sponsor,” said Philip Incarnati, president and CEO of McLaren Health Care. “While our core mission is to care for complete health care needs, it is also our role as a health care leader and community advocate to engage in programs that focus on overall health and wellness. The Brooksie Way has become a signature event in our state that definitely fits those parameters and, as an added benefit, fosters community engagement and collaborative partnerships. With these common goals, we are proud to share our name with The Brooksie Way and maintain a level of support that complements our role as health care leader in Michigan.”

Returning this year is The McLaren Brooksie Way Middle School Challenge, which offers every middle school student in Oakland County the chance to register for The Brooksie Way 5k race for only $5, a $30 discount from the normal price. Registration information is being distributed to Oakland County middle schools this month.

In celebration of its 10th year, The McLaren Brooksie Way is also saluting runners and walkers who have participated in a Brooksie race each year. Each member of the select group who registers this year will be given a special running shirt noting their accomplishment, an invitation to a special race week reception and those who finish one of this year’s races will be given a customized medal created especially for 10-year participants. Through 2016, 84 people had participated each year in a Brooksie Way race. The 10-year runners and walkers are sponsored by Oakland County Credit Union.

The McLaren Brooksie Way is among the most popular regional fall half marathons, 10k and 5k races in the state. The Road Runners Club of America named the race the 2017 official half-marathon of Michigan. The races are set for Sept. 24 and open to runners and walkers. They begin and end at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the campus of Oakland University. The half-marathon includes parts of the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, Rochester Hills and downtown Rochester. The 2016 race attracted more than 5,700 runners and walkers. All participants will have access to free racer photographs.

Entrants for any of the Brooksie Way races can realize significant savings by registering early at www.TheBrooksieWay.com. 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. Registration fees discounts have been extended until June 10. The names of those who register before July 4 will be entered into a random drawing for a $500 travel voucher courtesy of Flint’s Bishop Airport, official airport of The McLaren Brooksie Way.

For the third year, the race contains a charity fundraising component. Participants can register in advance to raise money for any of the following charities: Brooksie Way Minigrants, Glenda’s Club, Hope Water Project, Grace Centers of Hope, Teachers Pet, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Michigan Special Olympics, OLSHA (Oakland-Livingston Human Service Agency), OUCares and North Oakland YMCA. Those who register for a charity will receive $10 off their race registration fee.

The popular Lil’ Brooksie Kid’s Race is set for Sept. 23, the day before the bigger races. Kroger is the official half-marathon sponsor. The 5k race is sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Crittenton sponsors the Health & Fitness Expo on Sept. 22-23 at the OU Student Recreation Center. Oakland University is the race host.

The Oakland Press is the finish line sponsor and will also be producing a commemorative color magazine on the race. Dell Computer is the 10k sponsor, Oxford Bank is halfway arch sponsor, Oakland Community College is the Mile Marker sponsor, Park West Gallery sponsors the Info Tent, the Suburban Collection is volunteer sponsor and Shelton Buick GMC is race vehicle provider.
2083 Articles | Page: | Show All
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