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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.

New library director: library is great equalizer, welcoming to all


Donna Olson likes to point out the extensive gardens at the front and rear of Salem South Lyon District Library.

"It's the first thing you notice. I like to think it's very welcoming," said Olson, recently appointed library director after several months serving as interim director when Doreen Hannon retired.

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Milford's Currents Music Festival returns June 10 with 11 featured acts


The Currents Music Festival is returning to Milford’s LaFontaine Family Amphitheater Saturday, June 10.

This year, 11 bands will be featured along with food stands provided by Blue Grill, Smoke Street BBQ and The Proving Grounds Coffee and Ice Cream, which will be located in Central Park.

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Oakland County expands Nurse-Family Partnership program

Low-income women in Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, and Madison Heights who are pregnant with their first child will have access to the one-on-one support they need to have a healthy pregnancy and improve their child’s health and development. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced today the expansion of the Oakland County Health Division’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program which provides a public health nurse early in pregnancy and continues ongoing home visits until the child is two years old.

“Pregnant women and infants who have access to nursing care are less likely to develop health and other complications later on,” Patterson said. “That’s why it was a no-brainer to expand this program into other communities with vulnerable populations.”

A public health nurse helps first-time moms:
• Have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby
• Build a strong network of support
• Make the home a safe place for baby to live and play
• Get referrals for healthcare, childcare, job training, and other support services
• Find ways to continue education and develop job skills
• Set goals for the future and find ways to help reach them

“The Nurse-Family Partnership program helps develop strong family foundations that contribute to healthier and stronger communities in Oakland County,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Partnering first-time moms with our public health nurses empowers them to create a better life for their children and themselves.”

NFP received grant funding from the Michigan Department of Education to begin serving single first-time moms in Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, and Madison Heights.

The program has been a model of success in Pontiac. Since inception in 2004, NFP has served nearly 730 Pontiac families. Some notable achievements of the program include an improvement in the number of babies born at a healthier birth weight, a decreased number of mothers smoking during pregnancy, and increased rate of breastfeeding, and all Pontiac NFP children being fully immunized by 24 months of age.

Referrals are now being accepted. To enroll, one must qualify as a low-income woman who lives in the cities of Pontiac, Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, or Madison Heights, and are less than 28 weeks pregnant with her first baby.

For more information or to enroll in this free program, call the Oakland County Health Division’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program at 248-858-1406. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533. To learn more, go to OakGov.com/Health, select the services tab and click on Nurse-Family Partnership.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation earns national autism inclusion award

Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its OUCARES Day Camp and Staff Training program aimed at a better understanding of how to interact with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In 2016, OCPR supervisors received a unique training opportunity provided through the Oakland University Center for Autism, also known as OUCARES. During the training session, OCPR supervisors learned to recognize common characteristics of autism spectrum and how to communicate effectively with visitors with autism.
OCPR enjoys a unique relationship with the OUCARES. Each summer OCPR hosts an OUCARES Autism Camp at Independence Oaks County Park. Campers are picked up and bused to the park for a wide variety of activities.
“Each year, campers look forward to experiencing the outdoors and socializing at the parks,” Kristin L. Rohrbeck, director of OUCARES, said. “The parks staff is always extremely kind and helpful with our unique population. The parks have gone above and beyond by having OUCARES offer autism training for their staff to help them understand the disability and equip them with helpful strategies and technique to effectively work with our campers.”
“Oakland County Parks and Recreation is committed to providing people of all abilities with the recreational equipment, programs and services they need to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle at its 13 parks,” OCPR Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “To better serve patrons with developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers, OCPR makes training its staff members a priority.”
Autism affects the way the brain processes information, OCPR supervisors learned during the training session. OUCARES leaders shared that autism affects people in four major areas:
  • Communication
  • Social interaction
  • Sensory integration
  • Learning styles
The growth of OUCARES demonstrates a clear need for autism outreach in Oakland County. OUCARES began in 2004 with just one program and 25 families. Last year, it held more than 25 programs and assisted 1,400-plus families.

“The training for OCPR staff members was a one-time opportunity, but the lessons park supervisors took away from the training session has been repeatedly shared throughout the year with seasonal staff,” Stencil said. “The goal is to provide excellent customer service throughout the parks system.”
The award for the OUCARES program will be presented in July 23 at the NACo annual conference in Columbus, OH. Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs among America’s 3,069 county governments.  NACo brings county officials together to advocate on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service. 
For details on upcoming events and activities, visit OaklandCountyParks.comGet social with Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

New Art & About event will transform Downtown Berkley into a living gallery

The Berkley Downtown Development Authority is excited to kick off a new series of summer events beginning Friday, June 9th, from 6 - 9 p.m., in downtown Berkley. Every second Friday evening, from June to October, downtown businesses will open their doors to metro Detroit artists and performers who will showcase their many talents. Event-goers will be able to engage with the artists as they play, display, and sell their work, while at the same time enjoy a variety of merchant specials.

“We’re very excited about the potential for these events,” said Lindsey Tocco, Art & About Committee Chair. “Our downtown is the perfect place for an event like this with its eclectic business mix. And, the response by the artists for a first time event has been amazing. We weren’t sure what to expect but everyone has been so enthusiastic that we can’t wait to see how this event will grow!”

Event-goers will also have the opportunity to:
  • Hop on the shuttle between Coolidge/Catalpa and 12 Mile/Greenfield to view the
    event from every angle
  • Enjoy light snacks and beverages while drinking in Berkley’s eclectic atmosphere
  • Shop merchants specials and enjoy some of the best independent businesses in the area
About the Berkley DDA: The Berkley Downtown Development Authority is a community-driven organization focused on enhancing the shopping experience, economic vitality, and physical appearance of Coolidge Highway and Twelve-Mile Road — Berkley’s traditional commercial Districts. It strives to achieve this mission by being creative, focused, transparent, forward-thinking, and engaged with all downtown stakeholders and the community-at-large. 

Free or low-cost business classes offered in June/July at the Oakland County One Stop Shop

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance are encouraged to attend high-value, low- or no-cost business workshops offered by experts at Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call (248) 858-0783.

June/July Workshops:

Market Research Basics
June 13 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 11 | 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Ready to grow your business? Our Market Research Basics workshop helps you discover ways to find your ideal customers, identify your competitors, perform competitive analysis, identify new site locations, target direct mail campaigns, reveal untapped markets and expand to new and appropriate markets. If you are ready to grow your business, the Market Research Basics workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

Starting a Business
June 15 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 6 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 27 | 10 a.m. - noon

Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Thinking about starting a business? This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. This workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products and services. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with the necessary steps to getting started. If you are ready to start your business this workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required 
Social Media for Business Growth
June 21 | 9-11:30 a.m.

Business Power Tools – An overview for using LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to grow any business.
Whether you call it social media, social networking, web 2.0 or internet marketing, the question on every professional’s mind is this: “Is social media a waste of time or an essential power tool for business in a post phonebook world?”
Amid all of the distractions, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emerging as essential tools for marketing your business. Join Terry Bean from Motor City Connect for this entertaining and educational seminar as he takes you through the tools and rules of social media. You’ll learn what works, what to avoid and how to use LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow your network, engage prospects and generate profit. Get ready to kick your internet marketing presence into gear.

This class is designed to use these tools for profit. It covers:
  • Three Things You MUST do to Find Success on Each Platform
  • How to Use Status Updates That Gain Attention
  • Ways to Manage Priorities So You’re Not Stuck in an Endless Loop
  • How to Make Posting Simpler
  • The Fastest Way to Grow Your Audience
  • Which Platforms Are Best for You
Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

July Workshops

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
July 12 | 9-11 a.m.

Have a need for alternative financing for your business? Is your business located in Oakland County? Consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and processes necessary to apply for and obtain a small business loan. If you are interested in alternative financing for your Oakland County small business, then the CEED Lending Small Business Orientation is for you. CEED Lending is an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required 

Walk-in Start Up Thursdays in Waterford and Novi

WalkIn-StartUp Small Business CounselingJune 1 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
July 6 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

In Waterford: One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford
In Novi: Novi Civic Center - Community Development Center Room, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi

Whether you opened a business or you’re thinking about it, the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center has resources to help you. We can provide you with confidential small business counseling. You receive one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant – with no appointment necessary. Consultants offer direct answers to your questions about startups, suggest next steps and provide guidance on business planning tools. These high value services are offered at no charge to you. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each session is limited to 15 minutes. 

The City of Wixom is pleased to announce the second annual Wixom Block Party

The City of Wixom is pleased to announce the second annual Wixom Block Party! Activities at this year’s party include great food, a best meatball contest for area restaurants, a cannoli eating contest, football bowling, cornhole game, pet adoption, and live music from county music star and Highland, Michigan native Audrey Ray.

Vendors are being sought for this event. Interested vendors may apply to Debra Barker, Economic & Community Services Director, at dbarker@wixomgov.org.

Memorial ceremony honors fallen veterans

A crowd of several thousand veterans, families, friends and the general public are expected to attend a Memorial Day Ceremony at the Great Lakes National Cemetery honoring military service members who died in the service of their country.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly will host the 12th annual observance, set for 1:00 p.m. Sunday, May 28th. Colonel Clark C. Barrett, Michigan Army National Guard is the keynote speaker.

There will be patriotic music by Emily Esralian. The Holly VFW Post #5587 will present the colors and perform a rifle salute during the ceremony. Wreaths will be presented by organizations and taps will be played.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery is one of two such national shrines in Michigan. Opened for burials in 2005, the cemetery’s 544 acres will be the final resting place for an estimated 244,000 veterans and their dependents. Thus far, approximately 33,000 veterans and dependents have been interred at the site.

Sunday’s ceremony is one of many across the area and the nation. The Memorial Day Ceremony is a great opportunity to honor our service members who gave their lives to secure our freedom.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Road in Holly, Michigan. If you have any questions about this ceremony, please contact GarthWootten, Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council President, at wootteng@oakgov.com or 248-858-0785.

Oakland County scores a AAA bond rating again

Oakland County has captured a AAA bond rating with a stable outlook from both Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s for the 19th year in a row, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Treasurer Andy Meisner, and Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash announced. The two bond ratings agencies assigned their highest credit scores to Oakland County’s $4.8 million Evergreen and Farmington Sewage Disposal Systems North Evergreen Interceptor Bonds, Series 2017.

“Nearly two decades of AAA bond ratings is validation of our multi-year budget and decision to transition away from traditional forms of retirement benefits to ones that reflect what the private sector is doing today,” Patterson said.
Meisner agreed that the county’s financial position is stronger.

“The AAA bond rating is a symbol of Oakland County excellence and leadership that helps us serve our citizens and save money,” Meisner said.

The AAA rating will enable Nash to obtain the lowest interest rates the market allows to finance the bonds.

“The AAA rating allows my office to negotiate the best possible interest rates on the loans we use to invest in our water, sewer and drain infrastructure,” Nash said. “It has been most beneficial to our operating the largest drain office in Michigan. We are proud of the exceptional budget and management practices that allow Oakland County to earn this rating.”

Moody’s said the county’s finances will remain strong into the future.

“We expect the county’s fiscal position to remain healthy going forward,” Moody’s said. “General fund operations were positive for an eleventh consecutive year and the county’s available general fund balance… grew to… 62% of general fund revenue.”

That’s more than seven months of general fund revenue for the county. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada recommends governments keep two months of general fund balance on hand.

Moody’s also cited the county’s rolling three-year budget with a five-year outlook and low pension burden because the county moved employees from a traditional pension retirement system to a 401(k)-style retirement in the 1990s. Moody’s also based the rating on the county’s continued strong economic growth. In the county’s three-year economic outlook released last month by the University of Michigan, economists forecasted that by 2019, Oakland County will recover all the jobs it lost from 2000 to the summer of 2009 due largely to the Great Recession and auto bankruptcies.

Valentine Distilling Co. wins double gold awards for Mayor Pingree bourbons


Two of Ferndale-based Valentine Distilling Co.’s bourbons ranked in the highest class at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last month. Forty-three spirits experts participated at the Hotel Nikko from April 20-23, where judges critiqued more than 2,100 entries through blind tasting, awarding the bronze, silver, gold, and double gold medals.

Valentine’s 10-year Mayor Pingree Blue and Black label bourbons received the most prestigious medal awarded, the double gold, which is awarded to the very best among entries that receive a gold medal rating from judges.

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Novi students are national DECA champs


When it comes to business and marketing, four Novi High school students know their stuff.

The four students were crowned national champions last weekend at the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

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One house at a time, Rebuilding Together helps Oakland County


Standing inside her White Lake home, amongst the sound of hammers banging and saws grinding, Patty Young stood quietly taking it all in.

All around her, a small army of volunteers – mostly representing Milford Presbyterian Church and Highland United Methodist Church – performed much-needed repairs on her home.

They had come to represent the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Oakland County on National Rebuild Day Saturday, April 29.

Read more.
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