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Ferndale hopes to improve downtown parking experience with new app

A fresh vegan and vegetarian dinner at GreenSpace Café. A round of drinks at the recently re-modeled Dino’s Lounge. A quick match of axe-throwing at Detroit Axe. Downtown Ferndale has a lot going for it these days.

And with all of the shopping, nightlife, and entertainment options that the city has to offer, that means that Ferndale has become a magnet destination, drawing in people from all over the region. With so many visitors comes the question of parking.

There are nearly 1,300 parking spaces available in downtown Ferndale, each available at 50 cents an hour. City officials say that paying for parking has gotten a whole lot easier, thanks to the roll-out of the city’s newest parking app, ParkFerndale.

Powered by technology company Passport, ParkFerndale replaces the previous parking app. It is free to download through both Apple and Android stores.

The improvements brought by the new app are numerous, according to the city. These include a customized design for Ferndale, the elimination of zone numbers, zero convenience fees when extending a session via phone, and parking validation codes from local businesses. Drivers don’t have to wait for a future parking session to use a validation code, which is also new.

"Ferndale is an innovative city with forward-thinking residents, business owners, customers and visitors," said Ferndale Assistant City Manager Joseph Gacioch. "The ParkFerndale app will provide a customized experience to help users better navigate their time spent in our city."

Also new is the ParkFerndale.com website, complete with parking news and parking permit information. Residential and business parking permits can now be purchased online.

The developer of the app, the Charlotte, North Carolina technology company Passport, is the same company used for parking in the city of Detroit.

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


Jax Kar Wash: Shining your machine for 65 years

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A lot of crazy things can happen in a car wash. Just ask Bruce Milen or his son Jason Milen, second- and third-generation owners of Jax Kar Wash. 

While they haven’t witnessed anything like the classic “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode — in which Larry David and Cheryl Hines get stuck in the malfunctioning car wash after she has just downed a dose of colon cleanser — the Milens have their own hilarious stories to laugh about.

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Farmington Hills fire department rated one of best in state

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The Farmington Hills Fire Department recently earned a Class 2 rating from the Insurance Services Office, joining just six other fire departments in the state of Michigan to receive this high ranking. This score also positions Farmington Hills among the top 2 percent of all fire departments nationwide.

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Canterbury Village announces weekend pop-up market

Olde World Canterbury Village, located in Lake Orion, Mich., recently announced plans to open a renovated Weekend Pop-Up Market this fall featuring local Michigan vendors and artisans. Opening in September, Canterbury Village Weekend Pop-Up Market will be a free, indoor weekend shopping experience similar to Pop-Up Markets across the country that have grown in popularity.

“It was time to do something new here at Canterbury Village,” said Keith Aldridge. “We have a beautiful setting and facilities, and we want to offer that to local artisans and vendors looking for a space to sell their retail and products. It’s a great partnership with the community and helps us give back to local entrepreneurs.”

The landmark location, once home to the historic Scripps mansion, currently houses Yates Cider Mill at Canterbury Village, as well as Aldridge’s Always Christmas and other boutique shops. The Village also hosts events attended by hundreds throughout the year.

Canterbury Village Weekend Pop-Up Market is currently seeking artisans, vendors, specialty food items and boutiques to be featured in market areas. Vendors will have the option of leasing space for one week or for the entire season. Long term leasing will also have access to storage space.

“The Weekend Pop-Up Market will be perfect for those looking to sell their items for the holiday season,” said Aldridge. “With Yates at Canterbury Village located here, it also makes a great fall family day. We are truly excited about seeing more of the community visit Canterbury Village once again.”

Canterbury Village is located at 2359 Joslyn Court in Lake Orion. For more information, or to become a vendor, call 248-390-3974 or email ka@canterburyvillage.com. For more information on upcoming events at Canterbury Village, visit www.canterburyvillage.com.

P3M chosen for pioneering connected-vehicle infrastructure project

Oakland County, Mich. and the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) have selected P3 Mobility (P3M) of Toronto through an open bid to launch a first-of-its-kind pilot program to test connected vehicle infrastructure and determine whether an innovative business model to monetize that infrastructure is viable. The business model will involve a public-private partnership. They made the announcement in conjunction with the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS America) of America annual meeting in Detroit.

“The pilot program has the potential to revolutionize transportation not just in Oakland County but for the world by seeing whether we can monetize connected mobility infrastructure,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “On an engineering and business level, this is our moon shot.”

In Patterson’s 2014 State of the County speech, he announced the formation of the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force whose job is to tap industry experts to develop a business model for implementing connected vehicle infrastructure throughout the county. P3M will help the task force take the next step on developing and testing a leading-edge business model.

“This is no small task. After all, Oakland County has 5,600 miles of roads and 1,600 intersections with traffic signals,” RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz said. “We in Oakland County, however, are visionary. We don’t view the magnitude of the task as an obstacle but a challenge to which to put our best and brightest minds to solve.”

P3 Mobility will install wireless smart intersection technology at 10-12 intersections and research the user experience to better understand the optimal pricing of various road services and their projected income potential. The exact location, dates of installation, and cost of the project will be determined.

“We are delighted to have been selected for this groundbreaking project in Oakland County,” P3M CEO Erin Milligan. “During the pilot, we will engage Oakland County residents at every level which will include conducting extensive market research to learn what they think about and want for future connected mobility in their community.”

RCOC is no stranger to connected-vehicle technology – including connected-vehicle infrastructure - and has a global reputation for its leadership in the field. It was the first local agency in the United States to introduce a connected-vehicle project in 1992 when it launched its FAST-TRAC adaptive traffic signal system. Since then, it has been a key player in numerous connected-vehicle technology tests and deployments, partnering with the Federal Highway Administration, Michigan Department of Transportation, all the major auto manufacturers, many tier 1 auto suppliers and many of the leading connected-vehicle companies from around the world.

“The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute published an article a few weeks ago that says implementing connected vehicle technology and infrastructure could prevent up to 8.1 million car crashes and 44,000 deaths,” Patterson said. “Taking another step closer to countywide connected vehicle infrastructure is another step closer to preventing automobile deaths and injuries.”

For more information go to OakGov.com/AdvantageOakland, select “Programs” and click on “Connected Vehicle”; RCOCWeb.org, and P3Mobility.com.

About P3 Mobility

P3M provides a software platform which enables secure and authenticated subscriptions to various smart road services. The "P3" in their name stands for public-private-partnership as they believe that intelligent road infrastructure can be built and funded through such a model. P3M has identified and formed partnerships with leading companies in the Connected Autonomous Vehicle, market research and consulting sectors to bring Oakland County a consortium of world-class expertise. The list of International and North American partner companies which provided support in their RFP response included: Marsh, WSP, Integral Blue, E-Scrypt, Miovision, Savari, Paxgrid CDN, IMG Rebel, Head Research, Giants and Gentlemen, Mobile Comply, Future Help Design, Veterans Life USA, Axcess Internet, Lease Web, Invest Stratford, and Stonebridge. P3M aims to engage the diverse expertise of its partner firms to demonstrate a level of success in the pilot phase which will pave the way for a full-scale roll-out in Oakland County, the State of Michigan and throughout North America.

Marquette Castings in Royal Oak starts manufacturing in Michigan

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Royal Oak’s Marquette Castings has launched a new line of cast iron and carbon steel skillets that are designed and produced in Michigan. Products were previously designed in Royal Oak and manufactured in China.

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Kresge announces 2018 Artist Fellows

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Kresge Arts in Detroit announced its 2018 class of Artist Fellows, divided this year between the "live arts" — dance, theater and playwriting — and film and music.

Sixteen artists and two collectives in the tri-county area will get $25,000 apiece, no strings attached.

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Auburn Hills' Dodge announces fourth annual legal drag racing at M1 Concourse in Pontiac

Excerpt

Auburn Hills’ FCA Wednesday announced its fourth annual Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, a day of legal drag racing and thrill rides scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 11 at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac. Roadkill, a Motor Trend Group brand, is producing the event. 

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"Shepard Fairey" and "Punk Graphics" at Cranbrook

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Call Shepard Fairey the bait. 

Cranbrook Art Museum Director Andrew Blauvelt wanted to mount a large show on punk's influence on graphic art from the 1970s and 1980s, but worried no youngsters would show up. 

That's where "Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989-1999" comes in, a small show that takes up one of the galleries at the end of the sprawling, visually dazzling "Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986."

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UHY Michigan celebrates 50 years; donates 50k

This year marks the 50th anniversary for UHY LLP Michigan (formerly Follmer Rudziewicz). To commemorate this special milestone, the firm has exciting plans, including pledging $50,000 in the form of $1,000 donations to 50 different local charities who need it most. They’re also sponsoring a temporary exhibit filled with 20th century accounting artifacts at the Detroit Historical Society in the Streets of Old Detroit.

What started in 1968 as a two-man operation in Southfield has evolved into one of southeast Michigan’s largest accounting firms. Founder Gordon Follmer, 81, is still largely a part of the business as he was 50 years ago. Client retention is another reason the firm has enjoyed success, and there are several clients who have been with them since day one. In the year 2000, a multi-firm merger formed UHY in the US and today has 18 locations across the country.

“Fifty years in business is a huge accomplishment in itself”, said Tom Callan, CEO of UHY’s Michigan practice. “Being able to enjoy the year-over-year growth and employee involvement and excitement makes this anniversary that much more special”. Callan has been with the firm since 1992, starting off his career as a junior accountant. The average tenure for UHY’s partner/principal group is 20 plus years, of which over half of them came fresh out of college and have stayed their entire career.

To kick off the half-century celebration, the firm held an extravagant birthday party at the Crofoot in Pontiac, buried a time capsule, passed out employee gifts and grand prize giveaways that will continue through the end of the year, displayed several oversized banners in and around their buildings, and sealed every piece of busy season mail with a special anniversary gold logo – to name a few.

In additional to charitable contributions, future plans include more employee and client surprises, billboards and other advertisements, and maybe even a community event collaboration with a very familiar city also celebrating its 50th birthday.


Brewery celebrates first year with Feelgood Tap and ethical clothing launch

HomeGrown Brewing Company is celebrating its first year in business by joining the Michigan Feelgood Tap program and selling T-shirts made from water bottles. Since opening in April last year, the Oxford brewery has been focusing on being socially and environmentally responsible and owners John and Marie Powers said this next step is a way of “putting their money where their mouth is”.

The Feelgood Tap program supports Michigan-based charities, and means that $1 of a selected beer at HomeGrown will go to a nominated cause, starting with their Mexican Lager release this Thursday. The charity program was launched in 2016 by Stephen Roginson of Batch Brewing Company (in Corktown Detroit) and 33 Michigan breweries have joined the program already.

“There are enormous opportunities for breweries to give back to the communities they are in, and that they depend on,” says John Powers.

"We're delighted to add yet another member to the Feelgood Tap family in Oakland County, and our first in Oxford," said Feelgood Tap founder Stephen Roginson. "We're looking forward to doing exciting work with HomeGrown and, along with their patrons, creating a lot of change for important causes both local to Oxford and across the state."

As part of its ethical drive, HomeGrown has also launched a new clothing range, with t-shirts made by Vapor Apparel using recycled materials. The yarn used in the clothing, named Eco Repreve, is made from 100 percent recycled fibers, even from soda pop and water bottles.

“It’s incredible that we can take items like water bottles and recycle them into clothing – and they actually feel really comfortable,” says Marie Powers. “When we heard about it we thought ‘we have to be a part of this’.”

The brewery also looks to its own backyard when sourcing ingredients. HomeGrown sources vegetables from Oxford’s Simple Gift Farms, meats from Oxford’s East River Organic Farm, coffee from Lake Orion’s White Pine Coffee, honey from Oxford’s Golden Apiaries, malt from Motor City Malt House, hops from MI Hops in Traverse City, yeast strains from Craft Cultures in the Upper Peninsula, and wine from Michigan’s Black Star Farms. Completing the cycle, spent grain from the brewing process goes to local farms to be used as feed and the brewery donates surplus food to local food bank.

Head Brewer Joe Powers said the benefits of getting ingredients from local producers are obvious. “To be able to source everything from hops to yeast in our own state is incredible, and makes for a top-quality beer.”


Oakland County Fair returns to Springfield Oaks County Park July 6-15

Pack up the family and head for the Oakland County Fair at Springfield Oaks County Park in Davisburg July 6-15.

This year, the fair will feature “Walking with Giants,” a dinosaur and dragon encounter, Presented by Prehistoric Adventures, the creatures are 8′ tall and 16′ long and are anatomically correct, with incredibly realistic eye blinking, tail swooshing and a mighty roaring sound.

The fair will also feature Ron Diamond's Comedy Hypnotism Show, “Magic of the Mind”; Barnyard Express, a mobile educational farm center; and Knights of Valour jousting along with other main arena events, contests, fair food, Big Rock Amusements carnival, fireworks, a free concert and livestock.

Fair parking, which includes admission, is $12/vehicle and $6/motorcycle. Presenting sponsor, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, offers free parking Friday, July 6 and Thursday, July 12 with a 2018 Oakland County Parks and Recreation Vehicle Permit. Fireworks will begin after dusk following the Friday night concert.

“The Oakland County Fair celebrates Oakland County’s rural agricultural heritage and gives kids the chance to see farm animals up close,” Oakland County Parks Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. “There’s some new excitement at the fair this year with walking dinosaurs and jousting.”

Main arena events in the evening include an off-road demolition derby, Figure Eight Races, Superkicker Rodeo, Night of Destruction and Monster Trucks. Tickets for these events may be purchased at OakFair.org.

Springfield Oaks County Park is located at 12451 Andersonville Road in Davisburg.

For a complete fair schedule, visit OakFair.org.

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


Learn about trails and parks during Trail Blazer Walking Series

Put on your walking shoes and learn about Oakland County Parks by hiking through different parks on summer evenings as part of the Trail Blazer Walking Series.

Beginning July 10, the program will feature one-mile hikes led by Oakland County Parks and Recreation staff who will discuss unique park facts throughout the walk. Held each Tuesday for six weeks beginning at 7 p.m., the walk schedule includes:

  • July 10  Addison Oaks   
    1480 West Romeo Road, Leonard
    Learn about invasive species and other ecological features in the area
     
  • July 17  Waterford Oaks  
    1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford
    Learn about bluebirds and other animals in the area
     
  • July 24  Catalpa Oaks
    27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
    Discover historical tidbits about the Catalpa Oaks community
     
  • July 31  Lyon Oaks 
    52251 Pontiac Trail, Wixom
    Learn about invasive species and other ecological features in the area
     
  • Aug. 7  Independence Oaks 
    9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
    Join a naturalist on a hike around Crooked Lake
     
  • Aug. 14  Red Oaks Nature Center
    30300 Hales St., Madison Heights                       
    Explore the Sensory Trail


Programs are free. Park entry fee is required at Addison Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Independence Oaks and Red Oaks County Parks. Walkers are urged to bring bug spray and a refillable water bottle. Free pedometers will be given while supplies last. For details, contact Sandy Dorey at 248-424-7077.

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


Oakland County still among the top in population growth amidst state's 83 counties

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Oakland County’s Lyon Township outpaced all but four Michigan communities in population growth since 2010.

According to 2017 U.S. Census Bureau’s data, the township, which was among the state’s top five fastest-growing communities from 2010 through 2017, increased its population by 36.6 percent since 2010, or 5,310 residents. The southwest county community grew 804 residents between 2016 and 2017, the latest data available from the Census.

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Royal Oak brings quirky charm to streets with 9 old pianos

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It can happen to the nicest of old pianos — to be suddenly disowned, then consigned to oblivion.

But how lucky for nine discarded uprights, getting a new lease on life in downtown Royal Oak.

Granted, they’re homeless — they’ll spend the summer outdoors. But each will have just enough overhead protection to stay dry, in reasonable tune and ready for street play, night or day, said Jason Gittinger, a former rock 'n' roll drummer who chairs the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts.

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