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Troy's Kresge Foundation and others invest in the largest U.S. pay-for-success fund to date


New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc., Steve and Connie Ballmer, and The Kresge Foundation in Troy announced $40 million in investment commitments to The Community Outcomes Fund, a fund to scale pay-for-success investments in the United States.

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Robotics champions of the world


Hugs and high-fives started a few seconds before the countdown reached zero, making it official – Team RUSH 27 is the 2018 World Champion. “The team was excited beyond belief,” said Clarkston High School senior Jason Richards about Team RUSH 27’s victory at the FIRST Robotics World Championships at Ford Field in Detroit.

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The Barber Pole: a step back in time in Downtown Birmingham


Now in its 70th year, The Barber Pole is Birmingham’s oldest, still-operating business, and it hasn’t changed much at all through seven decades and three generations of owners.

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Light Up the Night at Oakland County Parks' special event

EVENT NAME:           Light Up the Night

WHAT:                       Glow-in-the-dark activities, games and music

WHEN:                      Saturday, June 9
                                  9-11 p.m.

Addison Oaks County Park, 1480 West Romeo Road, Leonard, MI 48367


This event will include cosmic putt-putt, glow-in-the dark face painting, games, music, StarLab (an inflatable planetarium) and T-shirt printing. Bring a plain, dark T-shirt to print. Contact NawrockiM@oakgov.com or call 248-858-0916 with questions.

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

Weekly run club encourages thirst for vitality in Pontiac

Daniela Walters makes an excellent point about beer and running: they go well together.


That’s why Exferimentation Brewing Company, Pontiac’s scientific-sounding brewery, is the perfect place to host a weekly grass-roots run club.


“If you figure each glass of beer is 120 to 150 calories, and each mile you run can burn about 100 calories, you don’t feel so guilty,” says Walters, a local patent attorney with the Dobrusin Law Firm who, together with Exferimentation, is coordinating the run club.


Open to every experience level from absolute beginner to seasoned marathoner, run club is an opportunity for people to gather, share training wisdom, and see the neighborhoods of Pontiac from a pound-the-ground perspective.


“This will be a comfortable, welcoming setting with different pace groups, advice, and motivational support. Community running is a big help to overcome the barriers in your own mind, and it’s a group of people to motivate and distract you so you can do the extra half mile or mile,” says Walters, who runs regularly, and has participated in a few competitive distance events.


Launching on May 8, run club will start each Tuesday evening at 5:30, and continue through the end of October. The club is a collaborative effort between Exferimentation and Main Street Pontiac, a downtown-promoting nonprofit that focuses on arts and culture, makerspaces, and health and wellness efforts in the city of Pontiac.


“With Healthy Pontiac, We Can! and McLaren Oakland here in Pontiac, this is the perfect ecosystem for health and wellness, and the run club is one of our first health initiatives here in Pontiac,” says Walters, president of Main Street Pontiac.


A downtown filled with runners makes the city appear vibrant and healthy, too, an important optic for revitalization. And all participants are welcome relax and refuel with friends at Exferimentation after every run.


“We do try to have a healthier angle at the brewery,” says Exferimentation general manager Seth Leininger, pointing out the antioxidant value of their hibiscus wheat beer’s pink-purple hue.


Leininger will be the one who stays behind to mind the brewery and serve customers their favorite craft beers and ciders, but he says run club is a perfect fit for pub co-owners and fitness enthusiasts Scott Boughton, Eric Benton, and Andy Stamper. They originally started a run club when they opened the Pontiac brewery in 2016, and fit in a weekly run, in between growing their brewing business and working their full-time jobs in the automotive industry.


“[The club] didn’t really pick up again last spring. Everyone was too busy, or there was too much going on. Now Healthy Pontiac has helped us gain some momentum by researching what night of the week and what time would be best,” Leininger says.


While he wants runners to come back to Exferimentation, to quench their thirst after running, Leininger hopes the club starts strong and grows quickly.


“I know that about 20 people responded to the interest survey, and I would love to see 20, but an average of about a dozen people running each week would be a successful group, too.”


Join the run club by showing up at Exferimentation, 7 N. Saginaw, Pontiac. 5:30 p.m. on May 8, and every Tuesday through October.


Discover Michigan's parks and waterways with SEMCOG's ParkFinder app and Water Resources Plan

SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, wants southeast Michigan--and everyone else, for that matter--to know just how special its natural resources are. The regional planning partnership is championing two recent developments that work to inform people of our parks and waterways systems.

Released March 22nd, the Water Resources Plan for Southeast Michigan emphasizes that not only are issues like water cleanliness and stormwater management vital to our region, but that water is also a powerful economic driver, as well. The report champions the Blue Economy, connecting quality of life issues to waterfront accessibility.

"We know that for our region, the Great Lakes, rivers, and streams are important to our quality of life, to retain residents and to attract new ones," says Kevin Vettraino, Manager of Plan Implementation at SEMCOG. "What is the main selling point for southeast Michigan? Our water."

Vettraino points to waterfront reclamation projects in places like Detroit and Port Huron, where once inaccessible industrial sites were replaced with popular riverwalks that attract people and help reinvigorate local economies.

SEMCOG also recently released the Southeast Michigan ParkFinder app, available for Apple and Android smart phones. The app is free to download.

The app provides information on 2,600 of the region’s parks, including lists of amenities. Users can pull up a map and drop a pin, and the app shows the different parks nearby.

Users can also search for park by amenities desired, whether they’re looking for a quick visit to a playground or dog park, or an overnight trip with camping facilities and more.

"The state is already doing a good job with tourism programs like Pure Michigan. It’s time for southeast Michigan to promote its wonderful amenities," Vettraino says.

"It shouldn’t be a secret that we have really robust park systems."

The ParkFinder map is also available online.

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

Pentastar Aviation ranks among top fixed-based operators in country

Pentastar Aviation, a leader in the world of business aviation, has once again been named one of the top Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs) in the country by the most respected publications in the aviation industry. In two separate surveys, Aviation International News’ AIN FBO Survey 2018 and Professional Pilot’s 2018 PRASE Survey (Preferences Regarding Aviation Services and Equipment),Pentastar claimed the #3 ranking in the country as voted by their readers. They were also named the #1 FBO in the Great Lakes Region in the AIN survey and the #2 Best Independent FBO in the Professional Pilot survey.
“We are extraordinarily proud that our commitment to world-class customer service continues to be recognized,” said Greg Schmidt, President & CEO Pentastar Aviation. “In a very competitive industry, it is gratifying not only to be recognized, but to also be the only aviation services provider in Michigan to receive such an honor.”

 “While Detroit-area Oakland County [International] Airport is a competitive market for general aviation handling with no fewer than six FBOs, Pentastar Aviation continues to soar,” writes Curt Epstein, AIN. “Pentastar, which is open 24/7 with on-duty maintenance staff and CSRs, is likely the only FBO in the U.S. with its own jetway. Part of the Stargate Terminal, a separate 10,000-sq-ft structure…, is used to handle jetliners and aircraft carrying clientele who desire discretion, such as visiting sports teams, entertainers, and dignitaries.” 

AIN has its subscribers evaluate FBOs they have visited in the past year based on five categories — line service, passenger amenities, pilot amenities, facilities and customer service representatives. The current survey process, in which Pentastar has annually been recognized among the top FBOs, provides overall cumulative average scores from 2013 to the present.
The Professional Pilot PRASE Survey is an annual tabulation of customer opinions of aviation ground services. Each year, Pro Pilot polls executives in charge of flight departments, aviation managers, chief pilots, pilots, CEOs and other qualified subscribers to recognize industry-leading service providers. PRASE is heralded as the gold standard of aviation ground service leaders, and Pentastar has ranked among the top ten FBOs on this survey every year since 2005.
Pentastar has been recognized annually for over a decade by those who appreciate their commitment to exceed the industry standards for both safety and service excellence. 
About Pentastar Aviation
Pentastar Aviation, wholly owned by Edsel B. Ford II, is a leader in the world of business aviation, providing aircraft management, advisory services, aircraft maintenance, avionics services, interior services and award-winning FBO services. Air charter transportation services are provided by Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a U.S. FAR Part 135 on-demand air carrier, or by other U.S., FAR Part 135 certificated on-demand air carriers arranged by Pentastar Aviation, LLC. Their team is committed to delivering the highest standards of safety and service excellence to their customers.

Pentastar Aviation has been servicing regional and global travelers for more than 50 years and is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). For more information, please visit www.pentastaraviation.com.

Cornerstone Community Financial hosts annual "Shred Day"

WHATCornerstone Community Financial’s annual “Shred Day” event, a free public event that will include two Shred-it trucks on-site to safely and securely destroy unneeded personal and financial documents, including: paperwork, CDs, IDs and credit cards, stapled and spiral-bound items and more.
To avoid the risk of identity theft or other financial crimes, the experts at CCF recommend individuals shred anything that includes a home address, signature, banking or investment account number, social security number, medical or legal information, credit card and mortgage documents and anything that includes a credit score.
In addition to shredding services, a donation truck from Goodwill Industries will be hosted on-site to collect any household donations from spring cleaning efforts, plus complimentary sweet treats for all in attendance.
WHEN: Saturday, May 19, 2018
              9 a.m. – Noon (or until trucks are full)

WHERE: CCF West Troy Branch (parking lot)
                3001 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy

WHOCornerstone Community Financial is a progressive, full-service, state-chartered credit union, owned and operated by its members, which currently number more than 27,000.  Originally established in 1951 as Motor Parts Credit Union, CCF today has six branch locations in Michigan and Ohio, more than 65 employees and more than $260 million in total assets under management.  More information on CCF is available at www.ccfinancial.com.

The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce celebrates 30 years in Michigan

The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce (SACC DETROIT) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  An Anniversary Reception is planned for May 18th at 6:30 pm at Andiamo Ristorante on Telegraph in Bloomfield Township.  The anniversary dinner is open to the public. Reservations can be made on the SACC website at www.saccdetroit.org.
SACC Detroit is a regional chamber under the national organization – SACC USA (www.sacc-usa.org). The chamber’s mission is to enhance trade, commerce, and investment between the Detroit region and Sweden. Since their inception in 1988, the organization has grown to over 150 members made up of industry, government and academia.
“Sweden and Michigan have a lot in common,” commented SACC Detroit Chairman, Andreas Waller, “From the shared primary industries that both Sweden and Michigan align like the  Automotive Industry, the Medical Device Industry and the Machinery Industry where there is great collaboration between our companies, to the climate that is similar between Michigan and Sweden, we think there are great opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.” 
Waller continued: “Our goal moving forward is to connect Michigan companies with other Swedish companies in the USA through the other SACC chapters around the nation and to continue to bridge technologies from the USA to Sweden and back again”.  Waller said “We want to be the conduit for Sweden firms that want to expand in the USA. We can help them with their US location with the help of our membership which is made up of existing US Swedish-owned firms and professional service providers that work with foreign direct investment (FDI) companies.”
“We see this 30th year anniversary dinner as a milestone for the Michigan and Sweden relationship and the beginning of the next phase of this strategic relationship between the governments and industry” mentioned Christina Lidgren, Executive Director of SACC Detroit. Lidgren continued,” We invite all businesses that want to do more business with Sweden, to join SACC Detroit and be connected to the SACC Chapters around the USA and with Swedish industry directly. Everyone is welcomed!”
For more information attending or sponsoring the 30th Anniversary Dinner, membership in SACC Detroit or other upcoming events, visit www.saccdetroit.org

Amtech sponsors the First Annual Acton Oakland Children's Business Fair

Could a ten-year-old invent the next Über? Attendants will find out at the First Annual Acton Oakland Children’s Business Fair on May 19.

Designed to showcase kids’ entrepreneurial genius, this event is sponsored by Acton Academy of Oakland County, the Acton School of Business, Amtech Electrocircuits and generous support from donors and volunteers. It runs from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at 530 Pine St, Rochester, 48307. This event is free and open to the public.

At this event, 30 young entrepreneurs, aged 6-13, will be challenged to create a product or service, develop a brand, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers. The children are responsible for the setup, sales, and interacting with customers.

This event has acted as a springboard to many successful ventures. One previous competitor from 2009, Makaila Ulmer of Bee Sweet Lemonade, is now sold in Whole Foods Market in Texas as a result of her young business savvy.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s business innovators and leaders. The Children’s Business Fair gives students the opportunity to spread their entrepreneurial wings and get a head start on promising business careers,” said Jeff Sandefer, founder of the Acton School of Business, one of the sponsors of the fair.

Both adult sponsors and young entrepreneurs are available for interviews on camera or off.

For more information, please contact Jay Patel at 248-607-0648 or cbf@acton248.org.

Cafe space opens in newly renovated Huron Valley Council for the Arts HQ

Downtown Highland Township has a new gathering space, which, according to some in the community, is something that is long overdue.

It also has a newly renovated headquarters for the non-profit arts organization Huron Valley Council for the Arts, something that was also in need.

As it turns out, these two developments are one in the same. This week, the Huron Valley Council for the Arts is celebrating its grand re-opening after four months of renovations. And while there are many improvements to point to, it is the addition of a café space that has HVCA executive director Erin Sabo most excited.

"Highland doesn’t have a coffee shop in town. We want to fill that void--a place to come in and hang out. We’re happy to give that," says Sabo.

“We believe that art brings communities together and now we actually have the space to do that.”

The roof has been repaired. New carpeting has been installed and a new paint job performed. The addition of a private rehearsal space freed up the room for the new café, which includes tables, public wifi, and a coffee maker.

The goal is to have the HVCA headquarters become a true community space, one where neighbors come in to read, write, draw, study, have meetings, work on their laptops, and all the other things people do at coffee shops. It also makes it easier to promote HVCA programming, which includes classical and contemporary concert series, arts clubs for kids, and festivals, as well as their mission: To promote the arts.

"We’re trying to break down the barrier for the people that think museums are stuffy places. We want them to know that this is their place," says Sabo.

"It’s not a bad way to have a cup of coffee, surrounded by beautiful things on the wall."

The HVCA is celebrating its grand re-opening with a week’s worth of events, including open houses, hands-on projects for children, and a Saturday, April 28, performance from Scottish troubadour Jim Malcolm.

Huron Valley Council for the Arts is located at 205 W. Livingston Rd. in Highland.

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

Oakland County's economy continues to grow


The tempo of Oakland County's job growth moderated in 2017, but that slow down appears to represent a "temporary hiccup" before it picks up to a more robust pace similar to 2015 and 2016.

Job growth for the next three years is forecast to average 1.9 percent per year or an increase of more than 42,000 jobs from 2018 to 2020, said University of Michigan economists.

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Detroit Zoological Society educator honored with national award

Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) Curator of Education Claire Lannoye-Hall has been presented with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Distinguished Informal Science Education Award during the National Conference on Science Education in Atlanta.  The NSTA awards honor K-12 teachers, principals, professors and other professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education.

“Claire is an inspirational and effective educator. She plays an essential role in creating and implementing education programs for our community that ignite a passion for wildlife and wild places.  We are so proud of her achievements and feel honored to have her as part of our team,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO.

Lannoye-Hall has worked for the DZS for 16 years, building and facilitating partnerships with local school districts and helping thousands of students and teachers connect their classrooms to real-world learning experiences.  She also works with teachers through carefully planned and implemented professional development workshops to take their science curriculum a step further.

“Claire works tirelessly to keep on the forefront of current educational methods and needs, sharing this information with her team at the DZS and incorporating it into programming,” said Dwight Sieggreen, past president of the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

Lannoye-Hall is an advocate for making science accessible – she has developed camps, early learner programs, afterschool programming and teen volunteer opportunities that do just that.  In 2009, she helped form the DZS’s partnership with Oakland County’s Children’s Village – a residential treatment and detention center for youth.  This program instills a respect and reverence for the natural world through various activities, including gardening and taking part in amphibian conservation projects alongside DZS staff.

Lannoye-Hall also leads the DZS’s involvement in the Adopt-A-School program in Peru, which aims to preserve the rainforest one child at a time.  The DZS has partnered with the Civil Association for Conservation of the Peruvian Amazon Environment since 1999, supporting children and teachers in rural areas of the rainforest.  Each spring, more than 3,000 students and teachers receive a year’s worth of basic school supplies, delivered by Lannoye-Hall and a group of volunteers.

Lannoye-Hall was also named one of Oakland County’s “Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2018”, which recognizes young professionals in the community who have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities.  

Clarkston High wins top award at FIRST robotics championship; other area students recognized


Numerous Oakland County teams in elementary through high school won accolades at the four day FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit, held through Saturday, April 28.

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OCC students showcase work at annual film festival

Filmgoers and the community are invited to the 8th annual Oakland Community College Student Film Festival featuring the works of OCC student filmmakers. Students will screen their short films to the public on May 24, 2018 at the college’s Smith Theatre in Farmington Hills.

“OCC’s Student Film Festival is a juried event showcasing a diverse and outstanding selection of short films created by OCC students,” said Jack Cronin, OCC Cinematic Arts faculty member.

According to Cronin, the jury is made-up of a three-person panel including former cinematic arts students, industry professionals and faculty. “There are several criteria the jury looks at including technical and aesthetic quality. The jury decides which films are shown at the Festival and which ones win. Each year we feature a grand prize winner and two honorable mentions. The grand prize winner receives a GoPro camera to continue their great work.”

The Festival is produced by OCC’s Cinematic Arts Program. Featured films cover all genres and each is under 15 minutes in length. The free event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. The Smith Theatre is located at 27055 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, Mich. For more information about OCC’s Student Festival, contact Jack Cronin at jdcronin@oaklandcc.edu.

About OCC’s Cinematic Arts Program - The Cinematic Arts Program awards an Associate in Arts degree. This program incorporates a theoretical and practical field of study, providing the student with a multidimensional experience in the study and application of cinematic arts. Subsequent to completion of the program, students will be prepared to enter the film/video industry or pursue a bachelor’s degree in film/video production studies.  

About OCC - With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve.  More than 40,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.
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