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Circuit Court
40 N Main, Mount Clemens, MI 48043
(586) 469-5208

In This Issue....

Mark’s Message
For the Record
Responsible Regionalism
Macomb County focuses on Multiculturalism & Inclusion Efforts
Second annual Macomb Business Awards a big success
Seeing orange – Department of Roads 2014 construction schedule
Macomb County communications constantly evolving
Kick off the Warm Weather Season with the 3rd Annual Sprint & Splash
Senior Fun Festival just around the corner
Other news

Mark’s Message

By Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive

Spring brings about a lot of excitement with the arrival of the sun, greenery and the ability to be outside. I love this time of year.

However, one concern with the spring thaw is the reality of the poor conditions of our roads in this state. I would like all of you to know that I am working hard with our legislators at the state level to make sure that this issue is not ignored. Funding to fix roads is overdue. Filling potholes is not the solution I expect. Fortunately, our Department of Roads is working around the clock to fill these potholes. I’d like to again thank these workers for all that they have done for our residents to address this issue and for all their work this past winter.

As I briefly mentioned in the last newsletter, just before the New Year began, Macomb County officially opened COMTEC. This facility fully integrates the county’s Department of Roads, Information Technology, Emergency Management and police/fire dispatch. Nowhere in North American does such a facility exist but here in Macomb County.

This amazing facility is able to provide a higher level of public safety to Macomb County residents than ever available before because it combines, under one roof, all the key elements necessary for personnel to respond to an emergency situation. Providing the best public safety for our residents was important to me as sheriff and it continues to be as county executive.

We have many great events coming up all throughout Macomb County as our spring/summer season kicks off. Freedom Hill has a great lineup of concerts, local farms and farmers markets are starting to buzz with fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers, and Macomb County will be celebrating its blue economy by hosting its annual Sprint and Splash event on June 7. For information on any of these activities or other events in your community, visit www.makemacombyourhome.com or like us on Facebook. Enjoy your spring and contact our office at (586) 469-7001 if you have any questions or concerns!

For the Record

By Mark Deldin, Deputy Macomb County Executive

During the past three years of the new form of government, much has been written and discussed about the oftentimes tumultuous relationship between the Board of Commissioners (BOC) and the Office of County Executive (OCE). Call it what you will, but I characterized it from the beginning with two words: “growing pains.”

On January 1, 2011, that new form of government changed the way county services were administered. Basically speaking, the charter created the OCE that would be responsible for the day-to-day operations of all departments except those headed by elected officials and/or governing boards. Previously, day-to-day oversight was handled by a 26-member BOC, which the charter reduced to 13 members with legislative duties, including authority to appropriate funds.

Looking at this significant shift of duties from a pragmatic point of view, it is not difficult to understand that, other than the charter document, there was no history or template for the OCE to follow as they came into office. The same was true for the now reduced BOC legislative body whose new primary responsibility was to create policy, establish ordinances and maintain oversight of all county funds. It stands to reason that both branches of government (legislative and executive) were searching for a “new normal” when it came to operating their respective offices on a daily basis. This was new for everyone.

I commend the courage of Commissioner Kathy Vosburg for being the first board chair in this new government to bring assemblance and stability to the BOC office during those initial few years.

From my viewpoint within this large organization, and as I reflect upon the last three years, I am pleased and encouraged that this county and both branches of government are now moving together in the right direction. Under the current leadership of Board Chair David Flynn, tensions have eased and good dialogue is taking place between our offices. Less energy is spent on settling disputes and more energy is spent on collaborating and discussing good policy for the betterment of serving our citizens. The primary reason we exist as a government is to provide a service to the public. As a former school administrator, I understood implicitly the only reason I had a job was because of the children that walked through those doors every morning. Now my priority here every day is simple – people over politics.

I’m wise enough to know that the two branches of government regardless of who fills each seat will never agree 100 percent of the time, and that is normal – that is democracy. What has changed is that our office roles and responsibilities are now well established and defined. Now that there is good communication, we are building on our strengths and common belief and managing our weaknesses or areas of disagreement.

Solid relationships are built upon trust and respect. Talk is cheap and time needs to pass in order to “model the way.” Trust is something you feel.

With the state of Michigan and Macomb County crawling out from the recession, many challenges lie ahead. I’m optimistic that under the leadership of Executive Mark A. Hackel and Board Chair Flynn, they will continue to guide us to better days, bring calm and stability, not only to the more than 2,000 dedicated and hardworking employees of the county, but also to the more than 851,000 residents and 18,000 businesses we serve on a daily basis.

Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and this time it isn’t a freight train coming head-on. To all of our loyal county employees, thank you for all that you do each and every day to serve the citizens of Macomb. I am proud to be associated with you!

Responsible Regionalism

By Melissa Roy, Assistant Macomb County Executive

While the word “regionalism” might end up on the list of banished words that made Lake Superior State famous, it is a word that has a constant presence in the daily debate of our existence in the Detroit area. There are times when our region is capable of successfully executing truly regional initiatives and other times when discussion continues without a solution or end in sight.

What exactly is regionalism? According to Merriam Webster it is “the development of a political or social system based on one or more such areas." It is also defined as “consciousness of and loyalty to a distinct region with a homogeneous population.” While no one would doubt Detroiters' loyalty, we certainly are not homogeneous!  That is a part of our charm and our competitive advantage.  There is something here for everyone.  How we bring it together is another matter altogether. Let’s look at some great examples where it has been successful.

SMART: The Suburban Mobility Area Regional Transportation system has been operating at a millage rate that is about a third of what Grand Rapids residents pay for the Rapid. While this area is not known for its robust transit system, that cannot be attributed to waste. SMART operates across a wide geographic area and is currently fully depreciating their buses.

Detroit Zoo: The Zoo just keeps getting better. Lions, tigers, polar bears and soon an even better set up for the penguins. As a great attraction for the region, the zoo yields a $100.2 million economic impact on the region. Additionally, they provide educational programming all-year around.

Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA): From Warren to Romeo, thousands from Macomb County have been able to enjoy their own tour of this region’s finest collection of art. Schools in Macomb sent 9,778 students on field trips with complimentary transportation to the DIA in 2013. The DIA also featured its Inside Out program in Macomb along with a comprehensive art curriculum. The programming was so well-received, the DIA will expand its offerings this year.

Cobo: Our region’s largest convention facility and the home of our premier event, the North American International Auto Show, has seen a dramatic facelift and a reduction in operating costs. The loans on Cobo’s capital improvements are being paid off sooner than anticipated. And, Cobo has kept its commitment to local firms – 84 percent of Cobo’s contracts are with locally-based companies.

The lesson here?  Regionalism works when done with care. In each instance named above, the parameters of participation and goals were defined.

What’s next for regionalism? Infrastructure is a good spot to start. The inception of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has brought some hope for a more regionally-coordinated and modernized system. Don Morandini, a 41-year veteran of Macomb County who recently retired, is the county’s newest appointee on the RTA to help make sure this region’s ideas are considered in future decisions made.

Macomb County focuses on Multiculturalism & Inclusion Efforts

By Pamela J. Lavers, Assistant County Executive

OneMacomb

Macomb County government is all about people serving people. Macomb has always provided outreach efforts to our residents; however, with our growing and increasingly diverse community, we are making special efforts so that no one is excluded. The county recognizes that to have a diverse workforce serving a diverse community requires that multicultural efforts be regarded as a fundamental way of doing business.

In February, Macomb County celebrated Black History Month. It provided a great opportunity to dedicate a highly visible and key location within our county to former County Commissioner Bobby Hill for his historical impact as a trailblazer and legacy of improving our Macomb community. Bobby was the first African-American Macomb County commissioner, a job that he served in passionately. It was a pleasure to be able to host his daughters Veronica and Andrea as we dedicated a tribute to his service by creating the Bobby Hill Welcoming Center inside the Wetzel Lobby in our County Administration Building.

Honoring Bobby is one of many efforts we’re making in Macomb. We’re working hard to make sure we reach as many as we can. Listed below are some of our diversity efforts.

  • Macomb County is the first county in the state of Michigan to join Welcoming Michigan, a collaborative that works to promote a welcoming atmosphere in which immigrants and native-born residents can find common ground and shared prosperity.
  • We launched a diversity and inclusion webpage and created a “OneMacomb” logo used for our multicultural and inclusion efforts.
  • We created a OneMacomb Committee that focuses on three main objectives:
    • Promoting multiculturalism and inclusiveness – Macomb County recognizes the growing value and importance of a proactive role in advocating for inclusive neighborhoods that value and support multiculturalism.
    • Strengthening Macomb County’s economy – we’re building our connections in the community, region, state and world to make us more attractive and welcoming to all including immigrants, internationals, foreign trade and investment.
    • Identifying and implementing “best practices” in the way the county recruits, hires and trains our employees and how we deliver our county services.
  • Macomb County participates in community events and meets with diverse organizations.

County Executive Mark A. Hackel has focused on outreach and diversity efforts to establish beneficial connections between all of our residents, businesses, county departments and organizations. Some of our efforts take shape as programs intended to create opportunities. If the county sees an immediate or long-term need, outreach efforts can be used to cultivate healthy habits, skills and interests in certain populations.

OneMacomb’s vision is a community that welcomes and celebrates diversity – where everyone’s quality of life is enriched by multiculturalism.  We invite you to become ambassadors of “OneMacomb and help embrace, share and celebrate multiculturalism and inclusion with all who make Macomb their home.

Second annual Macomb Business Awards a big success

By Stephen Cassin, Director, Planning & Economic Development

A sold-out crowd of nearly 400 individuals joined together on Tuesday, Feb. 11 to network, honor nominees and celebrate businesses in Macomb County. This year, 35 nominees in five categories were narrowed down to 14 finalists and 5 award recipients.

Organized by the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) and in its second year, the Macomb Business Awards has become an annual tradition that emphasizes MCPED’s goals: retain, grow and attract Macomb County businesses. It showcases that our businesses excel and that they’re in an environment that is thriving.

Gov. Rick Snyder spoke at the event and former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda delivered the keynote address. Fox 2 Anchorman Huel Perkins served as emcee and was joined by Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel to announce the Macomb Business Award recipients.

Governor

The 2014 Macomb Business Award winners were:

Champion of Workforce Development: Proper Group International, Warren
Proper Group manages a number of programs designed to build their own skilled and ready workforce. They offer current employees opportunities to advance their training and tuition reimbursement, they have been one of the first companies to participate in the Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program and they collaborate with the mentoring program Winning Futures to introduce middle and high school students to the manufacturing industry. 
 
Corporate Citizen: First State Bank, headquartered in St. Clair Shores
Established in Macomb County in 1917, First State epitomizes the phrase “hometown bank.” Their investments in the community includes sponsorship of many local events such as fireworks, the Gratiot Cruise and free summer concerts. First State is actively involved with area chambers, donates to the East Detroit Public Schools scholarship program and supports the Michigan Senior Olympics.
 
Diversification Leader: Omega Plastics, Clinton Township
Founded in 1984 as a supplier of plastic molded components to the automotive industry, Omega has expanded its services to include mold making for a wide range of clients including medical devices, consumer packaging, consumer electronics and the defense industry. 
 
Energy Efficiency Expert: New Haven Community Schools, New Haven
When building a new campus to house Endeavour Elementary and Endeavour Middle School, the district took advantage of new technologies to optimize energy efficiency including automated heating, cooling and lights and erected a 60-foot wind turbine to generate electricity for the buildings. Led by the example of district leadership, district students are learning about careers in energy efficiency and have also initiated a comprehensive recycling program as well as tending a garden designed with native species to create habitat for wildlife.
 
Start-up Business of the Year: Ethel’s Edibles, St. Clair Shores
Started in 2011, this gluten-free bakery produces a high quality product for a growing target market. Now shipping their products to retailers across the country, they are well on their way to increasing run rate by more than 300 percent in the next year.

Economic Development Partner of the Year: Automation Alley, Troy
Macomb County is proud to be the first county outside of Oakland to join Automation Alley. Today, they have two offices in our county, including one embedded directly in our department. As a result of our partnership, many of the 5,000 jobs created by Automation Alley are located here in Macomb County.

Business awards

It was also an honor to recognize Don Morandini who recently retired from the department as deputy director after 41 years of service. Don truly brought economic development to the forefront of county services offered. In his honor, we created the brand new category of Beacon of Economic Development and made him the first-ever recipient.

The breakfast was held at Andiamo Celebrity Showroom in Warren. Leading sponsors included the Detroit Regional Chamber, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, AT&T, First State Bank and the IBEW – NECA Electrical Industry Training Center. Thanks to the support of many sponsors, 100 percent of the direct expenses for the program were covered.

Seeing orange – Department of Roads 2014 construction schedule

By Bob Hoepfner, Director, Macomb County Department of Roads

Construction

After a record-setting winter and an ongoing battle with potholes in the spring, the Macomb County Department of Roads is putting out the orange barrels for another productive construction season.

Van Dyke is widening to five lanes from 25 Mile to 26 Mile Road in Shelby Township, providing some relief for the heavy traffic volumes in this area.

Also in Shelby Township, 25 Mile Road is scheduled for reconstruction from Mound to Van Dyke.

Several gravel roads are scheduled for paving this year as well:

  • Mound Road from 28 Mile to 29 Mile in Washington Township
  • 34 Mile Road from Campground to Fisher Road in Bruce Township
  • 24 Mile Road from Romeo Plank to Foss Road in Macomb Township

Widening projects on Hayes Road from 21 Mile to 23 Mile Road and on North Avenue from M-59 to 21 Mile Road are both scheduled to begin this year. These projects are expected to go through to Spring of 2015 for paving.

Concrete pavement repairs will continue on Mound Road in the northbound lanes from 11 Mile to 14 Mile Road.

The full construction schedule for 2014 is also available on the Macomb County Department of Roads website at www.rcmcweb.org.

Macomb County communications constantly evolving

By John Cwikla, Macomb County Public Information Officer

Press releases. Facebook posts. Tweets. Retweets. Shares. Email. Blogs. The way the public gets news is always changing. What isn’t changing is the need for Macomb County government to communicate with the public. In Macomb, we make it a priority for county government to continue to find new ways to connect effectively with the public.

Communication is an essential part of functioning government, prompting Macomb County to make investments in this area. Our new state-of-the-art COMTEC facility uses communication improvements to enhance public safety in Macomb County. The facility houses the Macomb County Sheriff's Office Centralized Dispatch, the Road Department Traffic Operations Center, the Information Technology Department and Data Center and the Emergency Management & Communications Department. Placing all of these departments into one location allows COMTEC to enhance communication between essential county government services.

We’re also working to find new ways to connect directly with the public. Those interested in following the latest happenings in Macomb County are encouraged to follow us on our digital media. The below options are available.

  • Connect with Macomb County government news on Twitter @MacombNewsNow.
  • Sign up for our quarterly Executive Focus newsletter (or register a friend!).
  • Connect with Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel by following him on his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel.
  • Follow our Make Macomb Your Home brand on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and on its own blog.
  • All county press releases are posted on our county website.

The way we communicate has come a long way. I started my career at WBRB radio in Mount Clemens, spent time with WXYZ-TV in Detroit and have been with Macomb County for the past 23 years. If there is something the public needs to know, we will make sure they hear it!

Kick off the Warm Weather Season with the 3rd Annual Sprint & Splash

By Amanda Priemer, associate planner, Macomb County Planning & Economic Development

Sprint and Splash returns to Lake St. Clair Metropark for a third year on Saturday, June 7. Sprint and Splash, which is becoming one of Macomb County’s most unique events, has transitioned from a primarily athletic competition to a family-friendly Macomb-centric festival.

This year, new activities include:

  • free warm-up, conditioning and strength training seminars by Henry Ford Macomb Hospital Experts.
  • a food and beer tent featuring craft beer from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. and a buffet lunch from Kosch Catering.
  • Get Fit with Your Pet activities and an affordable cat and dog shot clinic will include $10 vaccines and $20 heartworm tests and ID microchips.
  • fun games and activities just for kids, including a children’s stand-up paddleboard race.

Similar to last year, Sprint and Splash includes several athletic competitions: a 6-mile sanctioned stand-up paddleboard race, a 5-kilometer Fun Run, a duathlon (5-kilometer run & 2-mile kayak) and a 2-mile recreational stand-up paddleboard race. Interested participants can find more information and register at www.SprintandSplash.com.

This event was created to celebrate Lake St. Clair and Macomb County. It also raises funds for three nonprofit associations that work to promote and protect Lake St. Clair: The Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative, the Clinton River Watershed Council and Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy.

This event will offer great promotional opportunities, as over 1,000 participants and spectators are expected to attend. Consider being a part of the Beach Village which allows sponsors to have presence at the event with a 10-foot-by-10-foot booth space. Sponsors can sell paraphernalia or give away promotional items, as well as have a business logo placed on the event’s website and race t-shirts. Can’t be at the event? Sprint and Splash offers several levels of sponsorship. For more information, visit www.SprintandSplash.com.

Senior Fun Festival just around the corner

By Kristin Ledford, spokesperson, Macomb Community Action

The Senior Fun Festival is coming up soon, and this year celebrates a quarter century of being the leading information and wellness expo in Macomb County.

In addition to the dozens of information tables and wellness screenings, this year’s event will include several mini-seminars. The seminars will cover topics such as elder safety, healthy eating and fall prevention. They also tie in to other programs offered through the Macomb County Office of Senior Services, which is hosting the event.

Raffle prizes, bingo, live entertainment, dancing and a photo booth will also be available throughout the day.

The event is set for Friday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be held at Gibralter Trade Center on North River Road in Mount Clemens. Parking and admission are free. For more information, contact the Office of Senior Services at (586) 469-5228.

Other news

There are so many great things going on in Macomb County every day. Visit our website http://executive.macombgov.org/ and look under news and publications to read up on some of our latest headlines. Here are some highlights from January to April of this year.

April 2014

Macomb County appoints former PED deputy director to RTA
New Corp Counsel for Macomb County appointed
Regional leaders focus on getting road funding
Volunteer drivers needed for food drive
Macomb County pet grants to get snipped if numbers not met

March 2014

Macomb County markets Michigan’s Arsenal of Innovation in Alabama
Macomb teens awarded $2,000 MSU pre-college scholarship

February 2014

Macomb County joins forces with school districts and manufacturers to encourage youth to pursue careers in manufacturing
Meals on Wheels drivers needed

January 2014

New Macomb Community Action department leader named
Macomb County grants eight shared services awards to communities
Macomb County saves more than $1.7 million at bond sale
Macomb County ahead of curve in 2014 auto show