Macomb Matters April 2021 Issue 75
- Message from Mark
- Employee Focus
- New Hires/Retirees
- Meet Macomb County’s Web Team
- Department of Roads promotes work zone safety, announces construction schedule
- For Your Benefit: A Message from Andy McKinnon
- MCA completes freezer/cooler expansion in effort to provide more food to the community
- Macomb County Community Mental Health marks Mental Health Awareness Month
- Perks at Work
- Providing support by keeping it casual
- Macomb County Animal Control Adoption of the Month
- MMYH Ambassadors
- Paw Print
- Recipe Corner
- Blog Log
- News Nook
Message from Mark
Hello and welcome to the 75th edition of Macomb Matters. What an achievement! Every other month, our team works diligently to put together a newsletter that is informative, thoughtful and fun. Our goal is to highlight employee stories, like our below article on the hard-working website team, while also featuring important county news. We hope you've enjoyed this communication and that you continue to open, click through and read our messages. Here's to the next 75 editions!
Now, even though we experienced some snow last week, I'm thrilled to say that spring is here and summer is just around the corner! Which means it's time to get outdoors here in Macomb County! From kayaking on the Clinton River, to hiking through our Metroparks, there is so much to do and see this time of year. Our Make Macomb Your Home website has everything you need to plan your next excursion. I encourage you to check it out and explore all of the great assets we have right in our own backyard.
Thank you and take care,
Lynne Lapierre, an administrative assistant in the Finance Department, will celebrate 15 years of employment with the county this year. She provides administrative support to the deputy director and risk & insurance manager in Finance. She is an invaluable team member of the department and the county. Prior to joining the Finance Department, Lynne worked at the Sheriff’s Office, and contributed significantly to large scale projects that required technical expertise. Lynne was recognized for her service to that office and the community when she was awarded the Employee of the Year Award in 2010.
If you’ve visited the forms section on Inside Macomb, or on the Finance Department webpage, you’ve seen SmartSheet forms. SmartSheet is a “software as a service” (SaaS) program that offers platforms for team collaboration and work management. It can be used to track project progress, assign tasks, manage calendars, share documents and manage other work, all with a customizable design. The county’s dashboards are powered by SmartSheet. Lynne is the mastermind and guru of much of the SmartSheet functionality. Some of Lynne’s duties include countywide technical support and training for staff using ONESolution finance software and she is a self-taught expert on SmartSheet.
In her position prior to joining the county, Lynne worked remotely for 18 months. The value of this experience came into sharp focus in the early days of the pandemic. Lynne was in a good position to provide digital solutions to traditional paper processes, and offer support as needed to staff working remotely. With this experience, and her knowledge of SmartSheet, Lynne was able to assist various departments with CARES Act grant programs aimed at helping families have a better Christmas, and assisting local businesses impacted by the pandemic. She also designed a PPE supply request process for external and internal customers.
When Lynne isn’t streamlining processes for internal and external customers, she enjoys baking. She’s been baking Christmas cookies for holiday gifts for more than 30 years. One of the things she likes best about baking is the memories the recipes call to mind. Each recipe reminds Lynne of someone who has expressed their fondness for that particular creation. The cookies have become very sentimental in nature to her, and she hopes the same for the recipients. These gifts, she said, are “almost more of a gift to me, than to them.”
The attention she devotes to giving such thoughtful gifts is evidence of a philosophy Lynne embraces: Treating people with kindness. To Lynne, kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous. According to Lynne: “A kind person considers the feelings of others, tries to help them and avoids actions that do harm. For me, this also includes making time to compliment instead of complain, paying it forward when possible and finding the positive instead of the negative.”
Lynne is the proud mom of two wonderful boys, ages 21 and 19. Aside from being her baking partners, they also play video games, complete DIY projects together and enjoy amusement parks (roller coasters are a must!!!) together.
Retiree Spotlight: Camille Silda retires from Macomb County!
The Macomb Matters team is pleased to recognize Camille Silda on her retirement from Macomb County! Camille worked for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development for more than 36 years. Recently, we asked her to reflect on her years of service for this newsletter.
What will you miss most about working for Macomb County?
I will miss serving Macomb County residents and businesses and will miss all of the conscientious co-worker friends I have made over the years.
What are you most proud of in your career with Macomb County?
So many things to be proud of, including:
- Macomb County’s CDBG program, assisting clients in the home repair program and managing over $20 million in pass-through funds
- Environmental Services-Demonstration Projects, Streambank Stabilization and recognition for our work
- Work on the 2010 Census and serving on the Southeast Michigan Board
- Economic development projects in most communities of Macomb County, totaling over $100 million
I will be travelling after retirement to visit friends and family from coast to coast, as well as a forever planned trip to Italy and Spain. I will continue to serve on the board of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, which I am currently serving as President. And I’ll develop new hobbies and continue the ones I am currently involved in.
On behalf of the Macomb Matters team, congratulations on your well-deserved retirement Camille!
Click here for a list of New Hires/Retirees
Meet Macomb County’s Web Team
Technology impacts every part of our lives. Using web services is second nature to most of us now. In the age of COVID, more people are relying on long distance services for anything from medical assistance to groceries. And it’s rather shocking to realize that anyone born in the 21st century has never known a world without the internet. It seems everything is just a click away.
Macomb County strives to be as accessible as possible, with the internet playing an essential role. Every day, the Macomb County website has anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 unique visitors. These visitors rely on vital services provided by the county, both online and in-person. The site serves 27 units of Macomb County government and other county related initiatives. All in all, there are over 5,000 distinct web pages, all of which require regular maintenance and “under-the-hood” updates to improve features and site functionality. But have you ever wondered who’s behind the scenes of the interactive and dynamic pages available through Macomb County’s website?
Meet the county’s web team! This team, which includes Anthony June, Alan Gerow, Mark Tremaine and Vincenzo Randazzo, is a small but powerful group of dedicated technology professionals.
The look and feel of the Macomb County website has been through some hefty transformations in recent years. Vincenzo (Vince) Randazzo, who is a web developer and graphics lead and has been with the county for 13 years, played a key role in those changes. He started as a co-op clerk for the Macomb County IT department back in 2008. During his career, he worked with departments throughout the county and assisted with training, updating and maintaining their websites. Over the past year, he has been working closely with the COVID-19 communications team to keep vital pandemic information on the website as current as possible. Vince feels very fortunate that he is able to help keep the public informed. Chances are if you ever called or emailed about a broken link, you have probably worked with Vince!
Alan Gerow and Mark Tremaine ensure MacombGov.org is easy to use and navigate with every module that is created and customized. Alan is a web developer and intelligent integrator who has been with the county for seven years. Alan’s responsibilities include helping departments with their website content, analytics and training needs. A large part of Alan’s job is the research and development of new features and functionality for our sites. Alan enjoys his job and loves interacting with everyone in the various Macomb County departments.
Mark is a senior application architect and a talented programmer, who has been with the county for 10 years. Mark’s skills lie in application and infrastructure architecture, along with integrating systems that do not normally talk with one another. Mark Tremaine has been married to his beloved wife Lynn for over 27 years. Together, they raised five children, two of whom are married. Though they now total nine, they refer to their family as the “Tremaine7” (Mark says "it's a ‘brand’ thing!). Seven of the nine currently reside in Macomb County, but all have strong ties here. For over 27 years, there has been nary a dull moment, and Mark would have it no other way.
Anthony June is the applications manager and has been with the county for 18 years. He is an energetic and highly motivated legal technologist. He loves problem solving and helping others achieve their goals. Anthony and his wife Lisa have been together for 13 years, and they have been married for eight. They have two young children, Ellie and Evan, and live in New Baltimore.
Department of Roads promotes work zone safety, announces construction schedule
Between state, county and local projects, there will be hundreds of work zones throughout Macomb County this year. In advance of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), which will take place April 26-30, the Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR) reminds drivers to remain alert and practice extreme caution to keep themselves and road workers safe.
“Construction season is underway and we strongly encourage drivers to obey traffic laws and speed limits in work zones,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “While road crews perform essential work to keep our roads safe, it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure we all get home safely.”
Last year was a sober reminder of the dangers road workers face while performing their duties. In 2020, there were five fatal construction related incidents in Michigan including one in Macomb County that resulted in the loss of a MCDR road crew member – Zach Morisette.
MCDR’s goal is to keep the roads as safe as possible with the support of the motoring public. Drivers are strongly encouraged to practice these driving tips:
- Plan ahead. Expect delays, plan for them, and leave early to reach your destination on time. When you can, avoid work zones altogether by using alternate routes.
- Obey road crews and signs. When approaching a work zone, watch for cones, barrels, signs, large vehicles, or workers in bright-colored vests to warn you and direct you where to go.
- Slow down. Look for signs indicating the speed limit through the work zone. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and follow the posted speed limit.
- Move over. Most state move-over laws apply when passing work crews and official vehicles parked on the shoulder with flashing warning lights.
- Avoid distractions. Keep your eyes on the road and off your phone at all times.
- Watch for sudden stoppages. Don’t make sudden lane changes in front of trucks that are trying to slow down.
The Department of Roads annual construction and maintenance operations are underway and the department has released its 2021 road and bridge project schedule, which includes significant work across the region.
“We have more than $100 million in substantial road and bridge improvements planned that will strengthen and enhance Macomb County’s infrastructure and transportation network,” said MCDR Director Bryan Santo. “Through our construction and maintenance programs and community partnerships, we are committed to improving Macomb County's infrastructure to deliver quality roads and bridges.”
The 2021 construction schedule includes 14 primary and local road projects, six bridges and large culverts, in addition to more than 25 asphalt resurfacing and concrete pavement repair projects as part of MCDR’s county-wide pavement preservation program. Work planned also includes four township residential streets as part of MCDR’s subdivision reconstruction assistance program, various maintenance projects, and traffic technology and communication network modernizations.
Among work slated for 2021, is the multi-year $217 million Innovate Mound project with work phased over four construction seasons. When completed, the project will reconstruct approximately nine miles of the Mound Road corridor. The innovations include enhanced connectivity by incorporating state-of-the-art design and smart technology to create a modern corridor. Innovate Mound, a partnership between MCDR and the cities of Warren and Sterling Heights, will include new pavement, drainage, curbs and driveways, traffic signal optimization, roadway widening, connected vehicle and fiber optic communications technology, enhanced non-motorized facilities, and energy-efficient lighting to create a corridor that will continue to serve the community for decades to come.
To help Macomb County motorists navigate local construction work, click here to find a map of specific locations where primary and local road and bridge projects will occur in 2021.
For a complete list of 2021 projects, maps and information, visit roads.macombgov.org. You can also sign up to receive email and text alerts for construction and traffic updates at roads.macombgov.org. For more information regarding work zone safety and NWZAW, visit nwzaw.org.
For Your Benefit: A Message from Andy McKinnon
As you may or may not be aware, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In reviewing some statistics for this article, the one that stood out the most to me was that 77 percent of people experience stress that impacts their physical health. When you hear the old adage that stress kills, it's true. It leads to, amongst other things, increased heart rate, cardiovascular problems, breathing difficulties and high blood pressure. This doesn't even take into account how people try to reduce stress in unhealthy ways such as binging on alcohol, food or drugs, which can lead to even greater problems.
We all go through stressful periods in our lives, but I don't know of anyone who has lived through the type of stress we all have over the past year plus. It is hopefully a once in a lifetime experience.
However, even in the darkest of times we can try to learn and grow. Because we are all stressed, it gives us some cover to attempt stress relieving techniques we might have not considered in the past. Attending religious services, practicing yoga or meditation, reaching out to our EAP, going for a walk or sitting quietly and reading are all examples of more healthy ways to relieve stress and attend to our mental health.
Attached here is a flyer from Ulliance detailing some more facts about stress and offering several webinars on how to handle stressors that are top of mind right now. One even addresses "Living in Harmony with Young Adults." Wish my parents would have taken that when I was young so I could have had a more harmonious upbringing.
Hope you all have a great rest of your spring and I am hopeful as we move into the summer that we will have more opportunities to get together in person.
MCA completes freezer/cooler expansion in effort to provide more food to the community
Food insecurity across the country, and right here in Macomb County, has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Now more than ever, individuals in need are relying on local food pantries to stock their cupboards. So in the last year, Macomb Community Action and the Macomb Food Program have rallied to serve hundreds of thousands of adults, families and children.
Behind-the-scenes, department leaders and program managers have been working tirelessly to solve a very critical issue: Storage.
“We store commodity food from the USDA for over 70 pantry partners, as their pantries cannot accommodate their three month allotment,” said Linda Azar, division director, Macomb Community Action. “We are the only county to distribute monthly to support our partners and their often limited space.”
To help with this issue, Macomb Community Action recently installed a new freezer and completed an expansion of its cooler, both located at Vic Wertz. The old freezer was 710-square-feet, while the new one is 1,136-square-feet. It can hold more than 120 pallets of additional frozen food. The cooler expansion added an additional 300-square-feet for produce and dairy products like milk. Together, the extra space means that MCA and the food program can store and distribute more food to those in need.
“Our monthly individuals served has increased by approximately 10,000 people and 75,000 pounds of additional food being distributed,” Azar said. “On average, we were distributing to about 17,000 individuals a month. We are now around the 27,000 mark. And normally, we are around 250,000 pounds distributed monthly and now, we are closer to 325,000.”
This is a great project and incredible work out of MCA and the Macomb Food Program. The Macomb Matters team would like to thank the hard-working individuals that make all this possible for our community.
Macomb County Community Mental Health marks Mental Health Awareness Month
It has been more than a year since the start of the pandemic and the need for mental health resources has skyrocketed across the globe. In addition to the stresses of coping with COVID-19, the past year has also seen rising social unrest. This trauma can impact the physical, emotional and mental well-being of children, families and communities. In tough times like these, our mental health must be a top priority.
For more than 70 years, May has been observed as National Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, especially, we would like to do our part to raise awareness about mental illnesses, behavioral health issues, treatment and recovery.
Stigmas prevent individuals from accessing care. Oftentimes, loved ones are not encouraging those struggling to get the help they need, and instead stigmatizing struggling from mental health issues as shameful. By raising awareness, Macomb County Community Mental Health hopes to reduce the stigma surrounding the mental illnesses that so many experience. Increasing awareness means more people are aware that they are struggling from treatable issues and more loved ones are encouraging earlier access to care. Here are the facts:
- 1 In 5 adults in America experience a mental illness.
- Nearly 1 in 25 adults in America live with a serious mental illness.
- Approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
- 40 million adults are affected by anxiety disorders each year.
- Only 36.9% of those struggling with anxiety disorders are receiving treatment.
We want members of our community to get the help they deserve. At MCCMH, we can now meet your mental health, substance use, medical and physical healthcare needs -- all in the same place, regardless of insurance. Historically, behavioral healthcare and medical healthcare systems provided divided care. This has resulted in adverse outcomes. By providing integrated care, we can treat the whole person by managing physical and behavioral health conditions. We will follow up with healthcare providers after appointments to assure communication and coordination.
We’d like the community to know that help is available and recovery is possible. Your support is critical to reaching those struggling with their mental health during the pandemic. Here are some ways you can help your loved ones:
- Stay connected with video chats, texts, phone calls or through social media.
- Look for warning signs that may indicate that your friend is struggling or needs help. This includes what they are sharing online.
- Reach out to your friend and ask how they are doing. Share MCCMH support information if they need help. Our main line is 855-99-MCCMH.
- If you or a friend feels overwhelmed with emotions or like you want to harm yourself or others, contact our crisis line at 586-307-9100. Our Crisis Line is open 24/7 and speaking with a counselor is free.
Learn more about our services at www.mccmh.net. If you or someone you know needs help, call us at 855-99-MCCMH.
Perks at Work
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9, and Perks at Works is here to help you with picking a perfect gift for Mom. From flowers to Godiva Chocolate, Perks at Work www.perksatwork.com offers low prices on flowers, candy, restaurants and more.
Macomb County Government Perks at Work is a free employee discount program designed to help you find the perks that matter to you. Whether you are booking a weekend getaway or buying a laptop, Perks at Work has negotiated with thousands of merchants to offer value and a pricing advantage as part of a private network. Explore thousands of merchants to save on travel, electronics, tickets, restaurants, apparel and more. Access exclusive corporate rates on electronics, cell phone bills and car rental codes to ensure you aren’t leaving money on the table.
Providing support by keeping it casual
The Board of Commissioners Casual Day Program continues in 2021, but with an additional emphasis on charitable organizations.
The BOC recognizes each organization fills a specific need in the community and that certain organizations hold a special place with county employees. To recognize this and to further encourage donations, the Board has asked each county department to choose one of the 12 selected Casual Day organizations and to serve as an ambassador for it. The organization which a department chooses will receive all the donations earned on the four Special Casual Days in 2021.
It is within the discretion of each department to select which charity they choose to champion. Each department is encouraged to disseminate information on the charity throughout their office and in the community, allowing awareness and donations for the charity to be raised. Our communications team will provide each department with information on the monthly charities to be shared via social media, newsletters and other forms of communications each department utilizes, further encouraging others to embrace the charity as well.
The Casual Day Program recipients for the rest of 2021 are:
- May: Families Against Narcotics
- June: Humane Society of Macomb
- July: I Heart Dogs
- Special Casual Day: July 30
- August: Marty's Place
- September: The Rainbow Connection
- October: Samaritan House
- Special Casual Day: October 29
- November: Sandcastles (Henry Ford)
- December: Turning Point
- Special Casual Day: December 29
May - Families Against Narcotics - Based in Macomb County, this organization works to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription narcotics, to reduce the stigma and to support those affected by addiction. Its mission is to save lives by empowering individuals and communities through education, to prevent and someday eradicate addiction. For more info: https://www.familiesagainstnarcotics.org/macomb
June - Humane Society of Macomb - With a mission to "help those who cannot speak for themselves," Macomb County Humane Society provides humane care for unwanted, abused and injured animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and to place adoptable pets into good, permanent homes with responsible owners. https://humanesocietyofmacomb.org
Macomb County Animal Control Adoption of the Month
Congratulations to Cloud, who was adopted recently! Is your companion waiting for you? Pay a visit to Macomb County Animal Control and find out! Visit the MCAC website for more information about pets available for adoption, information about the adoption process, and hours of operation.
Virtual Restaurant Hiring Event
Welcome back to the MMYH Ambassadors column! This edition will feature an important upcoming event organized by Michigan Works! and the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development: A virtual hiring fair for local restaurants. Let’s get started.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for every industry, but it has perhaps hit the restaurant sector the hardest. With closures and other safety measures, restaurants have had an uphill battle this year. And while many have reopened, some are facing another issue - staffing.
As part of Macomb County's ongoing efforts to aid restaurants throughout the pandemic, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development is partnering with Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! and Michigan Rehabilitative Services to host a virtual job fair for the restaurant industry on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. Two sessions will be offered from 9 a.m.- Noon and from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. The goal is to connect restaurants with potential workers.
Individuals interested in attending the job fair and applying for the variety of available positions can click here to learn more and to register.
Now - think you’re ready to complete the ambassador quiz? Click here to get started and stay tuned for the next issue, where we’ll cover a new topic.
A message from Chief Randazzo
Pandemic or not, Macomb County Animal Control (MCAC) is hopping! A preview of our upcoming events will follow, but first I’d like to give a brief review of some of our activities so far this year. In the first quarter of 2021, we facilitated many adoptions, hosted a drive-through distribution of free pet food from our Pet Food Pantry and fully executed our Pet Retention Program, among other things.
In the last edition of Paw Prints, we announced our Pet Retention Program, which was a program to help families struggling to maintain adequate medical care for their pets, and who were at risk of losing their pets as a result. This program was funded by a generous (and anonymous) donor. I am happy to report that we received a positive response, and many applications for the program. We were able to disburse all of the funds, and helped 28 pets stay with their families by paying for necessary medical treatment.
On March 27, we hosted our first drive through distribution of food from our Pet Food Pantry, and gave away five pallets of food! Our Pet Food Pantry is fully stocked and we are planning another distribution event in conjunction with our Low Cost Vaccine Clinic (more on that later!).
And now the preview of our upcoming events!
Macomb County Animal Control is participating in the Bissell Pet Foundation Empty the Shelters Event May 5 to 8 (by appointment only). The dogs and cats included in this event will have reduced adoption fees. This event will take place at our shelter located on 21417 Dunham Road in Clinton Township. For more information about our event specifically, please check out our Facebook page for updates. For general information about the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Empty the Shelters national campaign, please visit their website by clicking here.
Macomb County Animal Control is also pleased to announce a Low Cost Vaccination Clinic. Pets are a vulnerable population because they are dependent on their humans for proper care and medical maintenance. The clinic is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Freedom Hill on Metro Parkway. Vaccines for DHP/DHLPP, Bordatella, FVRCP, and Rabies will be available, at a cost of $10 each. You can also purchase a heartworm test or have your pet microchipped, for the low cost of $20 each. Licensing will also be available and late fees will be waived if you license or renew your pet’s license at this event. Responsible pet care should not bankrupt a family, and preventing illness is much more affordable than treating it, so we are hoping for a large turnout. We will also be bringing loads of food from our Pet Food Pantry to this event!
AT MCAC, our mission is to protect the health and safety of our residents, and to protect animals and promote their humane treatment. This is a “group project,” involving every member of our community, so please spread the word about our Low Cost Vaccination Clinic and our Pet Food Pantry.
Finally, If you’d like to assist us in our mission, you can donate through our website at https://macomb-county-animal-welfare-fund.square.site/. You can also shop our Amazon Wish List here. Take care (of yourself and your pets!).
Orange Glazed Skinless Chicken Wings
- 10 chicken wings (skin removed)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 8 tablespoons orange marmalade (1/2 cup)
- Rinse chicken wings and dry on paper toweling. Tuck the wing tip under the larger joint to form a triangle.
- Heat butter in skillet (200°F on temperature controlled gas burner).
- Sprinkle wings with seasoned salt and place in heated butter. Sauté on temperature controlled gas burner (325°F) until evenly brown on both sides, about 20 minutes.
- Spread with orange marmalade, continuing to sauté while basting frequently for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from skillet. Serve hot.
- Hold at serving temperature on automatic burner or in 'Keep-Warm' oven set at 170°F. They will be glazed and "sticky" good.
Leg pieces or whole chicken may be prepared this way and served as an entree. Source:
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. SNAP can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact Oregon SafeNet at 211. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 2017 Oregon State University Extension Service offers educational programs, activities, and materials without discrimination based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Oregon State University Extension Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
University of the Virgin Islands, Cooperative Extension Service. 4-H/Family & Consumer Sciences Program.
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