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Office of County Executive
Mark A. Hackel

Macomb Matters December 2021 Issue 79

Click for a pdf of Macomb Matters



Message from Mark


As 2021 comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to recognize all our Macomb County employees for their hard work and dedication. It was another challenging year, but we accomplished so much for our residents and the communities we serve. So please know - I’m thankful for all that you do, and for our collective efforts that make Macomb a great place to call home.

Now, even though this can be a very busy part of the year, I hope that you will carve out some time to enjoy the holiday happenings taking place throughout the county. You can find all types of festive fun, and other regular updates, on the Make Macomb Your Home Facebook page. And of course, check out to find inspiration for the remaining winter months. Whether this means bundling up and getting out of the house to visit a local ice rink or sledding hill, or finding a new brewery to try with friends, our Make Macomb Your Home team has all the resources and information you need to enjoy the rest of the season.

Thank you again and happy holidays. Here’s to a restful end of year and a fresh start in 2022!





Employee Focus

Cheryl Woods


This interview previously appeared in the Spring/Summer edition of Momentum Magazine.

Cheryl Woods went into nursing because she wanted to help take care of people – and that’s exactly what she has dedicated her career to doing. As a public health nurse, Woods’ mission is to promote healthy living and strong communities. As the Division Director of Family Health Services for Macomb County, her role is to prevent illness, promote wellness, educate the public, advocate for families and help keep the community safe.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Woods has played a vital role in protecting Macomb County residents. She has been there assisting with the implementation of public health measures to guide the public through the pandemic, such as the development of a call center, testing site and most recently, vaccination clinics.

“The community needs to know we stand with them. We are there to guide them through this,” she said.

After graduating from Wayne State University as a registered nurse, Woods worked at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit on the adolescent medical/surgical floor. Wanting to make deeper connections with families and be able to teach, she moved into home healthcare with the Visiting Nurse Association. For more than 20 years, she found fulfillment being in homes caring for people.

“I’m a strong believer that people heal best at home,” she said. “There’s nothing like being in your own environment where you feel safe and comfortable.”

In public health, Woods said she can do more health promotion through educating families and connecting the community to the resources they need. It’s just one of many reasons why she loves living and working in Macomb County.

Q: Why is Macomb County a good place for health related businesses and organizations in general?

A: This county and its residents have such a strong work ethic. County leadership is grounded, compassionate and believes in promoting health and wellness. The support we have from the community and leadership is there, especially for preventative care  

Q: How do you benefit from your involvement with Macomb County?

A: I live and work in the county. Everything I do with education and preventative care strengthens the community. Every day I make an impact in someone’s life. Many times that impact can be generational as what is learned can be passed down to children who then benefit from that knowledge, too.

Q: How does your organization contribute to Macomb County’s business and economic growth?

A: Public health is about long-term growth. By helping the community to be healthier through maternal/child care, age-related care and other ways, we increase the quality of life and make it a desirable place to be. In the long run we help across the board economically.

Q: How does Macomb County contribute to your organization’s success?

A: Whenever we have a new idea, county leadership is there. We are always assessing, aligning our services with the needs of the community. Leadership offers support.

Q: What does the future hold for your organization in Macomb County?

A: The future for public health is strong. There’s always going to be a need for public health and while this year has been challenging with the pandemic and the politics surrounding it, people don’t need to shy away from public health as a career. I wholeheartedly recommend it to others despite its many demands



Employee Accolades


Vicki Wolber named chair of SMART board

In October, Deputy County Executive Vicki Wolber was elected chair of the SMART Board of Directors. SMART, also known as the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, is southeast Michigan's regional bus system helping people connect to work, school, medical appointments, shopping centers, entertainment and cultural events. Wolber joined the SMART board as one of two Macomb County representatives in May 2019. The chair serves for a one-year term and is reappointed annually.


Katie Carroll awarded Trust Fund Agent of the Year by the MVAA

Katie Carroll, an employee within Macomb County Veterans Services, was awarded Trust Fund Agent of the Year by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). The honor, which recognizes the various projects and programs Katie’s position manages, was presented at the MVAA’s first-ever Michigan Military & Veterans Gala on November 6. The formal event, which was held at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, was designed to celebrate Michigan's National Guard members, state veterans and advocates who support both groups.

Is there someone in your office who deserves a “pat on the back” for an outstanding achievement? If so, please let the Macomb Matters committee know about it! Email with the details.



New Hires/Retirees

The Macomb Matters Committee would like to congratulate Joann Priester on her retirement after 37 years of service!


Tell us about the different positions you have held during your time with the county?

In April 1985, one month after turning 16-years-old, I started my first job ever working for Macomb County as a library page. My starting wage was $3.35! I thought I struck it rich! All told, I worked at the library for 25 years in many different roles and with many great people who have become lifelong friends. When the library eventually closed, I was heartbroken. I never expected to find the same thing again. Fortunately, I was transferred to another great county department, Planning & Economic Development. Again, for the last 11 years, I got to work with another great group of people who I hope to remain friends with. My time with PED has been wonderful. It was like a fresh start I didn’t know I needed. It was the perfect fit.

What will you miss most about working for Macomb County?

I loved the variety of work I did for my coworkers and the businesses of Macomb County. I always felt like a valued team member. I will miss working with all of them and sharing stories about our family life, vacations, triumphs and disappointments.

What are you most proud of during your career with Macomb County?

I never planned to make a career with Macomb County but I’m sure glad I did. I got to help the citizens and businesses of Macomb County and I hope I made a difference in someone’s life. My job with Macomb County made a difference in mine. It provided me with the security to build a great life with my husband Kevin, and the ability to enjoy an early retirement!

What are your post retirement plans?

Kevin and I recently moved up north to Hale on Little Long Lake. We have a beautiful log home we share with our dog Marley. We are looking forward to spending time with family on the lake with our pontoon boat, riding the trails with our side-by-side, traveling all over Michigan and visiting our favorite vacation spot in Jamaica!

Click here for a list of New Hires/Retirees



Resource Corner: NeoGov Learn


It wasn’t all that long ago that Macomb County began offering much of the employee training programs online through NeoGov Learn.  Gone are the days of having to leave your desk, head to a conference room and sign in on a paper sheet. Instead, most employees can now complete required training in the comfort of their own work spaces. Upon login, employees can see their dashboard, which provides a synopsis of their progress. A handy pie chart in the upper right shows the percentage of completed training, and a band underneath the metric information provides an easy way to view the activities that can or need to be completed. A short scroll down the page, employees can see upcoming courses, information about the number of courses completed, including the option to view a transcript, and, if they are interested, their main areas of focus (categories).

No doubt employees are diligent about completing their required courses, which can vary by department. But many employees may not realize there are elective courses on various topics available to them. To find those elective courses, users can click on “Course Catalog” on the white ribbon at the top, and then, on the drop down menu under type, click the checkbox next to “elective.” Employees can access these programs from the comfort of their own home, on their own time and at their own pace. No deadlines or due dates to worry about! Currently, there are courses on leadership, business etiquette, working from home and more. In the age of hacking and cyber ransom demands, the cybersecurity courses are especially timely. There is even a brief video on how to use NeoGov Learn. And if there is ever a topic an employee is interested in, but is not currently available in NeoGov Learn, they can email Caroline Bronkema at and request it. If it’s an option, Caroline will find it! 

And stay tuned! The recent email you received regarding the 2022 training programs is just the beginning. In addition to continuing the Navigating Difficult Conversations & Diversity Training, and introducing the Optimizing Communication Training, each calendar quarter will offer something new and exciting, some required and some elective, but all designed to help Macomb County employees maximize their potential, operate with dignity and achieve their goals. Watch your email for further information!

For a handy PDF guide on using NeoGov Learn, please click here!



Macomb County Department of Roads ready for ice and snow


The Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR) is gearing up for ice and snow with the addition of new winter maintenance equipment and getting trucks and plows prepared for winter.

“Michigan’s unpredictable weather impacts our roads, residents and community. Road

safety and winter readiness are top priorities for Macomb County,” said MCDR Director

Bryan Santo. “We work relentlessly to ensure our winter operations maintain a safe and

drivable road system for all Macomb County motorists and visitors.”

In advance of winter operations, the Department of Roads purchased several tandem axle, single axle, and semi-trucks for Macomb County’s service centers in Washington Township, New Haven, Clinton Township, and Shelby Township. MCDR has a winter maintenance fleet of more than 100 snowplows, salt trucks and graders. The department has an annual average budget of $4 million to keep the fleet on the road and up to date with technology and equipment. In 2020, MCDR spent more than $6 million on winter maintenance for primary, local and state roads.

With the support of the motoring public, MCDR’s goal is to keep the roads as safe as possible. The Department of Roads cautions drivers to remain alert during and immediately following winter weather and reminds motorists to drive appropriately for conditions and to give snowplows plenty of room to safely clear the roads. MCDR also urges drivers to follow these safety tips on the roadways:

  • Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle, including the hood, roof, truck, headlights, taillights, windows, and mirrors.
  • Buckle up.
  • Start your drive early allowing extra time for slow driving conditions.
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Drive defensively and brake early. Stopping on icy roads requires three to nine times the distance to come to a complete stop.

For the latest news from the Department of Roads, follow MCDR on Facebook and sign

up to receive email and text alerts for construction and traffic updates at



Shop Local Macomb has biggest year yet


Shop Local Macomb, an initiative organized by the Department of Planning and Economic Development, had its biggest year yet. The contest, which encourages shopping small during the holiday season, received more than 750 entries from enthusiastic shoppers, the largest number of submissions in its five year run.

From those entries, ten winners were randomly selected and given $150 gift cards donated by First State Bank. Ten local businesses were also announced as recipients of $1,000 grants through the contest. Winning businesses include:

“We are thrilled to once again host the Shop Local Macomb campaign and to provide support to local small businesses as well,” said Vicky Rowinski, director, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. “The holiday season is one of the most important for our local retailers, so even though the contest has ended, I encourage everyone to continue to shop local these next few weeks, as independently owned and operated businesses are part of what makes our community special.”

Shop Local Macomb is coordinated by the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development with support from area chambers, including the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce, the Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce and the Anchor Bay Chamber of Commerce. First State Bank provides the gift cards.

For more details visit



‘Tell Me Something Good’ section to share good news, employee stories

Over the last year and a half, we’ve all missed out on those spontaneous conversations where we learn something new or exciting about a coworker. Perhaps someone had an anniversary, or they welcomed a new grandchild, or maybe they bought a house. All of these special ‘water cooler’ moments where we share updates and congratulations went quiet. So in the June edition of Macomb Matters, the team launched a new feature - ‘Tell Me Something Good’ - a section of the newsletter that aims to tell those stories so we can celebrate good news together.

Here are some of the updates we received:


Kathy Gudenau, clerical services supervisor, Probate Court, welcomed her first grandbaby on January 2, 2021.


Darryle Johnson, veteran service officer, Macomb County Veterans Services, welcomed a grandchild, Armani Lamont Johnson, on October 28, 2021.


Elisha Oakes, Macomb County Office of the Public Defender, welcomed a baby boy, Wyatt Matthew Oakes, on May 3, 2021.


Christina Cory, administrative assistant, Macomb County Clerk’s Office, and her husband Jason were one of five winners of the Stahl Family Small Business Scholarship Fund to support the start up of their t-shirt/hat company named Junket Crew. As winners, they will receive a heat press, accessories and coaching for a year with experts from Stahl’s Heat Printing headquartered in St. Clair Shores.


Hollie DiMaggio, who works for the WIC program, is proud to share that her son graduated from the Army on November 24, 2021 and is now serving in Germany as a military police officer. “He wanted to be a police officer since he was 3-years-old, “ she said. “He never shifted from his dream. He is following in his mama's footsteps when it comes to the Army. Thank you son for all that you have done for our family.”

Do you have something to share for an upcoming newsletter? Submit your good news here. Questions or looking for additional information? Email the Macomb Matters editorial team at



For Your Benefit: Resilience


So much of this past year has seemed like Groundhog’s Day. The ongoing pandemic and how closely this year’s infection rates have mirrored last year’s. The constant stalemate and snipping coming out of Lansing and Washington. I believe I have said it a number of times in this column…ENOUGH ALREADY!

We have been chewing on this in our office for months. The great changes that we are going through as a society sometimes makes you wonder if things are ever going to improve. The unfortunate truth is that there can only be two answers to “will this get better?” Yes or no. 

If the answer is no, we are living in a very dark place and I for one do not want this to be as good as it gets. I want to get back together with my family without having to worry that I may have brought something into their lives that can make them sick. I want to get together with my friends without having to worry that someone is going to ask my thoughts on whomever is in the White House, Congress or Lansing at that particular moment. Really, I just want to be able to relax and breathe.

After a number of conversations, we came to the conclusion that the answer to “will this get better?” has to be “YES!” Because it’s yes, then what do we do to try to move the needle faster and in our office we have begun to focus on resilience. You will hear more about this in the new year, but if you're interested in building resilience, there is a fantastic book called Flourish, by Martin P. Seligman. In the preface to this text, Seligman talks about his work as “...exploring what makes life worth living and building the enabling conditions of a life worth living.” This book gives strategies to do this.

The focus of resilience isn’t to be “human resource-y” as some people might see it. It’s not to work to make us happier either. It’s to focus on overall well-being. Resilience, in my opinion, isn't about happiness. It’s about what we do when we get knocked down, how quickly we can get back up and if we can work on ourselves to build resilience in getting back up quicker. 

So as mentioned, I believe the answer to “will this get better?” is yes and I look forward to sharing more with you on this topic in 2022. 

We here in HR wish each and every one of you a safe, peaceful and joyous holiday season and look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.





Macomb County wins top award for green infrastructure project


The “daylighting and green infrastructure retrofit” of the Sterling Relief Drain in Sterling Heights was awarded Project of the Year in the category of Quality of Life/$1 Million to $5 Million, by the Michigan chapter of the APWA.

“We’re proud and honored to receive this award from the APWA,” Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller said. “Like we always say, ‘Water quality equals quality of life,’ and this project has been a notable and innovative effort to improve both.”

The Sterling Relief Drain – located south of Metropolitan Parkway, from west of Ryan Road to east of Schoenherr Road -- was built in the 1960s and drains the stormwater from 20% of Sterling Heights. It outlets to the Red Run Drain to the east, and the flow eventually reaches Lake St. Clair.

The project’s primary goal was to improve water quality by redesigning and retrofitting two miles of open channel drain by forcing the flow into a naturalized green corridor after “daylighting” – or exposing – two lateral storm drains and removing a 300-foot stretch of pipe to make it appear more like an intermittent stream. The ground then acts as a sponge, soaking up harmful nutrients and sediment before they have a chance to reach the Red Run Drain during normal rain events.

Approximately 135,000 native perennial plant plugs were planted on the slope and bottom of the open channel including native pollinator plants to create a 2.5-mile-long butterfly flyway. Additionally, more than 1,000 shrubs were planted in the bio-retention areas. Hundreds of 1- to 2-inch caliper native species trees were planted to establish a tree canopy.

The project started in 2018, with most of the work performed in 2019. It was funded by grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

“This project is all about water quality and improving our environment, which improves our quality of life,” said Miller.



Blast from the past: Share your old Macomb County workplace photos


It’s Throwback Friday - Macomb Matters edition! Yes, the social media trend where you post old photos on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts is coming to our employee newsletter. In this edition, we get one classic image from decades ago.

Pictured here is Dearl Morrison in the Radio Dept circa 1954.

Do you have an old county workplace photo(s) that you’d be willing to share with the Macomb Matters team? Submit it here and you might see it in an upcoming issue of this newsletter!



Providing support by keeping it casual


The Board of Commissioners has announced the continuation of the Macomb County Casual Day Charitable Collections Program. Participating employees (with department leader permission) may wear casual clothing to work on Fridays (or other designated day), if they donate at least a dollar. Participating departments will be monitored, and donations are sent in a timely fashion. Collected donations are then sent by the Board Office to the assigned charities.

The BOC recently closed its call for nominations for charities that the Casual Day program will support in 2022. Stay tuned for additional announcements on the topic, and in the meantime, if you are able, please participate in the final Casual Days of the year that will help:

December - Turning Point - Provides programs and resources that enable victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to regain control of their lives. Learn more.



Macomb County Animal Control Adoption of the Month - December


Pictured is just one of the many animals who found a home with the help of Macomb County Animal Control! Is your companion waiting for you? Pay a visit to the shelter and find out! Visit the website for more information about pets available for adoption, information about the adoption process and hours of operation.



MMYH Ambassadors

MMYH Ambassador - Take a quiz, win a prize!

Welcome back to the MMYH Ambassadors column! This edition will feature an important program from Macomb Community Action: Weatherization.

Macomb Community Action's Weatherization Assistance Program performs the installation of energy efficient items to conserve energy in Macomb County homes. Weatherization improvements reduce energy use and can save an average of 30 percent on heat/utility bills. A home energy audit determines which items will be installed.

Energy saving services may include:

  • Wall insulation
  • Attic insulation and ventilation
  • Floor/foundation insulation
  • Air leakage reduction
  • Furnace repair or replacement
  • Other energy saving measures

Services are free to those who qualify - which means there are eligibility guidelines for the program. Interested families and individuals must meet the following:

  • They must meet current Federal Income Guidelines. Income includes gross income of everyone residing in the home at the time of application
  • Recipients of FIP or SSI who have received benefits during any of the past twelve months are automatically income eligible
  • Applicants must be residents of Macomb County
  • Weatherization crews cannot work on any home that is for sale

To apply for weatherization assistance, call (586) 469-6329. Now - think you’re ready to complete the ambassador quiz and win some great county swag? Click here to get started and stay tuned for the next issue, where we’ll cover a new topic.



Paw Print

Greetings from Chief Randazzo!

Here we are, at the end of 2021! Where has the year gone? Things seem to speed up at the end of the year, and it’s been pretty busy here at Macomb County Animal Control (MCAC). The last few weeks especially have provided wonderful examples of how the people of Macomb County come together as a community to support the health and well-being of animals. It is this support that enables MCAC to help hurting and neglected animals overcome their challenges.  This support particularly stands out when we are confronted with unfortunate situations. That’s what happened the day after Thanksgiving, when seven severely neglected long-haired dogs were brought to our attention. They had not had proper grooming over a prolonged period of time, which is a danger to their health. Their long hair, if not trimmed regularly, will begin to mat, and wrap around itself, pulling at the skin, knotting over eyes, harboring bacteria and causing sores. As the hair curls around the skin, it slowly tightens, and cuts off circulation, which, in severe cases, can even lead to amputation. It’s a painful and dangerous condition. We have posted some “before and after'' photos of these animals on our Facebook page, but be warned, the “before” photos are graphic.

And this is where our supporters and staff shine. Even though it was a holiday weekend, the community did not hesitate to jump in. Through the help of rescuers, donors and grooming services donated by Hair of the Dog Grooming, we were able to provide the emergency grooming these animals required. These dogs will need continued medical treatment to heal from the injuries their condition caused, but their spirits seemed markedly improved once they were relieved of their matted prisons, one layer at a time.  It could not have been done without the help of all involved.

There are many more examples of the support we receive. Less than 30 days prior to this unfortunate situation, we were welcomed to Pet Supplies Plus on Garfield in Clinton Township for our Fill the Trailer event, where we collected donations of food and other items for our animals.  On December 4, we held our Home for the Holidays adoption event. All adoption fees were sponsored, and many animals will now celebrate the remainder of the year with their new families. Not only that, but during the adoption event, we had a bake sale fundraiser, and sold baked goods, also donated by our friends. Cash donations were made. Our volunteer orientation was conducted that day. We welcomed 30 more volunteers to our MCAC family. We could not be more thrilled.

These acts of kindness are the highs that get us through the lows. It is the high level of community support that enables us to provide exceptional care to the creatures that come to us. This is the time of year to acknowledge and thank everyone for their support. The animals are grateful, and so are we.

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays, and the brightest start to the New Year!

Until next time! ~ Chief Randazzo



Recipe Corner

Gingerbread Pancakes



  • • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • • 1 egg
  • • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • • 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger
  • • 1/8 teaspoon cloves or nutmeg

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 pancakes
Servings per container: 4
Saturated fat…………... 1.5g
Vitamin C………………….2%


Wash hands and all food preparation surfaces.

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. In another bowl, beat egg. Stir in molasses, oil and buttermilk.
  3. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients; stir together lightly.
  4. Lightly spray a large skillet or griddle with non-stick cooking spray or lightly wipe with oil. Heat skillet or griddle over medium-high heat (350 degrees F in an electric skillet). For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle.
  5. Cook until the pancakes are puffed and dry around edges. Flip and cook other side until golden brown.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


  • Substitute ripe pears for apples.
  • Serve warm topped with vanilla yogurt.

Recipe provided by:
Food Hero, Oregon State University Extension,; Click here for a PDF version. 



Blog Log


How to support small businesses this holiday season

Local mother and daughter make Shop Local Macomb a yearly tradition





News Nook


New businesses coming to downtown Mount Clemens

Oakland University volunteers make a difference for Macomb County 4-H garden

St. Clair and Macomb counties announce new details for coastal birding trail



Do you have comments or suggestions for Macomb Matters? Please send them to