Macomb Matters February 2018 Issue 56
- Message from Mark
- Employee Focus
- For Your Benefit
- African American History Month: Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery
- Healthstyles CARROT Wellness app
- Celebrating Macomb’s bicentennial
- Raise funds for those in need through Walk for Warmth
- How Perks at Work can help you get in shape
- Paw Print - Keep your pets warm this winter
- Recipe Corner - Cauliflower fried rice
- Renovation Report
- Event Calendar
- New Hires/Retirees
- Blog Log
- News Nook
Message from Mark
Happy New Year! 2018 is an especially important year for Macomb County as we celebrate our 200th anniversary. Back in 1818 when we were established, Michigan was still a territory and only two other counties (Monroe and Wayne) had been established. Not only are we the state’s third most populated county, we are also the third to be incorporated. We have come a long way since then.
I want to thank Deputy County Executive Pam Lavers for coordinating our yearlong bicentennial celebration and the contributions of a volunteer committee of more than 100 members. With their support, a new website is in place to feature stories throughout the year, and we invite the public to share theirs. Our legacy leader sponsor FCA and other sponsors have provided funding so that we can host a birthday float in at least three community parades, and in June, a 200-mile torch relay will pass through each of Macomb’s 27 communities. Many communities and organizations have joined us in marking this milestone with their own planned activities including an exhibit at the Lorenzo Cultural Center and a passport program that culminates in a free meal provided by Culver’s. Please visit the website www.Macomb200.org or follow Facebook/Macomb200 for details.
Before the year gets ahead of us, I want to thank each of you for all that you do to make Macomb a great place to call home. As an organization, we provide important – even lifesaving – services for our residents, and I am proud of our efforts.
Our State of the County address was a success again this year. This event has become one of Macomb County’s largest and most-anticipated events of the year – I hope you were there. Special thanks to everyone who joined us for our first-ever staff holiday gathering (and especially everyone who brought cookies) for employees in December. I enjoyed the chance to catch up with many and hope to host another staff-wide gathering again soon.
Let’s make 2018 the best year ever!
Employee Focus - Jim Langtry
Meet employee Jim Langtry, chief of operations for the Prosecutor's Office. This month, Jim celebrates 30 years of employment with Macomb County government.
After graduating from Cooley Law School and working for Arthur Anderson, Jim joined the Prosecutor's Office in 1988. His first job in the office was as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Appellate Division. Jim fondly recalls winning his first jury trial the same year he was hired.
“My parents were in the front row watching; the jury took only seven minutes to deliberate before convicting a drug dealer,” said Jim.
Jim has served as chief of operations under Prosecuting Attorney Eric Smith for 13 years.
“Since my first day at the Prosecutor's Office, Jim Langtry has been my go-to source for legal advice and counsel. There is almost nothing he doesn't know about criminal law and procedure. I can't imagine running the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office without Jim at my side,” said Smith. “Jim's long record of superlative public service is second to none. But I think his greatest achievements are the two wonderful children he's raised with his wife Jackie. Jim has given his heart and soul to the Prosecutor's Office, but day after day, he's always put his family first.”
Jim takes pride in supervising an amazing group of talented professionals, all of whom share the common goal of fighting to protect the safety and security of Macomb County’s homes and families.
Jim is married with two children and enjoys golfing in his free time.
For Your Benefit - Remember to use your 2017 Flexible Spending Account balance
As a reminder, the Macomb County Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which is administered by BASIC, includes a grace period. The FSA grace period is an extended period of coverage at the end of every plan year that allows extra time to incur expenses and use your remaining account balance. It runs from Jan. 1 to March 15 of the following year. An easy way to think of it is that a 12-month plan is actually 14 and a half months long.
It is important to note that the plan filing deadline for this grace period is March 31, 2018. All claims must be submitted via debit card, faxed or postmarked by this date.
The grace period only applies for those who have coverage through Dec. 31, 2017.
All FSA claims incurred in the new plan year between Jan. 1 and March 15 will automatically be processed against the previous year’s balance first, as long as they are submitted prior to the processing deadline of March 31.
Example: Joe has $80 remaining in his medical FSA at the end of the plan year (Dec. 31) and has no additional expenses left to submit for services incurred within that actual plan year. During the month of January, Joe goes to the dentist and incurs a charge of $190 that he knows will not be covered by his dental plan. Joe submits the claim to his Basic. Basic will process the claim, and the $80 will be applied from the remaining balance from the previous plan year, and the $110 will be applied to the current plan year’s balance.
Below are examples of products you can purchase to help you use your remaining 2017 FSA balance before the grace period runs out. When in doubt, you should always check with BASIC to confirm products are covered.
- First aid kits, hot and cold therapy packs, breast pumps, contact lenses and blood pressure monitors
- Alternative medical services such as chiropractic care and acupuncture
To view additional FSA eligible products, visit https://fsastore.com.
To submit claims to BASIC by the March 31 deadline, visit https://www.basiconline.com/.
African American History Month: Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery
African American History Month is February. For those interested in learning about African American history, there are plenty of opportunities available in southeast Michigan. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit has continuous and special exhibits worth exploring. The Clinton-Macomb Public Library is hosting an event on Feb. 11 honoring two Macomb County residents who served as Tuskegee Airmen, an elite group of African American pilots who served in World War II. And Macomb County is privileged to be home to a unique part of African American History as well.
Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery is located on the south side of Thirteen Mile Road between Ryan and Mound roads in Warren. To the casual passer-by, it appears to be an inconspicuous place, as poignant and peaceful as any other burial site. It is difficult to imagine that, at its inception, it was a point of contention and controversy.
The cemetery was incorporated in 1925 through the efforts of Charles C. Diggs Sr. He was an African American funeral director in the Detroit area and was deeply disturbed by the inequities African Americans faced, in life and unfortunately, also in death. Many cemeteries refused to allow blacks to be buried on their property, or if they did allow it, they charged more for the plots. Funeral service providers relegated family members and mourners of black decedents to inconvenient, less desirable dates and times to hold the services.
Diggs Sr. convinced other black business owners in the area to join with him and purchase a section of land to found a cemetery where blacks could be buried with dignity. Property options in Detroit were limited, but the founders were able to locate property on what is now Thirteen Mile Road in Warren. When the purpose of the development became apparent to white residents in the area, potential conflict loomed overhead, but the founders were undeterred, and on Oct. 30, 1926, the first official adult burial took place.
The founders elected Aaron Toodle as the first president of the Detroit Memorial Park Association. Both Diggs Sr. and Toodle were civil rights and political activists who sought to end discrimination. Diggs Sr. was the first black senator in the Michigan legislature. While Diggs was advocating for minorities in the state legislature, Toodle was advocating for the African American community on a local level, through the Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery Association. Under his leadership, the board set aside plots for families to plant “Victory Gardens” during World War II. During economic downturns, the board also offered loans to African Americans who were denied business or home loans from traditional banks.
Diggs Sr. saw an unfortunate end to his political career when he was caught up in a bribery scandal. Despite this, he was re-elected to the state legislature upon his release from prison. However, the state Senate body refused to seat him. His son, Charles C. Diggs Jr., indignant at the treatment his father received, entered the world of politics himself. Diggs Jr. ran successfully for the Michigan State Senate and won. Eventually, he sought to institute change on a federal level and became Michigan’s first African American representative. He was one of the original founders of the Congressional Black Caucus. He served until he resigned in June of 1980. He had been convicted of mail fraud and falsifying payroll cards but maintained his innocence, stating he was the victim of selective prosecution because of his race and his tireless activism on behalf of minorities around the world. Diggs Jr. passed away in 1998.
The current board members of the Detroit Memorial Park Association are all related to the original investors. Today, visitors to the cemetery located on Thirteen Mile Road will find that many prominent African Americans are buried there. Diggs Sr. and Diggs Jr. are both interred at the cemetery in Warren, as well as famous inventor Elijah McCoy, an educated and accomplished engineer whose inventions helped shape modern manufacturing processes. Florence Ballard, a founding member of the Supremes; blues musician “Baby Boy” Warren; and Phillip Wynne, whose accomplished musical career included a recording contract with the Motown Record Label, are among other historical figures who made Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery their final resting place.
Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery was the first black-owned and operated business of its kind in the state, and in 1976, the state of Michigan installed a historical marker there.
Healthstyles CARROT Wellness app
It’s that time of year – setting goals and making commitments to a better, healthier you. Often, well-intentioned individuals set their goals high – go big or go home, right? Unfortunately, setting “big” unrealistic goals is almost a surefire way of “going home” – straight to the couch, bag of chips in hand. So how can you avoid that fate? One strategy is to set challenging but realistic goals. Macomb County supports employees’ efforts to achieve their visions of healthier, more active lifestyles, and one of the ways Macomb County supports its employees’ endeavors is through the Healthstyles program.
To that end, in October 2016, Healthstyles introduced the CARROT Wellness mobile app to Macomb County employees. The app, which is completely free to employees, is one more resource in your fitness toolbox. Simply put, once you sign up, the app helps you set realistic goals and tracks your progress. The app sends reminders and congratulates you when you meet your goals. Not only will you feel better, but as you meet your goals, you will earn rewards, such as Macomb County merchandise and gift cards to restaurants or stores.
The app even offers a platform for some friendly competition among departments. When you sign up for the app, you can choose to join your department’s team. The app calculates the department’s averages, and the department whose team members reach their goals most consistently are designated the winners! Last year’s winner was Corporate Counsel, who met their goals 86 percent of the time. For more information about Corp Counsel’s victory, click here! Joining a team is not required, and whether you join your department’s team or not, all information is kept confidential and private. Macomb County does not have access to any personal information from your CARROT Wellness app – just data on team participation rates, no names attached.
Instead of “go big or go home,” how about “sign up and earn?” If you’d like to sign up for the CARROT Wellness app, click here and visit the Healthstyles CARROT Wellness app page for more information and instructions on how to download the app. If you do not have access to InsideMacomb, Macomb County’s internal server, please email Healthstyles for more information, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also speak to your department’s Wellness Warrior for assistance or questions about Healthstyles.
Macomb County is not only proud to help employees reach their wellness goals, it is also proud to support Michigan small businesses. The CARROT Wellness app is the brainchild of local businessman and engineer Michael Antaran. Michael maintains and runs the CARROT Wellness app, among other things, through his company Marvel Apps, located in Royal Oak. Marvel Apps has been recognized as one of southeast Michigan’s top app developers and was named as one of Michigan’s Top 50 Companies to Watch by the Michigan Celebrates Small Business organization in 2015. For more information about the CARROT Wellness app and its creator, please explore their website!
Celebrating Macomb’s bicentennial
Macomb County turns 200 this year, and there are opportunities to celebrate all year long!
Learn fun facts about the county’s history through the Macomb200.org website. Scroll along the timeline to see when important events occurred, and visit the stories page to read blogs about historical people, places and events. This month features stories about communities. Next month will focus on health.
Delve into the county’s historical sites through the Passport Challenge. Pick up a passport at participating locations and earn stamps at each site you visit. Once you’ve collected seven stamps, take your passport to Culver’s for a free meal.
An historical exhibit entitled “Voyageurs to Swing Votes” will be on display Feb. 28 through May 6 at Macomb Community College’s Lorenzo Cultural Center. According to their website, it will feature “major accomplishments, significant milestones, key people and interesting facts that have made Macomb County what it is today.” Also look for a new exhibit to make its way to the County Administration Building lobby sometime before spring.
The city of Mount Clemens also turns 200 this year, and a new commemorative book has been released. Capital of Macomb: A Bicentennial History of Mount Clemens, Michigan, 1818-2018 by Deborah Larsen includes beautiful images and details significant events that have shaped the city over the years. It is available for purchase for $15 at the Mount Clemens Public Library checkout desk.
The signature event of the year will be a torch relay which will take place June 21 and 22. The relay will run through each of Macomb’s 27 communities and end in Mount Clemens in time for their annual fireworks extravaganza. The following day, June 23, there will be a Bootleggers Ball that draws inspiration from the prohibition era.
Finally, the bicentennial will be celebrated during some of our communities’ longest running traditions: their annual parades. The bicentennial float can be spotted in the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade, Romeo Labor Day Parade and Mount Clemens Presents Macomb County’s Santa Parade on Nov. 17.
For more details about all of these events, follow @Macomb200 on Facebook.
Raise funds for those in need through Walk for Warmth
Registration is now open for Macomb Community Action’s 28th Annual Walk for Warmth. The event will take place on Saturday, March 3 at Macomb Mall in Roseville.
In October 2017, Macomb Community Action assisted a senior couple in central Macomb County with their natural gas bill. The funds raised at the Walk for Warmth event helped prevent their services from being disconnected.
Event check-in and day-of registration begin at 8 a.m. inside the mall at the Dick’s Sporting Goods entrance. New to the event this year is the outdoor 1-mile race administered by Hanson’s Race Management. Runners can choose to be timed and compete for overall male and female race awards. The indoor 5K walk and the outdoor race will both start at 9 a.m.
The registration fee is $25 per person and employees can choose to register individually or as a team at macombgov.org/mca-W4W. Departments throughout the county use the walk as a fun team-building event.
“This event benefits our most vulnerable citizens in the county while providing fun team-building for the Human Resources and Labor Relations staff,” said Robyn DiCristofaro, HRLR service partner. “One of our core values in HRLR is helping others, so we appreciate the opportunity to participate in this event."
How Perks at Work can help you get in shape
Make 2018 the year to get in shape! LA Fitness is offering an exclusive membership discount to Macomb County employees. Join online through the Perks at Work website and receive a $0 initiation fee and $29.99 monthly dues per person for you and your family members. Membership includes access to all LA Fitness clubs, excluding Signature Clubs.
Your membership would include the following amenities:
- Unlimited group fitness classes
- Personal training
- Access to pool, sauna and aqua fitness classes
- Kids Klub babysitting
- And many more.
So if you’ve made the resolution to get healthy and active this year, consider this discounted membership. This offer is only applicable to Macomb County government employees and only online at www.perksatwork.com. Please note that family members must live at the same address as the employee, and memberships must be paid through the employee membership account.
Go for the gold in 2018 and take advantage of this offer today!
Click here for more information about Perks at Work.
Keep your pets warm this winter
Macomb County Animal Control would like to extend a public service announcement to its community members regarding pets being left outside given the time of year. Our office continues to receive numerous phone calls from concerned residents regarding pets being left outside without proper shelter, for extended periods of time, during inclement weather. Our Animal Control deputies respond to all of these calls as quickly as possible. However, given the high volume of concerns we are receiving, we thought it would be best to offer some suggestions and resources to better educate our residents.
The following is a list of broad recommendations that we ask our community members adhere to:
- Macomb County Animal Control recommends that dogs do not stay outside for extended periods of time during cold weather. Know your dog’s limit!
- Dogs should be taken out only to use the bathroom and then brought back inside, ideally no longer than 10-15 minutes.
- Dogs are never to be left outside (even with proper weather coverage) if no one is home at the time.
- Residents should be conscious of what is or is not proper shelter given extreme temperatures.
- This time of year, blankets and woodchips are not considered ideal for bedding. Straw is preferred.
- There are various wax products that can be applied to your pet’s paws to further protect them from the cold.
Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s webpage for a more in-depth overview of how best to protect your animals in this weather.
Did you know the Macomb County Animal Control Division responds to more than just domestic animal weather concerns? Do not hesitate to call us at (586) 469-5115 if you are at all concerned about the well-being of an animal, owned or otherwise.
Thank you, stay warm!
Recipe Corner - Cauliflower fried rice
- 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
- 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 carrot, cubed
- 1/3 cup canned corn
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup frozen edamame
- 2 beaten eggs
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3-5 green onions, minced
- Shred cauliflower using the largest side of a grater or by pulsing rough cut pieces in a food processor/blender. The end product should resemble small grains of rice.
- Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, edamame and remaining sesame oil to the pan. Turn heat to medium-high, mix in the cauliflower and stir-fry quickly to cook the cauliflower to a soft (but not mushy!) texture, about 1-2 minutes.
- Make a well in the middle, turn the heat down and add the eggs. Stir gently and continuously until the eggs are fully cooked. Stir in the soy sauce and green onions just before serving.
Make Macomb Your Home maintains a comprehensive calendar of community events. Be sure to check it when you are looking for ways to enjoy Macomb with friends and family:
01/16/18 - Macomb County launches Jobs Board
12/01/17 - Macomb County Students Have a Bright Future