Focus Macomb Newsletter
Macomb Matters October 2021 Issue 78
- Message from Mark
- Employee Focus
- Employee Accolades
- New Hires/Retirees
- Remembering Matt Garcia
- Honoring Zach Morisette
- Fall in Love with Macomb
- Macomb County’s annual open enrollment period underway
- ‘Tell Me Something Good’ section to share good news, employee stories
- For Your Benefit: A Message from Andy McKinnon
- Macomb County offers educational opportunities and resources
- Blast from the past: Share your old Macomb County workplace photos
- 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 fall edition of Macomb Matters. It’s a great time of year in the county. Marked by cooler temperatures and shorter days, this season allows us to showcase some of the best reasons why Macomb is an incredible place to live, work and play. We’ve got a variety of apple orchards and cider mills, plenty of fun, local events like 5k runs, trunk-or-treats and Halloween festivals, and a number of parks, trails and open spaces where you can take in the fall colors and enjoy the crisp, cool air. It’s clear - there’s a lot to enjoy.
Fall is also a time of year to reflect and give thanks. Volunteering is one way we can do this, and Macomb Community Action has several opportunities to donate your time and talent. So whether you sign up to deliver food through Meals on Wheels or sort donations for the Macomb Food Program, you can feel good knowing you’re helping your community.
Take care, enjoy the season and as always, thank you for everything you do to make Macomb a great place to call home.
Lula Peterson and Linda O'Connor
Meet food service aides Lula Peterson and Linda O'Connor of Macomb Community Action. Lula and Linda work at the Ballenger Street, Harrison Township location. Food service aides are a community-based position. In addition to packaging and preparing meals for the Meals on Wheels and Dining Senior Style programs, they assist Meals on Wheels volunteers with daily meal delivery.
Lula joined Macomb Community Action in 2015. When asked what she finds most rewarding about her position, Lula states: “Being able to make a difference in the lives of our seniors. Whether that be a meal or being a listening friend. I really find a sense of joy in helping others, that's what led me here. I love seeing how happy our seniors are when they get a good balanced meal and are able to socialize. That's a reward in itself.”
Lula, who resides in Roseville, graduated from Ypsilanti High School and went on to study at Detroit Business College. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family (including a dog named Cupcake), cooking, gardening and travelling. “I feel so strongly about the good that we do here and making this a safe and inclusive space for our friends,” she said. “I would like to give special thanks to our volunteer route drivers. They are amazing, rain, sleet or snow, they deliver with a smile. As well as Kenneth Berkest and Harrison Township for supporting the Meals on Wheels program faithfully.”
Linda, who goes by Skippy, joined Macomb Community Action in 2018. When asked what she enjoys most about her position, Linda stated: “My position is rewarding. I know my heart is smiling daily.”
Linda, who resides in Clinton Township, graduated from East Catholic High School in Detroit and continued her education at Ross Medical. She worked at Henry Ford Hospital for 35 years until she retired. She has one daughter, Rika, who works in the music industry and lives in Los Angeles. When she is not working, Linda likes to recreate old recipes and spend time with her large Italian family of over 200 people.
“One of the many things I enjoy about delivering meals is seeing Linda and Lula,” said Jennifer Bruzzese, a consultant for Macomb County Human Resources and Labor Relations and a Meals on Wheels volunteer. “They are always friendly and helpful, but most importantly, they genuinely care about the well-being and health of the seniors they serve.”
The Macomb County Office of Senior Services is currently recruiting volunteers to deliver a special Thanksgiving meal to seniors in the community. For more information contact Jon Carolin, Volunteer Coordinator, Office of Senior Services at email@example.com or (586) 469-6702.
Vicky Rowinski and Mark Deldin recognized on Crain’s 2021 list of 50 Names to Know in Government
Vicky Rowinski, director, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, and Chief Deputy County Executive Mark Deldin were both named to the second edition of the Crain’s Detroit Business 50 Names to Know in Government list. The feature includes both prominent public-facing and behind-the-scenes roles in the governor’s office, state departments, county government and Detroit City Hall. According to Crain’s, these individuals run government agencies whose missions intersect with the interests of businesses large and small and not-for-profit organizations. They are subject-matter experts in their individual areas of public affairs and policy.
Shannon Mallory receives national certification
Shannon Mallory, program manager for the Macomb Food Program, recently received recognition as a Certified Community Action Professional. The national certification is presented by the Community Action Partnership. It requires recipients to complete a candidate data form, develop an executive skills portfolio and pass a four hour written exam.
Camille Silda named Beacon of Economic Development
Recent retiree Camille Silda received the Beacon of Economic Development Award at the 2021 Macomb Business Awards. Silda worked for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development for more than 36 years, serving the needs of a variety of businesses and industries, including medical and automotive manufacturing. She worked with more than 100 companies during her tenure, assisting them with expansions or locating their manufacturing sites. By the time she retired in 2021, Silda had helped these companies invest over $1 billion in new facilities, machinery and equipment in Macomb County. These investments also created more than 5,000 new jobs.
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 Maria.firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
The Macomb Matters Committee would like to congratulate Rick Sabaugh on his retirement after many years of service!
Tell us about the different positions you have held during your time with the county?
When I first started with the Department of Roads, I was filling potholes for $8 an hour! I worked at the Department of Roads for my entire career of 33.5 years. Over the years, I made signs, installed signs, mowed grass, operated heavy equipment and worked in the sign shop. I also plowed snow. I was the assistant foreman for maintenance and then became the foreman of the sign department. I also served as President of Local 893 Macomb Road Workers and President of the ADTECH Association.
What will you miss most about working for Macomb County?
There are so many things I will miss. One of the things I will miss most is my service as a union representative. Representing employees and reaching resolutions with the county was both challenging and rewarding. Without a doubt, it is one of the more fulfilling roles I played. As a foreman, I will miss managing the sign department. I enjoyed helping those employees become more efficient in their duties and remain safe while on the roads. Safety is always a big deal for Roads employees. I will also miss mentoring the younger crew members when they become discouraged with the daily grind. And the teamwork! Not just among our coworkers either – you have to partner with MDOT and MCDOR to complete large freeway projects safely and successfully and it is so rewarding. I’ll miss pretty much everything and everyone except the late night calls to work!
What are you most proud of during your career with Macomb County?
I was most proud of the fact that the sign department was always prepared to safely perform their tasks on the roadway. Everyone knew what was expected. When one of our workers was electrocuted, the crew did not panic and saved his life by removing him from the current, administering CPR and dialing 911.
What are your post retirement plans?
For the first six months, absolutely nothing! I see motorcycles, weights, bourbon and loud rock and roll in the near future! But in January I plan to start giving back to my community by volunteering to serve those in need. Also, after 30 years working for Joe Louis Arena and now at LCA, I will be seeking a less physical job there – something other than humping beer up and down the aisles.
Any other words of wisdom to share?
Deferred Comp!!!!! Be the Change! And don’t ever accept a challenge to an ice skating race from someone younger than you.
Click here for a list of New Hires/Retirees
Remembering Matt Garcia
Earlier this month, we learned that Macomb County, and specifically the Community Mental Health family, lost friend, colleague and co-worker, Matt Garcia. According to his colleagues, Matt passed after a long battle with cancer.
Teammates remember Matt for always having a positive word and a smile on his face, even when facing adversity. As with so many of our team, Matt was a long time employee, starting with the county in 2010. He ended his career with us as an Office Assistant Senior in the CMH Medical Records Department.
Such a young life cut short much too soon. We know how hard it can be to lose a colleague, a friend or a family member. In addition, knowing of a young loss of life can bring up memories that can be difficult for so many of us. Please remember that the county provides confidential no-cost support through our Employee Assistance Program ("EAP") and it can be accessed by dialing 1-888-333-6269. Additional EAP information is also attached to this email.
Featured here are two pictures of Matt smiling, as he is most often remembered. Maybe this will put a smile on your face and be a ripple that causes Matt's memory to carry on.
Honoring Zach Morisette
The following feature was written by the Macomb County Department of Roads
September 2021 marked one year since we lost one of our own – Zach Morisette. Our hearts remain heavy and the loss of this remarkable young man was an unthinkable tragedy. He was a dedicated public servant, a valuable member of our team, and a beloved member of the Macomb County Department of Roads family.
Zach was a joy to be around and was a spark plug in the workplace. As a third generation Department of Roads professional, he was a hard worker, was always the first on the job and was willing to do whatever it took to get the work done. He loved his teammates and the bond between Zach and his brothers and sisters at the Department of Roads was unbreakable.
A three-time cancer survivor, Zach was first diagnosed with leukemia when he was six-years-old. It returned when he was eight and again when he was 13, but he was declared cancer free in 2020. Zach loved his family, friends and MCDR teammates. He lived his life authentically and to the fullest surrounded by those he cared about most.
To honor his memory and to help raise awareness for work zone safety, Zach’s family and friends have set up the Zach Morisette Memorial Scholarship fund with the Anchor Bay Education Association, which will be awarded annually to a deserving high school senior who has overcome tremendous obstacles or is interested in a professional trade.
Although Zach is gone, his legacy will be felt forever.
The loss is a tragic reminder of how fragile life can be and the hazards we face while performing our duties in the field. On behalf of the entire Department of Roads family, we will continue to honor Zach by going above and beyond to perform our essential duties as road professionals.
Thank you for your service and continued commitment to our community and the safety of our fellow roads family.
Fall in Love with Macomb
Fall in Macomb County looks like any other; the weather gets cooler, the days get shorter and warm-colored leaves begin to descend from the trees. But there’s more to it than that. Between each of the 27 different municipalities within the county, there are lots of great activities and events to partake in, enough that it will make you fall in love with Macomb all over again.
For instance, the end of 2021 may be closing in, but October isn’t over yet, which means Halloween festivities are at their peak. A staple of the holiday is Terror on Tillson, a month-long event where the houses of Tillson street are extravagantly decorated for the season. Drive, walk or bike through this Romeo community and witness the wonderful display of creativity!
Interested in another Halloween walkthrough experience? Don’t miss out on the Grand Pacific House Haunt in New Baltimore. The city’s historical society will be hosting the last of their haunted tours this Friday and Saturday, so click here to buy your tickets! However, if you’re looking for something a little more interactive, Blake’s Big Apple will be hosting their haunted attractions throughout the season, as well.
Halloween isn’t the only thing to look forward to during the final days of October. Macomb County has a plethora of different orchards and farms to visit, which means there are tons of places to go pumpkin and apple u-picking. Westview Orchards & Winery, Big Red Orchard & Cider Mill and Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill will be finishing up their u-pick season by the end of the month. These are also great places to visit for cider, donuts and pies as well. Other establishments to go to for your cider and donut addictions are Verellen Orchards & Cider Mill in Washington, Stony Creek Orchard & Cider Mill and Hy’s Cider Mill in Romeo, and Miller’s Orchard Market in Sterling Heights.
As we wave goodbye to Halloween, u-picking and other early fall activities, we also send off the last of Macomb County’s summer markets too. Armada Flea Market in Richmond will continue every Tuesday and Sunday thru the end of October, while the Saturday Mount Clemens Farmers Market will fortunately end much later, on November 20.
Similarly, there are a few activity-based events that will run through November as well. The only exception being the Hot Cider Hustle 5K & 15K Run/Walk, which takes place October 31 in Harrison Township. But not to worry! If you miss that one, you can still catch the Stony Creek Marathon on November 7 and the Big Bird Run on November 14.
As Thanksgiving slowly approaches, you might want to start developing your dinner plans. This includes finding somewhere to get your turkey. If you’re hoping to buy a farm fresh turkey, then look no further than your own county. There are plenty of farms and markets in the area that sell exactly what you need. RC Organic Farms, Hefling’s Amish Farm Market and Weeks’ Meat Market are all establishments that offer non-GMO, preservative-free turkeys. You can also check out Nitsches Meats & Deli, Weiss’s Meats & Deli, and Biondo’s Meat Market for more all-natural turkey options.
Planning out your holidays can be a real chore, though, so you will probably want to sit down with a cool glass of wine when it’s all over. Once again, your county has got you covered. With their vast selection of wineries and breweries to choose from, you won’t be disappointed.
Have a happy fall!
Macomb County’s annual open enrollment period underway
The county’s open enrollment period is underway now through November 5, 2021. This is your annual opportunity to change providers and/or add dependents to your medical/vision and dental insurance plans.
This is the only time of year to enroll or continue participation in the flexible spending account (FSA). The FSA allows employees, current spouses and eligible dependents to use pre-tax dollars to pay for qualifying health care and dependent expenses.
For more information, plan to meet one-on-one with representatives at the following open house:
VIRTUAL BENEFIT FAIR
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2021
Vendors and HRLR Staff will be available for questions and assistance
Noon to 3:00 pm
Meeting ID: 895 1333 8522
‘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:
Ernest Cawvey, director, Macomb Community Action, welcomed Emory Cawvey on October 3, 2021.
Lauri Eisen, project manager, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, completed the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon in 1:42:11 on October 17, 2021.
Katie Mileski, office assistant - senior, Macomb County Human Resources and Labor Relations, closed on her first home with her longtime boyfriend Anthony in August 2021.
Heather Verriest, Macomb County Emergency Management, welcomed Evie Conlan Verriest on October 6, 2021.
Vince Viviano, chief of staff, Macomb County Department of Roads, married Heidi Neumayr on August 28, 2021.
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 Maria.email@example.com.
For Your Benefit: A Message from Andy McKinnon
“For your Benefit” is an incredibly appropriate title for this section this month. As you know, we are in the middle of our annual open enrollment for health, dental and flexible spending accounts. As a reminder, this is running October 18 through November 5 for active employees, and October 26 through November 12 for retirees.
We are fortunate again this year to have managed our costs while maintaining the same or better benefits for our employees. One question that has come up recently is the county’s position on covering children up to the age of 26. Prior to the pandemic, children were removed from benefits on the last day of their birth month. However, in the early days of the pandemic, we changed that rule and children are now covered until December 31 of the year they turn 26. We did this to make sure we could take care of our staff and their families while we all figured out how to push through this pandemic. We will maintain this practice for 2022.
In addition to open enrollment, this month is also Mental Health Awareness Month. So in conjunction with open enrollment, it is a good time to review the different health plans’ mental health offerings. Also don’t forget that we always have our free confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through our partnership with Ulliance. They can be reached at 800.448.8326.
Have a Happy Halloween everyone.
Macomb County offers educational opportunities and resources
Getting a higher education for yourself or your family can be expensive. But did you know Macomb County partners with schools to provide discounts on tuition for its employees, and in some cases, their dependents?! These programs are offered as a voluntary benefit. For instance, through our agreement with Central Michigan University, employees, their spouse or dependents under age 24 can be eligible for a 15 percent discount on tuition. Each school offers different programs and of course, there are some terms and conditions that apply, but if you’d like to learn more about these opportunities, please check out the Educational Opportunities information on our Voluntary Benefits page.
If you’ve gotten your degree and you have the student loan debt to prove it, you should also know that Macomb County is a qualifying employer for the Public Sector Loan Forgiveness program. For more information, and to see if you would be eligible for a student loan forgiveness program, visit FSA - Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Finally, if you’re interested in some career development but not a formal university, you can visit the Ulliance website. Ulliance is the Macomb County provider for the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). It’s not just about crisis management. Ulliance has an extensive library with all sorts of subject matters. Just go to their website and click on Well-Being Resources. Select Well-Being Library, and once you land in the library, click on Career Well-Being. Hundreds of articles will pop up. They also offer Smart Manager training videos and webinars for employees interested in perfecting their professionalism and advancing their careers. You can find these under the HR & MGR Resources tab. The library resources, videos and webinars are provided at no cost to employees and dependents. EAP can also provide coaching, counseling or if necessary, referrals to other professionals who can assist employees in setting and meeting personal, career or financial goals.
Blast from the past: Share your old Macomb County workplace photos
It’s Throwback Thursday - 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 the Clerk’s Office in 1960. The office was located on the 2nd floor of the County Building and seen in the image are workers processing and producing a variety of information.
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 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:
November- Sandcastles (Henry Ford) - A grief support group for kids, ages 3-18, where they can interact with peers who have experienced similar losses. Learn more.
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 - October
Pictured is just one of the many animals who found a home through the Macomb County Animal Control’s Empty the Shelters event! Is your companion waiting for you? Pay a visit to the shelter and find out! Visit its website for more information about pets available for adoption, information about the adoption process and hours of operation.
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: Head Start.
Macomb Community Action is committed to helping young children and their families achieve success. The two primary early childhood programs offered through MCA are Early Head Start (EHS) and Head Start (HS). Both EHS and HS are comprehensive early childhood programs for children with at-risk backgrounds from birth to age 5.
Through an integrative approach, children enrolled in EHS or HS are provided with a variety of educational, medical and nutritional services and parents/caregivers receive the support they need through a variety of programs. This all fosters improved child development, enhances home environments and improves relationships between children and their caregivers.
The programs offer individualized child education, research-based curriculum, support for dual language learners, parent/caregiver engagement, family goal setting, oral health and physical wellness support, caregiver/early literacy initiatives, nutrition and safety education, and mental health and disability support.
More information about the programs, eligibility requirements and availability, parent/caregiver resources, planning and reporting efforts, and how to get in touch can be found here.
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.
Greetings from Chief Randazzo!
Happy Fall! Leaves are changing, and the air is turning crisp. Apple orchards are busy and bees are buzzing around, trying to extract the last bits of summer nutrition before they rest for the winter. It’s a wonderful time of year and I hope you are getting the best of it.
We kicked off the fall season with Bissell’s Empty the Shelters event, which was a wonderful success. Forty-three animals were adopted, and 36 of those adoptions were cats or kittens. There was also a noticeable increase of adoptions during that week as well. Fifty-four dogs, cats, kittens and even two guinea pigs and a rabbit were taken home! We are pleased with the outcome of the event and look forward to more. Of course we still have many animals available. If you’re thinking about adding an animal to your family, please adopt, don’t shop. Pay us a visit and we’ll introduce you to some furry four-legged souls who are eager to meet you. Occasionally we have non-furry friends around too! Just a month ago, we had 20 lizards and even a tortoise! And if you can’t adopt but are able to provide a foster home for waiting pets, contact us at (586) 469-5115. You can also keep up with us and get more information about our guests and all of our programs by visiting our website and Facebook page!
Our next event is the Fill the Trailer event, and it’s just around the corner! This event allows us to help families who are struggling to feed their pets due to financial difficulties, and we could not do this without our generous donors. Donations will be accepted at Pet Supplies Plus in Clinton Township, located at 42241 Garfield Road, just south of 19 Mile Road. Our goal is to collect 10,000 pounds of food, which would help a large number of pets in need. If you’d like to help us reach this goal, stop by the Pet Supplies Plus from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 29, and Saturday, October 30. Donations will also be accepted on Sunday, October 31, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. Every bag of pet food helps!
Until next time! ~ Chief Randazzo
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 whole- eat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pinch cloves (optional)
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 3 cups sliced apples (about 2 apples, 3-inch diameter, peeled)
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup sugar
Serving size: 1 bar Servings per container: 12
Wash hands and all food preparation surfaces.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan
- Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves, if desired.
- Cut in butter or margarine with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly.
- Spread half of the crumb mixture in the baking pan. Tap with apple slices and raisins and sprinkle with sugar. Spread remaining crumb mixture evenly over apples.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes. Cool and cut into 12 bars.
- Substitute ripe pears for apples.
- Serve warm topped with vanilla yogurt.
Recipe provided by:
Food Hero, Oregon State University Extension, foodhero.org; Click here for a PDF version.
Do you have comments or suggestions for Macomb Matters? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org