Focus Macomb Newsletter
Macomb Matters July 2019 Issue 65
- Message from Mark
- Employee Focus - Sergeant Renee Yax
- Employee Accolades
- New Hires/Retirees
- Meet Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
- Badges and Backpacks
- OneMacomb seeking centenarians to honor as part of new initiative
- In memoriam: Michelle LaBelle
- For Your Benefit - A message from Andrew McKinnon
- Perks at Work
- Let’s get social!
- Providing support by keeping it casual
- MMYH Ambassadors
- Paw Print
- Recipe Corner - Turkey Burger
- Event Calendar
- Blog Log
- News Nook
Message from Mark
Welcome to Macomb Matters! I’d like to begin my message by noting that this is officially the 65th issue of this newsletter. What an accomplishment! Thank you to the team of professionals from HRLR, Planning & Economic Development and IT for their efforts to put together helpful and interesting information for all of us. If you have an idea for a story or would like to see a co-worker recognized for their good work (inside and outside of the office), please contact email@example.com.
Now, as we all know, it’s festival season here in Macomb County. I love this time of year as it gives us all an opportunity to get outside, soak up the rest of summer and reconnect with our community. So mark your calendars for events like the Armada Fair (August 12 – August 18), the Warren Birthday Bash (August 22 – August 25) and the Romeo Peach Festival (August 29 – September 2). While you’re at it, make sure to check out the MMYH calendar for other local celebrations and the Michigan Lottery Amphitheater at Freedom Hill schedule for end-of-summer concerts. Needless to say, there’s so much happening here in Macomb County – I hope you can explore and enjoy it all!
Sergeant Renee Yax, Public Information Officer
Meet Sergeant Renee Yax, Public Information Officer with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office. Sergeant Yax joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2013 as a road deputy with over 18 years of law enforcement experience. After a year of working afternoons, she was assigned to the Detective Bureau. After completing three years in the Detective Bureau she started her assignment as the Public Information Officer (PIO) and was promoted to Sergeant shortly afterwards. Sergeant Yax states that it has been an exciting six years.
“As PIO, I am the main point of contact for all Sheriff’s Office media. I write and distribute media releases and communicate with our contracted area municipal heads each week. I also run all of the social media at the Sheriff’s Office.” With today’s speed of information and tech-savvy civilians, social media is not a passing trend. Law enforcement and social media are coming together to keep the public safe and informed. The benefits of tweeting, posting and sharing real-time information can be an easy way to share information with the public and make people smile. A recent post on Instagram highlighting a Deputy working Honor Guard detail received 223 likes.
When asked about her work with social media, Sergeant Yax shared the highlights and challenges. “When it comes to social media, I find that highlighting all of the great things that happen at the Sheriff’s Office is the most rewarding. However, as law enforcement and social media continue to merge, there can be challenges. People are quick to judge and quick to comment from behind the safety of their electronic screens. It’s bothersome to see the uninformed and negative comments towards our office but it is also very disheartening to see the rudeness that is projected towards complete strangers voicing their own opinion.”
“Since I have been given the task of social media, I have worked diligently to keep the public informed and spread our message. We have several platforms that we use to communicate with the public. Facebook to put our general messages/information, Twitter for media releases and recently we started using Instagram to reach our younger generations. I believe social media is a predominant source in media and will not be going away anytime soon. Many of our citizens may never come face-to-face with our staff, but with social media, we are still able to interact with them.”
Sergeant Yax is a graduate from Roseville High School. She holds an associate degree from Macomb Community College and is a graduate from the Macomb County Police Academy. She is currently in the process of obtaining her bachelor’s degree and she enjoys spending time with her family and playing volleyball.
Renee’s supervisor Captain David Kennedy provided the below quote:
“Sergeant Yax has helped to develop the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office social media presence across multiple platforms. She has created a comprehensive plan to utilize different social media platforms to reach the many different audiences within Macomb County. The results of her efforts speak for themselves. Our ability to reach the citizens of Macomb County has greatly increased, and allows our citizens a glimpse into the many different aspects of our jobs, from serious issues, public service issues and even the humorous parts of the job.”
To follow the Macomb County Sheriff Department visit:
Facebook - Macomb County Sheriff's Office
Twitter - MacombSheriff
Instagram - MacombCountySheriffsOffice
Macomb County Undersheriff Elizabeth Darga
Macomb County Undersheriff Elizabeth Darga was recognized as a dynamic woman in law enforcement at the third annual Exploring Detroit: Celebrating Women in Public Safety. The event was hosted by the Boy Scouts of America Great Lakes Field Service Council, which oversees the Explorer Programs. Other honorees included Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor; Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; and LaShinda Stair, First Assistant Chief of Police for the Detroit Police Department. On behalf of the Macomb Matters team, congratulations Undersheriff Darga!
Monique Goetgeluck retires after 20 years of service to Macomb County
The Macomb Matters team is pleased to recognize Monique Goetgeluck on her retirement from Macomb County! Monique most recently served as an adoption caseworker, but she has held many roles within the county. It all started in 1984, when she was hired to work in the Juvenile Justice Center. After a brief period away to raise her twin children, Monique returned to the Circuit Court’s probation department in 2005 and worked as a field officer, in drug court probation and intensive probation. She also spent many years and countless hours as the TPOAM union chair.
Monique recently reflected on her service for this newsletter:
What will you miss most about working for Macomb County?
After a very satisfying career with Macomb County and the Circuit Court, I will certainly miss the service I have been able to provide to the Court and the community.
What are you most proud of in your career with Macomb County?
I take pride in knowing that in every capacity of service to Macomb County, I delivered the best of me that I could.
What are your post-retirement plans?
As someone who has devoted my career to family and community, I am honored to take on the most rewarding roll of all, as caregiver to an amazing woman I am privileged to call Mom.
On behalf of the Macomb Matters team, congratulations on your well-deserved retirement Monique!
Click here for a list of New Hires/Retirees
Meet Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
County departments and employees serve our local community in a number of ways. Together, we make Macomb a great place to live, work and play. To help our readers better understand the various jobs and tasks we all take on, the Macomb Matters team is launching a new feature where we ‘meet’ a new department every issue. In this edition, you’ll learn more about Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED).
Reporting directly to Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel, the mission of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development is to retain, grow and attract economic investment while improving the overall quality of life for residents and businesses in Macomb County.
They accomplish this through four distinct teams:
- Economic Development - The objective of the economic development team is to foster a healthy, growing and diversified business community in Macomb County. This is accomplished by connecting business leaders with available resources that can help them meet their organizational needs and goals
- Land and Water Resources - The land and water resources group works to improve access to, stewardship of and our impact on the natural environment. In partnership with many organizations, the resources team assists in invasive species management, watershed management, shoreline and ecological restoration, low-impact infrastructure and placemaking.
- Planning and Mapping Services - The planning and mapping group supports other units of government with development guidance and geographic information services. This work helps officials determine how to best use land and natural assets and to organize communities where people live.
- Communications and Outreach - The marketing and communications team is charged with promoting Macomb County, other Macomb County departments and the work of MCPED. It accomplishes this through an integrated communications strategy and through the coordination of communications activities on a county-wide basis.
As you can see, these teams focus on very different areas, but they often collaborate on projects that will benefit the county. For example, they worked together to help bring Amazon to Shelby Township. In this instance, the company required the support of MCPED to get approval for, plan and market a new, 1-million-square-foot distribution center. MCPED delivered and Amazon’s facility opened in January 2019. This is just one of many success stories that the department can tell. Some of which you can read about here. But if you’re interested in learning more about MCPED’s overall mission, visit its website here. And make sure to stay tuned to the next issue of Macomb Matters for a behind-the-scenes look at another Macomb County department.
Badges and Backpacks
It feels like summer just started, but the Sheriff’s Office is already thinking about the back-to-school season with its Badges and Backpacks initiative. Badges and Backpacks is the brainchild of Julie Juncaj, administrative assistant to Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. It was initiated in 2017 and has collected close to 500 backpacks filled with school supplies for children in need throughout Macomb County.
When asked what motivated her to start the program, Julie referenced helping those most in need and doing something positive within the community. She says that putting smiles on kids’ faces is the reward for the hard work and makes it worth every second of effort.
The Badges and Backpacks initiative receives significant support from the Sheriff’s Office, the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police Foundation, many of the Reserve Deputy Units and the general public. But this year, for the first time ever, the program was selected as a beneficiary of the Macomb Diamond Challenge Charity Softball Game, which pits the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department against Macomb County lawyers and judges. There are sponsorships available and the proceeds will be split between the two teams’ respective charities. The game is scheduled for August 4 at Mount Clemens Memorial Field on Groesbeck Highway. There will be food trucks and fun starting at noon, and the first pitch will be thrown out at 1 p.m. For more information, please see this flyer. And to donate to this year’s Badges and Backpacks program, please click here. School supplies are being accepted now through August 2 and your support is greatly appreciated.
OneMacomb seeking centenarians to honor as part of new initiative
OneMacomb and the Macomb County Department of Health and Community Services is kicking off an ongoing initiative to honor centenarians. As part of the program, county officials are asking the public -- and county employees -- for help in finding residents who reach the hallmark ages of 100 and beyond.
“Centenarians infuse a special kind of vitality into our local communities,” said Rhonda M. Powell, director of Health and Community Services. “Be it a positive attitude, tenacity, wisdom or a mix of all those elements and more, these individuals are living examples of how to age with finesse, and they are worthy of celebration.”
Every known Macomb County centenarian will receive the special honor of having a personalized feature on various platforms during their birthday month. The feature will include a full-length blog post highlighting lifetime milestones, accomplishments and anecdotes on the Celebrating Centenarians page of the Health and Community Services website as well as a dedicated post on the OneMacomb Facebook page.
Centenarians will be highlighted on the first Friday of their birthday month. Submissions for future highlights must be made by the 15th of the month preceding the centenarians’ birth month. To submit an individual for this special celebration of life, complete the form at https://woobox.com/r4kreg.
In memoriam: Michelle LaBelle
November 1969 – July 2019
It is with deep sadness that we inform the Macomb County team about the loss of one of our own - Michelle LaBelle, risk specialist for Risk Management. Michelle began her career as a Macomb County employee in 2002 and was a cherished co-worker.
According to her co-workers, she was the life of their office parties and lived life to the fullest. She loved sports and was an ardent Lion’s fan. She was also a fan of the Spartans, since her son Michael graduated from Michigan State. There were friendly rivalries within the department and Michelle enjoyed them all. She is remembered as a movie fanatic. When her friends were ill, she would provide them with lists of movies to watch during their recovery. According to Lynne Lapierre, she often spoke about the movie Horrible Bosses. “Not that she had horrible bosses, just that she enjoyed that type of comedy,” Lynne remarked, adding: “Michelle was truly a great mom, sister, aunt, co-worker and a great friend to all of us in the Risk Management, Finance and Purchasing Departments.”
Michelle loved to travel and vacationed often with her two children, Michael and Alexis. She was also keen to hear about the vacations others in her department were planning. She would take note of interesting destinations, share them with people and encourage her co-workers to take time away for themselves.
"Michelle was a wonderful person who was always the life of the party and enjoyed life. She always had a smile on her face and had an uplifting effect on those around her,” said Steve Smigiel, director of Finance.
Andrew McKinnon, director of Human Resources and Labor Relations, spent time with Michelle’s co-workers the Monday after her passing. He echoed Steve’s thoughts. “I don't know that I have ever seen a large group of people so impacted by a loss. However, as each member of that team spoke, it was clear that their great grief was due to Michelle's outsized personality, kindness and ability to bring people up when they weren't feeling their best. I know they certainly could have used her this past week,” he remarked.
Michelle was predeceased by her husband, Charles. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested for her children, who have now lost both of their parents. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. For more information on services, please visit https://www.simplefunerals.net/obituary/michelle-labelle
For Your Benefit
A message from Andrew McKinnon
The Healthstyles Employee Wellness Program of Macomb County is once again hosting its annual Employee Health Fair. This year marks the 31st year for the event. The fair is free and all Macomb County employees are eligible and encouraged to attend.
Come and enjoy lunch from seven local food vendors, chat with over 25 different health vendors and try various wellness screenings. While you’re there, make sure to enter to win this year’s giveaway. There’s a mini-massage up for grabs as well as 75 different raffle prizes! There are also many new and exciting items to experience, including an opportunity to participate in one of the fair's outdoor activity stations.
The 2019 Macomb County "Interactive" Employee Health Fair will be held on Wednesday, August 7 at the Macomb Community College Emergency Services Building (21901 Dunham Road, Clinton Township MI 48036). The fair begins at 10:30 am and runs through 2 pm. Employees will be allowed an extra 30 minutes of travel time over their lunch hour to attend. Be sure to wear your sneakers and dress comfortably as there will be several opportunities to be active!
I hope to see you there!
Perks at Work
Making your summer travel plans? Don’t forget to check out deals exclusively for Macomb County employees at the Perks at Work website! We’ve got your summer vacation covered with discounted vacation packages, cruises, hotels, flights and car rentals. Through Perks at Work, you are eligible to receive discounted prices from popular sites such as Priceline, Expedia, Hertz and Enterprise car rentals. If you plan on taking a “stay-cation,” check out exclusive local deals at venues such as the Detroit Zoo or Sea Life Michigan Aquarium. If attending concerts is on your summer agenda, go to the Perks at Work website, click on Tickets, then Events Near You. Concerts and events at DTE Energy Music Theatre and the Fox Theatre are featured with tickets at a discounted rate.
Also, we are pleased to announce an exclusive local deal with BlacktheSalon, located in downtown Mount Clemens at 81 Macomb Place. BlacktheSalon is offering a 15 percent discount on services to Macomb County employees on their first visit! This offer is only valid at their Mount Clemens location.
Not a Perks at Work member yet? Go to the website and register for free for access to all available discounts. (Company code Macombgov78).
Let’s get social!
Looking to stay connected to Macomb County departments and initiatives? Follow it all on social media!
Get news, find events and join the conversation by visiting www.MacombGov.org and by clicking the social icon located at the top right corner of the homepage. Here you’ll find every social account managed by county departments, programs and initiatives, including (but not limited to):
Join us in getting social today by liking, following, subscribing to and connecting with all of these accounts. It’s an easy way to stay up-to-date on everything Macomb County!
Providing support by keeping it casual
Your donations through the Board of Commissioners Casual Day program continue to support worthy causes throughout the county and the region. In fact, in just the first seven months of 2019, $10,000 has been raised for several organizations and programs. This is an incredible amount and it is very much appreciated.
Let’s keep this momentum and raise additional funds in the months of August and September for Prevention Concepts and Solutions, the Anchor Bay Community Giving Tree and Head Start/Early Head Start.
Prevention Concepts and Solutions
Casual Days: August 2, 9, 16, 23
For the month of August, donations received through the Casual Day Program will support Prevention Concepts and Solutions. The mission of this Romeo-based organization is to improve the quality of life for veterans, first responders and the community as a whole by providing canine-assisted therapy and activities along with mental fitness training. The organization also has the ability to donate specially-trained police dogs to law enforcement and emotional support and therapy dogs to veterans.
For more information on this organization, and the programs and events they offer and sponsor, click here.
Anchor Bay Community Giving Tree
Casual Days: September 6, 13, 20, 27
The Anchor Bay Community Giving Tree is being supported by the Casual Day Program for the month of September. The organization was founded to help families in need in the Anchor Bay School District and since 1999, it has served well over 650 families and 1,700 children. All donations to the Giving Tree go directly to local families in need, providing them with school clothes, winter wear and new toys.
For more information on this organization click here.
Head Start/Early Head Start
Casual Day: August 30
These programs promote school readiness for children under the age of 5 that live in low-income families. The Head Start and Early Head Start programs promote family-centered values, with the ultimate goal of promoting development in children while enabling parents to fulfill their roles and move toward self-sufficiency.
Serving the community is our career
Macomb County offers its residents many services – initiatives that can benefit our family, friends and neighbors. As a county employee, you can help guide these individuals to the right program that fits their needs. So in this section of Macomb Matters, we highlight different departments and their offerings to help you become an ambassador for the community. Here’s how it works:
- We’ll share an article detailing a county service within this newsletter.
- At the end of the article, you’ll find a link to a three question quiz on that service.
- Five individuals that take the quiz will be randomly selected to receive Make Macomb Your Home swag!
In the last issue of Macomb Matters, we covered the MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program. Several employees that took our quiz were selected at random and received Make Macomb Your Home swag. They include Cathy Vermander, Sara Miller, Julie Hintz, Tiesha Adams and Lisa Mohn.
You too can win MMYH swag! Just read up on our next MMYH Ambassadors topic and take our quick quiz. Today’s topic is the School Immunization Program (SIP). The primary goal of the SIP is to lower the risk of vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) in the organized learning environments of the early childhood and school-age populations of Macomb County. The leading way to achieve this goal is through children receiving the required childhood and adolescent vaccines. The SIP provides education, support and consultation to local families, programs and schools to achieve and maintain the childhood and adolescent immunization rates at 95 percent or higher. The SIP works in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Childhood Improvement Registry in meeting or exceeding immunization requirements.
In Michigan, all children who enroll in and attend the following programs and schools are required by law to be vaccinated in accordance with the Michigan Public Health Code Act 368 of 1978 Part 92 Immunizations. The entities include:
- Licensed childcare centers
- Head Start programs
- Preschool programs
- Public, private, charter academies, special education, alternative education, adult education, homeschool partnerships and virtual schools enrolling kindergarten through 12th-grade students.
The Macomb County Immunization Clinic is here to help provide vaccinations for individuals that meet the above criteria. To learn more about the clinic, click here.
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.
Greetings from Chief Randazzo!
In thinking about what to write, the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” kept coming to mind. If you follow us on Facebook, you might have seen the many photos of animal adoptions we’ve facilitated so far this year. I’d like to share some pictures of our recent adoptions here as well. The smiles and happy faces say so much about the joy animals can bring to families. While we do respond to tragic situations, these happier events are behind everything we do. Our department is privileged to serve, to touch the lives of these animals in a positive way and to bring happiness to families who adopt an animal from our care.
If you would like to partner with us on this important mission, consider adding an animal to your family. If you cannot adopt one, perhaps you could foster an animal until we match that animal with human companions. If you’d like to help us in other ways, please visit our website to make a monetary donation, or check out our Wish List with Amazon>. And, as always, you are welcome to visit us in person. We are located at 21417 Dunham Road in Clinton Township. Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you’d like to keep in touch, please subscribe to our newsletter, “The Scoop,” by calling us at 586.469.5115.
Recipe Corner - Turkey Burger
- ¼ small bell pepper
- ¼ small red onion
- 1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ¼ cup water
- Rinse and finely chop bell pepper and onion.
- In a medium bowl, combine bell pepper, onion, ground meat, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Divide mixture into 4 pieces. Form pieces into patties about 4 inches across.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add burgers. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Add water to the pan. Cover and cook until the burgers reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 minutes.
- Serve on whole wheat buns with lettuce, tomato and onion.
*Recipe courtesy of Michigan State University Extension.
New! Be sure to check out the new calendar feature on InsideMacomb, our intranet homepage.
Make Macomb Your Home also 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:
2019 Macomb County Employee Health Fair
Wednesday, August 7; 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Macomb Community College Emergency Services Building
21901 Dunham Road, Clinton Township MI 48036
Click here for more information.
MSUE Fall Master Gardener Program
Monday, August 19; 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Michigan State University Extension - Macomb County
21885 Dunham Rd, Clinton Township, Michigan 48036
*Note: Classes are ongoing
Click here for more information.
Do you have comments or suggestions for Macomb Matters? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org