Macomb Matters November 2018 Issue 61
- Message from Mark
- Employee Focus - Kathleen Nicosia
- Employee Accolades
- Shop Local Macomb campaign returns with a chance to win $500
- Macomb County’s Bicentennial - A yearlong celebration of history, culture and people
- OneMacomb Survey
- Employee veterans honored at Veterans Day ceremony
- A Message from Andrew McKinnon, Director of HRLR
- Healthstyles - CARROT
- For Your Benefit - Weight Watchers at Work
- Perks at Work - Shop Local
- Paw Print - Happy holidays from Chief Randazzo!
- Recipe Corner - One-Pot Turkey Tetrazzini
- New Hires/Retirees
- Event Calendar
- Blog Log
- News Nook
Message from Mark
The holiday season provides a perfect opportunity to recognize our many blessings. So I’d like to start this message by thanking all Macomb County employees for the day-to-day things you do to keep our government running smoothly. 2018 has been an incredible year filled with events, celebrations and community gatherings and none of these things would have been possible without your support.
I’d also like to thank my constituents for electing me to a third term as Macomb County Executive. It has been a privilege to serve the people of this great county for the last eight years and I’m honored that I can continue the important work that keeps Macomb moving forward.
Now, even though this can be a very busy part of the year – both professionally and personally – I hope that you will carve out some time to participate in some (or all) of the many exciting things we have on the calendar.
- There are many ways to buy things, including online marketplaces and the big box stores that thrive on our commercial corridors. This year, we’d like to encourage residents to include shopping locally as part of the overall mix, so we’ve once again launched Shop Local Macomb, an initiative to encourage spending at locally owned and operated retail establishments. The campaign features a social media contest that runs from Nov. 23 through Dec. 2 and five winners will be awarded $500 gift cards! To learn more, visit www.MakeMacombYourHome.com/shoplocal.
- The 8th annual State of the County will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. I hope you can attend to hear some of the exciting developments underway here in Macomb County and to celebrate our accomplishments together. Afterwards, all guests are welcome to join me at the much anticipated Taste of Macomb, which will feature complimentary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments from dozens of local restaurants. Both events are free to attend, but advance registration is required through this link.
- Finally, our annual Holiday Gathering will be held on Thursday, Dec. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Administration Building. All employees are invited to share their holiday baking traditions by bringing a batch of a favorite treat or cookie to pass. As always, we’ll play some swinging holiday tunes and beverages will be provided. I hope to see you there so we can celebrate the holidays and the end of the year together.
Here’s to a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year!
Employee Focus - Kathleen Nicosia
Employee focus: Kathleen Nicosia volunteers time with The Detroit Zoological Society
Kathleen Nicosia has worked for Macomb County for 28 years. Her role as program manager within Macomb Community Action’s Head Start 0-5 keeps her busy, but she is passionate about what she does.
“What I love most about my job is advocating for young children and their families,” she said. “An average day is never average, but might include returning emails; meeting with the management team in Head Start 0-5; assisting child care partners in the operation of running Early Head Start partnership classrooms and homes; processing contracts; writing grants; and ensuring budgets are being spent appropriately.”
Kathleen is also passionate about her extracurricular activities, which include volunteering at The Detroit Zoological Society. This Macomb Matters features a Q and A where she discusses how she got involved and how others can too.
Q: What sparked your interest in volunteering at the zoo?
A: The Detroit Zoological Society has more than 1,000 volunteers that support staff in their mission to demonstrate leadership in wildlife conservation, animal welfare, human education and environmental sustainability. My volunteer story started when I attended an event and was recruited by someone I knew that was already a volunteer.
Q: What roles are there for volunteers?
A: There are many roles for volunteers at The Detroit Zoo and the work is wide-ranging. As an ambassador, I spend half of my three-hour shift greeting guests at the front of the zoo, helping them plan their day and answering questions. The other half includes walking around the zoo, assisting guests as needed. As a youth mentor, I work with high school students and mentor them while they interact with guests. For example, we work in front of the Holden Reptile Conservation Center where we explore sound waves to understand how reptiles hear. This allows us to inform guests that banging on the glass scares reptiles away. As a penguin person in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, I rotate between four areas in the building answering questions and engaging guests in the extraordinary life of penguins. And I should note - there are a variety of special events that I help with, including Zoo Boo, Wild Lights, Sunset at The Zoo, Wild Beasts, Wild Wine and Polar Beers.
Q: What do you love most about volunteering there?
A: Volunteering for The Detroit Zoo is my happy place – where I can walk around and talk with guests and staff. I understand the animals better by seeing them in their habitats, learning their names and by seeing guests interact with them.
Q: How much of a commitment is it?
A: The commitment is a minimum of 50 hours for each year, April to October. Most shifts are 2.5 to 3 hours. I only volunteered on weekends and in my first year, I had accumulated 125 hours! Many volunteers I work with spend more than 300 hours donating time to the zoo.
Q: How can others get involved?
A: Individuals 18 years or older can volunteer. They can get involved by visiting www.detroitzoo.org/support/volunteer. The next orientations are in March, April, May and June 2019.
It is a well-known principle that individuals who continue education in their field of work not only tend to have career advancements, but also become more valuable to employers. The Macomb County employees featured in this accolade section have done just that.
Edna Clark, Family Court/Juvenile Division
Edna Clark, a casework supervisor in the 16th Judicial Circuit Court, Family Court/Juvenile Division, recently received a Judicial Administration Program Certificate from Michigan State University. The MSU Judicial Administration Program is a 60-hour course that culminates in a capstone experience. The capstone experience requires a ten-page project paper which researches a judicial administration issue. The MSU Judicial Administration Program is designed to bring academic rigor and standing to the administration of justice and involves partnerships with local, state, national and international judicial branch education providers. When Edna learned of the program, she knew it would be a commitment. But she also knew that it would increase her marketability, inspire her to achieve more in her current position and, above all, allow her to “officially become a part of the Spartan Family. Go Green!”
Edna feels the best when she is serving others, so she seeks out opportunities that will help her serve with excellence. This recent education experience had a major impact: “I came away with a better understanding of what I do, and that there is the potential for so much more,” she said. “It’s not just a career. It’s a cause.”
Congratulations to Edna on her certification and her commitment to career development!
John Culcasi, Amanda Minaudo and Brent Geurink, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
John Culcasi, Amanda Minaudo and Brent Geurink are all senior planners with the Department of Planning and Economic Development. In this capacity, they develop and implement land use plans and programs to create vibrant cities and towns where people live, work and play. Additionally, they help to make Macomb County's 27 communities more sustainable by planning for trails, parks and natural resources.
Amanda, Brent and John each recently earned an AICP Certification from the American Planning Association’s (APA) Institute of Certified Planners. The institute provides the only nationwide, independent verification of planners' qualifications and individuals hoping to receive the designation can only apply after working in the field for five years or following the receipt of a master’s degree. They then have six months to study for the four-hour certification exam, which includes 170 multiple-choice questions on topics like history of planning, legal principles of planning, theory, plan making and implementation, transportation and infrastructure planning, parks and environmental planning, housing, leadership and management and ethics.
According to APA data, its exam pass rate is 65 percent - meaning one in three people who take the test do not pass. We’d like to congratulate Amanda, Brent and John as they all passed the exam on their first try and received the AICP Certification!
Shop Local Macomb campaign returns with a chance to win $500
Shoppers have a big reason to shop small in Macomb County this holiday season: a chance to win one of five $500 gift cards! The gift card giveaway is part of Shop Local Macomb, a campaign put on by the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) that supports locally owned and operated businesses.
“Shopping local is one of the easiest things we can do to support our independently owned businesses,” said John Paul Rea, director of MCPED. “These retailers help us build vibrant cities and towns by attracting visitors and new residents. Which means that spending money at these businesses during the holiday season has an impact far beyond sales figures.”
According to the American Independent Business Alliance, independently owned and operated stores contribute to a community’s overall economic health. For instance, did you know that a dollar spent at a small retailer returns three times more money to the local economy than one spent at a big box store? That’s incredible!
Findings like this one inspired the creation of Shop Local Macomb. Now in its second year, the initiative features a social media photo contest that starts on Friday, Nov. 23 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 2. Five winners will be randomly selected at noon on Monday, Dec. 3 during a Facebook Live session on the Make Macomb Your Home Facebook page. Information on how to enter as well as an interactive map of more than 1,600 retailers can be found at http://www.MakeMacombYourHome.com/shoplocal. The site also features information submitted by local retailers about special sales and events.
So – are you ready to start your holiday shopping? If so, we encourage you to get out there and #ShopLocalMacomb!
Shop Local Macomb is made possible through the support of area chambers, including the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce and the Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce. First State Bank graciously donates the gift cards.
Macomb County’s Bicentennial - A yearlong celebration of history, culture and people
As Macomb County’s bicentennial year winds down, it is important to reflect on the many activities that countless volunteers and leaders undertook to help the region celebrate this milestone. These events ranged from fun and festive to sentimental and thought-provoking. But no matter their focus, they were all special and certainly memorable.
It all started in February 2017 when County Executive Mark Hackel called for volunteers to serve on the newly created Bicentennial Advisory Committee. “The meetings drew large community interest, support and suggestions on how to properly reflect our 200 years of progress,” said Deputy Executive Pam Lavers, who led the bicentennial advisory committee’s work.
In January 2018 the county hosted its bicentennial kickoff event. The birthday party was attended by more than 200 government officials, historians and county enthusiasts. Over cake and surrounded by birthday cards prepared by local school children, these individuals heard about Macomb’s history, a new bicentennial website and plans for the upcoming year. Perhaps most intriguing – the announcement of a 200-mile torch relay. Starting on June 21 and ending on June 22, the relay would be similar to the opening of the Olympics and would represent the strong spirit of our community, showcasing its pride and resilience. A main component would be a specially-designed torch and Macomb Community College embraced the challenge of creating the piece with their students and faculty.
When the event arrived, it was spectacular. More than 200 residents and community leaders volunteered to run and carry the one-of-a-kind torches. Over the course of 40 hours, these individuals traversed all 27 county communities, Lake St. Clair and Stony Creek Metropark, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Macomb Community College. Everything went off without a hitch. The torch was beautiful, the runners were proud and the community was excited.
Several other occasions, communications and events helped mark the year as well:
- The Macomb Daily, Macomb Now Magazine and C&G Newspapers launched articles detailing county history.
- A 2018 Passport to Macomb County History was created to tour historical places.
- Macomb Community College hosted 'Making Macomb: A Journey Through 200 Years.' This series featured more than 20 informative presentations on the history and development of Macomb County and several exhibits at the Lorenzo Cultural Center.
- Parkway Christian School hosted a day-long bicentennial celebration that included history lessons, presentations, performances and speeches with community members, elected officials and government officials in attendance.
- In coordination with the bicentennial celebration, Macomb County’s Council on Aging opened a time capsule buried 30 years ago.
There was also a special coining ceremony at the Macomb County Administration Building for “Loyalty Day,” a national holiday that recognizes the heritage of America’s freedom. The event honored the guardians that defend and protect our nation, with county leaders awarding these individuals specially-designed bicentennial coins. Then, to kick-off the summer season, a bicentennial float was entered into the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade. Walking alongside the entry were committee volunteers that passed out candy and proudly wore Macomb County t-shirts. These individuals participated in the same manner later on in the year during the Romeo Peach Festival Parade. They concluded their efforts this November during the annual Macomb County Santa Parade in Mount Clemens.
A final bicentennial legacy project will be announced early next year. It will close out the celebration and create a lasting tribute to Macomb’s 200th year. The county would like to share a heartfelt thank you to all volunteers, committee members and sponsors. The yearlong celebrations and the creation of a legacy project would not have been possible without their support.
What would you like to see at next year’s OneMacomb lunch and learn events?
OneMacomb is a county program that works to promote multiculturalism and inclusion through arts and community affairs. To accomplish this, the initiative regularly hosts lunch and learn events that explore various cultures, ethnicities and identities. For instance, in the past year, OneMacomb has held sessions highlighting Juneteenth and Greek culture where attendees tried new foods and listened to speakers describe events or history.
To ensure that this programming provides the best possible experience, OneMacomb leaders have prepared a brief survey to gather feedback. Completing the survey should take no longer than five minutes and all data collected will be anonymous.
So - what would you want to see at next year’s OneMacomb lunch and learns? Is there something you liked or didn’t like about the events in the past? Make your voice heard and take the survey today!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Employee veterans honored at Veterans Day ceremony
On Sunday, November 11, the United States observed Veterans Day, an annual public holiday that honors military veterans and persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. Macomb County hosted its own Veterans Day observance on Tuesday, November 13 by inviting employee veterans to a special ceremony at the Macomb County Administration Building.
The event opened with the Center Line Honor Guard, who performed a flag ceremony and sang the National Anthem. It then featured comments from County Executive Mark A. Hackel, County Treasurer Larry Rocca (a Navy veteran) and Ret. Lt. Colonel John Walus, president of the Macomb County Veterans’ Treatment Court. In his remarks, Walus explained the Veterans Court and how it serves a population that put their lives on the line for the wellbeing of the country. He also expressed that it is the duty of the American people to get veterans rehabilitated and back into society.
The event concluded with Andrew McKinnon, director of Macomb County Human Resources and Labor Relations, asking each veteran present to stand and state their name and branch of the military. All veterans that attended received a token of appreciation from the county and several rounds of applause from the guests in the room.
Veterans in attendance included:
- Amanda Fuller - Circuit Court
- Angela Kimball - Circuit Court
- Chakira Calcote - Facilities and Operations
- Christine Hathaway - Community Mental Health
- Claudia Stover - Human Resources and Labor Relations
- Dan Dekorse - Community Mental Health
- Dave Daniels - Sheriff’s Office
- Derek Elsey - Sheriff’s Office
- Donald Young - Community Mental Health
- Garrett Mason - Vet Friend of theCourt
- Gregory Simmons - Sheriff’s Office
- James Burdette - Community Services Agency
- John Schapka - Corporate Counsel
- Lisa Ellis - Circuit Court
- Lori Menzie - Veterans’ Treatment Court
- Judge Michael Servitto - Circuit Court
- Mike Davis - Community Mental Health
- Rudie Lowe - Juvenile Justice Center
- Thomas Blohm - Friend of the Court
- TJ LaPorte - Community Mental Health
- William Mezuk - Community Services Agency
And to those veterans unable to attend, on behalf of Macomb County, we thank you for your service.
A Message from Andrew McKinnon, Director of HRLR
It's officially the holiday season and before you know it, the new year will be upon us. Before that happens, I want to take a moment and say thank you for another successful open enrollment period. This year we had twice as many opportunities for in-person open enrollment consultations, including sessions at the Sheriff's Department and Community Mental Health's 15 Mile Road location. These sessions don't just happen by chance and I want to personally thank Dori Mason and Junee O’Connell for their time and commitment to this process.
In addition to the usual products offered through the county, this year we also offered the High Deductible Plan ("HDHP") with a Health Savings Account ("HSA"). We received a number of thoughtful questions and interest in this plan, but it wasn't what our staff was looking for at this time. We will continue to seek products that may be of interest to our staff and offer them as options in the future.
Speaking of the new year and medical savings accounts, please don't forget that if you elected to have a Medical Flexible Spending Account ("FSA") in 2018, those funds must be spent before March 15, 2019. Additionally, Dependent Care FSAs must be spent out by December 31, 2018. If either is not spent out by the deadline, they are forfeited according to IRS rules.
I appreciate you taking the time to read our Macomb Matters periodical and I wish you all Happy Holidays.
Healthstyles - The CARROT PASS
Do you like being active and saving money? Consider using the CARROT PASS, a free program that rewards users for wellness activities such as walking, running and climbing stairs.
This one-of-a-kind program uses the latest in mobile technology to encourage people to be more active. Here are some of the unique features of CARROT and our Macomb County program:
- CARROT PASS is a free app (available on the Apple and Google Play stores) that gives each user a personalized activity goal that updates each day. Your activity goal is based on your own step history.
- Each day you meet your personal goal, you will receive one goal coin. You can use these goal coins to purchase exclusive rewards that are available right on the app.
- At the same time, CARROT will give you one reward point for each step you take. This second “CARROT Currency” will allow you to receive special offers and discounts that are available on the app and at local participating merchants.
There are NO reporting requirements and NO paperwork to fill out. Everything – including monitoring your goals, tracking your progress and claiming rewards – is done solely on your phone. It’s simple and fun to use. The more goal coins and reward points you collect, the more purchasing power you have to win gift cards to retailers such as Amazon and Nordstrom.
Jennifer Bruzzese, service partner with Human Resources and Labor Relations, raved about her experience using CARROT: “When I go running I collect goal coins and reward points, which I have used to enter CARROT drawings. So far I’ve won a $25 Visa prepaid card and Home Depot gift cards. I like monitoring my activity and seeing my progress.”
Signing up is easy:
(1) Download the free CARROT PASS app from the Apple or Google Play store (search “carrot pass”).
(2) Open the app and tap on the menu button (top left corner), go to “settings” and tap “join wellness.”
(3) Enter your work (not personal) email address, then click the link in your verification email.
(4) Begin walking to meet your personalized goals.
(5) Use your CARROT currency to purchase great rewards on the app!
If you have any questions about the program, please contact your Healthstyles department representative or email: email@example.com. To learn more about CARROT, visit http://www.carrotpass.com/.
For Your Benefit - Weight Watchers at Work
Human Resources and Labor Relations is pleased to once again offer Weight Watchers at Work.
As many of you know, Weight Watchers at Work focuses on weight loss, but the program also includes an emphasis on healthy living and personal well-being. The ultimate objective: To help you achieve your goals by providing tools and support through OnlinePlus, meetings and personal coaching. These features have made it very popular with employees and the program has been a huge success since it launched in March.
The next 12 week session for Weight Watchers at Work will begin Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 and run through Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The cost to participate is $150, but Lifetime Weight Watchers Members who are AT GOAL do not have to pay. To register online click here. Macomb is not available in the employer field, so you can leave it blank. You may pay with a credit/debit card or e-check. Credit/debit cards or bank accounts will not be billed until the minimum of 15 participants have registered for the meeting. The program does not accept FSA (Flex Spending Account) or HSA (Healthcare Spending Account) cards as a method of payment. Employees also have the opportunity to utilize payroll deduction for the cost of the program.
All participants must register online for the Weight Watchers at Work session by Wednesday, Dec. 5 and a minimum of 15 participants are needed for the Week One Session to be held on Dec. 12 at 11:30 a.m. Lifetime members do not count towards the minimum of 15 participants and do not need to register online to participate.
Sessions will be held at the Administration Bldg, 9th floor, 1 South Main St., Mt. Clemens.
Special offer from HAP: HAP members can enroll in a 12 week program for only $99. Additional 12 week sessions are $119 as long as you keep enrolling.
How HAP members can enroll:
- Click here.
- In the red field choose health insurance.
- Scroll down to the HA99 if this is your first session or HA119 if re-enrolling.
- Enter your HAP member ID.
Perks at Work - Shop Local
You don’t have to travel far to take advantage of discounts available through Macomb County’s Perks at Work program. In celebration of our "Shop Local Macomb" campaign, we'd like to remind you of the local businesses that offer specials and deals to Macomb County employees.
If you work in Mount Clemens and are looking for convenience, there are several local businesses that offer discounts. For example, the Macomb Family YMCA (located on Cass Avenue) offers 20 percent off their membership price, and they’ll waive the sign-up fee. If you need to get moving, Jazzercise of Mount Clemens (located on Groesbeck) offers 10 percent off monthly memberships. You could also consider visiting Olympia Salon & Spa if you are having a bad hair day and they’ll give you 10 percent off your first service. Or, if you need to fix a flat tire and are on your lunch break, Leslie Tires (located on Northbound Gratiot) offers a two to five percent discount on services.
Are you an animal lover? Does your fur-baby need supervision while you’re at work? Dogtopia of Shelby Township offers doggie daycare and spa service discounts. Lastly, don’t forget that the Detroit Zoo is open year round. While the zoo is not exactly a small business, they offer admission discounts to employees and from November 17 through December 31, the zoo is featuring “Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo.”
Do you have a favorite small business? The Perks at Works team welcomes referrals. Please contact Cindy Genord, HRLR team coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org and give her your recommendation.
For more information on these exclusive discounts, please visit the Perks at Work website at www.perksatwork.com
Paw Print - Happy holidays from Chief Randazzo!
As we move closer to the end of 2018, we decided this would be a good time to reflect on the role Animal Control plays in the Macomb County community. Our mission is to protect the health and safety of Macomb County residents and to protect animals while promoting their humane treatment.
We’ve done a lot this year to support that mission. We took in 1,624 stray animals, returned 530 animals to their owners and transferred 222 animals to rescue organizations. Macomb County Animal Control has a no-kill philosophy, and toward that goal, we facilitated 1,019 adoptions of healthy, non-aggressive animals. We promoted the health of all of the adoptees by ensuring all of them were spayed or neutered prior to adoption. We also licensed 13,362 dogs and implanted 903 microchips. These licenses and chips help protect pets and their owners, especially in the event of an unintended separation. To further that effort, this month, we are launching a new digital pet license – the first ever digital pet license in the State of Michigan. The license features a GPS locator and if a pet owner reports a pet as missing, this technology triggers a “shelter alert” (the animal equivalent of an Amber Alert) and social media alerts that help a lost pet return home faster. There is no additional fee for the digital license, but there is a fee for the premium service and individuals can choose the premium fee schedule that best fits their budget. For instance, the monthly premium fee is $5 per month (a Starbucks coffee!). The yearly premium fee is $39 – or for great savings – a $149 fee for the lifetime of a pet. If you have animal lovers in your family, this might be the perfect Christmas gift for them.
Of course, none of our success takes place in a vacuum. Without the dedicated staff and volunteers at Animal Control, our work would not be possible. The contributions of the community through monetary donations and tangible gifts are a vital part of our efforts as well.
We are also grateful to the families and individuals who adopted animals or acted as foster families while these animals waited for suitable fur-ever homes. If you would like to adopt an animal, volunteer at the shelter or foster an animal while it waits for its fur-ever home, please call us at 586.469.5115. We’d love to add you to our list of things to be thankful for.
In closing, we will be launching a monthly newsletter! If you’d like to subscribe, please call us and provide your email address.
Happy holidays from Chief Randazzo!
Recipe Corner - One-Pot Turkey Tetrazzini
Serving Size: 1 cup
Number of Servings: 4-6
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Calories from fat: 63
Total fat: 7 grams
You can substitute cream of celery or cream of chicken soup. Or use 1 ½ cups mild + 3 tbsp. cornstarch & 1 bouillon cube.
- 2 cups turkey, cubed
- ¼ lb. spaghetti or 3 cups noodles (uncooked)
- 1 medium onion
- ¼ cup chopped celery (leaves okay)
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 can (10.5 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
- 2 ¼ cups chicken broth or bouillon
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Pepper to taste
- Broccoli/Mixed vegetables (optional)
- In large saucepan, sauté turkey, onion, and celery in 2 tbsp of water until tender.
- Add broth, lemon juice and pepper
- Mix well. Bring to a boil.
- Add broken spaghetti or noodles.
- Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add cream of mushroom soup. (More water if too thick).
- Turn heat to low and cook 15-20 min. or until noodles are done. If desired, add Shredded cheese (optional) 2 - 4 cups broccoli or frozen vegetables.
- Cover and steam until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
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: