by Becky Andrus | Sep 30, 2021 | Recreation
– DNR News –
|Sept. 30, 2021
Media contact: CO Carter Woodwyk, 269-685-6851
DNR seeks information on likely arson fire in Allegan State Game Area
Just after 5 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, Allegan County Central Dispatch received a report from a helicopter crew flying over the Allegan State Game Area of a “significant fire” south of 116th Avenue, east of 46th Street, in Valley Township, southwest Michigan.
The crew said the fire was consuming large logs, which turned out to be two decks of cut timber, each approximately 30 feet tall by 150 feet long – and all of it nearly burned to the ground.
Conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are now seeking the public’s assistance with any information related to the suspected arson fire. Such fires are rare; over the last five years, just 4% of fires the DNR has responded to have been determined to be arson-related.
“Although the investigation is ongoing, initial evidence suggests arson,” said Sgt. Charles Towns, with the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
The fire is believed to have been started between 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday. Fire-suppression efforts began with the Clyde Township Fire Department, which provides coverage for Valley Township, and were led by the DNR’s fire personnel. Assistance was provided by DNR conservation officers, as well as the Fennville City, Allegan District and Lee Township fire departments.
Billsby Lumber Company, which originally purchased the timber, is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case. The estimated value of the lost timber is between $30,000 and $35,000.
Share any tips (which may be left anonymously) via the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline, 800-292-7800. It is available for calls or texts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Timber harvests – along with tree planting, habitat projects, prescribed burns and other efforts – are one way the DNR takes care of Michigan’s forests for current and future generations. Learn more about how the department works to ensure healthy, thriving forests.
Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who protect natural resources, ensure recreational safety and protect residents by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Due to the nature of their job, these officers often work with federal, state and local law enforcement officers to ensure public safety. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.
Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows. Photo credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
After the fire – Allegan SGA: Charred logs cover the ground where a suspected arson fire took place early Sunday morning at Allegan State Game Area in Valley Township, Michigan. An estimated $30,000 to $35,000 in timber was lost.
|The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/DNR.
by Becky Andrus | Sep 30, 2021 | Regional News
Coulter: Balanced Three-year Budget Is “Fiscally Responsible” Makes Key Investments In The Environment, Cyber-security And Criminal Justice
Pontiac, Michigan – The Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved County Executive Dave Coulter’s balanced budget for fiscal years 2022-2024 Wednesday evening in a unanimous vote. The Coulter budget continues to break with the past practice of dipping into fund balance to pay for general operations, instead preserving it for critical investments and emergencies.
“Bipartisan support for our balanced, three-year budget reflects the collaboration among all county leaders to pass a budget that is fiscally responsible and invests in areas critical to our county’s future,” Coulter said. “I applaud the county-wide elected officials and department heads who worked diligently to find the savings that allow us to invest in our employees and the critical services they provide to county residents.”
The county executive’s budget reflects his commitment to strong and transparent fiscal practices, maintaining a balanced budget, and funding key priority areas. It invests in infrastructure such as roads and cyber security, funds a countywide Incident Management Team and an environmental sustainability officer, launches a new Indigent Defense Services Office and creates a Conviction Integrity Unit in the Prosecutor’s Office. The fiscal plan also continues to support existing programs such as Health360 that expands health care, Oakland80 that creates post-secondary education opportunities, and the Clean Slate Workforce Initiative.
The general fund budget is balanced at $487.3 million for fiscal 2022, $483.5 million for fiscal 2023; and $ 492.9 million for fiscal 2024. The total budget for all fund amounts is $961.7 million for fiscal 2022, $954.9 million for fiscal 2023, and $969.5 million for fiscal 2024. For more information about the budget, go to oakgov.com/fiscal.
Oakland County Budget Approved FINAL 093021.pdf
by Becky Andrus | Sep 30, 2021 | Regional News
Governor Whitmer Announces Partnership with Midwest Governors to Coordinate Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, Grow Jobs, and Futureproof Regional Commerce
- Michigan joins Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin to collaborate on an electric vehicle charging network across Midwest.
- Demand for new EV-related jobs requires cooperative approaches within Midwest Region.
- Multi-state effort will support EV manufacturing, futureproof regional commerce, & reduce pollution.
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined her colleagues in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin today to collaborate on electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the Midwest region, signing the Regional Electric Vehicle for the Midwest Memorandum of Understanding (REV Midwest MOU). The goal of the REV Midwest MOU is to collectively accelerate vehicle electrification in the Midwest Region. REV Midwest will provide the foundation for cooperation on fleet electrification along key commercial corridors to safeguard economic security, grow jobs, futureproof interstate commerce, reduce harmful emissions, improve public health, and advance innovation. The MOU also ensures the entire Midwest region is able to effectively compete for new private investment and federal funding for vehicle electrification.
“Today’s REV Midwest partnership is a bipartisan effort to build the future of mobility and electrification and connect our communities,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Our partnership will enable the Midwest to lead on electric vehicle adoption, reduce carbon emissions, spur innovation, and create good-paying jobs.”
“The Midwest has the ingenuity and the drive to develop innovative solutions to curb climate change,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. “I am proud to work with my fellow Midwest governors to not only reduce pollution, but protect public health, create jobs, and increase consumer choice across the region.”
Building on the advanced manufacturing, engineering, research and development, and technological expertise of the Great Lakes Region, REV Midwest will coordinate to promote clean energy and mobility manufacturing, leverage the states’ automotive industry electrification leadership, grow the region’s share of electric vehicle production, and elevate access to tools required to equip the workforce of tomorrow.
Improving access to charging infrastructure and reducing range anxiety will support EV adoption and the next generation of American-made electric automobiles. Through REV Midwest, the states will work together to remove barriers to electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDV) and enable EV charging across states by coordinating to optimize charging infrastructure, cooperate on best practices, and support standardization.
“Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act puts us on track to be the best state in the nation to manufacture and drive an electric vehicle – but we’re just getting started, and the work doesn’t stop at our state borders,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. “By working together with our Midwestern neighbors, we can accelerate the region’s growth in the transportation sector, create jobs across our communities, and prioritize the environment that makes the Great Lakes region so great along the way.”
An estimated 105,000 new jobs in the utility sector are anticipated to be needed to deploy EV charging infrastructure by 2030. The states will work together with industry to understand future workforce needs and support workforce training programs to build the transportation system of the future.
“As the Crossroads of America, transportation plays a vital role in Indiana’s economic success and continued growth,” Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “I’m proud to partner with our neighboring states to put the Midwest region on the leading edge of providing the charging infrastructure needed to futureproof our transportation network and meet the demand as rapid adoption of electric vehicles continues.”
The REV Midwest is a multi-state compact to develop, operate, and market our region and strategically develop an EV charging infrastructure network that works for industry and people. The network will initially focus on interstate and regionally significant commercial corridors and creating publicly accessible charging opportunities capable of serving MHDV where the Midwest can leverage our existing role as a shipping and logistics hub.
The MOU is meant to competitively position the Midwest for upcoming federal funding opportunities and create a welcoming environment for economic development and innovation around EVs, EV charging infrastructure, battery performance, and other technologies on the cutting edge of the transportation-energy sector convergence. These innovations and opportunities will be crucial to safeguard the region’s manufacturing economy in the long-term.
“We shouldn’t have to choose between building a cleaner, more equitable state and economic development—and thankfully, vehicle electrification is an area where we can do both,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. “This regional partnership will be critical for addressing emissions from the transportation sector, ensuring folks in every community have cleaner air to breathe, and creating jobs to meet our future workforce needs.”
The transportation sector is a leading source of air, climate, and water pollution. REV Midwest can also support goals to promote a fair and equitable transition to EVs for all communities. One benefit of the initial focus on MHDVs will be to reduce pollution in communities located near freight and shipping facilities and along transportation corridors, where nearby historically disadvantaged communities are harmed by emissions and the negative environmental impacts.
Reducing harmful emissions through EV deployment makes all communities more sustainable, healthy and equitable places to live, work and play. REV Midwest will cooperate with energy providers to address the full emissions reduction potential and encourage community sustainability through grid advancement.
by Becky Andrus | Sep 27, 2021 | Regional News
One Thousand Students To Participate In Seventh Annual Oakland County Manufacturing Day Will Join Online From Their High Schools
Pontiac, Michigan – Oakland County Michigan Works! is hosting its seventh annual Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 1 with 1,000 high school students participating in live, online tours with professionals from 10 local advanced manufacturing companies.
“Manufacturing Day boosts our Oakland80 initiative by creating a buzz around advanced manufacturing careers for our students,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said. “They will encounter not only the cutting-edge companies we have in Oakland County, but what it takes to build a successful career here.”
Oakland80 is the county’s strategic goal of having 80 percent of adult residents with a post-secondary degree or certified training credential by 2030.
This is the second year Oakland County Michigan Works! has gone virtual with Manufacturing Day due to COVID-19. Students will go on video tours of the operations, enjoy live online presentations by company employees, and participate in question-and-answer sessions where they can submit questions in real time. Company employees representing various departments will be sharing details about their jobs, educational background, and entry-level opportunities, including apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs.
North Farmington High School engineering instructor Amy Porter and her students participated in the virtual Oakland County Manufacturing Day last year.
“My students not only got to visit a local manufacturing company, but they learned more about the jobs available within the organization and the education and experience needed. They also got to see how the manufacturing industry has adapted and managed to work during this time, too,” she said.
Oakland County Manufacturing Day offers morning and afternoon sessions: 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-2 p.m., with room to add additional students. High school career counselors and teachers interested in having their classes participate should contact Daphne Hoeft at Oakland Schools at 248-209-2516 to reserve online spots for the event. The deadline to register is Tuesday, September 28.
“Oakland County Manufacturing Day is one of the highlights of the year for us,” said Workforce Development Manager Jennifer Llewellyn. “Our job is to help our manufacturers build highly trained and skilled teams and events like this help fuel the talent pipeline of next-generation professionals who will work at these employers, some as soon as next year.”
This year’s participating Manufacturing Day employers include:
- Atlas Copco
- Brose North America
- Encore Automation
- FANUC America
- Hirotec America
- Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering
- Prefix Corp.
- Wenzel America
- 3-Dimensional Services Group
Oakland County Michigan Works! partners with Oakland County, Oakland Schools and Oakland Community College to organize this event.
National Manufacturing Day, held each year on the first Friday in October, is designed to showcase the many in-demand, technology-driven engineering, industrial, manufacturing, and skilled trades career opportunities available to young adults today.
Oakland County Michigan Works! operates service centers in Novi, Oak Park, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy and Waterford. Combined, they assist more than 105,000 job seekers annually. Services include career coaching, interviewing and job search workshops, placement assistance, training courses and job trend information.
The service centers also assist more than 3,000 employers seeking assistance with talent recruitment, apprenticeship programs, job fairs, candidate pre-screening, hiring and training support, layoff support and labor market data.
Service center staff remain available by virtual appointment to work one-on-one with job seekers to build their resumes, prepare for job interviews and help address other needs. To schedule a virtual meeting, call 1-248-858-5520 and select the office nearest to you. The service centers are hosting several virtual workshops for job seekers. A schedule can be found at www.OaklandCountyMIWorks.com.
Oakland Co MFG Day 2021 News Release FINAL 092421.pdf
by Becky Andrus | Sep 27, 2021 | Regional News
September 25, 2021
FEMA News Desk: 312-408-4455,
Residents of Macomb and Oakland Counties May Now Be Eligible for FEMA Assistance
CHICAGO – Michigan homeowners and renters in Macomb and Oakland counties, who have disaster-related losses from the severe storms and flooding of June 25-26, 2021, may now apply for federal disaster assistance.
Federal assistance may include grants for temporary lodging and home repairs and other programs to help with uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious, unmet needs that resulted from the disaster.
FEMA offers multiple options to apply:
- Call 800-621-3362. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.
- Go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Download the FEMA App.
If you live in Macomb or Oakland county and have already registered with FEMA since July 15, 2021, you do not need to apply again. If you’re unsure whether you’ve submitted an application, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621- 3362 to verify your status.
When you apply for assistance, have the following information readily available:
- A current phone number where you can be contacted;
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying; • Your Social Security number;
- A general list of damage and losses, and
- Private insurance information, if available.
Individuals in Washtenaw and Wayne counties can already apply for help if they have uninsured or underinsured losses from the late June disaster. The deadline to apply is October 13, 2021. For more information about Michigan’s disaster recovery, visit FEMA’s website www.fema.gov/disaster/4607.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency, or economic status. Reasonable accommodations, including translation and American Sign Language interpreters via Video Relay Service will be available to ensure effective communication with applicants with limited English proficiency, disabilities, and access and functional needs. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (including 711 or Video Relay). If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.