Oakland County scouts honor Memorial Day with service

Oakland County scouts honor Memorial Day with service

Brandon Kathman

District Executive  

                                                                       (947) 886-5736                                                                      

For Immediate Release:


Oakland County scouts honor Memorial Day with service


Scouts across Oakland County honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day weekend, carrying out multiple service projects and serving as flag details in parades across southeast Michigan.

“Scouts carry out service projects because it is part of our duty to God and Country,” Dane Bezemek, Scouting’s local chairman and member of Holly Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5587, said. “It is also part of our history.”

Scouting has maintained longstanding partnerships with local cemeteries, and thousands of youth across the state put flags adjacent to the headstones of those who served to mark the holiday, working alongside veterans groups and other volunteers. Troop 366 even erected crosses in downtown Oxford bearing the names of residents who gave everything in conflicts from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.

In Davisburg, Pack 192 and Troop 192 placed American flags on the lawns of any residents who requested them. In total, the youth distributed over 100 flags before the holiday, and they will retrieve them in the coming days. Still others carried the nation’s colors in parades. Lake Orion scouts marched in one such procession, though the flag they bore was far larger than most. Affectionately nicknamed “Flagosaurus” by some youth, the massive banner required dozens of youth from multiple units to carry it along the parade route.

“A couple of years ago, Pack 233 acquired it from a business that was getting rid of it,” Derek Krentz, scoutmaster of Lake Orion Troop 284, said. “Someone added pulls to it, fixed the frayed edges, and now they bring it out for stuff like this.”

The Boy Scouts of America are among only a handful of organizations that retire American flags worn beyond possible repair. The traditional ceremony calls for flags to be cremated in a dignified manner. Many units perform these rites to coincide with Memorial Day or Flag Day.

Members of Pack 182, Troop 128, Troop 185 and Troop 810 retired 20 flags on Memorial Day at Drayton Plains Nature Center in Waterford. Bugler Nathan Beutler played “Taps” as boys and girls from the units processed and gently placed each tattered flag atop the flames.

“I hope the scouts learned the true meaning of Memorial Day,” Pack 182 Cubmaster Chris Landrum said. “We teach them that a scout is reverent. It’s one thing to teach them, but it brings new meaning when we show them. It is our honor to show the next generation how to honor the tradition.”

Electric vehicle chargers in Michigan state parks

Electric vehicle chargers in Michigan state parks

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DNR News

The following news release was issued earlier today by the Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and we’re sharing it with our subscribers. The version linked in this note includes photos from today’s event at Holland State Park.

May 26, 2022
Media contact: [email protected]

Gov. Whitmer celebrates partnership with Adopt a Charger, Rivian to install electric vehicle chargers in Michigan state parks

Installation at Holland State Park kicks off phased state park EV charging installations as part of Lake Michigan EV Circuit and across the state

Near the beautiful, sandy beaches of Lake Michigan at Holland State Park, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today joined state and local officials and representatives from Adopt a Charger and electric vehicle automaker Rivian to celebrate the first of approximately 15 electric vehicle charging sites to be installed at state parks and a state fish hatchery in Michigan over the next few years.

Two Rivian Waypoints chargers were unveiled today at the 142-acre state park in Ottawa County, followed by an inaugural charge featuring a Rivian R1T pickup.

“This partnership to install charging stations in our state parks speaks to the collaborative approach we are taking to grow our economy and address climate change head-on through clean, reliable energy,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “These charging stations along the Lake Michigan EV Circuit build on our rich Pure Michigan tradition of exploration and bringing together communities and businesses to ensure that we honor our past as the place that put the world on wheels and continue to invest in our workforce as we lead the transition to electric vehicles. Together, we will keep growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for drivers and working families.”

Rivian, an electric vehicle maker and automotive technology company, under an operating agreement between Adopt a Charger and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, will be providing open-network, Level 2 Rivian Waypoints chargers at no cost to the state or taxpayers.

“We applaud the state for continuing to adopt policies that keep Michigan at the forefront of innovative electric mobility which is why we’re proud to take our collaboration with the state up a notch today at Holland State Park,” said Chris Nevers, Senior Director of Public Policy at Rivian. “Our state parks charging program is how we come together with our partners to offer a solution to EV-charging gaps. We’re making this investment because we believe that exploring the natural world should be possible without contributing to local air pollution, climate change, or damaging the environment.”

Adopt a Charger, a nonprofit organization, will provide technical, marketing and sponsorship support for the operation of the chargers throughout the duration of the agreement. ITC, an electric transmission company, will provide the funding for the electrical use for two years. Consumers Energy, through the Power MI Drive program, is providing the funds to pay for upgrades to the electrical systems at state parks necessary for charger installation.

From Warren Dunes State Park in the southwest corner of the Lower Peninsula, north along the Lake Michigan “gold coast” and additional points inland, an estimated total of 30 chargers are scheduled to be installed as part of the first phase of the project with the next installations beginning in summer and continuing through the year.

“This project will not only benefit Michigan in the near term but will also pay dividends far into the future as we move toward a sustainable energy future,” DNR Director Dan Eichinger said. “From these EV charging stations, to installations of solar arrays that power fish hatcheries and other facilities, to building with mass timber and our innovative carbon sequestration development, we are working to improve the environment as we update our own portfolio.”

The state park charger installations deliver on Gov. Whitmer’s announcement in 2021 of a Lake Michigan EV circuit, an electric vehicle route with reliable charging options along Lake Michigan and key tourism clusters, creating the best new road-trip for EV owners in America. The Lake Michigan EV Circuit is part of ongoing efforts, such as the Charge Up Michigan program, to employ green technologies throughout the state, including solar-powered amenities, carbon sequestration and numerous efficiencies.

One example of this are solar panels recently installed at Holland State Park by Utopian Power, on a building adjacent to the electric vehicle chargers. The arrays will provide power for some of the park functions.

“As the transition to an electrified mobility future continues to accelerate, innovative initiatives like these are vital to ensuring EVs can be more easily incorporated into our everyday lives, regardless of where you are in the state,” said Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. “By identifying creative partnerships and opportunities, we are making significant progress in creating a safer, more equitable and environmentally conscious transportation future for all Michiganders.”

The ability to link state parks with electric vehicle travelers will benefit both parties by increasing the number of visitors at parks, while providing convenience and significantly increasing range for EV motorists. Rivian’s Level 2 Waypoints chargers are equipped with a J1772 plug, suitable for all electric vehicles including Rivian’s R1T pickup and R1S SUV.

The rollout of the accessible chargers across the state is being done in phases. State parks in the Upper Peninsula are scheduled to be part of the second phase, targeted to take place next year.

The tentative list of installations for this year includes two Rivian Waypoints chargers at Warren Dunes (Berrien County), P.J. Hoffmaster (Muskegon County), Charles Mears (Oceana County), Ludington (Mason County), Orchard Beach (Manistee County), Leelanau (Leelanau County), Young (Charlevoix County), Petoskey (Emmet County), Wilderness (Emmet County) and Interlochen (Grand Traverse County) state parks, four at Holland and Grand Haven state parks, both in Ottawa County, and two at the Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County. Installations are anticipated in subsequent years at Palms Book State Park (Schoolcraft County) and Fayette Historic State Park (Delta County).

As Michigan continues to welcome travelers to the state, increased access to EV charging sites is one way to continue to bring new leisure travelers to the state.
With tourism one of the industries hit hardest by the impacts of COVID-19, the Lake Michigan EV circuit builds on the continued success of the state’s Pure Michigan campaign to help the industry recover by offering an exciting ecotourism attraction and reducing range anxiety for out-of-state EV drivers from population centers along Lake Michigan, like Chicago and Milwaukee.

To learn more about how Michigan is leading in transportation mobility and electrification, visit MichiganBusiness.org/Mobility/.

Additional partner quotes:

“The Adopt a Charger goal is to enable zero emission tourism in Michigan, and inspire visitors of all ages to consider the impact of their decisions on the environment,” said Kitty Adams Hoksbergen, executive director of Adopt a Charger. “I am grateful to everyone at DNR for proactively planning and offering EV charging at state parks, and to Rivian for their generosity in making it happen. Thanks to ITC for sponsoring the electrical usage so EV motorists can charge their vehicles fee-free for the first two years. I grew up camping with my family at Michigan State Parks, and am grateful to be promoting what I believe in while supporting the places special to me.”

“Consumers Energy is excited to work with Governor Whitmer and Rivian to help launch the Lake Michigan circuit of EV charging infrastructure. Our PowerMIDrive program analyzed the network needed to support EV charging and to optimize the final locations, collaborating with the State of Michigan to help enable charging ports that will be installed in a number of state parks,” said Jeff Myrom, Consumers Energy’s director of electric vehicle programs. “Consumers Energy’s partnership with the State of Michigan will help enable Pure Michigan tourism and convenient charging infrastructure over the largest segment of the Lake Michigan Circuit.”

“Today’s announced partnership between the DNR and Adopt a Charger fits nicely with MDOT’s goal to enhance connectivity,” said Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “This also compliments the ongoing work by MDOT and our colleagues in other state departments to deliver on a vision for a Lake Michigan Electric Vehicle Circuit.”

“These EV chargers are an important way to encourage sustainable travel across our state, while sharing the tremendous beauty and recreation offered by our world class state parks here in Michigan,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “As we encourage travelers to Pursue their Pure this summer, ensuring easy, reliable access to EV charging helps us continue to share these amazing opportunities with new travelers.”

MDHHS urges to recognize World No Tobacco Day

MDHHS urges to recognize World No Tobacco Day

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Press Release


CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, [email protected]

MDHHS urges Michiganders to recognize World No Tobacco Day on May 31 by quitting commercial tobacco

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recognizing World No Tobacco Day by urging Michiganders to quit commercial tobacco.

World No Tobacco Day is an initiative created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is observed each year on May 31. The annual health observance was created to draw the world’s attention to the tobacco epidemic, and the preventable death and diseases it causes. This year’s campaign focuses on the negative impact that the tobacco industry has on the environment, and calls attention to the environmental impact the tobacco industry has on the planet, which further harms human health.

“We know that the use of tobacco takes a significant toll on a people’s health,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive at MDHHS. “It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes and bones. However, something that people may not consider is the significant impact that the tobacco industry has had on our natural resources. This year’s World No Tobacco Day campaign sheds a light on that fact.”

The tobacco industry damages the earth’s ecosystem by contributing 84 megatons of greenhouse gases every year. Growing tobacco also contributes to deforestation. The WHO reports that around 3.5 million hectares of land are destroyed each year. Additionally, because 90% of tobacco production occurs in the developing world, the environmental burden most heavily affects countries that lack the resources to cope with these problems. Reducing commercial tobacco use would increase the overall well-being of populations by reducing death and disease and increasing environmental sustainability.

In addition to affecting the earth’s eco-system, cigarette waste has a large negative impact on local communities. Cigarette butts are the most littered item on earth, and major cities spend millions of dollars each year to clean up the waste that smokers leave behind. Cigarette waste is toxic and when littered, it can contaminate water, poison fish and hurt animals that consume it.

The WHO provides several resources to those who are interested in helping raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco. Learn more ways to help on the WHO website.

For residents in need of assistance in quitting tobacco, the Michigan Tobacco Quitline – 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) – is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From now through Sept. 30, all new enrollees at the Michigan Tobacco Quitline will receive two weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy along with a coaching session.

For more information about the Quitline, visit Michigan.gov/tobacco.

Employers Encouraged to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace 

Employers Encouraged to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace 

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May 31, 2022

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Encourages Employers to Implement Strategies to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace

New report details strategies to improve employee wellbeing and reduce workplace stressors


LANSING, Mich. – To further efforts to support mental health and wellbeing for more Michiganders, Governor Gretchen Whitmer tasked the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) with establishing a dedicated workgroup to focus on mental health, trauma, and resiliency in the workplace. The workgroup has released their findings and key strategies for employers to help build supportive workplaces by integrating employee mental health strategies that establish healthier workplaces, enhance employee wellbeing and promote resilient companies


This work builds on Governor Whitmer’s recently released mental health proposals that will help Michiganders get the comprehensive care they need, so that our state can attract and retain more mental health professionals, open more appointments and create good-paying jobs.


“Every person in Michigan should have access to the quality, affordable mental and physical care they need,” said Governor Whitmer. “By giving Michiganders the comprehensive care they deserve, and by making investments in mental health strategies in the workplace, we can build a stronger Michigan with a resilient workforce. The workgroup recommendations are another step closer to helping more Michiganders have access to mental health care.”


LEO worked closely with employers, workers and professionals to discuss how workplaces can implement supportive and empowering strategies, while also highlighting organizational opportunities for better workplace environments.


The report details the findings of the workgroup and key strategies for employers to help build supportive workplaces by integrating employee mental health strategies that establish healthier workplaces, enhance employee wellbeing and promote resilient companies.


“While we are incredibly proud of the work that has been done to come up with these proposals to improve mental health in the workplace, we realize there is still a lot of work to be done in order to develop and implement these and other workplace mental health strategies,” said LEO Deputy Director of Labor Sean Egan. “We hope employees and employers across the state will join us in reviewing the report findings and recommendations and build on mental health strategies that will have a great, positive impact on employee wellbeing in addition to protecting the employer’s bottom line and our communities.”


Investing in mental health and safety is critical to build strong workplaces, a strong workforce and strong communities. It is also imperative for employers to focus on mental health and safety for the overall wellbeing of their employees.

To assist employers, the workgroup recommended five steps to help organizations focus on overall wellbeing, incorporate trauma informed strategies, and reduce workplace stressors that can lead to crisis:

  • Assess Your Workplace and Culture
  • Consider Workplace Policies, Practices and Procedures
  • Recommit to Employee Assistance Programs
  • Consider adding or expanding Employee Resource Groups
  • Consider adding mental health to joint employer/employee safety committees


In addition, the workgroup made recommendations for the State to consider in supporting mental health practices in the workplace:

  • Make the State of Michigan, as an employer, a model of workplace mental health and safety for other businesses.
  • Give preference for businesses incorporating employee mental health improvement strategies through the State’s procurement or grant processes.
  • Offer financial support from the State for businesses to implement employee mental health improvement strategies.
  • Develop a resource hub that allows various groups to access plans, policies and other information that is being used by employers in Michigan.
  • Continue workgroup efforts that identify specific workplace challenges and opportunities for specific industries (e.g., healthcare, manufacturing, education, service workers, etc.).
  • Develop Michigan-specific data tools for tracking progress on improving workplace mental health and safety.
  • Develop a State recognition or “pledge” concept to encourage employers to integrate mental health strategies into their workplace.
  • Identify incentives for recruitment and retention and work to alleviate potential shortages of mental health services providers in the community.
  • Provide opportunities for learning about successful strategies and programs from across the country and provide peer-sharing and learning opportunities in the state of Michigan.



“Many of us have been in workplaces where the overall attention to employee mental health has been great in some places and poor in others, and we’ve seen the positive impact strong mental health can have on employee satisfaction, work productivity and the company as a whole,” said Debra A. Pinals, M.D., Medical Director for Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and clinical professor of psychiatry at University of Michigan. “Our goal in this work with LEO is to help employers create a workplace where the mental health is strong and employees enjoy coming into work every day, which creates an environment that is beneficial to employees and employers alike.”


“Careers in the professional trades are vital to Michigan’s economic future and we are committed to ensuring those entering these high-demand fields are equipped with the physical and mental health support they need to succeed,” said DeShon Leek, Southeast Representative, Michigan Building Trades.

To learn more about the details of the report, the workgroup encourages employees and employers to join them for a virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 8 at 2:30 p.m. – join the virtual meeting here.

Whitmer Kicks Off $1.5 Million Tuition Giveaway

Whitmer Kicks Off $1.5 Million Tuition Giveaway

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May 26, 2022

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Kicks Off $1.5 Million Tuition Giveaway to Celebrate 35th Anniversary of Michigan Education Trust
100 Michigan children to benefit from $15,000 in prepaid tuition 


LANSING, Mich. — In celebration of the Michigan Education Trust’s (MET) 35-year anniversary, Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced the launch of the MET 35th Anniversary $1.5 Million Giveaway, a random, statewide drawing that friends and family can enter on behalf of a child for a chance to win one of 100 $15,000 prepaid tuition prizes.


The governor was joined by former Governor Jim Blanchard, State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks, former state Sen. William Sederburg, Lansing School District Superintendent Ben Shuldiner, and teachers, students, parents and community leaders at Riddle Elementary School.


“This life-changing giveaway is an awesome way to celebrate 35 years of helping Michigan families save for higher education,” said Governor Whitmer. “It will help more students attain the education and skills they will need to achieve their career goals and bring us closer to meeting our goal of 60% of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree by 2030. I applaud Treasurer Eubanks and the MET Board for making this opportunity possible, and I especially want to thank Governor Blanchard for his leadership and long-term vision that have left a remarkable legacy. I would encourage any family thinking about saving for higher education to look into MET — as my parents did for me — and start today.”


Under MET’s giveaway, Michigan residents 18 years or older on Aug. 31, 2022, are eligible to enter on behalf of beneficiaries ages birth to 5 by the same date for a chance to win $15,000 in prepaid tuition. A person may enter only once, but multiple people may enter on behalf of the same child. The prepaid tuition prize may be used to pay for future tuition and mandatory fees at a community college, college, university or trade school in accordance with MET terms and conditions.


“A lot has changed over the past 35 years, but one thing still holds true today — a family’s desire to help put their children on the path to a bright and successful future,” said former Governor Blanchard, who proposed the MET plan in his State of the State address in 1986 and signed it into law later that year. “Back then, parents and grandparents didn’t have a lot of options to save for a child’s higher education. We created MET, and it has been a key that has helped unlock opportunities for tens of thousands of Michiganders to receive the education, training and skills that lead to better jobs, social mobility and economic security. I’m proud of the lasting impact MET has had on so many.”


The giveaway is not being funded by state tax dollars. A prudent investment strategy over the last decade has resulted in a record surplus for MET, which can now be used to invest in Michiganders. Earlier this year, the MET Board of Directors unanimously agreed to use a portion of the surplus to elevate awareness of MET and provide more Michigan children with access to higher education that will help them prepare to compete in a modern workforce and solve future challenges.


“The idea behind the giveaway is to help make 100 dreams come true by reaching more families and helping more children achieve success through higher education,” said Treasurer Eubanks, who also serves on the MET Board. “We are excited to shine a $1.5 million spotlight on MET and show parents, grandparents and others how it’s a safe, secure and flexible way to make sure their loved ones meet their future education and career goals.”


Giveaway entry begins today (May 26) and ends on Aug. 31, 2022. Winners will be announced in a series of drawings beginning Sept. 12. Michiganders can enter the giveaway and review rules and eligibility criteria at www.METgiveaway.com.


“As the only school district in Michigan that offers free pre-K to all students living within our boundaries regardless of family income, the Lansing School District is committed to enriching our young learners by building a strong foundation for lifelong curiosity and well-being,” said Lansing School District Superintendent Ben Shuldiner. “But that foundation is just one part of the equation. Pursuing higher education can be financially unattainable for many students. MET is a great resource to help families save for future higher education even if it’s just in small increments a little bit at a time. This giveaway can help provide a child with a $15,000 head start toward his or her future. I strongly urge families in Lansing and across the state to enter.”


About the Michigan Education Trust


Administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury, MET lets families pay today’s prices for future higher education costs. Signed into law in December 1986, it was the first prepaid tuition program in the nation.


More than 96% of high school graduates participating in MET have attended a college, university or technical school.


There are three types of MET plans: the full benefits plan, the limited benefits plan and the community college plan. Families can purchase one plan or mix and match options.


MET benefits can be used for postsecondary education at universities, colleges and technical schools. If a child chooses to attend a private Michigan school or out-of-state college or university, funds can be directed to that institution. MET benefits may also be transferred to other eligible family members and are refundable if the student chooses to attend trade school or does not attend college.


Parents, grandparents or other family and friends can make MET contributions on behalf of beneficiaries. MET has flexible and convenient payment options that allow purchasers to pay as they go, pay all at once or make monthly payments.


Contributions to MET plans are tax deductible on Michigan tax returns. Earnings are tax exempt if they are used for qualified higher education expenses.


More information about MET, including one-on-one consultation sessions with MET experts, is available at SETwithMET.com, 800-MET-4-KID or [email protected].