Legislation to Invest in Special Education, Safe Schools

Legislation to Invest in Special Education, Safe Schools

Governor Whitmer Header


February 24, 2023

Contact: [email protected]

 Gov. Whitmer Signs Legislation to Invest in Special Education, Student Meals, Safe Schools 


LANSING, Mich – Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law that appropriates funds for the school breakfast program, supports special education, and appropriates federal resources to promote safe, healthy learning environments by investing in violence and bullying prevention.


“Every kid in every district deserves to feel safe and supported in school, and I am proud to sign a bill that will make investments to improve every student’s in-class experience,” said Governor Whitmer. “This supplemental helps provide breakfast at school, supports special education, and enhances campus safety by funding efforts to address violence and bullying. I look forward to working across the aisle with my partners in the legislature to deliver for Michigan students and parents.”


Senate Bill 8 includes a one-time $500,000 increase to the School Breakfast Program, a $45.1 million expansion for special education costs and one-time $27.9 million federal grant to establish safer and healthier learning environments, and to prevent and respond to acts of bullying, violence, and hate. This bill makes investments to support the success of Michigan students and teachers, improve the quality of students’ education, better the health of students, and expand opportunity for families and communities.


“As a parent of school-aged children, I know how critical it is to have high-quality education, safe classrooms, and food in stomachs for our kids,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist. “Today, we take steps forward in investing in quality education for every Michigan student. Governor Whitmer and I are grateful to our Congressional delegation, legislative partners and education advocates for their hard work, and we will continue working with anyone to create opportunity for Michiganders in every community.”


“As former Deputy Director of the Michigan College Access Network, I know how important robust funding is for our public schools”, said State Senator Anthony “The funding provided in PA No. 3 will make our schools safer and our children healthier. Now, after finishing the work of the last legislative session, I look forward to crafting an inclusive state budget that uplifts Michiganders statewide”


Senate Bill 8 was sponsored by State Senator Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, and a copy can be found here.

Workshop to Help Small Businesses

Workshop to Help Small Businesses

Workshop to Help Small Businesses Focus on Value of Services

  • Oakland County, its Business Forward team, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and Amazon will hold the workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the Southfield Public Library.
  • Amazon will present its Black Business Accelerator program and discuss the importance of providing value to customers.
  • Oakland County’s Business Forward team will provide information on its support services for small businesses and the Southfield Chamber of Commerce will share how it creates connections that strengthen businesses.

Pontiac, Michigan – Oakland County and its Business Forward team, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and Amazon are co-hosting a special workshop for small businesses that focuses on how to attract customers by highlighting the value of their services.

The workshop, entitled “Powering Your Business Forward with Amazon,” which will include a presentation on Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator program, will take place at the Southfield Public Library, 26500 Evergreen Road, from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28. The event is free, but registration is required. Go to OakGov.com/BusinessForward or call 248-931-8048 for more information.

“Our Business Forward team is committed to helping Oakland County’s small businesses succeed and thrive,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said.

The workshop’s speakers include Amazon’s Jillian Blackwell, global senior marketing, communications and change management leader for Amazon’s Global Operations Learning and Development (GOLD) team, who will discuss the importance of providing value to customers and Clawanna Etherly, sales team lead for the Black Business Accelerator program at Amazon in Detroit.

Oakland County’s Business Forward team will also provide information on its support services for small businesses, enabling entrepreneurs to access information, resources, and funding. The Southfield Chamber of Commerce will share how it creates connections that drive and strengthen businesses.

Business Forward is Oakland County’s initiative to embed business consultants in communities to provide resources and services to small businesses, with a special focus on minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned businesses.

Scout Dons Uniform for Ceremony at Arlington

Scout Dons Uniform for Ceremony at Arlington

Sr. District Executive & Operations Marketing Lead 2/21/23
[email protected]

Scout Dons Uniform for Ceremony at Arlington

A local Scout received a rare opportunity during a recent school trip to Washington D.C., as he
placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Ceremony while
wearing his uniform.
Alex Burke, 14, participates in the Scouting program through Lake Orion Troop 284 along with
Clarkston Troop 185 and attends Oakview Middle School. As part of this year’s 8th grade class trip
to Washington D.C., four youth were selected to participate in the wreath ceremony. In order to
be considered, students were asked to submit an essay on why they should be chosen to represent
their community at the site.
In his essay, Burke explained that the tomb has a deep significance to his family. Five generations
of his family members have been called to serve in the US military, including several Purple Heart
“I wanted to honor all of the people inside and outside of my family who gave their lives to protect
this country,” Burke said.
On learning he had been selected, Burke also determined to wear his Scout uniform for the event.
“I thought it would be good representation of Scouts and what we do,” Burke said. “It was a good
opportunity to show people that we do a lot for the community.”
Assistant Scoutmaster Rob Pote, a retired lieutenant colonel, helped Burke prepare for the
ceremony. A well-known keystone of the Scouting movement in Oakland County, Pote taught
Burke the basics of military drill.
“I really wanted to do it the proper way, the respectful way,” Burke said. “I wanted to learn all the
moves perfectly. He showed me how to march, how to turn and about the importance of the tomb
Though Burke admitted to feeling nervous, he and his classmates performed the ceremony
perfectly, with all due reverence and respect. According to his mother, it was a deeply moving
“My heart was filled with pride,” Charity Burke said. “I think he did wonderful. He honored his
troop, his school, his community, his family and all of the unknown soldiers.”

Picture 1: Rob Pote instructs Burke on the basics of drill in preparation for the ceremony.
Picture 2: Burke stands at attention next to the tomb.

Westbound I-696 closing from US-24 to I-275 this weekend 

Westbound I-696 closing from US-24 to I-275 this weekend 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     MEDIA CONTACT

February 23, 2023                                                                    Diane Cross

                                                                  [email protected]

 Reminder: I-696 project gets under way with westbound I-696 closing from US-24 (Telegraph Road) to I-275 this weekend 

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. ­– The I-696 Rebuilding Michigan project will require a complete closure this weekend to prepare for a traffic shift which will have both directions of I-696 sharing the westbound side.

Beginning 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, through 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 27, westbound I-696 from US-24 (Telegraph Road) to I-275 will close to prepare the freeway for setting up the traffic shift. The detour is westbound I-696 to southbound US-24 (Telegraph Road) to westbound M-102 (8 Mile Road) to northbound M-5 (Grand River Avenue) to northbound I-275.

Once it reopens 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 27, through late fall, westbound I-696 from US-24 (Telegraph Road) to I-275 will have two lanes open. The Orchard Lake Road ramp to westbound I-696 will remain closed through late fall.

Beginning Friday, March 10, through late fall, eastbound I-696 from I-275 to US-24 (Telegraph Road) will have traffic shifted onto the westbound side with two lanes open in each direction.

Project information:

This $275 million project includes rebuilding the roadway from the base up, including storm sewer replacement work and rebuilding ramps at Orchard Lake Road, American Drive, Franklin Road, M-10 (Northwestern Highway), and US-24 (Telegraph Road).

During 2023 eastbound I-696 will be rebuilt from I-275 to Evergreen Road. Westbound lanes will be rebuilt in 2024. Project details can be found at DrivingOakland.com.

Funding for this project is made possible by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program to rebuild the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic. The investment strategy is aimed at fixes that result in longer useful lives and improves the condition of the state’s infrastructure.

Based on economic modeling, this $275 million investment is expected to directly and indirectly support 3,500 jobs.

OACC Women in Business Conference set for March 8th

OACC Women in Business Conference set for March 8th

February 13, 2023
Joyce Donaldson, IOM, President and CEO
Orion Area Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 248.693.6300 I Cell: 760.808.0823
Email: [email protected]


Media Release

Orion Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Conference
in Celebration of International Women’s Day March 8th

The Orion Area Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to announce the 4th Annual Women in
Business Conference in celebration of International Women’s Day March 8th. The luncheon will
take place at Paint Creek Country Club in Lake Orion from 11:30 AM – 2 PM.

The afternoon will feature three inspirational keynote speakers, a delicious lunch, networking,
and friendly camaraderie while celebrating International Women’s Day together. Featured
speakers include: Mary Kramer, Director, Detroit Homecoming and Founding Director, Crain
Currency, The Honorable Julie A. Nicholson, 52nd District Court Judge, and Marie Osborne,
Anchor-Reporter, WJR. International Women’s Day is powered by the collective efforts of all.
“The Orion Area Chamber is honored to take part in this worldwide effort to applaud the
women forging change and to increase the visibility of our local women leaders’ achievements.”
states Joyce Donaldson, President and CEO of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce. “Since
the first global gathering in 1911, women have gathered to celebrate the social, economic,
cultural, and political achievements of women.”

Many thanks to our sponsors: Title Sponsor – Michigan United Credit Union. Partner Sponsors –
Genisys Credit Union, Heartfelt Impressions, Rainforest Cafe, Redwood Lake Orion, Steve
Wandrie Caliber Home Loans, and Zale Group. Champion Sponsors – Ascension Providence
Hospital Rochester, Counelis Agency-Farm Bureau Insurance, Haney Farm Bureau, and Sprout

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please contact Joyce Donaldson at
[email protected].

Registration is required. Purchase tickets at orionareachamber.com or call 248.693.6300. Space
is limited. Gentlemen are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Ticket Cost: Members $60 I Non-Members $75
Ticket cost includes a scrumptious lunch, door prizes, and SWAG Bag
Paint Creek Country Club is located at 2323 Stanton Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362

About the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce
The Orion Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to creating a healthy local economy and
building a strong environment for economic growth and stability. In ongoing efforts to achieve
this lofty goal, we represent business to government, coordinate educational forums, host
networking events, advocate for business-friendly legislation, and promote community.
The Chamber is a 501 (c) (6) non-profit organization, funded through chamber membership
investments, sponsors, and fundraisers. We are a passionate team of 11 volunteer Board of
Directors, 2 paid staffers, and 300+ enthusiastic members that generously share their time,
talents, and treasures. Together we are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the Orion
area and are proud to offer an energetic and sunny environment in which businesses can joyfully