Simpson Leaves Legacy at North Farmington

Simpson Leaves Legacy at North Farmington

Simpson Leaves Legacy at North Farmington.

Written Wednesday April 19th at 1:30 PM

There will be a new coach at North Farmington for Girls Basketball next winter.

Raiders coach Jeff Simpson stepped down on Wednesday after 29 years with the program and nine as the varsity coach.

“After many long hours of deliberation, I am resigning from my position as Varsity Girls Head Basketball Coach at North Farmington. I have spent 29 years in this program, nine as the Varsity coach. I have enjoyed my time in this program but I feel it is in my best interest to step down at this time. This spring (softball assistant coach) is my 77th coaching season for Farmington Public Schools (both middle and high school sports.) I feel it’s time for someone new to come in and lead the Raiders. Next year will be my final teaching year and I’m getting ready for the next set of adventures. Thank you to all my coaches I have worked with and coached against and to all of my former players, thank you for giving me your time and energy, always and forever. Go Raiders” Simpson said in a tweet.

North Farmington went 22-0 this past season which was the first time in school history that the girls basketball program went unbeaten. They fell to Farmington Hills Mercy in the district finals.

The Raiders have Asiyah Jihad and Hannah Hart coming back next season. Program strength will be a big concern for North Farmington going forward. The program could be in line for a major change next season.

Simpson added another tweet as well. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the run, time for the next adventure. Thanks to everyone for their support over the years especially my wife and kids. Go Raiders” he added.

Simpson did very well with the Raiders in his coaching career. He left a legacy at North Farmington. Simpson coached several very talented players including Sela Lefler and Penelope Creary and has been around proven players like Jenna Backrouge among others that has went through the North Farmington program.

It will be very interesting to see what happens next season for the Raiders but Simpson will be missed for sure.

Stay tuned to OAA Now for the latest on this developing story.

Here is the Tweet from Simpson.

Simpson Leaves Legacy at North Farmington

Thomas Leaves Legacy at Adams

Friday, April 21, 2023

Thomas Leaves Legacy at Adams.

Written Friday April 21st at 4:35 PM

This was a move that no one saw coming.

Adams Boys Basketball Coach Jaret Thomas is stepping down from the program. Thomas led the Highlanders to their first regional championship and two district crowns in his four years at Adams.

“Adams Highlanders, I have to thank you for an incredible four years and the privilege of being your boys basketball coach. Together we were able to build a championship program and we did it our way, character, hard work, choosing to do the hard things, and always putting the team first. Special Thank you to my former and current players for your effort, dedication, and commitment. I am so proud to have been your coach and forever we are bonded by our relationships and time spent together. Also I would like to thank the administration and leadership who believed in me and supported me every step of the way. Adams will hold a special place in my heart and I leave here full of gratitude and love for so many. Go Highlanders.” Thomas said in a tweet on Twitter.

Thomas went 59-37 in his four years at Adams. He has rebuilt the Highlanders program especially the lower levels and that success has translated into the varsity program.

Whoever the new coach is will have Peter Kardsais, William Gee, Trenton Lagarde, Chan Yang, Gavin Farris, Luke Marcial, Jake Andrzejak, Aaron Troxell, coming back along with maybe Brady Prieskorn.

Adams should be a force in the Red next season whether Prieskorn plays or not.

It will be very interesting to see what happens with the Highlanders this offseason.

Stay tuned to OAA Now for the latest on this developing story. I will have my thoughts on Monday’s podcast.

Here is the Tweet from Thomas.

Michigan Spark Grant applications open May 1

Michigan Spark Grant applications open May 1

DNR banner with link to website

DNR News

April 21, 2023
Contact: Dan Lord, 517-290-5603

Michigan Spark Grant applications open May 1; nearly $23 million available for public recreation projects

Additional pathway to Spark Grants funding will be open to ‘opportunity communities’ through new partnership with Michigan’s philanthropy network

a small group of young girls and boys, clothed in shorts, T-shirts and sweatshirts, smile while running down a dirt path lined by mature treesAfter record interest in first-round Michigan Spark Grants funding, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will reopen grant applications starting May 1 with up to $23 million available for public recreation improvement projects in areas most affected by COVID-19. To boost grant access for those in greatest need, the DNR also announced a partnership that will connect identified “opportunity communities” with funding and the support of Michigan’s philanthropic network.

“Every Michigander deserves equitable access to the outdoors that’s close to home no matter where they live, and that includes having quality local park and trail resources at the neighborhood and community levels,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Under the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan I signed last year, we made history with the largest one-time investment ever in our state and local parks. Michigan Spark Grants are unique because they align support directly with each community’s diverse recreational needs. We’re excited that these grants will help deliver critical funding to ‘spark’ more opportunities for residents to enjoy nature and connect with family and friends.”

Earlier this year, the DNR awarded $14.2 million in first-round funding to 21 communities. A great start, but interest in the Michigan Spark Grants program far exceeded the department’s expectations.

“We were astounded by the response to the first round,” said Dan Lord, assistant chief of the DNR’s Finance and Operations Division. “In a normal year, our top three recreation grant programs – the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Recreation Passport and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund – on average receive around 150 applications seeking between $50 million and $60 million.”

“For the Michigan Spark Grants, we accepted over 460 applications requesting more than $280 million,” Lord added. “It was clear we had tapped into a tremendous need. We also knew there was more work to do in supporting some communities and ensuring they have the capacity and resources to prepare, apply for and administer a grant like this.”

a smiling young boy in navy blue swim trunks jumps in the spray of a concrete splashpad, with two small boys playing behind himA new philanthropy-focused partnership through the Council of Michigan Foundations will make Michigan Spark Grants funding available this summer to communities identified as “opportunity communities” – those that traditionally have been under-resourced and under-represented and who lack access to parks and recreation.

This innovative model aligns with federal funding requirements to support communities adversely affected by COVID-19, along with helping to improve and redevelop existing public recreation in communities that historically have experienced barriers to accessing these types of grants.

Connecting ‘opportunity communities’ to resources

To create this new grantmaking model, the DNR sought advice and perspective from an advisory group composed of philanthropy, regional government planning, parks and recreation, and other grant-making entities with relevant expertise. What emerged was the framework for a grant program with a more equity-focused application and evaluation process, a new approach that gives funding priority to opportunity communities – areas that lack public recreation spaces and have a high proportion of households that are struggling financially and a high number of residents with physical and mental health disparities.

The DNR’s new partnership is aimed at removing barriers facing these nearly 40 opportunity communities in accessing not only funding, but also the needed supporting services for expanding a community’s ability to successfully manage and implement recreation projects.

a small group of adult men and young boys wearing athletic shorts, tank tops and T-shirts shoot baskets on a paved basketball court in a greenspaceRecognizing that the Council of Michigan Foundations – representing Michigan’s united, diverse philanthropic community, and an original member of the Michigan Spark Grants advisory group – has the structure and network in place through its members to engage and support the opportunity communities, the DNR forged a groundbreaking partnership with CMF to align $27.5 million in Michigan Spark Grant funds (the balance of the program’s original $65 million allocation) through CMF member foundations to support communities in developing and implementing their local public recreation projects.

“Through this innovative partnership with the DNR, Michigan philanthropy will help to ensure community voice is centered in this work to advance equitable and transformative change for opportunity communities across the state,” said Kyle Caldwell, CMF president and CEO. “We look forward to supporting our foundation members as we collectively work to expand access to outdoor recreation spaces and programs for communities that have been historically under-represented and under-resourced.”

Michigan Spark Grants have proved much different than other grant programs offered by the DNR.

“We were very encouraged by the willingness of the DNR to do something different to further broaden access to recreational opportunities,” said J.J. Tighe, director of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s Parks & Trails Initiative, and a member of the Michigan Spark Grants advisory group. “We had to find creative solutions that didn’t just create a new grant program, but could instead leverage the locally based resources of community foundations to provide grantees with additional support, remove barriers and create the conditions for each community to have long-term success.”

an older couple, the man wearing jeans and zip-up jacket and the woman in jeans and a light sweater, also in a wheelchair, on a paved path

Multiple paths, one goal

“The partnership with CMF expands the reach of the Michigan Spark Grants program and better supports grantees interested in bringing more public recreation opportunities to their residents,” said Tighe. “It’s about trying to ensure that everyone who wants to take advantage of grant dollars can find a way there.”

Prospective applicants can visit the Michigan Spark Grants webpage to determine their eligibility and best prepare to complete the grant application:

  • The final round (nearly $23 million) of Michigan Spark Grants through the DNR (applications due June 26).
  • The $27.5 million subset of CMF Michigan Spark Grant funding and additional resources available to opportunity communities (details coming this summer).
  • Other DNR recreation grant funding opportunities, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Recreation Passport and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (apply by April 1 each year).

How to apply

Applicants can seek a minimum of $100,000 up to a maximum of $1 million. Applications opening May 1 are due June 26, with award announcements expected in late September. Michigan Spark Grants, administered by the DNR, are available to entities that are legally constituted to provide public recreation, such as:

  • Units of government or public authorities.
  • Federally designated tribes.
  • Regional or statewide organizations that are established with a recreational focus.
  • Consortiums of local units of government or public authorities.

Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the Michigan Spark Grants webpage for more on the application process, including a few steps that need to be completed before submitting an application, as well as a helpful webinar that answers a lot of common questions.

Learn more about Michigan Spark Grants and all DNR-administered grants at

MDHHS pilots community health worker program

MDHHS pilots community health worker program

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112,  

MDHHS pilots community health worker program
at COVID-19 neighborhood testing sites


LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announces a pilot program for community health worker (CHW) services at select COVID-19 Neighborhood Testing sites to address community health needs. CHWs will offer on-demand referral services to essential health and well-being resources including behavioral health and social services. Visitors to participating sites can meet with an on-site CHW to connect with community resources that include food access, housing supports, utilities assistance and health care enrollment.  


“We must take every opportunity we have to bring access to health care to residents where and when they need it,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Increasing entry points to care leads to improving social determinants of health and the overall well-being of our communities. We continue to look for innovative ways to keep Michigan residents healthy.” 


CHWs are trained public health professionals and trusted members of the community whose goal is to address social determinants of health and serve as links between residents and the health and social resources needed to improve well-being. At the testing sites, CHWs refer visitors to behavioral and health care providers, assist with health insurance coverage, point to Michigan’s 211 program referral helpline and more. CHWs also offer education on healthy lifestyles and habits, and provide education on managing medications or chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. 


“Based on lessons learned and best practices established over the last few years, it is important to continue our work to address racial disparities across social determinants of health,” said the Hon. Thomas Stallworth, director of the Racial Disparities Task Force and the Governor’s senior advisor for Legislative and External Affairs. “This includes expanding community hubs, enhancing services and public health programs, and providing referrals to resources where its most convenient for our more vulnerable community members.” 


The CHW services are currently funded through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant focused on addressing health disparities among high-risk and underserved populations. MDHHS will continue to evaluate ways to support community health needs across the state.  


CHWs will be located at these pilot sites: 


Wayne County  

Wayne County Community College District, Northwest Campus  

8200 West Outer Dr., Detroit 

  • Tuesday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
  • Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 


Bethel Baptist Church East   

5715 Holcomb St., Ste. 33, Detroit 

  • Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


Hartford Memorial Baptist Church  

14000 W. Seven Mile Rd., Detroit  

  • Monday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Genesee County  

Bethel United Methodist Church  

B1309 N Ballenger Hwy., Flint 

  • Thursday 1-7 p.m.

Macedonia Baptist Church  

G5443 N Saginaw St., Flint 

  • Monday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  


Word of Life Baptist Church   

460 W. Atherton Rd., Flint 

  • Tuesday noon to 6 p.m.

Muskegon County 

Christ Temple Church  

412 E. Sherman Blvd., Muskegon 

  • Monday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Tuesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Free consultation services up to 45 minutes are available. Walk-ins are taken as space and time allows, and no ID or insurance is required.  


The first evaluation of the CHW pilot will occur at the end of May. To learn more about CHWs, visit the Michigan Community Health Workers Alliance website. 

Whitmer Statement on Strong Monthly Jobs Report 

Whitmer Statement on Strong Monthly Jobs Report 

Governor Whitmer Header


April 20, 2023

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Statement on Strong Monthly Jobs Report 

Unemployment decreases to 4.1%, labor force increases by 10,000 last month, 75,000 jobs added YoY 


LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement after the release of the latest economic numbers showing the unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in March and the labor force increased by 10,000. Michigan’s economy added 75,000 jobs year over year, the labor force participation rate increased, and the 12-month average Black unemployment rate was cut nearly in half since last March.


“Michigan’s economic momentum continues to build with lower unemployment and 75,000 Michigan jobs added year over year.


“In the first 100 days of this year, with a productive majority in Lansing, we have taken action to lower costs, create good-paying American manufacturing jobs, and spur economic development in every region.


“Together we rolled back the retirement tax on our seniors, which will save half a million households an average of $1,000 a year. We quintupled the Working Families Tax Credit, putting a combined $3,150 refund in the pockets of 700,000 working families. We won a $3.5 billion project from Ford creating 2,500 manufacturing jobs. We have more manufacturing projects in the pipeline that we need to rally behind so we can bring more jobs home and help more people get back to work. We have also made record investments to build more housing and fund community revitalization projects across Michigan, powering small business growth and lowering housing costs.


“Let’s build on our momentum in the months ahead and enact another balanced budget that delivers on the kitchen-table issues and lower costs for families.”