Oakland County to Host Little Amal

Oakland County to Host Little Amal

Oakland County to Host Little Amal

Post Date:09/20/2023 3:57 PM
  • Little Amal is a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl who is trekking an epic 6,000 miles across the United States from Sept. 7-Nov. 5.
  • She will arrive at the Funky Ferndale Art Fair Sunday afternoon in a car parade.
  • She walks for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people of all ages roaming the world in search of safety.

Ferndale, Mich. – Little Amal, the 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl who is trekking an epic 6,000 miles across the United States from Boston to San Diego, will appear at the Funky Ferndale Art Fair on 9 Mile west of Woodward on Sunday, Sept. 24. She will arrive by classic car parade that begins at Ferndale High School at 3:30 p.m.

Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, is sharing her message of hope as she traverses the country from Sept. 7-Nov. 5. Along the way, she will join more than 1,500 artists and participate in 100-plus local events in 40 towns and cities, including Metropolitan Detroit with stops in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Dearborn, and Flint.

“Little Amal is a powerful symbol of the plight of refugees around the world and we’re honored that she will spend a few days in Michigan to shine a light on the need for understanding, compassion and resources for displaced people,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. “Oakland County is a welcoming county for all people, including immigrants, refugees, displaced people and Little Amal.”

From 3:30-5 p.m. Sunday, Amal will be participating in a vintage car parade through Ferndale which will drop her off at the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, where she will walk among the shoppers and artisans and receive a gift before heading toward the parking lot of Ferndale Foods where the car parade participants will be on display in a mini car show. Viewers can follow Amal in Ferndale on County Executive Office social media (@oakgov.EO).

Amal walks for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people of all ages roaming the world in search of safety. She has journeyed across 15 countries, meeting more than one million people and engaging tens of millions of followers online. She will visit Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, and Dearborn and Flint on Sept. 23, 24, 26, and 27. Then she heads to Chicago.

For more information, go to oakgov.info/WelcomingWeek or WalkWithAmal.org.

Clarkston Scout Hosts 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

Clarkston Scout Hosts 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

Community Relations Chairman 9/13/23
[email protected]

Clarkston Scout Hosts 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

CLARKSTON – A local Scout organized a remembrance ceremony at the Oakland County
Sportsmen’s Club on the twenty-second anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Abhik Arya, 17, is a Life Scout with Clarkston’s Troop 185B and aspires to the rank of Eagle,
Scouting’s highest honor. The badge’s penultimate requirement charges youth to complete a
service project that benefits their community, known as an Eagle Project. According to Arya, he
felt called to pay tribute to the Americans who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. As the
Sportsmen’s Club has supported his troop for years, they were an obvious partner.
“I want to give back to my community and country by honoring it in a way I can,” Arya said. “I
want to be able to bring people together and have them go home and recount what happened to
others. I want people to know the sad and courageous story of those who were killed or injured in
the terrorist attacks of 9/11.”
Arya invited dozens of Scouts from across Oakland County to the event, along with club
members, veterans from Waterford VFW Post 1008 and the Independence Fire Department. The
Scout called the audience to attention at 7:00 p.m. and delivered a brief tribute to those who lost
their lives, followed by a moment of reverent silence.
He then directed the Scouts in a flag retirement ceremony. According to Arya, he had the idea to
include this when a neighbor approached him about discarding worn American flags. He
immediately recognized that the inherent solemnity, reverence and symbolism would complement
the evening’s desired ambiance. Scouts are among the few groups that still perform such
retirements regularly, with the US Flag Code mandating that badly worn or tattered flags be
“destroyed in a dignified manner.”
Having been instructed by Arya beforehand, the youth in the ceremony’s flag detail began with
banners made of cotton materials, laying them atop a pyre to be incinerated. The nylon flags were
then buried at the site, as they would release toxic fumes if burned. The evening concluded with a
rendition of “Taps” by Troop 185B’s bugler, Life Scout Nathan Beutler, 17.
“I hope that people will remember my Eagle Scout project as more than just a flag retirement
ceremony, but a day when people came together for the fallen and retired flags to honor them,”
Arya said.

With his project complete, Arya will soon go before an Eagle Board of Review, which will
determine whether to grant him the rank. Once approved, he will join an exclusive fellowship, as
only 6% of registered Scouts ever achieve the honor.
"Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is not just the highest rank that a Scout can achieve, but a
testament to a Scout’s commitment to excellence, service, and leadership,” Troop 185B
Scoutmaster Tyler Cooper explained. “We are incredibly proud of the fantastic job that Abhik has
done throughout all phases of this project, and we know that he will continue to be an amazing
ambassador for Scouting.”

Picture 1: Flags to be buried during the retirement ceremony are stored in a custom box.
Picture 2: Arya poses with firefighters before the ceremony.
Picture 3: Arya directs Scouts in burying the nylon flags.
Picture 4: Troop bugler Nate Beutler, 17, performs “Taps.”
Picture 5: Arya is currently a Life Scout with Troop 185B.

Blue Division Preview

Blue Division Preview

Blue Division Preview

Written Monday August 14th at 6:00 PM

This is the 2023 Football Preview. This will be updated with various podcasts and information from Media Day along with our special podcast with Civic Center TV’s Tyler Kieft and MIPrepZone’s Scott Burnstein.

ONTV News Media Day-Report




Blue Division Preview





  1. West Bloomfield
  2. Southfield Arts and Tech
  3. Lake Orion
  4. Harper Woods
  5. Clarkston
  6. Adams
  7. Groves
  8. Seaholm
  9. Ferndale
  10. Avondale




MANAGEABLE SCHEDULE: Troy: The Colts schedule has been really criticized the last few years but they have found a way to make the postseason. The schedule is still not tough enough. Troy has a non conference schedule where they are playing teams that went a combined 8-37 last season. They have Macomb L’Anse Creuse North (3-6), Detroit Mumford (1-8), Berkley (2-7), Royal Oak (1-8), and Fraser (1-8) for their non conference. The Colts have most of their tough opponents with the exception of Troy Athens and Oak Park coming to Troy. The schedule makers gave the Colts a ton of favors but can it be enough to get them in the postseason is the question???


NIGHTMARE SCHEDULE: Oak Park: The Knights are used to playing brutal schedules and this season is no different. They have Detroit University-Detroit Jesuit, Oxford, and West Bloomfield for their non conference along with road trips to Dick Bye Field, Ron Holland Field, and the Maple Forest. Oak Park is in a new division but the schedule didn’t give them a break.


TEAM THAT’S ON THE RISE: Seaholm: The Maples have the talent for a deep postseason run and the proven playmakers. The lines are a question mark. The schedule looks daunting with four of their first five games on the road but they close out the season with three home games including their arch rival Groves where they have not fared well against. Things are looking up for Coach Jim DeWald’s team and Seaholm.


TEAM THAT’S IN TROUBLE: North Farmington: It was a disaster for the Raiders last season with injuries and inexperience. Coach Jon Herstein needs to address depth and program strength in a big way. The schedule makers didn’t do them any favors. North Farmington has Groves and Bloomfield Hills along with a trips to Caledonia and Oxford which are never fun along with road games at the Maple Forest and Don Colt Stadium to boot is never easy. The Raiders have a ton of work ahead of them if they want to forget about last season in a big way.





LAST SEASON RECORD: 8-3 (7-2), 3-1 Blue. Lost 26-12 to Groves in District Finals.

POINTS SCORED: 380 (34.5 ppg)

POINTS AGAINST: 177 (16 ppg)

KEY PLAYER: Colton Kinnie-Quarterback.

STRENGTH: Quarterback, Proven Rushing Attack, Proven Playmakers.

WEAKNESS: Proven Linemen, Depth.

GAME OF THE YEAR: September 1 at Detroit University-Detroit Jesuit.





The Maples have had a ton of success as of late my making the postseason four of the last five years with a lot of credit going to Coach Jim DeWald’s veer attack which had put over 300 points in three of the last five years. Seaholm has had some issues against their crosstown rivals. Seaholm has lost 12 of the last 14 meetings including three postseason meetings to Groves. If the Maples want to change this, they need to start winning games against the arch rival on a consistent basis. “Coach Flaherty does a good job, really well coached. I imagine their offseason is just as good as ours, I know he’s got a good coaching staff. I know they work hard and it’s really really frustrating watching kids that belong at our school who at their school and scoring against us so they got our number, we got to beat them and they are doing a really good job beating us right now” said DeWald.


Seaholm has a ton of two way players which means a ton of playing time but concerns with attrition. The offense was very good for Maples last season. Seaholm was 7-0 but the loss to Farmington really changed things and they went 1-3 in their last four games. The Maples have proven athletes in Colton Kinnie coming back at quarterback.”They are extremely smart football players, fun to coach, like having a coach on the field” DeWald said of the Kinnie brothers. They have Sean Emerson at running back while Kyle Robbins and Jack Lewis are at wide receiver coming back. The offensive and defensive linemen will be a major concern for DeWald and the Maples this season despite having Luke Thurstwell, Blake Baldner, Andrew Fedor, and Akram Elsharnoby coming back  “We lost a lot up front, I’m not going to lie from last year so we’ll have our work cut out for us to fill those positions out. The defense should be solid even though depth could be a major challenge as mentioned. Seaholm has Granden Kinnie, Penn Roberts, and Luke Johnson at linebacker along with Robbins, Emerson, and Lewis in the defensive secondary. If the numbers come back up for the Maples then they should be a team to watch.


Program strength is a concern for DeWald along with proven linemen and depth this season but talking to DeWald he’s very optimistic when it came to program strength.”I think our offseason has been great, its been second to none, it depends how much kids we get, some choose to come here while some get recruited out of here, our kids work very hard, they are accountable, truth is we get kids that get recruited out of here, that’s a fact” DeWald said. The schedule is very interesting. Seaholm has Detroit University-Detroit Jesuit, Berkley, Troy, and Troy Athens on the road. They have North Farmington, Bloomfield Hills, Avondale, Oak Park, and Groves coming to the Maple Forest. If DeWald can find proven linemen with the Maples then Seaholm should be fine going forward.


Seaholm Podcast





LAST SEASON RECORD: 2-7, 2-2 Blue. Didn’t Make Postseason.

POINTS SCORED: 171 (19 ppg)

POINTS AGAINST: 268 (29.7 ppg)

KEY PLAYER: Ryan Shelby-Quarterback.

STRENGTH: Quarterback, Proven Wide Receivers.

WEAKNESS: Rushing Attack, Defensive Secondary, Depth, Program Strength.

GAME OF THE YEAR: September 16 at Seaholm





It was a very tough season for the Raiders which saw a ton of injuries especially to quarterback Ryan Shelby. North Farmington really struggled with depth and program strength which are still going to be areas of concern for them this season. North Farmington is 5-13 since 2021 which is un Raider like. They made the postseason the last two years when Coach Jon Herstein arrived from Harrison in 2019. “We lost some kids coming out with COVID, two years ago I thought we were a pretty good team with a pretty tough schedule. The OAA can be super difficult, we took Adams to overtime, lost to West Bloomfield. We lost a lot of close games, we haven’t been able to find a way to finish, we were a very young football team” said Herstein.


The Raiders were decimated by injuries last season. They lost Will Coleman who transferred to Grand Rapids Catholic Central this offseason. North Farmington has Shelby at quarterback coming back. “He’s been fantastic, he torn his ACL last year Ryan with the rehab, he made a really quick recovery to the point where the doctors had cold feet and he wasn’t able to be cleared until the time he thought it was so it was a back and fourth he would but credit the kid, he did everything to get back out there last year and this year between football and baseball and the training he’s done a phenomenal job getting into shape, strengthening his knee and being a leader for our team” Herstein added. They have proven pass catchers in Prentice Gardner and TJ Alexander coming back. “PJ (Gardner) is third year playing football you know back to the inexperience part, he was on varsity the last three years and has done a good job learning the game and developing, really phenomenal athlete, all state long jumper, you know 22 feet or so and really great athlete, has good hands, excited to see how he can really come into his own this season and take control of the offense and play multiple positions” Herstein added. Herstein mentioned that Robert Brydges could be another impact player to watch. “Robert Brydges was a split end last year, did a good job and played defensive end, he’s really grown up” Herstein mentioned. All three could see time in the defensive secondary as well with the depth issues. The offensive and defensive lines should be solid with Brendon Rice and Willie Harrison coming back. “Brendan Rice, he’s probably the one that gets the most publicity of our team, he will be a junior, he’ll play O-Line/D-Line. This will be his third year on varsity, he played for us as a freshmen on varsity, starting to really develop the game, develop his knowledge of the game, he’s always been a good student but just kind of trusting himself and having confidence in what he does. He has done a good job this offseason, did a really great job actually but this would be kind of a coming out year for him and I’m excited” Herstein said of Rice. The rest of defense should be the question mark for Herstein despite having Garnder, Duke Blanch and Brydges in the defensive secondary. “We got a couple of guys returning and Robert being a senior but another junior is Duke Blanch. He started at safety or Monster last year, good hitter, good abilities. He also plays running back for us and probably be one of the guys who will be the most steady guys for us on the defense. Last year he was very steady as a sophomore and I think this year his play making capability on the defensive side will be good” Herstein said about Blanch.”We got a sophomore that is coming up, Terrance James whom has some flashes of great ability, reminds me of some of the old guys at Harrison with the likes of Rod Heard and Jake Vento, you know those type of guys that come into mind. Guys that have a knack for the football and guys that can explode, he’s a good receiver and good running back, I think he’ll be competing to start in the secondary with PJ and Robert and Duke and several others” Herstein said about James. The linebackers should be something to watch despite having Thomas Thakady coming back.


Program strength should be very interesting to watch with the Raiders this season. “We’re starting to get back there so our roster kind of breaks down that of a smaller not necessarily not talented but a smaller senior class but the other two levels are more normal size, you know 20 kids or 25 kids or so per level which is right for a school of our size obviously we always want more but our goal is about 120 in the program, I think last year we had 80 something so we got some work to do there but it’s starting to come back on, you’re getting more and more kids coming back to sports especially coming out of the pandemic as that kind of winds down so our middle school numbers are doing good, they got you know solid numbers, I’m really excited about our relationship with the NFWB Vikings, their numbers have gone up tremendously, I think they had a waiting list as a matter of fact, this year so that’s encouraging for the sport of football when you think of the bigger picture you know not just about North Farmington but the bigger picture of football and kids playing the sport and believing it and trusting the coaches and trusting that we can do this safely and you can play and have so much fun and you can learn so much about yourself and becoming tougher and in the team aspect and all those great things that come from sports and particularly from football, that brotherhood or sorts. You start seeing more and more kids getting back into it and get excited about it” Herstein mentioned. North Farmington has a ton of questions coming into the season and a very tough schedule. They won’t play arch rival Farmington this season which was very unfortunate especially falling to the Falcons in overtime last season. “It’s unfortunate that we aren’t playing them, it brings the community out” Herstein mentioned. They have a Division One State Finalist on the road in week two in Caledonia whom put 68 points on the Raiders last season and Groves at Ron Holland Field in week one. They have Troy Athens, Oak Park, Bloomfield Hills, and Pontiac also coming to Ron Holland Field but have Troy, Seaholm, and Oxford on the road. It won’t be an easy stretch for the Raiders by any means.


North Farmington Podcast





LAST SEASON RECORD: 0-9, 0-5 White. Didn’t Make Postseason.

POINTS SCORED: 146 (16.2 ppg)

POINTS AGAINST: 322 (35.7 ppg)

KEY PLAYER: A’Jaylen King-Wide Receiver/Defensive Secondary.

STRENGTH: Skill Players.

WEAKNESS: Rushing Attack, Quarterback, Proven Linemen, Depth.

GAME OF THE YEAR: September 9 vs Troy Athens





It has been a very rough two years for the Knights which saw them go to 3-15 which included an 0-9 year last season. They haven’t been the same program since falling in overtime to Warren DeLaSalle in the Division Two State semifinals in 2020. Oak Park will look to have a very strong year in a new division this season.


The Knights have had things very rough as of late as mentioned. The defense has really struggled which was un Oak Park like last season along with the offense. Coach Greg Carter should have a very strong defensive secondary despite program strength and depth issues. “We’ve been working extremely hard, we got great kids, we’re excited, we’re trying to rebuild our program to where it once was we got a lot of work ahead and we have a lot of great kids to do it” Carter said. They have proven players in A’Jaylen King, Jalen Todd, Deon Cleary, Austin Smith, Candice Fityoumouth, Amarie Hancock, and Artell Guyton coming back in the defensive secondary. They also have Ja’Vion O’Bryant coming back at linebacker. Oak Park has some experience in Camari Bargineer, Dorain McFoley, Mark Bonney, Rashad Lewis, DeMarris Harris, Will Lee, and Norman Adams coming back on the offensive and defensive lines. The Knights should be much improved on offense this season. They have Rondre Austin, Isiah Jones, Kevin Tolliver, and Guyton at wide receiver and Quinton Blakely and O’Bryant at running back coming back. Austin and Blakely could also see some time in the defensive secondary. Bishop James should be the starting quarterback for Carter. Oak Park has a ton of other issues elsewhere they will need to address and soon.


The division change should help the Knights big time. Program strength is a big concern for Oak Park this season. They have a very favorable home schedule looming. Oak Park has three of their first four games in Knight Valley with Detroit University-Jesuit, Troy, and Troy Athens visiting. They also have Ferndale and West Bloomfield also coming to Knight Valley as well. The Knights have to go to Oxford, North Farmington, Seaholm, and Avondale. “We’ll be competitive in every game” Carter concluded. It won’t be an easy stretch for Oak Park but they could surprise some people, they’ve done it before.





LAST SEASON RECORD: 7-3 (7-2) 2-2 Blue. Lost 58-0 to Southfield Arts and Tech in First Round.

POINTS SCORED: 174 (17.4 ppg)

POINTS AGAINST: 154 (15.4 ppg)

KEY PLAYER: Lucas Tic-Offensive/Defensive Lineman.

STRENGTH: Quarterback, Rushing Attack, Proven Linemen, Proven Athletes.

WEAKNESS:  Wide Receivers, Linebackers, Depth.

GAME OF THE YEAR: September 16 at Oak Park





The Colts have had a ton of success going 19-9 in the last three years with three straight postseason appearances. Troy has made the postseason four of the last six years. They haven’t gotten past the first round in each of those postseason appearances. Many in the media have questioned Troy despite the success because the school is the biggest enrollment school (2,298 students) in the OAA but the Colts are playing in a lower division.


Troy’s defense despite the disasters against Southfield Arts and Tech (58) and Seaholm (52) was solid defensively (44 points allowed besides the two top teams.) They lost some key players to graduation including Darius Whiteside. Coach Chris Fraser should rely heavily on this unit this season.”We had a pretty solid defense, Coach Tom (Calhen) does a great job of getting the boys ready to play and try to stop the opponents best thing they do and offensively we were blessed to have Darius Whiteside, he was a pretty good player for us for three years. We took advantages of some situations, we’ve made some big plays at the end of games and we’ve pulled some close games out which helped us get those seven wins” Fraser said. The Colts defense should be relied on again this season. “The defense has been really good, we do some things and you know Troy has it’s limitations, we’re never going to have 30 big linemen that are 250/300 lbs so we have to do some things that takes advantage of what we have, we try to tailor of defense to fit a kind of quicker, undersized kids so we take advantage of that uh you know we can’t sit still and sit there because at the end it’s physics, if our kids are 180 lbs and the offense is 300 lbs you know if we stand there and don’t move then we’re probably going to get blown backwards so we try to do some things that move our guys around and make them moving targets, we’ve been lucky enough to have some kids in the back end at corner that can take away the other team’s receivers like Daruis like what I said before, a great athlete that can match up against the best receiver and then we were lucky to get a freshman in Jalen Peacock who could do the same thing on the other side, so we really didn’t need to worry about the corners as much because they could do their own thing” Fraser added. Troy does have Peacock coming back in the defensive secondary. Peacock has been compared to Whiteside when it comes to his athleticism but he could see some time at wide receiver as well. “I think Jalen has had a pretty good role model in Darius, the biggest thing about Darius was that he didn’t care about being the man, he didn’t care about the image or anything like that, he did his work in practice everyday and Jalen kind of saw that and kind of took some of those lessons from Darius and you know he had to learn that he had to grind everyday so Jalen is going to kind of hopefully fit into those maybe leadership by example kind of person where he can lock down his side of the field and the younger kids can learn from him so it’s kind of like that pay it forward mentality where one person teaches one and the next teaches the next so we’re looking for Jalen to step up in his junior year to be more of a leader and to be the one that is pushing the kids to work harder” Fraser said of Peacock. They have besides Peacock, Jhonny Phan, and De’Niro Prince coming back in the defensive secondary. The linemen should be the strength of the Colts with proven linemen in Lucas Tic, Nick Stromberg, Kevin Cekaj, CJ Black, Amman Khawaja, Connor Miller, Tristian Ludenman, John Spreitzer, Noah Oury, Daniel Princeton, and Ben Duda coming back. The linebacking spot is a concern for Fraser, Christan Johnson should be a player to watch this season for Fraser along with several young guys. The offense was a big problem last season for the Colts. They have Parker Brandenberg at quarterback coming back.”Parker has been doing his part, he shows up to everything, he’s been voted captain by his teammates, he’s very athletic. He went from being heistant to run when plays broke down to being very important for us as the year went on just making those plays out of the backfield that weren’t scripted. If the pocket were collasping he would go and pick up six yards, get the first down and move the chains. Those are the kind of big plays during the season” Fraser added on Brandenberg. Fraser also has a four year running back in Nolan Block coming back as well. “Having Nolan, it’s his fourth year on varsity when he was a freshmen back in the playoffs against Bloomfield Hills, he scored three touchdowns, you know from there he’s just kind of taken off, he was lucky enough to play with his brother (Ethan) for two years and last year was his first year alone so he got named captain last year so you know the kids kind of value his leadership skills as a junior and you know being his senior year, I can’t believe it’s already been four years together but he’s just one of those kids that you can line him up anywhere, offensively, defensively, he’ll give you everything he has. He works out, shows up to everything all the time, he does everything a coach asks, he’s smart, he has an over 4.0 GPA in the classroom, he just one of those kids that your lucky to have” Fraser on Block. Troy also added Drew Oliver to backup Block at times at running back. Omar Atasi should handle the kicking duties.


The Colts have a ton of questions especially with depth and program strength. “We got a lot of kids at Troy but we have kids that are interested in other things which is fine so we’ve been lucky the last couple of years to get classes of 25 kids and kind of what I said before, our kids aren’t the biggest kids in the world but we’re lucky in the last couple of years to have a bunch of athletes into the program so you we just got to do with what we have and got to make do with what we got” Fraser added. The schedule has been heavily criticized in the media and for good reason. They have Macomb L’Anse Creuse North, Detroit Mumford, Berkley, and Fraser for their non league games which isn’t really impressive. Troy has North Farmington, Seaholm, Berkley, Macomb L’Anse Creuse North, and Detroit Mumford coming to Don Colt Stadium. They have Fraser, Royal Oak, Oak Park, and Troy Athens on the road. Fraser talked about Troy Athens and playing the Red Hawks. “Every year when I get evaluated at the end of the season, they always ask me things and I tell them simply it’s more fun to beat Athens then lose to Athens so you know the last couple of years we won and it makes for better nights and a better year and a better time walking through Kroger and seeing people and when you lose to Athens it makes for a less fun year so you know Athens is going to be talented, so Coach Cook’s first year last year so I guarantee that the kids are going to be even more ingrained into his system and his kids play hard and fair so we’re looking forward to a fun and eventful night, usually the stands are packed, doesn’t matter if it’s at Athens or at Troy and we’re looking forward to a contest where the kids are playing hard but also playing fair” Fraser added. This schedule is not the greatest going against non conference teams that have a combined 8-37 record. This could be a team that might be sweating heading into Selection Sunday.


Troy Podcast





LAST SEASON RECORD: 5-4, 0-4 Blue. Didn’t Make Postseason.

POINTS SCORED: 192 (21.3 ppg)

POINTS AGAINST: 180 (20 ppg)

KEY PLAYER: Anthony Ashor-Running Back.

STRENGTH: Quarterback, Rushing Attack, Depth.

WEAKNESS: Wide Receivers, Linebackers.

GAME OF THE YEAR: September 9 at Oak Park





The Red Hawks have had a ton of bad luck in the last two years. They went 10-8 and have scored more points than allowed in each of those seasons. This is clearly a program that has been on the rise and that’s a credit to the players and Coach Tom Cook. Troy Athens has a chance to break through this season with a favorable schedule and a ton of proven experience coming back.


Troy Athens should be very interesting to keep an eye on this season. “Some of the work that we put in especially our seniors. It boils down to is that we play a tough schedule and in those tough games its how we respond to adversity, our guys have put in a lot of work and I think we have a solid senior core this year that will hopefully lead us to a successful season” Cook said. They have a very good rushing attack with Anthony Ashor and Charles Robinson coming back. Robinson also plays in the defensive secondary. Troy Athens has Parker Ciuria at quarterback coming back. They have Elliot Booth coming back at wide receiver. The offensive and defensive lines were very young last season but they could be in line for a breakout season. The Red Hawks have Micah Pobursky, Hayden Crum, Andrzej Olszewski, Benjamin Swales, and John Gergis coming back. The linebackers should be very interesting to watch with Dominic Roehl coming back. The defensive secondary should be solid with Robinson, Travon Winn, Blake Vegas, Josh Lalik, Booth, and Evan Watson coming back. Troy Athens should be a team to watch this season.


The Red Hawks are a very interesting program. Program strength is starting to come back which is a great thing. Cook has done a great job since taking over the program. Wide receivers and linebackers are big question marks. Troy Athens non-conference is not really that strong. It could be a big concern when it comes to the postseason. They are playing teams that went a combined 5-40 last season. The Red Hawks have three games that could decide their season with two on the road. The Red Hawks have Fraser, Berkley, Seaholm, Royal Oak, and Troy coming to John R Road. They have Oak Park, North Farmington, Pontiac, and Runkel to play Utica Ford II on the road. Troy Athens if things go right could be in line for a special season.

Plant, protect and plan for urban trees with UCF grants

Plant, protect and plan for urban trees with UCF grants

DNR banner

Plant, protect and plan for urban trees with UCF grants

Learn more about applications, project guidelines in Aug. 30 webinar

A group of people plant trees in an urban areaWant to improve tree canopy in your community? The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for Urban and Community Forestry grants that can fund tree planting, planning and protection projects in towns and cities.

Eligible government, education and nonprofit organizations can apply for grants reimbursing $10,000-$50,000 for projects that increase urban tree canopy cover or improve community forest care and citizen engagement.

A total of up to $300,000 in federal funding is available. Funds come from the USDA Forest Service in two categories:

  • Urban and Community Forestry Program annual appropriations.
  • Urban and Community Forestry Program Inflation Reduction Act.

Eligible activities for both funds include data collection, plan development, tree planting and maintenance, training and workforce development, food forests, wood utilization and more.

Competitive project proposals for IRA funds will target work in federally designated disadvantaged community areas and demonstrate inclusive public involvement in planning, establishing and managing urban trees and forests. Projects should address environmental justice, climate change, extreme heat, insects and diseases, or other challenges and threats.

Projects proposed for federally designated disadvantaged areas do not require matching funds. All others require a 1:1 nonfederal match.

Grant deadline, webinar info

All projects should align with state goals outlined in the Michigan Forest Action Plan and support Michigan’s pledge to plant 50 million trees by 2030 as part of the DNR’s Ml Trees initiative.

Apply by Oct. 13. Projects must be completed by Sept. 1, 2025.

Questions? Attend a one-hour informational webinar Wednesday, Aug. 30, or contact Urban and Community Forestry Program coordinator Kevin Sayers, 517-582-3209, or urban forester Lawrence Sobson, 313-316-4137.

Apply for grants ►

Get the grant application, criteria, eligibility, timelines, reporting and other information.

Aug. 30 webinar ►

Attend a one-hour grantee webinar, Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. for tips and discussion.

Michigan to keep kids safer by embedding resource specialists

Michigan to keep kids safer by embedding resource specialists

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Press Release


MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, WheatonB@michigan.gov

Michigan to keep kids safer by embedding family resource specialists with child protection staff to connect Michiganders to resources
Risk of maltreatment drops as families have greater access to food, childcare aid

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will keep children at risk of neglect safer by making sure their parents are connected to department programs that can meet their basic needs.

MDHHS is announcing the Family Impact Teams project, which embeds family resource specialists with child protection and foster care staff to so they can support families in applying for benefits such as food assistance and Medicaid and connect them to other economic supports. The first phase of the project begins this month.

“Many families that come to the attention of the child protection system need help with providing their children with housing, food, health care coverage, quality childcare and other necessities so that they can be safe and healthy,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Our family resource specialists can immediately connect them to the resources they need so their families can stay together safely. We must help families who love their children but struggle to meet their needs due to economic instability.”

Family Impact Teams are part of MDHHS’s Keep Kids Safe Action Agenda, the department’s ongoing efforts to improve the safety and well-being of Michigan children.

Family resource specialists will engage with families face-to-face, determine their eligibility for assistance programs offered by MDHHS, and refer them to other local agencies that can provide them with resources to meet the families’ needs.

“One of MDHHS’s top priorities is to remove barriers to family success,” said Lewis Roubal, chief deputy director for opportunity. “Providing additional supports to the families of at-risk children will keep them safer.”

The first phase of the project is in the following counties: Allegan, Barry, Chippewa, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Luce, Mackinac, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair and Wayne. The second phase of the project will roll out statewide throughout 2024.

There are 19 Family Impact Teams family resource specialists who are currently being trained.

“When family resources specialists visit parents along with Children’s Protective Services or foster care staff, we will provide positive support to families in need by ensuring they have access to economic resources which will help to remove financial barriers. Working with Children’s Services staff, we can provide families the support they need to remain together or the support they need for reunification,” said Amethia Sellers, who will be one of the new embedded specialists in Wayne County. “Having been a part of the foster care system as a child, I had an amazing social work team who made a difference in my life and I too want to have that same impact in the lives of others who are experiencing barriers within their lives.”

Sellers has worked for the department as an eligibility specialist for more than three years. She applied for the new position because she is excited to work with families in children services and has a background servicing children in foster care.

The Family Impact Teams approach strengthens collaboration between MDHHS’s Economic Stability Administration – which provides public benefits such as food assistance and Medicaid – and its Children’s Services Administration, which protects children and provides services to their families.

Providing childcare subsidies decreases child neglect by 31%, according to a study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, while referring homeless families to permanent housing decreases foster care placement by 50% and connecting families to food assistance decreases child maltreatment by 11%.