COVID-19 Safety Video & Visual Art Contest

COVID-19 Safety Video & Visual Art Contest

‘Oakland Together’ COVID-19 Safety Video & Visual Art Contest Accepting Entries Today From County Residents

Pontiac, Michigan – Oakland County is looking for residents of nearly any age who have an artistic flair or video-making chops to create original art or a video to promote the continuing importance of practicing COVID-19 safety.

County Executive David Coulter today announced the ‘Oakland Together’ Safety Video & Visual Art Contest as a way to encourage residents ages 10 and up to offer creative ways of sending the message that practices such as wearing face masks or social distancing continue to be critical components of fighting the pandemic.

“I know first-hand how creative and imaginative the residents of our county can be,” Coulter said. “This isn’t a new message, but it remains an important one. Wearing a face mask does make a difference in stopping the spread of the virus; washing your hands makes a difference and so does social distancing. You’ve heard me say it many times. I’m certain there are a lot of creative minds out there who can deliver the message that COVID-19 is still with us and it will take all of us working as Oakland Together to beat this insidious virus.”

The contest has two ages divisions: 10-17 and 18 and above; and video or visual arts/2D categories for each. There is no limit to the number of times a person may enter but each entry must be done separately. Entry deadline is July 20 at 11:59 p.m.

The contest is open to original artwork submitted by the original creator, including but not limited to video, painting, drawing, photography, illustration and printmaking.

Artwork should promote and encourage COVID safety, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state of Michigan protocols.

A panel of judges will select the top three entries from each age group and category. Criteria include creativity, overall artistic impact in communicating safety during COVID-19 and the skill in mastering of the chosen medium.

Coulter will announce the finalists on July 28, whose creations will then be displayed online for a vote by the public to determine the order of finish. The winning entries will be considered for a virtual exhibit on, the county’s website and featured on Oakland County’s social media accounts and promoted in, the county’s biweekly electronic newsletter. They will also be considered for use in upcoming public service announcements. The artists will be given credit if their creations are used.

The contest is only open to residents of Oakland County. A complete list of rules and details on how to enter the contest are found at

MDHHS launches Rapid Response Staffing Resources

MDHHS launches Rapid Response Staffing Resources

July 7, 2020
Contact: Lynn Sutfim, 517-241-2112

LANSING, MICH. To assist with staffing shortages at long-term care facilities due to COVID-19, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is offering Rapid Response Staffing Resources in 11 counties.

“As additional COVID-19 testing takes place in long-term care facilities, some facilities will experience a need for surge staffing if staff test positive,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “To meet this need and ensure the safety of long-term care residents, MDHHS has established emergency staffing for short-term, immediate support to facilities facing acute staffing crises.”

Rapid Response Staffing Resources will be available in:

  • West Michigan: Kent, Ottawa, Allegan, Muskegon, Newago and Montcalm counties.
  • Southeast Michigan: Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties.

MDHHS will provide short term, 72 hours or less, of consecutive staffing assistance through 22nd Century Technologies, Inc. Facilities requiring staffing assistance will need to meet specific criteria and demonstrate they have exhausted all other options. Staffing resources available will include registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, personal care aides or resident care assistants.

Rapid Response Staffing Resources will support long-term care facilities based on facility and resident need, but will be prepared to assist with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, eating); provide infection prevention assistance; and provide environmental cleaning assistance. Facilities will be responsible for orienting staffing agency employees to resident care plans, as applicable, and providing onsite supervision at all times.

For more information on the state’s plans to address COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, visit

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

DNR News Digest – Week of July 6, 2020

DNR News Digest – Week of July 6, 2020

News Digest – Week of July 6, 2020

Campfire header

Make sure you burn only natural materials like wood, brush and logs. 

Some of the items in this week’s news digest reflect the impact of COVID-19 and how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is adapting to meet customers’ needs. Public health and safety are our biggest priorities, and we will continue to share news and information about the safest, and sometimes new, ways to enjoy our state’s natural and cultural resources.

Follow our COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on facilities and reopening dates. For the latest public health guidelines and news, visit and

Here’s a look at some of this week’s stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and additional ones, are available in this folder.

What’s your campfire made of?

Burn safe, burn clean graphicYou have a fire ring, a nearby water source and you checked the weather – now it’s time to enjoy a campfire and a night under the stars! But before you grab the matches, there’s one more thing to consider: what “ingredients” are you putting in your fire?

“When we do fire safety talks, we focus on how important it is to keep a fire contained,” said Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist. “Another vital piece of fire safety is even more basic: building it out of the right materials in the first place.”

Build fires at home or camp only with natural materials like wood, brush and logs. Dry, well-seasoned wood produces the least amount of smoke. Burning plastic, foam and hazardous substances releases chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment; plus, it’s against the law. Such items include plastic cups, food packaging, paint and electronics. It’s better to recycle or responsibly dispose of these items instead.

Many materials can be recycled through local waste management services or during community waste collection events. Search by location or substance using the Michigan Recycling Directory.

“Burning hazardous substances can release heavy metals, toxic gases and other chemicals into the air we breathe,” said Jenifer Dixon, air quality liaison with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “The ashes from waste fires can also contaminate soil and groundwater.”

Knowing what goes into your campfire is important – for both you and the environment. Get fire safety information at and learn about air quality at

Watch the July NRC meeting live online

side body, full face view of a white-tailed deer, some snow on the treesThe Michigan Natural Resources Commission’s next regular meeting is Thursday, July 16. Due to COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines, the meeting again will be hosted in an online format.

You can watch the meeting live online using this link. Those who want to provide public comment should call 517-284-6237 or email

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. with the Committee of the Whole, and the agenda includes additional information related to proposed deer regulations and an update on licensing, along with several land transactions and orders up for action.

See the full draft meeting agenda at For the latest on other public meetings, visit the DNR’s boards, commissions and committees webpage.

‘These Goods are Good for Michigan’ expands

These Goods GraphicState park-inspired apparel, craft beer, coffee, eco-friendly insect repellent and camping gear are just a few products you can purchase (or even rent) to support Michigan’s great outdoors and some small businesses, too.

The name of the program explains it all. Launched in 2017, “These Goods are Good for Michigan” highlights businesses that support Michigan state parks, trails and waterways.

Here’s how it works. The DNR partners with businesses through a revenue-sharing or donation agreement, and partners are featured on the website. Each business selects what to support – a specific place, youth nature education, accessibility and trail improvements, tree planting and other mission-based efforts – and there is a minimum contribution required.

Arrive Outdoors, the newest to join, offers premium camping and outdoor gear like tents and cots, cookware and furniture for rent. It’s all delivered right to your door, and returns are easy, too. The company has also implemented extensive health and safety measures in light of COVID-19, and thoroughly hand-cleans and treats all rental gear with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended cleaning solutions.

Arrive Rental“This is a really interesting option for us,” said Maia Turek, DNR resource development specialist. “Not only will we receive 10% from Arrive Outdoor rentals, but this also can help new visitors who want to try camping but maybe don’t have the gear because it’s too pricey or they don’t have the room to store it. The other cool advantage is that it gives people a chance to try gear before investing in it.”

Michigan’s state parks system is largely self-supporting, with camping, shelter and lodging reservation fees, Recreation Passport sales, gas and mineral royalty revenue and concessions making up about 96% of funding. The rest comes from general tax dollars and other fund development initiatives, such as donations, special events, public-private partnerships and programs like this.

Turek said this new rental option could help turn those interested in outdoor recreation into avid enthusiasts. A new segment of visitors would help support the state parks and recreation system by purchasing the Recreation Passport, making camping and lodging reservations or even getting involved by volunteering.

Visit for evolving partner and product updates. Plus, for several partners, clicking through from this page is how contributions are tracked. For more on this program and other opportunities, contact Maia Turek at 989-225-8573.


If you’re ready to get in some practice, several DNR shooting ranges are open, but with revised hours. Check our COVID response page for full details.


Fall turkey hunting applications are available through Aug. 1. Get more information, buy a license or find great places to hunt at


When it comes to natural and cultural resources, make sure you’re heard. Provide public comment to a variety of boards, commissions and committees.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at
EGLE offers guidance on redeeming bottle and can deposits

EGLE offers guidance on redeeming bottle and can deposits

EGLE Main GovD banner

July 7, 2020
EGLE Media Office,, 517-284-9278
Jill A. Greenberg, EGLE spokesperson,, 517-897-4965

EGLE offers guidance on redeeming bottle and can deposits post-shutdown

In early June, Michigan retailers officially began accepting cans and bottles with a deposit for redemption and recycling after an 11-week shutdown. During this time, it is estimated that Michiganders stockpiled 800 million containers, worth $80 million in deposits. Due to this tremendous backlog, the Department of Treasury established unprecedented measures to limit the amount of containers retailers could redeem in a week in order to avoid breakdown of the system’s reverse logistics and processing infrastructure.

Since reopening the system, retailers, distributers and their recycling service providers have been working at maximum capacity to collect and process the extremely high volume of stockpiled containers in addition to peak summer container recycling amounts.

For this reason, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy encourages the public continued patience while beverage distributors, retailers and deposit system service providers process an unprecedented volume of containers.

EGLE strongly recommends that consumers check with their local retailer to find out the best time to redeem cans and bottles as bottle rooms may be closed due to mandatory capacity limits. The Department of Treasury has issued a limit of the number of containers recyclers can redeem per day to 250 ($25), and retailers are limited to accepting 140 percent of their 2019 volumes.

Public Safety Guidance

Consumers should follow best practices in COVID-19 prevention to promote public health and safety:

  • Wear a mask or face covering in-stores and in lines
  • Keep 6 feet of social distance as much as possible. Follow guidance from store signage and floor markings.
Whitmer makes Appointments to Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Task Force 

Whitmer makes Appointments to Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Task Force 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


July 7, 2020



Governor Whitmer Makes Appointments to Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force


LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced appointments to the Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force.


“We have taken great strides here in Michigan to protect families from the spread of COVID-19, but we must stay engaged and continue to protect our most vulnerable Michiganders and those who have dedicated their lives to caring for them,” said Governor Whitmer. “These appointees have the knowledge and professional backgrounds that will help our state protect more nursing home residents and staff in the case of a second wave. I will be working closely with this task force and with everyone who wants to help us protect our most vulnerable populations, the heroes on the front lines, and our families from COVID-19.”


The Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force was created by Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order No. 2020-135 as an advisory body in the Department of Health and Human Services to adequately inform the state’s response to a potential second wave of COVID-19. The Task Force is charged with, among other things, coordinating across state government and with industry stakeholders to ensure a broad range of input from relevant entities, analyzing relevant data on the threat of COVID-19 in nursing homes and making recommendations to the governor on improving data quality, reporting on best practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes and provide appropriate and timely technical assistance to nursing homes.


The Task Force will consist of DHHS Director Robert Gordon or his designee, LARA Director Orlene Hawks or her designee, Michigan State Long Term Care Ombudsman Salli Pung, State Senators Rosemary Bayer and Curt VanderWall, State Representatives Leslie Love and Hank Vaupel, and the following members appointed by the Governor who have personal or professional interest in the health, safety, and welfare of nursing home residents and workers:


Trece Andrews, of Detroit, is a caregiver for Regency at St. Clair Shores, where she has worked since 2010. She is also a member of SEIU Healthcare of Michigan and attended Wayne County Community College.


Renee L. Beniak, of Fowlerville, is the executive director of the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council. She holds an Associate in Applied Science in Registered Nursing from Schoolcraft College and a Master of Arts in Social Science from Eastern Michigan University.


Betty Chu, M.D., of Birmingham, is the senior vice president and associate chief clinical officer of Henry Ford Health System and the chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs for the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Dr. Chu earned her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School. She also holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Michigan. The Governor has designated Dr. Chu to serve as Co-Chair of the Task Force.


Ann M. Hepfer, of Mayville, is the health officer for the Huron and Tuscola County Health Departments. She earned her associate degree in nursing from Kirkland Community College and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Central Michigan University.


David E. Herbel, of East Lansing, is the president and CEO of LeadingAge Michigan. He holds a master’s degree in business administration and management from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration from Ferris State University.


Alison E. Hirschel, of East Lansing, is the director and managing attorney for the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative, an elder law attorney for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, and a lecturer for the University of Michigan Law School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School.


Steven M. Kastner, of Plymouth, is the president and CEO of Trinity Health Senior Communities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Manchester University and a Master of Science in Administration from the University of Notre Dame.


Preeti N. Malani, M.D., of Ann Arbor, is the chief health officer at the University of Michigan where she is also a professor and faculty member, medical director of MHealthy, and director of the National Poll on Healthy Aging. Dr. Malani received her Doctor of Medicine from Wayne State University School of Medicine. She also holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis from the University of Michigan.


Hari “Roger” Mali, II, of Bingham Farms, is the owner and CEO of Mission Management Services, LLC in Troy, where they specialize in skilled nursing care and senior housing management. He received his Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School and his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Bowdoin College. The Governor has designated Mr. Mali to serve as Co-Chair of the Task Force.


Mia K. Moore, of Clinton Township, Moore is a certified nurse assistant with the Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility in Mount Clemens. She is CPR and first-aid certified and attended the Detroit Job Corps Center.


Melissa K. Samuel, of Lansing, is the president and CEO for the Health Care Association of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunication with an emphasis in Political Science from Michigan State University.


Kari L. Sederburg, of East Lansing, is the director of healthy aging for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and public relations from Ferris State University and a Master of Public Administration from Ohio University.


Melissa Seifert, of DeWitt, is the associate director for government affairs for AARP of Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government and a Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.


The Task Force will produce a recommendation to the governor for an action plan on how to prepare nursing homes for any future wave of COVID-19 cases by August 31, 2020. The Task Force will dissolve no later than two years after the issuance of the executive order unless the governor orders otherwise.


These appointments are not subject to advice and consent of the Senate.