Eagle Scouts complete service projects at Agawam

Eagle Scouts complete service projects at Agawam

Brandon Kathman

District Executive



Prospective Eagle Scouts complete service projects at Agawam


Brooke Muzzy, a scout with Troop 185G in Clarkston, cleared new paths and installed benches along the lakefront at Orion Township’s Camp Agawam, fulfilling the community service requirement for the rank of Eagle Scout.

With the final criteria met, it is almost certain that Muzzy will be the first female Eagle in Scouting’s local Pontiac-Manito District since the movement began welcoming female participants in 2019. The rank is Scouting’s highest honor, achieved by only 4% of youth in the program.

“It means everything to me,” Muzzy said. “I wanted to be part of it ever since I was six years old and my brother joined Cub Scouts. When I was fifteen, we formed Troop 185G; two and a half years later, here I am.”

Her project transformed much of the Tommy’s Lake waterfront at Agawam. While access was previously limited to a small footpath to the swim area and fishing dock, Muzzy’s project established new trails to the water’s edge, providing patrons with a new opportunity to experience the lake’s natural beauty. Furthermore, the scouts took special care to remove invasive plant life from the area.

“Behind the scenes there was fundraising and budgeting and paperwork,” Muzzy said. “There’s always more behind the scenes.”

Muzzy said she learned many lessons over the course of her project, foremost among them that it’s ok to ask for help or advice. Dozens of fellow scouts from several different troops attended her workdays. Casey Houlihan of Troop 128, a candidate for the Eagle rank himself, expressed that he was glad he could support her as a fellow scout. 

“I just think it’s cool to see that girls are now recognized for doing the same things we’ve been doing,” Houlihan said.

Wayne Beutler, who has served as scoutmaster for Troop 185G since its founding, expressed pride in Muzzy, noting that she displayed indomitable persistence throughout her time in Scouting.  

“Brooke is one of the founding members of our troop,” Beutler said. “From the beginning, she has been a role model for the other girls. Being the first female Eagle Scout in the district is quite a distinction, and I am thrilled that Brooke was able to accomplish this while enjoying the adventure, learning so much, and actively giving back.”





Ceremony planned for Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. on the Paint Creek Trail

 Oakland Township, Michigan: Join the Paint Creek Trailways Commission on Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. on the Paint Creek Trail to celebrate the opening of Bridge 33.7 and the 2019 trail resurfacing along with a Recognition Ceremony for several past Trailways Commissioners.

Bridge 33.7, a 95-year-old timber pedestrian bridge located on the trail between Dutton and Silverbell Roads, was completely replaced during the summer of 2019. The design of the new seventy-five-foot keystone-style steel truss bridge greatly improves accessibility for trail users and also supports a greater load capacity, allowing maintenance and emergency vehicles to safely cross. The bridge is fundamental to the operations of the Paint Creek Trail and the new bridge provides safe, continuous use of the trail for cyclists, pedestrians, equestrians, nature lovers, and anglers. Funding for the project was provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Trust Fund grant program, a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Oakland Township Parks and Recreation, who is responsible for the maintenance of Bridge 33.7, also contributed a $156,000 cash match for the bridge replacement.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will also celebrate the Trail’s 2019 resurfacing. As part of this project, the entire Paint Creek Trail was resurfaced with crushed limestone. Resurfacing of the trail is an ongoing event of a cyclical nature and last occurred in 2004. The four Paint Creek Trailways Commission member communities of the Oakland Township, Orion Township, Rochester, and Rochester Hills each committed funds towards the resurfacing of its section of the trail. Additional funding for the project was generously provided by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. This project greatly improved the smoothness and regularity of the trail, and provides a safer and more predictable and enjoyable surface for all trail users.

In addition to the ribbon cutting, the Trailways Commission will also honor six past Trailways Commissioners for their service to the Paint Creek Trailways Commission. Each of the past Commissioners will be presented with a commemorative pewter Paint Creek Trail spike in a display box. Being honored that day are Dr. Susan Bowyer, former Commissioner for the city of Rochester Hills; Frank Ferriolo, former Commissioner for Oakland Township; Kim Russell, former Commissioner for the city of Rochester; Lisa Sokol, former Commissioner for Orion Township; and Hank Van Agen, former Commissioner for Oakland Township. Former Paint Creek Trailways Chairperson and Commissioner for Rochester Hills Rock Blanchard will also be honored at the event with a resolution recognizing his longtime service to the Commission.

Attendees are asked to please park at the Paint Creek Cider Mill, 4480 Orion Rd., Rochester, Michigan, 48306 and walk 1¼ miles south down the Paint Creek Trail to the bridge site for the ceremony. Please contact the Trail office at 248-651-9260 if you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in the event.

The Trailways Commission had planned to hold a ribbon cutting in 2020 to celebrate the opening of the new bridge and the trail resurfacing but social distancing guidelines prevented it. “The Commission is excited to celebrate the completion of these two projects with our member communities, our generous project supporters, and our enthusiastic trail users,” said Paint Creek Trail Manager Melissa Ford.

“During this ribbon cutting event, we are celebrating the completion of many needed projects along the Trail. We also are honoring our past Commissioners for their community service,” said Donni Steele, Paint Creek Trailways Commission Chairperson. “Over the past several years, these Commissioners selflessly donated their time and energy to improving, watching and caring for our Paint Creek Trail – truly, one of our community gems,” she continued. “We are also very thankful for the generous grants bestowed upon us, along with the continuous community collaboration, which allowed these long-standing projects to become a reality.”

About the Paint Creek Trail: The Paint Creek Trail was the first non-motorized rail-to-trail in the State of Michigan, and traverses through the communities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township, and the Village of Lake Orion. The Trail annually serves approximately 100,000 pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians, anglers, nature enthusiasts, and users of all ages and abilities. For more information about the Paint Creek Trail, visit www.paintcreektrail.org, or call (248) 651-9260.

About the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund: The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is financed by royalties paid on the sale and lease of state-owned oil, gas, and mineral rights. Applications are accepted from state and local government agencies for the acquisition and development of outdoor recreation facilities. The deadline for applications is April 1st of each year, with the decisions made in early December. The MNRTF makes the grant recommendations and submits them to the state legislature for approval and appropriations.

Dozens of Animals rescued from Independence Home

Dozens of Animals rescued from Independence Home

Animal Control Officers Rescued Dozens of Animals from Independence Township Home

A Total of 100 Animals but 16 Dead

Pontiac, Michigan – Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center rescued dozens of animals Tuesday afternoon from a home in the 6000-block of Northview Drive in Independence Township after animal control officers responded to the home for a welfare check. After receiving a tip, officers discovered dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and a bearded dragon that were living in highly unsanitary conditions and showing signs of illness.

Among 82 cats were many who were in distress due to high temperatures in the home, which lacked air conditioning and airflow. The temperature in the home was higher than the outdoor temperature which was in the 80s. Tragically, nine of the cats were dead at the scene, two died in transit, and two more died overnight at the shelter. Veterinary staff euthanized an additional three cats because of their deteriorating health from an infectious disease. Sixty-six cats remained alive as of Thursday afternoon.

In addition, there were eight ferrets, five dogs, four rabbits, and one bearded dragon, all of whom are alive. Veterinary and shelter staff are evaluating and caring for the 84 remaining animals at the shelter.

Animal control officers obtained permission from the resident and her spouse to enter and inspect the home when they arrived on scene. Because of the condition of the animals, with many needing immediate veterinary attention, the officers removed them from the home and brought them to Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center.

The resident of the home and her husband told animal control officers they were providing “care” for the cats as part of their involvement with a cat rescue organization. She surrendered ownership of them to the shelter. Some of the animals, however, were privately owned by the resident and another adult tenant of the house who had recently moved in. Neither relinquished ownership of those animals despite all the animals being removed from the home. Consequently, Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center will begin forfeiture proceedings.

This case remains under investigation. When complete, animal control officers will present the results to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Officer for review and consideration of criminal charges.

Oakland County Scouts give back through Summer of Service

Oakland County Scouts give back through Summer of Service

Brandon Kathman

District Executive



Oakland County scouts are wrapping up the National Summer of Service, having helped dozens of local charities over the past few months.

An initiative introduced by Scouting’s national office, the Summer of Service program aims to engage youth in service for the benefit of their communities. Several prospective Eagle Scouts have used the opportunity to satisfy the service requirement to earn Scouting’s highest honor.

Casey Houlihan, 17, hopes to finish his project to clear an access road to the community chapel in Orion’s Camp Agawam within the next few weekends. Interviews and footage of the project can easily be arranged if requested.

“Providing cheerful service to one’s community and family is one of the foundation blocks that the Boy Scouts of America teaches and lives by,” Commissioner Lonny Johnson, who serves north Oakland County, said. “We include service in our rank requirements; we include service in our quality unit requirements.”

Later in August, Jeffrey Ellingsworth, 16, of Troop 185 will begin construction on a playground at Grace Center of Hope in Pontiac.

“Scouts will learn valuable skills such as civic responsibility, community awareness and project management, while also learning about the current needs of our fellow citizens,” Christopher Hopkins, chief information officer of Michigan Crossroads Council, said.

According to Hopkins, the initiative builds on Scouting’s legacy of serving others and strives to positively impact local neighborhoods and communities in the coming months.

“Participants can serve in a variety of ways, whether it be cleaning up their communities, organizing a food drive, or honoring fallen heroes,” Hopkins said.

The Summer of Service initiative will conclude on October 31. The Pontiac-Manito District, which consists of approximately 1,000 scouts in Oakland County, has requested additional ideas for much-needed projects in the community. Service opportunities should be forwarded to the district executive at brandon.kathman@scouting.org.