by Becky Andrus | Aug 11, 2022 | Uncategorized
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 11, 2022
CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, WuthC@michigan.gov
Novavax COVID-19 vaccine now available for Michigan residents ages 18 and older
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan residents ages 18 and older now have another COVID-19 vaccine option – Novavax – to help protect them from serious illness and death due to the virus.
On July 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for use among people ages 18 years and older for a two-dose primary series. This was followed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation for use of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in this population and endorsement by CDC.
“Having multiple types of vaccine offers more options and flexibility for people receiving COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “COVID-19 vaccines remain our best defense against the virus, helping prevent serious illness and death. We continue to urge Michiganders who have not yet been vaccinated to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”
The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is the first COVID-19 protein subunit vaccine recommended for use in the United States. During clinical trials, it was found to be over 90% effective in preventing serious illness from COVID-19. Adults ages 18 years and older should receive a two-dose primary series separated by three to eight weeks. A shorter interval of three weeks between the first and second doses is recommended for:
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
- Adults ages 65 years and older.
- In situations in which there is increased concern about COVID-19 community levels or an individual’s higher risk of severe disease.
Currently, a booster dose using any COVID-19 vaccine is not authorized for adults in this age group who receive a Novavax primary series. A limited number of doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed and not all providers are expected to carry Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. In Michigan, about 100,000 doses are available for order by vaccine providers. To locate providers offering Novavax, visit vaccines.gov.
To date, over 6.7 million Michiganders ages 5 and up have gotten at least their first dose of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Eligible Michiganders are encouraged to stay up to date on vaccinations, which includes booster doses that provide extra protection, and residents of long-term care facilities where outbreaks can spread quickly and extra protection is strongly recommended.
MDHHS also encourages Michigan residents to pay attention to local guidance as some communities may be at a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.
To schedule a primary or booster dose of the COVID vaccine, visit vaccines.gov.
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.
For more information about COVID-19 in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/coronavirus.
by Becky Andrus | Jul 8, 2022 | Uncategorized
July 7, 2022
Bi-Weekly Executive Newsletter
As I participated in Fourth of July celebrations this week, I wasn’t thinking about the barbecues, the fireworks or the day off from work for most Americans.
I was contemplating the deeper meaning of the Fourth of July, that day in 1776 when the 13 colonies officially signed the Declaration of Independence and severed political ties from Great Britain.
I was thinking about the freedoms we gained as a result of that declaration and still mostly enjoy. The freedom of speech, religion, the press and assembly are the first amendments enumerated in our U.S. Constitution and are the foundations of living in a free society.
But as I was celebrating those freedoms, which are fragile in these increasingly divisive times, I also remembered a quote from an essay by Nelson Mandela, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
It’s an important distinction for me. Because along with the freedom of speech, comes the responsibility to both listen and engage in civil discourse. Along with the freedom of religion, comes the obligation to accept people of other faiths and the right to freely assemble means respecting the space and safety of others too.
In this day of social media anonymity and people trying to see who can yell the loudest and drown out dissenting voices, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association seem awfully fraught.
I try every day to engage in constructive dialogue and listen to all viewpoints regardless of whether you agree with me or not. When I became Oakland County Executive in 2019, I was and still am committed to providing services and programs to all the county’s residents from Orion Township to South Lyon, Holly to Hazel Park and all points in between.
So I hope that when the rest, reflection and relaxation from the Fourth of July wears off, we all can take at least a moment to remember that with freedom comes responsibility and respect.
Oakland County Executive
Service Highlight of the Week: Mapping
Did you know that Oakland County’s Information Technology Department provides Geographical Informational System mapping services for the county’s 62 cities, villages and townships?
Since the early 2000s, this service, better known as GIS, supports and promotes “location-based” data development for the communities of Oakland County. So, if a community wants to map things big and small, like property information or the location of flood plains or where fire hydrants are located, they can make that request or learn how to do it themselves using free licensing provided by the County.
This is also the technology that allows the county to create maps that show the areas and regions where federal COVID relief funding is being distributed and where people were most affected by the pandemic.
For more information on GIS services: go here.
Raising the Tank paves the way for new community Center
The site clean-up and redevelopment of the former Webster Elementary School in Pontiac took a big step forward last week with the removal of a contaminated 20,000-gallon underground tank. Community members applauded as a crane operator lifted the tank, which used to store fuel oil, out of the ground.
Oakland County received a $425,000 grant from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) last year to clean-up the property.
The 101-year-old building will be transformed into the Webster Community Center by Micah 6 Community. The community organization, which is dedicated to rehabilitating the Pontiac neighborhood, is investing $21 million to transform the former elementary school located into a center which will provide social and recreational services including six Head Start classrooms, a food co-op, art classes and therapy, performing arts programs, a WIC (Women, Infants, Children) office, a walk-in clinic, a small business incubator, and community event rooms.
The renovation is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.
Help us Serve You
At Oakland County, we are continually trying to improve the delivery of services and programs, including on our website. We’re undergoing a revamp of the county’s website – oakgov.com – and we’re looking for feedback from you. Is it easy to navigate? Is the content relevant? What more (or less) would you like to see? We want to hear it all.
The county’s website is the first way that many of our residents learn of the services and programs we offer, so we want to make the best first, second and last impression we can. Please take a moment to fill out the questionnaire at this link, so we can improve the look, content and the ease of navigation of the website.
by Becky Andrus | Jun 21, 2022 | Uncategorized
CONTACT: Jaime Bochenek, Senior Development Director
Jaime.Bochenek@scouting.org or (248) 721-0903
SCOUTS TO HOST CORPORATE DODGEBALL TOURNAMENT
The Boy Scouts of America’s Michigan Crossroads Council will host its eighth annual “Dodge
for Detroit” corporate dodgeball tournament to support inner-city youth Scouting programs on
Thursday, Aug. 4, at Detroit PAL’s Corner Ballpark.
The tournament will take place from 5-9 p.m. and serves as a unique spin on happy hour for
businesses in southeast Michigan. The event will offer four courts of action-packed dodgeball,
beverages and various food options. The tournament will be open to the public, and organizers
have several spots remaining for additional teams and sponsorships. Teams start at $600 and
include 6-10 players. Each team must have two female participants on the roster.
All proceeds from the event will support the local ScoutReach initiative, which delivers the
Scouting program to disadvantaged communities at no charge to participants or their families.
ScoutReach Executive Charity Davenport works to provide such opportunities through both in-
school and after-school programs in Detroit, Pontiac, Flint and other cities across the region.
According to Davenport, over 1,000 youth are presently registered, and they intend to expand
further in the fall.
“We are thankful to all of the Dodge for Detroit participants and patrons,” Davenport said. “The
success of this event empowers us to provide youth with programs and materials, as well as
opportunities they would otherwise not receive.”
This year’s event is on track for success thanks to the investments of local companies, including
presenting sponsor Alliance Mobile, a national AT&T provider with over 165 locations across
the country. Additional key sponsors include Palatine Hill Wealth Management and Rightsize
Chad Ever Hartung, three-year event chairman and marketing and communications director at
Alliance Mobile expressed gratitude for all involved and said he is looking forward to another
amazing day supporting Scouting.
“We are truly honored to continue to grow this event to where we are today.” Hartung said.
“Dodge for Detroit provides incredible experiences to the youth of Detroit that they cannot get
anywhere else. Many of these kids have never left the city, and because of this event the BSA
has been able to take them on camping experiences with full gear at no expense to the youth and
For information or to register for the event, visit: www.dodgefordetroit.org.
by orionontv | Jun 16, 2022 | Uncategorized
Brandon Kathman For Immediate Release:
District Executive 6/16/2022
Scouting celebrates 758 new Eagle Scouts with historic banquet
Leaders of the Michigan Scouting movement joined with civic groups and industry professionals to celebrate the most recent class of 758 Eagle Scouts with a banquet at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on June 14.
The 2022 Eagle Banquet was a historic one, as it was the first to celebrate both boys and girls who achieved Scouting’s highest honor. Due to the time requirements for each rank in Scouting, those girls who formed the first female troops in 2019 are only now becoming eligible for Eagle. Though not all 758 youth from across the state were in attendance, hundreds of scouts and family members filled the event hall.
“Given the climate of the past few years, it was inspiring to see so many young people demonstrate perseverance in the face of adversity and uncertainty,” Charity Davenport, an executive with Michigan’s Scout Reach District, said.
Zach Damon, the banquet’s master of ceremonies and host of the award-winning “Ann Arbor Tonight” television show, described the dinner as “not just an event, but an experience.” Scouts were seated with leading professionals in fields they expressed an interest in. For Brooke Muzzy, 18, the opportunity to dine with Damon as well as local television anchor Michael Thorpe was invaluable, as she is considering opportunities in broadcasting.
“We got to discuss life and career goals with the professionals,” Muzzy said. “We got advice for entering the industry as well as a business card from each.”
Numerous sponsors contributed to fund the dinner, including the American Legion Department of Michigan, Mercury Sound and Lighting, Modetz Funeral Homes, the Huttenlocher Group and many others. The American Legion, which has maintained a national partnership with Scouting since 1919, is also one of the most prolific awarders of scholarships for Eagle Scouts.
“This is an important recognition for those who have achieved what many attempt but few attain: the highest rank in Scouting,” Damon said.
According to the Boy Scouts of America, only 4% of scouts have earned the rank since the organization’s inception in 1911. For many, it remains one of their proudest achievements in life.
“It means everything to me,” Muzzy, the first female Eagle in her district, said. “I wanted to be part of it ever since I was six years old and my brother joined Cub Scouts. When I was 15, we formed Troop 185G; two and a half years later, here I am.”
Picture 1: Eagle Scouts Robert and David Kaufman pose with Ed Basar, director of the Trail to Eagle program.
Picture 2: “Ann Arbor Tonight” host Zach Damon welcomes attendees.
Picture 3: Guests dine on chicken served with green beans and a slice of cheesecake.
Picture 4: Guests listen to keynote speaker and accomplished media personality Michael Thorpe.
Picture 5: The most recent class of Eagle Scouts stands to be recognized.
Picture 6: Brooke Muzzy was the first female Eagle Scout in Lake Orion.
by Becky Andrus | May 10, 2022 | Uncategorized
|May 10, 2022
Contact: Michelle Zellar, 906-293-5131 ext. 4004 or John Pepin, 906-226-1352
Registration opens for DNR’s summer Becoming an Outdoors-Woman programs in the UP and northern Michigan
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today registration is open for two “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” summer weekend programs, set for June 3-5 in Marquette County and Aug. 26-28, in Roscommon County.
“We’re excited to bring BOW back to the Lower Peninsula in August at the DNR’s Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on Higgins Lake,” said Michelle Zellar, BOW coordinator. “This unique location enables us to offer all the recreational safety certificate classes, including off-road vehicle safety, which we haven’t been able to offer in some years.”
The summer BOW program is sponsored by the DNR and offers instruction in more than 20 types of activities, including kayaking, wilderness first aid and survival, lake fishing, mountain biking, canning and preserving wild game, shooting sports, boating, basic and advanced land navigation and introduction to bird hunting with dogs.
“Becoming an Outdoors Woman is a program where each individual is encouraged to learn at her own pace,” Zellar said. “The emphasis is on the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities and sharing in the success of one another.”
Volunteer BOW instructors provide basic and advanced teaching that is tailored to each participant’s individual ability, helping participants learn the basics in a short amount of time.
This summer will mark the 25th anniversary of BOW in the Upper Peninsula. The program has provided quality gatherings for women, 18 and older, who are seeking an opportunity to improve their outdoor skills in a relaxed, noncompetitive atmosphere.
“The summer program typically fills quickly, so early registration is encouraged. Zellar said.
The $225 registration fee includes all food and lodging, as well as most equipment and supplies. The deadline for registration is May 23rd. A limited number of partial BOW scholarships are available to help low-income participants with the cost of registration. The scholarship application deadline is May 16th.
Class information and registration materials are available online at Michigan.gov/BOW. Registrations must be mailed, with payment, to the DNR Newberry Customer Service Center stated on the form.
For more information on the summer BOW program, contact Michelle Zellar at the DNR Customer Service Center in Newberry at 906-293-5131 ext. 4004, or by e-mail at DNRBOW@michigan.gov.
|DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
|We recently launched a new website, and we’d love to hear what you think via this brief survey. Thanks for helping us improve our site for all users!
by Becky Andrus | May 2, 2022 | Recreation, Uncategorized
|May 2, 2022
Contact: Cheryl Nelson 231-287-1714, or Joanne Foreman 517-284-5814
While the new name still may be unfamiliar, the invasive spongy moth, formerly referred to as gypsy moth, is well known across Michigan. In its caterpillar life stage, the insect is a voracious leaf eater.
|Spongy moth populations were high last year across Lower Michigan, and many people are wondering whether the nuisance caterpillars will be plaguing their backyard events again in 2022. To find out, NotMISpecies webinar hosts brought together experts to share their insights on the invasive moth’s history in Michigan and the U.S. and what to expect this year.
Panelists Dr. Deborah McCullough from Michigan State University, Dr. Steven Katovich of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, Susie Iott of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and James Wieferich of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources together represent nearly 100 years of knowledge about the pest. Following their April 14 session, they responded to participants’ questions in a written document.
Key points from the presentation and their answers to the most-asked questions about spongy moth are summarized here.
What is the forecast for 2022?
Based on recent aerial survey data, much of northern Lower Michigan has experienced two or three years of defoliation, which typically marks the end of an outbreak cycle. Egg mass surveys in the fall of 2021 confirmed that many areas in Michigan should expect a collapse of spongy moth activity in much of lower Michigan – meaning far fewer caterpillars this year. However, a few areas like Jackson County and parts of southwest Lower Michigan had large, healthy egg masses and may have high density populations again this summer.
What causes population crashes?
The last large-scale spongy moth outbreak occurred in Michigan from about 1992 to 1996. Since then, localized areas have experienced occasional outbreaks. Suppression efforts in the 1990s have continued to keep spongy moth populations largely in check while naturalizing infestations into Michigan’s forests and urban forest ecosystems.
In 1991, Entomophaga maimaiga, a fungal pathogen found to be killing spongy moth caterpillars in the northeastern states, was deployed in Michigan. This fungus proved an effective biological control, remaining in the soil from year to year and infecting spongy moth caterpillars that come in contact with the fungal spores. Moist soils help to activate the fungus, enabling spores to disperse and affect spongy moth populations. Caterpillars affected by the E. maimaiga fungus remain attached to tree trunks and hang straight down.
|Nucleopolyhedrosis virus occurs naturally in all spongy moth populations. NPV spreads through contact between caterpillars during outbreaks, causing a population crash. To determine whether NPV is at work in a certain location, look for dead caterpillars attached to tree trunks in an upside-down “V” position.
Both the NPV virus and E. maimaiga fungus can affect the same population, and dead NPV and fungus-killed caterpillars can be on the same tree.
These natural enemies of the spongy moth are now well-established across Michigan and are actively reducing populations. To date, these pathogens typically have limited the size and length of outbreaks to a couple years, eliminating the need for spray programs.
Today, spongy moth outbreaks are cyclical, peaking approximately every seven to 10 years. In these years, the virus and the fungal disease are spread more easily through dense populations, eventually causing a crash.
Do these controls affect other species?
NPV and the fungal disease have important benefits – they are specific to spongy moth populations and do not affect people, pets or beneficial insects like pollinators or insect predators. In addition, they remain in the environment, continuing to help control spongy moth populations every year.
The spongy moth NPV pathogen (virus) is species-specific. It arrived with spongy moth and has driven population dynamics for over 150 years. In lab tests, the E. maimaiga fungus was able to infect a few other species, but this has not been observed outside the lab – the timing and behavior of spongy moth caterpillars result in fungal infection in spring. Native species either can’t be infected, are not present until later in the year or have other behavioral patterns that prevent them from becoming infected.
What about spray programs?
The State of Michigan does not have a statewide spray program. Spongy moth is a naturalized pest in Michigan now. However, a few areas have long-standing millages in place to help survey and spray residential areas when needed.
Outbreaks will continue to occur occasionally in local areas and, yes, every now and then we will have extensive outbreaks like the current one. While an outbreak is not pleasant for people in an affected area, it is rarely a problem for healthy trees and forests.
What can I do if spongy moth returns this year?
|First, check the spongy moth forecast for your neighborhood by looking for healthy egg masses now, before leaves expand. Healthy egg masses are larger than a quarter in size, tan or brownish in color and firm to the touch. Few egg masses and/or small (nickel-size) egg masses indicate the population is collapsing because the NPV pathogen is increasing. Old, no longer productive egg masses, like those in the above photo, are often abundant after an outbreak year and should not be counted. These masses are usually whiteish in color, may be falling apart and may have pin-size holes in the mass. An abundance of healthy egg masses suggests a heavy infestation of spongy moth caterpillars this season.
Before choosing a control method, remember that you will not be able to eliminate all the caterpillars – the goal is to reduce the density of caterpillars around your house.
- Scraping: If healthy egg masses are found on trees, buildings or outdoor furniture around the home, act now, as egg masses can start hatching anytime! Use a scraper or hard, plastic card to scrape egg masses into a container of soapy water. Let them soak overnight, then bag and dispose of them. Alternately, egg masses can be placed in a fire and burned.
- Banding: Cut a band of burlap 18 inches wide and long enough to go around the tree trunk and overlap a bit. Tie a string around the center of the band to make a two-layered skirt around the trunk. When caterpillars climb trees daily to feed, they will get caught in the band. Scrape them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them.
- Spraying: To address an infestation in a handful of individual trees, homeowners can purchase a spray containing Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, a bacterium that naturally occurs in the soil but can be lethal to certain caterpillars and moths. The best time to spray is when caterpillars are small, usually mid-May through early June. Be sure to choose an Environmental Protection Agency-registered pesticide and apply it according to label directions. Remember, there is no good reason to spray woodlots or forested areas. Healthy trees and forests can withstand periodic infestations.
To learn more about spongy moth caterpillars and options for residents living in an outbreak area, visit the MSU IPM Gypsy Moth website. The bulletin Btk: One management option for Lymantria dispar offers detailed information about Btk management for spongy moth.
Check for upcoming NotMiSpecies webinars and watch past, recorded webinars – on everything from spongy moth to invasive carp – at Michigan.gov/Invasives.