Leaders Urge Shoppers To Support ‘Shop Small Saturday’ On Nov. 28

Leaders Urge Shoppers To Support ‘Shop Small Saturday’ On Nov. 28

Oakland County Leaders Urge Shoppers To Support ‘Shop Small Saturday’ On Nov. 28 To Help Small Businesses Survive Pandemic While Maintaining COVID-19 Safety Protocols

​Pontiac, Michigan – Oakland County Executive David Coulter, retailers and civic leaders across Oakland County are appealing to shoppers that they can safely support small businesses in their communities this holiday season by participating in “Shop Small Saturday” on November 28 and continuing to shop locally the rest of the year.

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the country. Founded by American Express (Amex), it is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Since it started in 2010, consumers have reported spending an estimated $120 billion across all 10 Small Business Saturdays combined. That total includes an estimated 110 million people who participated in Small Business Saturday last year, generating record-setting sales with an estimated $19.6 billion in reported spending, based on Amex research.

“It’s exciting to see Oakland County merchants joining the nationwide Shop Small movement to celebrate small businesses on Saturday and every day,” Coulter said. “Customers who patronize our downtown shopping districts are helping them to thrive and stay vibrant – Oakland County’s mantra is shop local, eat local and spend local.”

The appeal by Oakland County leaders comes as public health officials advise in-store shoppers to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering, washing hands regularly and maintaining a safe social distance.

Customers may also want to consider pursuing outdoor deliveries via curbside pickup, ordering online, shopping in-store before and after peak hours, and calling stores beforehand to ask if a clerk will video chat with you. More information about covid-related safety measures in Oakland County is at: www.oakgov.com/covid.

According to the Amex-commissioned Small Business Economic Impact Study, 62% of U.S. small businesses with fewer than 100 employees need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to stay in business.

“Even as we all work together to end the spread of COVID-19, consumers can still play a key role in helping Oakland County’s small businesses succeed and emerge from COVID,” said Main Street Oakland County Principal Planner John Bry.

Bry serves as the main contact between Oakland County and the 22 communities that comprise Main Street Oakland County, which is the only full-service, county-level Main Street program in the United States and the oldest Main Street program in Michigan.

“By shopping safely in the store or online, or getting takeout dining in your community, you’re demonstrating support for the small businesses in your neighborhood and in the community, you are proud to call home,” said Bry.

Retailers in Oakland County are successfully reassessing their business models during COVID-19, such as improving their online presence and shopping platforms, according to the 35th Oakland County Economic Outlook Summary released in September.

Holiday shopping is always a huge economic driver for retail, with many stores saying it can account for one-third of their annual revenue, the report noted.

While many stores were hurt by the lack of back-to-school shopping, their second-busiest season, retailers throughout the region are starting the holiday season early, such as by adding inventory earlier, analysts said.

Michigan consumers have been spending more than those in any other state in the nation since the pandemic, the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) reports. Statewide, consumer spending recovered to its pre-pandemic levels by the end of May, MRA data shows.

For more information on downtown holiday activities in Oakland County, visit:

Auburn Hills:
No report at this time
Lake Orion:
Lathrup Village:
Madison Heights:
Royal Oak:
South Lyon:

For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.

Community Energy Management program grants available

Community Energy Management program grants available

EGLE Main GovD banner
Nov. 10, 2020
Nick Assendelft, Public Information Officer, AssendelftN@Michigan.gov, 517-388-3135
Julie Staveland, Acting Manager, Sustainability Section, StavelandJ@michigan.gov, 517-420-8544

Community Energy Management program grants available for energy efficiency efforts

Communities, school districts or postsecondary institutions and other public organizations can apply for Community Energy Management (CEM) grants for energy-related implementation projects or energy audits and assessments in 2021, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy announced today.

The program provides funding to successful applicants for a range of activities from developing plans or benchmarking buildings to performing energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades or even installing renewable energy projects.

“Our CEM program has been a great success this year and EGLE is excited to see the many projects around the state that are helping communities and institutions save energy and money,” said Robert Jackson, assistant director of EGLE’s Materials Management Division. “We hope to build on that success in 2021 with funding for more energy management initiatives that will serve as local points of pride.”

Grants of up to $15,000 are available and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the funding is exhausted. For more information, contact Julie Staveland, Acting Manager, Sustainability Section, at StavelandJ@michigan.gov or 517-420-8544.

In 2020, EGLE’s Energy Services program funded 11 projects throughout Michigan by the Bay Mills Indian Community, City of Beaverton, Detroit Community Schools, Village of Elkton, City of Gladwin, Gladwin City Housing Commission, Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Office, City of River Rouge, 44th District Court in Royal Oak, City of Sandusky and the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region. The projects included solar installations, LED lighting retrofits, building benchmarking and audits, roof replacements and HVAC equipment upgrades.

At Gladwin Zettel Memorial Airport, the City of Gladwin installed a 2.72 kilowatt solar array, which was partly funded through a CEM grant.

“We know that energy efficiency is important. It is one of the proactive things that we can do to keep operating expenses as low as possible,” City Manager Christopher Shannon said. “The Energy Services program helped us secure funding to install our first solar array in Gladwin. We are now offsetting operating costs with local generation of clean electricity. We hope to grow our capacity as costs come down.”

EGLE’s Energy Services program promotes healthy communities, economic growth and environmental sustainability through energy efficiency and renewable energy. The program supports individuals, businesses and communities by providing educational awareness as well as technical, financial and other assistance.

# # #

EGLE COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on EGLE’s work during the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 response webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
DNR: News Digest – Week of Nov. 9, 2020

DNR: News Digest – Week of Nov. 9, 2020

News Digest – Week of Nov. 9, 2020

fire header

How you select and store wood can help maximize your fire’s potential. 

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 Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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 Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

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

Get the most out of your firewood

woodshedThe crackle and pop of burning logs in a fireplace are comforting winter sounds, but hauling and splitting firewood are no easy tasks. Maximizing this fuel is important. Careful firewood selection and storage can increase efficiency and yield cleaner, longer burning fires.

Seasonal permits to collect downed fuelwood from state forest lands are available from April through December and are valid for 90 days from the date received. Fees were eliminated in the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Learn about harvest locations and collection rules at Michigan.gov/Fuelwood. It’s also a good idea to buy and collect wood close to where you live to help stop the spread of invasive insects and diseases.

“Whether you purchase fuelwood or harvest your own, it is best practice to dry – or season – the wood before use,” said Doug Heym, DNR fuelwood program manager. “Hardwoods may take a year to dry, while softwoods can be ready to burn after about six months.”

How do you know when firewood is ready to burn? Use your senses! Seasoned wood:

  • Sounds hollow when you tap two pieces together.
  • Feels lighter than fresh wood.
  • Has ends that look cracked or split.
  • Does not have a strong odor. Wet wood can smell strongly of sap.

Moisture meters are useful tools for measuring complete seasoning. Firewood should clock in at below 20% moisture for best results.

To help ensure complete combustion, split wedges of firewood should be no larger than 6 inches across. Incomplete combustion from thick or wet wood can make smoky fires that create creosote, a tarry buildup that, left unchecked, can cause chimney fires.

Airflow is key to keeping fuelwood dry. To stop seasoned firewood from sucking up moisture, don’t let it rest directly on the ground. Place it on a raised surface like recycled pallets or a concrete pad. Cover wood with a tarp or roof to ward off rain and snow, but leave the sides open for air circulation. It’s also important to store wood away from your living space in a woodshed or against a detached garage.

“If a store of dry fuel is stacked on a porch or next to a home and is ignited by a grass fire, it can quickly overwhelm the structure with flames,” said Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist.

Get more information about safe, efficient wood burning on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Burn Wise webpage.

Five-day quiet period for hunters begins Tuesday

quiet period‘Twas days before firearm deer season, and all through the state, hunters are readying stands, blinds and camps, hoping crafty deer will cooperate.

We get it. Hunters are ready to hit the woods! However, it’s important to honor the five-day “quiet period” (Nov. 10-14), giving the woods a chance to calm down before the Sunday opener. During these days, it is unlawful to transport or possess a rifle or shotgun with buckshot, slug load, ball load or cut shell in an area frequented by deer. Unloaded firearms securely encased or carried in the trunk of a vehicle, however, may be transported to or from a hunting camp. Refer to page 21 of the Hunting Digest for more information.

If you’re hunting for small game or waterfowl, or fur harvesting, you can still carry the appropriate firearm for your season. Small game and waterfowl hunters may carry a shotgun with shotshells for hunting small game, but cannot possess buckshot, slugs, ball loads or cut shells during this time. Fur harvesters may carry a rimfire firearm .22-caliber or smaller while actively hunting or checking trap lines during the open fur bearing animals season.

No matter what you’re hunting, make sure you have the proper license.

For current rules and regulations, visit Michigan.gov/Hunting.

Questions? Contact the DNR Law Enforcement Division, 517-284-6000.

Firearm deer season opens statewide Sunday

deerMore than 540,000 hunters participated in Michigan’s 2019 deer hunting season overall, and as many or more hunters are expected to head out for this year’s Nov. 15 firearm opener.

Before the hunt, everyone should review current deer hunting regulations, found in the 2020 Hunting Digest. Changes to antler point restrictions made this year can be found on pages 42-43 and 48-49.

New this year, hunters in the mainland Lower Peninsula have the option to take an antlered or antlerless deer on their deer or deer combo licenses during archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons.

Deer check station procedures and hours of operation will be different this year for the safety of hunters and staff. At check stations, hunters are required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. At many locations, hunters will be required to stay in their vehicles.

There are also changes to chronic wasting disease testing this year. Deer heads from southern Jackson, southern Isabella and western Gratiot counties, and the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula, will be accepted for CWD testing through Jan. 4. Deer heads from Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm counties will be accepted for testing Nov. 15-18 only.

Anyone interested in submitting a deer for CWD testing outside the above listed areas/time frames can submit samples to a U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved lab for testing. Hunters will be charged a fee to have deer heads tested. Visit the “For Hunters” section at Michigan.gov/CWD for information about outside labs offering testing.

Overall, DNR officials say conditions are looking excellent for the 2020 deer seasons, and hunters can expect conditions that meet or exceed 2019. See the 2020 deer hunting preview for regional forecasts, an overview of regulation changes, tips on preparing for the season and other useful information at Michigan.gov/Deer.

The DNR wishes all hunters a safe, successful and enjoyable deer season!

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Safety is key to every successful hunt

huntersWith Michigan’s firearm deer season starting this weekend, the DNR reminds new and veteran hunters to always put safety first.

Lt. Tom Wanless, who heads the DNR’s recreational safety programs, said although some safety tips seem like common sense, it’s critical for anyone hunting with firearms to understand safety basics.

“You’re not successful unless you’re safe,” Lt. Wanless said. “We want everyone to return home to their families and friends. While many safety recommendations may seem obvious, hunters shouldn’t take them for granted.”

All hunters should:

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Be aware of their surroundings – know the target and what is beyond it.
  • Unload firearms when crossing obstacles and/or getting in or out of a tree stand.
  • Obey “no trespassing” signs; they are there for a reason.
  • Obtain landowner permission to retrieve game if it wandered onto private property.
  • Wear as much hunter orange as possible to increase visibility to other hunters.

Get more hunting safety tips and resources at Michigan.gov/HuntingSafety. For season and regulation details, see the 2020 Hunting Digest.

Questions? Contact Lt. Tom Wanless at 517-284-6026.

Get ready to run! The Happy Little 5K is back in 2021

Bob RossThe second annual Run for the Trees / Happy Little 5K is set for spring! No matter how participants reach the finish line of this virtual race – walk, run or hike – they pick the pace and the place, anywhere outdoors. It just needs to be completed over nine days (April 22-30).

Fittingly, Earth Day and Arbor Day will bookend this state parks-supporting race that builds on Bob Ross’ passion for natural landscapes and “happy little trees.”

Last year, the DNR and Bob Ross Inc. created an innovative partnership and renamed the DNR’s state park tree-planting program as Happy Little Trees. The program, which originated with help from the Michigan Department of Corrections and funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, helps restore the tree canopy and protect trees and ecosystems threatened by invasive forest pests. With the aid of volunteers, hundreds of trees have been planted in state parks. The Happy Little 5K is an extension of this longstanding stewardship program in state parks.

“The 2020 Happy Little 5K was huge for Michigan! We raised significant funds to support the planting, protection and preservation of locally sourced trees and brought together 20,000 registered virtual racers,” said Michelle Coss, volunteer and donor coordinator for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, who coordinated the race. “Nearly 75% of racers hailed from Michigan, but all 50 states were represented. Neighboring states Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin brought the next highest participation.”

Coss said all proceeds for this year’s event will support tree-planting and preservation efforts in state parks, including locations that have been hard-hit by tree pests and diseases like emerald ash borer and oak wilt.

The cost is $34 per person, and all participants receive a newly designed commemorative bib number, a keepsake race Happy Little T-shirt and a finisher’s medal featuring a real Bob Ross painting.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Interested racers are encouraged to sign up for preregistration notifications – friendly reminders about a week before registration opens. Strong early signups will help the DNR predict race participation caps.

Questions? Contact Michelle Coss at 517-881-5884 or visit Michigan.gov/DNRHappyLittleTrees.

ICYMI: New invasive plant found in Calhoun County

mile a minute weedAlthough it doesn’t spread as fast as its name suggests, mile-a-minute weed has made its way to Michigan. In case you missed it, this fast-growing, invasive vine recently was verified at the Whitehouse Nature Center at Albion College in Calhoun County. The plant is native to India, Asia and the Philippine Islands, and can cause harm to Christmas tree farms, reforestation projects and restoration areas by smothering young plants and trees under its dense growth.

Mile-a-minute weed can be identified by its triangular leaves, spikes of pea-sized blue fruits and recurved barbs lining the stems and leaf margins. Unusual circular leaves called ocreae clasp the stem beneath each fruit spike.

Anyone encountering a vine that could be mile-a-minute weed should visit Michigan.gov/Invasives to review identification information and learn about the best ways to report sightings.


NotMISpecies, a monthly webinar series exploring Michigan’s Invasive
Species Program, features red swamp crayfish at 9 a.m. Nov. 17. Register for free at the EGLE events website.


Winter is coming up soon, so don’t wait to get your snowmobile safety certificate. Take the class online, review the safety tips and get ready for some winter fun out on the trails!


Want to help Michigan’s nongame and endangered species? When you purchase a wildlife habitat license plate, $25 goes toward the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.


Non-Profit Organizations Encouraged To Seek COVID-19 Grants

Non-Profit Organizations Encouraged To Seek COVID-19 Grants

Community-Based Non-Profit Organizations Encouraged To Seek ‘Oakland Together’ COVID-19 Economic Impact Grants

Pontiac, Michigan – Community non-profit organizations based in Oakland County whose revenues have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic have two weeks to apply for a grant from the Oakland Together Economic Impact fund.

The grants, which are made possible through federal CARES Act funding, are designed to help non-profit organizations that have suffered revenue loss or increased expenditures directly related to the pandemic. A grant can be used to support operation costs as determined by the organization. Applications are being accepted through Monday, November 23 at https://www.oakgov.com/covid/grants/Pages/non-profit-economic-impact.aspx.

“So many of our non-profit organizations rely on community support and fund-raising activities and have suffered severe economic losses during the pandemic,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “At the same time, they continue to provide valuable services to our residents and it’s important we do everything we can to help them at this critical time.”

To be eligible, an organization must be a non-profit with tax-exempt status, be physically located in Oakland County and provide most of its services to county residents. The organization also must have had a 10 percent revenue loss related to the pandemic. The grants are expected to be disbursed in early December. A complete list of grants still available is found at https://www.oakgov.com/covid/grants/Pages/default.aspx.

Oakland County allocated all $219 million it received in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, including more than $140 million in grants to help stabilize and support small businesses, residents and communities in every part of the county. The grants have been awarded to more than 10,000 local businesses, which employ 65,000 employees; 22 local chambers of commerce; 28 local school districts; residents having trouble making rent or mortgage payments, retailers, restaurants and communities, among others.

Whitmer Statement on Ford’s $850 Million Investment

Whitmer Statement on Ford’s $850 Million Investment

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


November 10, 2020

Media Contact: Press@Michigan.gov


Governor Whitmer Statement on Ford’s $850 Million Investment in Rouge Factory and Van Dyke Plant, Creating and Retaining 725 Michigan Jobs


LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement after Ford announced a $850 million investment in the company’s Rouge Factory in Dearborn and Van Dyke Plant in Sterling Heights, creating and retaining a total of 725 Michigan jobs and reaffirming Michigan’s continued global leadership in automotive manufacturing and future mobility and electrification:


“This announcement is good news for our families, our hardworking UAW members, and our economy as a whole. Ford’s latest investment will create hundreds of new, good-paying jobs for Michigan workers and help us solidify our status as the automotive capital of the world,” said Governor Whitmer. “Since I was sworn in as governor, we have brought in historic investments to our auto plants, creating more than 12,000 Michigan jobs. I am proud to see that work continue today. As governor of the state that put the world on wheels and is now building the next generation of transportation, I am proud to work with Ford and every business that wants to invest in Michigan.”


This morning, Ford announced that it is investing about $150 million in the Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights to make e-motors and e-transaxles for new electric vehicles, including the all-electric F-150. This will retain 225 jobs.


Ford is also increasing production plans for the fully electric F-150 at the Rouge Plant in Dearborn, adding 200 permanent jobs in addition to a previously announced 300 jobs as part of a $700 million investment in building the all-new F-150 and all-electric F-150.


Today’s announcement builds on a $1.45 billion investment in southeast Michigan announced at the end of 2019 to support production of Ford’ new electrified variants of its F-150 truck series and create a new vehicle modification center where Ford’s first autonomous vehicles will be completed. That announcement included the creation of 3,000 new jobs.

More state departments become Veteran-Friendly Employers 

More state departments become Veteran-Friendly Employers 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


November 9, 2020 

Contact: Andy Henion, 517-284-5228


More Michigan state departments become Veteran-Friendly Employers


LANSING, Mich. – Ten State of Michigan departments or departmental units have now been certified as Veteran-Friendly Employers through the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), representing more than half of all state departments.


The Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) recently became the third state department certified as a Veteran-Friendly Employer in 2020 alone, joining the departments of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) and Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB).


Since the MVAA launched the Veteran-Friendly Employer (VFE) Program in 2013 as one of the nation’s most rigorous veteran-focused initiatives, 10 state departments or units have been certified among 18 total state departments. The State of Michigan employs nearly 4,000 veterans, representing 7.3% of its workforce.


Employers in the VFE program are vetted and recognized for their commitment to recruiting, training and retaining veterans. All told, nearly 400 private and public employers across the state are certified as either Bronze-, Silver- or Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employers.


“Our veterans put their lives on the line for our families, and we must ensure that they have the support they need here at home,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “That’s why the State of Michigan is taking crucial steps to ensure our veterans can get connected to good jobs in our departments. As we approach Veterans Day, I want to thank all of those who have served our state and the family members and loved ones who have supported our veterans.”


The VFE program is part of the MVAA’s broader strategy to improve employment, educational, entrepreneurial and other quality-of-life opportunities for Michigan’s 552,000 veterans and their families. As the state’s one-stop coordinating agency for veterans, the MVAA is available 24/7 at 1-800-MICH-VET.


“Veterans bring special skillsets, a strong work ethic and values to the workplace that employers need to help make their operations successful,” said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams. “The MVAA applauds the growing list of state departments for recognizing the value of hiring veterans and is committed to working with even more Michigan employers – public and private alike – to help them grow their veteran workforces.”


Two state departments have achieved prestigious Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer status: Transportation (MDOT), which was certified as a VFE in 2016, and Michigan State Police (MSP), certified in 2017. Gold-level VFEs must hire and retain a certain number of veterans and implement a number of veteran-focused human resources, support and/or training programs. Only about 3 percent of VFEs have met these criteria.


“The Michigan State Police has a long history of supporting our veteran, reserve and Guard employees,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police, which employs nearly 500 veterans. “They are valuable members of the MSP team and we support them through our participation in the VA On the job/Apprentice training program, Employee Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and our Pre- and Post-deployment Reintegration Program.”


MDOT, which employs about 140 veterans, was recognized as the MVAA’s “Rising Star” Veteran-Friendly Employer in 2016 for its innovative veteran recruiting and hiring practices, including the coordination of a Veterans Internship Program.


“At MDOT, we are very committed to including military veterans in our workforce,” said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Their talents and skills are valuable to our work, and our mission is not only to bring them on board but to continue to help them succeed.”


Three state departments have achieved Silver-level VFE status: Health and Human Services (MDHHS), certified in 2017; Corrections (MDOC), certified in 2018; and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), certified in 2019.


The three departments certified so far this year – DTMBDIFS and, most recently, EGLE – join two others in the Bronze-level VFE category: Labor and Economic Opportunity’s (LEO) Workforce Development unit and Natural Resources’ (DNR) Law Enforcement Division, both certified in 2019.

 “We are pleased to be the state’s newest Veteran-Friendly Employer, affirming our commitment to both supporting Michigan’s military veterans and ensuring EGLE is a welcoming and engaging workplace,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “Protecting Michiganders’ quality of life and the natural resources fits hand-in-glove with their mission of protecting our country.”


About the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency: Created by Executive Order in 2013, MVAA’s mission is to be the central coordinating agency, providing support, care, advocacy and service to veterans and their families. By calling 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838) veterans, family members and service providers can get information and access a comprehensive network of resources and services. Learn more at MichiganVeterans.com.