Sunday, September 16, 2012

Arts, Beats, & Eats review

I know it's a couple weeks after the fact, but I wanted to share my experiences. First off let me share this was my first AB&E experience, and it was average at best, but has potential.

When we first arrived we were already through the turnstiles before security chased us down and stopped us to look through our diaper bag.  Also, the whole entrance/exit gate areas need to be reworked, they put them right next to concert stages so its hard to hear the cashiers and ask questions.

Next we started walking around aimlessly, because again I could not hear the cashiers if there were maps of the event available.  We finally found the main stage and my wife and I enjoyed watching Saving Abel and Theory of a Dead Man.  The only complaint I have was lack of shade over part of the area to be cool, as it was hot & sunny.

After the musical acts, we started walking past a few food booths and was suprised at how expensive some of the food was.  I was not expecting things to be that expensive so we ended up holding off on eating until after we left and ate in Downtown Royal Oak.  We did find a carnival food trailer that was accepting cash or tickets and I did the math it was $2.50 for a pop cash or the cash equivalent was $3.15 using tickets.

On our way out we walked past some art booths and I was disappointed.  I was expecting better quality or at least a juried event, but some of the items I saw were not even made they were bought at a store and trying to be resold for profit.

I do want to salute the men & women of the Royal Oak PD & FD.  I saw the FD run 3 medical calls in the same area within 30mins, they were so busy even the Chief and other fire officers were getting hands on helping out at medical calls.  I do suggest that the city make the event hire a private EMS agency to assist with the call volume.  The PD was great they were there and you could see them, but at the same time they stayed out of sight, unless needed.

I don't know how the event faired later in the evening, but I did not see any serious issues while we were there and will definitely be back in the future.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Where were you?

As tommorrow marks the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, I wanted to share my memories with you.

I remember that morning, not a cloud in the sky and I was on my 2nd day as a 911 Dispatcher for Rochester Hills FD.  My supervisor, training officer, and I were over at the Oakland County complex for computer training.  The supervisor's pager started going off like nuts from the office saying find a tv a plane crashed into the WTC.  We were thinking a small plane, no big deal until she got another page about a 2nd one, and then the Pentagon.  She went looking for a tv and couldnt find one.  We still really had no idea the seriousness of the situation until we went to lunch and saw pictures for the first time.  After lunch we went back to training and this time there were armed OCSD deputies outside checking id's of everyone going in. 

The ride home that night was erie, I saw gas gouged as high as $5 a gallon, and I remember getting home in time to see one of the smaller towers collapse.  I, like many of you, stayed glued to the tv and felt a sense of patriotism and wished thete was something we could do to help. 

Over the next few days it was odd not seeing or hearing planes in the sky with exception of the occassional military jet.  The out pouring of support from residents as they showed up at our fire station bringing us baked goods, cards, and just to say thanks was amaizing. 

Some agencies from Michigan sent groups of workers to Ground Zero to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts, while other agencies organized drives collecting money and supplies to send over there.

One of the fire information paging groups I belong to has this archive of events from that day showing how the information was spread across the country to fire buffs.  As you can see it was very hectic and confusing.

Our lives were changed forever that day.  Nothing will ever be the same again, but I do believe we are better prepared to handle disasters because of it.

Two years ago I was able to stop out at the Flight 93 Memorial construction site.  The experience was very sobering and made you realize how lucky we are.

Now leaving out any conspiracy remarks or other negative feedback what are your memories?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Frustrated Volunteer

There's a community in Oakland County having an event this Saturday.  The group organizing the event went out of their way to invite me to volunteer at the event.  This was done months ago, and at the time, I asked what kind of help was needed.  I told them the types of things I would like to help out with, but said "whatever you need, let me know."  The group responded with a message saying they would get in touch shortly after they had their meeting and things progressed.

Now, time has passed. I never heard anything from the group, and I made other plans for Saturday.  Finally, on Thursday, the group sent out a mass e-mail telling people where they need help and for how long.  You cannot expect people to keep a whole day roped off in case they are needed and not communicate with them.  If I approached them, that's one thing, but they initiated the invite, and then did not keep me posted about what would happen.  This is also not the first time this group has done this to me and others.  Heck, half the time they're begging for volunteers at the last minute and telling them to bring friends.

If you are organizing an event, you have an obligation to keep volunteers posted about what's going on, invite them to attend meetings, and make sure you keep the media involved as well.  Hopefully, this group will eventually learn from their lack of communication and make some changes so they can make sure there are enough volunteers for future events.  If changes are made and I am available, then I will be there.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


What is up lately with all of these politicians using the term misstated or misspoke?  Why don't they either stick to their beliefs (Akin) or say they lied (Ryan) about what they said.

A few weeks ago you may remember Rep. Todd Akin made some incorrect comments about how if a woman is legitimately raped the body has ways of fending off pregnancy.  After lots of pressure from media, various groups, and even fellow politicians he took it back and said he misspoke. Why didn't he stick with what he believed in?  or say that he was wrong and will be doing further research on the topic?  When he said he misspoke it makes it seem like that is not what he meant to say or he stumbled over what was on the teleprompter.

The newest addition to the list is VP canidate Ryan.  In an interview he said that he ran a marathon in under 3 hours (under 7 minutes a mile).  After several questions arose he eventually said he misstated the time and it should have been closer to 4 hours.  How do you just lose an hour in a marathon?  Did he think someone would say that 4 hours is way to long of time to run a marathon?

So who is the next political person that is going to use this excuse as a scapegoat?  No, you can't say VP Biden because even President Obama would admit that he was mistake.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Detroit Zoo making changes for the better

Have you been to the Detroit Zoo lately?  If not I highly suggest going.  Over the last few years the zoo has made several improvements to enhance your experience annd feed your hunger.

They have recently added an American Coney Island and several kiosks serving up everything from Dippin Dots to Popcorn.  The last time we ate there we ate at the Arctic Cafe and the food was better than what I was expecting.  If you are a must-have coffee fanatic, the zoo also carries Starbucks.

They have also added a boardwalk that takes you right across the wetlands area.  When you take a stroll across you can see ducks, swans, fish, frogs, turtles, and more.  If you need a break there are benches set-up to sit and enjoy the peacefulness of the area.  They have also fixed the lions habitat up and got rid of the moat and filled it in with grasslands, in an effort to get you closer to the lions.  All it did for us was get us closer to seeing them sleeping the day away.  The one downfall to the new lions exhibit is its harder to take pictures without getting a glare or reflection.

Some neat things that we have stumbled upon that you may not have known existed.  Did you know that behind the giraffe exhibit, you have the ability to go into their house?  They sometimes are in there due to weather, maintence, or illness and this way you can still see them.  Another tip is behind the rhino display is the rhino house.  They have always been out when I have been there, but its still worth a quick walk through to check it out (also,makes for a handy spot to dodge the rain and not be crowded).

There are more plans for improvement in the future and its definitely worth checking out.  One last tip, if you plan on going more than 2 times a year, it usually works out to be cheaper to get a membership.  The membership also allows you discounts on food and at gift shops, discounted admission at other zoos throughout the country,  free parking at the Detroit Zoo, and many other perks.

Hurry up and go enjoy the beautiful weather...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pro athletes: what they should do more of

The other day I was going over my news feed on Facebook and a story caught my eye.  WNEM, a tv station for Flint and the Tri-Cities region, had a story about how a famous alumni member gave back to the Saginaw School District.  Current Pittsburgh Steeler, former Wolverine, LaMarr Woodley heard that the public school district he once starred in had to start charging student-athletes $75 in participation fees.  Local,officials reported a decline in the number of athletes this year, so LaMarr took it upon himself to donate $60,000 to eliminate the fees for all junior high through high school athletes in the district.

This is not the first time LaMarr has.went above and beyond what needed to be done to help his former high school either.  A few years ago he got the marching band hooded sweatshirts.  So while we continue to hear news stories about athletes getting in trouble with domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, weapons, etc. one has to question how come we don't hear more about these stories? 

So I am calling out more of today's pro athletes, what are you doing to help your former high school?  What about the school districts in and around the cities you play in?  While $60,000 is a lot for us, for most of these stars it is just a drop in the bucket.  LaMarr, I sure hope that others follow your lead and we start hearing about the good in professional athletes rather than who has more pre-season arrests.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dangerous situation in Oak Park

Earlier tonight a truck carrying fuel some how began leaking.  Right now Greenfield is closed between 11 Mile and 12 Mile Rds.  A large amount of fuel has already entered the sewer system which has led to evacuations of area homes and businesses.  Several fire departments are on scene including Beverly Hills, Troy, and Southfield.  Several sources are also reporting the whole Oakland County Haz-Mat Team has been activated, along with the County's Emergency Operation Center.  This is a potentially serious situation and the public is being asked to stay out of the area and let the crews work.  I will try to post updates as I hear them from the media.

Update:  The situation is still on going, could be closed for a few more hours.  Road commission and water departments are on scene as well assisting.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Walk or Don't Walk

Last night I was sitting in the left turn lane at Walton & Baldwin in Pontiac.  I was on my way to Dairy Queen before picking my wife up from work.  As I am sitting there and the light is green for both directions of Walton, I see a kid about 13 years old easily make it across the eastbound lanes and cross in front of me.  As he continued walking, not paying attention to westbound traffic, I watched him almost get hit by cars on 2 seperate occassions.

He is not the only person that I have seen just cross streets without paying attention to the signs or even traffic flow lately, but it seems like its getting worse.  When I hear of accidents involving pedestrians my first thoughts are was it at a crosswalk? Did they have the walk sign?  Were they paying attention?  Because my theory is this if they were not at a crosswalk, did not have the walk sign, and/or were not paying attention they got what they deserved.  I feel worse for the driver that hit them knowing that is an image they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

Most crosswalks used to have walk/don't walk on them, but then they were concerned about people who couldn't read so they put symbols up there.  What do we do next?  How do we try and allivate these types of situations?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Will the shoes help you sing & dance?

Today, June 9th, Kanye West's Air Yeezy II's go on sale.  The suggested retail price is $245, but one local retailer is expecting to start the price at $1,000.  Burn Rubber in Royal Oak is expecting to get in 8-16 pairs of these shoes, but they are already sold. 

People have been lined up outside the store for about a week now, very willing to pay anything to get these shoes.  I know the price is based on supply and demand and it is really the hype that is making the price go up (like the inital offering of facebook), but this is ridiculous.  Where are these kids getting the money?

I have been reading several articles and watching news stories all week on this and it frustrates me.  I even read one story where a kid paid $400, just to cut in line!  There is even a Mom who relieves her son for an hour so he can go home and shower.  These people are even putting there health at risk by limiting fluid intakes to limit bathroom trips.

I think its sad that either these kids are spending theirs or their parents hard earned money on a pair of shoes, especially in this economy.  I don't get it, will these things improve your singing and dancing?  Will you be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?

I also blame the retailers, the manufactuer, and others for hyping up these shoes to keep driving the prices up.  I think something needs to be done about this.  I know I can find much better uses for a $1,000 then on a pair of shoes that will eventually end up in the trash or the bottom of the closet.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fresh fruit, vegetables, and more

Spring is in full swing and summer is just around the corner.  This is one of the best times of the year for many reasons.  Some of them include the start of little league season, waterparks and campgrounds are opening, and the start of the fair and festival summer season.  Today though I want to talk about the popular farmers markets that are popping up in every community.

Farmers markets have been around for a long time and then they sort of disappeared for awhile and are now gaining popularity once again.  Some of the benefits of buying from your local farmers markets include:
- Your produce is ripe and freshly picked
- You can speak to the farmers to ask how and where it was grown and if they have any suggestions on how to prepare and cook it.
- The sales benefit the farmers locally instead of going through several people before the farmer get a small share, when you buy from a store.  This usually means cheaper prices for you.
- Encourages shopping local, and since most of these are in a downtown type setting, make a day of it.  Check out other local businesses and restaurants.
- Most have a wide range of fruits and vegetables available.  Some even include flowers, plants and other related items.

Most of the markets have already started or will be starting within the next week and they usually run through October.  Some of the communities that have farmers markets are Auburn Hills, Milford, Royal Oak, Farmington, Clawson, and Clarkston.  Oakland County's website has a complete list of farmers markets and more information.  If there is not one in your community contact your local government offices to see how you can get one started.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Save a life...

Two things that I think everyone should know how to do is how to perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver.  I am hoping that unless you are in the public safety field you will never have to use it, but you just never know.  June 1st through the 7th has been designated as National CPR week, so take a few minutes to make arrangements to attend a class.

One local company teaching CPR here in Oakland County is called Rochester Hills CPR.  They have several levels of sessions available from family and friends to healthcare provider, also refresher classes available.  They will come to your house or business for sizes ranging from one on one to groups (discounts available).  Their prices are very reasonable and the best part is the classes are taught by emergency medical workers and firefighters that have experience and actually do this in their line of work.

Call Rochester Hills CPR today at 248-660-0CPR or email them at to schedule a class and tell them you saw it on Page's Pages.  If they are unable to accommodate you due to distance, then I suggest you contact your local fire department or ambulance provider and see if they have any upcoming classes available.

Remember you never know when you could save a life.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Informational class on K2, bath salts, and spice

Lately we have been hearing more and more stories in the news involving K2, bath salts, and spice.  Sometimes it is involving them being stolen and other times they are linked to murder.

Even though the state legislature currently has a bill being discussed to try and ban these substances, it is still a good idea to know whats involved and how they work.

Alliance Mobile Health, Troy Police Department, Clawson Police Department, and other groups have teamed up to provide an awareness class this Wednesday, May 30th at 630pm at the Troy City Council Chambers located at 500 W. Big Beaver.  Several community members including a judge, doctor, nurse, paramedic, parents of recovering teen addicts, and even recovering teens themselves to discuss their experiences and signs to look for to see if someone you know is using.

I encouage people to attend to learn more about the dangers involved with these substances and how to avoid them.  I have enclosed a pic of the flyer below for more info.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

All you can eat!

The other day, my wife and I were debating on where to eat dinner.  We just got a flyer in the mail for a new buffet that opened up near by, so we decided to give it a try.

The buffet is called "Uptown Buffet" and sits on the North end of the shopping complex located at the Northeast corner of Telegraph & Elizabeth Lake.  The building once was an "Old Country Buffet" but after they closed up the site it sat vacant for a few months.  Eventually, it was bought, renovated, and re-opened.

"Uptown Buffet" consists of mainly a large selection of Chinese food on the buffet with some limited other foods mixed in like macaroni & cheese, ice cream, fried chicken, and salad.  As I said in a previous blog, I do not eat alot of Chinese food, but even I managed to find enough to fill me up.  The prices are very reasonable, we went for dinner and it was $9.99 a person, can't beat that deal.  The service was quick, as soon as you moved a plate to the edge of the table they were cleaning it up and our drinks never got empty.

If you like Chinese food and you happen to be hungry go give them a try.  If you don't have time for a buffet they also have carry-out available.  I would generally post a link to their website, but I do not see one available.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I scream, you scream...

With the warm weather here, I thought I would take a few to tell you about a few great ice cream stands in the area.

First and foremost is my favorite Oakland County stop, its called Dairy Deluxe and is located on southbound Woodward just north of 14 mile.  They open in Feb and close in Nov.  They have soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt in several flavors, along with your sundaes, flurries, and other usual treats.

Next up is the Dairy-O in Clawson on Main just south of 14 Mile.  They were a great spot to go while doing laundry nearby.  The staff is very friendly and they give youth sports teams a discount.

Frosty Boy in Oxford on Burdick west of Washington makes really good flurries and is a staple in the community.  They are usually packed, especially when there are youth baseball and soccer games.

Now these are just a few of my suggestions, I honestly dont think there is such a thing as bad ice cream just bad flavors.  Feel free to share this with friends and family and tell me what are your favorite Oakland County ice cream stops? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Check this out...

If you are not doing anything today and you are in the Auburn Hills area, take the kids and head to the Auburn Hills Department of Public Services building.  They are located at 1500 Brown Rd and will be having an open house from 9-3.  There will be trucks and equipment on display, educational information and brochures, some hands-on displays, and hot dogs from 1230-3 (while supplies last).  Head on over there see how the equipment is used and other useful information.  Enjoy this beautiful day today.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fire at Kona Grill in Troy

Sad news to report out of Troy, the popular restaurant "Kona Grill" caught fire overnight.  Several firefighters and pieces of apparatus were on scene as the fire was shooting through the roof when they first arrived.

I had the luxury of eating here once with one of my favorite news reporters.  The food and service were both terrific and the menu had something for everyone.  I had always wanted to go back, so I do hope they decide to rebuild.

Kona Grill is/was located at the southeast corner of Big Beaver (16 Mile) & Livernois.  According to the media the fire crews were called out just before 4am and still on the scene after 6am and the fire is under investigation.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Help support the D.I.A.

The Detroit Institute of Arts is in need of help.  They are asking for a tri-county tax, similar to that of the Detroit Zoo that was passed a few years ago.  I have been to the DIA once, and while it was not my cup of tea, it was interesting and I know how valuable it is to others in the community and across the globe. This needs to get supported and passed for several reasons, let me give you some background on the DIA.

The current building was opened in 1927 and has undergone several expansions and renovations over the years.  What is even more impressive is that art has been collected for the DIA since the early 1880's and some were on display in the original building back in 1888.  The DIA is the 2nd largest municipal owned art collection in the United States with over 65,000 works of art.  The DIA has been one of the many groups helping to locate works of art that were looted by the Nazi's before and during World War II and making sure they are returned to the rightful owners.

The tax that they are asking for is vital to help keep the DIA open and operating smoothly for years to come.  The tax if approved would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $10 a year for the next 20 years. They have already cut staff, reduced salaries, and taken other measures to help.  The zoo tax and cobo hall tax were all approved, but we can't bring animals or the auto show to other communities, but the DIA has been bringing art to the communities for temporary displays.  I know we are all in tough times right now, but I feel this is one that needs to be supported and passed just as much as the zoo. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What should happen to Phoenix Center?

The Phoenix Center complex in downtown Pontiac was built in the 1970's as part of the Pontiac Plan.  While there are multiple parts that make up the Phoenix Center, the main section is the parking garage and ampitheater.  The ampitheater, which opened in 2004 and has seating for 6000, has had its share of decent concerts, but also controversy.

In 2004, the Phoenix Center went under a $22 million renovation with assistance from Oakland County on the loan.  The city is still paying off this loan and will do so for approximately the next 15 years.  Now the emergency financial manager is requesting a study to see if the complex is still safe and useable, if not it will come down.

So some questions I have include: if it is unsound, how and why has it deteoriated so quickly after renovations?  Who is going to pay for the demolition and why has it taken so long to be done?  Why was this not one of the first projects?

What I would like to see done if it is not beyond repair, is offer the complex to an entertainment group, like Palace Sports & Entertainment or Olympia Entertainment.  If an entertainment group wants to take it over they can handle all of the operations and management and the city could just take the parking fees.  I think it really lacked decent attention, marketing, and operating when being ran by the city.

I think it could be a win - win situation for everyone involved.  Crowds coming back downtown and filling parking lots, clubs, bars, and restaurants.  The increase in people might lead to more businesses wanting to open and start bringing more life back to the city.  I know there will always be those against it, but if its not too badly damaged, lets give it a shot.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Looking for great Chinese food?

I am not much of a Chinese food person, but my wife has conned me into having it twice now.  The first time I had it was at Mui's Carry Out in Clawson.  This is the place my wife and others said was best.  I tried it and was pleasantly suprised by how much I liked it.  Mui's is located on W. 14 Mile just east of Crooks.  There website has their menu on it as well as hours of operation and phone number.  The only downfall to Mui's is the fact that it is strictly carry out, no inside seating.

The other day we were sitting around and saw someone on tv eating Chinese and my wife said that sounds good for dinner.  I checked with a few friends and they suggested China Jade in Waterford, instead of driving to Clawson.  We gave them a shot and found out there is a reason they have been around since 1974.  The food was great here as well.  Their website has their menu, contact info, directions, and even a spot where you can order online.  They are located on W. Huron just west of Telegraph and offer carry out as well as a seating area to enjoy the whole dining experience.

I am not an adventerous person, so I just get the almond boneless chicken with rice, but the combination of quality and quanity makes either one of these great establishments worth checking out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking for a place to eat in Clawson?

When my family and I are down in the Clawson area we usually end up eating dinner at Nick's Country Oven.  They are located at the corner of 14 Mile and Nahma, between Crooks and Main.  They are currently open from 7am-10pm Monday thru Saturday and til 9pm on Sunday.  If you don't have time to eat there you can always get it to go.

The have a great menu with a selection ranging from appetizers and burgers to ribs and seafood.  They have a nice selection of daily specials that also includes soup, salad, and dessert for one low price.  One word of caution though, the meals are not small and you may be walking out of there with left overs.  Some of my favorite dishes include the chicken pot pie, stuffed peppers, and bacon cheeseburger.

The only complaint that I have is the waitstaff is hit or miss.  I have been there sometimes and get excellent top-notch service and other times where well it was not the greatest.  If you go around dinner time, there maybe a short wait as they are usually busy, but the food makes it worth the wait as long as the service is good.

Last year this became a famous location in Clawson, as George Clooney filmed scene from one of his latest movies there, "The Ides of March."  Mr. Clooney was on scene for at least a day during filming and the area around the restaurant drew quite the crowd.

All in all, for the most part we have an enjoyable experience and keep coming back.  I hope you have time to get a chance and check them out.  If you like them, or know someone who may, please feel free to share this blog with them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Does your pooch or feline deserve pampering?

As I have mentioned and shown pictures before, my wife and I have 2 really terrific dogs.  The only problem is trying to find a groomer that does a great job and is reasonably priced.  We have tried other local groomers, even the chain stores, but everyone wants close $100 (if not more) for grooming our dogs.

One day after leaving my wife's work, we stopped down at the bank at Auburn & Squirrel (in Auburn Hills) and saw a vehicle covered in advertising for a local pet salon called Emmy's Pampered Pooch.  The ads on the car advertised $25 any size dog or cat.  We were thinking this can't be true, or must be a short time deal, but 6 months later and prices are still the same.

We have had our dogs in there a few different occasions and no matter what they do to them its just $25.  I have seen all sorts of dogs in there from itty, bitty pocket dogs all the way to the miniature horse sized-dogs.  After talking to the owner, she explained that she knows times are tough right now and is trying to keep her prices low, so pet owners still take care of pampering their pets.

The business started in the owner's basement, but as her customer base grew bigger and word spread about how terrific they are, they had to move to a bigger space.  Emmy's Pampered Pooch is located at 3273 Auburn just west of Squirrel (in Auburn Hills) and is located right next to a Subway.

If you like to make sure your dog or cat gets pampered give Emmy's a shot and if you enjoy the services, make sure you help spread the word on to others along with this blog...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sweet Cheez!

First off, I want to apologize for the delay in writing posts, as some of you know I am a new dad and while I knew the job was difficult, I didn't know how challenging it is. So with that out of the way please stick around and keep tuned to my blogs as I attempt to get back on track...

A couple of weeks ago my wife, son, and I went to Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills to stroll around and see whats new, since it had been awhile since we were there last.  Wow I was impressed, there are lots of new stores in there and some of the old ones I enjoyed are no longer there.  All in all it was a great day and very enjoyable.

We decided to grab a bite to eat in the food court, and there were plenty of choices to choose from.  There are your common staples like Taco Bell and Subway and some newer unusual ones like a mobile Yates Cider Mill and a place called Sweet Lorraine's Mac n' Cheez! Kitchen.  This is the place I want to focus on.

I love all comfort food, but especially macaroni and cheese.  This is not your mom's mac & cheese, this is a gourmet mac & cheese place that has tons of choices.  There are combinations such as Pepperoni Pizza, Cheeseburger, and Macho Nacho.  There is a choice of 2 different sizes and I went for the larger size and could not even finish it.  This place is awesome, terrific, wonderful, amazing, etc...  It must have been sent to us from the big food court in Heaven.  If you are trying to be healthy, my wife says the salads are also very good here.

The only downfall is right now there is only the location inside of Great Lakes Crossing, but according to their website there are more locations planned soon for the Metro Detroit area.  So until they start to pop up everywhere, if you are ever in the Auburn Hills area and looking for a great place to eat, head on over to Great Lakes Crossing and check out Sweet Lorraine's.  You can also help spread the word on this gem, by sharing my blog page with all of your friends and family.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Angel Kisses Fundraiser

My wife and I had our only child almost 5 months ago.  We were told for years by doctors and specialists that it would most likely never happen.  After several years of trying we finally gave up, we actually started planning lavish vacations like Ireland, Scotland, Walt Disney World, etc...  Well a few weeks later, we  found out my wife was pregnant, so the plans were put on hold.  Nine months later we had a happy, bouncing baby boy named Alex.

While many people like us are fortunate enough to have happy, healthy children some people are not so lucky.  Sometimes parents experience pregnancy or newborn loss, and I can not even begin to imagine how difficult that must be.  When that happens it is great to have a very healthy support system of friends, family members, and others to help you get through the loss.  The other thing that must be a necessity when dealing with this is a kind and caring support staff  at the hospital that can help you out with bedside care and other things.

There is a group called Angel Kisses, that was started by a of Mom that had unfortunately experienced a loss.  As the years went by others have teamed up since the fundraisers began in 2009, and helped fund a bereavement room at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.  Their mission is to help raise awareness and understanding of pregnancy loss and bring peace and healing to families who have experienced loss.

Angel Kisses will be having a fundraiser this coming Saturday, February 25th, beginning at 2pm and lasting until 8pm.  The fundraiser will be held at Woody's Diner in Royal Oak and will have a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, and a candle-lit moment of silence.  Woody's Diner is located at 208 W. Fifth Ave in Downtown Royal Oak and was generous enough to donate 20% of all food and beverage reciepts to Angel Kisses.  If you are unable to attend donations can be made to:

Angel Kisses
PO Box 1061
Royal Oak, MI 48068-1061

Further information can be found on the Angel Kisses website.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Volunteers Needed!

I know we are still months away from the kick off of the fair & festival season, but in order for the events to run smoothly planning has begun since the last event ended.  Do you frequent the local festivals?  Do you have ideas on how to make things better?  Do you want to help out?  If you answered yes than your local festival committee wants to hear from you.

Clawson's 4th of July week Kiddie Parade

The local festivals take many months of planning and organizing to make things just right. They are ran by a hard working bunch of volunteers, unfortunately though, many people don't realize how much hard work goes into the planning and just enjoy the events.  In order for these festivals to continue to run well into the future they constantly need volunteers and donations.

scene from Rochester's Arts & Apples Festival

Some of the volunteer work that may be needed is as simple as handling parking or tickets to as complex as organizing a parade or more.  If your time is limited and you have away of donating something for a bake sale or other type of fundraiser, or even cash I am sure they are even open to that. The best thing to do is contact your local festival committee or if your not sure who to get in touch with contact your local government offices for more information.

a local fireworks display

I have listed below some of the local festivals websites, if you know of others feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Clawson's 4th of July
Farmington's Founders Festival
Rochester's Arts & Apples Festival
Oakland County Fair
Holly's Dickens Old Fashioned Christmas Festival
Madison Heights Memorial Day Parade
Woodward Dream Cruise

Once again, this is just a sampling of the local events that may need assistance, many communities may have multiple events throughout the year.  All the events need volunteers for tasks no matter how big or how small or donations no matter how big or small.  For more information on your local community's events contact your local government office.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Accident prone section of roadway in Bloomfield Twp

In just a few short months of travelling Telegraph between Square Lake and Orchard Lake I have seen atleast 3 bad accidents that have resulted in the complete shut down of the Northbound traffic.  This section of road is in Bloomfield Twp and involves the traffic turning from Southbound Telegraph into the Bloomfield Town Square Shopping Center (Best Buy, Costco, etc...) closest to IHOP.
When an accident occurs there and they shut down traffic this results in the backed-up traffic trying to navigate through the shopping complex to get back on to Telegraph.  This creates a monsterous traffic mess in the complex, but it also creates a very dangerous situation.  The traffic cutting through the complex is in a hurry to get where they are going and not watching other traffic which in turn leads to minor accidents in the parking lot.

I would like to mention that I know why they close the roadway and that is first and foremost the safety of the first responders on scene.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women of the Bloomfield Twp Fire Department and Police Department and am glad to see they are always thinking safety first.  I do think though that the township or county officials need to review traffic patterns in that area and possibly close down one or two of the access points to help try and reduce the number of accidents. 

I am not sure if there are any other ideas out there on ways to reduce accidents (besides the obvious, of making sure drivers are paying always paying attention), but I know I am open to hearing them and hope that township officials would be too.  I urge everyone to not only pay attention when in this area, but anywhere your travels take you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Check out this fundraiser for a good cause...

Coda, our 3-legged Border Collie rescue

Look at that face above and tell me, who doesn’t love dogs or cats? I have an announcement for an upcoming fundraiser, and even if you can’t make it, I have more ways you can help. Please take a minute to do whatever you can to help out these (or other animals) in need.

The fundraiser is being held February 16th, 2012 at Vintner’s Cellar in Royal Oak. The wine & cheese tasting event will be held from 7-9pm and tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. The event is being held to help a puppy named Hope. Hope was found emaciated, scared, dirty and with a broken leg which never healed correctly. It also looks like Hope was trained and/or used for dog fighting. The volunteers at the local animal group C.H.A.I.N.E.D. have taken her in and are trying to get her the help she needs. The money needed to help Hope get her broken bone straightened will be in the thousands. Any money raised above and beyond what is needed to help Hope will help other dogs in the C.H.A.I.N.E.D. family. The event is quickly selling out though, so get your tickets quick! Vintner’s Cellar is located at 325 E. Fourth in Downtown Royal Oak.

If you cannot make the fundraiser, there are several other animal services in Oakland County who need donations, volunteers, and supplies:

A New Leash on Life
Almost Home Rescue
Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan
K-9 Stray Rescue League
Michigan Animal Rescue League
Michigan Humane Society
Michigan Pet Rescue
New Beginnings Animal Rescue
Oakland County Animal Shelter

The most common type of donations needed are: towels, blankets, cat food, dog food, pet toys, leashes, collars, food and water bowls, Clorox wipes, and newspapers. The supplies each shelter/rescue needs may vary, so check with them before dropping off donations - a list is sometimes available on their website. If you are not near one of these shelters or rescues, check with your local government and see if there are any in your area who might need help.

I know it doesn’t sound like much, but even dropping off one item can go a long way, especially to an animal in need of a forever home.

Harmony, a Keeshond-German Shepard mix, our first rescue

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Troy Mayor does it again...

While I firmly believe in the First Amendment and am thankful we have it, I believe many people have forgotten for what the Bill of Rights was initially intended and designed. It was created to protect the citizens from the Government and to allow them to speak out against the Government without fear of retribution. However, in today’s world, many people think it can be used for or against anything.

Recently, Janice Daniels, the Mayor of Troy, was criticized for comments she made on Facebook in June - before she was even elected as the Mayor. Her initial comments were along the lines of tossing out her “I Love NY” tote bag because “queers” can get married there. She has been very open about the fact that she believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and has never apologized for her remarks. While I believe she should be allowed to make whatever comments she wants and have any beliefs she wants, as an elected public official she needs to be more aware of when, where, and how she says certain things. Public officials, especially elected ones, are usually held to a higher standard.

Now all of the turmoil from her tote bag comment had pretty much simmered down and been put on the back burner, until this week. Mayor Daniels met with a group of students who are advocates for gay students at Troy High School. The group was set to plan a forum on bullying and tolerance, and the Mayor was assisting in the organizing of the event. Students who were present at the meeting have said the Mayor suggested bringing in a panel of psychologists to discuss and testify that homosexuality is a mental disease.

Again, I want to stress, while I believe she has the right to her own opinions, she should keep them private amongst family and close friends. I certainly don’t feel it is appropriate to tell a bunch of people at a forum on bullying that being gay is a mental disease. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? In the best interests of the community, I think it would be appropriate for Mayor Daniels to resign.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Are your neighborhood street lights out?

I felt that with all of the recent accidents involving pedestrians lately it would be a good time to bring this up.  The streetlights that you see in your neighborhoods and surrounding areas are there for 2 very important reasons to provide safety of pedestrians and act as a deterrence of crime.

The first reason, providing safety, is very important to walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and others of all ages, from kids walking to school all the way to neighbors getting to and from the local businesses.  These streetlights allow motorists a better chance at seeing pedestrians and also allow the pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings.

The other reason, deterrence of crime, is very important for all of the property owners in the area.  One of the first things they talk about in crime prevention classes and neighborhood watch classes is that areas have adequate lighting.  If you think about this for a minute from a criminals stand point what looks more inviting, an area that is dark and easy to move around in or an area that is very well lit up and you are more likely to be seen moving around?  If the area is lit up you have a better chance of not having your house or business and vehicles broken into.

I have a few suggestions that you can do to help you, your neighbors, and others that depend on the safety and security provided by area streetlights.  If you see street lights out in your neighborhood and you live in an area with electricity provided by DTE Energy you can simply go to the Street Light Trouble Reporting page and report it there in 5 easy steps.  If you live in an area that does not have electricity provided by DTE Energy or would rather pass it on to someone else, I urge you to call you local Village, City, or Twp offices and give them as much info as you can, so they can report it.

Remember the streetlights in your neighborhood are their not only for your safety and security, but everyone in that area.  I ask you please take a few minutes and follow the steps and report lights out in your area.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is the warm winter good or bad?

Today (Friday January 6th), was an awesome day to enjoy!  The temperature rose into the middle 50's, people were out walking around without coats, golfing, taking down the Christmas displays, etc...  While the weather was great for all of us to spend quality time outdoors and start thinking Detroit Tigers baseball is just around the corner, it is not good overall.

Many businesses rely on the cold temperatures, tons of snow, and other related winter time weather conditions to survive.  Not only the ski hills and trails like Mt. Holly in Groveland Twp or Alpine Valley in White Lake Twp, but also your snowplowing companies, Oakland County Parks, and other businesses.

It effects alot in the long run as well, let me explain.  For example, if we don't get alot of snow, then the slopes and lodges are not open, which mean those employees are not getting paid and skiers are not flocking to the areas to not only spend money on the slopes, but also at other local businesses.  As it continues the other area businesses that depend on the increased in traffic, may have to layoff employees or close up, and the cycle keeps going and going and going which will never help improve the local economy.

In a bigger picture, if we dont get alot of snow, then water levels will likely drop, which then means decreased shipping traffic on the Great Lakes, which inturn leads to higher prices for the consumers.  See, so as much as we like the warm spring like days (like today), if they were to continue it means nothing but trouble in the long run.  Now I am not saying, we need feet upon feet of snow, but some would definitely be nice.

Friday, January 6, 2012

a wonderful Mexican restaurant...

The other day, my wife and I were discussing where to go for dinner. A friend recommended that we try a restaurant called Mi Zarape. Mi Zarape is a Mexican restaurant that is located at 3800 Centerpoint Parkway in Pontiac. They are just west of Opdyke and north of Square Lake.

When we got there, we were quickly greeted by the host and shown to a booth. A few seconds later the waiter came by to get our drink orders and quickly returned. We ordered 2 dinners and a short time later they were on our table ready to be feasted upon. When it was time to pay up the prices were very reasonable, we each had a meal and a drink and the bill was under $20.

Since this was our first visit there, I don’t know if one can always expect the same speed and quality of the staff, but we will definitely be going back again in the future. If you are interested in checking them out they have coupons and a menu available on line and if you are ever in the area stop by and check them out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mental Health Reform is needed

Last state operated facility in the area was closed in 1997 and demolished in 2000

In order to help save the State of Michigan money, the State started closing state owned and operated mental health hospitals and centers.  Since 1981, over 25 facilities have been shuttered with more than 2/3 of the closings coming under former Gov. Engler's watch.  Currently, only a handful of these facilities exist state wide, none being in the Oakland County area.

The State thought mental health patients could be better handled at a local level and formed more than 45 community mental health organizations across Michigan.  While the state thought community housing and local hospitals could handle the load of patients, that couldn't be further from the truth.  Many mental health patients end up in homeless shelters, walking the streets, or in jails.  Most commonly, the ones who do make it into a group home in your community are poorly supervised and sometimes even left unattended.

While the State tries to do its best, funding for community mental health varies drastically from agency to agency and the formula for funding distribution is in desperate need of updating.  Due to big cuts in funding and lack of quality resources, I do not see the system changing anytime soon, leaving much needed help unattainable for the patients.

What goes unrecognized is the burden this puts on local resources.  When patients are left unsupervised in group homes, they sometimes walk away and go unnoticed for hours.  When they finally are noticed missing, the caretaker calls the police, tying up officers from patrolling the streets.  If they are located, usually the local fire and EMS agencies are called to check the patient and decide if they require hospital care - again tying up local responders.  Sometimes private EMS agencies or local fire departments end up transporting the same patient several times a week to and from the hospital and from facility to facility.  Some patients even live on their own, which can be a burden to local dispatchers because they go into a state of mind where all they may want to do is talk to someone, and they know someone is at the 911 center 24/7.

I am not saying all mental health patients need to be locked up in an asylum, I am simply stating there needs to be a better system in place, more funding made available, and we need to develop a better way to track the more challenging patients.  Had such measures been in place, we may not have recently lost a local hero.

Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority
Michigan Department of Community Health