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