Macomb Matters February 2023 Issue 86
- Message from Mark
- Employee Focus
- Employee Accolades
- New Hires/Retirees
- In Memory
- Walk For Warmth to help Macomb County residents facing heat-related emergencies
- HealthStyles Happenings
- MSUE Corner
- Low-priced trees, plants and shrubs available through Macomb County sale
- A message from Andy McKinnon
- For Your Benefit
- Providing support by keeping it casual
- Macomb County Animal Control Adoption of the Month
- MMYH Ambassadors
- IT Download
- Paw Print
- Recipe Corner
- Blog Log
- News Nook
Click for a pdf of Macomb Matters
Message from Mark
Welcome to Macomb Matters, our employee newsletter that puts a spotlight on the programs that make Macomb County a great place to live, work and play, and the people who make all that possible. I’m talking about our County workforce – the public servants who work on behalf of the residents of our 27 communities. Oftentimes these individuals are behind-the-scenes, but these last few months we’ve seen some of our employees receive recognition for the important work they do.
For instance, Deputy Thorne and Deputy Parisek from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office recently received widespread media attention for their response to a motorist in need. A driver in distress asked for help, and a hug, and our deputies provided just that. They showed understanding, and offered support when this individual needed it the most. I was so proud to see this, and even more proud to see the coverage this story received – even reaching CNN. Now people all over the country will see Macomb County employees as they truly are: Kind and caring people who go above and beyond for the residents they serve.
So as I’ve said before in this message, thank you. Whether you’re responding to an emergency, helping a local business apply for a grant or delivering a hot meal to a homebound senior, your work matters and it makes a difference. I am proud to be a part of this team and feel honored that I get to come into work here every day.
Take care and stay safe,
Meet Sue Newton, maintenance supervisor for Facilities and Operations.
There is a good chance you have already met, or seen, Sue Newton, maintenance supervisor, in your building. Sue was hired in 1994 as a housekeeper by the Facilities and Operations department. “At the time there was a cafeteria called the Scott Sandwich Shop located in the basement of the court building,” she said. “While working there I got to know a lot of the Macomb County employees and learned that the County was a good place to work, with friendly employees and excellent benefits. I also held a second job at McDonald’s and there I met Lynn Arnott-Bryks, director. She recommended that I apply for a County job. The rest is history.”
Over the years Sue has been promoted to a custodian, groundskeeper (the only female groundskeeper on staff), foreman and in 2022, maintenance supervisor. As maintenance supervisor, Sue supervises over 40 employees.
“I really enjoy working at the County, it has been a great experience,” she said “Everyone is nice and the benefits helped raise my family”. Sue is celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary this year and has four children - two boys and two girls - and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 19 to 15 months. “Being a grandmother is the best thing in my life”.
If you visit Sue’s office located in the Verkuilen Building, you will see that she is a fan of purple. Purple mugs, pens, flowers, folders and a mouse pad decorate the space. “When I was a child my grandmother had a lilac bush and I loved the smell of lilacs. Being surrounded by purple reminds me of her house”.
“When Sue was promoted to maintenance supervisor she hit the ground running,” said Ben Treppa, deputy director, Facilities and Operations. “Sue has a ‘can-do' attitude and is quick to problem solve. Although she’s a supervisor, it's not uncommon to see Sue working right alongside the custodial staff. She is a leader, always willing to listen and learn. We are thankful to have her in our department!”
Macomb County offices and departments come together for holiday gift donations
Departments and offices across Macomb County came together during the holidays to help those in need. This includes:
- Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, which adopted a family through Turning Point, a local organization that empowers survivors of domestic and sexual violence through comprehensive services, resources and advocacy. The team provided essential items like coats and bedding, and delivered several ‘dream gifts’ as well.
- Macomb County MSU Extension, which made a special delivery to Macomb County Animal Control. The donation, consisting of food, cleaning supplies, toys and newspaper for the shelter’s animals, was the result of a month-long collection held at the MSUE Clinton Township and Warren offices and centered on the theme: “Give thanks with a grateful heart.”
- Macomb County Emergency Management, which collected about 200 toys for the Salvation Army with a committee of first responders.
- Macomb County Veteran Services, which hosted Operation Christmas.
- Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, which continued its annual toy collection and gift card giveaway.
On behalf of the Macomb Matters team - thank you for your efforts!
Did we miss your department's project? Please email email@example.com and let us know!
Jennifer Frounfelker earns a bachelor’s degree
Congratulations to Jennifer Frounfelker, human resources assistant, for earning her bachelor’s degree! During the COVID-19 lockdown in the summer of 2020, she decided to take advantage of the AFSCME Union Plus program* to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree (Business Administration with a concentration in Management). As a wife and mother of two boys, this is no small accomplishment. When asked what motivated her, Jennifer said: “This is a personal goal I have had for years but obligations and time restraints kept delaying it. The online bachelor’s degree program provided the flexibility I needed to achieve this goal while continuing to meet work and family commitments. Obtaining my degree will allow me to advance in both my career and personal goals.” Her supervisor Jennifer Smiley, Macomb County benefits administrator, said: “Jennifer has worked with us for several years and has always been a great asset to our team. Our whole HR department would like to congratulate her on this awesome accomplishment.”
*If you are an AFSCME member and would like to learn more about the educational opportunities that may be available to you, please contact your union representative.
Macomb County MSU Extension educator provides food safety advice to national publications
Macomb County Michigan State University Extension is proud to share that Ghaida Batarseh Havern, an extension educator for food safety with Michigan State University Extension's Health and Nutrition Institute, recently provided food safety advice to two nationally acclaimed publications.
The first article, published on December 23, 2022, is in a PBS News Hour feature titled “The food science behind what makes leftovers tasty (or not)” by Bella Isaacs-Thomas. In the article, Ms. Havern is quoted advising that leftover food should be reheated to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and directs readers to the USDA’s FoodKeeper app available at www.foodsafety.gov.
The second article, published on January 4, 2023, is a MarthaStewart.com article written by Kristen Nunez titled “Here's How Long Cooked Foods Can Stay Unrefrigerated, According to Food Safety Experts.” In this article, Ms. Havern is quoted about the need to keep prepared food out of the temperature danger zone (which is between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) as well as the importance of ensuring leftovers get placed into the refrigerator timely and not left out at room temperature for long periods of time.
“We are thrilled to know that Ghaida’s wealth of knowledge, her outreach classes regarding food safety and food preservation and her published articles are becoming more recognized,” said Edward Scott, district director for MSU Extension’s Macomb and Oakland counties. “She is an absolute asset to Macomb County’s residents and business communities.”
Public Works employee saves cat
Macomb County Public Works was proud to share that Jenay, a soil erosion inspector saved the life of a young cat found with three paws frozen to the ground.
Jenay was conducting routine site development inspections when she noticed the cat in a new subdivision to be built. Not knowing how the cat might respond to contact, Jenay put on gloves and quickly put towels on the female cat, then poured water around its paws to melt the ice. After about five minutes, she was able to free the cat and carried it to her vehicle.
The cat had no collar or tags. Jenay wrapped her in two extra coats she keeps in her vehicle, placed her in a milk crate on the vehicle’s floor, and turned the heat on high. Jenay took her lunch break to buy cat food, which the calm cat – whose tail appeared frozen -- gobbled down while sitting in Jenay’s lap.
After completing her rounds with the cat appearing alert and calm, Jenay brought it to the Public Works building where a fellow employee checked it outdoors for fleas and mites, fortunately finding none.
Jenay brought home the cat. A veterinarian who examined the feline said the cat is between 1 and 2 years old and appeared to be in shock but otherwise in good health. A scan showed the cat did not have a microchip that otherwise would indicate ownership.
Jenay is keeping the cat, which she has named “Freezy.”
“We’re very proud of Jenay. There’s little doubt whether the cat would have survived much longer on the coldest day of the season,” Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller said. “It may have been feral, but we’d like to remind dog and cat owners to keep their pets inside during very cold weather.”
Prior to the day she spotted Freezy, Jenay had initially planned to travel to Texas but canceled that day. Being in the right place at a critical time was no coincidence, Jenay said. “It was meant to be,” she said.
Is there someone in your office who deserves a “pat on the back” for an outstanding achievement? If so, please let the Macomb Matters committee know about it! Email Maria.firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
The Macomb Matters team would like to congratulate Anne Page on her retirement.
Tell us about the different positions you held during your time with the County.
When I started at the County in 2004 I was hired as an analyst/programmer. I assisted on numerous projects which allowed me to work with the various departments within the County. In 2008 I was promoted to a business systems analyst and continued to assist on various projects. In 2013 I was promoted to project manager during which time I completed my master's degree in IT management and was assigned to assist Finance, Human Resources and the Treasurer's Office with their IT needs and to manage various projects.
What will you miss most about working for Macomb County?
I liked working with all the departments and developing relationships with the staff in each department. It is interesting to learn what each department does to support the County.
What are you most proud of during your career with Macomb County?
The County has evolved over my tenure to embrace technology and I am glad to be a part of those projects.
What are your post retirement plans?
I will be embracing my inner artist. I have been painting for a few years and in January of this year I entered one of my paintings in the Anton Art Works Small Canvas Exhibit. It was accepted as part of the exhibit and was purchased during the exhibit. I am also a vendor at The Nest in Mt Clemens where I will be selling my paintings. I paint on a variety of surfaces, wood, canvas and glass. I will also be offering painting classes later this year at a storefront next to The Nest available for rent.
Any other words of wisdom to share?
When I am painting, I have to sometimes stop and take a step back and let the paint dry. The painting takes on a different perspective when you look at it a second time after the paint has dried. I think this can also apply in life. When working on an issue or a challenge, take a step back and then re-visit. You will often find a different perspective on how to resolve what you are working on.
Congratulations Anne! Best wishes for your exciting post-retirement career!
Mount Clemens native Crystal Bouissi served her hometown well. In her role as Macomb County Community Mental Health (MCCMH) Director of Community and Behavioral Health Services and throughout her career with the County’s mental health team, she built strong relationships with the people we serve. As of January 15, 2023 Crystal retired from MCCMH.
Her time at MCCMH has been filled with hard work and service. Crystal’s path to mental health leadership started in 2001 when she joined MCCMH as a supports coordinator. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from Wayne State University, which required a tenure interning at Common Ground, and while working full-time and raising her son Malik.
Crystal then served as a case manager, rising through the ranks and eventually being named director in November 2019. Her career flourished, aided by her empathy for the people and families served and her team members, enabling her to build strong relationships with both.
Crystal is proud of those relationships. “When I see people I once served succeed, it warms my heart,” she said. “For example, I worked with a child who was on the spectrum, non-speaking at age four, and recently I saw his mother at the grocery store and learned he was working, driving and applying to Macomb Community College. Stories like that make it all worthwhile.”
On a personal note, she is a proud mother of a soon to be college graduate. When Crystal completed her MSW work, she enrolled Malik in the Eastside Cowboys youth football program, and volunteered her time as well. Fifteen years later, she is still active with the organization, serving on the Cowboys Athletic Association Executive Board as secretary, providing oversight and direction for their youth football and cheer programs. Crystal also serves as a certified players safety coach, monitoring children for signs of concussion at competitions, games and other events.
With a variety of passions and interests, Crystal looks forward to her next chapter. While her enthusiasm, dedication and energy will be missed, the Macomb Matters team wishes Crystal the best of luck, and thanks her for her leadership and service!
Click here for a list of New Hires/Retirees
In memoriam: Jeff Ball
It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Jeff Ball. Jeff was hired as a carpenter for Facilities and Operations in 2014. Throughout Jeff's career with Macomb County, he spent most of this time taking care of carpentry needs in the Macomb County Jail. Ben Treppa, deputy director of Facilities and Operations, shared that Jeff was a great asset to the team. He was a great carpenter, a friend to many and he got along with everyone around him. Jeff will definitely be missed.
Jeff leaves behind a wife and two daughters. At this time there are no formal memorial service plans to share. Please keep Jeff's family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time in their lives.
In memoriam: Lori Ferdig
We are saddened to share that Friend of the Court employee Lori Ferdig passed away. Lori leaves behind a husband, children and a grandchild who sweetly called her Yaya.
Lori started with the Friend of the Court on May 19, 2003. She was a long-time member of the cashiers department and was eventually promoted to the supervisor. Lori was described by a coworker as the friendliest person you would ever meet and was ALWAYS smiling, no matter what.
Tom Blohm, Friend of the Court director, shared that Lori had a wonderful way of dealing with the public and fellow employees, was both friendly and compassionate. Like her sister Tammy, who is also a Friend of the Court supervisor, she was very conscientious and dedicated to helping the families of our county. Lori will be missed tremendously by her Friend of the Court family.
A beautiful tribute has been written about Lori and is available at:
In memoriam: Ken Webb
Ken Webb passed away on February 22, 2023. He worked for the Department of Roads for almost 26 years and was the traffic supervisor, where he and his team maintained one of the most technologically advanced traffic systems in the State.
Ken was married and the father of two daughters. He has been described as always quick with a smile, joke or funny story, up-beat and well-liked by everyone. He was a gifted communicator, an advocate for his staff and he was a diligent worker who was always interested in learning new things.
Department of Roads Director Bryan Santo shared that "Ken was more than just a coworker and colleague. He was truly a friend and family member of the department. Ken always did what it took to get the job done and he will truly be missed."
Please keep his family and our Department of Roads family in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. Find tributes and additional information: https://www.vickfuneralhome.com/obituary/kenneth-webb.
Walk For Warmth to help Macomb County residents facing heat-related emergencies
Registration is now open for Macomb Community Action’s 33rd annual Walk for Warmth 2023 (#W4W2023). This self-paced walk supports income-eligible Macomb County residents in need of assistance during the winter months. All funds raised during the event stay in Macomb County, assisting families and individuals with heat-related emergencies. These emergencies can include paying a utility bill or replacing a broken furnace.
“I am proud to see the return of Walk for Warmth and grateful for the organizers and participants who make it possible to host the event year after year,” said County Executive Mark Hackel. “I hope you’ll join me as a participant so we can raise funds to help our neighbors in need.”
Due to COVID-19 precautions, Walk for Warmth 2023 will again be held virtually, at the discretion of the walker, at a location of their choice from Saturday, March 4 to Saturday, March 11, 2023.
“Every year, Macomb County residents and employees show up for one another by committing to Walk for Warmth, raising funds for their neighbors in need,” said Julie Hintz, Program Manager, Macomb Community Action, Action Centers. “As the COVID pandemic continues to have negative ramifications on our most vulnerable families, our 33rd Annual Walk for Warmth is more important than ever.”
“Macomb Community Action is thankful for the outpouring of community support throughout the pandemic,” stated Hintz. “We are beyond grateful for the support of our Walk for Warmth community sponsors and the individuals that will pledge their support this year.”
Since it began, Walk for Warmth has raised over $770,000 that has helped local families stay warm in their homes throughout the winter. In 2022 alone, the event helped support over 25 households with electric and/or natural gas assistance. It also assisted 5 households with furnace repairs and replacements.
Participants who pledge to walk are encouraged to take selfies and photos throughout their experience, and share them using hashtag #W4W2023 and tagging Macomb Community Action on Facebook (@MacombCommunityAction). The first 100 walkers to sign up will receive a Walk for Warmth magnet. Macomb County employees receive a discounted rate by clicking ‘employee’ when registering.
For more information about Walk for Warmth 2023, or to sponsor this event, please visitmca.macombgov.org/mca-W4W.
The Healthstyles committee jumpstarted 2023 with a virtual chair yoga on January 18. The 20 participants, who joined remotely, had great things to say about the event. Based on their positive feedback, Healthstyles intends to invite the instructor Dana, with the W Buchanan Group, to come back for another session. If creating some balance (physical and emotional) in your life is one of your goals for 2023, this class can help with that.
Other areas of focus for the committee in 2023 will include financial management and mental health wellness. Keep an eye on your emails for more information. And if you have some suggestions for Healthstyles events you think would be interesting, please email the Healthstyles committee at email@example.com.
Calling all fishermen and fisherwomen!
Spring fishery workshops offer current research and information related to the status of the Great Lakes fishery.
A Southeast Michigan Fisheries Workshop, covering Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, will be held on April 12, 2023 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the VerKuilen Building in MSU Extension Assembly Rooms A and B, 21885 Dunham Road, Clinton Township. Registration is required by April 11.
This workshop is part of a series of evening and regional workshops designed to provide valuable information for anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and interested community members. The workshops are offered annually by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local fishery organizations. Other upcoming workshops in this series are:
- Lake Huron: Open Water (April 11)
- Lake Huron: Saginaw Bay (April 13)
- Southern Lake Michigan (April 20)
- Lake Huron: Les Cheneaux and St. Mary’s River (May 4)
Workshops include information and status updates on topics such as fish populations and angler catch data, forage or prey fish surveys, offshore fisheries and open water fisheries, as well as updates on fisheries management activities, citizen science opportunities for anglers, and a variety of other topics of interest based on specific regions.
For more information, contact Extension Program Worker Angela Scapini at (586) 469-5060.
Online learning opportunities in gardening
Spring is the perfect time to start preparations for your garden. MSU Extension has two online programs for individuals who are looking to enhance their knowledge about growing plants. The Extension Master Gardener Program is returning as a 10-week online program that includes self-paced content and live lectures on Thursday evenings. This course, known as Foundations of Gardening, covers all aspects of plants from woody ornamentals to vegetables to soil science. Those who complete the course are eligible to apply and become an Extension Master Gardener, a volunteer who is active at garden sites that offer science-based education across Macomb County. For more information about the Foundations of Gardening Course and registration click here. The course costs $350, and partial scholarships are available.
If you are a gardener who is more focused on growing fruit or thinking about starting with berries, apples or peaches, MSU also has an online self-paced course tailored to beginning home fruit growers. While fruit trees and bushes are a more labor-intensive type of gardening, the reward of good-quality fruit for eating or preserving is hard to beat. Spring is the best time of year to plant bare-root fruit trees, and this course provides an excellent option for deciding the right fruit plant to grow and the steps required to keep plants healthy. Backyard Fruit 101 is $30 and provides a basic overview of getting a site ready for fruit production and the type of annual maintenance that is required.
Photo 1: The Demo Garden outside of the VerKuilen Building in Clinton Township is cared for by Extension Master Gardeners.
Photo 2: An apple tree blooms in May at the Max Thompson Family Resource Center in Warren.
Article by David Lowenstein, PhD, Consumer Horticulture supervising extension educator
Win some money and learn financial awareness with MSUE Smart Money contests
April is National Financial Literacy Month, and in celebration of that, Michigan State University Extension 4-H is holding Smart Money Contests. Michigan Youth can win cash prizes by competing in the Cash Composition Contest or the Show Your Money Smarts Contest throughout April.
“These Smart Money Contests are not only a great opportunity for Michigan youth to win money, but also a fun way to learn about financial literacy,” said Kathy Jamieson, MSU Extension educator. “We encourage all youth residing in Michigan who are between the ages of 9-19 to participate in the Cash Composition Contest or the Show Your Money Smarts Contest.”
Michigan youth between the ages of 9-12 (as of Jan. 1, 2023) can participate in the Cash Composition Contest. In this contest, kids can win money by writing a 300-word (or less) essay on the topic of needs and wants. Five finalists will each receive a $100 gift card provided by Extra Credit Union. Michigan youth between the ages of 14-19 can participate in the Show Your Money Smarts Contest sponsored by Michigan Credit Union Foundation. In this fifth annual contest, teens will compete in this 30-question online quiz taking place during the month of April. High scoring youth will be entered into a cash prize drawing to win $25 gift cards. Teachers, librarians and other youth development professionals can also win $25 a gift card if a non-related youth you referred to the contest wins.
The contests will take place throughout the month of April and will be entirely online. Entry and submission for the Cash Composition Contest must be completed here by April 30, 2023. Show Your Money Smart Contest registration must be completed here by April 13, 2023.
For more information, please contact Kathy Jamieson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Laurie Rivetto at rivettoL@msu.edu.
Low-priced trees, plants and shrubs available through Macomb County sale
Green Macomb and the Blue Water Conservation District have announced the return of their annual tree and plant sale, an opportunity for the public to purchase young trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, wildflower seed and other fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. The sale is now open and will run through Thursday, April 6. Interested individuals can visit green.macombgov.org to browse available stock, place their orders and make payments.
“We created this tree and plant sale seven years ago to help us reach our goal of increasing tree canopy in Macomb County,” said Gerard Santoro, program director for Macomb County Parks and Natural Resources. “The response from residents has been tremendous. So we are proud to once again offer this to our community, providing an affordable opportunity for homeowners to spruce up their gardens and green spaces for spring and summer.”
Items available for order include paper birch, black cherry, norway spruce, red osier dogwood, douglas fir and many more choices. Prices range from $7 to $25 while supplies last.
“As always, we will have an incredible offering with a range of products,” Santoro said. “But ultimately, we just want our customers to know that they are investing in a resource with real benefits – like increasing property values and reducing home energy usage.”
All items purchased can be picked up in person or shipped to your home. There will be two pick-up locations in Macomb County:
- April 25 and 26 - Armada Fairgrounds
- April 28 and 29 - Clinton Township Civic Center
A limited stock of trees and plants will be available for purchase on site.
Since the sale began seven years ago, more than 100,000 trees and plants have been purchased by residents, businesses and communities throughout Macomb County. For more information on the tree and plant sale, visit the Green Macomb website.
From the heart: A message from Andy McKinnon
As I write this month’s message it is February 14, 2023. Of course it is a day that so many people look forward to, arrangements are made for dinners, flowers, cards and candy are purchased. I even hear that some people who don’t work in the public sector actually buy their partner jewelry on a day like today.
Unfortunately, though, today isn’t a happy or joyful day and it’s a day that multiple families will look at again and again as a day they wish they either never woke up on, or wish they could wake up from. While there will be endless talk of high minded solutions or the pointing of fingers, I don’t think this article is the place for that.
When I arrived at work this morning I had an opportunity to speak with Al Lorenzo. For those who don’t know Al, he works in our office and is always deeply thinking about issues from a perspective not usually considered. This morning, he kept focusing on the word LOVE. Not healing, not coping, not moving forward, not reflecting, but LOVE. Not because it's February 14, but because we all have just witnessed the converse of that in East Lansing.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the initial definition of Love is a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” I won’t go on as some of the definitions are not fit to print in this article. But the initial definition is the definition I thought of when I listened to Al. We can’t heal without Love, we can’t recover without Love, we can’t be resilient without Love. It is only through kinship and personal ties that we can hope to live a life of fulfillment because a life of solitude, while inviting during certain seasons of our lives, is not a full life.
I hope during this season, where spring is around the corner and the tulips and daffodils are only weeks away, we think about Love. Love for our colleagues, Love for our constituents and just in general Love for each other. As the Beatles sang All you need is love…… Thanks Al for the reminder, especially on a day like today.
For Your Benefit
Negotiations completed for 2023-2025 contracts
As you may know, Macomb County has recently completed negotiations with a number of its unions. For those agreements, which are effective January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2025, there were significant gains in salaries and benefits. Every pay grade received at least a 5% increase in pay and additional increases were agreed to for 2024 and 2025. Fringe benefits were enhanced, including the following:
- Payment of excess sick leave, at the time of retirement or DROP, up to 440 hours of unused sick leave will be paid out upon separation from the County
- Payment of unused sick leave for employees in the Defined Contribution upon separation of employment, after 5 years of continuous full time service
- Expanded eligibility of family members for bereavement time and sick leave
- Juneteenth (June 19) as a designated yearly holiday
- Increased eligibility for participation in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). The vesting requirement of December 31, 2012, was eliminated. Beginning in January 2023, any employee who is a member of the Macomb County Employees’ Retirement System may voluntarily elect to participate in the DROP.
The new contracts will be published online as soon as the drafts are completed, approved and signed. This can take several weeks, due to the number of unions whose contracts are renewed. If you have any questions about the specific changes that apply to you, please contact your union representative.
Many of these changes will also be implemented for non-union employees and the Human Resources policies are also currently being revised.
Providing support by keeping it casual
The Board of Commissioners has announced the continuation of the Macomb County Casual Day Charitable Collections Program. Participating employees (with department leader permission) may wear casual clothing to work on Fridays (or other designated day), if they donate at least a dollar. Participating departments will be monitored, and donations are sent in a timely fashion. Collected donations are then sent by the Board Office to the assigned charities.
The BOC recently announced the full list of programs it will support in 2023. Stay tuned for additional announcements on the topic, and in the meantime, if you are able, please participate in the upcoming Casual Days that will help:
March 3, 10, 17, 24
Charity: Friends of Foster Kids
Providing immediate needs to children that have been removed from unsafe environments.
Special: March 31
Programs for individuals with autism and their families.
April 7, 14, 21, 29
The Resolution Center
Supports the peaceful resolution of disputes for Macomb County residents, businesses and schools.
Macomb County Animal Control Adoption of the Month - February
Pictured are just a few of the many animals who found a home with the help of Macomb County Animal Control! Is your companion waiting for you? Pay a visit to the shelter and find out! Visit the website for more information about pets available for adoption, information about the adoption process and hours of operation.
MMYH Ambassador - Take a quiz, win a prize!
Welcome back to the MMYH Ambassadors column! This edition will feature an important initiative from Human Resources and Labor Relations: The More Than a Job hiring campaign.
The campaign is built around the idea that working for Macomb County is ‘More Than a Job.’ It’s a career with purpose, a way to give back to the community, a new start - truly, it’s whatever you want it to be. The goal is to promote the great jobs and benefits offered by the County, and HRLR is achieving this by sharing real employee narratives. You can find their stories here.
A few things to note about the initiative:
- Macomb County is hiring. Help HRLR promote this by sharing the Career Opportunities page with your friends, family and connections.
- Macomb County offers part-time and full-time positions. This means that there are options for people at all stages of life. From retirees or parents looking to rejoin the workforce, to young professionals, and everyone in between, there’s an opportunity for everyone at the County.
- For eligible positions, Macomb County offers great benefits. From health care with no premiums to paid time off, our benefits are top-notch. Another reason why those looking for employment should consider the County.
Now - think you’re ready to complete the ambassador quiz and win some great County swag? Click here to get started and stay tuned for the next issue, where we’ll cover a new topic.
A message from Jako van Blerk: Be vigilant in recognizing irregularities during tax season
Know the signs of identity theft
You may not know you’re a victim of identity theft until you’re notified by the IRS of a possible issue with your return. Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if:
- You get a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
- You can’t e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
- You get a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
- You get an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name.
- You get an IRS notice that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled when you took no action.
- You get an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.
- You’ve been assigned an Employer Identification Number but you did not request an EIN.
Take action if you are a victim
There are steps you can take, recommended by the IRS, if your Social Security number or other personal information is compromised:
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice: Call the number provided.
- If your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number, or if the IRS instructs you to do so, complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft AffidavitPDF. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail your return according to instructions.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov for steps you should take right away to protect yourself and your financial accounts.
If you are interested in more information, please continue to read the article in the link that follows:
Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
The IRS will never:
- Initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information.
- Call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests.
- Call, email or text to request taxpayers’ Identity Protection PINs.
Helpful hint in case your identity has been compromised: The IRS recommends that if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.
Greetings from Chief Randazzo!
Holy smokes, it’s been a busy year already! On January 21, 2023, we hosted the Betty White Birthday Bash, and successfully placed 12 of our residents. From February 9 to February 15, Bissell Pet Foundation sponsored adoption fees for their Adopt Your Valentine campaign and we homed 16 animals. And on Saturday, February 11, we hosted our Tailgate Adoption event, where five animals claimed their families. We were thrilled that one of our longer term residents, Duke, was adopted on his 100th day in the shelter. You can see Duke’s happy home-going on our Tik-Tok channel.
We still have quite a few residents looking for their forever homes, including some Anatolian Shepherd mix puppies. If you’re interested, please visit our Adoptions page for answers to our frequently asked questions, and then go to our Petfinder page.
If you can’t bring a new family member into your home on a permanent basis but would like to support our mission, there are several other ways to help:
- Donate through the Macomb County Animal Welfare Fund. We also maintain a wishlist on Amazon if you would like to donate specific items.
- Foster a pet. Provide a temporary home. It relieves some of the stress animals feel while they’re in a shelter. And knowing that our residents are in loving, if temporary, homes. Need more information? You’ll find it and an application on our Foster page.
- Volunteer. We can always use more helpers. Get more information about volunteering as well as the volunteer application on our Volunteer page. You’ll get a lot of love from our residents and appreciation from our staff, as well as a behind the scenes look at what we do.
If you’d like to see the business end of what we do but you can’t volunteer, you can watch our Youtube show, On Patrol with Animal Control. These episodes are a true reflection of what we do, and some of them show animals in distress, so when you sit down for an episode, please be prepared. Viewer discretion is advised.
Until next time!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1 1/2 teaspoons margarine or butter
- 2 cups low-sodium broth (any type)
- 2 cups chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup nonfat or 1% milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Serving size: 1 cup
Servings per container: 4
Saturated fat……………... 3g
Wash hands and all food preparation surfaces.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, saute onion and carrot in margarine or butter until onions begin to brown.
- Add broth and broccoli. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- In another container, slowly stir the milk into the flour until smooth. Stir the milk mixture into the soup.
- Bring to a boil and continue stirring until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes.
- Add cheese and pepper. Heat over low heat until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Recipe provided by: Food Hero, Oregon State University Extension, foodhero.org
Download a PDF version
Economic Development team advises community to shop local for Valentine’s Day
Macomb County receives $150K grant to eliminate ‘daycare deserts’
5 date night ideas sure to stir up the romance in Macomb County
Do you have comments or suggestions for Macomb Matters? Please send them to email@example.com