Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel is featured in a new movie set to premiere at the end of the month

“Some things are best left alone. The history of mankind is full of stories of people on a journey of self-discovery. Only some journeys don’t lead to the enlightenment that was sought. The human mind can experience some of the most amazing phenomenon. The problem is when you try to define those experiences as real or not.”

Urban Myths is a Psychological/Suspense/Paranormal Thriller that will promises to take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s a journey of self-discovery. It’s about family, friendship, sisterhood, instinct, light versus dark, growth, love and loss. A tale of the story of the two wolves, one represents good and the other evil, and the choice everyone is faced in choosing.

The story twists and turns as it follows a group of high school seniors that embark on a spring break camping trip to investigate the myths they had been researching with their history teacher. They set off searching for some of Michigan’s most chilling myths and legends of the paranormal kind. During their trip, they stumble on to to haunted burial grounds and get more than they bargained for when some of the group start to vanish. In their journey, they come across more than just myths.

The writer/director/producer of the film, Kim Marie, is a Michigan native and showcases some of best Michigan has to offer, along with an all-star cast including Courtney Gains, Joe Estevez, Will Wallace, Lou Ferrigno, Sophie Simmons, Natalie Kabenjian, Greg Wayans, Kassandra Voyagis, Lovlee Carroll, Riley Bodenstab, Lucas Adams, and Kaya Rosenthal.

The red carpet premiere, a benefit for The Rainbow Connection, will take place Friday, September 29th at 6:00 p.m. at the Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak Michigan. The Rainbow Connection, is a worthy organization that makes dreams come true for Michigan children with life threatening illnesses and provides support services to their families.

A limited number of VIP Tickets are available for $100 and include reserved seating, special VIP lanyards, a swag bag, and the after-glow party with a cast and crew meet and greet. General Admission tickets are $50. For more information or to purchase visit www.rainbowconnection.org.

To learn more information about Executive Hackel’s involvement – including an one-on-one interview with him and director Kim Marie – and a peek at the official movie trailer, check out executive.macombgov.org/executive-urbanmyth

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Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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Where in Macomb County should I go for fresh produce?

pumpkinBased on the weather this week, it seems like summer decided to make an appearance just in time for the calendar to say Happy Fall on Friday at 4:02 p.m.!  Many people enjoy the fall season.  It brings everything from sweatshirt weather, football, apples and cider mills, to pumpkin everything; there is so much to see and do this time a year.

can-tomatoesOne of my favorite parts of the fall is the harvest.  Having been raised in a farming family, we spend our weekends tending to the garden and then canning and preserving our fruits and vegetables.  The canning list is long: peaches, pears, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, salsa, carrots, beets, green bean, peppers and anything else we decide to try.  We also have the traditional corn freezing party along with heading to the backyard to pick apples from our tree for homemade apple sauce. My grandma’s applesauce recipe is the best! This all seems like a lot of work, which it is, but come winter, the reward pays off with every meal that is made with the plentiful work of our garden.

Now, not everyone is able to have a huge garden that sits on a couple acres of land. So, we want to hear from you. What is your favorite roadside stand in Macomb County?  Is it the farmer that sells his fresh corn on the corner of 30 mile and Gratiot? Do you head to a farm like the Altermatt Farms that opens their doors to sell their home grown produce? Or do you prefer to head to one of our several Farmers Markets across the county?

We want to make a list of the best places to get produce in Macomb County.

Ready…Set. . .Go!

Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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Do you have two hours to make a huge difference in the life of a homebound senior citizen?

Many people know that Meals on Wheels is a food delivery service for the homebound. However, what some may not know is how impactful the moments of contact between the volunteer and the recipient can be. For many seniors, the volunteer who drops off their meal is the only person they will see that day. The delivery isn’t just about nourishment, it’s about a valuable moment of human connection. In Macomb County, nearly 1,700 seniors depend on these meals.

“I had never done volunteering before and it’s a whole new feeling. You’re helping people who actually need your help and the feeling is just remarkable.” Albert Jagenaow

Macomb County’s Meals on Wheels program is in need of 130 volunteers on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 9 to help pack or deliver meals. If offering to help delivering meals, please plan to use your own personal vehicle and allow two hours to cover your assigned route. Volunteers are also needed to pack boxes.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age or accompanied by a parent or authorized adult. To deliver meals, please be prepared to show a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance.

Volunteers are needed between 9 and 11 a.m. at the Macomb County warehouse, located 44900 Vic Wertz Drive, Clinton Township, MI 48036 (near Hall Road and Groesbeck Highway).

To donate two hours of your time on Columbus Day, please contact Macomb Community Action Office of Senior Services at (586) 469-5228 or register online at mca.macombgov.org.

hp_MCAVolunteers.jpgLauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Posted in community, healthy, macomb county, Senior citizens | Leave a comment

Tutor.com’s Learning Suite makes back to school easy

tutor2Are you dreading the new school year because it means stressful nights of homework? Just in time for back to school, the Suburban Library Cooperative launched a new program that offers students of all ages live, one-on-one help from professional tutors online. Any Macomb County resident with a library card can access Tutor.com’s Learning Suite from any computer or mobile device connected to the internet.

The Tutor.com Learning Suite combines on-demand, real-time tutoring with several self-study tools to create a robust, personalized learning experience. Tutor.com’s online interface is open when schools are closed. The live, online tutoring and job search support is available every day of the week from 4 – 11 p.m. It’s a great resource for students (and parents who might find that their trigonometry skills are rusty)!

Do you have a child prepping for the SAT? No problem! Tutor.com includes The Princeton Review’s SAT/ACT Essentials Test Prep and it is available 24/7. Another great feature is the drop-off reviews. Students or adults working on essays, book reports, short stories, college/scholarship application essays, résumés, cover letters or tough math problems can drop-off their document or problem for an overnight review to receive detailed guidance and explanations.

Tutor.com can also help adults as well as students. Job seekers may work one-on-one with professional job coaches in a supportive and encouraging environment for help with online applications, résumé writing, interview preparation and much more.

The service was purchased by all public libraries in Macomb County, Troy and Harper Woods and is available at no cost. You just need to have a library card. Don’t stress over the start of the school year.  Macomb County libraries have you covered! To access Tutor.com, please visit your library’s website and click on the link to Tutor.com.

Jamie Morris is a community relations specialist for the Clinton-Macomb Public Library.

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Becoming Macomb County royalty is a crowning achievement

Remember when you were young and dreamed of one day becoming royalty?

peach1We’ve been fed a steady cultural diet of princess movies—films that depict princesses dancing through enchanted forests, singing with their animal sidekicks, and falling in love at first sight. Is there anyone who hasn’t fantasized about living a life like that?

But when it comes to being real-life pageant royalty, there’s more to it than simply wearing a ball gown. Just ask the experts.

“The pageant is such a valuable experience for young women,” says Shelby Van Ophem, formerly on the Michigan Peach Festival Court in Romeo. “The most important quality I think a Peach should have is a desire to grow, learn and give back.”

Van Ophem says that for her, the best part of participating in the Peach Festival pageant was the bond she created with her community. “It gave me the opportunity to get to know my town in a new way and give back to Romeo.”

Every year, around five to 10 girls compete in the pageant and are interviewed by judges. The queen and court are chosen to represent Romeo within and outside of the community and participate in several charitable and volunteer events throughout the year.

“It’s a beautiful part of Romeo tradition, and I am blessed to be a part of that sisterhood,” says Van Ophem.

Lisa Edwards, pageant director for the New Baltimore Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival, also sees the inherent value in community pageants.

“Our girls are judged on confidence, creativity, and accomplishments,” says Edwards. “The girls learn the importance of community service and being a good role model for younger girls.”

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The Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival has been crowning pageant queens for 53 consecutive years. Each candidate is judged individually and then competes in the pageant, which is broken into four segments: Introduction, Nautical Wear, Evening Gown, and Q&A. The Nautical Wear segment can be particularly fun, as it encourages competitors to put together a creative outfit that symbolizes life on Anchor Bay.

The top scorer is crowned Miss Bay-Rama, and the next two highest scorers also earn the title of queen. The three winners earn $500 scholarships and are provided with dresses and accessories to wear during their parade appearances throughout the summer.

“We treat them like queens during their time with us, and many come back and volunteer or join the committee when they are older,” says Edwards.

Edwards has been involved in the pageant for 14 years, starting as a judge and quickly moving through the ranks: emcee, director, and vice president of the Bay-Rama executive board.

What inspires her to keep working with the pageant? “I am the mother of three daughters, and I like mentoring the young women. It’s nice to see them succeed,” says Edwards.

Jenna Russell is a summer intern at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. She is a senior at Oakland University.

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Experiencing the Bassmaster Elite Series as a marshal

20170823_163403Tomorrow, the Advance Auto Parts 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournament is coming to Lake St. Clair. The Bassmaster Elite Series is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments. Competitors must qualify for the series through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens or the B.A.S.S. Nation, and anglers who are already on the Elite Series must requalify each year by maintaining enough points throughout the season. The pro anglers compete all season for the opportunity to win points toward the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. The tournament on Lake St. Clair is the final of the series and will run from Thursday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug. 27. Over 100 of the world’s best anglers will compete for a prize of $100,000!

It is clearly no easy feat to quality for these tournaments, but through their marshal program, B.A.S.S. has created an opportunity for even the most novice of fishermen to experience the life of a pro angler. At B.A.S.S., they rely heavily on marshals; they are the tournament’s “eyes and ears” on the water.

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Match day – First time the marshal meets their pro angler

As a marshal, it is your responsibility to make sure the anglers follow all tournament rules. Moreover, you are not allowed to share information with pro contestants that would help them catch, locate or navigate to fish. Not only do they protect the integrity of the sport, but marshals enter every fish weight into BASSTrakk phones, allowing everyone to keep up with the tournament. Marshals are also asked to send in photos for the Elite live blog. Being a marshal is one of the most unique experiences a bass fishing fan can participate in. The fan will get to spend two entire days with an Elite Series angler and see firsthand how they work.

My husband, Tom Minaudo, an avid bass fisherman and fan, experienced being a marshal in 2015, the last time Lake St. Clair hosted an Elite Series tournament. Tom arrived at Lake St. Clair Metropark bright and early on the first day of the tournament, ready to spend 8 hours with a pro angler. Once he was aboard a high-end bass boat, he enjoyed a 70-miles-per-hour cruise across Lake St. Clair. When they arrived at the fishing spot, the angler shared fishing tips and tactics.

“I learned what type of equipment they use for certain fishing techniques,” said Tom. “For example, he told me why he chose to use a certain rod and reel selection, what type of fishing line worked best, and the knots and bait that yielded the best results.”

Tom’s pro angler also showed him the electronics he used to pinpoint fish and shared some casting techniques to land the best bass. Tom marshalled for two anglers and said that both the anglers he accompanied were extremely friendly. They made every effort to show him a good time by catching fish and engaging in friendly conservation.

“Although I was there to regulate and to make sure the angler did not break any rules, the experience felt like we were a team out on the water. To me, it was more of a caddy-player relationship than being a referee.”

Tom said that his best moment as a marshal occurred the first evening after they returned from fishing. The pro angler Tom accompanied called him so that he could personally thank him for a great day on the water, and they talked for 30 minutes like old friends.

Marshal spots for all 2017 tournaments are filled. However, registration for the 2018 tournaments opens in November. Click here for more information on being a marshal and the 2018 registration dates!

Amanda Minaudo is a senior planner in the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. She often contributes to the Make Macomb Your Home Blog, writing about the many fun and exciting things to see and do around Macomb County. 

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It will be a fishin’ good time at the Bass, Brews & BBQ Festival

Bass picThe Bass, Brews & BBQ Festival will take place at Lake St. Clair Metropark Aug. 25-27 to coincide with the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournament.

This festival offers something for everyone:

  • craft beer
  • Nash FM jock Dave Fuller spinning today’s favorite country music with a live broadcast on Friday
  • mouth-watering barbeque food
  • up-and-coming artists Audrey Ray performing Saturday with Ryan Jay closing out the event on Sunday
  • tours aboard the Pride of Michigan, an 81-foot former U.S. Navy training vessel
  • vendors displaying their offerings
  • family fun and more!

On the tournament side, you’ll be up close and personal with the best anglers in the business who are here battling for glory, trophies and their share of $500,000 in cash prizes. Anglers like Michigan-native Kevin VanDam are sure to be great crowd pleasers. VanDam, affectionately known as KVD, is the all-time money winner in professional bass fishing.

Each morning, the anglers remaining in the tournament cast off at 6:20 a.m., and it is a sight to see. At 3:15 p.m. each day, you’ll want to be on hand to see the weigh-in results with fingers crossed that your favorite pro makes it to the next round!

The festival is open to the public and runs from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. A complete list of events is available at http://living.macombgov.org/living-thingstodo-BassmasterBBQ.

Bass, Brews & BBQ is presented by Make Macomb Your Home, Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Sports Commission, Huron-Clinton Metroparks and NASH FM 93.1 Detroit.

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Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

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