Regulating Christmas Lights?

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

One of my fondest memories growing up was coming home at night this time of the year and seeing what seemed like our whole subdivision lit-up with Christmas lights.  It was absolutely magical.

My favorite displays were the homes and yards decorated with those big, inefficient, multi-colored lights.  We used to get so excited as kids when the Christmas lights were turned on because we knew that Santa Claus would soon come with lots of presents.

Old-school, large bulb Christmas lights bring back so many great memories
Old-school, large bulb Christmas lights bring back so many great memories

Today, these displays have gone high-tech.  With the innovation of LED lights and really good computer programs, just about anyone can create a Christmas light show in their front yard.  Although, these displays are very creative and cool there can be a downside to them that can dampen the holiday spirit.  What if your neighbor decided to create a Vegas-style production with lights that pulsed, strobed, and flashed like Times Square?   What if hundreds of people made the pilgrimage to your street every night to check it out?  What would you do?

Most likely you would call us to report the nuisance.  Well, the City of Auburn Hills does not have an ordinance regulating Christmas light displays – nor do we plan to adopt one.  But, I wonder what we would do if that “call” comes some day.

Check out this YouTube video (click here to view) that has gone viral of an amazing Christmas light show at a home in Cedar Park, Texas set to the catchy hit song Gangnam Style by the South Korean rapper PSY.  Note:  This video may not play on some mobile devices due to music copyright restrictions.

What would you do if this light show was occurring next to your home?  What would we do?  I guess we’ll cross that bridge, when that day comes.

Regulating Christmas Lights?

We’re in the News

Front page story in the Spinal Column Newspaper

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The nationally recognized Clean Energy Coalition recently released its federally funded, 125-page plan for preparing the State of Michigan for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles called Plug-In Ready Michigan.   The City of Auburn Hills is discussed as a leader in the movement.

A West Oakland newspaper called the Spinal Column recently wrote a story about the report and discussed Auburn Hills’ progressive actions.

Click on this link – Charging Forward:  The Market for Hybrid, Electric Cars Revs Up – to view the article published on November 21st.  Fun stuff!

We’re in the News

The Magic Returns for the Holiday Season

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Water Resources Coordinator

Santa Claus has returned to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World’s Santa’s Wonderland event … and what a wonderland it is!  Not only will visitors be able to meet Mr. Claus to let him know what they want for Christmas, but they’ll also be able to get a free picture taken with him as well.

The excitement for the little ones does not stop with meeting Santa because there are plenty of other fun things to do at this year’s event.  There’s an activity table, moving trains, slot car racing, remote control trucks, laser arcade, wildlife carousel, and much more.

So, if you’re looking for something fun and exciting to do while shopping at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets this holiday season, stop by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and say hello to Santa Claus himself.  You’ll have a jolly good time.

The Magic Returns for the Holiday Season

OCC Culinary Program Produces “Gold Chefs”

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Water Resources Coordinator

When you hear the names Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Masaharu Monimoto, Cat Cora, or Michael Symon two words come to mind … “Iron Chef.”  Many may know that the prestigious Iron Chef title is given to the winning contestants in the famous Food Network series, which involves a timed cooking battle built around a specific theme ingredient.

Gold Medal Chef – Doug Ganhs

Now what words come to mind when you hear the names Doug Ganhs, Sarah Rougeau, Brian Beland, or John Miller?  Is it that same metal associated with popular Food Network series or another metal listed on the periodic chart that’s more precious?  After October 10th, it should be a metal associated with a competition on a worldwide scale … like the Olympics … like the Culinary Olympics … like gold, silver, and bronze.

Michigan’s very own Olympic Culinary Team, lead by OCC Culinary Studies Institute’s very own Chef Doug Ganhs, returned home from the International Culinary Exhibition, (a.k.a. “Culinary Olympics”) held in Erfurt, Germany, October 5-10 with three gold, one silver, and three bronze medals.

Award winning fruit carving created by Chefs from OCC’s Culinary Program

This is an astonishing accomplishment when you realize more than 1,500 chefs from 54 countries participated in this year’s competition, which is considered one of the world’s most prestigious culinary event.

Knowing how well OCC faculty and graduates performed at this world-wide event, you can see why OCC’s Culinary Studies Institute has a well deserved reputation for providing its students with a quality education in the culinary arts.

So, the next time you watch the Iron Chefs compete on the Food Network remember many of the OCC Culinary faculty members and graduates have proven their mettle too.  Pretty amazing!

OCC Culinary Program Produces “Gold Chefs”

DE-STA-CO to Open New Global Headquarters

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Did you know that the worldwide leader in the “clamping” business is expanding in the City of Auburn Hills?

DE-STA-CO, founded in 1915 as the Detroit Stamping Company, was first to design and manufacture the manual toggle clamp.

They orginally opened at 955 West Fort Street, near the present day location of Wayne Community College.

Today, they are a worldwide corporation with offices in 14 countries – which has positioned them as market leaders in the design, manufacture, and support of “workholding” (i.e., clamping) products and equipment.  In a nutshell, they make clamps for all types of parts ranging from small and delicate to large and heavy.

DE-STA-CO is recognized worldwide for its iconic red handled manual clamps.

DE-STA-CO is best known for:

  1. Having the widest variety of manual, hydraulic, and pneumatic clamping products on the market.
  2. Supplying high-tech “end-of-arm robotic tooling” to a variety of industries – ranging from food processing to automotive – used to secure and transfer parts and materials during manufacturing processes.

In 2007, DE-STA-CO moved its headquarters and research facility to Auburn Hills at 1025 Doris Road.  With continued success, they have now outgrown that facility’s offices and will soon open their new global executive office at the Concord Building located at 691 N. Squirrel Road.  This move is expected to bring 30 new jobs to the community.

We’re so glad they “clamped” onto us.

DE-STA-CO to Open New Global Headquarters

“Detroit Institution” Sets Up Shop in Auburn Hills

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

My late grandmother, Caroline Apfel, made her living as a counter girl and short-order cook.  As a matter of fact, her nickname was “Cookie.”  I can remember her working behind the counter in the Kresge’s store at the Eastland Mall and making me one of the best chocolate sodas I’ve ever had.  But long before that, she worked in Downtown Detroit.  I do not recall the name of the building, but it was a bank at the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenue.  One would enter the building from Woodward and face a large staircase going down.  And there in the basement was a huge soda fountain counter run by none other than a famous Detroit business – Sanders.

Founded in 1875, this well-known maker of candies, cakes, and assorted sweets now has an ice cream counter right here in Auburn Hills.  In District 1 at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, the counter runs the gamut of Sanders’ favorite products.  These include ice cream, cakes, cookies, homemade candies, and some Sanders specialties like chocolate and caramel toppings – and the ever-popular hot fudge.  My personal favorite is a combination of two treats that I love … the chocolate covered potato chip bar.  Yikes!

Sanders is now open in District 1 at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets

So, stop by and grab a cone or a sundae and enjoy it at their tables in the mall.  There are also Sanders gifts for that sweet-toothed friend of yours, like four jar collections of their scrumptious ice cream toppings.  I plan to re-visit the store to get my grandsons some hot fudge for Christmas and tell them all about their great-great grandma “Cookie.”  Oh the memories.

“Detroit Institution” Sets Up Shop in Auburn Hills

Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?

Posted by – Jeff Spencer, Building Official

When’s the last time you had your furnace inspected by a qualified contractor?

It’s officially cold outside!

So, you most likely have turned on your furnace over the past few weeks.  Do you know if it’s operating safely and efficiently?

Many are not aware that failure to perform regular maintenance on gas appliances may result in exposure to carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can cause drowsiness, flu-like symptoms, and even death.

To insure for a safe and joyous holiday season, now would be a good time to have your furnace inspected by a qualified heating contractor and invest in a carbon monoxide detector, if you have not done so already.

Here are some important maintenance checks:

  1. Check the filter once a month to determine if it needs replacing.  A dirty filter blocks the flow of warm air and wastes energy.
  2. Check for rust and corrosion on the vent pipe connected to the chimney.  Make sure it’s secure at both ends.  Also ,make sure the chimney and vent pipe are free of obstructions, such as leaves or nests.
  3. To test for blocked vents or chimneys’ turn on your furnace for ten minutes.  Hold your hand under the vent hood (see your owner’s manual).  If hot air comes out, it could be a sign of blockage.
  4. Replace vents and flue pipes that have weak spots, rust, or cracks.  Even small openings can allow dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to collect in your home.
  5. Replace worn belts.  Lubricate the blower, fan bearings, and pumps unless the model you have doesn’t require lubrication (be sure to check your owner’s manual).
  6. Remove lint, dust, and debris from air ducts and registers.
  7. Make sure the furnace door is closed when the furnace is operating.
  8. Repair water leaks in the boiler and supply pipes.

We hope you find this information useful in your desire to stay warm and save energy this winter and holiday season.

Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?