News & Notes - 12/21/23 Rochester Post

Rochester Post | Published December 19, 2023


Reptile Roundup
ROCHESTER HILLS — Get hands-on with snakes, lizards, turtles and more at Reptile Roundup Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm. The program, offered by the Rochester Hills Outdoor Engagement Department, will feature a variety of native Michigan wildlife as well as exotics such as skinks, pythons and more. The program costs $10 and is for all ages. Time slots are 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. To register, visit or call (248) 656-4600.


Library welcomes CAMÉ for a concert on Jan. 7
ROCHESTER — The Rochester Hills Public Library welcomes CAMÉ for a concert at 2 p.m. Jan 7. The women’s vocal quartet formed in 2021. Originally named for the first letter in each members’ name — Claire, Amy, Melanie and Emily — the group added a fifth member in 2023, expanding to a quintet. The group sings a broad range of classical works, including traditional hymns, modern arrangements and songs in various languages. The event is open to the public. Registration is required. To register, visit or call (248) 656-2900.


Library hosts ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors: National Day of Service’ Jan. 9
ROCHESTER — Rochester Neighborhood House Executive Director Michael Dreon will be at the library at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 for his presentation, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors: National Day of Service.” Organizers say the program will provide information and create awareness on the mission and vision of Rochester’s Neighborhood House and its impact on the community. The public is invited to learn about Neighborhood House’s mission. The event is open to the public. Registration is required. To register, visit or call (248) 656-2900.


Rochester University and Oakland County team up to educate leaders
ROCHESTER — Oakland County selected Rochester University in 2023 to co-create its Oakland Leadership Academy, an initiative that provides an opportunity for mid- and upper-level county managers to explore leadership from multiple perspectives.

The first cohort, which ran August-December, included 21 Oakland County employees who were selected by their managers for the educational opportunity. The academy focuses on the development of leadership training skills and emphasizes themes of greatest importance to the county, including leadership style, effective supervision of employees, interpersonal communication skills, human resource policies, project and time management, and ethics.

“Our partnership with Rochester University will enable our employees to gain the skills and management tools they need to become emerging leaders as they chart their career path at the county and beyond,” Sunil Asija, the human resources director for Oakland County, said in a statement. “One of the strategic goals set by Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter is organizational excellence and providing a pathway to learn and grow is just one way to ensure we are fostering a positive and inspiring working environment for county employees.”

RU’s Jaymes Vettraino, the chair of the department of management and the assistant professor of business, worked with county leaders to create the educational offerings, teach the seminars and coordinate guest speakers. “Our goal is for the leadership training to advance the career goals of the individual, which in turn will provide increased value to the county and its residents,” he said in a statement.

A key aspect of the program, organizers said, is its focus on the county’s strategic goals: a skilled and educated workforce; livable neighborhoods; public safety and fairness in the criminal justice system; environmental sustainability; diversity, equity and inclusion; healthy residents; and a thriving and inclusive economy. The topics were covered over nine sessions, with each class offering three components: a focus on one of the county’s strategic goals presented by an Oakland County executive leader; content developed by RU based on best leadership practices and presented by the senior leaders and faculty from the university; and content developed by Oakland County Human Resources based on the unique management practices of the county and presented by county human resources staff.

Vettraino said participants learned through lectures, interactive experiential learning, out-of-class readings, reflection assignments and peer team learning. Graduates of the program will receive an RU Leadership Badge and a certificate of completion from Oakland County. The academy will be offered biannually for at least three years.


Meadow Brook Hall named fourth-best Historic Holiday Home Tour
ROCHESTER — Meadow Brook Hall has earned fourth place in USA Today’s 2023 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards. The panel selected Meadow Brook Hall as Michigan’s only contender for Best Historic Home Tour from a pool of nearly two dozen historic house museums across the country. The award recognizes the Holidays at Meadow Brook events — Holiday Walk and Winter Wonder Lights.

Two other Detroit institutions were part of the contest in different categories: America’s Thanksgiving Parade, presented by Gardner White, took second place in the Best Holiday Parade in America; and the Detroit Zoo was named ninth in the Best Zoo Lights category.

“This national recognition from critics and readers around the country is such a point of pride for us at Meadow Brook Hall,” Shannon O’Berski, the director of external relations at Meadow Brook Hall, said in a statement. “It is a special honor to be ranked among the nation’s magnificent historic house museums for our incredible Holidays at Meadow Brook experience. We are also proud of our fellow Detroit attractions for placing in their categories — the Detroit Zoo and America’s Parade Company. It’s a wonderful recognition for Michigan!”

A National Historic Landmark, Meadow Brook was built by Matilda Dodge Wilson, the widow of auto pioneer John Dodge. Constructed in Rochester between 1926 and 1929, the 110-room Tudor mansion is especially renowned for its craftsmanship, architectural detailing and grand scale.

The Holidays at Meadow Brook offer two ways to experience the estate. By day, the annual Holiday Walk transports visitors through the historic mansion decked in shimmering splendor, while Winter Wonder Lights transforms the estate at night into a light show featuring music, seasonal treats and holiday magic. The events run through Saturday, Dec. 30. Tickets must be booked for a specific date and time and are available at


Rochester Hills’ Ben Reinhold stars in new National Geographic Wild Series
ROCHESTER HILLS — A new series on National Geographic not only captures the essence of family and farming, but also spotlights one of Rochester Hills’ own — Ben Reinhold, the owner of Courtyard Stone & Landscape.

The series follows Charles and Beth Pol as they work to create a 350-acre family farm that will span generations. Reinhold, Beth Pol’s brother and a longtime friend of Charles Pol, assists in the project.

“The Incredible Pol Farm,” will debut on Nat Geo Wild at 10 p.m./9 p.m. CST Saturday, Jan. 6. Beyond its television premiere, the series will be available for streaming on Disney+ and Hulu starting Jan. 7.