County exec to be honoree at Ritz event

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 28, 2015




It’ll soon be time to dress up again in Sterling Heights, as one of the city’s most prestigious outings of the year gets ready to begin.

The Sterling Heights Community Foundation’s third annual Puttin’ on the Ritz gala will invite ticket holders to dine, mingle and more Nov. 20 at Villa Penna in Sterling Heights.

Karl Oskoian, the Community Foundation’s executive director, said Puttin’ on the Ritz is the foundation’s signature event. While the event will again offer dinner, live music and a silent auction, this year will also provide a chance to honor the Macomb County executive, he said.

“Going forward, this is what we’re about — we’re honoring civic leaders that provide visioning and outstanding leadership to the community to make it a better place to live and work and do business,” he said.

The Ritz event’s first year celebrated former Mayor Richard Notte and his two decades of mayoral service to Sterling Heights. Ritz’s second year focused on honoring veterans and the local defense industry.

This year, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel will appear at the event to receive the inaugural Richard J. Notte Civic Service Leadership Award for the county executive’s work in office.

Oskoian said he believes the award will be a well-deserved, fitting tribute for the work that Hackel has done in Macomb County. Oskoian added that Notte’s son, Michael Notte, is expected to give the service award in his father’s name.

“I think it’s really significant,” Oskoian said. “I know Mayor Notte and County Executive Hackel were close. And I know Notte would be proud.”

Oskoian said the event is open to anyone who wishes to buy tickets, but many attendees are business and community leaders.

He said event proceeds will benefit the Community Foundation and its mission to “increase the cultural, educational and recreational opportunities for Sterling Heights-area residents.” He also said the event intends to establish an endowment fund in Hackel’s name that will go to a charity of the honoree’s choice.

Wayne Oehmke, president and CEO of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said he is proud that the chamber is involved as a supporting organization. In an email, Oehmke predicted that volunteers and Oskoian will take the event “to the next level.”

“Sponsorships are up, auction donations have increased, and with Mark Hackel as our honoree this year, we’re also anticipating that attendance will be great,” Oehmke said.

“The foundation’s goal of raising funds for both scholarships and the support of a number of community events that benefit our communities should also be at a record high this year.”

The third annual Puttin’ on the Ritz will take place 6-11 p.m. Nov. 20 at Villa Penna, 43985 Hayes Road in Sterling Heights. Patron tickets cost $100 each, and benefactor tickets — which include a reception with Hackel — cost $200 each.

Learn more about the Sterling Heights Community Foundation at foundation. Learn more about buying event tickets by visiting or by calling (586) 731-5400.