The Black ‘Friday’ Plague

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving; a day many Americans look forward too in hopes of getting the best shopping deals. It marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and everyone becomes dazzled by the sale signs sitting upon the shelves and tables. But as of lately, Black Friday has spiraled into a Black Week, arriving sooner than we’d like.

Retailers are cutting into Thanksgiving dinner as they have begun opening their stores on Thanksgiving day to start their Black Friday madness, More often than not, you will find that these stores are also moving their best sales to Thanksgiving, in hopes of creating a revenue boost this year.

However, it is possible to avoid the hoopla of Black Friday this year, and still have a small sense of accomplishment on your Christmas shopping.

Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday. Started by American Express, they reward their customers by offering small rebates to cardholders who shop local businesses on this day.

In 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday to encourage people across the country to support local businesses. The U.S. Senate officially recognized this Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2011, making it an official day. American Express then helped small businesses promote their stores in 2012. They helped the companies through free, personalized ads which appeared online. An estimated $5.5 billions dollars was spent at small businesses that day in 2012.

While shopping on this day may not bring you quite as big of a saving as you were hoping for, it’s more of a gesture than anything. By taking the time to shop small, and shop local, you are helping to build the community in which you live.

For more information on American Express’s Small Business Saturday, visit https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/neighborhoods/joinin. Here you can search and look for local businesses in your are that will be participating. You can also visit http://makemacombyourhome.com/shoplocal/ and access the Make Macomb You Home’s searchable database of over 1,500 independent retailers in the area.

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Holiday Safety

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many residents are preparing for the familiar dinner fare – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. It’s a day to step back and appreciate all that we are thankful for. However, this day of gratitude can also be dangerous. From road hazards to kitchen fires, there are many things that one needs to prepare for.

When hosting Thanksgiving and preparing a feast, there are many things to keep in mind when it comes to safety:

  1. The kitchen is the setting for the majority of fires in homes. The biggest culprit of these fires is when food is left unattended. Be sure to always have an eye on the meal you are preparing.
  2. Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing while cooking since the fabric may be in the way. Be sure that sleeves are rolled up tightly as to not catch on loose items on the counter or flames on the stove.
  3. If a fire starts on the stove in a pan, cover the pan with a lid or use a fire extinguisher to put out the flame. Never use water, flour, or any other similar substances as they can flare-up.
  4. If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and call 911. While waiting for the firefighters, stay outside of the house.
  5. If using a turkey fryer, be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s directions completely. Never use a fryer indoors (despite how tempting the warm garage looks.) Be sure to completely thaw and then dry the turkey before beginning the process. Moisture in the meat can cause the grease to bubble, possibly up over the side, and onto the flame, causing a fire. Be sure to use the proper sized turkey for the fryer, and that it is cooked in the right amount of oil at the correct temperature. Also, be sure to have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.

If you are going to be one of the 43 million Americans traveling this Thanksgiving, 90% of whom will be driving, here are some safety tips to keep in mind when you head out on the road:

  1. Give yourself plenty of time when making your travel ETAs. Unexpected, bad weather and traffic jams in Michigan are a given. By allowing extra time for your travels, you won’t feel as if you are in a rush when one of these events were to slow you down. No rush = less stress.
  2. Make sure that everything in your car, people and all, are strapped down and secure. In the event of having to come to a quick stop, items in the car will have less of a chance of becoming a driving hazard. I know cleaning cranberry sauce off of the windshield is not something I would want to do.
  3. Make sure you are well rested for both your trip there and back. For most of us morning travelers, that won’t be too hard to do. However, beware of the third and fourth helpings of turkey. Turkey contains a natural sedative called L-tryptophan, which can make indulgers tired.

And of course, as always,

4.  Do not drink and drive!

From the Charter Township of Shelby family to yours, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Shelby Township hosts 2015 priorities ‘visioning session’ to set annual goals

Once again the Shelby Township Board of Trustees is turning to its managers for input in township governance as officials set the date for the annual Township priorities community visioning session.

Visioning kicked off with Township department heads meeting Oct. 29 to set what they felt were the most pressing needs for the Township to address. That meeting was followed by a Nov. 6 Board of Trustees work session to add the Board’s views to the process.

The procedure culminates as individual taxpayers are invited to join and finalize the priorities 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Lower Level Conference Room of Township Hall at 52700 Van Dyke Ave. as well as online forms at http://www.shelbytwp.org.

“We sent invitations to all members of the Township’s boards and committees and are hoping to see them at the Nov. 13 meeting, but we’re also hoping to see some new people that have never shown up before” Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said. “This is an amazing opportunity for our residents to come out and tell local government exactly how they want their tax dollars spent.”

Stathakis said that, while he enjoys seeing residents in person at the annual public vision exercise, the increased access offered by an online survey is invaluable.

“It’s just as true here as it is everywhere else in government, if you don’t reach out and get as many people involved in the process as possible, slogans like ‘increased transparency’ and ‘listening to the people’ are just campaign speak,” Stathakis said.

The township’s Planning Department developed the online survey to allow more access to the visioning sessions and increase the scope and diversity of opinions represented in the visioning exercise. Online feedback will be added to the information collected at the Nov. 13 meeting.

“The online survey opens the exercise up to more taxpayers and does not create more work for Township employees,” said Trustee Paul Viar. “It ensures our taxpayers have their voices heard on how we spend their money without adversely impacting day-to-day services.”

The residents’ input from the Nov. 13 meeting and the online poll accounts for one-third of what will ultimately be the 2015 priorities. It will be incorporated with the priorities gleaned from township department heads and those priorities of the Board of Trustees to form the final Top 10 Township Priorities for 2015.