Poison Sumac: Tale of a Toxic Trailside Beauty

red poison sumac

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

As the crisp days of autumn draw near, I increase my explorations of the wondrous world of our wetlands, swamps, and marshlands. They take on a special peaceful splendor in the waning days of summer, especially in the dawn’s early light. The wetland-embracing trails on the wilder side of Oakland County lure me in as surely as honey bees fly to flowers for nectar and pollen. However, this year as in the years before, I will be watchful for and ever wary of one wetland plant in particular. This plant presents a clear and present danger to humans that have the misfortune of making physical contact. Even touching or brushing against any part of this toxic trailside beauty may lead to a world of woe and in some severe cases of exposure, a visit to an emergency department follows.

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Wandering Lyon Oaks on a Winter’s Day

A man walks along a winding trail in the woods on a gloomy winter day.

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Lyon Oaks County Park is tucked away in Lyon Township in the far southwestern corner of Oakland County. It’s best known perhaps for its Arthur Hills-designed 18-hole golf course and a very popular 13-acre fenced dog park. The busy I-96 Freeway parallels the southern property line. An industrial park saddles up to a large section of its eastern perimeter, and a major underground natural gas pipeline bisects the park almost straight down the middle in a north-south orientation. With those thoughts in mind I decided to wrap up my weekly 2018 “wilder side” trail treks with a slow-paced 5.8 mile “discovery” meander at Lyon Oaks to see what secrets of nature would be exposed on a cold and heavily overcast end of December winter’s day, my first time at Lyon Oaks in over four years. Continue reading

Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Coats for the Cold 2018

Four young girls bundled up in winter coats drinking hot chocolate.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is accepting donations for the 31st annual “Coats for the Cold” coat drive from November 1st to November 30th. Clean, gently-used or new coats can be dropped off at one of their drop-off sites around Oakland County. All Oakland County locations of Real Estate One HQ and Genisys Credit Union are drop-off sites. Additionally, donors will receive up to $50 off the cost of a pet adoption ($10 per donated coat, up to five coats) at the Oakland County Pet Adoption Center.

For a list of all drop-off sites, click the button below:

Coats for the Cold Drop-Off Sites

Donated coats will be sent to various local charitable organizations who distribute the coats to community members in need.

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Oakland County Twisters: A Historical Guide

A large two-story home with large, moving clouds above it. The sky is darkening and it appears that bad weather is on its way.

If you’re fascinated by weather, you’ll love our Tornadoes Map, created with data from local weather geek Matt Malone by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team. It shows a limited history of the tornado paths and touchdown points, and their EF scale ratings, from 1953 – 2015. Go back to July of 1957, and view the path of an EF4 tornado that traveled 29.9 miles, almost all the way across the southern portion of Oakland County. In 1998, a funnel was spotted after having touched down near Otter Road and Sylvan Lake. It lifted without causing any damage – what a relief! Click on the map to learn more and get details on twisters that touched down here in the past.

A screenshot of a GIS Map of tornado paths and starting/touchdown points in Oakland County, Michigan ca. 1953-2015. Data provided by NOAA, OCIT, and Matt Malone of Farmington Hills GIS. Continue reading

Haunted Halloween Fun & Fright Across Oakland County

Jack O' Lanterns lined up on a stone wall on dark, fall night in front of the Van Hoosen Museum in Rochester Hills, MI.

This Halloween, Oakland County is crawling with haunted houses, spooky trails, and scary events. Whether you’re looking to scream, heighten your heartbeat, or have fun with your friends and family, Oakland County is the place to be. To see the full list of scary events and locations, click on the button below:

List of Haunted Fun in Oakland County

Oakland County is home to one of Michigan’s most famous haunted attractions: Erebus, four floors of terrifying thrills and unforgettable moments in Pontiac. Other spooky locations are scattered across the county and include the Tunnel of Terror in Rochester, the Rotten Manor in Holly, and the Haunted Junction in Farmington.

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The time for fun and fright has arrived, and all of these haunted locations in Oakland County are filled with both! Enjoy your Halloween, and, if you’re searching for more fun this fall, take a look at our list of family-friendly events.

Do you know of any other haunted Halloween fun in the Oakland County area? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter, contact us at socialmedia@oakgov.com, or leave a comment below.


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