Saturday, November 19, 2011

Update: Going Green with the OakGreen Challange

Earlier this week I began blogging about the OakGreen Challenge.  This message was intended to introduce those of you who have not yet heard about this program and to educate you in what it is all about.  As many of you know that is the main mission behind the project.  Teaching... and then action steps.

What we discovered is that this is a really an energy usage challenge put forth by the Oakland County Executive L.Brooks Patterson.  He issued:

The "OakGreen Challenge" at the May 13, 2010 Green Summit Event. Registration for the Challenge officially opened at the May 2011 Green Summit.

The OakGreen Challenge encourages home, business and government facilities to decrease energy consumption by 10% within the next two years.

Challenge Reward:  Win the Oakgreen Challenge and have your utility bills paid for one year (up to $1500.)

I want to share a story with you that began back in Springfield Oaks County Park at the Oakland County Fair.  Our new start up company, was invited to partner with the Oakland County Fair in an effort to "Green up" the fair.  We were able to assist in this effort by:

#1 Displaying products and services in the Green Tent.

#2 Consulting with the Fair leadership on steps that could be taken to reach first year greening goals.

#3 Assisting in locating and implementing a soy bean based component into certain aspects of the fair     grounds operations.

#4 Participating in the education and awareness of green issues to fair visitors throughout the week.

I am mentioning this as a lead up to the main component of this message today.  And... that is the relationships that we formed in the process of participating in all of the above.

Who did we meet that week?  You can refer back to my Oakland County Fair Blog for a revisit of the weeks events.

Today I want to focus on the special accomplishments of one vendor who quietly and yet prominently displayed his talents at the green tent.  I have not yet talked much about the relationship I formed with what I will describe to you as a "green contractor" in Damon Dotson of Solar Works, LLC.

Why this has become top of mind and focus of today is relatively simple.  This guy not only talks the talk about green energy solutions... but... he walks the walk.

Damon invited me to visit his home in Whitemore Lake, Michigan... the world HQ for Solar Works LLC.   I had heard about some of the practices he has implemented not only at his home... but at many customers homes and businesses throughout Michigan.  I lost track of Damon after our week long encampment in Springfield Oaks County Park... come to think of it this was before the whole "occupy" movement made it's way to the main stream media.  I suppose you could say we were "Occupy Oakland County Fair" for the week!

With the limited time I have today I will introduce you to some of the great and innovative uses of green technology I discovered at the Dotson's home and then followup again in the near future with some Flip video I took during my visit.  Kind of like a hack version of "This Green House" coming soon.

The main purpose of my visit was to see the new solar panel installation that Damon began telling me about over a couple of short conversations throughout the summer.  He described to me a system that seemed very practical, affordable AND portable.   What I found unique about this installation was that it did not involve a roof mount or side mount onto a structure.... but was simply taking advantage of the large amount of open space with great undisturbed exposure to the suns rays.   The one main feature that really stood out in the conversation was the word "portable".   Why you ask?

Because... we are fickle people... who start out with one vision in mind... and then want to change it.  The added value proposition here is clear.  You invest in this great technology... your enjoying the benefits... and perhaps life delivers a change and your facing a move.  How many people do you know that have been faced with that decision.  What happens if the buyer of your home isn't so excited about your system... ?  Easy solution here!
Pack it up... and take it with you!

Please note the careful preparation of the foundation area of this panel system.  Damon described to me the extra steps he took in digging down into the ground and bringing in special A rating gravel for drainage and compacting.  Then added a nice additional layer of slag sand... compacted it all in to a nice firm foundation.  Next, he brought in concrete bumper blocks that you'd find in your average parking lot and fixed them into the ground with metal rods.  The panels are then firmly screwed into the weighed/staked bumper blocks for what Damon indicates is rated for over 100 MPH wind resistance.  Sure beats the heck out of my patio umbrella!

All this is connected together with all types of weather resistant fasteners, clips, wires, and modules that flow into a control box staked into the ground.  Next, Damon trenched a line running to the house that feeds into a DTE utility service panel attached to the side of his home and feeds into a special metering system.  This system allows for instant feedback with a digital display panel showing how much juice your panels are producing at any given time.  Damon demonstrated to me on this low sunny day in November that he was generating enough juice to satisfy his homes needs for the day AND anything over was being sold back to DTE through a special program he was able to implement called Solar Currents.  As of today... DTE is no longer taking new Solar Currents applications.  Bummer! And... I can understand why! If there are a lot more Damon's who implement what he has done... not really a good deal for someone like DTE who makes a living off you and me buying electricity from them.

So... in closing today... here is a guy who is leading by example.  I hope to be able to implement some of the steps I have learned about from Damon on my visit to his home.  I will share more of that with you in a coming additional blog with video content... in the coming weeks.

Until next time... "Hey... turn off that light switch! "  It really does all add up!  ;)



Monday, November 14, 2011

From Apple picking to Kid Rock... ask yourself "Are you up for a Challenge"? Perhaps the OakGreen Challenge?

This past month has come with changes that quite frankly I could skip over or do with out many of them.  Don't get me wrong... I love the fall leaves and the annual fireworks display that mother nature brings to us with out fail.  The trips to the cider mills for fresh pressed cider and doughnuts.  This year we headed to our favorite "cider country" in Romeo Michigan for a quick trip to Big Red's and then a new tradition we are forming in picking our own apples at Stoney Creek Orchards.   Each place has it's own distinctive nitch and I love each place because of that.  Big Reds for example offers a wide range of activities AND products that we enjoy.  The kids love to climb on the stacks of hay bales literally the size of a small barn and the petting zoo.  Now... nothing here comes without it's price... so be sure to bring some cash.  I laughed at the boiling pot of water being set up to sell corn on a stick for $2 each... and then walked into the farm market and discovered I can get 6 for $2.95.  Hummm... a premium for sure to have some one else prepare this for me.
I really enjoyed the Heirloom tomatoes that I have heard so much about.

Now over to Stoney Creek Orchards... this is really a fully operational orchard that gives visitors access to the fields to get a true pick your own experience.  I believe they charge you by the amount of apples you can fit into a bag they provide at the point of boarding a hay wagon pulled by tractor out to the fields.  So... you get the experience of the hay ride and apple picking all wrapped up in one neat package.  Funny thing... when you arrive at the drop point and disembark from the wagon... you don't quite know which way to turn first.  There are apples literally falling off the trees and the kids can hardly hold back the initial excitement.  It's like a rush to get there before they're all gone... but that is unlikely since there are so many of them AND trees planted according to variety.  The biggest thrill for the kids is knowing that there are tall ladders available... because every kid must know that the best apples are at the top of the tree.  Right?  My group surly  knew this bit of information because we could not keep them off the ladders!

         As you can see here my nephew needed a lift to get to the better quality AND being that I'm the tallest guy around with no ladder in the area... you get the uplifting experience from Uncle Don!

Last thing on this... rumor has it that Kid Rock lived somewhere very close to here and I have a reliable source that can confirm that.  Let's just say my wife picked up Kid Rock's undies... when he was just a little stone growing up in Romeo.  Mrs. Richie was my wife's tennis instructor and the girls did some house keeping for the family.  Little Bobbie... Hell on Wheels... then and now.   Whowooddaknown?

Now... onto the real reason for today dialogue... we move across the border and back into Oakland County for something new and exciting to tell you about.  Got Green?  Then... you need to check out the new link up on .

If you have visited the web site in the past week you may have noticed a new banner begging for your attention in the intrigue to "Take the OakGreen Challange!".


When you get here you will find:

 OakGreen Challenge: What Is It? 
The OakGreen Challenge is a commitment to reducing the energy consumption in your home, business, municipal facility or school facility by 10% by the end of 2012. Your efforts benefit the environment, your community, and your financial bottom line.

Getting Started

This is the end of year two of this important program that extends the request to reduce energy consumption by 10% by the end of the year 2012.  What is more important is that it is extended to:
 Residents, Business, and government AND provides all the resources you will need to get started.  

I know for me it is something simple that we all can do to get started.  With four children I could make a full time job of just going around the house turning off all the lights, appliances, fans, computers, and electronic equipment they seem to forget to do every day.  LITERALLY... I have formed a comment to them as we pass in the morning... "Please turn all your electronic devices off before leaving today..."  Kind of like the same thing as "make sure your seat is in the up right position as we prepare for landing...".   No kidding I think I can reach Brook Pattersons Challenge just in this simple act alone! 

L. Brooks Patterson
All the funny business aside... this is a pretty important time and place in our history when it comes to the race for new technologies.  Those who can do things... faster, smarter, with less red tape, and more efficient will win the race.  Not only residents and businesses have to watch their triple bottom line... but local government needs to get on this.  If you want to look to a city that is really taking this to the next level... look no further than Grand Rapids.  In fact last year at the inaugural OakGreen Event... Grand Rapids sent their "full time" sustainability manager in as one of the key note speakers.  This guy does the same thing I'm doing at home (running after my kids to turn off their stuff) but on a huge scale.   The statistic that stood out for me was that this guy save GR well over many time of what his salary was.  In fact... if he worked under a performance incentive (bonus for a % of total dollar savings) he would have been way ahead! 

So... in closing today... Get to the OakGreen Web Site... read up on what you can do... and stay tuned for further announcements on the annual event coming up in early 2012.  With that in mind stay tuned for some pretty exciting announcements coming soon about the next steps for the and the bricks and mortar version under development!   ;)  

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Parade Company.... The Spirit of Detroit.....a legendary Detroit Tradition...

This post is about traditions.  Let me start by sharing part of my daily ritual of putting on the coffee (yes... I don't consider this a hassle.... and have not been tempted to switch over to the quick fix of slamming an energy drink fix) and tuning into WJR radio.  Today they are broadcasting from The Parade Company and the annual pancake breakfast.   This is a major fund raising event for TPC and a vital part of getting major corporate sponsors lined up for the events they do.

These events include America's Thanks Giving Day Parade, The Hob Nobble Gobble, The Turkey Trot, The Detroit Fire Works and much more.  If not for this group... how would life be different?  No parade? No fire works?  Well... I guess it would be kind of empty and much less exciting.  I'm not just talking a talk here... I am willing and have walked the walk for TPC.  Are you man enough to dress like this?

Here is the challenge.  How does a non profit like TPC exist?  Certainly not from government funding.  Certainly not on it's own dole.  It takes donations and fund raising to keep these traditions alive.  Now... your not Blue Cross/Blue Shield or GM or Compuware or any of the large corporate donors.  

What can the you do to show your support?  We've got the perfect answer...

Here is an easy and affordable way to show your support for The Parade Company,  The Detroit Lions, The Detroit Tigers AND The Spirit of Detroit.  ALL... Detroit Traditions.

When you think about it.... The Spirit of Detroit wraps up the entire conversation in one nice neat package.  Do you love the Tigers and all they have done for our spirits this season?  Do you love the Lions and the new tough winning image they are forging?  Do you love the image of The Spirit of Detroit and what it means to each of us on a personal level?  

I am happy to share with you some of my own personal "Spirit of Detroit"... and I am not shy about broadcasting this loud and proud!  

NOW THEN... you can join me in showing your own "Spirit" by supporting the fund raiser for this unique collectible and iconic Tee that wraps it all into one package.

Introducing "The Year of the Cat.... Spirit of Detroit"  tribute tee.  Note the image in each hand of the statue holding up an image of a Tiger in one hand and a Lion in the other.

Proceeds from the sale of this tee will go to The Parade Company. We are planning on $5 per shirt sale to go directly to The Parade Company.  Get it now... while supplies last!  

Sizes:  L, XL, 2XL

Shipping via USPS only $4.95
By on line today with payments being accepted via Paypal.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Ecological Tee Shirt Company... a sister company of

You've heard a lot from me over the past year about changes you can make in the course of daily living that can lead to a cleaner, greener, and healthier life style. Many people across the world have responded positively by visiting our web page, making a purchase, down loading materials, and engaging in green fund raising.

This past week we reached a milestone in our mission of creating education and awareness of "green shifts" in the course of daily living.  On October 25, 2011 the 100,000 milestone occurred in the way of web site visitations. At the end of the day our reporting showed 100,355  This was a very satisfying day... not unlike watching the odometer of your car cross over the sacred threshold. Today the quality of vehicles is so much improved it would be very disappointing not to get at least 100,000 miles out of a vehicle.   And, so last week our analytic reports showed we crossed the first milestone of visits to the web site.

I spent time yesterday looking at the report and wondered who was the individual that clicked in on 100K?  The outreach has been much greater than expected and the results show global outreach like I never imagined. My geography skills are pretty good and as a former science teacher with an emphasis on earth science I have studied all parts of the world.  However,  there are some parts of the globe that I admit to not being very familiar with.  And so... today I now know where Izmir, Turkey is since there were 66 visits from this place.  Or... Beijing, China where we had 1,534 visitors.  And... 3 visitors from Ghana Africa.,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=f10181c958c90d45&biw=1639&bih=800

I would love to meet the 100,000 visitor.  It would be great to visit there hometown and see what is going on in their corner of the world.  Unfortunately the reporting is not that sophisticated and we will never know.  I would like to present the lucky visitor with a gift basket loaded with GFS products as kind of my way of saying... "Thanks for the visit... and come back anytime...".  And with that in mind let me say the same to you and yours for all you have or may have considered doing in the way of support, encouragement, or just a visit to .

Today I want to introduce to you a sister company of GFS that goes by the name of "The Ecological Tee Shirt Company"  or The ECOTEECO.

 You may have some of the ECOTEECO's early work in the way of the category of "organic clothing".  One of the early projects was the iconic M24 Tee.  This was a creative shirt designed to raise funds for the Oxford Chamber of Commerce located in Oxford Michigan.  The message was designed around a theme of celebrating the many traits about the Oxford-Orion community that we some times overlook.  We focused on the "Live, Work, Play... Shop, Dine, Stay... Bring your family, friends, and business... Enjoy our Rivers, Lakes, and Trails...".

M 24 Let's Take it Back Tee. Pink

What's different about a tee from the ECOTEECO?  What is our value proposition?  It should come at no surprise that each shirt we produce has to meet a "green" standard.  We apply the following standards in the production of every tee:

Effort to use an organic cotton Tee...
Use of water based inks for imprinting...   

From our printing partners web page:

How We're Different

Our company is different, from the way we produce our products to how we run our business. Here are just a few things that set us apart:
  • We run our business based on a triple bottom line - a model that looks after People, the Planet, and Profit equally.
  • We print your t-shirts with super low-impact water-based inks. These inks have both a significantly reduced environmental footprint, and are no-feel, which means that the print is part of the fabric rather than a plastic, thick coating on the surface of your shirt.
  • Our three TSD-brand t-shirts are all made right here in North Carolina, less than 100 miles away. Each one has a unique sustainable attribute - one organic, one recycled, and one made from local cotton.
  • We believe in the power of transparency, and we practice it religiously. Many details of our processes and products are published right here on our website, from suppliers to ink contents. If you want to know anything about how we operate, just ask.

What does that mean for you?  We feel that with every purchase the buyer will know that the farmer who grew the cotton has applied farming practices that meet the organic standard (no toxic pesticides or genetically altered product techniques).  

AND inks that are water based meaning that they have been created with techniques that allow for clean up with water and are not toxic to the environment.  Traditional plastisol imprint screening are plastic and are known to be harmful to the environment.

Therefore... we feel that our Tee's are in fact... "Ecological Tee's " and we want you to know about... and tell the story to your circle of friends, family, co-workers, and even your enemies... about our story. 

Watch for big news coming soon... Major press release coming in the next few days about our next big step in creating a cleaner, greener... never meaner... world!  And... where sustainable is obtainable!   

Thank you! 

Don Sherman
President of the AND NOW... 
The Ecological Tee Shirt Company



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is your school selling students short through unhealthy fund raising programs?

What would you say to allowing your child or school to participate and promote the sale of a product with the following labeled on it?:


I want to refer you to the following three links for factual data and statistics that support my concern about an alarming trend that has settled into our public schools and will have a major effect on you, your family, friends and neighbors.  It has seeped into the infrastructure and currently has a firm hold on those who are leading our schools efforts to replace lost revenue for funding school programs.

It has entered right through the front door and is has long term effects that will can eventually lead to a lifetime of addition as well as long term health problems.  I'm not talking about smoking, drugs, or other commonly accepted lifestyle choices that effect us.  This is really not a new phenomena... but just now getting attention in the media.  Why now?  Because the statistics are alarming AND people are beginning to notice the results of life style choices.

I'm talking about a point and time where we are talking out of both sides of our mouths.  Just yesterday morning I dropped off my daughter to her elementary school.  While walking through the front door I noticed two volunteer moms eagerly setting up a poster on the front office window announcing the new fundraiser through a major well known school food fund raiser.  The sign was there to announce the Gourmet Pie fund raiser.

Now on the surface this seems like a harmless way to get people to simply shift their buying decision from one provider (bakery or box store) to the corporation supplying the gourmet pies.  However.... upon closer examination... if we knew that this seemingly innocent activity was being implemented at the same time that almost one third of our children are classified as over weight, obese and at risk for adverse consequences.... then why are we not questioning this behavior?  (see Executive Summary below....)

The studies show that children are at risk for issues that including increased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer, as well as social and emotional trouble including peer
stigmatization, discrimination and bullying.

Why are we not questioning this type of activity?  Isn't this like throwing gas on a fire?  Or feeding the addition?  Other life style choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption or even something as simple as taking over the counter medication require a warning label on the product.


Executive Summary:  Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan

Childhood obesity has risen to the forefront of the public health
agenda. Fueled by unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, childhood obesity rates have climbed steadily across the
United States over the past four decades (Figure 1). Michigan
has experienced similar trends in obesity rates (Table 1). This is
concerning because obesity is associated with a number of adverse consequences, including increased risk of chronic diseases
such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some types
of cancer, as well as social and emotional trouble including peer
stigmatization, discrimination and bullying.
 In addition to
jeopardizing the health of Michigan’s future, obesity also weighs
heavily on the health care system, both in terms of increased use
of health care services and increased medically related health
care expenditures.
The changes to our environment and lifestyles that have contributed to obesity represent a complex web of interrelationships.
Increased consumption of foods away from home, larger portion
sizes, increased television viewing, decreased walking and biking
to school, increased consumption of soft drinks and lack of
physical education in schools (Figure 2) may all contribute.
Expert organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Medicine, and American Academy of Pediatrics agree that instituting policies that protect the health of youth through providing healthful foods and opportunities for physical activity are a key strategy in reducing childhood obesity. Michigan has several policies in place to protect children’s health. Many of these policies are aimed
at schools, where the majority of children spend a large percentage of their time.

Of course like any other product that leads to addictive behavior or may lead to poor health consequences one could say that it is all good in moderation.  However, with one-third of our children already into the problem stage... that is an alarming percentage  If you think we have a medicare problem now... just wait for this group of on track diabetics to arrive at this future epidemic.

I know some of you are rolling your eyes over my thoughts and opinion here.  But... let's face the facts... just like other addictive substances that we try so hard to protect our children from... we have let our guard down in the name of funding for school programs.

I will tell you that over and over again in the past two years that I have been out talking about our unique education and awareness program.... that school administrators,  athletic directors, coaches, and parents have all said....

"You know... your right... but that cookie dough brings in $6,000 a year for our school program and we cannot afford to chance on not having that additional funding."


"We have to allow soft drink companies into our cafeteria because the money we get from the sales is too great to pass on"...


"OH... we have so much fun with the sale of Pizza kits... It's really  not that bad."

Looking at the reports... I'd say it's time to reexamine who is making the decisions here AND who is going to be held accountable for the long term effects.


Think... "Super Size Me" and then place that over a kid who is left at home unguarded from the "crack" that they may be addicted tucked away in the pantry.   Is that a stretch?  I don't think it is.

Fund raising that makes sense....


Monday, October 3, 2011

"Budding" young entrepreneur in the making....duct tape flower pens!

Since I wrote the business plan for in early 2010 there has been many turns in twists in the evolution of the project.  If you can measure success with the comparison of progress to the stated goal.... then I can say we have overreached our early vision of creating "education and awareness" of green shifts in the course of daily living.   When we started pushing out the word of GFS through the development of the web site, attending local events in South-Eastern Michigan, posting on social media sites, sponsorship of local green events, and blogging... the intended audience was Oakland County,  Metro-Detroit, South-Eastern Michigan, and perhaps Michigan along with some Mid Western attention.

What the survey says based on our web sit statistics is that it has been something entirely different and unexpected.  Please don't take this reporting as boastful or bragitory but more of keeping the audience updated on our progress.  People ask me all the time... "How is it going? or tell me about your green company..." and therefore we want to keep you informed.  Besides we are measuring our success here based on "outreach" and not "sales".  Truth be told if we were measuring based on sales then I'd be calling this project a complete failure at this point and time.  Recall earlier this year I attended the "IDEA" conference held in Detroit Michigan that was hosted by Crains Detroit.

What I took away from that meeting was something new and exciting about the vision for creating and running a business.  The younger speakers shared their vision of business plans with a social cause at the core.  I began to think at that moment that in fact was what GFS is about.  It is really a social mission of creating "Education, Awareness, and the next steps of Action through unique fund raising opportunities".

Here is why I am likely never going to get attention from a venture capitalist organization who are in the business of loaning out billions of dollars to new businesses with great vision plans... I have refused to bring the focus to the profit side of the equation.   I understand that a venture capitalist is not loaning their funds for the greater good of man kind... in fact they are doing the opposite.  They are looking for ways to exploit the next big thing for a sizable profit.  That my friends is called capitalism.  In fact... we have learned that there is very little if any "human expense" considerations in the capitalism equation.  If it is discovered that a certain country is willing to produce a product at a lower labor cost, lower regulatory standard, lower taxation, lower environmental standard... then the company will move in a NEW YORK YANKEE minute.  By the way... and as a side note... my home town Detroit Tigers are about to put the beat down on the YANKEES.  In fact the series is tied up 1-1 coming home to Comerica Park in the D.

 I am thinking it will go six and the Detroit Tigers will finish off the STANKEES in their home stadium in New York this weekend.  I love NEW YORK... Really?  Sorry NY fans....  I love DEETTRROOIITTT CITY and it is the year of the CAT... Tigers and Lions! FO SHORE! 

Back to the story...

The "global" outreach has been nothing more than... amazing !    You have to take it back to beginning and measure from the intended target audience to realize where we are coming from.  Below you will find the stats on the September visits to GFS and it appears that the Chinese, Japanese, and  West Coast of the US are very interested in what were about.  Remember... they are curious visitors and not yet customers.  So... with that in mind... I am open to any suggestions you may have on how to make that happen!

Countries Visits %
China 16,772 75.78 %
United States 3,716 16.79 %
Japan 1,315 5.94 %
Russia 164 0.74 %
France 32 0.15 %
Ukraine 21 0.09 %
Germany 16 0.07 %
Turkey 14 0.07 %
United Kingdom 14 0.06 %
Sweden 13 0.06 %
India 7 0.03 %
Netherlands 7 0.03 %
Israel 6 0.03 %
Brazil 5 0.02 %
Canada 4 0.02 %
Italy 3 0.01 %
Hong Kong 2 0.01 %
Romania 2 0.01 %
Moldova 2 0.01 %
S. Korea 2 0.01 %
Philippines 2 0.01 %
Colombia 2 0.01 %
PA 2 0.01 %
Other 10 0.04 %
Total 22,131 100.00 %

So... that is all I have to report for now in our progress.

One last thing... my right hand girl who has been with me at my side from the first day (please note the small freezing figure in photo 2 at the right side of the table.... ) has her own idea's about "re-purposing" and be rolling out her own line of specialty pens she call's "Duct tape flower pens".
Bet you didn't know you can find duct tape in all kinds of colors ranging from hot pink to zebra stripped.  Keep an eye out for this "budding" entrepreneur.... get it?  Flower pens....Budding.... OH NEVER MIND!
Look for more details coming soon...!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Leave are falling all around.... Really...

Hello again!  Autumn is in the air today.  I can feel it, taste it,  and soon I will be busy chasing after what fall does...."fall".   Got leaves?  I do to and each year we begin our annual fall clean up here in beautiful Oakland Michigan.   Wonder how our forefathers determined the name for our fair hamlet?  I imagine it had something to do with the "land" being covered with "Oak" trees.  Leaves are falling all around...

We really have a great history here in north Oakland County and so much to celebrate.   We are blessed with a great place to:  Live, Work, Play... Shop, Dine, Stay... Great place to bring your family and business... to enjoy our Lakes, Rivers, and Trails...  If you have not seen the new M 24 celebratory tee... you likely will soon.

  I created this as a borrowed idea from the now famous M 22 icon that we see plastered all over the back windows of vehicles throughout the country now.  M 22 is a stretch of highway along the "pinkey finger" on your handy Michigan map (left hand down flat please...) .  Why do people willingly advertise a stretch of highway in northern Michigan?  If I tell you... you have to promise to keep it to yourself!   You see... my fear is that once the cat is out of the bag (what the hell does that mean anyway?) that everyone will want to go there... and change what we love about this place.

What is so special about this place?  I can tell you that there are some of the most beautiful places on earth here.  What?  In Michigan?  What U talking about Willis?   It is true... but you need to keep it to yourself...promise?

When you need to find a peaceful place to reconnect with... well just fill in the blank here... there is nothing better than the clean, fresh water beaches of western Michigan.... and the pinkey has by far the best offering.

In fact... I blogged about the Good Morning America program selecting the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline as the most beautiful place in America.  This is a special place for so many of us who grew up here in the Mitten since we have such fond memories of great times in this place.  Ever been to the dune walk over looking Big Glen and Little Glen Lakes?  I can remember as a child coming here with my friends by the bus load.  We bounded out of the bus and dropped out shoes at the base and began the assent?  Talk about a great cardio work out?   You think your making progress... your heart is pounding out of your chest... and what you don't realize right away is that with every step you take up and forward... the sand is sliding like it does in the hour glass and your giving back ground with every movement.  Talk about two steps forward... one step back!  But... at last you reach the summit (or so you think) and turn around to take in a breath taking view of the Glenn lakes in the distance.  Pure Michigan!   Do you have the guts, energy, stamina to continue on... because when you turn and look ahead... there is yet another assent to begin.  If your like me naturally you have to get to the next peak to see what lye's ahead....  and for those who can make the 2 mile over the sand dunes...the reward is nothing less than Grand.   The reward comes in the form of a breath taking view out across Lake Michigan AND the amazing 70 degree slope that drops hundreds of feet down to the sandy/rocky/driftwood covered shore. Just listen to the sound of the waves pounding the beach....

Now... the last secret... and then back to my original point... when you visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shore line... there are several ways to experience this wonderful place.  For those who are less able to navigate the dunes... there is the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.  This is worth the time for all... fit or less fit... take the drive and experience all that this place has to offer.  Once your there... it is a short walk to the platform over look.  For those who are looking for something heart pounding... start the descent... just remember... there is no one there to bring you back to the top other than... you.

OK... now... back to "Oakland" and the M 24 campaign...  We here in north Oakland County are blessed with great beauty and natural places as well.   And... in fact... Lake Orion is a place where the motto is "Where Living is a Vacation..." And... Oxford... well... we just "Celebrate Oxford"... and "Oxford Rocks"... so let's borrow a little from our M 22 friends and enjoy what we have each and every day.

M 24 Tee
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M 24 Tee

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We took a page out of the successful M 22 promotional icon. Yes... the west coast of Michigan is a wonderful place and is celebrated by those who love to travel the scenic Michigan west coast highway. They've got nothing on the towns that are joined by M 24.... after all Lake Orion is "Where living is a vacation" and "Oxford Rocks". We are truly blessed here in our North Oakland county communities and this icon celebrates all that we have to offer. Show your M 24 pride and tell the world that M 24 iconic in it's own ways.mce_markermce_marker

So... if you love where you live... then show it with pride... available in adult sizes to 2X and youth sizes.

Since your probably like me... and soon will have leaves up to your eyeballs... now is the best time to stock up on yard refuse lawn/leaf Kraft bags.  I am constantly picking up a sleeve here and there from the local hardware/ grocery store since... stuff keep on falling pretty much year round in my yard.  I love to compost and have a great system in place for organic matter from my kitchen, lawn, and garden.  However,  during the fall... I reach the critical mass and produce much more than I can handle in my system.  Enter... the Kraft bag!   Don't sell me a stack of 3 or 5... I need volume... get me the Bundle!  That's right... I'm talking bout 50... and bring it!

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Lawn and Leaf Paper Bag No print

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We all use them for yard cleanup.  Fall, spring, summer... you always need a supply.  Why not buy them in a bale of 50 and save?  Plus... your helping to raise funds for your local school or community group.   Two-ply, heavy-duty, kraft paper reduces rips and tears and is environmentally friendly. Self-standing bags are available with or without print. for printing price.

We're pretty sure this will do the job!  Our Kraft bags are slightly different in that they are made with recycled content AND with each purchase you can support your local school, community group or civic organization.

Think of this as "raking in dollars" for your school!  Rack in the green this fall with our Kraft bag fund raiser.  You gotta get them somewhere... why not from the kid next door to support their cause?  Beside... maybe you can strick a deal with that kid and hire them to rack your leaves!

It's time for a change in fund raising... time for something that is healthy, cleaner, greener, AND educational.  Operators are standing by to take your call... 866-752-6626...  ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Newsletter.....Fall fund raising

Fall is right around the corner and in fact I just explained to my daughter Amanda that the Autumnal Equinox marks the official transition of the summer season to fall. Yes... you can't take the science teacher out of me and I will take this opportunity to explain this annual transition to "students" through out the world. 
Recall... that the earth is tilted on its access at approximately 23 degrees AND is in continual rotation while we migrate around the sun (according to current accepted theory). It is this unique positioning that creates the continual changes of the season as the direct rays of the sun are concentrated at differing points on the surface of the earth. Fall marks the point and time where the suns rays are directly concentrated at the equator and therefore we move from longer days of warmer sunshine in the northern hemisphere into shorter, cooler days. This phase marks many changes to come in length of day, temperatures, weather patterns, plant growth, and photosynthetic processes. Thus, the leaves begin their annual change in color AND the photosynthetic processes in all plant life begin to slow down leading to the annual fire works display known as Autumn. 
Now... back to the business of School is back in session and the summer slumber is over for this year. Football games are back in full swing and our children are being challenged to come back to focus on reading, writing, arithmetic, and more. One thing you should have discovered upon your return to the classroom is that the resources to educate our children with are not what they used to be. Even in just one summer season there have been significant reductions in resources to do what we used to be able to count on in the way of financial resources. I have been saying for several quarters now..."We are not in Kansas anymore...." and to that point we have to be creative and more willing to find or create funding to get the job done. 
Enter ! I created GFS with the sole mission of providing a platform to create education and awareness about small, yet significant shifts we can make in the course of daily living that I call "Green Shifts". These are things we already do each and every day and have already developed habits in the way we do these activities. Our mission is to show alternative options that offer cleaner and greener methods in these activities of daily living. Ultimately its up to you to determine if the outcome is right for you. The next steps are called the action steps that we offer up in the way of unique fund raising opportunities. 
We put the learned material to action through creating the unique fund raising that allows your group to take the message to their family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and businesses. Think of other fund raising your school or civic group has participated in over the past years? If your family is like mine it probably involved a variety of unhealthy food items such as cookie dough, pizza kids, candy, or pies. There is no learning at all going on with this type of fund raising AND leads to confusing messages that are telling our kids.... go sell this to your family and friends.... at the same time we are reading reports about child hood obesity, sedentary life styles, and predicted diabetes epidemics in our culture. 
Our program offers not only education and awareness... but promotes a healthy message in cleaner and greener options in the course of daily living. We even offer up suggested healthy snack options that promote a more nutritious selection of snack food options for your pantry. We give your group complete control and offer what we call a K.I.S.S. fund raiser (Keep it Simple, Sustainable). There is no better way to give your group "ownership" of their fund raising then through letting them build their own selection of products that they choose from. 
Don't "Fall" into the same old habits and do what your group did last year... just because it was quick and easy. Take a new course of action that provides your group with the benefits of education, awareness, action, and fund raising that makes sense. Our fall programs are available to come to your school or community organization to present to your group. Our 1 hour presentation is a fee based program that will provide your group with an education in topics such as recycling to the next level, composting, house hold hazardous waste disposal, reuse of materials, re-purposing of materials, and healthy life style choices. 
Head to our web site and begin the registration process now. Dates are filling up so don't delay your registration. 
Visit... today, click on the "Education" tab, then click on "Book an event" tab. The fee based program has a registration fee of $100 AND can be waived if your group does a fund raising partnership. In other words... we provide a fee based education for those who only want to participate in the learning phase. AND.... for those groups who want to go all the way to the next steps of a fund raiser can have the fee waived through their fund raising commitment.
Thanks for your words of encouragement and support! Don't forget to check out our special "Green Halloween" offerings to make our fall season better than ever!
Best Regards, 
Don Sherman
President of
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

The last pure sport... High school sports...

I have cut and pasted this from an earlier blog about the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline... Good Morning America's vote for the most beautiful spot in the County.  That is pretty impressive!   I wanted to fast forward to my thoughts on what I will call "the last  pure sport" in high schools sports.  After watching professional sports as a fan for years... I have grown tired of the "drama" that ESPN would like you to think is keeping the world spinning on it's axis!  Collegate sports has become so corrupt that is almost a given that any winning program today is cheating or has not yet been caught!   Just last week I turned OFF Sports Center out of disgust for the endless coverage of school after school... program after program... being hit with fines, suspensions, and irrevocations of records.    I don't care about Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds shooting up in the butt cheek!  Buy the way... if your an athletic trainer... do you really have to do that? 

So.. it is with that in the past... that I look forward to the future of this season of .... Pure Michigan High School Sports!  

......Last thing on the M 24 thing for now.... I was pleased and honored to attend a community happening last evening in the newly refreshed Children's Park in Down town Lake Orion.  The DDA decided to hold a pep rally in the park to acknowledge the participants in the fall sports programs through the Lake Orion High School district.  As I sat in the middle of this beautiful park.... I thanked God for being brought to such a special place and time.   The scene was nothing short of a movie set... small town America... families sprawled out on the newly placed rock wall and grassy spaces.... gazebo in center stage... clean fresh water flowing over the damn and into a winding river with mother ducks tending to the now maturing ducklings... really no different than the proud parents tending to their babies who are now almost ready to leave the nest!

Seriously... It was a great moment and I could not have been prouder of my children in Alex, Julia, Amanda and Molly.  Julia is a volleyball player dedicated to a sport like no other.  She is bumping and setting out on the driveway and has become a master.  In fact... one of my favorite memories from this months vacation will be the time as a family we spent.... yes... in the clean fresh waters along the Lake Michigan shore line.... bumping... and setting in the waves... Pure Michigan... Let's not forget to give props to the Lake Orion Dragon Football Team.  My son Alex is a senior this year and they will begin the defense of their Division I State Championship next week.

Now the tie in.... M 24 connects Orion to Oxford with a mile or so long patch of highway.  But the connections run much deeper.  You see year ago... way back in another time... this was a rivalry like no other.  It was bad... and bitter.  So much so.... that the powers that be decided it could not continue and was split right down the middle.  Thrown away and the door slammed... for over 25 years the Oxford Wildcats went their way to the Flint league.... and the Lake Orion Dragons did their thing in the Oakland Athletic League.  Time went by and both communities kind of co-existed.   Kind of tolerating each other.   Time passed... the economy expanded... people went on the move... and because of the unique qualities of these "sleepy, little, bed-room" communities... people flocked to the area to "Live, Work, Play...."  and the businesses soon followed... which allowed the newbies settling in to take their hard earned dollars to "Shop, Dine, and Stay..." .  They brought their families to the Lakes, Rivers, and trails.... they "Celebrated" what they had found... and hurried home from work because they had discovered that they had moved to a place "Where living was indeed....a vacation....".

Someone.... I suppose now grown and mature or perhaps someone who moved to the area... not knowing or caring about the past history.... suggested... "Why don't we get the Oxford and Orion kids back together again for a little football game?"  The conversation was started and before you knew it... it happened.  Renewal of a Rivalry.... and Oxford came to Lake Orion for the first game in 25 years.

Rivalry Renewed!  This year the game will be in Oxford and the Wild Cats have their own special "Celebration" this year.  You see... some Cat's don't take "NO" for an answer.  My friend Ron Davis is the big cat who would not except NO.  The voters said NO two times at the poles to the vision of "Blue Turf" in the Cat stadium.  No does not mean know to Big Cat Ron!  He and a group of supporter formed the Blue Turf Committee.  This group was locked and focused on one thing... raising seed money to privately get the Turf stadium.  When you look at the business case... it surely makes great sense.  A modern synthetic turf hold up the punishment laid down by the pounding cleats of football, lacrosse, soccer.  It makes for a smooth surface for the marching band, flag football, and all levels from varsity down to pee wee.  It is a money maker if you can get the people on board.  Ron got it done....some how... he raised enough seed money... and attracted the interest from a mysterious third party who offered up what became known as a new term in a "loan-ation".  That would be a donation to the turf through the extension of a loan.  The voters did agree through a bond to offer up new soil, seed, and irrigation...  When Davis and his group showed the business case to the Oxford Community Schools Board... they could not turn down the deal...  AND the turf came to be.

So... I have set the stage for "The Battle of the Blue Turf" and "Rivalry Renewed.. Round Two" . The Cats got the blue turf... the Dragons got the Division I State Title to defend.  This is a high school AD's dream come true!  In fact... the hype is huge... rumors of ESPN coming to cover the game... Air force Jet fly overs... Bud Rowley going with something other than glaring Cat Yellow pants this year... RUMORS ABOUND!

To celebrate the renewal of this rivalry, Blue Turf install, and the defense of a D I Title... we have created a collect able and iconic Rally Towel.   In fact... last evening we donated over 200 plus rally towels to players at all levels in the Lake Orion program.  We intend to do the same for the Oxford Wild Cats later this week.

Proceeds from the sale of this collectible souvenir will go to support both programs.  Get um early because we have just over 1,000 left for an expected crowed of  8,000 to 12,000 fans!  Are you ready for some football?