County launches 2020 bicentennial celebration effort

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Judge Michael Warren elected chairman of initiative

First organized by Territorial Governor Lewis Cass on March 28, 1820, Oakland County will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2020. In recognition of this important milestone, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners recently established the Oakland County Bicentennial Executive Committee. The committee is charged with planning, coordinating and executing events, education, and celebrations surrounding Oakland County’s bicentennial. It consists of three members, with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Board Chairman Michael J. Gingell, and Commissioner Dave Woodward, chair of the minority caucus, each appointing a member.

Gingell selected Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren as his appointee. The committee first met on October 12 and elected Warren as chairman. The committee also created an Honorary Committee and moved forward with a general plan of action, including creating partnerships, educational materials and research, events, and legacy monuments.

“To thrive in the future, we must understand the challenges and successes of the past,” Warren remarked. “Oakland County has a tremendously rich history that enabled it to be a premier county in which to live, learn, play and work. I am most honored to serve as the chairman of the Bicentennial Executive Committee, and look forward to developing fun and educational materials, programs, events and monuments to celebrate our 200th birthday.”

Warren is a former member of the State Board of Education, co-creator of Patriot Week with his then 10-year old daughter Leah, education chair for Cornerstone Schools, author of America’s Survival Guide and a member of the State’s Task Force revising the K-12 social studies standards. In addition to Warren, the other members of the Executive Committee are Kristie Zamora from the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs and Oakland County Commissioner Nancy
Quarles, who was elected as vice-chair. They were appointed by Patterson and Woodward, respectively.

Prior to the creation of the Executive Committee, the Board appointed a Bicentennial Study Group in July 2017, also chaired by Warren. The Study Group conducted research and compiled relevant information, including holding an open forum with local historical society leaders and librarians, and then discussed and prepared an initial plan for the 200th anniversary celebration. Its recommendations were presented to the full Board in February of this year. On August 9, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution officially establishing 2020 as Oakland County’s bicentennial year and creating the Bicentennial Executive Committee and Advisory Board. The resolution also designated funds from the Board of Commissioners’ Special Projects budget to support bicentennial activities.

For additional information about the Oakland County Bicentennial Executive Committee, contact Warren at warrenm@oakgov.com or 248-975-4250. More information about the Board of Commissioners is available at www.oakgov.com/boc.

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