Tag Archives: Friends of the Rouge

Franco On The Town – June Edition

The month of June was filled with events in Detroit, a perfect reminder of the commitment Franco has to continue serving this city.

Erica and Stephanie Bowen from the Belle Isle Conservancy lent a helping hand to call and direct the program with the audio / visual crew at this year’s Grand Prixmiere.

ES at Grand Prixmiere

Pat and client Katy Wyerman working Grand Prixmiere.

PAJ at Grand Prixmiere 2

Mary, Sarah, Marie and Lauren gather in front of a Grand Prix Indy Car before the 2016 Belle Isle Grand Prixmiere in support of Franco client, the Belle Isle Conservancy. Other notable guests in attendance at the Grand Prixmiere included General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

MP, SK, MS, LC at Grand Prixmiere

Elizabeth and Sasha worked the kickoff event of On the Plaza featuring a performance by country artist Matt Gary and Michigan singer-songwriter Audrey Ray, with the help of NASH-FM. On the Plaza is a 17-week summer series of free entertainment, activities, food trucks and more on the GM Plaza from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through September 29.

ERS, SR at On the Plaza

Marie was onsite for the Travel Channel’s Delicious Destinations shoot at the original Buddy’s Pizza on the corner of Six Mile and Conant.MS at Buddy's for Travel ChannelElizabeth and Sarah were both at Opportunity Detroit for client interviews- Elizabeth with CBRE and Sarah with Buddy’s and HOUR Detroit that day.

ERS and SK at Opportunity Detroit

The month of June brought Franco three new team members. Meet our newest additions!

Rene Cizio, account manager. Rene’s diverse background in news, PR, and social media in both corporate and agency settings with B2B and consumer clients make her a triple threat when you need a great idea and a plan to execute it. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from University of Michigan-Dearborn.  She is also a graduate of the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership 21 program, which educates and develops a diverse, select group of emerging leaders in southern Wayne County.

RC Web

Jennifer Spears, assistant account executive. Jennifer has a professional background in marketing and journalism, and served as an Americorps member with City Year Detroit, working as a tutor in a Detroit public high school and organizing in-school and extracurricular events. Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with a Bachelor of Arts in German and anthropology and a minor in women’s studies.

Jen S Thumb

Geoffrey Geist, digital marketing specialist. Geoffrey comes to Franco from General Motors, where he was a specialist on the social media team, focusing on luxury clients. He is a member of the AdCraft club of Detroit and has held positions at a variety of other Metro Detroit companies, including Quicken Loans, Team Detroit/GTB and Treat Dreams. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in advertising and is a fervent supporter of MSU and the city of Detroit.

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Marie and Sasha were on-site at the unveiling of the newly installed bronze statue of Edsel and Eleanor Ford. One hundred years since Edsel and Eleanor Ford said “I do”, the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House has set out to honor the couple’s life and legacy during ‘A Century of Love’ 100th wedding anniversary celebration.

MS and SR at Ford House

Tina and Joe had the opportunity to paddle the lower stretches of the Rouge River celebrating the 30th anniversary of Friends of the Rouge at its annual Rouge Rescue event.

TK, JF Friends of the Rouge

Mary and her husband, Zac, snapped a picture with Major Jim McDowell at the KEM concert supporting The Salvation Army and their efforts for the Flint Water Crisis.

MP at KEM concert

Team Franco had a wonderful evening celebrating at HOUR Detroit’s Best of Detroit Party at MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board . Top left clockwise: Intern Brittanie and Sasha checked in all media covering the event, Rene snapped a photo in front of the Franco sponsorship slide inside of Sound Board, Ann Marie and Andrea enjoyed a night out with their handsome dates, Lori took a night off from being the office mom and celebrated the Best of Detroit with her friend, Debbie.

Best of Detroit

Tina and Sasha took a break from working with the media at ‘A Legacy of Love: Vow Renewal and Garden Party’ to take in the beauty of the Ford House grounds. Couples at ‘A Legacy of Love’ gathered for an unforgettable vow renewal ceremony at the picturesque Lakeshore estate officiated by Macomb county executive, Mark Hackel. The ceremony was followed by an elegant strolling dinner and dancing.

TK and SR ford house

Among the couples renewing their vows was Franco’s CEO, Dan Ponder and his wife, Cathy. They celebrated 34 years of marriage in June.

DP and Cathy

Civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., made a surprise visit to the office and grabbed a photo with Dan and Brittanie.

DP, BC, Jesse Jackson

Jen and Ashley took time to de-stress at a lunchtime session of yoga atop the Beaubien Place Garage. Rooftop Yoga is a monthly yoga class put on by client, GMRENCEN along with RenCen Fitness.

JS, AD at Rooftop yoga

Brittanie spent an afternoon at the 2016 Conference on Volunteering and Service, the world’s largest gathering of service-related nonprofit, business, government and civic leaders. She represented the nonprofit, 9/11 Day, which encourages people to honor 9/11 victims by participating in service projects around the nation.

BC at Cobo

Franco celebrated June birthdays by taking a trip down to Ashby Ice Cream & Palazzolo’s Gelato in the GM Wintergarden for a sweet treat.

Elevator selfie

Jen welcomed media at the Turning Point Invitational press conference held at Cornerstone Schools. Cornerstone announced that golf icon Jack Nicklaus will play in the annual golf invitational held to raise funds to provide quality educations for Detroit children. Cornerstone also shared their goal to grow and educate 5,000 children in Detroit, almost double their current enrollment.

JS at Cornerstone press confernence

Kayaks on the Rouge River

An inside look at the Rouge River

Ever wonder what happens to your water after it goes down the drain or runs off into the sewers? If you answered, “It makes its way to the river,” you’d be correct. But do you know which river or watershed your area drains into? I bet you do, but it’s something most of us don’t think about very often and we should because everything we do – from fertilizing to laundry to washing your car – has an impact on our watershed. I live in the Rouge River watershed and through our work to support the 30th anniversary of Friends of the Rouge and its annual Rouge Rescue event, I recently got an education about the Rouge, its history, its challenges and Friends of the Rouge’s vision for its future.

History of the Rouge River

Boblo boat

First, the Rouge River is Michigan’s most urbanized watershed – and it’s bigger than you might think. It drains 466 square miles of land in three counties – Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw – and contains more than 400 lakes, impoundments and ponds and 570 miles of river, streams and creeks.

According to Friends of the Rouge, the Rouge River once was the most polluted river in the country. It was so poorly treated and neglected that it even caught fire twice. But Friends of the Rouge has been working hard for 30 years to improve its health, and in my opinion, they’ve done a great job.

Each spring Friends of the Rouge partners with volunteers from across the Rouge watershed to improve the Rouge River. Here Cyndi Ross, river restoration program manager for Friends of the Rouge, explains how Friends of the Rouge manages wood for the health of the stream.

Opportunities on the river

Kayaks near the Rouge River

I’ll admit, my perception of the Rouge was a very dirty, polluted river that shouldn’t be recreated in, but after seeing it first hand, I was wrong. As an outdoorsman and river fisherman, I’ve seen a lot of rivers; when I visited the Rouge River in Southfield, it looked as healthy as the Clinton River or any other river in southeast Michigan. It even holds sensitive fish species like brown trout, which is amazing to me considering that a fish survey in 1991 didn’t find any fish at all.

As it turns out, there are a lot of recreational opportunities along the Rouge, and Friends of the Rouge is working toward more public access to the river. Fishing opportunities can be found in many Rouge lakes and parks along the Johnson Creek, Main Rouge, Upper Rouge, Middle Rouge, Lower Rouge and many other tributaries. (A fishing guide, species list and fish consumption guidelines can be downloaded at www.therouge.org.)

In addition, Friends of the Rouge is working on a Rouge River Water Trail that will eventually include 25 miles of river from Canton to the Detroit River. There are also plans to create a park along the Rouge that would serve as a stopping point along the Iron Belle Trail and be the home of a future kayak launch.

There are currently four areas that can be paddled: Newburgh Lake – Westland, Commerce Court to Goudy Park-Wayne, Ford Field – Dearborn, Melvindale to River Rouge. We had a chance to paddle the lower stretches where we saw some great wildlife including ducks, geese, blue heron, nesting gulls, turtles and fishing jumping.

Challenges

We also saw some of the river’s challenges, including a combined sewer overflow location at the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant, which is one of the watershed’s largest challenges. The plant can treat more than 1.3 trillion gallons of sewage per day, but heavy rain events force untreated water into the river, which can include anything from raw sewage to excess lawn fertilizer that ran off into the drains which can make its way downstream and contribute to algae blooms in Lake Erie.

Problems aside, the paddling tour was a fantastic experience. We learned a lot about Rouge River past including a paddle into the original Rouge River channel, one of the only downstream areas of the Rouge remaining after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers redirected the river and developed a concrete encased river bottom in the lower Rouge, and had a chance to marvel at the former Boblo Boat, the SS Ste Claire, which now resides in the Rouge River awaiting restoration, before finishing our tour at Belanger Park along the Detroit River.

We had a great time and would encourage anyone who likes paddling to try it out. Friends of the Rouge partners with Riverside Kayak Connection for an annual kayak paddle of the lower Rouge each fall.

Joe Ferlito is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.