SOS offices encouraging online donations as part of annual Harvest Gathering campaign

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SOS offices encouraging online donations as part of annual Harvest Gathering campaign

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that due to changes in this year’s Harvest Gathering campaign, all donations will be made virtually at

“As we celebrate 21 years of participation in this campaign, we’re adapting to the pandemic alongside food banks and other resources,” Benson said. “Instead of having you drop off food items at our branches, we encourage you to donate online and mention our offices when you make your donation. Even as we adjust to this new normal, donors are still able to put food on the table for their neighbors during a time of need.”

Due to COVID-19, many food banks are not accepting food donations this year, so the Food Bank Council of Michigan moved the Harvest Gathering campaign to a virtual-only giving opportunity. Residents can include a specific Secretary of State branch office name or business area if they would like that team to receive credit for their donation. When customers donate funds, they can also indicate what foods they would like to buy with those donations, or they can provide a donation to be used as needed.

Every $1 donated helps provide five meals for Michigan families. Before the pandemic, the food bank network distributed 2.6 million pounds of food each week. Since March, that average has increased to 4.5 million pounds of food a week, largely due to the impacts of COVID-19. On top of that, the Food Bank Council anticipates the need to increase another 15 percent heading into this fall and winter.

The campaign begins today and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 25. For more information visit

National Drive Electric Week 2020

With OEMs sharing new information about continued advancement in technology and new models coming to market, organizations like Consumers Energy, Renewable Energy & Electric Vehicles, believe it’s important for consumers to know that Michigan is continuing efforts to expedite the availability of public charging stations, particularly DC Fast charging stations that will enable drivers to travel the state, with diminishing concerns of “range anxiety”.

National Drive Electric Week, Sep 26-Oct 4, 2020, is a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. They are fun to drive, are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, promote local jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Are you considering going electric? Come talk to owners who have successfully done so!

Each year, National Drive Electric Week includes hundreds of events in communities across the United States and around the world. This year, for the 10th annual National Drive Electric Week, online events have been added for the first time. Please see the events page for more information about national, state and local events near you.


National Drive Electric Week


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Drivers risk tickets after license, vehicle registration extension expires Sept. 30

Michiganders have less than a week to renew their expired driver’s licenses, state identification cards and vehicle registrations before they will be assessed late fees and risk a ticket from police. All such credentials with expirations after March 1 were extended by the state Legislature through Sept. 30, and no additional extension is expected.
For driver’s licenses and IDs required to be renewed in person, such as those requiring a new photo, Secretary of State offices have been offering special appointments since Aug. 24, and they continue to be available through Sept. 30. Those that don’t require an in-person renewal must be renewed online or by mail.
The quickest way to renew vehicle registrations is at one of the more than 120 self-service stations located across the state. The average transaction time is two minutes, and customers walk away with their tabs in hand. Vehicle registrations also can be renewed online and by mail. Branch visits are not required for registration renewals.
To schedule an appointment, conduct a transaction online or find a self-service station, visit


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Approaching Behavioral Health Holistically

As behavioral health needs grow among today’s workforce – and especially among the workforce of tomorrow – organizations need to change their approach to think beyond traditional interventions.

To ensure a healthier, more productive workforce in the face of today’s challenges, employers need to implement a broad approach to behavioral health. Behavioral health isn’t just about the mind: it’s about integrating care to treat the whole person, so their physical and mental health care works in tandem. At the same time, steps should be taken to reduce the cultural stigma that prevents many from seeking the help they need.


A major barrier for many employees as they manage behavioral health issues is gaining access to the resources they need. Not only is seeking help a difficult first step – two out of five Americans live in areas that have a shortage of behavioral health providers.

Employers can step in to help by offering several kinds of behavioral health supports. There are Employee Assistance Programs that can help employees connect with the care that they need. Some employers may also choose to offer behavioral health clinicians in the workplace or through a virtual platform. Another option is to lower the amount of cost-sharing employees have for behavioral health visits through their health plan.

Increasing communication to employees on key behavioral health topics – like stress management, anxiety and depression, for example – can help build awareness of critical signs and symptoms that may have previously been ignored.


As an employer, while you consider which health plan offerings to provide to your employees, consider health plan partners that embrace integrated care models. Integrated care puts equal importance on physical and mental health.

There’s an economic argument supporting this holistic approach to health care: the cost of treating individuals who have both chronic medical conditions and behavioral health issues are two to three times higher than those without a behavioral health condition. Health plans that empower primary care providers to work with behavioral health providers allow for better coordination of care, which in turn reduces costs.


A productive workplace is a healthy one – and that doesn’t just mean a weight on a scale. Creating a workplace culture that values a healthy environment for employees means expanding benefits beyond basic medical coverage. A broad range of perks including things like tuition reimbursement, flexible hours and workplace wellness programs can help employees feel fulfilled in their work-life balance and further committed to their roles.

By taking steps to create a workplace that meets your employee’s needs, you are showing that you are listening and supporting them as more than just employees – but as people. Companies with engaged employees see as much as four and a half times more revenue growth than those with low employee engagement.


It can be incredibly difficult to step forward and seek help for a behavioral health issue – especially if an individual is worried about how they will be perceived socially and at work. There’s still a heavy stigma about seeking counseling or treatment, but employers have a powerful role to play.

About 62% of employees said that if someone in a leadership role spoke openly about mental health, they would feel more comfortable talking about it themselves. By empowering leaders, workplace influencers and managers with training on mental health resources and support, dialogues about behavioral health in the workplace will become more common and less stigmatized. The opportunities are endless to integrate conversations about behavioral health into existing meetings – including new hire orientations, lunch time webinars and ongoing speaker series.

Dr. William Beecroft, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A., is a medical director of behavioral health at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Dr. Amy McKenzie, M.D., is a medical director of provider engagement at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. 

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This article was originally published on, a website sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  Blue Cross and MADA are your trusted partners in building a healthier business and workforce.

Ambassador Program Launches to Educate Michigan Businesses on Workplace Safety Guidelines

The Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) are launching a new program to support Michigan businesses to reopen safely amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The MIOSHA Ambassador Program offers education and one-on-one guidance to help businesses understand regulations on workplace safety.

“Michigan businesses and workers need support during these challenging times,” said Sean Egan, Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Director. “Education is essential with new guidance and directives regularly changing as we continue to battle with COVID-19. Ambassadors will work with businesses to correct any issues. We want to help employers understand and apply directives so they can comply, stay open and stay safe.”

MIOSHA has been working with Michigan employers to help comply with requirements of the Governor’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. This program enhances MIOSHA’s consultative services designed and focused on education. Guidance and resources are posted at

Ambassadors will visit businesses statewide to offer education and support, with a focus on workplaces with a higher risk of community transmission. That includes bars, restaurants, retail stores, gas stations, convenience stores, bowling alleys and gyms. Ambassadors will not propose citations or issue penalties.

“Collaboration is key in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard from many employers and employees wanting to clarify regulations and determine how they apply to their specific workplace. This ambassador effort will bring that education and support directly to businesses across the state.”

As Michigan continues to reopen the economy, employers must operate in compliance with the current Executive Orders and state and federal guidelines. Ambassadors will work with business owners and managers to best implement safety directives to help ensure a safe workplace for employees and customers. Ambassadors will utilize the Ambassador Assessment to evaluate safety precautions are put in place and will provide a toolkit of resources for additional ongoing support.

Educational materials in the Ambassador toolkit can be found at and include:

“Ensuring the business community creates safe workplaces is key to slow the spread of the virus and protect our workers,” said Steve Claywell, President of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. “Michigan can only continue to reopen and keep people working if we all act responsibly. If we all do our part, we can maintain the progress we’ve made against the virus as more Michiganders get back to work.”

“Helping the business community to create safe workplaces has been key to limiting the spread of the virus,” said Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy Executive Chairman and Co-Chair of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council. “Michigan’s ability to reopen the remaining portions of our economy depends on all of us remaining disciplined and doing our part – both at work and at home.”

“Support for people and businesses during this time is critical,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “We have to be vigilant and work together to support a strong economy and limit the spread of the virus. But it all starts with education. Business owners want to do their part, but they need to know exactly what is required of them.”

“Business owners face a fluid set of complex issues regarding COVID-19 that require support to navigate,” said Brian Calley, President of Small Business Association of Michigan. “As guidance from the state continues to evolve, with different rules governing various regions and industries, business owners need to know exactly what they mean and how to apply them. Ongoing education is necessary to keep the economy moving.”

Additional information to ensure safe and healthy working conditions can also be found online at

Information around COVID-19 is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

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SOS offers extended hours for residents needing to renew licenses

From Aug. 24, through Sept. 30, all Secretary of State branch offices will extend hours until 7 p.m. to offer special appointments for residents to renew driver’s licenses or state ID cards that expire between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2020, and require a branch visit. Customers with driver’s licenses or state ID cards that meet that criteria can schedule an appointment between 4 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday from Aug. 24 through Sept. 30, 2020. To make an appointment, visit or call 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).


Secretary of State to offer special appointments, extended hours for customers needing to renew licenses, IDs in person by Sept. 30

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced branch offices would offer special appointments and extended hours for Michigan residents to renew driver’s licenses or state ID cards that expire between Jan. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020.

Beginning August 24, customers can make appointments for between 4 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday running from Aug. 24 through Sept. 30. To make an appointment, visit or call 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

“These special appointments are another tool helping us to ensure continued service to Michigan residents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Benson said. “Since June 1, when our branches reopened for appointments, we’ve completed more than 3 million transactions at branches, online, through self-service stations and by mail to serve the people of Michigan.”

These special appointments are specifically for renewing a Michigan driver’s license or state ID that expires between Jan. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30,2020, and must be renewed in person. Appointments made for license or ID renewals that do not require an in-person visit will be canceled and will need to be rescheduled. Many driver’s licenses and IDs can be renewed online at or by mail.

These appointments can’t be used for any other type of transaction, and, like all appointments, aren’t transferable to another customer. Appointments for other limited types of transactions can continue to be made using the advance and same-day appointment categories available through the online appointment system.
Most vehicle renewals can be conducted online, by mail, or at one of the more than 120 self-service stations across the state. Those vehicle renewals which were previously extended or expire on Sept. 30 must be conducted via one of those methods.

The state previously had extended the renewal dates to Sept. 30 for driver’s licenses, IDs and vehicle registrations expiring after March 1.

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Grieving Our Pre-Coronavirus Routines

It started with denial.

As cases of COVID-19 started to rise earlier this year, participants in Pam Roose’s online diabetes prevention class figured there wasn’t much to worry about and that things would get back to normal soon enough.

When two weeks led to four, she noticed that attitudes and behaviors started to change. Participants had worked so hard to make healthy changes such as buying healthier foods, getting more physical activity and using support systems to keep them on the healthy lifestyle journey they’d started. But, with limited access to healthy foods, gyms closed and the inability to access their support systems in person, their motivation seemed to fade, replaced by anger, mixed with depression.

“It hit, that this is what’s really happening, and some people got angry and some scared,” Roose said. As a registered dietitian, Roose teaches virtual classes out of her Marquette County home.

Some of her students stopped attending class, while many embraced the opportunity to have an online network of support. Those who stayed, drew on each other for emotional and physical support and learned new coping techniques. When a new class recently started, participants were looking for help to move forward, even asking for ways to build a healthy diet reliant on sustainable foods. They were accepting that life could be different for the foreseeable future and finding new ways to support their healthy lifestyle journey.


Throughout the pandemic, many people have felt a sense of loss. Some are grieving loved ones, while many more, including Roose’s students, are grieving aspects of their former way of life.

Stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 radically altered routines and the important ways people structure their lives and form their sense of identity. The ways we exercise, shop and gather all look very different. Big life events such as graduations and weddings had to be canceled, postponed or reimagined. Many lost jobs or faced isolation working from home.

These upheavals to routine are hard to adapt to. Mental health experts say the feelings associated with adjusting are a type of grief. Unlike grieving a death, however, the loss of routine and predictability isn’t over, it’s ongoing for the foreseeable future. Still, it’s important to find constructive ways to move forward.

Not dealing with your emotions can lead to runaway stress and anxiety, which has negative consequences for your mental health. Left unchecked, it can also cause dire physical harm. During the pandemic, cardiologists have found a four-to-five fold increase in Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, typically brought on by extreme physical or emotional distress.


So, how do you appropriately grieve the life you had before COVID-19?

According to the American Psychological Association, identifying and naming what you’ve lost is a good place to start. Maybe you’ve just felt “off” and weren’t quite sure why. Taking stock of the ways your life is different now and figuring out which of those differences make you mad, sad, scared or frustrated can help you figure out how to address those feelings or put action steps in place that can help you feel more in control.

Grieving routines you miss is normal and valid. Roose, who is also a certified intrinsic coach, yoga and Tai Chi teacher, said she’s talking with her students about the people in their lives they can turn to for support and finding ways to connect. “Social distancing doesn’t mean disconnecting socially,” she explained.

While feeling down about restrictions and change is normal, it’s important to be aware of prolonged emotions you feel you can’t get a handle on. Talking to your primary care doctor or a mental health professional about what you’re experiencing can help you determine if further treatment might be needed.


These resources are also available:

  • If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network member, many mental health services are covered through your plan.
  • Blue Cross is also offering a free crisis hotline for emotional support for members and non-members at 833-848-1764.
  • Weekly Blue Cross® Virtual Well-Being member webinars explore helpful topics such as mindfulness, healthy eating, exercise and more.
  • The state of Michigan and Headspace are also offering “Stay Home, Stay Mindful”, a website with free mental health resources.


This article was originally published on, a website sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  Blue Cross and MADA are your trusted partners in building a healthier business and workforce.

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MIOSHA Answers Your Questions on Workplace Safety Compliance

MIOSHA’s COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director, Sean Egan, has hosted four Q&A webinars to answer questions from employers and employees about compliance with the governor’s executive orders on workplace safety.

While some of the answers are a bit vague because situations from one business to another will be different, this does help provide additional guidance. IMPORTANT NOTE: click the “show more” option to see a list of all the questions asked. This allows you to view questions and in most cases click the timestamp for the answer you want to hear. Links to the four webinars and just a few examples of questions are below. (There are many more questions and answers beyond what is sampled here.)


View July 16, 2020 webinar
  • 12:36 – What happens if a worker still tests positive after 2-1/2 weeks and the doctor tells them they are no longer contagious. Can they come back to work? The CDC says after 2 negative tests they can come back.
  • 14:08 – As long as I wear my mask into work. After my temp is taken and my questions answered is it safe to remove my mask once in my office with the door closed? When people enter or I leave the area I reapply the mask.
  • 25:56 – In an office environment, if an employee leaves the premise for an appt, should temp check and questionnaire be asked again?
View July 23, 2020 webinar
  • 20:52 – Is there a timeframe on how long you have to keep the health questionnaires on file?
  • 22:07 – A member of the public comes to our office to make a payment and does not go beyond our front lobby. Is this person required to have a face covering to come inside the lobby area? (Note: Front desk worker in the lobby area is shielded by Plexiglas.)
View July 31, 2020 webinar
  • Note: This week’s webinar is focused on bars and restaurants, but we are including in case you are interested.
View August 7, 2020 webinar
  • 13:00 – Are face masks required during in person meetings in offices if social distancing is in place.
  • 13:23 – If someone is closer than 6 feet but separated by a plexiglass barrier does the 6 ft rule apply?
  • 14:11 – Is there a template than can be provided to record employee’s answers to daily self screening questions?
  • 14:56 – What if an employee’s spouse tests positive, but is not symptomatic. What should we do before allowing him back to work?
  • 15:38 – Our front office is closed to the public, our staff cubicle walls go 3/4 to the ceiling and spacing of work areas are greater than 6 feet apart, some even 12 feet from anyone else. Do they need to wear masks at all times while sitting at their desk? As it is all in the same ‘room’?
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MADA welcomes new associate member, Bellavia Blatt, P.C.

Bellavia Blatt is a pioneer and leading dealer advocate for Retail Warranty Reimbursement, having successfully obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in retail warranty increases over the past 30 years for dealerships across the nation. The firm provides a unique expertise and understanding of Michigan’s warranty reimbursement statutes, so dealers can maximize their Retail Warranty Reimbursement. Due to the volume of work performed, the firm offers a low flat fee that is fair and competitive and is generally recouped within the first month of receiving reimbursement at retail.
For more information please visit You may also contact Leonard Bellavia at (516) 873-3000 or email
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Registration for NADA Show 2021 Now Open

Attendee registration and housing are now open for NADA Show 2021, the Automotive Industry Event of the year, returning to New Orleans, Jan. 21-24. This latest installment of the Show will be the most important yet during this new era of business for dealers.
Learn the latest strategies to navigate business disruptions from NADA Academy instructors, get legislative and regulatory updates from experts, share insights with top industry professionals, and shop the latest dealership tools and products at NADA Expo.

Registration is required to book a hotel – and the best hotel selections always fill up quickly so register soon to book your preferred hotel. Visit today to secure your registration and start planning for this year’s Show!
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Phone: (517) 351-7800