Features/People

Published September 18, 2015

MOUNT CLEMENS — Ann Crocker, the first child of former Mount Clemens Mayor George Crocker, was thought of by many as somewhat of a tough cookie.

But it was the children in the community during the early to mid-1900s who knew her soft side: a generous woman who for many years of her life cared for her diabetic mother and could often be seen sweeping the sidewalk around her home while donning her favorite Hoover apron.

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Published September 16, 2015

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Twelve years might not seem like a long term of employment, but for one of the city’s most lovable employees, it was literally a lifetime.


Kate, the sweet-natured border collie who captured the hearts of young and old alike while clearing out the Canada geese and seagulls at Pier Park, had to be euthanized Aug. 10 after a veterinarian determined that she was suffering from pancreatic and liver cancer. She had just turned 14 on July 2.

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Published September 16, 2015

FRASER — More than five years since its inception, Fraser’s Hope Center continues to evolve.


The center, located at 33222 Groesbeck Highway in Fraser, is an operation with the sole purpose to help those in need — mostly in the form of food.

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Published September 16, 2015

ROSEVILLE — A Roseville High School marketing teacher has started a new program to encourage positive behavior in people through bracelets and the networking power of social media.


Jeff Verkeyn created MADE, or the Make A Difference Experiment, as a bracelet-tracking program that involves people giving away bracelets to others when they see helpful deeds in progress. Verkeyn formed a limited liability corporation to manufacture the bracelets, which are reminiscent of Livestrong bracelets.

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Published September 16, 2015

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Over the past eight years, Sue Ellen Kosmas has worked to make a simple gesture improve the days of children who are staying in local hospitals because of a life-changing illness.

Kosmas, a Macomb Township resident, began a metro Detroit chapter for ConKerr Cancer eight years ago. The organization was recently renamed Ryan’s Case for Smiles, but its mission remains the same: “Help kids feel better to heal better.”

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Published September 10, 2015

CITY — For years, John Denomme was a Village fixture. He owned Village Records and Tapes from 1981-93, ran the outdoor summer concert series Music on the Plaza from 1988-2012, and served as the Village Association marketing manager from 1998-2012.

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Published September 9, 2015

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Michelle Stateczny was praying for a sign that a recent career change had placed her where she was needed most.

Stateczny had decided to pursue a career in social work, which meant going back to school and being an intern after nine years of professional work.

She is now in her first semester of graduate school, and is completing an internship in social work with Carlson Elementary School in Warren.

Carlson is a Title I school where 100 percent of the students qualify for a free breakfast and lunch program.

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Published September 2, 2015

ROYAL OAK — When Austen Brantley began sculpting in high school, he had found the space where he belonged.

Brantley, 19, attended Norup International School and is a 2013 graduate of Berkley High School. He now works, lives and displays his art in Royal Oak.

His sculptures bare the soul of someone with a seemingly longer life, as he draws inspiration from Renaissance and classical sculptors and African art.

Brantley said that since graduating high school, he has worked at his craft and has asked other artists for critiques to make him better.

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Published August 27, 2015

MACOMB COUNTY — Hugh McLeod is a self-proclaimed “army brat” who learned the military lifestyle through his father.


McLeod, 41, is a physician assistant in the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion of the U.S. Army.


His career has taken various twists and turns in a figurative and literal sense, all starting with following in his dad’s footsteps.

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Published August 26, 2015

ROSEVILLE — A Roseville boy fighting bone cancer is getting a boost thanks to fundraising efforts that his friends are putting together.


Eric Dean, 14, was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left leg July 17, according to his mother, Amy Dean.


“For the last year and a half, he was getting a lot of knee pain and we couldn’t figure out why,” Amy Dean said. “No X-rays or blood work were showing (anything) at all.”

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Published August 19, 2015

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Painter Roselyn Palazzolo Rhodes has been working on canvases since she was a girl, but she said she’s really found her creative voice by painting outdoors.

Rhodes, whose work is on display through Oct. 16 at Services for Older Citizens in Grosse Pointe Farms, is a plein air painter, which means she works outside trying to capture the natural world around her.

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Published August 4, 2015

C&G Newspapers

DETROIT — If you’re looking for drama and tension, you’ll have to find it in the songs Whiplash plays. Most bands disintegrate because of conflict, but the guys in Whiplash — all local music scene veterans — say this group is thankfully free of that.


“We all get along well,” said bassist and vocalist Rick Crooker, of Clinton Township. “There’s no friction.”


Drummer and vocalist Ernie Modestino, of St. Clair Shores, chimed in with a similar sentiment.

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Published July 22, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — In Good Hart, Michigan, Huntington Woods resident Patrick Wise would go on hikes during the summer with his wife around a nature preserve. As an artist, Wise said he could really enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

So he decided to paint it.

After a couple of weekend trips to the area, Wise was able to complete his piece that depicts a tree in the center with other foliage surrounding it in the background. And 30 miles up the road, Wise’s piece took first place in a competition on Mackinac Island.

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Published June 29, 2015

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Before Vanessa Chambe began competing in local Miss America’s Outstanding Teen preliminary competitions, she was shy and somewhat insecure, her mother said.


But now, the 17-year-old former Miss Teen St. Clair Shores walks with poise, has no problems speaking to large groups, and was just crowned Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen at the state competition in Muskegon on June 17.


“It’s been a really exciting week for me,” said Chambe, who will begin her senior year at Lake Shore High School this fall.

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Published June 29, 2015

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Kacy Wyman, 13, is a competitive swimmer and an aspiring doctor.

She has never seen herself as different.

“She really lives her life like a normal kid,” said Kacy’s mother, Jen Wyman, explaining that normal daily life currently consists of washing down nearly 50 different medications with gallons of water. “We are constantly living by the clock, but we get through it, and nothing gets her down.”

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Published June 10, 2015

MOUNT CLEMENS — Emma Islands is about to take the music world by storm. And she’s well-prepared to keep her fans happy with an arsenal of self-written and composed songs for future albums.

A resident of Mount Clemens and a seventh-grader at Richards Middle School in Fraser Public Schools, Islands, her stage name, has just released her debut album, “Echo.”

“It’s folk and a bit of indie,” said Islands, 13. “That’s the type of music I like to listen to.”

And so do many others.

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Published May 5, 2015

C&G Newspapers

DETROIT — The Detroit Jazz Festival has been attracting some of the top jazz players in the world for years, but the 36th annual festival scored a particular coup this year with artist-in-residence Pat Metheny.


The jazz guitarist and composer, who has won 20 Grammy Awards and has sold more than 20 million records, will be performing with a number of other jazz greats — including Kenny Garrett, Ron Carter and the Gary Burton Quartet — during the festival, which takes place over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-7, in downtown Detroit.

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Published April 29, 2015

GROSSE POINTES — For most audience members, music festivals are a chance to hear their favorite artists and enjoy time away from the stresses of everyday life. But for Matthew Ball, one particular music festival changed his life.

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Published April 28, 2015

DETROIT — Just before her death from ovarian cancer in 2005, pianist Ruth Laredo asked that her tombstone read “An die Musik.”

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Published February 25, 2015

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