Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, FranklinJanuary 2, 2013
By Robin Ruehlen and Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writers
The past year was marked by big changes in the Eagle’s coverage area, including tough budget decisions, a contentious school consolidation battle, struggles with crime, new city leaders and a general election that brought voters out in droves.
Here’s a look at the most noteworthy local events from 2012:
• After a year of damaging storms and allegedly poor response times from DTE in neighboring communities, the Bloomfield Hills City Commission passed a resolution Jan. 10, asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to change its standards on how much time energy companies have to respond to downed power lines.
• Residents appeared before the Birmingham City Commission at its Jan. 9 meeting to express their concerns about the installation of fixed-base water meters, also known as “smart meters.” Among the worries were cost, fire safety and radio-frequency exposure.
The city is still working on a possible opt-out plan for residents who don’t want to have the smart meters installed. Director of Public Services Lauren Wood says a plan should be in place within the first few months of 2013.
• The Birmingham City Commission approved site plans for two new bistros in the city: Market and Social Kitchen and Bar. Social Kitchen and Bar, under the direction of Chef Zack Sklar, opened during the summer.
• Fifteen individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on federal drug conspiracy charges Jan. 10, including Franklin resident Orlando Ricardo Gordon. Some 5 kilograms of cocaine, 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 280 grams of crack cocaine were seized, along with large sums of U.S. currency and multiple firearms.
• The Birmingham Public Schools Board of Education announced at its meeting Jan. 17 that it reduced its budget deficit by nearly two-thirds, from $6.6 million in debt to $2.1 million in debt. The savings came from an income boost, reduced salary and benefit costs for BPS staff, and smaller utility bills, thanks to better energy rates and efficient usage.
• Attempts by Bloomfield 20/20 to recall Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education President Ingrid Day, Vice President Ed Ford, Treasurer Cynthia Von Oeyen and trustees Jacqueline El-Sayed and Mark Bank failed after the group was unable to collect the 5,266 signatures for each board member needed in the 90-day window
• A Bloomfield Hills attorney and a Rochester schoolteacher were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide Jan. 10. Several residents called 911 at about 8 p.m. Jan. 10 to report hearing multiple gunshots in the 2200 block of Bedford Road. Bloomfield Township resident Kenneth W. Jarrell, 46, and Rochester Hills resident Susan Pawlecki Jarrell, 45, both dead from apparent gunshot wounds, were found in the driveway of Kenneth’s residence.
• The annual Winter Family Fun Day event at Beverly Park in Beverly Hills was moved from Jan. 22 until Jan. 29 due to lack of snow. Temperatures were slated to be in the 50s on the originally scheduled day of the event.
• The Birmingham Police Department rolled out a new communications service called Nixle, designed to deliver messages directly to subscribers via text message or email, concerning community emergencies and other public alerts.
• The Baldwin Public Library installed three self-check-out machines, making borrowing books simpler and quicker for guests. The cost of the machines was approximately $30,000.
• The Birmingham City Commission voted to leave East Maple Road in its current four-lane configuration, much to the delight of residents who complained that switching the road from four-lanes to two lanes with a center left-turn lane would cause traffic congestion. The stretch was resurfaced during the summer.
• The Bloomfield Hills City Commission voted Feb. 14 to adopt a code of ethics for elected officials and members of appointed boards, commissions and committees. The 11-part code outlines how officials should act in situations while holding their post, from businesses and financial morality to issues of confidentiality.
• After failing to gain support from voters in Sept. 2011 for a proposed millage increase for the Fire Department and the general fund, the Village of Franklin held a special election Feb. 28 to try to get the tax increases approved. The .5414-mill increase for fire and .04-mill increase for the general fund passed, both with more than 70 percent of the vote.
• The Archdiocese of Detroit announced Feb. 20 that, for the time being, a number of churches in Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Troy and Bloomfield Township would be spared from consolidation as part of its Together in Faith pastoral sharing plan. While most churches were allowed to continue operations normally, St. Alan in Troy and St. Columban in Birmingham were directed to merge into one.
• Within just a few days beginning Feb 27, the villages of Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin each had residential burglaries to report. Though five break-ins were unsettling to many residents in the villages of Southfield Township, then-Beverly Hills Public Safety Director Karl Woodard said the amount was not out of the ordinary.
• Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won Michigan’s presidential primary election Feb. 28 in all of the Eagle communities, including his hometown of Bloomfield Hills.
• Just days after closing on Jan. 29, the Maple Art Theatre re-opened as the Maple Theatre Feb. 1 under the management of Cloud Nine Theater Productions, owned by Jon Goldstein of Bloomfield Township. Goldstein announced plans for $1 million in renovations to the independent and foreign-film theater, which had been in operation since 1974.
• The Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education voted 6-0 to approve the switch from part-day to full-day kindergarten programs at its four elementary schools for the 2012-13 school year. Administrators cited research that full-day kindergarten increases school readiness, benefits children socially and emotionally, and supports literacy and language development.
• Former Berkley School District communications supervisor Shira Good began her position as the new director of communications and community relations at Bloomfield Hills Schools on Feb. 1. Good succeeded Betsy Erikson Brown, who left the district in October for a position at the University of Michigan.
• After weeks of voting, seventh- through 10th-graders in the Bloomfield Hills Schools chose the name “Black Hawks” as the mascot for the new Bloomfield Hills High School. Students also voted for black, silver and purple as the new school’s official colors.
• Mike Palmer, owner of Premier Pet Supply of Beverly Hills was named as one of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s “Elite 40 Under 40” during Patterson’s State of the County address. Palmer, 35, has managed the store for the past 18 years, and was chosen from a pool of 400 candidates for the honor.
• Despite initial concerns with the new cut scores, the Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham school districts remained among the top-performing in the state on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program. Both districts out-performed the state averages by as much as 35 percent in some categories, according to the Michigan Department of Education results released Feb. 15.
• Despite complaints from residents in the area, the Birmingham City Commission voted Feb. 27 to approve an amendment to the city’s park rules and regulations, allowing beer and wine to be sold at municipal golf courses. Homeowners living near the courses worried about the possibility of erratic or drunken drivers causing problems when leaving the properties, but the venture proved successful in bringing in additional revenue.
• The Birmingham City Commission voted March 5 to install automated payment machines at two more of Birmingham’s parking garages, eliminating the need for four full-time attendants. The move is expected to save the city about $225,000 annually in wages.
• The second annual Uptown Film Festival was held at the Birmingham 8 and Palladium 12 theaters in downtown Birmingham. The event, held March 8-10, attracted crowds of film buffs to the city for 60 movie screenings. Event coordinators hinted that, with the success of the festival’s second year, it would likely be extended to include a fourth day in 2013.
• Thanks to funding provided by the millage increase that voters approved Feb. 28 as part of a special ballot election, the Franklin Village Administrative Offices and the Franklin Police Department were able to restore Friday hours, keeping the facilities open and employees working five days a week. Both departments were forced to enact furlough days in November 2011 to cut costs.
• The Bloomfield Hills City Commission voted March 13 to adopt a “super drunk” ordinance, which enforces stricter penalties on first-time drunken drivers who have a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or higher, nearly double the 0.08 legal limit to operate a vehicle.
• After 13 years at the head of the Beverly Hills Public Safety Department, Director Karl Woodard retired on March 30. Woodard had previously retired from a lieutenant position with Oak Park’s Public Safety Department in 1998, after nearly 23 years of service.
• Police vowed to increase patrols around South Bar on Old Woodward in downtown Birmingham after shots were fired in the early morning hours April 2. The suspect believed to be responsible for the shots, Crystal Ann White, of Redford, was said to have been involved in an argument with another patron at the bar that evening, and after a physical altercation outside of the venue, she allegedly went to her car across the street and fired one or two shots into the air from a handgun in the vehicle.
At that time, South Bar co-owner Beth Spadafore insisted she and the staff at the nightspot were dedicated to the safety of patrons. This wasn’t the first violent incident at South Bar. In August of 2011, a brawl broke out in the bar that resulted in two bouncers suffering stab wounds to the neck and hands.
On July 17, the venue abruptly closed its doors for good after yet another gun incident involving patrons leaving the nightspot. According to police, the shooting occurred around 2:15 a.m. July 16, when three men left South and were assaulted on Merrill Street by two individuals who had left the bar just minutes before. One of the suspects fired shots at the men, which were heard down the street by officers who responded and apprehended the suspects from Southfield and Detroit.
• Following the shots fired on April 2 outside of South Bar, city officials announced that the Birmingham Police Department would be launching an investigation covering every establishment that serves liquor in the city. The inquiries resulted in little action being taken against any venues.
• Troy teen Sean Combs was arrested in downtown Birmingham after he was spotted with an M1 rifle slung across his back. The arrest lead to protests around the city by Second Amendment advocates who said the teen’s rights had been violated when he was taken into custody without having committed a crime. He was charged with disturbing the peace, brandishing a firearm and obstructing an officer.
Though the Birmingham Police Department insisted the teen was resistant when police questioned him before the arrest, on July 12 Combs was found not guilty by a jury in Oakland County’s 48th District Court. In late October, he announced that he would pursue a civil suit against the city for false arrest and imprisonment and violation of his Second Amendment rights, among other complaints.
• After just about a month of discussions, the Birmingham City Commission and the Beverly Hills Village Council both unanimously voted to approve a measure to consolidate police dispatch resources for both communities. It was decided that Birmingham dispatch staff would service calls from both communities, resulting in several layoffs in the Beverly Hills Public Safety Department. The move is expected to save the village about $250,000 in its first year and $175,000 each year after. Birmingham expects to save at least 35 percent of its operating costs after it receives fees from the village for the dispatch service. The plan was implemented, and Birmingham began taking police and fire calls from Beverly Hills residents in late June.
• President Barack Obama made a stop in Michigan April 18 to attend two fundraisers aimed at supporting his re-election campaign. The first was at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn and the second at the home of Denise Illitch in Bingham Farms. Illitch hosted a dinner and cocktail reception for the president, which cost guests between $10,000 and $40,000 per ticket.
• The Detroit Institute of Arts’ free art exhibit program, Inside Out, came to Bloomfield Township Public Library on April 11. Now in its third year, the exhibit brings high-quality reproductions of master artwork to outdoor locations around Metro Detroit. The township received seven replications.
• Beverly Hills resident David Daniel Fischer, 50, was charged for his alleged involvement in an insurance-fraud scheme to the tune of $250, 000, according to the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Fischer was accused of pocketing cash from insurance premiums he collected from clients while working for Bosquett & Co., an insurance agency based in Troy.
• Bloomfield Hills Middle School eighth-grade science teacher Hugh Watters was named the winner of the 2012 Oakland County Middle School Teacher of the Year Award. He was selected from a pool of 53 candidates.
• The Birmingham Farmers Market kicked off its 10th season with more locally made goods and produce than ever before.
• Voters cast their ballot May 8 to re-elect Commissioner Sarah McClure to the Bloomfield Hills City Commission. She was later appointed mayor, succeeding Mayor Michael Zambricki. Newcomer Michael Dul was elected to the commission, replacing Connie Salloum at the commissioners table. Voters in the Bloomfield Hills School District also approved the $58.65 million bond proposal for a facility to house the consolidated Bloomfield Hills High School on the current Andover High School site.
• Funding for Bloomfield Township road repairs was given major boost from the Tri-Party Road Improvement Program.
• The Village Council of Franklin voted May 14 to approve $19,300 from the general fund to be directed to the nonprofit group Main Street Franklin. The figure was included in the 2012-13 village budget proposal, but some trustees in the weeks leading up to the vote suggested that the funding should be reduced or eliminated as a cost saving measure. The vote came after a long and heated public hearing, where residents on both sides of the debate expressed their feelings to the council, some in support of the funding and some saying the nonprofit group should seek financial support from other sources. The issue grew so contentious that then-Trustee Sherry Sparks, one of only two dissenting commissioners on the issue, chose to resign from her post on the council in June. She was replaced with appointed Trustee Brian Gordon.
• After a short and to-the-point discussion, the Birmingham City Commission voted May 21 to adopt the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which contained $65.3 million in municipal expenditures. The final version of the budget reflected a reduction in millage rate by .1364 mills, taking the rate from 15.6005 to 15.4641 mills.
• Bloomfield Township announced a recent boom in businesses in May-June, with six stores opening and one completing renovations. Among those were Five Below, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Better Health Market, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Subway, SVS Visions and Level One Bank. Carl’s Golf Land also finalized renovations on its 20,000-square-foot facility.
• Eastover Elementary was awarded its sixth grant of the year in June. The majority of the school’s grant funds went toward the extensive student gardens; a mobile demonstration kitchen; a bird habitat completed with feeding stations, houses and a live web cam; and school-wide composting and hydroponics program.
• Declaring the epidemic of synthetic marijuana and similar substances an emergency, the Beverly Hills Village Council unanimously passed an amendment June 19 banning all such drugs in the village. Village Attorney Tom Ryan said the amendment to Chapter 42 of the already-existing ordinance concerning controlled substances now includes a ban on K2 or Spice, and other analogue substances.
• The Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks named Bloomfield Township Clerk Jan Roncelli their Clerk of the Year. Since her start as clerk in 2004, Roncelli has been instrumental in making the township considerably more user-friendly for residents.
• Birmingham students got the chance to video-chat with NASA astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger live from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. WDIV Local 4 Meteorologist Andrew Humphrey was also on hand to talk with students about careers in math and science for the day’s event, dubbed Exploration 2012. The festivities also included an interactive science fair put on by BPS high school students.
• Two men from Detroit were arrested for allegedly breaking in to Abbott’s Coin and Jewelry in the early morning hours of June 4. The same store was broken in to just two months prior by three masked men who made off with around $39,000 worth of silver bullion, jewelry and coins.
• Just in time for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, the Michigan Legislature passed a bill allowing 1.4-gram consumer-grade fireworks like bottle rockets and Roman candles to be legally purchased in the state. Shortly after the legislation passed, many areas enacted local ordinances restricting the sale and use of the fireworks to certain days of the year, surrounding national holidays.
• The Community House celebrated 90 years in the community with a luncheon event called 90 and Beyond. The day featured local artifacts, photos and even guests 90 years of age and older.
• The Birmingham Public Schools Board of Education, faced with a vacancy in its superintendent position, offered the job to Daniel Nerad, of Madison, Wis. Nerad, who at the time was serving as the superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District, said he was pleased to accept the position.
• After a year of planning and debates, the Bloomfield Hills City Commission, with the help of the Planning Commission, passed a woodlands ordinance to prevent clear-cutting trees within the city. Though the ordinance is aimed mainly at large-scale commercial developers, it drew controversy from some residents who thought their rights as property owners might be violated by not being able to cut down trees without penalty or having to replace trees under certain circumstances.
• Plans finally came to fruition at Pembroke Elementary School where a new outdoor classroom was installed, featuring massive rocks for seating and mulch for flooring, along with decorative plants.
• A nine-hole disc golf course opened in Beverly Park on July 6. Professional disc golfer and course designer John Minicuci and local government representatives were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and subsequent free disc golf clinic.
• For the first time in its history, the Charles L. Bowers School Farm announced ongoing summer educational programs for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Students had options of two-, three-, or five-day hands-on agriscience programs.
• Capt. Michael Morin of the Bloomfield Township Fire Department was sworn in as the department’s new assistant chief, following the retirement of Assistant Chief Lyal Bigger. Morin was hired in to BTFD in 1986.
• The Bloomfield Township Fire Department was awarded a $57,739 grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program in order to purchase and install wireless smoke detectors in foster-care facilities and apartment complexes throughout the township.
• Earlier in the year, resident Norm Kern approached the Birmingham City Commission on behalf of homeowners in his neighborhood to complain about the Gingko trees that line the streets. According to Kern, the smell of the fruit the trees drop each fall is undesirable.
At first, the city vowed to increase yard waste pick-ups in the area to help residents get rid of the smelling fruit. After increased pressure, the Department of Public Works announced in late October that the city would remove the trees at the request of homeowners.
• Franklin Clerk Eileen Pulker was named Village Clerk of the Year.
• While walking back to their car through downtown Birmingham early in the morning July 1, two men reportedly started flipping items over on the patio of Café Via. The cost of the damage they caused, according to the restaurant, was in excess of $5,000.
• A Birmingham resident in the 1600 block of Bowers had her wallet stolen when she invited a door-to-door magazine salesman inside her home to wait while she paid for her subscription July 2. Cmdr. Terry Kiernan of Birmingham Police said the department had received several complaints from residents about unwanted solicitors canvasing the area, selling magazine subscriptions without a permit. The company believed to be involved, Mega Sales Inc., could not be reached for comment.
• The Birmingham City Commission voted July 9 to sign a contract with Parkmobile, an international company that facilitates cashless payments for parking meters. According to Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt, residents and visitors of downtown Birmingham had been clamoring for an alternative way to pay for parking meters besides coins. The system was implemented later that summer.
• On July 17, a Franklin homeowner and guests were held at gunpoint by two suspects who forced their way in and ransacked the house in the 24000 block of Franklin Farms Drive. According to police, the invasion likely wasn’t a random crime, but rather a planned attack.
• Despite the fact that there were no local races in the Eagle’s coverage area Aug. 7, voter turnout for the primary election was higher than in many other municipalities. The high turnout could be attributed, in part, to the Detroit Institute of Arts millage proposal, which provided a 0.2-mill levy to the museum for the next 10 years. The measure passed, giving residents in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland Counties free admission to the DIA.
• More than 80 percent of Bloomfield Township residents voted to approve the 10-year, 2.39 mill public safety millage to finance continued police and fire protection in the Aug. 7 primary election. The millage maintains the level of services in the township and brings in one third of the revenue for police, fire and EMS services.
• Following a protest in Shain Park by Second Amendment advocates, the Baldwin Public Library Board of Directors petitioned lawmakers in Lansing to amend the state’s open carry law and ban visible weapons in libraries around Michigan.
• Former FBI agent and Franklin Police officer Daniel Roberts is tapped to serve as the new Chief of Franklin-Bingham Farms Police. The search for a new chief began in early May when Chief Patrick Browne announced he would be retiring at the end of June, after six years with the department.
• Crowds once again packed Birmingham and Bloomfield Township Aug. 18 to enjoy the sunny, warm weather at the 18th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.
• Students at Birmingham Covington School, along with teachers Pauline Roberts and Rick Joseph, were honored at Microsoft’s Partners in Learning U.S. Forum Aug. 2 in Redmond, Wash., for their sustainability project “Doing Business in Birmingham.” In November, the group would move on to the global forum in Prague to take first prize for their efforts.
• The second annual Birmingham Bike Festival was held Aug. 26, attracting racers, riding enthusiasts and families from around Metro Detroit.
• Once again, Birmingham Public Schools and Bloomfield Hills Schools were ranked as some of the highest achieving in the state, according to the Adequate Yearly Progress and EducationYES! School Report Cards released by the Michigan Department of Education.
• On Aug, 29, Greenstone’s Jewelry in Birmingham was robbed of at least two Rolex watches, after a trio of thieves came into the story armed with pepper spray and mallets. Two employees were attacked with the pepper spray just before the suspects fled the scene in a dark-colored SUV.
• After South Bar announced it would close in July, the Birmingham City Manager Robert Burner and the City Commission said they would seek to revoke the liquor license from the landlord of the venue, James Esshaki. On Aug. 27, the commission allowed Esshaki to keep the license for the property after he vowed to let the city play a larger role in what type of business filled the space next.
• Southfield resident Kenyatta Johnson, 18, and Khalil Broster, 17, were arrested Sept. 13 in relation to two armed robberies perpetrated in the village of Franklin Sept. 10 and 11. The men allegedly approached the victims while they were walking around the neighborhood at dusk in both instances.
• Shain Park played host to the first-ever Michigan F.A.S.H. Fest Sept. 15. F.A.S.H., which stands for Fashion, Art, Sound and History, drew crowds to downtown Birmingham for a variety of exhibits, performances and fashion shows with a local twist.
• Only two Birmingham Public Schools Board of Education candidates fielded questions from the small crowd at the Meet the Candidates forum Sept. 20. Incumbents Geri Rinschler and Michael Fenberg were in attendance, while Jack Connelly was absent, having withdrawn from the race three days prior, along with Mary Blake, who didn’t attend and couldn’t be reached.
• D1 Sports Training of Bloomfield Hills offered free Healthy Heart Check screenings for students, ages 13-19. The screenings included medical histories, blood-pressure checks and electrocardiograms. Echocardiograms were provided on an as-needed basis for anyone who was discovered to be at risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an abnormal thickening of the walls of the heart that can put children at risk for life-threatening heart-rhythm problems, including sudden cardiac death.
• More than 40 homeowners on Franklin Road began a series of meetings with officials from the Bloomfield Hills Schools and Bloomfield Township to discuss a list of changes residents would like to see in order to improve safety along their scenic stretch. The improvements residents would like to see include a reduction of the speed limit, elimination of passing, a four-way stop at Hickory Grove and a possible no-left-turn sign at Hickory Grove and Franklin.
• Bloomfield Township officials met with representatives of DTE Energy to discuss concerns regarding the functionality of DTE’s equipment in certain areas of the township. Officials requested that DTE make a greater investment in equipment and technology in the township to prevent further mass outages, such as those caused by a severe storm in early July that left more than 7,000 homes without power for up to six days.
• The Beverly Hills Village Council unanimously approved a new communications strategy to make important village information more accessible to residents through daily updates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The communications include information on planned events, emergencies, council decisions and actions.
• Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township voted to consolidate water services under the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority. Under the agreement, the township will construct a new pressure valve at the existing SOCWA substation near Chesterfield and Woodward in Bloomfield Hills, and it will operate and maintain the facility for the next 10 years.
• The Bloomfield Township Public Library rolled out its new line of free Visual and Instructive Tools to Advance Living in Transforming Years (VITALITY) kits to help senior citizens improve dexterity, memory and speech. The kits are available for checkout, and include tools, games books, DVDS, CDS and other activities focused on improving the quality of life for seniors.
• The Bloomfield Township Police Department became the second police department in the state to launch its own free phone app for Android phones and tablets. The app was launched on Oct. 17 to give the public better access and information on developing situations in the township, crime maps, profiles of wanted persons, the department’s Facebook page and a calendar of upcoming events.
• During the overnight hours of Oct. 4-5, a boarding student at the Cranbrook Educational Community unexpectedly passed away in the hallway of his dormitory. Medical examiners later determined that the high school sophomore died of natural causes.
• Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, stopped at the Franklin Cider Mill Oct. 12 to greet supporters and to grab some of the mill’s famous treats. Both Romney and her husband grew up in the Bloomfield Hills area and frequented the cider mill.
• The villages of Beverly Hills and Franklin were ranked among the top 100 best suburban communities to live in nationwide, according to a report released by Coldwell Banker Realty.
• In a surprise announcement at the annual Bloomfield Township Open House on Oct. 14, officials dedicated the Public Services Building to former supervisor David Payne, in honor of his 41 years of service to the township. Payne retired in August of 2011.
• Bingham Farms Village Council accepted the resignation of Council President Delores Tripp during its Oct. 22 meeting. At a special meeting Nov. 5, the council strayed away from tradition and elected Trustee Jeffrey Modell to the helm instead of President Pro Tem Mel Ettenson. A month later, the council appointed long-time resident Carl Grenadier to fill Modell’s previous seat.
• A Birmingham resident in the 800 block of Hazel reported finding a man hiding in her basement around 3 a.m. Oct. 26. The woman fled the house, and when she returned with Birmingham Police, the man was gone. According to reports, the man was sitting on the floor and didn’t look to be threatening.
• A Troy man was taken into custody for allegedly breaking into four houses in Birmingham within four days. According to police, 29-year-old Christopher Rousseau was stealing jewelry and other valuables to support what they believed to be a drug habit.
• Remnants of Hurricane Sandy caused damage across southeast Michigan during the night Oct. 29. Beverly Hills administrative offices spent most of Oct. 30 without power, while DTE could be found in many areas trying to restore power to those who had lost it.
• It was a good night for incumbents Nov. 6 as the polls closed on election night in the Eagle’s coverage area. Voters reportedly came out in droves to pick their president and decide a number of local races.
Incumbents Michael Fenberg and Geri Rinschler were re-elected as trustees to the Birmingham Public Schools Board of Education.
Birmingham residents rejected a proposed amendment to the City Charter that would have eliminated a current charter limitation that requires a vote to allow the sale of any property valued in excess of $2 per capita.
• Beverly Hills Village Council incumbents John Mooney and Brian LaFerriere retained their seats for an additional four years, and newcomer Jacqueline Kelly was welcomed to the table on Nov.13. Village residents also approved Ballot Proposal A by 78 percent, which amends the Village Charter to establish that a person appointed due to a council vacancy will hold office until the next regular election. In the Southfield Township Clerk race, veteran incumbent Sharon Tischler also won an additional term.
• In the Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education races, newcomer Howard Baron and incumbent President Ingrid Day were elected to six-year terms. Board Treasurer Robert Herner was chosen to occupy the partial term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014.
• After several months of extensive renovations, Bloomfield Township’s independent film hotspot The Maple Theatre held its grand re-opening Nov.1-4. The establishment now features larger screens with more legroom and wider aisles, a club section and a renovated lobby that houses The Maple Bar, a Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. café and a large fireplace.
• Beverly Hills resident Paul Kleppert and former Beverly Hills Village Council member Ron Berndt announced plans to establish a new veterans memorial monument in Beverly Park in time for the annual Village Memorial Day Parade and Carnival in May. The pair created a nonprofit organization to raise funds for the monument, and have established an account with Independent Bank of Beverly Hills to collect donations.
• As Birmingham Mayor Mark Nickita’s term expired Nov. 12, George Dilgard was appointed by his fellow commissioners to server as mayor in 2013. The mayor pro tem position was appointed to Commissioner Scott Moore.
• Birmingham Police warned residents not to give their personal information out over the phone after several reports were made of phone calls from someone claiming to be a New York Police officer demanding money to settle a citation. Only one resident fell victim to the scam and released information to the caller.
• For the second year in a row, The Plant Station in Birmingham was robbed of several Christmas trees during the overnight hours of Nov. 23-24. Police say the retailer is at risk of overnight thefts because of its location and openly displayed merchandise.
• Birmingham Public Schools unanimously passed a resolution Nov. 27 expressing opposition to three bills in the Michigan Legislature, claiming House Bills 5923 and 6004 and Senate Bill 1358 could dramatically overhaul Michigan public education as we know it.
• The city of Birmingham announced Dec. 5 that it was seeking volunteers for eight vacancies on various boards and commissions.
• Despite controversy about the almost $30,000 price tag, residents seemed pleased with the new artificial Holiday Tree in Shain Park. The tree, according to Department of Public Services Director Lauren Wood, is expected to save the city money, in the long run.
• The Bloomfield Hills City Commission appointed resident Stuart Sheer to the commission Dec. 11 to the vacancy left by Commissioner Michael McCready, who was elected Nov. 6 to serve in the 40th District state House of Representatives seat.
• Birmingham was rated the most expensive housing market in Michigan in a report released by Coldwell Banker Realty. Bloomfield Township was named the third most expensive market in the state.
• On Dec. 11, the Bloomfield Hills City Commission voted to petition Oakland County to use its portion of federal Community Development Block Grants funds to support Meals on Wheels for seniors in the city.
• The final schematics of the new Bloomfield Hills High School were unveiled at the Doyle Center on Dec. 6. The collegiate-style, state-of-the art building is set to open in the fall of 2015.
• Bloomfield Township Minutes on Demand service for agendas, board packets and meeting minutes will see upgrades in speed and content as early as January, allowing the public to easily search the township’s records, as far back as 1928.
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