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Woodward Talk

Published May 21, 2012

ROYAL OAK — The youths at the Children’s Village in Pontiac have had troubled lives, but the generosity of a local dentist is giving them something to smile about.

Dr. Demi Kazanis has spent the past three years providing pro bono dentistry work to a handful of children who are living at Children’s Village either because they have broken the law and were ordered there by the court, or they are victims of abuse and neglect. The two categories are housed and schooled separately at the village.

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Published March 14, 2012

ROYAL OAK — Students at Upton Elementary School “crushed” bullying earlier this month with a little help from a famous monster truck.

The Grave Digger monster truck pulled into Upton’s parking lot March 2 and driver Charlie Pauken spoke with third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students about anti-bullying during the Monster Jam Crush Bullying assembly.

“It’s not every day you have a monster truck at your school,” Upton Principal John Grzywack said.

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Published February 6, 2012

ROYAL OAK — Support for a 5-year-old Doberman pinscher whose owner claims Royal Oak wanted the dog destroyed exploded on social media sites, though the city said it just wanted assurance that steps are being taken to avoid future attacks.

Heidi, an adopted Doberman, bit a stranger outside a market in the city last October, according to reports.

Her owner, Janet Spalding, created a website,, and an online petition seeking support from the public.

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Published February 1, 2012

ROYAL OAK — Where contractors, owners and renovators gave up, a bulldozer will take over.

A blighted, abandoned home at 303 Woodlawn, near 13 Mile and Rochester roads in Royal Oak, is expected to be torn down after sitting in a dilapidated state for years.

The windows are boarded up and the siding is torn off portions of the home. Attempts by previous owners to spruce up the place were ditched.

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Published January 11, 2012

When eighth-grader Eric Gelb calls to book a performance at a local venue, the reaction is usually the same. The venue manager asks to talk to the adult who is helping out with the production.

Only there are no adults involved with the production.

Gelb and his eighth- and ninth-grade peers wrote the script, composed the music and cast the characters for “Project X,” a musical about what the life of a middle school student is really like.

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Published December 30, 2011

TROY — It’s one of those sports a lot of people say they’d love to try someday, but most people never do.

Ann Marsh-Senic is one of the ones who actually did try it. And loved it.

Marsh-Senic has been fencing for 27 years, and in December won first place in Veteran Women’s Foil at the Kansas City North American Circuit event.

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Published December 1, 2011

MADISON HEIGHTS — When Tove Bruning moved to the United States from Norway 50 years ago, there wasn’t much of a demand for her skill.

As a milliner, Bruning supplied hats for a few bridal boutiques and specialty shops in the area, but eventually found herself looking for other means of expressing her creativity.

“I worked here four or five years, but my mission sort of died,” said Bruning, a longtime Royal Oak resident. “I took a lot of art classes, and in clay I hit the jackpot. It’s just my cup of tea.”

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Published September 28, 2011

CLAWSON — For a senior citizen teetering between maintaining their independence at home or moving to a facility that provides assistance, the little things can make a big difference.

Many seniors have trouble climbing a ladder to change a light bulb or hoisting a heavy window air conditioner, but have no problem taking care of themselves and their home in general.

Clawson’s Senior Home Assistance Repair Program (SHARP) steps in to fill in those gaps in ability. The program matches volunteers with local seniors for small repairs and housework at no cost.

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Published September 7, 2011

ROYAL OAK — The long row of oak trees next to Royal Oak High School makes for pretty landscaping, but the trees’ roots go way back, long before the first student ever stepped foot in the school.

That row of trees used to act as a fence of sort between two farms, owned by the sons of one of Royal Oak’s first settlers. The tree line is one of many “ghosts” of early-day Royal Oak that still stands today to remind people of the city’s history — if only they knew what the signs meant.

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Published August 10, 2011

ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON — Nothing says Michigan like biting into a crisp apple on the first day of fall. It’s not quite time for that, but farmers markets across the state are creating art out of apples in the MI Apple Trail program.

The Clawson and Royal Oak farmers markets are among 20 in the state designing 4-foot, 75-pound, 3-D fiberglass apples, hoping visitors to their markets will like their artwork best and cast a vote in their favor.

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Published August 10, 2011

CLAWSON — It could be a serious case of déjà vu.

Teachers at Clawson High School will see four nearly identical teenagers strolling through their hallways this fall.

For those who’ve been around awhile, maybe it will remind them of the four identical girls who attended the school in the 1970s.

The Ullman quadruplets grew up on Hendrickson in Clawson.

The new quadruplets in town also live on Hendrickson.

On Aug. 3, the young girls met the women for the first time at Jimi’s Restaurant in Royal Oak.

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Published August 4, 2011

ROYAL OAK — Instead of a high chair, Richard Hermann’s parents used to sit him in a shallow mixing bowl while they busied themselves kneading bread dough and making pie crust.

When he got bigger, they found a bigger mixing bowl.

“They’d give me some pie dough to play with,” Hermann said. “My mom used to bring me in and weigh me on the big scale in the back.”

So went the life of a baker’s son.

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Published July 27, 2011

ROYAL OAK — Therese Christman’s dad was considered one of the founding fathers of Royal Oak. She’s got a lot to be proud of.

She also happened to grow up next to Father Charles Coughlin, a controversial priest of the 1930s who gained national attention for his radio broadcasts and outspoken views.

Naturally, she’s got some stories to tell. Stories that should not be forgotten.

“I knew information that no one else knew or had written down,” Christman said. “It bothered me.”

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Published June 8, 2011

CLAWSON/ROYAL OAK — It’s easy being green, if you ask students at schools in Royal Oak and Clawson who were recently honored for their environmental consciousness.

Two Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools buildings were named first and second best in the county in the OakGreen challenge. In Clawson, Schalm Elementary School achieved Michigan Green School status for the first time in the district’s history.

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Published June 8, 2011

ROYAL OAK — If it was manipulated with fire and came from the Earth, it will be at the 17th annual Clay, Glass and Metal Show on Washington Avenue in Royal Oak June 11-12.

Presented by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, the two-day art fair features jewelry, gifts, decorative art, pottery and architectural pieces from 140 artists.

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Published June 1, 2011

ROYAL OAK — Emagine Entertainment CEO Paul Glantz said more than 600 people attended each of the Royal Oak theater and bowling complex’s three days of grand opening celebrations May 13-15, helping provide thousands of dollars to local charities.

Different organizations were designated as beneficiaries for each night of the Main Street venue’s opening weekend. Over the course of the weekend, more than $200,000 was raised for the five charities selected.

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Published June 1, 2011

Combine talented artisans, good food, live entertainment and a little sunshine, and you have the makings of a great summer festival.

Beginning in June, such events are plentiful in metro Detroit. Here’s a sampling of just a few popular festivals that residents won’t want to miss this summer.

June 11-12
Clay, Glass and Metal Festival — downtown Royal Oak
In Royal Oak, one of the first big events of the season is the Clay, Glass and Metal Festival June 11-12.

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Published May 11, 2011

Picture a typical senior residence and images of bingo, arts and crafts, and green Jell-O might come to mind.

Walk into a modern retirement community, though, and you may be more likely to see seniors playing video games, heading out with a travel group or performing a sun salutation in yoga class.

Today’s senior living communities are not the stale, dreary places stereotypes make them out to be.

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Published March 28, 2011

ROYAL OAK — Saying the fate of Michigan’s cities is closely aligned to their neighborhood school districts, Rep. Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak, held a roundtable discussion with various local leaders March 18 to discuss the state budget.

“At a very basic level, we understand the two are tied together,” Townsend said to a group of approximately 30 people at Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools’ Administrative Building. “We need to find ways to get together.”

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Published March 21, 2011

CLAWSON — Through tough economic times, Clawson will remain a community with strong services and dedication to good customer service to its residents, Mayor Penny Luebs said during her annual State of the City address March 16 at City Hall.

The event included an update on the State of the Schools given by Kevin Turner, president of the Board of Education.

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