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Woodward Talk

Published March 28, 2012

Necessity, the adage declares, is the mother of invention.

Surveying his cluttered garage years ago, then-Sterling Heights resident Chris Mazzola certainly recognized the necessity, and the invention followed: the Bucket Bracket, a device that fastens to the wall to suspend 5-gallon pails at an angle for simple storage.

“I had junk in my garage — it drove me nuts,” said Mazzola, a carpenter of 25 years who relied on pails to hold virtually everything. “You couldn’t see in the buckets. I was stacking them on top of each other.”

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Published December 22, 2011

“Thank you for calling your friendly Riverland Kroger store,” the automated voice answering the phone chirps now.

But come Jan. 7, 2012, that friendly store will be no more.

After several decades, Kroger plans to close its location in the Riverland Plaza shopping center, at Riverland and Van Dyke, south of Hall Road.

Dale Hollandsworth with Kroger corporate communications called it a “last resort” decision that’s been mulled for several years, and with the current lease expiring, it’s finally being executed.

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Published December 20, 2011

Flip on WNZK 690 AM in the early afternoon and you may hear the voice of Sterling Heights resident Nick Najjar, speaking in Arabic about everyday issues.

“We talk about laws. We talk about real estate — talk about everything that’s important in the community,” said Najjar, who emigrated from Iraq 30 years ago. “That’s our job, to educate the community, because we have a lot of newcomers. They don’t know the rules and regulations of this country.”

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Published August 17, 2011

The residents of Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids are “feeling good” — and it’s due, in large part, to the efforts of a Sterling Heights native.

Alan Ledford is garnering attention as director of Clark’s “lip dub,” which has become a YouTube phenomenon, tallying more than 1 million views by early August.

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Published August 16, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — If all goes as planned, Sterling Heights will soon offer a program aimed at quelling the clamor for curbside recycling.

City Manager Mark Vanderpool said plans are moving forward on contracting an outside vendor for a subscription-based curbside recycling program that will supplement, not replace, the city’s existing drop-off recycling centers.

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Published June 14, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — Carol Zenow’s property was swarming with people, all of them hard at work: cutting tall grass, hauling wheelbarrows, spreading mulch, grooming a spruce-studded berm facing 15 Mile.

Before that morning, Zenow didn’t know these strangers now filling her driveway with their mowers, rakes and trimmers. But she couldn’t have been more grateful for their presence on June 4 for Community Pride and SHINE Day, a citywide initiative to spruce up properties.

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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 24, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — Benjamin Orjada wants the world to know he’s just like anyone else.

He might see it through different eyes, having to work harder to pick up social cues that come naturally to most other people, but that doesn’t make him inferior to others, just different.

And when the 17-year-old junior at Stevenson High School shared that message at the Michigan district championship of the Optimist International Oratorical Contest recently, it won him the top prize, a $2,500 scholarship.

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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 April 6, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — If we want outsiders to look at Michigan differently, it has to start with the insiders.

So says Lisa Diggs, president of Catalyst Co. LLC and the founder of Buy Michigan Now, a campaign stressing the importance of patronizing local businesses and changing perceptions of the region and state.

Everywhere Detroiters turn, she said, they’re bombarded by reports of population decline and youth flight, stories of people losing their homes and jobs, images of abandoned buildings and rampant blight.

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Published March 22, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — Simone Cato and Jesus Galindo were born and raised hundreds of miles apart — she in Jamaica, he in Mexico.

But a common thread — love — led them to the same place March 11: a naturalization ceremony at the Macedonian Cultural Center in Sterling Heights, where they took the oath of allegiance to become U.S. citizens.

Cato and Galindo, sitting a row apart, both decided to pursue citizenship after falling in love with the Americans who are now their spouses.

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Published February 9, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — Where one might see a scraggly weed, Patti Cooper-Koerner sees a plant beautiful in its own right, even if it hasn’t been given the vaunted status of a flower.

But Cooper-Koerner, Sterling Heights’ Artist of the Month for February, acknowledges that she doesn’t see the world like most people do. She revels in the beauty of common things, a gift she credits to a life-altering near-death experience nine years ago.

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Published January 26, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — Is there a money-back guarantee on that?

Late last month, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony V. Marrocco fired off correspondence to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, seeking confirmation on whether contractor Bobby Ferguson received nearly $3 million for work he allegedly never performed on a collapsed Detroit Water and Sewerage Department interceptor near 15 Mile and Moravian in 2004.

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Published January 19, 2011

STERLING HEIGHTS — Everyone was abuzz about General Motors’ Chevy Volt around the same time Mike and Verna Borsuck were planning the new structure for their Sterling Heights-based Studio 9 Salon.

Inspired, Mike Borsuck added infrastructure for an electric vehicle charging station into the blueprints and applied online to receive a unit for free.

Time passed with no word, and he was unsure whether anything would come of it. But late last year, the charger arrived, just in time for the Volt’s release.

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