This year saw the demolition of the old Macomb Township Fire Station No. 1 in February, to the completion of brickwork at the Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building by September. The site is pictured here in August.

This year saw the demolition of the old Macomb Township Fire Station No. 1 in February, to the completion of brickwork at the Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building by September. The site is pictured here in August.

File photo by Deb Jacques

A look back at the year’s top stories in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published December 17, 2020


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — This year will undoubtedly at the local level be known for COVID-19, when words like social distancing, pandemic and face masks became an everyday part of the American lexicon.

With 2020 coming to an end, here’s a look back at some of the biggest headlines of the year from the Chronicle’s coverage area.

In what seems like a lifetime ago in pre-pandemic Macomb County, a special meeting was held in the middle of the month allowing 15 applicants to address the Macomb Township Board of Trustees regarding their qualifications for the vacant trustee seat. The seat was filled by Charlie Oliver.

With business still operating as usual in February, it was reported that construction for a new public safety building in Macomb Township was right on track. In late January, the Macomb Township Fire Department began moving into newly constructed apparatus bays at Fire Station No. 1 on 23 Mile Road. Also this month, the old station, which opened in 1952, was torn down to make way for the new building.

In other township news, the board voted to terminate Tom Esordi, who held the positions of human resources director and general counsel. In January, Esordi stated in a memo that while he was employed with Macomb Township, he became aware of “nonconfidential information relating to a possible crime or crimes involving a current board member or members.”

This was the month where life as we knew it in Macomb County, and the U.S., changed.

March 13, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel announced a state of emergency for Macomb County to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A day prior, Macomb Township announced mitigation measures. On March 18, a state of emergency was declared in Macomb Township.

In the world of education, Chippewa Valley Schools announced it launched “CVS Learn at Home,” a website dedicated to providing families resources to ensure learning continues at home, put together by the district’s educational services department.

In late March, then Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, of Macomb Township, was charged with 10 felonies by the state of Michigan. A couple days after the charges were filed, Smith resigned.

After the initial frenzy from news of the pandemic came the cancelation of future events. It was announced April 8 that the annual Run the Plank 5K run/walk in Macomb Township, scheduled for June 27, would be canceled due to COVID-19.

A special meeting was held April 29 in Macomb Township for the purpose of a Loudermill hearing regarding Esordi. It was eventually decided that just cause didn’t exist in the discipline of Esordi, and that he could return to his positions with the township.

The week of May 25, former Macomb County Commissioner of Public Works Anthony Marrocco was federally indicted on extortion charges, and former Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci plead guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion, and conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.

With the guilty plea, Bucci’s maximum combined penalty is 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The federal government is recommending Bucci spend no more than nine years in prison. Bucci is set to be sentenced next month.  

The month began with a planned protest June 6 along Hall Road in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The event spurred from social media posts created by a trio of teenage activists.

In the middle of the month, it was reported that a 21-year-old Macomb County resident fired a couple of shots at The HUB Sports Bistro, located on the southeast corner of 21 Mile and Garfield roads.

Former longtime education leader Ed Skiba, of Macomb Township, died at age 67 in July. Skiba began his 44-year education career with Chippewa Valley Schools as a music teacher, later forming and becoming director of the alumni choir at Chippewa Valley High School, due to his passion for keeping in touch with his former students.

The district also made news in July when it introduced a new academy — CV Virtual Academy. Plans include in-person instruction, a virtual academy and a hybrid-learning model that would contain elements of both.

August meant primary election season in Macomb County.

In Macomb Township, Frank Viviano edged out Mark Grabow for Macomb Township supervisor, Kristi Pozzi secured reelection and voters went with Leon Drolet for township treasurer. In the race for trustee, there were 21 candidates on the ballot vying for a shot at four seats come November.

Later in the month, the Macomb Township Parks and Recreation Department opened the 26 Mile Road Nature Preserve. It is a 38-acre property at 22200 26 Mile Road, east of Card Road. It is open for folks to walk the trails seven days a week.

On Sept. 7, a fuel spill was reported in the Gloede Drain, near 22 Mile and Hayes roads. The Macomb County Public Works Office indicated the source of the spill was a vehicle leaking fuel and parked close to a sewer behind an automotive repair shop.

Later in the week, the Macomb Township Recreation Center reopened after a nearly six-month shutdown. It opened Sept. 9 at 25% capacity. Safety guidelines included all patrons signing in and out, and mask wearing throughout the building.

In late-September, Macomb Township Firefighter Joe Warne once again embarked on a 140-mile walk across Michigan. Money raised for the walk, which ended near Grand Rapids, went toward Michigan firefighters battling cancer. This year, over $54,000 was raised.

Meanwhile, Eric Smith was federally charged Sept. 9 with one count of obstruction of justice. Federal authorities say the allegations are in connection with Smith’s encouraging at least two assistant prosecuting attorneys to lie to the FBI.

A series of virtual master plan open houses kicked off in October in Macomb Township. Hosted by the township’s planning department, the first event focused on township roads and utilities. Other open houses were geared toward recreation, trails and mobility; and demographics and land use vision.

Across the country, November brought the culmination and completion of campaign season and the general election.

In Macomb Township, Republicans swept seats on the Board of Trustees.

Only one of five Macomb County offices went to a Democrat. Incumbent Sheriff Anthony Wickersham defeated Republican Terence Mekoski, while the offices of prosecutor, clerk, treasurer and public works commissioner went to Republicans Peter Lucido, Anthony Forlini, Larry Rocca and Candice Miller, respectively. Previously, three of the five county offices were held by Democrats.

Macomb Township saw a record turnout in the general election, with 80.2% of registered voters, or 55,979 residents, casting a ballot. That’s over 10,000 more voters than in the 2016 general election.