Bringing in 2019 in Southfield, Lathrup Village

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published December 28, 2018

 The winter sun peeks through the trees Feb.2 at the Valley Woods Nature Preserve, near the intersection of Civic Center Drive and Telegraph Road. The preserve is 125 acres nestled along the Rouge River. The park also features a nature trail.

The winter sun peeks through the trees Feb.2 at the Valley Woods Nature Preserve, near the intersection of Civic Center Drive and Telegraph Road. The preserve is 125 acres nestled along the Rouge River. The park also features a nature trail.

File photo by Deb Jacques

 Cars navigate the treacherous road conditions March 24 at the intersection of Berg Road and Nine Mile Road. A March City Council meeting addressed the pothole problem in the city.

Cars navigate the treacherous road conditions March 24 at the intersection of Berg Road and Nine Mile Road. A March City Council meeting addressed the pothole problem in the city.

File photo by Deb Jacques

 Markus Campbell, 7, sings the national anthem April 4 to start a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. at Southfield City Hall.

Markus Campbell, 7, sings the national anthem April 4 to start a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. at Southfield City Hall.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Capt. Melissa Medici, the EMS coordinator for the Southfield Fire Department, demonstrates how to use Narcan April 11 at the Southfield Public Library. The device delivers a nasal spray to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Capt. Melissa Medici, the EMS coordinator for the Southfield Fire Department, demonstrates how to use Narcan April 11 at the Southfield Public Library. The device delivers a nasal spray to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

File photo by Donna Agusti

 Khari Taylor models a hat for sale at the Kennedy Learning Center’s One Stop Shop May 4. The resale shop, opened April 27 inside the Kennedy Learning Center, on Mount Vernon Road, was created to help teach retail industry vocational skills to the students.

Khari Taylor models a hat for sale at the Kennedy Learning Center’s One Stop Shop May 4. The resale shop, opened April 27 inside the Kennedy Learning Center, on Mount Vernon Road, was created to help teach retail industry vocational skills to the students.

File photo by Deb Jacques

 Volunteer John Larkin pulls invasive weeds May 19 at Berberian Woods Park, on Streamwood Lane, a 16-acre city-owned nature preserve, during the annual Rouge River Cleanup with the Friends of the Rouge River.

Volunteer John Larkin pulls invasive weeds May 19 at Berberian Woods Park, on Streamwood Lane, a 16-acre city-owned nature preserve, during the annual Rouge River Cleanup with the Friends of the Rouge River.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Sisters Sarah Himes, of Madison Heights, and Susan Himes, of Troy, walk with 11-month-old Sabrina Leheka through the new Red Pole Park in Southfield. The city celebrated the opening of the park Aug. 22.

Sisters Sarah Himes, of Madison Heights, and Susan Himes, of Troy, walk with 11-month-old Sabrina Leheka through the new Red Pole Park in Southfield. The city celebrated the opening of the park Aug. 22.

File photo by Deb Jacques

 The student section at the new stadium goes wild for the Blue Devils Sept. 1 during Lawrence Technological University’s first football game of the season. The game, against Oakland University, was the first since 1946 for LTU.

The student section at the new stadium goes wild for the Blue Devils Sept. 1 during Lawrence Technological University’s first football game of the season. The game, against Oakland University, was the first since 1946 for LTU.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Southfield resident Derrick Williamson watches Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson sign a copy of his book, “Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW,” Oct. 10 following a talk at the Southfield Public Library.

Southfield resident Derrick Williamson watches Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson sign a copy of his book, “Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW,” Oct. 10 following a talk at the Southfield Public Library.

File photo by Donna Agusti

 “The Peacock,” by Arthur Craft, was recently installed in front of the Southfield Public Library by the Southfield Public Arts Commission. The piece is part of the Northland Art Collection.

“The Peacock,” by Arthur Craft, was recently installed in front of the Southfield Public Library by the Southfield Public Arts Commission. The piece is part of the Northland Art Collection.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

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SOUTHFIELD/LATHRUP VILLAGE — As 2018 drew to a close, residents looked back on the highs and lows of the last year.
From trash to public art, there was a lot to talk about in Southfield and Lathrup Village last year.
    

Southfield, Lathrup Village celebrate milestone anniversaries
Both Southfield and Lathrup Village celebrated major anniversaries this year with communitywide celebrations.

On April 29, Southfield celebrated 60 years of being the “Center of It All” through a free, family-friendly event on the grounds of City Hall.

Residents were invited to participate in a passport program in which each visit with city departments, neighborhood associations and community groups earned them a stamp on their passport.

Residents with five or more stamps received a special 60th anniversary swag bag. The event also featured several entertainment activities for residents to enjoy.

On Sept 8 and 9, Lathrup Village celebrated its 65th birthday on the grounds of Lathrup Village City Hall.

The weekend-long party featured various activities for the whole family, including live music, food trucks, a classic car show, children’s activities, a community organization showcase, a petting zoo, a Ladies in Leadership Luncheon and more.
    

Police chief says goodbye to Southfield
After spending 28 years of his career in Southfield, Police Chief Eric Hawkins accepted a position in the capital of New York, according to Albany city officials.

On July 20, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced that, following a national search, she planned to appoint Hawkins as the new chief of the Albany Police Department.

Hawkins said he was honored to join the Albany force. Southfield Mayor Ken Siver said he was sad to see Hawkins go, but that he supported Hawkins’ decision.

City officials said they would conduct a national search for the next chief. In the meantime, two longtime Police Department officials were named acting chiefs.

City Administrator Fred Zorn announced the appointment of Deputy Chief Nick Loussia and Deputy Chief Brian Bassett as acting chiefs Sept. 7. Loussia oversees the investigations division, and Bassett directs the patrol division.

Zorn said that although Hawkins is missed, the department continues to function efficiently.


‘Art means nothing unless it is seen’
If you’ve taken a trip around Southfield lately, chances are you’ve noticed dozens of large red poles popped up on the Lodge, or perhaps the peacock that has taken flight over the Southfield Public Library.

Throughout the year, the city was on a mission to install more public art to help with placemaking efforts across the city.

The city of Southfield celebrated the opening of Red Pole Park Aug. 22. The project began in June 2017, when officials from the city and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced a crowdfunding campaign aimed at creating a new interactive public art destination.

If the campaign reached its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by Aug. 4, 2017, the project was to earn a matching grant from the MEDC’s Public Spaces, Community Places program. The city was successful in raising the funds, and in August 2017, the Southfield City Council accepted the grant from the MEDC.

Members of the Southfield Public Art Commission announced recently the Southfield Art Walk — a walking path on which residents can view various pieces of public art. Brochures on the Art Walk can be found at City Hall, 26000 Evergreen Road.

Many of the pieces on the walk are part of the Northland Art Collection, which city officials rescued from Northland Center before it closed in 2015.

There are numerous installations planned for the future, such as “Moby Dick,” a sculpture slated for the Southfield Public Library fountain.


SPS appoints new superintendent
The new school year ushered in a new superintendent for Southfield Public Schools.

On June 27, Jennifer Martin-Green was appointed to the position in a 5-2 vote by the Board of Education. Trustee Michael Poole and President Yolanda Charles voted no.

Martin-Green holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Wayne State University. She also has 23 years of experience in public education, according to a news release from Southfield Public Schools.

She has served as a teacher, a curriculum coordinator, an assistant principal, a principal and an assistant superintendent of academics in school districts in Detroit, Oak Park and Ypsilanti.

For the past five years, according to school officials, Martin-Green served as executive director of innovation and instruction with the Westwood Community School District in Dearborn Heights.

Martin-Green said previously that she was looking forward to her future with SPS.

Charles said previously that she voted against Martin-Green because she felt interim Superintendent Derrick Lopez should have the position.

Poole said he voted no because he felt that other candidates had more experience than Martin-Green, but he now supports the board’s decision.  


GFL apologizes for messy trash pickup
After a summer of complaints, trash hauler Green for Life Environmental Inc. provided the city with an update on its services this fall.

Earlier this year, during a special June 4 Southfield City Council meeting, GFL District Manager Sam Caramagno gave a presentation to the council on various complaints and how the company planned to fix them.

Caramagno said in a previous report that GFL officials had split up the complaints into three main areas: customer service, route management and brush chipping.

GFL and the city had received several complaints about where cans were placed after trash pickup, trash being spilled onto roadways or lawns during pickup, inconsistent pickup times, and zigzagging trucks blocking the roadway during pickup.

Caramagno said during the presentation that his company also received complaints that employees were picking up bags designated for Simple Recycling —  a separate hauler the city uses to pick up recyclable household items.

To address the issues, Caramagno said in a previous report, GFL officials planned to have weekly meetings with employees.

In September, City Administrator Fred Zorn said that city officials were reviewing their contract with GFL — researching what is necessary to break the contract and documenting residents’ complaints.

At the Oct. 29 meeting, Caramagno said he wanted to provide a follow-up to the “service issues” that residents had been experiencing.

Caramagno chalked up the issues to a staffing shortage and the performance of a route manager.

GFL hired a new route manager for Southfield the first week of August, who then made some changes to the staff that handles the waste pickup in the area, Carmagno said.

Then-Council President Dan Brightwell said he had noticed improvement in the hauler’s performance since the June 4 meeting.

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