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 From left, Deputy Chief Mark Coil, secretary Michelle Jurcak, secretary Marian Carmignani, Chief Robert Shelide, secretary Wendy Davis, executive assistant Patti Koenig and Capt. Jason Schmittler will be among those working to keep Shelby Township among the safest communities in Michigan in 2020.

From left, Deputy Chief Mark Coil, secretary Michelle Jurcak, secretary Marian Carmignani, Chief Robert Shelide, secretary Wendy Davis, executive assistant Patti Koenig and Capt. Jason Schmittler will be among those working to keep Shelby Township among the safest communities in Michigan in 2020.

Photo provided by the Shelby Township Police Department


Leaders share New Year’s resolutions for Shelby and Utica

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 6, 2020

SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA — A new year has arrived, and with it a fresh start and a time of reflection and resolutions. Last week, two local leaders shared their New Year’s resolutions and goals for their communities.


Utica to see big changes in 2020
There are some big plans ahead for the city of Utica this year, according to Mayor Thom Dionne.

“As we leave 2019 behind us, the city will no doubt be in a better place than (in) years past. Our City Council has made some tough but very necessary decisions to ensure the financial longevity of the city,” Dionne said in an email.

He said that in 2019 there were many changes that needed to be made in order for the city to move forward.

“In 2019, myself and council adopted a balanced budget for the first time since 2009. The selling of our senior housing building, Riverside 175, was an arduous task. Unfortunately, the financial burden and continuous, increasing maintenance costs proved to be more than what a small city budget could afford to take from the general fund to maintain this net loss investment. The proceeds from that sale are going to be used to shore up unfunded liabilities, which will reduce legacy costs,” he said.

He said this year there will be many interesting things occurring in Utica, such as a new dog park.

“Going forward into 2020, we will celebrate the grand opening of Pioneer Park, which includes the dog park. Utica, in partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts, will bring new art projects throughout the city, including new murals in the downtown district. Grant Park will have two new pickleball courts added. A new city event will be hosted in the downtown district in the fall where families, and students of all ages, will race big wheels, couches with wheels, and Soap Box Derby-style cars down Auburn Road. There will be live music in Memorial Park on Friday nights throughout the summer.”  

Dionne said the Downtown Development Authority has been working to improve the downtown district.

“Many blighted businesses have been allowed to apply for grant funds to be able to make façade improvements. The results have been meaningful. The traffic adjustments at Hall Road and Van Dyke, and Cass Avenue and Auburn Road, have been very successful. We have received a lot of positive feedback so far. There has been very little negative feedback. This can be surprising, because typically we only hear the negative, but in this case, we’ve received very many calls and emails supporting the project. Subject to council and state approval, we will look into making the changes permanent in summer of 2020,” Dionne said.

He said officials are working to make Utica even more of a place that residents are proud to call home.

“We are creating a hometown (for) our residents to enjoy. From the many community events, to the newly added annual Christmas tree lighting fireworks, to the holiday decorated public lampposts along Van Dyke and Auburn roads, we are making Utica a place for people to be proud to call home. Small incremental improvements along the way. Continual forward progress without increasing costs or unnecessary (spending),” he said.

Dionne gave credit to the City Council.

“I am proud of the work that our City Council has done. We have a great team,” he said.


Shelby Township police resolutions involve safety, training
Shelby Township has seen a lot of recent improvements to things like buildings and programs, but in 2020 there will be more hard work and improvements at the Police Department.

Police Chief Robert Shelide said that in 2020, the Police Department will be working to keep Shelby Township’s rank among the safest communities.

“For our New Year’s resolution, we are striving to keep the township ranked in the top five safest communities in Michigan. Our officers have been trained and will continue to be trained to work as a team and be prepared for any hurdles that 2020 may bring us,” he said.

Shelide also said that the department plans to continue the police cadet program that it uses for training and recruiting.

“Also, we resolve to take our cadet program to the highest levels of performance by recruiting and hiring the best and brightest. We are also resolving to take our training program to the highest level possible,” he said.