Local Government

Published December 23, 2016

ROYAL OAK — A familiar face will join the City Commission in January when former state Rep. Marie Donigan is sworn in as the commission’s newest member.

Donigan’s appointment was approved with a 5-1 vote during the Dec. 19 regular commission meeting. She will fill the commission vacancy created when Michael Fournier was appointed as mayor earlier this month following Jim Ellison’s resignation.

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Published December 21, 2016

WARREN — Five days after the emergence of audio recordings that allegedly feature the ugly, cold and insensitive words of Mayor Jim Fouts broadly disparaging the mentally disabled, a backlash boiled over during public comments offered before the Warren City Council.

Meeting on Dec. 20 for the first time since news of the controversial recordings broke, council members heard from dozens of people including residents, advocates for the disabled and a few skeptics concerned about the validity of the recordings and the timing of their release.

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Published December 21, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On Dec. 7, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved the 2016 sidewalk gap program to close sidewalk gaps, primarily along Schoenherr Road, at a cost of $201,361.

The township retained its existing sidewalk maintenance contractor, Luigi Ferdinandi & Son Cement Co., because officials were satisfied with the work the company did in Shelby Township over the last three years.

“Additionally, the unit price will remain the same as it was in 2013,” Supervisor Rick Stathakis said.

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Published December 21, 2016

BIRMINGHAM — The concept plan for Poppleton Park, which the City Commission unanimously accepted Dec. 12, includes a new picnic shelter, a paved sidewalk and increased drainage for grassy areas.

But it’s short exactly 88 things that were originally proposed in the plan presented to the commission that night by Public Services Director Lauren Wood.

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Published December 21, 2016

BIRMINGHAM — If you’ve ever bought fresh apples at the Birmingham Farmers Market, admired holiday lights and garland adorning the downtown, or snuggled up with the kids for a summer movie night under the stars, then you’re probably familiar with the Birmingham Shopping District.

The BSD is a downtown development authority and then some, promoting community engagement and retail success in downtown Birmingham.

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Published December 20, 2016

ROYAL OAK — Presented with an oak gavel engraved with his name and “big shoes to fill,” Michael Fournier was named the city’s new mayor during a special Dec. 12 City Commission meeting.

Fournier, 37, was sworn into office by outgoing mayor Jim Ellison before taking the center seat in the commission chambers as leader of his first meeting.

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Published December 20, 2016

ROYAL OAK — Jim Ellison pounded his last gavel in Royal Oak City Hall last week before he was sent off with Hawaiian flair and parting comments during his final mayoral meeting.

Fellow commissioners donned Hawaiian-style shirts Dec. 12 during a special meeting where Ellison officially resigned as mayor of the city in which he was born and raised to prepare for his new role as 26th District state representative in the new year.

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Published December 20, 2016

WARREN — Five days after the emergence of audio recordings that allegedly feature the ugly, cold and insensitive words of Mayor Jim Fouts broadly disparaging the mentally disabled, a backlash boiled over during public comments offered before the Warren City Council.

Meeting on Dec. 20 for the first time since news of the controversial recordings broke, council members heard from dozens of people, including residents, advocates for the disabled, and a few skeptics concerned about the validity of the recordings and the timing of their release.

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Published December 16, 2016

On Dec. 15, subzero temperatures swept the county while things heated up inside the Sterling Heights Senior Center, where three Macomb County election recounts took place.

The Utica mayor recount began at 8 a.m. and wrapped up around 5:30 p.m. A group of six people carefully worked at a table in the Senior Center’s multipurpose room to count ballots cast for Thom Dionne, Councilman Frank Czapski and Edward Wykes.

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Published December 16, 2016

EASTPOINTE — City officials held a press conference Dec. 15 in the City Council chambers to discuss proposed changes to the way voters elect members of the City Council.

Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane received a letter from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice Nov. 18 stating that the “existing system for electing the members of the Eastpointe City Council violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

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Published December 16, 2016

WARREN — “I wish them well in a cage.”

That, and other incredibly insensitive and outrageous sound bites directed at mentally disabled individuals and allegedly uttered by Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, were at the center of an ugly, rapidly developing story at press time.

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Published December 16, 2016

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB COUNTY — Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has asked Michigan’s attorney general to investigate what he has called “illegal dumping” at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights and how a construction project he said damaged an existing landfill at the site was approved.

In a letter dated Dec. 14, the mayor also asked Attorney General Bill Schuette to look into the relationship between the contractor, Dan’s Excavating, and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

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Published December 14, 2016

TROY — The city’s financials have received a “clean” opinion from independent auditors and awards for financial reporting. 

Troy Financial Services Director Tom Darling presented the city’s audit report to the City Council Dec. 5. 

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Published December 14, 2016

CLAWSON/ROYAL OAK — A new year means new plans, and Clawson residents need to act fast for their input to count when it comes to development in their community.

Clawson residents are invited to voice their opinions by the end of the week on the growth of the community through a short online survey for the city’s master plan. The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/Clawson MasterPlan. A link to the survey is provided on the city’s website.

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Published December 14, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On Dec. 7, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved amendments to the 2016 fiscal year budget and approved the proposed 2017 fiscal year budget.

For the first time in years, the general fund had a deficit, due to a $3.6 million transfer to the court/community center fund. Without the transfer, the fund would boast a $1 million surplus. The general fund budget is again expected to have a surplus in 2017.

The deficit will bring the general fund balance down $2.6 million to $11,452,403.

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Published December 13, 2016

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Grosse Pointe Woods looked like a winter wonderland this past weekend when southeast Michigan received an average of 8-11 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service website stated that a long-duration snowfall occurred starting after midnight Dec. 11 and continued until 3 a.m. Dec. 12. The website also said that temperatures were in the low 20s early Dec. 11 and slowly rose to the low 30s near the end of the snowfall, which caused the snow to become wetter.

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Published December 13, 2016

The outgoing mayor of Sterling Heights’ smaller neighbor to the north had a chance to accept praise for her legacy recently.

During a Dec. 6 meeting, the Sterling Heights City Council unanimously passed a resolution congratulating Jacqueline “Jackie” Noonan for being Utica’s mayor for 29 years and for her accomplishments. Noonan is wrapping up her mayoral career in Utica, her 14th term.

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Published December 13, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS — In the city’s annual financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, Madison Heights received an “unqualified opinion” from audit firm Plante Moran. Also known as a “clean opinion,” an unqualified opinion is the best possible rating a city can receive.

The audit staff spent about two weeks at the city completing the process.

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Published December 8, 2016

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB COUNTY — During his Dec. 7 State of the County address, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel touted the ongoing momentum that’s continually bringing new life into the area.

He noted how the Make Macomb Your Home initiative has birthed a vitality in the county that was once considered lagging.

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Published December 7, 2016

EASTPOINTE — The city of Eastpointe filed a lawsuit against the city of Warren Aug. 11 due to Eastpointe having flood damage in 2014 that it blames on Warren’s sewage disposal system.

According to the complaint, Eastpointe’s damages were caused by a defect or defects in the Warren Waste Water Treatment Plant Sewage Disposal System located at 32360 Warkop Ave.

Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane said this isn’t the first time Eastpointe has had issues with Warren’s system; he said there have been about four  incidents.

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