In February, MDOT announced that Sterling Heights, Utica, and Clinton, Macomb and Shelby townships had entered phase two of an approximately $60 million investment to reconstruct M-59 between Dalcoma Drive, west of Garfield Road, and Romeo Plank Road.

In February, MDOT announced that Sterling Heights, Utica, and Clinton, Macomb and Shelby townships had entered phase two of an approximately $60 million investment to reconstruct M-59 between Dalcoma Drive, west of Garfield Road, and Romeo Plank Road.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Looking back on the big news from 2018 in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published January 2, 2019

 While surrounded by her dad, Patrick DeLaere, and mom, Nancy DeLaere, McKenzie DeLaere, 18, of Shelby Township, holds the photo she took of a candid moment between her parents as her mom was dealing with breast cancer. McKenzie’s photo won the National Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key award for photography.

While surrounded by her dad, Patrick DeLaere, and mom, Nancy DeLaere, McKenzie DeLaere, 18, of Shelby Township, holds the photo she took of a candid moment between her parents as her mom was dealing with breast cancer. McKenzie’s photo won the National Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key award for photography.

File photo by Donna Agusti

 In May, police search 2 acres of property near 23 Mile Road and North Avenue for the possible remains of Kimberly King, or those of up to five other long-missing girls. King went missing from Warren in 1979.

In May, police search 2 acres of property near 23 Mile Road and North Avenue for the possible remains of Kimberly King, or those of up to five other long-missing girls. King went missing from Warren in 1979.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

 In October at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch, children experience the vapor from liquid nitrogen from while making their own ice cream, later adding liquid nitrogen-based frozen Cocoa Puffs and Fruity Pebbles.

In October at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch, children experience the vapor from liquid nitrogen from while making their own ice cream, later adding liquid nitrogen-based frozen Cocoa Puffs and Fruity Pebbles.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Kids dance to live music during the Music in the Park concert series at Macomb Corners Park in July.

Kids dance to live music during the Music in the Park concert series at Macomb Corners Park in July.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — There were plenty of newsmakers and big stories in Macomb Township over the past year; here’s a recap of some of the biggest.

 

Bucci makes headlines once again
The biggest story of 2017 was an 18-count criminal indictment against former Trustee Dino Bucci that was filed in November at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit. The charges included conspiracy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, mail fraud and money laundering.

News related to Bucci continued making headlines this past year.

Most recently, all of the talk surrounding his removal from the Board of Trustees came to an end in November when the board unanimously approved a message from Bucci to be a resignation letter. His next court date is Feb. 5 for a motion for leave to appeal.

To start the year off, Macomb Township Trustee Tim Bussineau in January gave an update on a possible ethics board or ordinance. He brought the proposal forward in the wake of Bucci and ex-Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas being indicted on federal criminal charges in 2017. Bussineau told the board in January that the residents are leading the way on the creation of an ethics ordinance and he would just bring it to the board to review when it was drafted.

Freitas was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison July 31 after pleading guilty to taking bribes in his position with the township. He was first arrested on the charges in October 2016.

Also in January, Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder asking him to remove Bucci from his elected position. Bussineau made the motion for Dunn to write the letter at the Jan. 24 meeting, and Dunn sent the letter the next day. At the Nov. 20, 2017, board meeting, only a few days after the indictments came out, the board approved Dunn writing a letter to Bucci asking him to resign from his position on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

In April, Macomb Township resident Tom Sokol filed paperwork with Macomb County to circulate a recall petition in hopes of removing Bucci from the board. The petition circulated for signatures, but failed to get enough signatures, falling more than 3,000 signatures short.

In May, two state representatives from Macomb County sent letters to Snyder asking him to remove Bucci from office. The letters sent from Republican state Reps. Steve Marino and Jeff Yaroch echo the letter sent from the Board of Trustees. Macomb Township Attorney Tom Esordi said following the indictment that Michigan Election Law dictates that only the governor can remove an elected township officer when they are satisfied with evidence submitted that the officer is guilty of official misconduct, among other reasons.

 

Continual growth
Macomb Township continued to experience growth in 2018, culminating in it being ranked atop a population report. Macomb Township had the largest numeric growth from 2010 to 2018, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

The report states that out of municipalities in six counties – Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne – Macomb Township had the largest numeric growth in that time, with a population expansion of 9,122 people. Macomb Township experienced more growth by number than communities such as Southfield, Novi and Ann Arbor.

“We have four excellent school districts in our boundaries and have an excellent parks and recreation program,” Dunn said. “We’re getting roads paved, sidewalks put in, getting a new library, and we’re going to develop a new park. What more could you want?”

The report also includes that there are an estimated 30,419 households in Macomb Township. That number is up 3,828 since 2010, an increase of 14 percent. The only other township with a higher percentage was Washington, with 15 percent.

With the population increase comes the need for a private senior living facility, proposed to be built on Hayes Road just north of 22 Mile Road.

Red Tail Real Estate, based in St. Louis, submitted plans to the township for a 78,000-square-foot assisted living facility on 5 acres of land off Kingsway Drive, which is between 22 Mile and 23 Mile roads.

The facility, as proposed, would have 86 units with 101 beds. Dan Thies, a partner with Red Tail, said the facility would be about 75 percent assisted living units and about 25 percent memory care units, or about 25-30 beds for people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The $40 million assisted living facility was proposed in February. Dave Baylis, principal with Provision Living, said the company has been looking all over Michigan for locations, and a Macomb Township facility would be the fourth community in the state.

“We basically get on the ground and get a feel for the neighborhood,” he said. “I think there is a great opportunity to serve the seniors in that area, as we feel it is underserved. There are facilities nearby doing a good job, but we think there could be more in Macomb Township,” Baylis said.

Provision Living announced its intentions in February with the hope of building a 200,000-square-foot community just west of St. Isidore Church on 23 Mile Road near Romeo Plank Road.

Plans call for the facility to have 100 independent living units, 75 assisted living units and 30 memory care apartments. There will be a variety of unit options, including studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

 

Search for missing girl resumes
The search for Kimberly King ventured into Macomb Township in May.

King was last seen on Sept. 15, 1979, after she left a friend’s home on Dodge Avenue, near Nine Mile and Hoover roads, in Warren.

On May 7, the Warren Police Department executed a search warrant on property near 23 Mile Road and North Avenue. That’s the same area where the body of Cindy Zarzycki, of Eastpointe, was recovered in 2008.

Zarzycki, 13, went missing in 1986, and convicted child molester Arthur Ream was later sent to prison for her murder. He later led investigators to the girl’s body.

Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer in May confirmed the new search was tied to the department’s active investigation into the disappearance of King. Though several detectives have worked the case over the years, the latest leads have apparently emerged from a fresh look and a renewed effort to solve a nearly 40-year-old mystery.

“We’re proceeding with our investigation” Dwyer said. “Obviously, we always want to bring closure for the family.”

In the middle of May, after a weeklong search for the buried remains of up to six missing girls, investigators suspended their search of a “primary area” and began evaluating their next moves.

In August, Warren detectives and FBI agents searched a warehouse near Frazho and Schoenherr roads in Warren as part of the cold case investigation.

Dwyer confirmed that investigators executed a search warrant at a building on Herbert Avenue at Sutherland Avenue in Warren. Materials were reportedly taken for analysis by the FBI as part of the ongoing investigation into King’s vanishing.

Dwyer said part of the warehouse was searched previously by police in Eastpointe investigating the disappearance of Zarzycki. Ream reportedly operated a carpet business and had an office at the warehouse in Warren, adjacent to a butcher shop.

The renewed investigation, led by Warren police detectives James Twardesky and Brent Chisolm, along with Chicago-based cold case investigator Jennifer Lebo, included new interviews with Ream.

The dig was later suspended, but Dwyer said the investigative team would evaluate what it learned and continue its investigation. Investigators in May said they believed the remains of up to six more missing girls, including King, could have been buried on the property.

Ream was convicted of first-degree murder in Zarzycki’s death. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2008.

Anyone with information about Ream or the disappearance of Kimberly King can reach Warren detectives at (586) 574-4810.

 

Chippewa Valley Schools proposal passes
Chippewa Valley Schools received good news when a bond proposal passed in November.

“I think this is great for Chippewa Valley and our students,” Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts said. “The message we put out regarding this bond and the focus of it, both related to school safety and the aspect of preparing our kids for future jobs, I think really resonated with the community.”

The safety, security and school improvement proposal asked voters to approve the district to borrow $97 million. A press release from Chippewa Valley Schools states that the bond, in part, “Would fund security enhancements at existing buildings and facilities including security cameras, replacement of door locks, improved interior door systems and more secure entryways and replace buses that are the oldest in the fleet.”

Funds would also provide students with state-of-the-art instructional technology and increased access to career and technical education programs.

In May 2017, voters turned down an $89.9 million bond proposal that looked to address some of the same issues, including parking lots, safety measures and other infrastructure needs.

In September, Chippewa Valley Schools introduced its “Safe Schools, Strong Schools” November ballot proposal, aimed to restructure safety mechanisms and technology; improve infrastructure; and develop and improve school buildings, programming, athletic fields and buses.

According to proposal language, the maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of refunding, is no more than 25 years and would cost nothing throughout the initial year if successful. The estimated simple average annual millage that would be required to retire the bonds would be 1.53 mills annually, or $1.53 per $1,000 of taxable value.