People

Published September 30, 2015

BERKLEY — When Phil O’Dwyer came to America from Ireland, he did so for an education and never fathomed it would lead to him being a vital part of the Berkley community some 40 years later.


But it is the work that O’Dwyer has done as a city councilman, and now mayor of Berkley, that saw him inducted into the Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame Sept. 19.

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Published September 30, 2015

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB TOWNSHIP— “Accept what you signed up for.” That was the key message delivered by John Underwood, the founder of the Human Performance Project, to student-athletes from Chippewa Valley schools the week of Sept. 22.


Underwood previously visited the district in 2010, and his return trip focused on the effects of drug and alcohol use on athletes, along with diet and sleeping patterns.

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Published September 30, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — For nearly 40 years, Huntington Woods resident Steve Thorpe has backpacked the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula, always going for time and distance.


Now, however, Thorpe has the opportunity to stop and take in his surroundings at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, as he was named an artist-in-residence as part of a program put on by the Friends of the Porkies organization.

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Published September 25, 2015

MACOMB COUNTY — The Demers, whose patriarch Gilbert Demers founded C & G Newspapers in Warren in 1981, were among five Macomb Foundation Hall of Fame inductees honored Sept. 24 at Villa Penna in Sterling Heights.

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Published September 23, 2015

BERKLEY — Jane Bais-DiSessa, who has served as city manager of the city of Berkley since August 2001, has been appointed the new deputy mayor of Pontiac.


Bais-DiSessa said the Berkley City Council agreed to allow her to shorten her mandated 45-day notice to 30 days, although a final date has not been set for when Bais-DiSessa will cease her Berkley city manager duties and start as the deputy mayor.

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Published September 21, 2015

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — With an eye for sparkly jewelry, a penchant to say whatever she pleases and the ability to make those around her laugh, one resident at Shelby Crossing Health Campus approached her centennial milestone with gusto.

Mary Pompei turned 100 years old on Sept. 21. She engages in activities daily at the assisted living facility, such as morning exercises and crafts. If it is a bingo night, staff said she is sure to attend.

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Published September 18, 2015

MOUNT CLEMENS — Ann Crocker, the first child of former Mount Clemens Mayor George Crocker, was thought of by many as somewhat of a tough cookie.

But it was the children in the community during the early to mid-1900s who knew her soft side: a generous woman who for many years of her life cared for her diabetic mother and could often be seen sweeping the sidewalk around her home while donning her favorite Hoover apron.

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Published September 16, 2015

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Twelve years might not seem like a long term of employment, but for one of the city’s most lovable employees, it was literally a lifetime.


Kate, the sweet-natured border collie who captured the hearts of young and old alike while clearing out the Canada geese and seagulls at Pier Park, had to be euthanized Aug. 10 after a veterinarian determined that she was suffering from pancreatic and liver cancer. She had just turned 14 on July 2.

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Published September 16, 2015

FRASER — More than five years since its inception, Fraser’s Hope Center continues to evolve.


The center, located at 33222 Groesbeck Highway in Fraser, is an operation with the sole purpose to help those in need — mostly in the form of food.

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Published September 16, 2015

ROSEVILLE — A Roseville High School marketing teacher has started a new program to encourage positive behavior in people through bracelets and the networking power of social media.


Jeff Verkeyn created MADE, or the Make A Difference Experiment, as a bracelet-tracking program that involves people giving away bracelets to others when they see helpful deeds in progress. Verkeyn formed a limited liability corporation to manufacture the bracelets, which are reminiscent of Livestrong bracelets.

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Published September 16, 2015

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Over the past eight years, Sue Ellen Kosmas has worked to make a simple gesture improve the days of children who are staying in local hospitals because of a life-changing illness.

Kosmas, a Macomb Township resident, began a metro Detroit chapter for ConKerr Cancer eight years ago. The organization was recently renamed Ryan’s Case for Smiles, but its mission remains the same: “Help kids feel better to heal better.”

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Published September 10, 2015

CITY — For years, John Denomme was a Village fixture. He owned Village Records and Tapes from 1981-93, ran the outdoor summer concert series Music on the Plaza from 1988-2012, and served as the Village Association marketing manager from 1998-2012.

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Published September 9, 2015

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Michelle Stateczny was praying for a sign that a recent career change had placed her where she was needed most.

Stateczny had decided to pursue a career in social work, which meant going back to school and being an intern after nine years of professional work.

She is now in her first semester of graduate school, and is completing an internship in social work with Carlson Elementary School in Warren.

Carlson is a Title I school where 100 percent of the students qualify for a free breakfast and lunch program.

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Published September 2, 2015

ROYAL OAK — When Austen Brantley began sculpting in high school, he had found the space where he belonged.

Brantley, 19, attended Norup International School and is a 2013 graduate of Berkley High School. He now works, lives and displays his art in Royal Oak.

His sculptures bare the soul of someone with a seemingly longer life, as he draws inspiration from Renaissance and classical sculptors and African art.

Brantley said that since graduating high school, he has worked at his craft and has asked other artists for critiques to make him better.

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Published August 27, 2015

MACOMB COUNTY — Hugh McLeod is a self-proclaimed “army brat” who learned the military lifestyle through his father.


McLeod, 41, is a physician assistant in the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion of the U.S. Army.


His career has taken various twists and turns in a figurative and literal sense, all starting with following in his dad’s footsteps.

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Published August 26, 2015

ROSEVILLE — A Roseville boy fighting bone cancer is getting a boost thanks to fundraising efforts that his friends are putting together.


Eric Dean, 14, was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left leg July 17, according to his mother, Amy Dean.


“For the last year and a half, he was getting a lot of knee pain and we couldn’t figure out why,” Amy Dean said. “No X-rays or blood work were showing (anything) at all.”

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Published August 19, 2015

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Painter Roselyn Palazzolo Rhodes has been working on canvases since she was a girl, but she said she’s really found her creative voice by painting outdoors.

Rhodes, whose work is on display through Oct. 16 at Services for Older Citizens in Grosse Pointe Farms, is a plein air painter, which means she works outside trying to capture the natural world around her.

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Published August 4, 2015

C&G Newspapers

DETROIT — If you’re looking for drama and tension, you’ll have to find it in the songs Whiplash plays. Most bands disintegrate because of conflict, but the guys in Whiplash — all local music scene veterans — say this group is thankfully free of that.


“We all get along well,” said bassist and vocalist Rick Crooker, of Clinton Township. “There’s no friction.”


Drummer and vocalist Ernie Modestino, of St. Clair Shores, chimed in with a similar sentiment.

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Published July 22, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — In Good Hart, Michigan, Huntington Woods resident Patrick Wise would go on hikes during the summer with his wife around a nature preserve. As an artist, Wise said he could really enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

So he decided to paint it.

After a couple of weekend trips to the area, Wise was able to complete his piece that depicts a tree in the center with other foliage surrounding it in the background. And 30 miles up the road, Wise’s piece took first place in a competition on Mackinac Island.

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Published June 29, 2015

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Before Vanessa Chambe began competing in local Miss America’s Outstanding Teen preliminary competitions, she was shy and somewhat insecure, her mother said.


But now, the 17-year-old former Miss Teen St. Clair Shores walks with poise, has no problems speaking to large groups, and was just crowned Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen at the state competition in Muskegon on June 17.


“It’s been a really exciting week for me,” said Chambe, who will begin her senior year at Lake Shore High School this fall.

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