People

Published January 13, 2016

WARREN — New Van Dyke Public Schools Board of Education member Amber Brace is settling into her new role on the board.

Brace was recently appointed to fill a vacancy when previous board member Jim Brinkey resigned his position effective Oct. 19. She is married to Chris Brace and is the mother of four children.

Brace’s term expires Dec. 31, 2016. Brace was “excited” when she learned that she had been  appointed to the board.

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Published January 13, 2016

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Dakota High School sophomore Brendan Markwood had quite the week to kick off the new year.

On Jan. 7, he celebrated his 16th birthday. Two days later, he participated in a Court of Honor ceremony to officially be named an Eagle Scout, and also on Jan. 9, Macomb Township commemorated his accomplishments by recognizing that date as “Brendan Markwood Day.”

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Published January 13, 2016

MOUNT CLEMENS — Louise Rallis-Wibbelman has been named director of the McLaren Macomb Healthcare Foundation.

She had held the same position on an interim basis since the spring of 2015.

“It’s a pleasure and great honor to be named director and lead an incredible organization,” Rallis-Wibbelman said. “Having been with this organization for several years, I am very proud of all the work we’ve accomplished in the past and excited for all the possibilities and opportunities the future holds.”

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Published January 12, 2016

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB COUNTY — Dominic Miller is doing his part to make the world a better place.

The six-year-old just completed his second year of gathering donations of books and pajamas to give to individuals who need them.

In 2014, Miller collected about 50 pairs of pajamas and 60 books, and his effort grew this past year to 150 books and 110 pairs of pajamas.

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Published January 12, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP— For Clinton Township native and 2008 Chippewa Valley High School graduate Hassan Musselmani, competing in “Hell” isn’t a bad thing at all.

Musselmani will be competing in this winter’s season of “Hell’s Kitchen,” which begins airing Jan. 15 on Fox.

He will bring a unique background to the show. Having roots on his father’s side in Lebanese and Arabic food, and an urban influence from his mother’s side, Musselmani has a versatile culinary background.

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Published January 12, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Jack Novak was sitting in the parking lot of his favorite restaurant when he received arguably the best news of his academic career. 

At 6:28 p.m. Dec. 16, Novak, who will never forget that exact time, opened a message on his phone that told him he was accepted to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

“I cried. I read the first sentence of the letter and I started crying,” Novak said.

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Published January 9, 2016

WARREN/CENTER LINE — When it came time to honor a fallen officer or to collectively remember those who fell in the line of duty, Kevin Sommers was there.

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Published January 7, 2016

ROYAL OAK — After a conversation with Scott Newport, it is clear that great loss never goes away, but how you live your daily life following that monumental moment will define your being.

Newport experienced that moment the day after Thanksgiving in 2009 when his 7-year-old son, Evan, died.

It was a miracle his son lived as long as he did — at least that is what the doctors said — but it didn’t make the loss any easier.

His son was diagnosed with Noonan syndrome and related heart disease at birth.

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Published January 6, 2016

FERNDALE — Following the recommendation of school district administration, Coolidge Intermediate School Principal Eric Bruner was selected for the Saginaw Valley State University Gerstacker Fellowship for 2016.

Bruner, who has served as principal at Coolidge for four years, is one of nine Michigan K-12 educators to be selected for the fellowship. As part of the program, Bruner will have the chance to meet with other professionals once a month, as well as travel to Japan in April.

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Published January 6, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Growing up in St. Clair Shores with a musical father, it’s no surprise that local twins are devoting their lives to making music and sharing it with others.

Mark and Jon Lebiecki are 24-year-old twin brothers who graduated from Lake Shore High School in 2009. The next year, they got together with their friend Brian Fraser to form an alternative/punk band called Undesirable People.

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Published January 6, 2016

UTICA — At approximately 1:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28, calls to the Utica Police Department for suspicious activity turned into calls for service.

Utica police officer Vincent Ranelli responded to the area of Hall Road and Northpointe Boulevard to check on an individual who was asking drivers for money. The 61-year-old woman was standing on the easement with a sign.

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Published January 6, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The holidays are at an end, but the giving spirit will continue on in the form of a small community library located in the front yard of one Shelby Township resident’s home.

In April, Pamela Pscheidl stumbled upon a Little Free Library while on a trip to New Orleans with college friends. In October, her family’s own registered Little Free Library stood beside the sidewalk in front of her home in the Spring Lake subdivision.

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Published December 31, 2015

WARREN — It wasn’t easy, but Lauren Lilley made it to her high school graduation.

She’d been bedridden at times, in near constant pain since her health really started to deteriorate at age 15. There’d been various treatments and therapies. Opinions from doctors? There were a lot of those. There were many consultations, which resulted in a battery of prescriptions.

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Published December 31, 2015

Despite what his father, Michael, said, Troy resident Dane Howlett, then 13, knew that the ground fire they came upon in Michigan’s Au Sable State Forest in April was not something they could put out themselves.

Dane is a Boy Scout with Troop 1034, and his father, Michael, is scoutmaster. Dane attends Seaholm High School.

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Published December 29, 2015

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On Dec. 19, dozens of volunteers and friends gathered at a newly renovated home in Shelby Forest Manufactured Home Community to witness the moment when Barbara and Jonathan Sokolyk first laid eyes on their wheelchair-accessible residence.

Their reaction: tears from Barbara and a wide grin from Jonathan, as his favorite superhero, Spider-Man, performed flips and tricks around him.

“It’s been a journey,” Barb said as she stood in the home’s foyer. “God bless everyone.”

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Published December 27, 2015

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb Community College’s Most Distinguished Graduate for the fall 2015 semester, Alexander Witan, had a message for his peers.

“You guys have the tools to go out there and put your personal mark on the world,” Witan said. “There are so many opportunities.”

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Published December 24, 2015

Out of nearly 50 applicants, eight people and teams have been selected for entry into the first St. Clair Shores Sports Hall of Fame.

Announced earlier this year, the St. Clair Shores Sports Hall of Fame will honor athletes who have lived in the city, played sports in high school in St. Clair Shores or played with a youth sports organization in St. Clair Shores.

The first inductees are:

• Mark Wells, part of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic gold medal winning U.S. men’s hockey team;

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Published December 23, 2015

BERKLEY — Barrett Henson knew when he started growing his hair nearly three years ago that he wouldn’t fit back into his professional corporate world.

Henson, who did construction consulting, decided a few years ago that he needed to take a sabbatical from his career, a move that took him to Central America to study the Spanish language. It was there that Henson took the opportunity to start growing out his hair.

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Published December 23, 2015

WARREN — It wasn’t what they expected to be doing after second hour on Oct. 20.

On their way from Cousino High School to the Warren Consolidated Schools Career Preparation Center at Dodge Park and 15 Mile Road at about 9:30 a.m., four senior students, all 17 and residents of Warren, saw their day take a serious turn when they were left dealing with the aftermath of a two-car crash.

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Published December 23, 2015

C&G Newspapers

SHELBY TOWNSHIP/FRASER — Until the last month, 20-year-old Macomb Academy student Sarah Miller, of Fraser, has helped the local running community from the sidelines, cheering on her older sister and helping serve refreshments.

Recently, she decided that she not only wants to participate, but also start a running group for other students with special needs at her school.

Miller has since trained with her older sister, Danielle Miller, a member of the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project, and completed three local events.

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