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Published March 11, 2015

METRO DETROIT — They have a certain austere beauty and create remarkable sculptures when they begin to thaw and refreeze around trees, bushes or just the ground, but those large icicles growing from your roof could be an indication of a larger problem — ice damming on the roof.


An ice dam is a buildup of ice on roofs caused by melting snow that refreezes around the eaves of a house; it is usually quite easy to spot, experts say, because of the large icicles and pieces of ice that form on the edge of the roof of the house.

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Published March 11, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Bored with barbells and sick of stair climbers? You’re not the only one. More and more people are making dance a part of their regular workout routine — and they’re having a great time doing it.


Ivy Mitchell, of Clawson, knows how effective it can be to take exercising out of the gym and onto the dance floor. She teaches Zumba fitness classes in Clawson and Eastpointe, guiding students through interval-style full-body workouts masked as upbeat dance routines.

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Published March 11, 2015

METRO DETROIT — The legal team of the lesbian couple from Hazel Park challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage have filed their briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court. So have plaintiffs in similar cases out of Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

“Regardless of what happens in the next few months, we’re confident these are the briefs that represent the right side of history,” said Dan Canon, one of the counsel for the Kentucky case, during a conference call with legal teams for all four states Feb. 27.

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Published March 11, 2015

ROCHESTER — A watercolor painting by Rochester Hills resident William Steiner depicts the Detroit United Railway, known as the D.U.R., in 1900.

The painting shows the high-speed electrified interurban railway sharing Rochester’s Main Street with a horse and buggy.

According to Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm records, the D.U.R. traveled from Detroit to Rochester to Lake Orion and Flint. The travel time from Rochester to Detroit was under an hour, which is less than today’s rush-hour drive, museum officials said.

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Published March 9, 2015

Even if you haven’t felt that sinking feeling on the road yet, two county road agencies say you can expect to drive over some potholes soon.

According to Road Commission for Oakland County spokesman Craig Bryson, potholes form when rain or melting snow gets inside road cracks. As temperatures dip, that moisture freezes and expands, creating a cavity under the road. When the frozen water thaws, the road’s structural integrity is compromised, causing the affected portion to collapse into a pothole when a vehicle rolls over it, he said.

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Published March 6, 2015

METRO DETROIT — A few years ago, when Jason Davidson’s hair was completely shaved off during the St. Baldrick’s Foundation cancer fundraiser, a young girl battling the illness came up to him and said “thank you.”

Touched by her words, “It was hard to come up with a response,” Davidson said.

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Published March 6, 2015

METRO DETROIT — Do you have what it takes to be a World War II paratrooper?

Wait, back up. Let’s not even get into the fighting they encountered. That’s a separate issue, one you’re certainly not prepared for.

The same goes for their basic training. Suffice it to say it was grueling, agonizing and spread over weeks. It wasn’t for the faint of heart, mind, body or spirit.

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Published March 4, 2015

One of the best parts of parenthood, for many, is that for a few precious years the refrigerator will never be lacking in color.

Artwork created by little ones is not only a point of pride for caregivers and educators — it’s also an important part of a child’s early learning and development.

Pam Rush, owner of The Learning Experience daycare and preschool center in Shelby Township, has been integrating art into the curriculum for 25 years.

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Published March 4, 2015

Right now, there are likely several inches of snow piled up on at least a portion of your deck or patio.

But what will you find when it melts?

Flaking paint chips and nail pops on your wooden deck, moss and weeds starting to grow between brick pavers, or worse.

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Published March 4, 2015

ROCHESTER HILLS — In celebration of 25 years of recognition as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation, a new program urges city homeowners to plant a tree in 2015.

Kicking off the One Home One Tree Community Challenge, young Bebb Oak trees will be planted at each city park and school. A massive Bebb Oak, listed as a national champion, is located on Livernois south of Auburn Road and is depicted on the city’s logo.

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Published March 4, 2015

ROCHESTER — People of all ages have begun to tap into their creativity in preparation for downtown Rochester’s fifth annual skateboard art competition this spring.

Dubbed Deck Art 2015, the competition invites elementary, middle and high school students, as well college students, adults and businesses, to use a blank skateboard as their canvas.

Event organizer Linda Gallaher, who owns South Street Skateshop with her husband, Von Gallaher, began handing out blank decks to participants Feb. 2.

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Published March 4, 2015

Growth amidst change was addressed at the 2015 annual Community Outlook Breakfast held Feb. 26 at Oakland University, hosted by the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Demographics are changing,” said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett. “The average age of our residents is 39.6, which makes us a relatively older community.” Barnett said three senior housing complexes currently in development are attracted to the city for its amenities, which include the Older Person’s Commission.

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Published March 3, 2015

METRO DETROIT — In an effort to help get the Clinton River watershed off the Great Lakes Area of Concern list, the Environmental Protection Agency has pledged $20 million to fund 11 projects throughout the watershed over the next three years.

“This is a big deal for the watershed,” said Jennifer Tewkesbury, of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.

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Published March 3, 2015

ROCHESTER — Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve has brought thousands of daffodils to the greater Rochester area for the past 25 years, signaling to residents that spring isn’t far away.

Every year, the center sells around 20,000-30,000 of the bright yellow flowers through its Daffodils for Dinosaurs fundraiser, which raises funds for programming at the nature center.

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Published March 2, 2015

OAKLAND COUNTY — Residents and small businesses in Michigan can once again take advantage of a free, mail-in mercury collection program through Sept. 30.

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Published March 2, 2015

OAKLAND COUNTY —  Road Commission for Oakland County officials will give educational presentations about the upcoming May 5 ballot initiative that would increase the state’s sales tax and provide additional funding to fix roads throughout the state. 

The educational presentations will be free to any group or organization in Oakland County.

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Published March 2, 2015

While millions of Michiganders shiver through the winter, other people have temporarily fled for warmer climates down south.

But auto experts say those who choose to travel to more affable temperatures by car should pay attention to the challenges that both colder and warmer weather may bring to the road and to the vehicle.

According to AAA Michigan Public Affairs Director Susan Hiltz, Michigan has quite a few “snowbirds” who dwell in the southern states during the winter months.

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Published February 27, 2015

METRO DETROIT — By now, schools should be putting the final topping on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new nutritional standards in the national school lunch and breakfast programs.

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Published February 26, 2015

You know, not all beloved pets let out a woof or a purr.

Some of the very best friends have scales, tails or even eight legs. The world of small pets is vast, and it can also be pretty darn convenient for on-the-go animal owners who don’t have tons of time to devote to a little pal.

Mike Palmer, owner of Premier Pet Supply in Beverly Hills, said there can be lots of benefits to owning a smaller animal like a hamster, a gerbil or — believe it or not — a rat.

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Published February 25, 2015

NOVI — Coming in on the heels of the Detroit Boat Show, the eighth annual Cottage and Lakefront Living Show taking place this week in Novi will reinforce the belief of many Michiganders that the state’s spring and summer months are the best in the country.

The Great Lakes State offers almost unending choices of outdoor recreational activities during the warmer months — though ice fishing during the winter also has a huge following — and that especially holds true for those who live or own a cottage on one of those great bodies of water.

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