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Published December 26, 2014

Residents of the Somerset Park Apartments hung off a second-story balcony to escape the flames and smoke as a blaze swept through the apartments early Christmas morning.

Firefighters responded to the blaze on Kirts Boulevard, between Big Beaver and Maple,  just before 2:45 a.m. Dec. 25 to find the eight-apartment, two-story building engulfed in thick, black smoke, with fire showing from a first-floor unit and extending to the apartment above, Assistant Fire Chief Dave Roberts said in a prepared statement.

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Published December 24, 2014

METRO DETROIT — Grief is like a rollercoaster. And the best way to handle it is to get swept up in the ride.

That’s one way Ron Gries likes to describe it. The Bloomfield Township man lost his wife to illness in 1997, when he was 60. Since then, he’s become a volunteer for Hospice of Michigan (HOM), and made a ministry of counseling survivors on grief management. He’s even authored a book on the subject — “Through Death to Life.”

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Published December 24, 2014

Cars move on wheels instead of skis or ice skates, so safe driving tips are essential when navigating through metro Detroit this winter.

Shellie Simmons, co-owner of Alpine Driving School in Southfield, said one of the simplest things a driver can do to avoid a crash is slow down.

“You have to reduce your speed whenever there is any type of adverse weather conditions,” she said.

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Published December 17, 2014

Shoppers who are fine-tuning their gift-giving ideas for the holiday season may want to consider the drivers in their lives.

Bill Griffin, owner of Griffin’s Neighborhood Auto Clinic in Farmington Hills, said his business offers a VIP voucher for $79.95 that covers more than $500 worth of services and discounts.

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Published December 17, 2014

With Christmas just days away, design experts want you to make the most out of your guest bedroom for visitors to enjoy this holiday season.

Christine Jackson, owner of Birmingham-based bedding store Scandia Home, who designs and makes decorations, said making guests feel pampered is one of many great ways to welcome them in holiday style.

“If you have people coming in and they’ve been traveling, by the time your guests get to you, it is nice to have a room that will facilitate a good night’s sleep,” she said.

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Published December 17, 2014

Whether it’s festive food or tree trimming traditions, many families practice their own holiday habits — the sure-fire signs that yuletide greetings are right around the corner.

For some people, these memories come in the form of Christmas villages — pint-sized  portrayals of peaceful villages, complete with residents, stores and homes.

The Christmas village tradition is something Cindy Roback understands well.

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Published December 10, 2014

’Tis the season for travel and merriment, but road safety experts are spreading the word that drivers need to be responsible during the holidays.

Susan Hiltz, public affairs director for AAA Michigan, said lower gas prices, which have hovered below $3 per gallon recently, could affect people’s driving decisions in the coming weeks.

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Published December 10, 2014

METRO DETROIT — Sometimes when you give a little, you can even get a little in return.

This holiday season, lots of nonprofit organizations around town are selling gift items — from cozy wool socks to teddy bears, stationery and more — with proceeds going to benefit the work they do throughout the year to make our communities a better place.

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Published December 10, 2014

METRO DETROIT — Somewhere among the glittering ornaments, the elegant tapers and the crystal champagne flutes, there’s a place for holiday revelry that’s a bit less — formal.

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Published December 3, 2014

METRO DETROIT — Many things can go wrong inside a house.

One of the scarier potential problems is carbon monoxide. It consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom, and is also known as CO.

Carbon monoxide causes fear because people don’t know it’s around in the first place. It is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that poses toxic effects when it goes undetected. The gas becomes prevalent in areas when fuel doesn’t burn as intended.

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Published December 3, 2014

SOUTHFIELD — For those who celebrate Christmas, December is a magical month when we haul out the holly and carefully unwrap each ornament, painstakingly untangle our Christmas lights and, if we decide on a live tree, spend hours in the cold to find the perfect one. 

A Christmas tree may be the symbol of the season, but if you forget to take proper care of it, you could be cleaning that symbol’s needles out of your carpet for months.

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Published December 3, 2014

Sure, you can hear holiday tunes at the mall or on your car stereo, but if you really want to relax, unwind and get caught up in the holiday spirit, there’s nothing like a live show to chase seasonal stresses away.

From concerts to plays, audiences have plenty of options locally that are sure to dazzle little tykes and seniors alike.

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Published November 25, 2014

Fresh Cranberry Chutney
By chef Jim Oppat


• 1/2 cup dried apricots, or other dried fruit
• 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
• 1/2 cup golden raisins
• 1 cup water
• 3 cups fresh cranberries
• 1 diced fresh apple
• 1 teaspoon lemon rind
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Published November 19, 2014

Tips for a perfect pie

From the culinary experts at Achatz Pie Co. and Crust Baking Co.

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Published November 19, 2014

OAKLAND COUNTY — After the scraps of leftover turkey and mashed potatoes have been tucked into the fridge, it’s like you can feel the seasons instantly shift: Thanksgiving is over, and the time for holiday shopping has begun.

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Published November 12, 2014

METRO DETROIT — The chill of the season is in the air, but we’re still a few weeks off from the feasting frenzy of the holidays. It’s a culinary condition that calls for something comforting, quick and still nutritious — you guessed it, soup.

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Published November 12, 2014

METRO DETROIT — A natural woodland holiday theme brings the outdoors inside for a cozy, charming and modern effect.

“Each year, when we go to the buyers shows, we look for new trends,” said Casey Thomas, vice president of Sherwood Forest Garden Center in Oakland Township. “New this year are more natural looks with a woodland theme.”

The popular movie “Frozen” has also become a decorating trend, Thomas said.

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Published November 5, 2014

METRO DETROIT — Feel like you haven’t been getting enough Zs lately?

It’s not just you.

According to experts, the shift in seasons can change more than the color of leaves — it can change our sleep patterns.

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Published September 10, 2014

Jerry Howell, 100, who was a 38-year firefighter for the city of Highland Park and who retired as chief, is a familiar sight on Dayton Drive, where he stays at the home of his daughter, Joyce Howell, during the summer months.

Joyce has lived in Troy since 1972.

“Our neighborhood is pretty close,” Joyce said. “He’s pretty well-known by the neighbors.”

So it was no surprise that the neighborhood turned out in force to celebrate Jerry’s 100th birthday Sept. 6.

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Published August 20, 2014

Troy resident Robert Gohl, 52, is on a winning streak. He’s hunted ducks for 40 years, painted them from foam and plastic models for 35 years, but only started cutting and carving the decoys himself two years ago. And he’s bagged best in show as well as first, second and third place with his duck decoys at the St. Clair Flats Decoy Carving Show this summer.

He attended the Center for Creative Studies, studied graphic arts and always painted. His day job was painting and wallpapering homes.

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