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Woodward Talk

Published December 30, 2015

FERNDALE — With a larger focus on preparing students for college, the Ferndale School District in early December was one of 15 Michigan school districts to be named to the sixth annual AP Honor Roll.

The distinction honors school districts across the country that have improved access to Advanced Placement courses in the district and increased the number of students who earned a 3 or higher on AP exams. AP exams are scored 1-5, with 5 being the best score.

The award is handed out by the College Board.

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Published December 30, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — Like most cities near Woodward Avenue and Interstate 696, on Aug. 11, 2014, Huntington Woods was hit hard by more than 5 inches of rain in a 90-minute period.

The storm, which has been called anything from a 100-year to a 500-year event, caused basements of residential and municipal buildings to flood, as well as the streets, as drains backed up from the sheer amount of rainfall that came in a short period of time.

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Published December 30, 2015

FERNDALE — Residential parking zones on neighborhood streets near downtown Ferndale have been discussed and studied for three years, but the changes keep coming as the city looks to roll out the program in the spring.

The City Council approved a program for zones on several streets both north and south of Nine Mile Road and east and west of Woodward Avenue during an October meeting. That meeting followed the conclusion of a residential parking zone put in effect as a test on West Troy and West Saratoga streets in 2012.

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Published December 23, 2015

FERNDALE — Nearly four years after the city of Ferndale decreased its number of voting precincts from nine to seven, City Clerk Marne McGrath requested Dec. 14 that the City Council approve a new layout featuring nine precincts again to combat long lines on Election Day.

The city had reduced the number of precincts at the end of 2011 due to decreasing registered voters in the city, but voters experienced long waits during the 2012 presidential election, when 63 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls.

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Published December 23, 2015

HAZEL PARK/FERNDALE — It was two weeks before Christmas, and “Santa’s elves” were hard at work on the Hazel Park holiday baskets.

They went about the task at hand with good cheer, knowing the packages they were assembling would bring joy to struggling families in Hazel Park Public Schools, which includes part of Ferndale. The baskets are something they’ve consistently done for more than 30 years.

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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

FERNDALE — The city of Ferndale continued to take steps to repurpose the former American Legion building at 1741 Livernois St., right off West Nine Mile Road, as the City Council approved rezoning the property during the council’s Dec. 14 meeting.

In September, the city approved a purchasing agreement with Otis Property Group that would see the building turned into 10 condominium units, along with garages and parking spaces, for a price of $275,000.

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Published December 22, 2015

We asked local kids to send us their letters to pass along to Santa at the North Pole. All kids who submitted a letter have also been entered into a drawing to win an ice-skating party. We'll announce the winner in early January, so stay tuned.

Macomb County

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Published December 21, 2015

OAKLAND COUNTY — To the homeless cats and dogs at the Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center, don’t worry — Santa got your wish list.

All year round, the center accepts donations of items on its Amazon.com Wish List. Generous animal lovers can head to the Amazon website and purchase a variety of items, from dog treats to kitty litter, to be shipped directly to the nonprofit shelter.

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Published December 21, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — Despite recommendations from the Huntington Woods Planning Commission and city administration, the City Commission took no action on a site plan ordinance revision during its November meeting that would have allowed certain Detroit Zoo animal habitats to be built without city site plan review.

According to City Manager Amy Sullivan, the city recently was advised that the Detroit Zoo is not exempt from site plan review.

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Published December 18, 2015

Two weeks after Ferndale police responded to a report of an armed robbery on the east side of town that resulted in a man being shot in the face, police had a suspect in custody in connection with the incident.

Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said that by working with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Office, Ferndale police were able to determine that Somate Russell, 21, of Detroit, allegedly was involved in the crime.

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Published December 16, 2015

BERKLEY — For Anderson Middle School seventh-grader Elise Essenmacher, finding out that there are veterans who struggle with everyday activities in their homes was jarring.

“I was touched to know these veterans don’t have homes to go to that suit their needs,” she said. “I saw that, and we decided we wanted to help.”

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Published December 16, 2015

FERNDALE — Does everyone in your household want a dog? And if you get a dog, do you really have time to give it the exercise and attention it needs?

These questions, and more, were discussed by FIDO Personal Dog Training during a free dog adoption informational event held Dec. 9 at the Ferndale Area District Library. The presentation was meant to educate families on the questions they should ask before deciding which dog to adopt, or any dog at all.

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Published December 16, 2015

METRO DETROIT — As the temperatures outside continue to drop in Michigan, homeowners across metro Detroit are looking to keep the temperatures inside at comfortable and warm levels.

Much of that work falls on a home’s furnace, but if the furnace isn’t maintained properly, it can result in high energy bills, low heating efficiency and, ultimately, replacing a furnace before the end of its intended life span.

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Published December 14, 2015

FERNDALE — Following the November election of Raylon Leaks-May to the Ferndale City Council, the Ferndale School District is looking to fill Leaks-May’s vacant board seat by early January.

Leaks-May’s four-year term was set to end at the conclusion of 2016, with the school board election to be held in November 2016, and state law would allow Leaks-May to remain on the school board while also serving on the City Council.

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Published December 14, 2015

OAKLAND COUNTY — When the flakes fall in Oakland County, you can count on a few things: Some schools will close, roads will get a bit slippery, and the roar of snowblowers will fill the air.

But you can also count on throngs of nature lovers heading to the county’s parks for a little cold-weather fun, according to Independence Oaks Park Supervisor DJ Coffey. Despite the warmer-than-normal temperatures we’ve enjoyed so far, Coffey and his staff are gearing up for one of Oakland County Parks’ most popular seasons.

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Published December 9, 2015

FERNDALE — From time to time, Susan White still heads to Harding Park in her Ferndale neighborhood to sit on one of the swings. The swings, White said, were a favorite spot for her and her daughter, Kayla White, whenever they had something to talk about.


Often the conversation between White and her daughter moved to the fact that Harding Park no longer had a play structure. Kayla White grew up in the neighborhood and remembered playing on the old wooden structure, Susan White said, and Kayla White wanted other neighborhood kids to have the same enjoyment she did.

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Published December 9, 2015

FERNDALE — Affirmations, a nonprofit community center in Ferndale that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, has hired its second executive director this year, with new director Susan Erspamer coming on board at the beginning of December.

The Affirmations board chose Detroit native Darrious Hilmon in February after a nearly yearlong search following the departure of former director Dave Garcia. Hilmon began the position in March, but stepped down in October.

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Published December 9, 2015

Ferndale police are investigating a report of an armed robbery that allegedly occurred the night of Dec. 5 at the home of Motives of Existence band member John Annesser following a band rehearsal.

According to a report filed by the band Dec. 5, two armed suspects forced their way into Annesser’s home in the 200 block of Livernois Street between 8:30 and 9 p.m. Dec. 5. They reportedly told everyone in the home to get on the ground, and they were looking for money.

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Published December 7, 2015

FERNDALE — About 61 percent of the student body in the Ferndale School District qualifies for free or reduced lunch during the school year. At the elementary level, more than 51 percent of students, or 553 kids, qualify.

If families struggle to pay for a student’s lunch during the week, what is the situation like on the weekends? That is a question that Kennedy Elementary School second-grade teacher Lindsay Gonska asked, and one she hopes to help answer.

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