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Woodward Talk

Published January 13, 2016

BERKLEY — After a year of uncertainty in the Berkley Parks and Recreation Department, the city has selected Theresa McArleton as the permanent Parks and Recreation director following the restructuring of the department and a resignation.

In February 2015, former City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa shuffled the department by placing then-Director Tom Colwell in the deputy director position and moving McArleton, who had previously been the deputy director, into the interim director position.

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Published January 13, 2016

FERNDALE — Two cities known for their work to make their communities more inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people recently had their measures scored by the Human Rights Campaign.

Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge were two of nine Michigan cities and 408 cities nationwide to be scored on their LGBT inclusion in municipal law and policies as part of the 2015 Municipal Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. The study was the fourth annual report.

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Published January 11, 2016

It was a media metropolis at the beginning of the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

A daylong event open to media members kicked off around 7 a.m. and concluded at 5:15 p.m. Jan. 11 at Cobo Center. Those associated with various car brands made keynote presentations: Chrysler, Chevrolet, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, Porsche, Ford, Infiniti, Lexus, Honda, Hyundai and Kia.

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Published January 8, 2016

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder on Jan. 5 signed legislation eliminating straight ticket voting in Michigan.

Senate Bill 13, which was sponsored by state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, updates state election law and disallows constituents from voting for single parties with the check of one box in polling places.

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Published January 6, 2016

FERNDALE — For the city of Ferndale, 2016 will see the work of the past few years pay off as several items come to fruition in the new year.

During the May election, Ferndale voters approved the renewal of a Headlee override that will help keep the city financially secure and a street and park improvement bond that replaced the infrastructure bond and will raise $45 million over its 15-year life.

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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

BERKLEY/FERNDALE — The Ferndale School District saw a drastic change in locations and operations in 2015, but the changes won’t stop in the new year as the restructuring process will continue in 2016.

In March, the Ferndale Board of Education approved restructuring the elementary schools in the district from three buildings to two, with upper and lower elementary buildings, as well as moving several programs and ultimately closing and selling three buildings.

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Published January 6, 2016

HUNTINGTON WOODS — It appears that 40-plus years is a long enough life span for cabinets and countertops at the Huntington Woods Gillham Recreation Center, as the City Commission Dec. 15 approved an item to replace the cabinets and countertops in two rooms.

Finance Director Tony Lehmann brought the item to the commission as part of the city’s capital improvement fund. The improvements will come in the pre-kindergarten and art rooms at the recreation center, as those rooms get heavy use with youth programs.

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Published December 30, 2015

From the Ferndale School District to several city administration and elected official positions, numerous areas look a little differently at the end of 2015 than they did in the beginning as restructuring, elections and local people doing extraordinary things highlighted an eventful year in Berkley, Ferndale, Huntington Woods and Pleasant Ridge.

Here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of 2015 in the Woodward Talk’s coverage area.

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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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