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Woodward Talk

Published October 21, 2015

BERKLEY — Throughout the 2015-16 school year, the Berkley School District has and will continue to celebrate 175 years of providing education in the community, but at the State of the School District address Oct. 16, the district didn’t forget to focus on the present.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick gave the address on behalf of Superintendent Dennis McDavid, who she said was doing work in Lansing, and she began with how the district prepares students for life after Berkley High School.

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Published October 21, 2015

In the Woodward Talk coverage area, voters will cast ballots in city council races in Berkley and Ferndale, as well as a City Commission and mayoral race in Huntington Woods during the Nov. 3 election. Mayoral candidates in Berkley and Ferndale and City Commission candidates in Pleasant Ridge are running unopposed. The cities of Berkley and Ferndale and Ferndale Public Schools also have proposals on the ballot.

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Published October 14, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — For much of his 35-year tenure as Huntington Woods mayor, Ron Gillham rarely faced competition during his re-election bids. Instead of thinking people just weren’t interested, Gillham said he took it as a vote of faith from the residents.

During the Nov. 3 election, however, Huntington Woods voters will not see Gillham’s name on the ballot. After a lengthy career at General Motors Co. and as mayor, Gillham has decided it is time to retire at the age of 80.

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Published October 14, 2015

BERKLEY — Pattengill Elementary School, part of the Berkley School District, was one of 13 Michigan schools to be named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2015 based on the school’s overall academic excellence.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the recognized schools Sept. 29, which included 335 schools nationwide. The award honors public and private schools in one of two performance categories — schools that achieve high learning standards and schools that make notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

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Published October 14, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — While Alex Allie spent 24 years as Huntington Woods’ city manager, his career spanned more than 40 years, including time in the city manager’s offices in Berkley, Novi and Owosso, as well as some time spent working for the state of Michigan.

It was Allie’s continued work to help Michigan communities that saw him receive the John M. Patriarche Distinguished Service Award in September from the Michigan Local Government Managers Association during the 2015 Michigan Municipal League Convention in Traverse City.

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Published October 13, 2015

FERNDALE — There isn’t one street in Ferndale that Jim Pool hasn’t seen.

What about Shasta Place, a road that isn’t even a block long and is only accessible from Fox Street before it dead-ends before Marshfield Street? Pool has been there.

Or how about the portions of roads like Brickley and Coy streets that are on the Hazel Park and Ferndale border, near the freeway, and are as far as possible from Pool’s home and work? Yes, he has been there too.

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Published October 12, 2015

ROYAL OAK — Getting a drink of water at the Detroit Zoo won’t be as easy as buying bottled water any longer, as the zoo has made the decision to stop selling bottled water in an effort to make better environmental decisions.

Part of the zoo’s strategic plan includes sustainability efforts to guide how the zoo moves forward. While bottled water was found to be the best-selling item in the entire zoo, Manager of Sustainability Beth Wallace said zoo officials also realized that selling so many plastic bottles would make a negative impact on the environment.

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Published October 7, 2015

BERKLEY — At the corner of Catalpa Drive and Coolidge Highway in Berkley sits Berkley High School, where a senior class of nearly 300 students is working through its last year of high school and thinking about the future.


Across the street, however, Blackmon School was the one-room schoolhouse that started the Berkley School District in 1840 with about 30 students. In the 175 years since, the district has grown into a nine-building district that educates about 5,000 students every year.

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Published October 7, 2015

BERKLEY — At the corner of 12 Mile Road and Robina Avenue in Berkley, patrons used to line up around the block to get inside the Berkley Theater and see the latest show. Even the theater’s last showing in 1993 — of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” — was by invitation only.


While the large sign with the city’s name and marquee still stands, the theater is now occupied by Rite Aid, and the grand entrance is used as storage for the business.

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Published October 7, 2015

BERKLEY — Even in the third grade, Clawson resident Brittney Mattson could tell that art would be a part of her future.


A painting she had done in art class was entered into a show of work from all elementary grade levels, and that proved to be just the beginning of her foray into the art world.

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Published October 7, 2015

FERNDALE — The Ferndale Downtown Development Authority board and the city have selected the next person to lead the downtown as the new DDA executive director.


Barry Hicks, who has a background in planning and economic development with Sterling Heights, Jackson and Albion, was selected from a pool of 40 applicants. Hicks comes in after former Executive Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius stepped down May 27.

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Published October 5, 2015

PLEASANT RIDGE — If you are heading eastbound on 10 Mile Road near Interstate 696, or northbound on Main Street near the freeway, for about a month you will notice fewer lanes than normal.


The city of Pleasant Ridge is working with the Woodward Avenue Action Association to conduct a traffic study of the two areas to see if reducing the number of lanes would be feasible, while slowing traffic speeds and making the areas safer for pedestrians.

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Published September 30, 2015

FERNDALE — The Ferndale Planning Commission has approved a conditional site plan for a developer to build a 90-unit residential structure on the property at the corner of West Nine Mile Road and Planavon Street that previously housed a Save-A-Lot.


Developer Gaal Karp, with the Arbor Investment Group, worked with Designhaus Architecture to present plans to the Planning Commission at the Sept. 16 meeting.

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Published September 30, 2015

BERKLEY — When Phil O’Dwyer came to America from Ireland, he did so for an education and never fathomed it would lead to him being a vital part of the Berkley community some 40 years later.


But it is the work that O’Dwyer has done as a city councilman, and now mayor of Berkley, that saw him inducted into the Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame Sept. 19.

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Published September 30, 2015

FERNDALE — With art programs in schools being some of the most underfunded programs in many districts, Michigan Youth Arts is looking to help those teachers and students by bringing back the Arts Equipment and Supplies Grant.


In collaboration with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Youth Arts is offering up to $2,500 to any kindergarten through 12th-grade classroom in the state of Michigan that has a focus on a fine or performing art, whether it be a traditional art class or a music program.

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Published September 30, 2015

HUNTINGTON WOODS — For nearly 40 years, Huntington Woods resident Steve Thorpe has backpacked the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula, always going for time and distance.


Now, however, Thorpe has the opportunity to stop and take in his surroundings at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, as he was named an artist-in-residence as part of a program put on by the Friends of the Porkies organization.

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Published September 29, 2015

Ferndale police are investigating an armed robbery after two men allegedly stole a woman's purse and fled on bicycles.

According to police, at about 3 a.m. Sept. 27, a 30-year-old Ferndale woman was walking on University Street, east of Woodward Avenue, when she was approached by two men who walked up to her after getting off their bicycles.

Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said the victim told police she was threatened with a gun before she handed over her purse.

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Published September 28, 2015

BERKLEY — A gathering place in downtown Berkley is a top priority, according to the 2007 update of the city’s master plan, and with a design concept in place, the Berkley City Council approved a traffic study to determine the viability of closing off sections of Robina Avenue near 12 Mile Road.


The City Council approved a contract with LSL Planning in February to look at sections of Robina and configure a design plan that would incorporate space for community events and improve the streetscaping.

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Published September 23, 2015

BERKLEY — Jane Bais-DiSessa, who has served as city manager of the city of Berkley since August 2001, has been appointed the new deputy mayor of Pontiac.


Bais-DiSessa said the Berkley City Council agreed to allow her to shorten her mandated 45-day notice to 30 days, although a final date has not been set for when Bais-DiSessa will cease her Berkley city manager duties and start as the deputy mayor.

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Published September 23, 2015

FERNDALE — After a long process of finding funding, selecting the proper location and beginning construction, the Ferndale dog park is finally open for residents.


The dog park, which sits at the corner of Hilton Road and University Street in Wilson Park, was approved by City Council during the June 22 meeting, but construction had to wait until the proper materials could be brought in to secure the dog park from the rest of the park.

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Upcoming Events

The events in our calendar were submitted prior to the coronavirus crisis. As efforts have increased to contain the spread of the coronavirus, many events have been canceled. Read More... On March 13, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order to cancel all events statewide that involve more than 250 people. It is recommended that you call ahead if you still intend to attend one of these events.

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