April Lehmbeck

Published July 8, 2015

DETROIT — Charlie Schmidt bought his first outboard motor by raising money catching catfish as a child.


“That’s when I really got started working with outboard motors and collecting them,” he said.


“I’ve been around the water all of my life,” he said, adding that his father and uncles were all outdoorsmen.


Lee Holland caught and sold snapping turtles as a child to afford his first outboard motor.

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Published July 1, 2015

GROSSE POINTES — The 2015-16 Grosse Pointe Public School System budget anticipates a drop in enrollment for the next school year, which means fewer dollars coming in from the state.


The school board voted 6-0 to approve the budget during its June 22 meeting.


“We’re showing an enrollment decrease, but we’re also eliminating some other costs throughout the budget,” Deputy Superintendent Chris Fenton said.

The district does seem to be moving in a positive direction when it comes to its general fund balance. 

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Published June 29, 2015

A fire during the early morning June 28 that took multiple fire departments to knock down resulted in significant damage to a strip mall in the 19500 block of Kelly.

All of the Grosse Pointes responded to the five-alarm fire at 12:45 a.m. at a dollar store. The fire also caused smoke damage to adjacent buildings, according to information from the Harper Woods Fire Department.

“The fire is currently under investigation,” Fire Chief/Capt. Dave Mehl said on the morning of June 29.

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Published June 29, 2015

HARPER WOODS — The city is joining the five Grosse Pointes in keeping Rizzo Environmental Services as the contractor for curbside recycling pickup and household hazardous waste drop-off.


Officials unanimously approved the extension through August 2018, which comes with a 2-cent-per-unit-per-month cost increase. The city has more than 5,700 residential units.

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Published June 29, 2015

HARPER WOODS — City Council June 15 approved the transfer of unused Community Development Block Grant funds from previous years to continue its ADA ramp program.


The city held the required public hearing and voted to approve a transfer totaling more than $145,000 into the ADA ramp improvement fund. The money will make it possible to add ADA ramps to 12-14 intersections, according to information from the city.


“This is for the handicapped ramps that are put on the sidewalks,” City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said.

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Published June 24, 2015

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Monteith students will start the new school year with a new leader, but not a new face to the Grosse Pointe community.


During its June 22 meeting, the Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Shelleyann Keelean as the new principal.


Keelean, formerly a Parcells Middle School teacher and a Grosse Pointe South graduate, beat out a field of about 85 applicants for the new principal post.

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Published June 17, 2015

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Almost eight months after a trench collapse took the life of a Sterling Heights man in a typically peaceful neighborhood in Grosse Pointe Woods, city officials continue to work on issues related to the tragic incident.

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Published June 17, 2015

HARPER WOODS — City Council members want residents and business owners to show their pride in their community by keeping their properties clean and maintained.

The council during a recent meeting discussed the need for some to do a better job of maintaining the appearance of the city.

Mayor Ken Poynter started his comments during the June 1 City Council meeting about a recent Kelly Road cleanup with positive words about the many people who came out to help, including council members and other city officials.

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Published June 13, 2015

HARPER WOODS — Stolen automobiles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and firearms were taken from homes when law enforcement officials raided five locations in Detroit on May 29.

Officers from the Harper Woods Department of Public Safety, with the help of the Arrest Car Thieves in Our Neighborhoods task force and the Eastern Wayne Special Response Team, conducted searches of five Detroit locations using search warrants.

One suspect has been charged, and police expect more to come.

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Published June 10, 2015

Harper Woods Police had a busy day June 10 with two incidents that resulted in locking down Beacon and Tyrone elementary schools.

The first incident involved a possible barricaded gunman in the 19300 block of Woodcrest, just a couple of houses away from Beacon Elementary. Police had to shut down Beacon for four hours while they investigated the incident and forced their way into the home.

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Published June 10, 2015

A prowler has been spotted in backyards on the south side of the city, according to police information.

After receiving several reports of a suspicious person in backyards, the Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Department released a Nixle.com report June 10 to alert residents.

The Public Safety Department said that the subject has been described as a black teenage male who stood about 5 feet 5 inches tall, had an average build, and who was seen riding a purple bicycle. The teen had been scared off by neighbors in most of the reports, according to police information.

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Published June 10, 2015

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The Woods is bringing back its popular farmers market after a successful first year last year, and the city has launched a new trolley service this summer, as well.


The farmers market starts June 14 and will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays through Oct. 11.


The market will offer residents a chance to pick up locally grown produce, handcrafted items, jams, jewelry and more. 

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Published June 4, 2015

GROSSE POINTES — When Gary Niehaus walked into his office for his first day as the new Grosse Pointe Public School System superintendent June 1, he may have already gotten over the first-day jitters.

While Niehaus’ official first day was June 1, he started his work from the moment he decided to apply for the post.

“I’ve done a lot of homework,” Niehaus said. “I’ve also talked to a lot of people, and I’ve listened to a lot of people, and that helps me to get oriented.

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Published June 3, 2015

HARPER WOODS — Harper Woods Schools is planning another summer of learning by growing its enrichment opportunities to include more programs.

Some of that enrichment will include work in the district’s new greenhouse.

“We’re adding quite a bit,” Director of Academic Accountability and Student Services David Rabbideau said.

The district is going to offer everything it had last summer, including Lego Robotics, stop-motion animation and water-bottle rockets.

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Published June 1, 2015

When police responded to a 911 call reporting an armed robbery outside of McDonald’s at Eastland Center May 28, a 20-year-old Sterling Heights man allegedly tried to run from police and tossed a gun during his attempt to flee.

He didn’t get far, however, before police arrested him.

“They got him and they got the gun,” Director of Public Safety James Burke said. “Our guys responded and did a great job.”

The suspect was arraigned May 31 on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

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