April Lehmbeck

Published February 16, 2012

HARPER WOODS — The first day of February was a rough one for acting City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk, a day on which he had to make a decision that he called one of the worst things he’s ever had to do.

He had to issue police and fire layoff notices.

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Published February 16, 2012

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — With so many great schools in the Grosse Pointe area, some people feel that the Grosse Pointe Nursery School is a “hidden gem,” and some parents recently pleaded with the school to offer a kindergarten program.

They wanted their children to be able to stay there one more year.

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Published February 16, 2012

GROSSE POINTES — Audrey Kam’s pen pal sent her a picture of a cat he domesticated, calling it a cute kitten that he plays with each day after school.

He told her he likes the cat because he doesn’t enjoy being lonely, which sounds a lot like something many teens in America might say. Yet, Kam’s pen pal isn’t from America. He lives in China.

And they don’t write the old-fashioned kind of letters — you know, with pen and paper. These 21st century pen pals communicate mostly on email.

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Published February 13, 2012

HARPER WOODS — Fostering a drive to continue education beyond high school is something best started early, which is why the GEAR UP program is taking Harper Woods seventh-graders under its wing.

The GEAR UP program is offered through some of Michigan’s college campuses. It’s a grant program that works to encourage students to pursue higher education.

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Published February 13, 2012

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HARPER WOODS — Thanks to a Harper Woods police investigation, an alleged serial burglar is behind bars for cases that span three cities.

During the scheduled preliminary exam for 18-year-old Antonio Luvel Scott Jr. of Detroit on Jan. 8, police requested the addition of two more Harper Woods crimes to Scott’s roster of about 10 incidents so far in Harper Woods, Detroit and Eastpointe.

“It will be nice to get (him) off the streets,” Police Lt. Robert Hunter said.

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Published February 8, 2012

The rate of foreclosures in the nation is trending down, but Michigan remained among the top 10 states with the highest foreclosure numbers last year.

Michigan had the sixth highest foreclosure rate ranking in 2011, and Detroit came in as one of the still-hardest-hit cities at No. 18, according to RealtyTrac’s 2011 Year-End Foreclosure Market Report. Yet, nationwide the number of default notices, bank repossessions and scheduled auctions dropped 34 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the report.

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Published February 1, 2012

GROSSE POINTES — The two new school board members jumped into the deep end of the pool on their first day, so to speak, by snagging two of the four leadership positions on the board.

There was some disagreement at the table about who should fill the roles as new president, vice president and secretary, with concerns about experience raised by some during a school board meeting Jan. 23. The only unanimous vote was for veteran Brendan Walsh as the board’s treasurer.

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Published February 1, 2012

GROSSE POINTES — The Grosse Pointe Public School System board is making a change to its schedule that could end up boosting participation if the previously later start time has kept anyone from stopping by the board’s regular meetings.

With an 8 p.m. start time, the board had one of the latest starts of meetings for both cities and schools in the area. The regular meetings, held on the fourth Monday of the month, sometimes followed special meetings, something that the board is also changing for the upcoming calendar year.

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Published February 1, 2012

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The first day of February was a rough one for Acting City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk, a day on which he had to make a decision that he called one of the worst things he’s ever had to do.

He had to issue police and fire layoff notices.

“Due to the current financial situation in Harper Woods, we’re facing and have been dealing with a deficit that is over $1.6 million,” he said. “I have been forced to issue layoff notices to four police officers, four firefighters and the elimination of our civilian aid program in the Police Department.

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Published February 1, 2012

CLINTON TOWNSHIP – A fourth-grade student quickly scrawls a math problem on a dry erase board and holds it up for a couple of other elementary school children. He’s taking part in a program that involves him giving up part of his Tuesday afternoons to help tutor students at the library.

McGlinnen Elementary School fourth-graders are giving back to their school and the community, and they’re learning some valuable lessons in the process.

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Published January 31, 2012

HARPER WOODS — Prioritizing the city’s needs and wants when it comes to public service during a time of financial strife might take some outside guidance, which is why the administration brought a consultant to the table.

Acting City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk recently called a special meeting to give council, city employees and residents an opportunity to listen to a pitch by Bob Kittle of The Kittle Group about what his firm could offer the city in its future planning process.

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Published January 31, 2012

HARPER WOODS — The time for talking about fixing the city’s budget woes could be coming to an end with some major action — action that will be painful for some.

City Council voted 6-1 Jan. 18 to give acting City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk the power to cut staffing levels to help with the city’s financial difficulties.

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Published January 31, 2012

HARPER WOODS — School officials are happy that what they’ve been arguing for some time was a safety hazard for students has been addressed.

Soon after acting City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk was approached about a need to do something about an issue involving the student crossing and vehicle traffic in front of the secondary school, the city went to work.

However, it isn’t the first time the schools have tried to get the issue addressed, which is why board officials have expressed their appreciation to Skotarczyk for a resolution to the concerns.

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Published January 31, 2012

HARPER WOODS — Tyrone Principal Cheryl VanDerlinden recalls recently seeing one of the safeties at her school holding up an umbrella under the pouring rain while keeping watch over the safety of the school’s students at one of the posts.

It’s that dedication that prompted VanDerlinden to want to recognize the entire Tyrone safety crew in a new student recognition component of the Harper Woods Board of Education meetings.

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Published January 25, 2012

Public schools keep religion out of the forefront of education, but many parents want to see religious education, traditions and beliefs at the center of their child’s learning environment.

Those parents can choose schools that keep faith the focus.

Religious schools take several steps to ensure faith ideals are conveyed inside and outside the classroom, including daily religious services.

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