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Robert Guttersohn

Published September 3, 2014

ROYAL OAK — City officials can’t seem to escape the fact that the downtown is having a difficult time holding on to its retail stores.

Todd Fenton, the city’s newly hired economic development manager, said during the Aug. 20 Downtown Development Authority meeting that the subject is at the forefront of everyone’s minds in Royal Oak.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Fenton said. “There are a lot of factors, both internal and external, that are affecting the state of retail here in 2014.”

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Published September 3, 2014

ROYAL OAK — The city is seeking to replace its city attorney, David Gillam, who was set to retire at the end August but who will be staying on until the city names his replacement.

At its Aug. 18 meeting, the City Commission unanimously approved the timeline for finding a new attorney and the creation of a subcommittee to pore through and whittle down applications.

The subcommittee for the search includes Human Resources Director Mary Jo DiPaolo, City Manager Don Johnson, Gillam, Mayor Jim Ellison, and commissioners Peggy Goodwin and Kyle DuBuc.

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Published September 1, 2014

Among the paintings and sculptures that filled downtown Royal Oak during the Labor Day weekend for Arts, Beats & Eats, a new art medium took center stage: hair fashion.

Throughout the weekend, some of the city’s hair salons took over various stages to put on hair shows.

The new installation, dubbed Hair City, was announced in June with the intention of giving the salons, which generally are closed during the annual event, a chance to brand themselves in front of the crowds descending on the city for Arts, Beats & Eats.

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Published August 29, 2014

ROYAL OAK — The Detroit Zoo announced Aug. 26 that it had started construction on a $1.4 million wolf habitat exhibit that will occupy two acres of land in the southwest corner of the zoo.

The habitat is slated to open in 2015 and will be named after the Cotton family, who donated $500,000 to the project.

“Like many others in Michigan, our family is so excited to help save wolves — cousins of man’s best friend — in a protected sanctuary at the Detroit Zoo,” said David Cotton in a statement.

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Published August 27, 2014

ROYAL OAK — Seated in a conference room inside the Royal Oak Schools board office Aug. 19, teachers and staff from throughout the district got a lesson on biology — specifically why some people react severely to allergies.

Their teachers during this session were Beaumont nurses who explained how to use an EpiPen, which administers a spring-loaded shot of adrenaline to stave off a potentially deadly allergic reaction.

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Published August 27, 2014

ROYAL OAK — At its Aug. 18 meeting, the City Commission discussed different ways to improve access to parking in the downtown in hopes of drawing more people to the city’s central business district.

City Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle, who requested that the item be placed on the agenda, said Royal Oak had fallen behind other cities that have phone applications and credit card machines in their parking lots and structures.

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Published August 26, 2014

When Rizzo Environmental Services was planning to send a fleet of trucks to Royal Oak and other communities hardest hit by the flood, it had planned to make only a significant dent in the backlog of trash since the Aug. 11 flood.

But after sending 75 trucks to Royal Oak Aug. 23 and then a smaller number Aug. 24, the city announced that trash pickup was again on schedule and recycling services were back up.

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Published August 25, 2014

ROYAL OAK — Discussion of the record rainfall and subsequent flood a week earlier dominated the Aug. 18 City Commission meeting, stretching the relatively thin agenda into more than two hours.

Officials used the meeting to update the commission and the city on total damage to the city and to provide information on where residents can turn for help.

City Manager Don Johnson said nearly half of Royal Oak’s single-family homes and 30 percent of its multifamily units were affected in some way by the storm.

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Published August 25, 2014

CLAWSON — In its first meeting since the Aug. 11 flood, City Council invited Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office officials on Aug. 19 to discuss what happened to the county drain during the record rainfall.

Sue Coffey, the office’s manager, said the data from the county drain system collected from that night still is being examined, but so far nothing seems to have been defective.

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Published August 22, 2014

Officials from the city and from Rizzo Environmental Services, the waste hauler in Royal Oak and several other cities, say trash pickup following the Aug. 11 flood may not be back on schedule until Labor Day.

“We are a few days behind in Royal Oak, which isn’t surprising given the level of damage that Royal Oak experienced,” said Joe Munem, the director of government affairs for Rizzo.

The waste company measured damage using the amount of garbage it picked up in the days following the flood as compared to a normal week.

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Published August 22, 2014

On Aug. 20, residents came out in force to pack a banquet room at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township for a four-hour emergency town hall meeting about the oil and gas operation at 25 Mile and Dequindre roads.

Township Attorney Rob Huth moderated the forum, allowing environmental consultant Christopher Grobbel, of Grobbel Environmental and Planning Associates, and West Bay Exploration Co. officials, both of Traverse City, to make presentations and then answer questions.

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Published August 21, 2014

ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON — There really was nothing Matt Cahaney could do but watch the rain fall hard for hours on end.

As it overwhelmed the stormwater system, Matt, along with his wife, Cathy, tried to suck up the water rising in their basement — where their 21-year-old son, Alec, sleeps — using a vacuum.

But it couldn’t keep up. Like so many on Aug. 11, they could only wait for the rain to stop and assess the damage it had done to their home once it was done.

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Published August 20, 2014

ROYAL OAK — Buffalo Wild Wings will be filling the first floor of 500 S. Main St., the building Barnes and Noble occupied until earlier this year.

The City Commission approved the transfer of a liquor license from a former business along 13 Mile Road to the downtown location with a 4-3 vote Aug. 11. The commission attached three conditions to the franchise restaurant’s plan of operations.

The stipulations mandate that the operator not have a disc jockey, not have live music and not allow minors without an accompanying adult after 8 p.m.

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Published August 20, 2014

ROYAL OAK — The Planning Commission voted unanimously Aug 12 to approve the site plan of a new two-story building to replace 323 S. Main Street, the former home of retail store Incognito.

Architect Scott Bower told the Planning Commission that the plan is to demolish the existing single-story structure and replace it with a two-story building with first-floor restaurant space and second-story office space.

The building would be more than 40,000 square feet, split evenly between the first and second floor.

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Published August 20, 2014

CLAWSON — The City Council at its Aug. 5 meeting approved a resolution to allow businesses that offer instructional services to have alcohol consumed on their properties without obtaining Class C liquor licenses.

Also, as part of the resolution, any business wishing to do so would have to submit a plan of operations to the City Council — much like establishments with liquor licenses have to do.

The vote was 4-0. Commissioner Deborah Wooley was absent from the meeting.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Councilman Jim Horton.

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