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Sarah Wojcik

C&G Staff Reporter – Royal Oak Review


Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik covers the cities of Royal Oak and Clawson, as well as Royal Oak and Clawson schools, for the Royal Oak Review. She covered Shelby Township and Utica for the Shelby-Utica News from 2013 to 2017. Sarah is a graduate of Oakland University. She has won four Excellence in Journalism awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Published December 4, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its Nov. 19 meeting to create another committee, with a $500 annual budget, called the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC).

Trustee Paula Filar introduced the EDAC as a “think tank” geared to increase the retail tax base, reduce commercial blight, improve the township’s permit process and identify low-impact development in underdeveloped commercial areas of the township.

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Published December 2, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Organizers said they were impressed when 166 registered runners of all ages completed the township’s inaugural veterans memorial run Nov. 17, and the community came forward to raise more than $5,400.

“Right when the (air horn sounded), it started to sprinkle and, progressively, it just turned into a complete downpour with monsoon-level rains. It was nuts,” Deputy Supervisor Brad Bates said. “As soon as the last couple people were nearing the finish line, (the rain) stopped.”

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Published November 26, 2013

UTICA — Before Paul Buscemi launched his party store enterprise out of a chicken coop in Detroit in 1956, the Midwest reportedly did not associate the words “submarine,” “torpedo” or “baby sub” with sandwiches, nor the term “party store” with a convenience and liquor store.

State Rep. Jeff Farrington, a Utica native, gave Tony Buscemi, Paul’s son, a tribute award Nov. 20 — signed by himself and Gov. Rick Snyder — at the Utica Buscemi’s location on Hall Road, surrounded by four generations of family.

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Published November 26, 2013

UTICA — On Oct. 1, the city of Utica welcomed a new member to its staff.

Jerry Owczarzak, 61, of Macomb Township, filled a part-time vacancy in Utica created after Building Inspector Gary Moscone retired Aug. 31. Owczarzak previously worked as the building inspector and tax assessor for Harper Woods for 37 years.

Owczarzak began working for the Harper Woods Parks and Recreation Department when he was 17 years old, cutting grass and sometimes constructing small buildings.

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Published November 26, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA — After a second financial review by the governmental accounting and auditing firm Plante Moran, Macomb Township yielded a ruling Nov. 13: no new court in the near future.

For years, Macomb Township has entertained the notion of constructing a new district court building to replace the cramped 41-A District Court in Shelby Township that currently serves Shelby, Macomb and Utica. Macomb conducted its first review in 2010.

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Published November 26, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Board of Trustees voted 6-1 Nov. 19 to settle a lawsuit filed against them by one of their own members in the amount of $745,000.

Trustee Nick Nightingale, elected in November 2012, was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed earlier in 2012 against the township and board members Paul Viar, Paula Filar, Michael Flynn, Doug Wozniak and Rick Stathakis for a violation of Nightingale’s first amendment rights.

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Published November 22, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — While officials hoped to host a big grand opening for Shelby’s newest park this fall, the cooling temperatures beat out construction and put a hold on the official celebration until the spring.

Treasurer Michael Flynn said that Chief Gene Shepherd Park essentially is done, but the township just needs to wait until spring to resurface and stripe the parking lot and adhere a large fire truck decal on the clubhouse’s garage door. This week, he said the township will be painting the clubhouse fire-engine red.

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Published November 19, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Twelve-year-old Justin Townsend was looking forward to starting middle school at Shelby Junior High School and meeting up with his large group of friends from Monfort Elementary, not expecting to be struck with aggressive stage IV brain cancer during the first weeks of class.

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Published November 18, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Mark Switalski sentenced Derick Dabish, 32, of West Bloomfield Township, to 18 months to seven years in prison Oct. 23.

On Sept. 11, Dabish pleaded no contest to three counts related to synthetic marijuana, also commonly known as K2 or Spice, including delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance and possession of less than 25 grams of a controlled substance, which are both felonies. He also pleaded no contest to maintaining a drug house, a high court misdemeanor.

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Published November 18, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Board of Trustees has been putting pressure on the Police Department to find savings since a consultant projected that it would be insolvent in 2017 if it did nothing to cut expenditures, due to it incurring a $1.7 million deficit per year, and mandated that it cannot hire new members.

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Published November 18, 2013

UTICA — An amendment to Michigan election law allows the city of Utica, if it chooses, to move its primary and general elections to even years, which would effectively extend the current terms of the mayor and City Council by one year.

In order to think about the idea and also to make the public aware of the potential change, the Utica City Council voted at its monthly meeting Nov. 12 to table a resolution to move the elections to even years. The council will revisit the issue at its Dec. 10 meeting.

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Published November 18, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Sunoco Logistics officials estimate that the nine-mile pipe replacement project that began in mid-May will wrap up before the end of the month. Only the beginning and end sites in Macomb County need to be finished, and those sites may need some landscape work in the spring.

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Published November 15, 2013

Eric Joseph-Edward Eby, 19, of Sterling Heights, received a 36- to 120-month prison sentence with 98 days of credit Nov. 15 after pleading guilty to 14 felony charges — including breaking and entering, larceny, possession of burglary tools and safe breaking — that stem back to April 1, 2012.

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Published November 14, 2013

UTICA — A man convicted in the beating of another man with a hammer on June 14, 2012, behind a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant near Hall and Schoenherr roads received a sentence of 15-40 years in prison Nov. 14.

Damien Banks, 28, of Detroit, reappeared before Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Diane Druzinski after she adjourned his initial sentencing date Oct. 22 for the probation department to re-interview him for its sentence report, since he said he did not understand the paperwork the first time.

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Published November 13, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A list of top-10 priorities has helped keep the township on track for the last five years, and as the year winds down, township officials are looking toward the direction of 2014.

The process is executed in three stages: first, the department heads meet to vote on priorities, then the Board of Trustees holds a work session to opt for their choices and, lastly, the floor is opened to the public.

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