The stories of 2014 Part 3 of 4 – July through September

mbrew brought to you by top adThe stories of 2014 Part 3 of 4 – July through SeptembergardenfreshAD

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 1, 2015)

This has been an amazing year as the oc115 has ventured on the path of county-wide news coverage. From feel-good stories of neighbors helping each other to mass expressions of love, to the challenges of local governments, crimes, fires, floods and murders, the oc115 has been there to share the stories of our lives as they happen.


One of the most popular stories of 2014 began in July with the arrival of a pregnant deer in Pleasant Ridge. Other deer sightings in Oak Park and Hazel Park were documented and resources about deer population increases in Oakland County were shared. On July 31 we Jim Shaffer KELLER ad blackreported that the mother, who had given birth sometime during the month, had been fatally struck by a car on Woodward, leaving her orphaned baby behind.

Thoroughbred horse racing returned to the Hazel Park raceway in time for the 4th of July.

In July a 61-year-old woman was fatally struck by a garbage truck in Berkley. A fire at Crispelli’s in Berkley started from a carelessly tossed cigarette. Ferndale Police arrested a tequila thief

Candidate forums began this month, with too many to link back to or think about. Though all stories are available by searching on the website.

Kurt Metzger graced oc115 readers with his knowledge of data analysis, including a look at how HowesLocationnew visualization tools show “that we are all in this together.” Oak Park started an internship program. Birmingham promoted Joseph Valentine to City Manager.

William Thomas Goad, the homeless man who murdered an elderly Ferndale resident took a plea deal and got 40-60 years in prison. A 21-year-old Madison Heights woman drowned in the Clinton River.

In Pontiac firefighters rescued three small children from a burning home while the adult was either asleep or passed out on the couch. The intoxicated man fought with responders and ended up being tazered.

In Ferndale, Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men played at the newly revived Music in the Park seed01_bridget and kevin deegan krauseseries. The Pig and Whiskey Festival Packed Downtown. M-Brew opened. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened. And Jason Dutra earned Volunteer Coach of the Year.

In Berkley residents squared off with Vinsetta Garage over parking.

A home was destroyed in Royal Oak after a transformer box blew and landed on the house. No people were home but a neighbor rushed in and saved the dog before everything else was destroyed.

Maxx the Drug Dog passed away in July. And Andrea Johns of the Ferndale Fur Trading Company warned pet owners about Parvo, and the importance of getting vaccinated.dda_ad_03

Pipeline protestors were arrested near Leonard. A 17 year old was arrested for chasing his mother with an axe.

Civil War Day at the Pine Grove Museum provided a very interactive educational experience, with President Abe Lincoln and other re-enactors bringing history to life.

The Mandaean Center in Ferndale had a fire of un-determined origin. The center was a meeting place for a rare religious sect from Iraq.

Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison gave the state of the city address on July 29. New Ferndale Schools Superintendent Blake Prewitt did a video interview on July 30.

CFSEM-123-OaklandCounty115-digital-ad_v2A very popular story was put together with the help of Ryan Meray of C!Tech Solutions, describing an easy way to fix a common internet problem. If your internet is connected, but pages are not loading, try the DNS fix.


Another of the more popular articles of the year was the lawn sign theft lawsuit in Pleasant Ridge. A profile on PR, the Pleasant Ridge cat was adorable, although the lovely kitty has since passed away.

Oak Park Summer Fest was a blast, as was the Motor City Shakedown and Pagan Pride Day.

Hazel Park Police had a chase that ended in a fatality, and in Pontiac a motorcyclist was killed by a drunk driver. In another sad incident a five year old boy was rescued just before a man killed seed024_jeannie_davis_from_lorihimself in front of police.

Ferndale City Councilperson Melanie Piana made a video to explain the new bike lanes on Livernois. An MDOT study showed the economic benefits of promoting bicycling.

Of course the big story for August was the flood of August 11th. The oc115’s coverage spanned over two dozen articles with city by city updates unmatched by any other news outlets. (The three-week bout of a viral respiratory infection that followed this coverage was totally worth it in order to give people a central place for information.) We also coordinated with Rev. Jim Pool to make Renaissance Vineyard the central location for help and volunteer efforts. As people contacted the 115 with needs or offerings, we sent them on to Pool, who took care of organizing the community’s physical needs while the oc115 handled the informational ones. It was great. Reid_Sally_115Much thanks goes to Jim Pool, and to the many people who sent in pictures, information, and served as sources of information. City leaders, DPW crews and trash collectors also did an outstanding job in the crisis. Pictures of the flood can be found here.

Many people lost property and possessions as water poured into basements through South Oakland County.  Mountains of memories were piled up on the curbsides. Covering the complexities of the clean up after the flood was also important. A dispute between Madison Heights and SOCRRA added to the disposal problems, while everyone simply had more trash than they had ever seen before.

The Dream Cruise continued, kicked off with a tribute to fallen officer Sgt. O’Rourke, with his parents driving his old patrol car in his honor. Other Dream Cruise coverage showed the fun side of the massive event.dinos02sidelogo3

Shiela Jones shared her perspective as the President Elect of the Junior League of Birmingham. Ferndale Schools returned with a welcome breakfast for staff, complete with inspirational speeches. In Bloomfield Hills girls learned robotics and animation in a special camp.

The suicide of Robin Williams led to a touching viewpoint by PJ Jacokes of Go Comedy.

Transgender Pride in the Park broke attendance records. The Hazel Park Art Fair and Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak also brought people out.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard talked about recent heroin deaths. The month ended with families in Hazel Park, seed92929maioranaFamily_march2015Ferndale and other South Oakland communities receiving deceptive letters informing them that their kids were enrolled in EAA schools. The letters took the discussion of school funding and the state-controlled district to another level as School Board Trustee Karen Twomey began using the letters to rally support for districts to work together.


September was off to a delicious start with the celebration of the anniversary and expansion of Tai Fai in Oak Park. The open house featured an array of food choices and dancing dragons.

A lesbian Catholic school teacher was fired after requesting maternity leave. And SECOG releasedJudy_Palmer30years traffic fatality data. And Oak Park suffered the loss of Officer Kevin Burr who died in a motorcycle crash.

Alyssa Atkinson wrote about why she participates in AIDS Walk Detroit. Jennifer Russell shared her story of coping with the suicide of a friend. And Teri Williams wrote about her experience at Oprah’s Life You Want Detroit event.

Governor Rick Snyder came to Madison Heights to tout a nutrition program for Madison Elementary School.

A Ferndale woman was arrested with a pink stun gun and 31 packets of pot. Ferndale Police got ferncareADthemselves caught up in a prank gone wrong involving a lost dog. Ferndale Detective Brendan Moore won a contest to sing the National Anthem at a Tigers’ game, and a grant for the department.

The DIY Festival was fantastic as was the Clawson Block Party.

The Regional Water Authority was formed, giving the suburbs more control over the area’s water supply.

A circumcision protest took place in front of Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Pagan Pathways Temple opened in Madison Heights.

Berkley students started a helping hands business. Phoenix Center supporters held an open lisa schmidt lawhouse. And a bus stop magic trick was a delightful break from the normal news.

The 50th Anniversary of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights was celebrated at Wayne State University with a day full of speakers, including Chris King of the St. Louis American who talked about covering unrest in Ferguson, Mel Larsen who co-authored the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, and US District Judge Linda Parker.

Hazel Park gave the key to the city to MMA fighter Myles Jury on Sept. 30.

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