The stories of 2014 Part 4 of 4 – October through December
(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.
Walking to school seemed more risky in October as a series of accidents harmed pedestrians. A first grader at Kennedy in Oak Park was hit by an SUV. A sixth grader in Hazel Park suffered broken legs after being hit. Two teens had been hit while on bikes in Oakland Township at the end of September. On Oct. 28 the Ferndale Police Chief hit a University High School Student who had ran across the street. The same day in Lyon Township, a 14 year old was injured when a school bus driver did not yield.
A thousand tiny turtles went to the Detroit Zoo for care after being saved from a smuggler. We also did a story about the deer, the pig and the cockatoo in Pleasant Ridge.
Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson awed students at Alma College. Hillary Clinton visited Oakland University.
A Rochester Hills author recalled her adventures as a Donut Dolly in the Vietnam War. Oakland County’s One Stop Shop helped a consignment shop open in Pontiac. A campaign worker out knocking on doors in Waterford rescued an injured woman. A man in Rochester Hills lost a foot in a lawn mower accident and a Detroit Police officer was arraigned on road rage charges in Birmingham.
Youngsters in Berkley had a ball at the Angell School Fun Run. The Hilton Fall Festival was a hit in Ferndale. The Troy Transit Center opened after a 14 year wait.
Hazel Park ended their soccer season early due to suspensions. Hazel Park also got a dog park.
We did a profile of Michael Mirto, a volunteer at the HOPE Fund, and we looked at the varying rates poll workers are paid in local cities. Michigan Municipal League named John Pappageorge one of three Legislators of the Year. And campaign coordinator Christy Jensen gave advice to women seeking election.
A SMART bus driver fell asleep at the wheel before hitting seven cars in West Bloomfield.
The Royal Oak Community Awards showcased some of the people who make the city great. The Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce also gave out community awards.
A local dad made news with his Halloween costume. And several more costumes could be seen at the Royal Oak Spooktacular, trick or treating at Leon & LuLu in Clawson, or at Angels Night in Pontiac.
Campaign season came to a close with President Obama making a visit to Wayne State University.
In November a robber was tackled and held by witnesses until police arrived. An accident sent a car into Comerica Bank in Oak Park. A drunk driver took out a traffic light in Ferndale.
A gun went off at the Digital Learning Center in Ferndale. This was the last in a history of dangerous incidents at the building. School administration closed the building and moved the program to another building with the intent of evaluating the program moving forward.
The Ferndale Housing Commission Director was arrested for going into people’s apartments and swapping their narcotics with Tylenol. After her arrest, we began learning about multiple layers of issues at the Ferndale Housing Commission as residents began to speak out.
In Troy a pair of men was arrested for targeting real estate open houses for theft opportunities. Happy’s Pizza Founder was convicted of a multi-million dollar tax fraud scheme.
Kids in Ferndale’s Roosevelt School benefited from a Read and Ride program. Students from Berkley’s Norup school went to Mexican Town for Día De Los Muertos. At JFK in Ferndale students harvested their school’s community garden. Youth from Birmingham’s Covington School traveled to Washington DC to talk about Project Cope Initiative.
Veterans were honored in Ferndale and Royal Oak.
Royal Oak also appointed former Mayor Patricia Paruch to temporarily fill a vacancy on the Commission as Peggy Goodwin resigned for personal reasons. The oc115 interviewed Royal Oak’s Community Engagement Specialist Judy Davids.
Volunteers in Pontiac began using “blexting” to fight blight. There was also a clean up day on Baldwin Avenue.
Om Café got a new owner. The Ferndale Area Chamber gave awards. The owner of The Oakland shared his views on supporting local.
Holiday festivities began, like the tree lighting and Holiday Hoof and FestivALE in Ferndale and the Royal Oak Holiday Magic Parade. Grant School had an adorable Thanksgiving celebration for families. The Wild Lights display at the Detroit Zoo was also a nice event, covered by guest writer Adam Cooley
Sixth graders from Ferndale’s JFK school learned about giving by volunteering in a food pantry. Organizations in Pontiac also came together to feed families in need.
Ferndale resident Kayla White was killed in a car crash. Two women in Waterford were accused of trying to hire a hitman. And a woman did not survive driving into the Clawson United Methodist Church. In Oxford a 29 year old man and his infant daughter were murdered and his mother has been charged.
A transit summit helped get people primed to talk about a likely upcoming vote on transit funding
The ongoing story of Baby the Pleasant Ridge deer continued, as a story about neighbors seeking help for the deer spread from the oc115 all the way to Good Morning America and USA Today. The attention helped Baby find her new home at a nearby nature preserve. Sadly the man who ran the nature preserve was seriously injured in an accident and his wife was killed less than two weeks after taking Baby in.
Holiday tree lightings and other festivities filled the month of December. Check out the Pleasant Ridge Tree Lighting, the Ferndale Holiday Showplace, Pontiac’s Tree of Hope Lighting, Birmingham’s Winter Markt, Pontiac Holiday Extravaganza Parade, The End of Prohibition Party, Ferndale Ice Festival, Candy Cane Lane Craft Show in Berkley, Holiday Baskets in Hazel Park, The Chabad-Lubavitch Chanukah Parade, Ferndale Rotary pancake breakfast, holiday lights in Clawson, and the Menorah Lighting in Ferndale.
A more somber occasion was the Project Blue Light ceremony that honored fallen law enforcement officials from around the state. A pep rally in Ferndale “gave props to cops.” And a Pontiac pastor recognized Troy paramedics who saved his wife’s life.
A Birmingham man was arrested for “tagging” in Downtown Ferndale. Multiple people were stabbed on a train. Protestors held a “die in” after Eastern Michigan University Board renewed contract with the state to continue the EAA.
State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton said goodbye with a tribute to her late sister. State Representative Klint Kesto proposed proclamation-style.
Volunteers held a program in Pontiac Schools to prepare them for real-life job interviews. Officials in Auburn Hills took kids holiday shopping. Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies participated in Operation Pig Out where they gave holiday ham to random citizens.
An historic home tour raised money for the Ferndale Historic Society. New businesses were blossoming as others figured out how to deal with protestors in front of theirs. Ferndale’s oldest church was demolished.
A skyscraper demolition in Southfield was felt miles away.
The Ferndale Fire Marshal warned of the dangers of novelty lighters and shared his collection of them. The Police Chief of Auburn Hills shared her views on decertifying bad cops, and body cameras. A legal observer from Ferndale went to Ferguson, MO and shared his experience. Others in Ferndale rallied against using freedom of religion as a license to discriminate.
Royal Oak unveiled public art.
Pontiac volunteers and business owners were honored by the Downtown Business Association. Also in Pontiac over 250 volunteers gathered for a massive care package assembly, giving provisions to 2,000 people. And a profile of Pontiac Councilperson Randy Carter and Pontiac School Board Trustee Brenda Carter showed the power of love and Pontiac Pride.
Other guest views included Kat LaTosch on diversity-focused recruiting and Jim Pool on how a trip to Ethopia was an example of meeting others where they are.
The story of problems in the Ferndale Housing Commission continued to grow, with violations of open meetings acts, a secret budget process, disenfranchised residents and more. Look for more on this in the coming year.
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The stories of 2014 Part 4 of 4 – October through December