Compiled by James Hanlon
FISH reopens in-person shopping
After 16 months of delivering groceries to clients by curbside pickup, Oxford/Orion FISH pantry will fully re-open for in-person shopping on July 13.
Elected mayor of Amphibiville
Blake Myers, 11, of Oxford, was sworn in as Mayor of Amphibiville on June 26 for a two-year term. Amphibiville is a 2-acre wetland village at the Detroit Zoo, and is home to the National Amphibian Conservation Center (NACC).
Oxford family qualifies for national amateur motocross championships
Joseph “Joey” Vicari secured one of 42 spots in the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship in the seven-and-eight-year-old 50cc Sr. Limited division. Impressively, Vicari is the only rider from the state of Michigan among the 42 to qualify at his age level.
Family night brings magic to the park
Instead of the usual concert, it was a family night with children’s activities and a magic show in Centennial Park last Thursday night, July 8. Professional magician Anthony Grupido, a 2013 Lake Orion High School graduate, charmed the crowd with his tricks and sense of humor.
Co-stars in new TV series ‘Tale of Tails’
A new TV series filmed on locations in Oxford, Lake Orion and around Metro Detroit also uses local talent, including Brett Stanfield, a 1999 Oxford High School graduate. All eight episodes of “Tale of Tails” are now streaming for free on Tubi.
Culver’s now open in Oxford Twp.
Bring on the ButterBurgers and crack out the custard — Culver’s has come to Oxford. A new Culver’s restaurant along M-24 north of Oxford Village opened for business on July 6.
Schools buy Dominican Sisters campus
Oxford Community Schools closed on a $2.5 million deal to buy the former Dominican Sisters property on 775 W. Drahner Rd. in Oxford Township, late last month. The school board wasted no time starting improvements, approving $86,191 of network equipment and wireless access units at its regular meeting July 13.
The 32-acre campus includes the 57,860-square-foot Motherhouse with 43 bedrooms, and the 21,026-square-foot Retreat House. The property was put up for sale in late 2019, due to the aging and declining number of sisters living in the motherhouse.
Crosswalks, stop signs discussed
Students and teachers from Oxford Virtual Academy (OVA) asked the village council to approve the construction of a crosswalk to connect the OVA with Scripter Park. Students use the park on recess, though crossing the street is dangerous since there is no crosswalk or signage.
Students sent Chief Solwold letters regarding the issue and presented their case for the crosswalk to the council. The crosswalk and static signs are expected to cost about $300. “How cool of your teacher to teach about local government and how you can come in and ask for something and then your ask can be granted,” Village Council President Kelsey Cooke said.
November library election ok’d
Oxford Public Library Director Bryan Cloutier officially submitted the library board’s bond election proposal to the township. The bond will be used to expand the library and be paid for by a millage separate from the current tax revenue the library receives. Despite questions over the purpose of the election — a similar election in 2020 failed by 47 votes — the township voted 5-2 approving the election for Nov. 2, 2021.
Thank you, Rick!
It was a hot, humid Saturday in Seymour Lake Township Park, but the weather didn’t stop about 40 people from showing up to honor former Oxford Township Parks & Rec. Commission Chairman Rick Laidler. Laidler, his wife Marie and their children and grandchildren came in from out-of-state for the dedication of the Rick Laidler Pavilion. Laidler served on the commission for 24 years, 20 as Chairman.
A hasty vote in Addison?
The Addison Township Board voted July 19 to fill the trustee seat left by Charles “Chuck” Sargent following his death in June. Three people submitted applications for the seat, but before any of them could present themselves to the board — and the audience in attendance — Trustee Ed Brakefield made a motion to approve Jacob Newby to fill the empty seat.
Treasurer Lori Fisher and Geibel voted “no” while Brakefield, Supervisor Bruce Pearson, Trustee Linda Gierak and Clerk Pauline Bennet voted “yes.”
Members of the audience reacted negatively in response to the hasty vote. Pearson explained Newby’s appointment by appealing to his history in local government and his familiarity with ongoing issues.
Severe storm blows through Oxford
Oxford fared better during a severe storm this past Saturday than during one that struck Oxford on the night of Tuesday, July 20 which knocked over trees, felled branches, downed power lines and possibly started a fire in its wake.
Community Garden feeds those in need
Volunteers are starting to pull ripe vegetables from the new community garden at Seymour Lake Twp. Park. The majority of the produce is going directly to those who need it most, to supplement the weekly Free Meals program at Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ at 1 Hovey St. in Oxford Village. The program offers a free cooked meal and groceries to anyone in need, no questions asked, every Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m.
Help build play space for dog rescue
Volunteers from General Motors came out to K-9 Stray Rescue League to help finish a new enrichment space on the morning of Wednesday, July 21. Replacing a section of kennels, the expanded enrichment space is a lowered open-air area filled with pea gravel where dogs can run around. The gravel space adds to an already built, covered concrete play area.
Residents work to resolve dock disputes
Four zoning violation cases against Lakeville Lake property owners were dropped in court on Tuesday, Aug. 3. The cases concerned docks that were out of compliance with the township zoning ordinance. The ordinance states that lots zoned for single-family homes are allowed one dock up to 35 feet in length and 6 feet in width to keep up to two boats.
The cases were mutually dismissed in the Rochester Hills 52nd District Court as each of the owners came to agreements with the township. About 20 cases out of 54 have been officially dismissed as of Friday, Aug. 6.
Bed & Breakfast moves in
Stag’s Leap Farm Bed and Breakfast, located at 2093 N. Baldwin Road offers guests a slice of country hospitality in the northern corner of Oxford Township. Brett and Steven Rogers acquired the historic 1890s home in 2019 and renovated it during the pandemic.
‘Cats new athletic director
Oxford Community Schools hired Tony DeMare as the district’s new athletic director this month, filling a vacancy left by Jordan Ackerman, who left to become principal of Armada High School.
“I simply want our student-athletes and coaches to build a rich, full experience through athletics,” DeMare said of his vision for the athletic department. “I want them to enjoy some well-deserved normalcy with full attendance and support from the Oxford community.” DeMare was selected from among 57 applicants
Home, ‘total loss’ from fire
A fire destroyed a home in the Parkhurst Estates Manufactured Home Community on Wednesday (Aug. 11) afternoon. One resident was treated on scene for smoke inhalation and one pet died in the fire.
OHS student donates 100+ backpacks
Evelyn Barnette, a sophomore at Oxford High School, donated 100 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to Oxford/Orion FISH’s annual backpack drive. The food pantry distributes the backpacks to children at area schools who can’t afford expensive back-to-school shopping lists.
Evelyn has been donating backpacks since 2013. Including her donation, FISH gave out 350 backpacks to families in need at the pantry located at 1060 S. Lapeer Rd. last Saturday, Aug. 21
Deal or No Deal?
Right before the summer’s final Concert in the Park performance, Oxford Bank presented a “Deal or No Deal” live game show in collaboration with the Oxford Downtown Development Authority, Aug. 12 in Centennial Park. Special guest briefcase holders featured local celebrities from politicians to business owners, faith leaders and a few fictional characters.
The event benefited three local nonprofit organizations. In total, Love for a Child won $1,310, Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance won $1,900 and Paint a Miracle won $2,788.
Oxford masks up after county mandate
Oxford Community Schools had to switch its mask policy at the last minute after Oakland County Health Division issued an emergency order afternoon Aug. 24, the day before school started. The district had planned to start the school year with a mask-optional policy.
The new health order requires all people to wear masks inside enclosed buildings at any “educational institution” from pre-K to grade 12, regardless of vaccination status. Because of the lack of notice, the district did not enforce masks for students the first three days of school, though they were “strongly recommended.” The district adopted the mandate “in its entirety” beginning Monday, Aug. 30.
Census shows population increase for Oxford
The 2020 U.S. Census released in August shows Oxford (including both the township and the village) grew by 9.2% from 2010. Meanwhile to the east, Addison Township (including Leonard Village) shrank by 1.5%.
As of April 1, 2020, Oxford Township had a population of 18,927. Oxford Village had 3,492. Addison Township had 5,879. And Leonard Village had 377.
Coach Line: ‘Execution’ is key focus post-Romeo loss
The Oxford High School varsity football season opened with a 13-34 loss against the Romeo High School Bulldogs on Aug. 27. Despite the loss, Head Coach Zach Line is happy with the way the team performed.
“It’s one of those games you walk away with and you can’t be mad about the effort, but you’re upset with some day-one alignment assignment,” Line said. While citing turnovers as a place to improve upon, Line sees the execution of plays as the principal thing the team has to work on.
Oxford High alum designing new Pentagon 9/11 center
Karen Offer, 2006 graduate of Oxford High School and Interiors Technical Design Manager at Fentress Architects, is helping design the visitor center for the Pentagon 9/11 memorial. The project, officially called the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center and commissioned by the Pentagon Memorial Fund (PMF), will add to the existing 9/11 monument by providing a place for visitors to learn about the event. Construction is not expected to begin until 2023 and opening day is planned for Sept. 11, 2025.
She runs the stockade at Renaissance Festival
If you’ve ever wanted to throw your friends or family in jail, just for a while, there’s a cage nearby where you can do so for as little as $3. It’s about 30 minutes west of Oxford, inside the magical 16th Century European village in Holly that is the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Next to the castle, you’ll find The Stockade, an interactive game where you can have your kinfolk arrested. The warden is Erin Dort, an Oxford resident who has worked at the festival since 2002.
143-year-old church doors restored
Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ had its bell tower doors restored last week. Located at 1 Hovey St. in Oxford Village, the building began construction in 1878 and finished in 1879. The wood doors at the base of the bell tower are original to the building. Woodworker Craig Shagena, co-owner of Caveman & Pip, did the restoration.
A study in perfection
Oxford High School senior Martha Wolf earned the highest possible ACT composite score, 36. Fewer than half of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. To students who will take the test in the future, Martha has some suggestions. “Take it more than once if you want to increase your score, and definitely take practice exams and get a good night’s sleep before,” she said.
Mask complaints keep school board late
Citizens unhappy with the Oakland County Health Division’s school mask mandate waited two and a half hours until the end of the Sept. 14 Oxford School Board meeting inside the high school auditorium to voice their concerns during unscheduled audience participation. Close to 100 people were in attendance, including district staff. 29 people spoke against the mask mandate. The board moved to closed session for a quarterly superintendent evaluation at 12:03 a.m.
32 E. Burdick must have a finished look by the year’s end
A roofless, half-finished cinderblock building shell that has sat untouched at 32 E. Burdick for over a year must have “a fully completed appearance” by the end of the year, according to a modified agreement between Oxford Village, the DDA and the developer. David Weckle, the developer, must meet a series of deadlines, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 31. The roof must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.
Oxford Obliterates Orion!
The coveted “Double O” trophy is back in town as the Oxford Wildcats scored their first win of the season over cross-town rival Lake Orion Dragons last Friday. After three winless weeks, each building on top of the last, the Wildcats opened up scoring in the second quarter and never looked back. As the closing whistle blew the score stood 51-27, Oxford dominant over Lake Orion. “It’s always good to win a rivalry game,” Oxford Head Coach Zach Line said.
According to a statement by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, two Flint men were caught trying to steal catalytic converters cut from vehicles on Adventure Ln. around 2 a.m. on Sept. 16.
Deputies found the men, aged 30 and 23, in a red Mitsubishi with “fresh dirt and mud on their clothing” and sweating. Further investigation uncovered the catalytic converters in the trunk of the Mitsubishi, after which the deputies called in the OCSO Auto Theft Unit and took the suspects to the Oakland County Jail.
Meet this year’s King and Queen
Gavin Green and Claire Spindler were crowned Homecoming King and Queen during Friday’s football game against Clarkston. The homecoming court by grade are as follows:
Freshmen: Abby Jones and Liam O’Neill.
Sophomores: Lilan Haden and Brody Moore.
Juniors: Emma DeFauw and Ethan O’Dowd, Caitlyn Byrnes and Brody Burnes.
Seniors: Carly Boyd and Tony Hatzengeorgiou, Brady Lindamood and Marie LaFond, Brianna Barrows and Gavin Marsden.
Longtime trustee leaving Leonard after 30 years on Council
Charlene “Char” Sutherby is moving to Houghton Lake with her husband, Dan, to be closer to family. She was appointed a Leonard trustee in March 1991, and has served on the village council ever since. The Leonard Village Council recognized her and her husband’s many years of service in two resolutions at the Sept. 13 council meeting. Dan Sutherby served many years on the Village Parks & Recreation Committee and as a firefighter for the Addison Township Fire Dept.
Salvation Army camp celebrates centennial
Hundreds gathered to celebrate Echo Gove Camp and Retreat Center’s 100th birthday Sept. 19. The open house reunion featured favorite camp activities like pontooning, hayrides, crafts, and an opportunity for campers to swap memories over old photos. Since 1921, the 200-acre camp on the north end of Lakeville Lake has offered people from underserved communities a chance to experience the great outdoors and to grow spiritually.
Columbarium will hold urns in Lakeville Cemetery
Lakeville Cemetery will soon have a columbarium – a filing-cabinet-style mausoleum with 480 niches for storing funeral urns. The Addison Township Board voted to approve a quote for five columbarium units for a total of $166,690 from Sunset Memorial and Stone Ltd. based in Calgary, Canada. Each columbarium is double-sided, with 48 niches on each side. The niches are 16 inches deep, which allows two urns to be stored, depending on the size. Each niche comes with its own security door and key. The columbarium will be installed behind the flagpoles next to the gazebo in Lakeville Cemetery.
Museum hosts grand reopening
The Northeast Oakland Historical Society celebrated the grand re-opening of their downtown Oxford museum this past Sunday. “It is a great feeling to have all these smiling faces back in this building,” society president Bryan Cloutier said in his opening remarks. “It’s been a long time, it’s been a long journey to get to where we are today in terms of the transformation of what has taken place behind the scenes.” The historical society made several upgrades and renovations to the museum over the summer.
A lily for Barb
The Addison Township Public Library planted a lily, Saturday Oct. 9, in honor of local historian and author Barbara Stafford, who passed away in March at the age of 79. The lily was donated by gardener and Addison Township resident Brian Howarth. The unique cultivar was registered with the American Lily Society and named after Stafford.
Downtown Oxford gets its very own gift card
The Oxford Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will soon offer a shop local gift card for participating Oxford business. The cards will be available to purchase from the DDA offices at 22 W. Burdick during normal hours Monday to Thursday, or online.
Scarecrow Festival returns to Oxford
The Scarecrow Festival returned to downtown Oxford Sunday, packed with autumn and Halloween-themed activities and events organized by the Downtown Development Authority. Ghosts, super heroes, astronauts and princesses joined Paws the Wildcat trick-or-treating downtown businesses.
Schools seek AG opinion on mask mandate
The Oxford School Board heard more comments opposing masks Oct. 12. This time some folks brought up the state budget signed into law Sept. 29 which includes language prohibiting health departments from issuing or enforcing any order that would require an individual under the age of 18 to wear a mask or face covering. Although some local health departments dropped their mask mandates in response, Oakland County Health Division has not. That puts the school board in the impossible situation of interpreting which rule to follow. They want Attorney General Dana Nessel to weigh in with an official opinion.
Throne announces retirement after 21 years with district
Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne announced at the Oct. 12 school board meeting his intent to retire after the beginning of 2022. Throne began his tenure as superintendent in May 2015.
OCTV manager resigns after on-air comments
Just before the homecoming football game against Clarkston Sept. 24, Oxford Community Television Station Manager Bill Service made some “inappropriate comments” caught by a hot mic on a livestream video while he was serving as a commentator in the press box. The video of the game was removed, edited and later reposted online. Service submitted his resignation Sept. 29.
The Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission (OACCC), the board that oversees OCTV, appointed OCTV Production Manager Teri Stiles as fulltime interim station manager, with the same pay as Service, at a special meeting Oct. 8. OACCC Chair Ed Hunwick also made a formal apology to the school district at the Oct. 12 school board meeting.
Oxford’s first marijuana retailer gets ‘ok’ from village PC
The Village of Oxford Planning Commission approved Lume Cannabis Company’s site plans on Tuesday, Oct. 19. The first marijuana retailer to go before the commission since the Village Council allowed marijuana businesses in September, commissioners unanimously approved Lume’s plan after about an hour of discussion with site architect Christopher Enright and Nicole Marshall, general manager of Lume’s Walled Lake store. Lume’s operation in Oxford will be at 595 S. Glaspie St. and handle retail sales.
Charles named Oxford DDA chair
Rod Charles was appointed chair of the Oxford Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors Oct. 18, for a two-year term ending September 2023. He replaces Nicole Ellsworth, whose chair term expired. Ellsworth continues to sit on the DDA as a board member, with a term ending in 2024. Board Member Bill Dunn nominated Charles, who had been serving as vice chair. The board voted 7-0 for his appointment. Board Member Marie Powers was then appointed vice chair, filling the vacancy just left by Charles.
Collision ‘looked horrific’ but nobody hurt
Three cars were involved in a crash around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20. According to the Oxford Fire Department and a report from the Oxford Village Police Department, a car pulling off of Ensley St. hit a car going south on M-24 and a car going north. The initial collision was strong enough to rip the front left wheel from the car traveling south. The drivers and passengers were checked for injuries and nobody went to the hospital.
Library bond vote fails
The Oxford Public Library bond vote failed, according to unofficial results from Oakland County. 3,302 “no” votes outnumbered 1,533 “yes” votes, shooting down the $9.1 million capital improvement bond for the second year in a row.
After regionals, Girls XC head to state undefeated
Oxford’s girls cross country team took first place at MHSSA Region 9 championship at Anchor Bay High School in New Baltimore, Oct. 29. Collectively, the team scored 73 points, beating out second-place Romeo at 102 and third-place Macomb Dakota at 117. Undefeated this year, the team heads to the state finals this Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Community comes out to celebrate Oxford football
Downtown Oxford was abuzz with people, excitement and spirt last Thursday night to cheer on the Oxford high School varsity football team. The Oxford Downtown Development Authority organized the pep rally for the playoff bound Wildcats at Centennial Park.
Hee-Haw! Oxford High School Theater will perform three showings of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play this week at the performing arts center.
Wildcats end season with 42-7 defeat
In the second round of the high school playoffs, the Oxford High School Wildcats’ football season came to an end with a near-shutout by the Rochester Adams Highlanders on Friday, Nov. 5.
Deer head found in high school courtyard, part of vandalism incident
Staff discovered a series of graffiti and the severed head of a deer inside a courtyard at Oxford High School before school began Nov. 4. The vandal used red acrylic paint to write several messages outside the pool entrance doors and climbed to the roof to paint on windows. The red graffiti “did not contain any threats or concerning messages,” according to Principal Steve Wolf.
The deer head was chucked into the courtyard from the roof; no blood was found and the vandal did not enter the building. A suspect was quickly identified from security camera footage and located by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office deputies. A criminal investigation is ongoing.
School Board punts mask vote
The Oxford School Board put off discussion of whether to defy Oakland County’s school mask mandate at last week’s board meeting Nov. 9, since trustees Dan D’Alessandro and Heather Shafer were absent.
Trustee Korey Bailey moved to delay any vote on the topic until the next available meeting when all board members are present. “I think this is a big enough discussion that we need full opinions and voices of this entire board before we make a decision or vote,” he said. The motion passed 5-0.
This upset many parents and members of the public in attendance who were expecting a vote that night.
After two decades, Dunn steps down from twp. board
William Dunn resigned from the Oxford Township Board of Trustees on Nov. 2, citing unspecified health issues and wanting to enjoy his retirement. “I have enjoyed my 22 years serving the community of Oxford,” Dunn wrote in his emailed resignation. “I’m very proud of what we, as a township board, have accomplished over the years and I wish you all continued success. I have no regrets. I loved every moment of it. Thank you.”
7th grade gridders go undefeated
Oxford Middle School’s seventh-grade football teams made history this season by going undefeated for the first time. The Gold team won all six of their games, while the Blue team won five due to a game getting canceled.
Remote schooling, bus routes changing
Schools across the country and the state have had to close, temporarily, in recent weeks thanks to the ongoing worker shortage and COVID outbreaks. Oxford is no exception, as both the high school and the middle school switched to remote learning Monday and Tuesday this week because of quarantined staff members and a lack of substitutes. For similar reasons, the school district’s transportation department had to combine several bus routes last week.
Tragedy at Oxford High School, shooter in custody
Five minutes of hell. That’s all it took from the first 911 call, about 12:50 p.m. Tuesday, to when a 15-year-old male Oxford High School sophomore was taken into custody. The teen surrendered to authorities without a struggle after firing up to 20 rounds from a semiautomatic handgun, killing three students and wounding eight others including one teacher.
Breaking: Death toll rises to four from school shooting
Three Oxford High School students — Tate Myre, 16; Hanna St. Juliana, 14; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17 — were killed Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 30), and a fourth, Justin Shilling, 17, died late Wednesday morning after a 15 year-old student opened fire during school hours.
On Tuesday the eight wounded people — seven students and one teacher — were transported to hospitals in Pontiac and Lapeer. Four were in stable condition while four were in either “serious” or “critical” condition, as of 10 p.m.
Police, fire departments and medical transporters from all corners of metro Detroit and Lapeer County responded to calls for help. The FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals are helping with the investigation.
Suspect identified, arraigned on murder and terrorism
The suspect in the Nov. 30 mass shooting at Oxford High School was identified, charged and arraigned on multiple counts of first-degree murder and other crimes on the afternoon of Dec. 1. Identified by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, 15 year-old Ethan Crumbley is charged with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony. The suspect is being charged as an adult and faces life in prison.
Thousands gather to mourn at the heart of Oxford
While many area churches and nearby communities held vigils of their own, the Oxford Downtown Development Authority and Oxford Bank quickly organized a candlelight vigil for the entire community to mourn the loss at Oxford High, by closing down M-24 and Burdick Street Friday night. At 7 p.m., the candles were lit and church bells rang across Michigan for four minutes of silent prayer. State, county and community leaders spoke.
Parents charged in OHS shooting
The suspected shooter’s parents — Jennifer Crumbley and James Crumbley — are charged each with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Their arraignment was delayed from 4 p.m. on Dec. 3 to 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 4 due to the parents not showing up for the arraignment and prompting a nine-hour manhunt ending with the Detroit Police Department finding them in the city’s Islandview neighborhood around 1 a.m.
Lawsuits filed against school district over mass shooting
Parents of two students affected by the mass shooting at Oxford High School filed two $100 million lawsuits against Oxford Community Schools and school officials in federal court, Thursday, Dec. 9.
Jeffrey and Brandi Franz of Leonard are suing on behalf of their children Riley Franz, 17, a senior who was shot in the neck, and Bella Franz, 14, a freshman who was with Riley when she was shot. The suit claims the school violated their 14th Amendment rights to be free from danger.
DK-8 students safely return to school, Friday, shut down Tuesday
Oxford’s lower level schools reopened Friday, Dec. 10 for a half-day “soft reopening.” All schools in the district had been closed since the shooting at Oxford High School Nov. 30. But, because of a social media threat to Oxford Middle School on Monday, all buildings in the district were again closed on Tuesday.
Schools close last week of the year after new threat
After the threat against OMS, all schools in the district remained closed for the rest of the week before the winter break. All school district buildings were searched and cleared by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office with the help of more than 25 K-9 dogs and handlers.
Third-party review, new OCS supt. timeline approved
The Oxford School Board approved, 7-0, a resolution supporting Superintendent Tim Throne’s recommendation for a third-party review of the events on and leading up to Nov. 30. Furthermore, Throne has put has put his retirement on hold, giving the board more time to hire a new superintendent.