By Gabriel Ouzounian
Review Staff Writer
With the introduction of the so-called Wildwood Amphitheater and the Orion Center, Orion Township has become a location with more than a few venues for groups hoping to host an event.
Thanks to a change in Ordinance 132 at a May 16 meeting, and formally adopted on May 19, alcohol may have an opportunity to be served at these events. Alcohol may also be served at township parks if interested parties gain approval from the board. Township Supervisor Matthew Gibb said the change was made to bring greater accessibility to the two locations, which the township hopes will attract attention.
‘The easiest answer for why we’ve (changed this ordinance) is that if we’re not going to raise taxes, we need to have alternative ways to raise money,? said Gibb. ‘If you’re going to have a business banquet with nice food and a nice atmosphere, chances are people are going to want to have wine with their dinner.
‘Allowing them to do that is the difference of whether or not they come to our facility or go elsewhere. Having alcohol here is not our focus, but allowing it does make us more valuable.?
Despite these reasons, some board members said the introduction of alcohol would harm the community. Township Clerk Penny Shults, in particular, was vehemently against the idea and said, ‘nothing good comes from alcohol.?
‘I consistently voted against having alcohol at these places because I don’t think we need alcohol as a component, but the policies were changed because the other board members saw it as viable,? she said ‘My major problem with the change was the close proximity of (the Orion Center) to Orion Oaks Elementary, and as far as the parks, they have been successful without it.
‘I don’t feel having alcohol is a necessary ingredient for success, but now that it’s changed we need to be really careful on how this is enforced. We cannot turn the other way and we need to be mindful to enforce our ordinances strictly.?
Trustee John Steimel spoke about the subject as well, but leaned toward the reasoning Gibb presented and added if ‘you have a place that can be rented, someone is going to want to rent it for a wine and cheese party or a wedding, and they’re probably going to want alcohol.?
‘I really wouldn’t it a good thing so much as a practical thing,? said Steimel. ?(The allowing of alcohol) doesn’t really go across the township like people are thinking.?
Gibb added, in reference to the parks, that township residents have always been able to gain approval from the board to serve alcohol at township parks, but that the occurrence of such instances have been extremely rare.
‘That was nothing new,? said Gibb. ‘We allowed it for a bocce championship at Friendship Park six years ago and again for a beer tent near one of the fire stations, and to be honest I cannot remember another time the board has given its approval since I’ve been here.?

Break out the good crystal and pop open a bottle of champagne because Oxford Township now has three more liquor licenses with which to attract new restaurants and bars.
Officials recently received a letter from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission informing them that as a result of 2010 U.S. Census count, which indicated the township’s population is 17,090 (not including the village), the community is entitled to a total of 11 on-premises liquor licenses.
‘The rule of thumb is one license for every 1,500 in population,? explained township Clerk Curtis Wright.
Wright indicated this is good news for the township because it could lead to an independent operator or corporate chain either constructing a new restaurant/bar or filling an existing vacant building.
‘It just opens up another opportunity for someone,? he said.
Prior to this news, the township had a total of eight on-premises licenses, which was the quota based on its 2000 Census population of 12,485 (not including the village).
‘On-premises means you buy it and you drink it in the facility,? Wright said.
According to the clerk, seven of those on-premises licenses are currently in use within the township. They are used by Collier Lanes, Oxford Hills Golf & Country Club, Devil’s Ridge Golf Club, American Legion Post 108, Boulder Pointe, Italia Gardens and Chardonnay.
The last one is still held by the Dallas-based Brinker International, Inc., which owned and operated the Chili’s Grill & Bar in Oxford from September 2007 until its closing in February 2009. ‘I wrote them a letter to see if there’s any way they may be willing to give that license up,? Wright noted.

Two years worth of preparations and hard work have culminated, and Brandon Township resident Nathan Hunter, couldn’t be happier. His foray into entrepreneurship, Positive Vibration Wine Bar, is now open.
Located in Orion Township, Positive Vibration boasts a warm and inviting atmosphere, complete with low lighting, dark brown leather chairs and couches for lounging. There is a menu with food items like smoked salmon, chicken or beef satays, spicy shrimp skewers, salads, breads, chips, bruschetta, cheeses and fruits. Of course, the stars of the show are the wines.
‘This endeavor is the culmination of a life long hobby — wine,? Hunter said. ‘Both my partner David (Homer) and myself have had the good fortune for the last 25 years to travel to many parts of the world to taste and learn about wine.
Two years ago, while relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean, dreaming the dream — Homer, a physician, told Hunter it was time to bring their dream to life. Homer would offer some financial backing.
‘I took a real hard look at it — and then retired from teaching,? Hunter said.
Some will say, that’s the Clarkston School District’s loss, but area wine connoisseurs? gain. And, while Hunter no longer teaches in the Clarkston School District, he still teaches — and the course, of course, is wine.
Wine lovers of old, or those just wondering what all the buzz over wine is about are welcome to enjoy and learn about the wine they taste. Once established, Positive Vibration will have 400 wines in house.
‘We will have a constant rotation of wines that we have personally selected. But, we’ll keep the favorites. You’re not going to find these at the local grocery store,? Hunter said.
Hunter has visited many smaller vineyards in countries like Italy, Spain, France, South Africa, not only to taste and learn of their wines, but of the people and communities as well.
‘We hope to educate our customers about the wines they are tasting. We’ll talk, taste and train all about wine. We’re like wine consultants,? he said.
Positive Vibration, Hunter said, has also been helped by distributors Michael Cregor and Jack Bourget from Wines of Distinction.
‘We have a good association,? Hunter added.
When you visit Positive Vibration, staff will get to know your name and your palate ? what tastes good to you. You’ll be able to taste by the glass, flight or bottle. ‘With the wine flight, we’ll select three similar wines and serve them side by side, so you can taste the difference,? Hunter said.
Each glass in the flight is two ounces.
Positive Vibration will have wine tasting events, and on weekends, live musical performances. And, what about the name, Positive Vibration?
‘We feel strongly about our association with people. When they visit with us, regardless of race, religion, they should leave with a positive feeling. Hopefully, they will then share that with others in the world — the butterfly effect,? Hunter said.
Positive Vibration Wine Bar is family friendly, probably because Hunter, his wife Vicki and the Hunter children all work in the family business.
On October 24-28, Positive Vibration will celebrate their Grand Opening.
‘We’ll have scheduled events each night which will be posted on our website,? Hunter said.
The website address is:
Customers can also sign up for newsletters.
‘We hope to be a great resource,? Hunter said.
Positive Vibration Wine Bar is located on the east side of Baldwin Road, just south of Maybee. The address is 3631 Baldwin Road.
Regular business hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 to 10; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 to 2 a.m.; Sundays, 2 to 9 p.m.

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