Oxford 2021: The Year in Review, part 1

 

(January – June)

Complied By Dean Vaglia
January 6
Assistant Oxford Supt. Sweat retiring Jan. 31
After 38 years of service in public education, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services for Oxford Community Schools, Denise Sweat, is retiring. Her last day working in the district will be January 31, 2021.
“My greatest memories will be all of the wonderful staff, maentors and families that I have met throughout my career,” Sweat said. “I will always be thankful for the opportunity to work as a public educator.”
Sweat worked for Oxford’s school district from 1995-2001 as a teacher consultant and child find coordinator and since 2008 as the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services.

January 13
Addison Township appoints new Park Ranger
At its last meeting of the year, Addison Township got a new Park Ranger. Held remotely via GoToMeeting, the Addison Township Board of Trustees appointed 62-year-old Leonard resident Paul Ubelhor as the township’s ninth Park Ranger.
Park Rangers patrol park grounds and make sure there’s no problems at any of the parks. “They’re the eyes and ears,” Supervisor Bruce Pearson said. “They call the sheriff if there’s any problems or whatever. We got a great group of volunteers there, that’s where we save money. We don’t have a park millage or anything like that, our money comes from the cell tower and that funds the park.”

Great Lakes Mercantile closes after 18 years
As 2020 closed its doors, so did a favorite Oxford business. Great Lakes Mercantile’s last day was Dec. 31.
The little gift shop tucked between Modern Marketplace and Victoria’s at 8 S. Washington Street sold Michigan-made products from all over the Mitten and Upper Peninsula. It was proudly listed on the Pure Michigan website.
“It’s been a good run,” said the owner, Dora Rolando, who lives in Leonard. “We had a lot of success. It’s been rewarding to see how many people really want to buy Michigan-made – not things that look like Michigan, but come from China.”
On her last day, Dora reflected on the 28-year journey. “It’s kinda sad, when you think you put your whole life into this building. We bought this building in 1992 and worked on it for 10 years, renovating the basement and the upstairs. So yeah, it’s sad, but life changes you know.”

Spisz to lead county commission’s Republican caucus
Oxford Township resident Michael Spisz was appointed to serve as the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ minority caucus chair for the 2021-2022 term.
“I am honored to have been nominated by our previous chairman, Commissioner Gingell, to succeed him in this very important role, as I have learned much from him over the years,” Republican Spisz said.
Spisz was unanimously appointed by the Republican caucus. As the minority caucus chair, he will serve as the leader of the Board’s Republican Party, develop the caucus’ strategy for the term and negotiate with the majority party. Currently, the 21-member board has 10 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

January 20
School Board selects officers, district administrators promoted
Oxford Community Schools’ Board of Education was content with its existing leadership, as it unanimously voted to re-appoint all officers to the same positions for the 2021 calendar year at the Jan. 12 board meeting.
Tom Donnelly was re-appointed president, Chad Griffith vice president, Heather Shaffer secretary, Korey Bailey treasurer and Dan D’Alessandro parliamentarian.

Village Planning Commission and DDA appointments
Kelly Arkles, Michelle McClellan and Jonathan Nold were each appointed to full, three-year terms to the Village Planning Commission. Arkles is a 19-year village resident who has been involved in various committees with the Oxford Lakes Subdivision. McClellan was re-appointed after serving a partial term. Nold is an Oxford Township Trustee who also serves on the Township Planning Commission.
Marie Powers and Bill Dunn were appointed to four-year terms on the Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors. Powers is co-owner (with her husband and family) of HomeGrown Brewing. She is a retired General Motors engineer. Recently, she served on the M-24 Taskforce planning the M-24 road construction. There is one final spot on the DDA, held by Rod Charles, whose term expired.

Heading to Malta to play pro ball
Mason Vires opened the new year in Malta after arriving in the country on December 30. Vires, a 2015 Oxford Virtual Academy graduate, is in Malta to play professional basketball.
“I felt like it was a good opportunity,” he said, after he signed his contract to play overseas, Dec. 12. “It’s a beautiful country. I get to be on the island. They have a sunny day about 300 days on average. The weather is 70 degrees per day on average.”
Vires added it accomplishes one of his goals he has had since middle school.
Vires added he is excited to what he can bring to his team which includes his passion and his hunger to compete.

January 27
DDA hires interim director, searches for permanent replacement
The Oxford Downtown Development Authority is looking for a new executive director after the board terminated Glenn Pape’s contract last month. Since the hiring process is expected to take several months, the board hired Kelly Westbrook as an interim director to fill the gap.
Westbrook began working Tuesday, Jan. 19, the day after the board hired her.

Village DPW buys new ATV
Last month, Oxford Village Council approved the purchase of a 4×4 ATV for $8,084 from Lapeer Honda, at the request of DPW Supervisor Don Brantley. It was budgeted for in the Motor Equipment Fund.
It replaces the DPW’s 2004 Honda ATV, which had 5,000 miles on it. “We use it pretty heavily to plow snow in the winter time,” Brantley said. He intends to trade in the old quad for fair market price.

OXFD paramedic deployed to Inauguration
A first responder from Oxford helped keep dignitaries safe at the Presidential Inauguration of Joe Biden in Washington D.C. last week.
Nancy Hunger, a firefighter/paramedic with the Oxford Fire Dept. since 2006, was deployed to the event with the Michigan-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), a group of medical providers and support personnel designed to provide medical care during disasters and national security special events. She has been a member of the team for nine years.
“It was really neat,” Hunger said of the experience. As a paramedic, she was there to provide emergency care for anyone in the audience who might have an accident or in case of mass casualties. She was positioned inside the perimeter of National Guardsmen, on the lawn in front of the Capitol where she was able to hear all the speeches.
This was Hunger’s second inauguration. Four years ago, she went to Donald Trump’s for the same purpose.

February 3
Independence Village residents take first dose of vaccine
Gertrude Curtis, a resident of Independence Village of Oxford (Waterstone), was first in line to receive the first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday, Jan. 28.
Walgreens pharmacy administered the vaccines to 100 residents and 31 employees of the senior living facility. The Moderna vaccine requires a second shot to be given 28 days after the first dose.

Residents weigh in on marijuana
Over 70 participants joined Oxford Village’s nearly three-hour virtual town hall on its marijuana draft ordinance the evening of Jan. 26. About 18 members of the public made comments or asked questions during the meeting. Opinions were mixed for and against, with a portion expressing neutral or tentative support, but with concerns.
The proposed Adult Use Recreational Marijuana ordinance would allow and regulate recreational marijuana businesses in the village’s I-1 Industrial Zoning District, mostly along Glaspie St. and Industrial Drive.
No action was taken at the public hearing, but council must soon make a decision. The clock is ticking as a temporary prohibition of marijuana establishments with a sunset clause expires April 30, 2021.

OHS senior’s artwork on display in Pontiac
Last summer, Oxford High School senior Kate MacInnis submitted her stunning painting, “The Beauty of Empowerment,” to the Canvas Pontiac 2020 Outdoor Gallery Art Contest. Her piece was chosen as one of the top 25 Handcrafted submissions and won the People’s Choice Award above all other submissions.
The contest’s top 25 pieces in both Handcrafted and Photography categories are on display throughout Downtown Pontiac. Now in its eighth year, Canvas Pontiac brings art and culture to Downtown Pontiac with support from Main Street Pontiac and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The painting is installed on a large 8’x102 canvas on the side of the brick building at 148 N. Saginaw St., just south of Lafayette Market, in Pontiac.

Chamber to hold virtual ‘State of the Community’
The Oxford Chamber of Commerce will continue its annual State of the Community Breakfast and Leadership Awards next month, albeit virtually. The event will run from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.
Everyone is welcome to “hear from local officials as they speak on the state of the community, get a better understanding of what their positions are, and what the future holds for Oxford.”
This year’s lineup of speakers includes U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin from Michigan’s 8th Congressional District; County Commissioner Mike Spisz, an Oxford resident who represents District 3 and is the Republican Minority Caucus Chair; and Brian Travis, MDOT Construction Engineer for the M- 24 project.
Other speakers represent both Oxford Township and Village. Oxford Village Police Chief and Chamber President Mike Solwold, Village Manager Joe Madore and Township Supervisor Jack Curtis will each speak as well.

February 10
Oxford adds part-time officer
Bringing their total of part-time police officers back to five, Robert Chupick took his oath and officially became a member of the Village of Oxford Police Department on January 27. Chupick, 57, is no stranger to the department, headed by Chief Mike Solwold, however, as he had been a volunteer reserve officer for the village since 2010.
Prior to joining Oxford eleven years ago, he was a reserve officer at the now-defunct Clarkston Police Department.

Birdies’ liquor license suspended
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) issued an emergency suspension of Birdies Indoor Golf & Bar’s liquor license and permits last week for violating the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Emergency Order on Gatherings and Face Masks. An emergency suspension hearing was scheduled for Monday (Feb. 8) after press time.
The suspension was based on an investigation conducted Jan. 29 at the indoor golf simulator located at 980 N. Lapeer Rd. in Oxford. Specifically, the Commission suspended its Class C license, and its permits for Sunday Sales.
Since September 2020, the MLCC has suspended liquor licenses of a total of 39 establishments located throughout the state for violations of the Executive and Emergency Orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following stellar prep career, Townsend joins Golden Grizzlies
A vital piece in Oxford capturing their first league title in five years in 2020, senior Zach Townsend will graduate as one of the most accomplished soccer players in school history.
Playing three years for the varsity team, he twice earned All-Oakland Activities Association (OAA) and All-Region honors and found the back of the net a whopping 31 times over his junior and senior seasons, resulting in All-State Honorable Mention from the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association (MIHSSCA) in 2019 and first-team recognition in 2020.
Committing to the Horizon League’s Oakland Golden Grizzlies, coached by 12th-year man Eric Pogue, shortly before his final campaign as a Wildcat began, Townsend officially signed his National Letter of Intent (LOI) on November 11, the culmination of a goal he set early on in his high school career.

February 17
Council punts pot prohibition
The marijuana ordinance is still in limbo. In a 3-2 vote, Oxford Village Council extended the prohibition on marijuana establishments another six months to Oct. 31, 2021. The prohibition had been set to expire April 30.
The vote at the Feb. 9 council meeting came two weeks after the council held a special town hall on its draft Adult Use Marijuana ordinance that would allow recreational marijuana businesses in the I-1 Industrial District, mostly along Glaspie St. and Industrial Drive.
The temporary prohibition is meant to buy the village time while it finishes the adult use ordinance. This is the fourth time it has been extended since the council and planning commission began working on the ordinance two years ago.

Village hires fifth fulltime cop
Oxford Village Police Dept. now has five fulltime patrol officers. The Village Council approved an additional position in a 4-1 vote at its Feb. 9 meeting. Part-time officer James Irish, 25, was promoted to the new position.
The council previously denied a request by Police Chief Mike Solwold to create the new position last year because of budget uncertainties due to the pandemic.
The council added a fourth full-time position in 2019, which brought the department’s staffing level back to where it was prior to the 2008 recession when the department had to cut one full-time cop from its payroll.
Besides the full-time officers, the department has four part-time and 13 reserve officers. Reserves are volunteers and receive no pay.

Birdies fined $900 for violating health order
Birdies Indoor Golf & Bar reached a negotiated settlement Feb. 8 with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for violating MDHHS health orders on Jan. 29.
The administrative law judge, Michael St. John, ordered a fine of $300 for each of the three admitted charges for a total fine of $900 and a 21-day suspension of Birdies’ Class C liquor license from the date of the Feb. 8 hearing until 7 a.m. on March 1, 2021. If the fine is not paid within 90 days, the judge ordered an additional 45-day suspension.
The three counts violating the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Gatherings and Mask Order were: allowing persons to participate in indoor gatherings without facemasks, allowing persons of different households to sit together without maintaining six-feet of social distancing, and as a lower risk recreational facility it sold food and beverage and allowed persons to consume food and beverage inside the licensed premises.
The indoor golf simulator located at 980 N. Lapeer Rd. received a warning to cease and desist the same violations Jan. 8.

February 24
Food truck ordinance passed in Oxford
Their second of the calendar year, the Oxford Township Board of Trustees held their regular meeting on Wednesday, February 10, which was conducted remotely via Zoom video conference.
Headed by Supervisor Jack Curtis, the meeting, as usual, featured Trustees Rod Charles, Bill Dunn, Jon Nold, and Margie Payne, Treasurer Joe Ferrari, and Clerk Curtis Wright … Officially titled “Ordinance 135,” Nold read what this would entail.
“This will be a newly-created chapter to the Oxford Township code. The purpose is to regulate mobile food truck establishments, mobile food truck establishments would be approved to operate in all zoning districts. This proposed general law ordinance has approved by the following: Ordinance Review Committee, Planning Commission, Township Attorney, and the Oxford Fire Department.”
Moved by Ferrari and seconded by Nold, the board voted, 7-0, to set a second reading for possible adoption during the March meeting.

Use of Force [Training]
Rotating in one-hour sessions, members of the Village of Oxford Police Department underwent a “Use of Force” training seminar on Friday, February 19.
Ran by Reserve Sergeant Brian Schick, the training utilized a large projector screen and high-definition computer software to allow officers, equipped with a simulated handgun, to respond to life-and-death situations, so, if one of these unfortunate scenarios ever arises, they are properly prepared to handle the tension and think quickly on their feet.

March 3
Sewer rates to increase for Oxford Township residents
During their regular, monthly meeting on February 10, the Oxford Township Board of Trustees voted, 7-0, to increase the quarterly flat rate for non-metered sewer customers to $110 per Residential Equivalent Unit (REU), beginning with the April 2021 bill. An REU is a unit of measurement, equal to the average water and sewer usage of one single-family home.
This is the first time Oxford Township has raised their sewer rates in more than seven years, as the rate had been $86 per REU since October 1, 2013. The $24 increase per quarter equates to $8 per month.

Oxford resident named Michigan State Parks Photo Ambassador
Local Instagramer Ana (Flavia) Easlick has been named one of 35 photo ambassadors for Michigan State Parks in 2021.
Easlick, who uses the Instagram handle @MichiganTravelist to post beautiful photos from across the state, was selected from over 500 applicants.
Photo ambassadors work with the DNR by sharing and curating imagery to help showcase outdoor recreation, state parks, trail and water-based destinations on the @MiStateParks Instagram account and in other marketing materials.
“There are other fun perks, but I’m just excited to be able to share my love for Michigan parks and nature,” Easlick said.

March 10
Over half of Oxford teachers vaccinated
As of three weeks ago, just over half of Oxford Community Schools staff had received either one or both of their COVID-19 vaccine doses or their appointment was scheduled, according to a survey released by the Oxford Education Association, the teacher’s union. “I am assuming that the number has increased since then as there have been some additional opportunities that have been made available to schedule appointments,” said OEA President Jim Gibbons.
The results compare to 63 percent of teachers vaccinated statewide, as of one month ago, according to another survey by the Michigan Education Association. Nearly 90 percent of Michigan teachers say they want to receive the vaccine.

Schools opts against sharing board meeting recordings
Oxford Community Schools have declined to share recordings of virtual school board meetings over the past year, after those meetings have ended. This has left some community members frustrated and concerned about a lack of transparency.
Prior to the pandemic, local access Oxford Community Television (OCTV) filmed and broadcasted the school board’s in-person meetings. Throughout the pandemic, other local government boards, such as the Oxford and Addison township boards of trustees, Oxford Village Council and Downtown Development Authority, have freely shared recordings of their virtual Zoom meetings with OCTV, but the school board has not done so.
Public bodies are not required by law, however, to record the meeting or make meetings available to the public after the session has ended. “Therefore we had no need requirement to send links to OCTV,” he said. “Nor, at any point in time, have we been asked to send a link to anyone . . . YouTube Live is only to support a larger audience to avoid capacity limits within Zoom.”

Parks and Recreation Director Ron Davis handed out carrot jump ropes., “They’re not nunchucks,” Davis said.

Bowlers take championship
The girls won 30 to 0 to keep their OAA Red division title dreams alive. Freshmen Maddie von Knorring led the team with 223 and 193. Sophomore Tessa Bonk 179,191 and senior Co-captain Grace Meyer 176,173 weren’t far behind. Senior Co-captain Lily Boothe 165,160 and sophomore Macie Strevel 157,142 also bowled well in the victory.
The girls are now 5 and 0 in the division and will face off versus Lake Orion next Thursday for the OAA Crown. The girls’ record is 8 and 1 overall.
“It was nice to see a well-rounded effort tonight from the girls. They all had solid performances and are excited about next week. We finally will have a little practice time to prepare and work on a few things,” said ‘Cat Coach Claude “Jr.” Lafner.
The Boys team also won 30 to 0 and wrapped up the OAA Red Division championship for 2021. The Boys team has finished Number 1 in the division since 2014.
Sophomore Jason Paslean was the leader for the Wildcats. Jason had games of 195 and 231 while Senior co-captain Tony Verbeke was right behind him with games of 214 and 207. Sophomore Tommy Mace chipped in with a 238 game as well. The Boys team record is 5 and 0 in the division and 8 and 1 overall.

March 17
Oxford Township to draft medical marijuana zoning
Marijuana is back on the agenda, this time in Oxford Township. The board of trustees will soon consider an ordinance to regulate the growing of medical marijuana in the I-1 and I-2 industrial zoning districts.
At its March 10 meeting, the board approved a motion to direct attorneys Gary Rentrop and Hans Rentrop to draft an ordinance for the planning commission. After a public hearing, the proposed ordinance will go back to the township board for a first reading. The motion passed 6-1, with Treasurer Joe Ferrari voting no.
The township cannot prohibit medical marijuana from being grown within the township, according to Gary Rentrop. A recent Michigan Supreme Court case (DeRuiter vs. Township of Byron) has determined, however, that townships can regulate caregiver growing operations if there is a zoning ordinance in place.

Parties lead to exposures, OHS closure — 195 students quarantined
Oxford High School switched to remote learning Thursday, March 11, after district administration learned of “a number of large social gatherings” that occurred the prior weekend and a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases reported by individuals who attended those events.
“As we hear of additional participants and potential cases, we believe it is prudent to immediately switch to remote learning,” wrote Jill Lemond, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, in a March 10 email to high school parents. “We are working with families and staff to determine potential exposures both in school and outside of school. Our high school administrators have been making phone calls for hours to parents of quarantined students . . .”
As of Monday, March 15, there were 21 active student cases at the high school, most of whom were in attendance March 8 through March 10. There were 195 students quarantined (about 10 percent of the building student population).

Townships to receive stimulus
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Oxford Township is set to receive over $2.25 million; Addison Township is to get $652,464.
“It’s like when you win the lottery,” Oxford Township Supervisor Jack Curtis said. “First you have to figure out what exactly you won, and then you figure out how you can use it.”
According to Addison Township Clerk Pauline Bennett, she, Supervisor Bruce Pearson and Treasurer Lori Fisher were to attend a “virtual” class on how the funds can be used. Both townships will then have public meetings before funds are spent.

March 24
Schools return to in-person — Nearly 300 quarantined
Both Oxford High School and Oxford Middle School returned to classes Monday, March 22 after over a week of virtual learning spurred by rising COVID-19 cases and quarantines.
There were 39 active student cases across the district Friday, with 25 at the high school and 12 at the middle school, according to Oxford Community Schools’ weekly COVID-19 update.
OHS switched to virtual learning March 11, after district administration learned of “a number of large social gatherings” unrelated to school events [that] occurred the weekend of March 6-7, and a number of individuals with positive cases who attended those events. Cases later spread to the middle school, and OMS switched to remote learning March 17-19. By the middle of last week, total quarantines approached 300, according to a March 16 press release.

M-24, touch-ups and lane closures
After a few months’ break, it’s almost time to finish the M-24 construction project. The work is scheduled to begin approximately March 29 and last until the end of May or early June. “The goal is to get in and get out, so I’m hopeful that early June is a worst-case scenario date,” said MDOT project engineer Brain Travis.
According to a tentative timeline, the work will begin with tree pit irrigation and streetscape furnishings in early April, and ornamental fencing, plantings and permanent sign installation through the middle and end of the month. The paving will occur in early May, and permanent pavement markings will be made toward the end of May.

Oxford Schools eye Dominican Sisters’ campus
Oxford Schools might end up owning the Dominican Sisters’ former, longtime retreat center. At its March 9 meeting, the Oxford Community School Board authorized the district to purchase the property at 775 West Drahner Rd., in a 6-0 vote.
The 32-acre campus includes seven buildings on two parcels, including the 57,860-square-foot Motherhouse, which has 43 bedrooms, and the 16,862-square-foot St. Mary’s Retreat House.
The board’s resolution allows Throne, or a designee, to execute the purchase agreement and make revisions, subject to review and approval by the district’s legal counsel.

March 31
Michigan Supreme Court to consider local case
A lawsuit against Independence Village of Oxford has joined the list of cases awaiting argument before the Michigan Supreme Court. The case concerns an 89-year-old resident of Independence Village senior living facility who died a few weeks after she was found standing outside the facility wearing only a nightgown, in December 2013.
Virginia Kermath moved in to Independence Village in 2010 after she was diagnosed with dementia in 2009. Her physical and mental condition deteriorated while living at the facility, court documents said.
Kermath left her apartment in the early morning December 15, 2013, without her keys, and exited the building through a side-exterior door that automatically locks. She was outside for approximately 14 minutes in five-degree temperatures. Hypothermia and frostbite contributed to her death a few weeks later.
Oakland County Circuit Court and Michigan Court of Appeals both ruled in favor of Independence Village, saying “it was not foreseeable that Virginia would wander outside at night in December, wearing just her nightgown and without her keys.”
The Supreme Court will reconsider whether the alleged harm was foreseeable and whether Independence Village had a duty to monitor and secure all exits and entrances. The case could set new precedent in senior housing law.

DDA taps OHS grad Kelly Westbrook for executive director gig
After a brief search, the Downtown Development Authority has a permanent executive director replacement, following the termination of the former executive director, Glenn Pape, in December.
Reflecting the DDA Personnel Committee’s recommendation, the board voted unanimously to hire Kelly Westbrook for the position. Westbrook had been serving as interim director part-time, 25 hours a week, since January 19. She now holds the position full-time.

April 7
Two injured in motorcycle accident
Last Saturday afternoon (April 3) Oakland County Sheriff deputies and the Oxford Township Fire Department (OTFD) responded to a personal injury accident involving a motorcycle.
According to reports, the motorcycle was eastbound on Ray Road and struck a pickup truck. The pickup truck was west bound on Ray Road and made a left turn into Meijer’s in the path of the motorcycle. Both the operator of the motorcycle, a 46-year-old male, of Snover, Michigan, and passenger (his wife) were ejected from the motorcycle.
Both motorcycle riders were transported by OTFD paramedics to McLaren Regional Medical Center for treatment. A sheriff’s Traffic Crash Investigator responded to the scene and began his investigation. The operator of the motorcycle is listed in serious but stable condition and the passenger had less serious injuries.
The pickup driver was a 75-year-old woman from Roseville.

Twp. scores relief grants for restaurants
Oxford Township was awarded grant funding from Oakland County to help local restaurants and bars reopen safely and expand outdoor dining, through the Oakland Together Restaurant Relief Grant Program. To date, the township has disbursed a total of $11,769 to six establishments.
The Oakland Together program is using $3 million from the county’s General Fund to help restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19 and the related public health orders. The grant funding helped reimburse these local businesses for eligible expenses.

Axe-throwing bar opens in Legacy Center
Tossing darts in a dive bar will feel like a dainty activity once you’ve thrown an axe instead. To round out the many entertainment venues at 925 N. Lapeer Rd., Axe Social opened for business last month. The trending sport is a great way to blow off steam in the company of friends, coworkers, or even your next date.
Folks 18 and older can play at five stalls. Each stall has two targets. Up to six players can play per stall, rotating in pairs. An “axepert” coach will give the rundown on safety, throwing techniques and rules of the game.

April 14
Great days for HomeGrown at international beer competition
Four cheers for four beers! HomeGrown Brewing Co. bagged as many medals for its brews at the 10th annual New York International Beer Competition. Over 800 submissions from around the world were judged remotely.
Located at 28 N. Washington St. in downtown Oxford, HomeGrown was also named “Michigan Belgian Style Brewery of the Year.”
HomeGrown’s PollyAnn Witbier won gold for Belgian-Style Witbier, $10 or Less. Named for the former railroad turned non-motorized trail that runs through Oxford, a block north of the brewery, HomeGrown’s website describes the PollyAnn as “Cloudy and pale, the delicious base of wheat and malted barley is rounded off with a hint of citrus. This is usually a summer thirst-quencher, yet the complex flavors and slight spiciness will have your taste buds singing any time of the year.”
The brewery’s Oxford Ale won silver for Golden or Blonde Ale, while the Whamber Ale and Steamboat Stout took bronze medals for American-Style Amber/Red Ale and American-Style Stout categories.
This is the third year in a row HomeGrown has taken home medals from the competition. In both 2020 and 2019, they won the title of Michigan IPA Brewery of the Year, and gold medals for their Zephyros Hazy India Pale Ale (IPA).

Addison library seeks Congressional funding, nears site approval
The Addison Township Public Library will submit an application this week, requesting funding for a new library building, through U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin’s office. Members of Congress are allowed to submit ten qualified, local projects to the Appropriations Committee for consideration of targeted federal funds for local governments, as part of a new Community Project Funding initiative.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Library Board President James Baldiga. “We feel our project is a good fit.”

Home inspector caught on camera
[On April 7], a Clarkston man who was unwittingly recorded during a home inspection allegedly pleasuring himself with an Elmo doll in an Oxford Township home was arraigned on two misdemeanor counts in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills.

April 21
Village Council OKs social districts
Adults 21 and over will soon be allowed to carry alcoholic beverages they purchase from bars or restaurants downtown and consume those beverages in public common areas. Oxford Village Council approved a resolution to designate social districts downtown in a 5-0 vote at the April 13 meeting. The social district hours will be 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., seven days a week.
“I think this is really good given the pandemic especially,” said Village President Kelsey Cooke, “because people can still frequent the bars and restaurants, they can get a drink, space out, walk around outside.”
Patrons can move north and south of East Burdick and West Burdick, but cannot cross M-24. “If you purchase a beverage in the east social district you have to stay in the east side, same thing with the west side,” Cooke explained.
Roughly, the district common areas follow the sidewalks in a perimeter around each of the four historic building blocks cornering the Burdick/M-24 intersection. The common areas do not include the parking lots or Centennial Park.
The DDA will maintain the social district with the assistance of the village department of public works. During regular patrols, Village of Oxford Police Department will monitor the social district for compliance with MLCC and village laws and regulations. All users of the social district must follow state and county Covid requirements related to social distancing and face masks.

Oxford Schools at record high COVID cases
Oxford Community Schools reported the highest number of active COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the school year [on] Friday, April 16. According to the weekly update, there were 64 active student cases and five active staff cases. Oxford High School had the most student cases, with 23.
The number of students in quarantine due to potential exposure to school-related cases was 226. The high school had 138 students in quarantine (9 percent of the building student population).
The quarantine numbers are lower than the record of almost 300 that caused the high school and middle school to temporarily switch to remote learning last month.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported new outbreaks of two students at Oxford Bridges High School and three students at OMS on April 12. There were also seven ongoing outbreaks involving 32 students across the district. Ongoing outbreaks are those that had already been identified in previous weeks but have had at least one new associated case reported to the local health department in the last 28 days.

Crossroads building re-named for first resident
Crossroads for Youth’s ACT program building has been named in honor of Camp Oakland’s very first resident, Hilary Maciejewski, who lived there for most of the 1950s.
“Hilary House” has been repurposed for the ACT (Achievement Center Treatment) model, and provides residential substance abuse treatment for adolescent boys ages 13 to 17. It offers an ideal environment for healing and helps to promote the recovery process.
Maciejewski came to live at Camp Oakland, which has been renamed Crossroads for Youth since 1999, when he was 10 or 11 years old. He came from an abusive home life and had a history of running away.
“I came from the court system,” recalled the 83-year-old Sterling Heights resident. “I lived out on the streets when I was seven years old, pan-handled, before the courts took me over. So that’s the reason why I owe a lot. When I go down the road, I see these people begging for money – that could have been me. That’s the reason my wife and I try to do whatever we can for the camp.”
Crossroads for Youth is a private, nonprofit treatment agency that serves at-risk and abused youth ages 7-17.

April 28
‘State of emergency’ — Oxford Village makes declaration before marijuana hearing
The Oxford Village Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring a local state of emergency, “due to COVID-19 case spikes,” at a special meeting Wednesday, April 21.
The declaration will allow the council to meet remotely for the marijuana ordinance public hearing next month, which is expected to draw a large audience.
The village resolution cites the recent surge in confirmed COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Michigan and Oakland County, which may be attributed to the presence of COVID variants. The declaration is based on “a desire to protect the members of the public, as well as employees and board and committee members, from continued exposure by continuing the ability to hold virtual meetings.”
The council will revisit the emergency declaration “at or before its May 11, 2021 Village Council meeting, and SHALL DETERMINE if the conditions have sufficiently changed to require all board and committee meetings be held in person,” according to the resolution.

OCS appoints new special ed. director
Oxford Community Schools appointed Pamela Biehl as the new Executive Director of Special Education last week. Biehl had been serving as the interim director since Denise Sweat’s retirement in January.
“To say I am thrilled to serve the community in this capacity is a gross understatement,” Biehl said. “I have a deep investment in our Special Education program and look forward to serving Team 0 as the Executive Director of Special Education for years to come.”
Biehl joined the district in 2012 as a school social worker. She moved to Oxford with her husband in 2014, and they have three children.
Biehl earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Social Work from Western Michigan University. She returned to graduate school and completed her Education Specialist Certificate in Special Education Administration from Wayne State University in December 2020.
The department offers a wide range of services across the district. There is a birth-to-three program, an early childhood program, resource programs and categorical programs that provide related services, such as speech and language, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

Trees planted across Oxford for Earth Day
On Earth Day, the day before Arbor Day, crews planted frontier elms along Washington Street (M-24) in downtown Oxford. The trees are part of MDOT’s M-24 project streetscape, and are designed to help absorb traffic noise and beautify the historic shopping district.
Before planting the trees, crews removed those orange barricades that were blocking off the empty tree planters in the sidewalks all winter. Hanging baskets and flower containers will go in next month, bringing more color and life to the main street.

A crew pauses after marking the middle section of faux brick crosswalk on W. Burdick St. June 1. They later removed the material after it fell apart. Photo by J. Hanlon

May 5
$10k grant will bring community garden to Oxford Township park
Green thumbs up for the Four County Community Foundation (4CCF) and C.J. Carnacchio, Oxford Township’s grants manager. The Almont-based 4CCF has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department to establish a community garden and greenhouse in Seymour Lake Township Park.
The 10,000-square-foot community garden and 128-square-foot greenhouse will be maintained by a combination of parks and rec. staff members and volunteers of all ages. Volunteers will be recruited from Oxford and surrounding communities.
In order to maximize accessibility for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities who wish to volunteer, the community garden will include one raised bed plot that will be 30 inches high, 4 feet wide and 36 feet long.

Addison Library project selected to be brought to Congress
“Overjoyed” was Addison Township Library Board President James Baldiga’s first reaction to the news that the library’s proposal was included among 10 proposals submitted by U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin for consideration of funding by the 2022 House Appropriations Committee. “Our project to build the first community-owned library in Addison Township was deemed deserving,” he said. “Our request for $500,000, we feel, is reasonable and combined with the project’s funding through savings, construction loan and fundraising, our success is closer than ever.”
Members of Congress are allowed to submit ten qualified project proposals from their districts to the Appropriations Committee for consideration of targeted federal funds for local governments, as part of a new Community Project Funding initiative.
The half-million dollars would get the library to its $1.3 million goal to build a new 5,000-square-foot facility directly across Rochester Rd. from the library’s current location, on a donated 3.8-acre property between Milmine Road and Cantley Street. According to the township, the library’s current leased space is in poor condition and cannot support the needs of families in the communities – and funding will help “develop and increase the health, literacy and vibrancy of this rural community now and in the future.”

Majestic new Oxford assistant fire chief
Meet Oxford Fire Department’s new assistant chief: Matthew Majestic. The Oxford Township Board approved his hire at its April 14 meeting, in a 5-0 vote.
April 19 was his Day One, and he responded to his first call shortly after arriving. “Emergency calls never care if it’s your first day or last day,” Fire Chief Pete Scholz said. “We look forward getting to know him and learn from his experience of 30 years.”
After former Assistant Chief Dave Creech announced his retirement at the end of last year, the township entered a contract with McGrath Human Resources to help begin the search for qualified candidates. Creech agreed to stay on through the end of February while the search was conducted.
Majestic spent most of his career since the early 90s with the West Bloomfield Fire Department as a paramedic and firefighter; his most recent rank was captain. Since 2001, he also served as the program manager for the Oakland Fire Training Institute at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills campus.
Majestic grew up in Hamtramck, graduated from Warren’s Cousino High School in 1986 and now lives in Macomb Township.

May 12
Seniors celebrate last day
May 5 was the seniors’ last day at Oxford High School. They woke up dark and early to watch the sunrise over Wildcat Stadium. The Class of 2021 enjoyed a last breakfast together and picked up their caps and gowns.
During the last hour of the shortened school day, back on the football field, the seniors watched an emotional slideshow showcasing their time in high school. After the video, they took the traditional “victory lap” for the Senior Clap-Out, exiting the campus for the last time as OHS students, cheered on by their classmates and teachers.
Also on Cinco de Mayo, a mariachi band showed up in a very unexpecting Principal Wolf’s office – a surprise planned by the seniors.

Some M-24 updates
The downtown streetscape work is taking a pause this week to do some work in Lake Orion.
So far, all the trees are planted, the decorative fencing around the trees are installed as well as the benches, bike racks, trash cans, tables and chairs. Most signs are in, including the pedestrian island warning signs.
“We still need to install bollards at Burdick, and place the hanging flowers on the light poles and the flower planters on the sidewalk,” said Michigan Department of Transportation Construction Engineer Brian Travis. “Plus, a handful of miscellaneous punch list items are left to complete. . . Most of the work remaining Downtown won’t require lane closures, so if crews can get in and finish the items above they will do so intermittently.”
There is no date yet for when the detour route (Glaspie Street) will be repaved. It will not be in early May, as it was originally planned. “Once we finalize a date we will get it out there,” Travis said. The project is still on target to finish by early June.

May 19
Village OKs marijuana ordinance First reading
After over two years of development and deliberation, the Oxford Village Council approved the first reading of its Adult Use Recreational Marijuana ordinance in a narrow 3-2 vote at its regular meeting, held virtually May 11.
The vote followed an hour-long public hearing in which the majority of residents’ comments opposed the ordinance. Councilmembers Allison Kemp, Ashley Ross and Maureen Helmuth voted yes, while Village President Kelsey Cook and Councilmember Lori Bourgeau voted no.
The ordinance is unrelated to medical marijuana or to the zoning ordinance text amendment Oxford Township is considering to regulate medical marijuana within the township. The village ordinance allows, but regulates, recreational marijuana businesses in the I-1 Industrial zoning district. The permitted facilities are microbusiness, processor, retailer, safety compliance facility and secure transporter. The latest draft prohibits large-scale grower facilities.
The second reading should be at the next regular council meeting, June 8.

Library plan ok’d by PC
The Addison Township Planning Commission granted approval to the proposed library building’s site plan [on] May 11.
The commission passed a resolution, 5-0, recommending the site plan for final approval by the Addison Twp. Board of Trustees. According to the resolution, the plan “meets all applicable standards of the Addison Township Zoning Ordinance.”
The new 5,000-square-foot library will be built directly across Rochester Rd. from the library’s current location, on a donated 3.8-acre property between Milmine Road and Cantley Street. The estimated project cost is $1.3 million. The project will be paid for with a combination of library Fund Balance savings, fundraising, grant monies and a construction loan.
The project got a boost recently, when U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin selected it to be considered for $500,000 from the House Appropriations Committee as part of a new Community Project Funding initiative.

New Hire For FD
Oxford Fire Chief Peter Scholz … introduced and then swore in three of the department’s new hires at the May 12 Oxford Township Board of Trustees meeting. “It’s nice to have some younger people (in the department),” the chief said. The new hires are (from the left) Anthony Asbury, Jonathon Jones and Edgar Sedano. Scholz also recognized recent promotions within the department. Sarah Racer was promoted to Lieutenant Fire Inspector; Kevin Snell promoted to Lieutenant EMS Coordinator; and Brent Ludwig was promoted to sergeant.

May 26
Oxford High graduates 392
High school graduation was mostly back to normal this year with a single event back at DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston rather than four successive ceremonies at Wildcat Stadium.
Capacity was limited, graduates spaced out every other seat, and the band performed Pomp and Circumstance via video, socially distanced in the high school Performing Arts Center. But, 392 graduates walked across the stage together to receive their diplomas as one class.
“A year ago we had one thing in mind and that was to make sure you were able to go to school and do it in a classroom,” said School Board President Tom Donnelly in the welcoming remarks. “(Superintendent) Throne said it would take a village to make it happen. It would take every single student, every single family member, every single teacher, every single administrator, every single bus driver, every single employee, everyone, in order to be here in 2021 at DTE – and by the way, you are the first event in this space since the lockdowns of COVID over a year ago! And you deserve it, it’s probably the greatest thing happening all year in this space.”

Medical marijuana zoning gets nod from PC
The Oxford Township Planning Commission approved a resolution to recommend the township board amend the township zoning ordinance to regulate medical marijuana grow operations under special land use in the industrial zoning of I-1 and I-2. The motion passed 6-0 at the commission’s May 13 meeting held at LakePoint Community Church.
The State of Michigan allows licensed caregivers to grow up to 72 marijuana plants. The zoning amendments prohibit grow operations in residential areas that exceed the 12 plants that are allowed for personal use, and puts them in the industrial districts.

Schools recognize teachers and staff ‘of the year’
This year, due to the pandemic, Oakland County Schools did not run a county wide competition, however, Oxford Community Schools still carried on with choosing overall winners for the district and thanks to the generosity of Haney Farm Bureau Insurance each of those winners were awarded a $500 cash prize at Monday night’s school board meeting.
On Tuesday, May 4, Superintendent Tim Throne and several central office administrators surprised each overall winner in their school buildings with flowers and balloons to announce their award.

June 2
Slight dip in area population, Census estimates
Oxford Township, Oxford Village, Addison Township and Leonard Village all lost a few numbers in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2020 evaluation estimates of population for cities and towns, released May 27.
Importantly, these estimates are based on the 2010 Census and were created without incorporation or consideration of the 2020 Census results.
Oxford Township declined by 12, from the 2019 estimate of 19,309 to 19,297 in 2020. The estimate is still well above the 2010 official census count of 17,090.
Oxford Village declined by 15, from the 2019 estimate of 3,556 to 3,541 in 2020. The estimate is still well above the 2010 official census count of 3,436.
Addison Township declined by 21, from the 2019 estimate of 6,184 to 6,163 in 2020. The estimate is still well above the 2010 official census count of 5,948.
Leonard Village declined by 4, from the 2019 estimate of 420 to 416 in 2020. The estimate is still above the 2010 official census count of 403.

Twp. secures safety path grant for Dunlap Rd.
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan awarded Oxford Township $50,000 through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds to support the design and construction of a 1,600-foot asphalt safety path along the east side of Dunlap Rd., from W. Bay Shore Dr. to Market St. The path is meant to make this busy section of gravel road safer and easier for walkers, runners and cyclists.
The grant will fund 41 percent of the estimated $122,000 project cost.
The Dunlap Rd. path has been part of the township’s safety path master plan since December 2015. This 1,600-foot section, in conjunction with an adjacent 1,830-foot section that will be installed by the developer of The Manors of Westlake subdivision south of West Bay Shore Drive, will complete a 5.02-mile loop that will connect the existing township safety paths and village sidewalks along Dunlap Rd., Market St., M-24/Washington St., W. Burdick St. and Seymour Lake Rd.

Wildcats set new single-season wins record
Extending their win streak to a season-long nine games, the Oxford Wildcat baseball program posted a 6-0 record from May 24-29.
This run of success brings the team’s 2021 record to 30-7 (11-4 Oakland Activities Association Red Division), surpassing the 1998 squad’s school record of 29 wins in a campaign.
Lasting for 23 years, the previous mark was set five-to-seven years before the young men on the current roster were born.

Oxford Twp. community garden planted, growing
Seymour Lake Township Park has a new community garden, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Four County Community Foundation and community volunteers who planted it on May 26. Many individuals and organizations volunteered in shifts throughout the day.
The 10,000-square-foot garden located in [the] rear of [the] park by the maintenance facility off Coats Rd. consists of all kinds of tomato varieties, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers and squash. Harvest Time Farm Market and Pet Stuff in Oxford Township donated 10 flats of vegetables and two flats of herbs.
The veggies and herbs harvested from the garden will be donated to the Free Meals program based at Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ in Oxford Village and to the cooking classes offered at the Oxford Senior Center.

June 9
Vibe Credit Union awards $6,000 to Oxford nonprofits
The Oxford Wildcats Booster Club was voted “favorite Oxford VIP” and Banbury Cross Therapeutic Equestrian Center was voted “favorite Oxford Hero” in a two-week online poll conducted by Vibe Credit Union. It was part of Vibe’s effort to recognize Oxford-based nonprofits that share a commitment to “caring for community.”
First place winners received $1,200; second place $1,000; and third, $800 – totaling $6,000 to local nonprofits. The Boosters took 48.8% of the vote for VIP, beating the Oxford Public Library at 44.5%. Oxford Downtown Development Authority came in third, with 6.6%. Banbury took 43% for Oxford Hero, while Oxford Youth Assistance came second with 30.3% and Crossroads for Youth came third with 26.7%.

‘Cats capture District trophy
On the heels of a 23-14 regular season, the Oxford Wildcat softball program began Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) District No. 4 play at Grand Blanc High School on June 5.
The Wildcats’ first action came in the semifinal round, but the five-team district received a large shock in the June 1 quarterfinal when the Davison Cardinals upset the host Bobcats, 2-1. Grand Blanc, headed by arguably the state’s top pitcher in senior southpaw Kendall Klochack, a Purdue Boilermakers signee, ended the regular season ranked as the second-best Division 1 team in the state by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association (MHSSCA).
In the semifinal round, Oxford walked off the Holly Bronchos, 3-2.

Slotkin checks out Addison Twp. Library
U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) stopped by the Addison Township Public Library June 3, to learn more about the library’s new building project.
In April, the congresswoman selected the project as one of ten from Michigan’s 8th District to the House Appropriations Committee to be considered for Community Project Funding for $500,000.
If approved, the half-million dollars would get the library the rest of the way to its $1.3 million goal to build a new 5,000-square-foot facility directly across Rochester Rd. from its current location, on a donated 3.8-acre property between Milmine Road and Cantley Street.

June 16
M-24 delayed, chemical spill occurs
The M-24 construction project has hit a few snags on the last mile of wrap-up work this spring. Brick crosswalks appeared then disappeared several times at the M-24/Burdick St. intersection recently, as PK Contracting made two attempts to mark the crossings with a faux brick design, bottlenecking traffic each time. Both times the surfacing material, called Endurablend, fell apart the same day it was placed, said MDOT Construction Engineer Brian Travis.
Besides the crosswalks, there are a few areas of pavement on M-24 that need adjusting due to ride quality, a handful of small punch list items to address Downtown, and flower planters should, hopefully, be placed by the end of the month.
This week crews were to begin asphalt resurfacing the detour route used by northbound traffic during last years’ project. However, on Friday we received notice from MDOT stating, “The resurfacing of the detour route used by northbound traffic during last year’s M-24 project has been postponed and will NOT start on Monday, June 14 as originally planned. Once a date is finalized an updated advisory will be sent out.”
* * *
The Oxford Fire Department responded to the report of a chemical spill on N. Lapeer and Metamora roads [on] Thursday June 10 at 1:35 p.m. Chief Pete Scholz and Assistant Chief Matt Majestic arrived to find a State Police officer on scene blocking the south bound lanes of N. Lapeer.
According to reports, a transport truck carrying multiple containers of a two-part polymer coating material, had a container fall off the truck when turning. The container landed upside down and had leaked approximately 80 gallons onto the southbound lanes of N. Lapeer.

‘It’s raining caterpillars’
Standing under an oak tree on Ray Rd., you can hear an uneasy crinkling in the canopy above. It’s the sound of thousands of gypsy moths wriggling through and devouring the foliage. Stand under there too long, and the larvae will fall on you.
“It’s raining caterpillars,” as Adam Bonislawski put it. “The moth problem is so bad that when you’re just going outside to your mailbox, you’re thinking it’s raining outside, but it’s not, it’s actually all the caterpillars falling from the canopies of the trees.”
In April, the Oxford Township Board voted to not participate in the 2021 Gypsy Moth Spraying program through the Macomb (not Oakland) County MSU Extension. The MSU program had conducted a survey of the township and identified 1,000 high-risk acres that would need to be sprayed. The township was quoted $140 per acre, which comes to $140,000 total. In the future, in order to participate in the Gypsy Moth Spraying program a Special Assessment District will need to be established.
Addison Township, meanwhile, missed the opportunity to have a field study through the MSU program this year, but has included various links to MSU resources for residents on how to handle the moths.
In the meantime, neighbors are coordinating across township lines on a public Facebook group called Ray Rd Gypsy Moth Festival, and on the Leader’s FB page, to discuss the problem.

Oxford schools down to 0 COVID cases on last day of school
For the first time all school year, Oxford Community Schools reported zero active COVID-19 cases June 11, the last day of school.
“We are elated to share with you that we have no active cases of coronavirus amongst Oxford students or staff!” the June 11 weekly district COVID-19 update stated. “Please enjoy your summer as we celebrate all our school community has done to grow stronger, together, during this pandemic. What a great day to be a Wildcat!!”
The June 4 update reported two active student cases and one student in quarantine. Oxford was one of only two districts in Oakland County to offer in-person instruction all year.

Marijuana ordinance passes 2nd reading
Two petitions were not enough to stop the Oxford Village Council from approving the second reading of the Adult Use Marijuana Facilities ordinance in a 3-2 vote at its June 8 meeting. Each council member voted the same as they did at the first reading in May. Councilmembers Maureen Helmuth, Allison Kemp and Ashley Ross voted yes, while Village President Kelsey Cooke and Lori Bourgeau voted no.
The zoning ordinance allows, but regulates, recreational marijuana businesses in the I-1 Industrial zoning district, which includes most of S. Glaspie St. south of Scripter Park, and a few parcels in the north of the village around Louck St. and Church St.

June 23
Excel Bros, DDA clean up downtown businesses after construction
The DDA has partnered with Excel Cleaning Bros to wash the facades of downtown businesses, this week and last, following the M-24 reconstruction. “We really wanted to be able to help the businesses shine after all the dust has been kicked up for the past year,” said DDA Executive Director Kelly Westbrook.
The clean-up program allowed businesses that opted in to utilize Excel’s services at 50% off with the DDA taking on the other 50% to have their façade power washed, windows cleaned and awnings scrubbed. The service was limited to the first 30 businesses to respond, and 30 asked for the service.

Townships outline steps to mitigate gypsy moths
The township has put together a packet for residents reporting gypsy moth infestations that outlines how residents can create a Special Assessment District (SAD) for aerial spraying next year. It also contains general information about the moths, and other ways to deal with them. Folks can obtain the pack from the township office or from the website, oxfordtownship.net.
A SAD is a process residents in a surrounding area can use to chip in to pay for the spraying. Applicants must first obtain an SAD petition form from the township office. More than 50 percent of the total land area or frontage within the proposed district must sign the petition. An application fee of $1,500 will cover any township costs associated with establishing the district. Any costs over the established fee shall also be the responsibility of the applicant as well. If any funds remain after the SAD has been established, they will be returned to the applicant.
Addison Township has a similar SAD process in place. Petitions are due July 15 for spring 2022 treatment. The established SAD will be assessed an estimated $150.00 per acre and per treatment on the winter tax bill of 2021.

Uptown Allstars kick off Concerts in the Park
After taking last year off, concerts in downtown’s Centennial Park returned June 17, with a warm summer evening of lighthearted fun. Perhaps 200 people filled the park with lawn chairs and blankets to listen to The Uptown Allstars cover Americana rock classics like Proud Mary and Brick House. The band includes Oxford High School’s athletic director and assistant principal Jordan Ackerman on vocals and conga drums, and band teacher John Hill on the drum set.
Before the concert, Oxford’s first farmers’ market set up wares under tents in the empty lot at 15 N. Washington St.

June 30
Local officials remember Addison trustee
Charles “Chuck” Sargent died unexpectedly the morning of June 19 at the age of 78. A resident of Addison since 1995, he was just elected to the Addison Township Board in November 2020. Prior to that, he served on the township planning commission and zoning board of appeals.
“He was very, very passionate about doing good things in government, for the township,” said Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson. “I would have to say, extremely dedicated.”
Sargent was a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving active duty 1963-1967. “He had that marine mentality,” Pearson continued. “You could tell that he had been in the military — he was very precise about everything. We’re really going to miss his enthusiasm. When he got on to an issue, he researched it, he was really proud of his intense research on any issue. When he heard of an issue we were going to discuss at the next meeting, he would do his homework and he would know everything about that subject.”
He also served as the president of the Lakeville Lake Property Owners Association.

Strawberry Festival postponed to 2022
The Leonard Strawberry Festival has been canceled again this year, but a smaller “Block Party” event is planned in its place for the same date, July 17.
This is not the end of the festival, assured Leonard Village President Mike McDonald and Addison Fire Chief Jerry Morawski. Barring any future further issues with the coronavirus, the festival will return next year, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the annual event that began in 1952.
The decision to cancel was made a couple months ago, when Michigan was still spiking in COVID-19 cases. The Addison Township Firefighters Association said they were not comfortable participating this year by serving strawberry sundaes to the public, as they traditionally do. The Strawberry Festival Committee felt it just wouldn’t be a strawberry festival without the fire department’s participation, so they decided to cancel the festival for the second year in a row.

Engineer participates with Women in Aerospace
A process engineer for Barron Industries in Oxford Township recently attended an aerospace event. Kaylee Konwinski is working on the design and production of a precision metal component for the F18 fighter jet. The aluminum part, called a pressure deck casting, covers the jet’s controls below the windshield. Konwinski displayed the part at a recent Women of Aerospace event sponsored by the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan and FIRST in Michigan.
Konwinski says the best part of the job is problem solving and bringing together all the project pieces like a puzzle. “What works one day might just go up in smoke the next – literally because it’s a foundry,” she said.

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