Summer and fall 2019 meant construction congestion on Sashabaw Road, especially during concerts, budgeting decisions, senior residential developments, and stories of residents helping the community.
D-Day plus 75 years: A marriage born in the maelstrom of World War II stayed strong for 75 years. Frank and Annamarie Quinlan of Springfield Township celebrated their 75th anniversary on June 24. Annamarie sadly passed away on Nov. 2 at 95 years of age.
Summer of school construction: Contractors completed for about $12.5 million in school construction work that summer. Work began on June 10, with completion by about Aug. 9.
Summer sizzler: A line of thunderstorms broke a 93-degree heatwave, dropping temperatures to a high of 78 degrees that weekend. The final performances of Concerts in the Park and the inaugural Movies in the Park were cancelled due to the storm.
City Council puts parking proposals back into play: Clarkston’s Parking Committee was put back to work after City Council kicked several issues back to it for further review, July 22. Council voted unanimously to reconsider and send back two recommendations – paid parking in the Depot Road municipal parking lot and elimination of parking on Buffalo Street south of Church Street.
New market seeks approval for LED sign: Independence Township Planning Commission considered a site-plan amendment for an electronic LED sign at its Aug. 8 meeting. Alex’s Market and Grill was asking the township to allow it to relocate its sign and make it a 50-square-foot digital marquee with changeable, full-color LED display.
‘End of an era:’ L. Brooks Patterson remembered: The L. Brooks Patterson era will be remembered as halcyon days for Oakland County, said Dave VanderVeen of Clarkston, a colleague and lifelong friend of Patterson, who died at 5:30 a.m., Aug. 3, at his Independence Township home surrounded by family and friends after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.
Pond residents appeal to community for help: “Clarkston grew around the mill pond that was created to harness the power of water,” according to the historical sign posted at the water’s edge off Washington Street. Residents around the pond were asking the community to return the favor, as they debated how to restore and preserve the downtown water feature.
Security beefed up at schools: School bond projects were set to wrap up before the first day of school, Aug. 26. According to Clarkston High School Principal Gary Kaul, one of the most important bond updates was the reconfigured attendance office and new security entryway.
Sashabaw work enters next phase: Construction on Sashabaw Road switched sides in August. Paving work on the southbound lanes from I-75 to Clarkston Road began on Aug. 27, with work on the shoulders and driveways starting on Aug. 29.
Township urged to reconsider cannabis business: Two area residents presented the cannabis business idea to the Independence Township Board, which adopted a zoning ordinance amendment prohibiting marijuana establishments in the township earlier in the year. But emergency administrative rules for implementing the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act approved by the state last month might change things, said cannabis advocate Lauren Pierce during public comment.
New development coming to township: The Independence Township Board unanimously approved rezoning nearly 80 acres on the northeast corner of Clintonville and Mann road from single family residential to single family attached. Lombardo Homes was building 240 new units (three per acre) on the Steeplechase property.
Fire budget woes pinned on pensions: Increasing pension costs were close to crashing the Independence Township Fire Department’s budget, warned Township Supervisor Pat Kittle and Independence Township Fire Chief Mitch Petterson.
Clarkston man loses 135 pounds before HS reunion: Frank Migliore of Independence Township spent the last two years shedding 135 pounds, just in time for his 45-year high school reunion.
Fire union, administrators continue finance fight: According to the Independence Township Firefighters union, the Arbitration 312 ruling concluded the township can pay the retirement increases without raising taxes or creating any encumbering debt for the township.
Senior housing across from concerts: Independence Township Board approved an 18-acre senior housing development on the west side of Sashabaw Road, south of Moody Drive and across the street from the DTE Energy Music Theatre. The Planning Commission recommended approval for the project at its Aug. 8 meeting.
A decision to save a life: Dex Kuklaw, who suffered a heart attack the afternoon of March 22 but lived to talk about it, hosted a thank-you gathering for everyone who rescued him and helped him recover, including Neal Hoxsie, who stopped and gave him CPR, firefighters, deputies, nurses, family, and friends.
Asbestos at junior high: Asbestos was discovered at Clarkston Junior High, but posed no risk to students, said Principal Adam Kern.
Clarkston man killed in UP: A 29-year-old Clarkston man was found dead by Conservation officers in the Upper Peninsula’s Big Island Wilderness Area, Sept. 22. The man, Gregory Allen Sutherland, was camping alone and failed to return home when expected.
Community support after family tragedy: School, church, and community gathered to offer comfort and support as the tragic news of a classmate’s suicide spread that week. Clarkston High School Principal Gary Kaul and a support team of counselors stayed in close contact with the Oakland County Crisis Response Team and put a plan in place to provide grief counseling to anyone who needed support.
Army surprise for Clarkston bros: It was a whirlwind 24 hours for Gage Stamper when the 2018 Clarkston High School graduate and paratrooper private in the United States Army returned home for the first time in nearly a year on Sept. 26 and surprised his brothers at Clarkston Junior High.
Burglary suspects caught: Two Pontiac teenagers confessed to thefts from vehicles in Independence and Waterford township after their arrest the morning of Oct. 6.
4 candidates for 4 seats: Incumbents Jason Kneisc, David Marsh, and Scott Reynolds are running for three, two-year Clarkston City Council seats in the Nov. 5 election, and former Mayor and council member Joe Luginski is running for one, one-year City Council seat, term ending Nov. 9, 2020.
Sign gets the nod: After nearly three months of debate, the LED sign proposal at the new Alex’s Market and Grill was approved. The unanimous decision of the Independence Township Board, Oct. 22, allowing an electronic message board ran counter to the recommendation of the township Planning Commission.
Teacher takes national prize: Joel Massarello, who teaches automotive technology at Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northwest in Clarkston, recently won second place in the 2019 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. In the process, Massarello won $35,000 for the program as part of $1 million awarded nationally. He’ll also receive $15,000 personally.
Apiary Club earns sweet recognition: The Clarkston High School Apiary Club recently earned state recognition for its locally-made Clarkston honey. The club, which is made up of 15 students and advisor Mike Olsen, submitted its Fall Honey for judging at the Michigan Beekeepers’ Association Fall Conference on Oct. 19 in Ann Arbor, coming in second in the state in taste and third overall for presentation.
Teen killed in snowmobile crash: Alexandria Lambert, 13, was riding as a passenger on a 2004 Polaris 550 snowmobile on N. Eston Road near Whipple Lake Road in Independence Township, Nov. 12, when a tragic accident claimed her life.
City takes aim at Airbnbs: Interest has soared about Airbnbs in the City of the Village of Clarkston, both for and against, and city officials are looking for rules on it. The city receives calls regularly from people interested in buying a residence and turning it into an Airbnb, said City Manager Jonathan Smith at Monday’s Planning Commission hearing.
Lawsuit looks to stop dam busting plan: A group of Springfield Township residents hope a class-action lawsuit derails a plan to remove the Davisburg Millpond dam. “It’s pretty sad,” said Blanche Barber of Davisburg, who filed suit in Oakland County Circuit Court against Springfield Township, Springfield Township Parks and Recreation, Oakland County, and Oakland County Parks and Recreation. “We used to fish here, take out the row boat. My kids learned to swim here.”
New Renaissance principal loves family atmosphere: Gary Bigger has been in the alternative education realm for the past 20 years, and it’s that knowledge and passion that drew him to Renaissance High School as the school’s new principal. “You know what it is, it’s about family,” said Bigger, who started in his position in late November. “The staff, the students, they just have a quality of family about them.” Bigger, 51, steps in for Christa Fons, who took the position of director of shared services at the district’s central office.
District looks to stabilize enrollment: Even after losing almost 160 students from the 2018-19 school year, Clarkston Community Schools is actually up in student enrollment due to its virtual program gaining just over 500 students.