After two years and almost seven months, the Farmington Voice website is closing shop. I’ll keep sharing items of local interest on Facebook and Twitter but will no longer do any original reporting.
Thank you for your encouragement and support and news tips, and for your respectful, thoughtful social media comments. Thank you for caring about local news and about our community. I hope you continue to do so, wherever and however you can.
One opportunity will happen later this year, with our second Farmington Voices fundraiser to benefit Operation Common Good, a charity that provides direct help to Farmington Public Schools students and families in need. Details will be shared on social media and via email. I’d love to send you more information as it becomes available – sign up here: eepurl.com/cFT9C1.
Thanks to everyone who took our exit survey; it is now closed.
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Harrison High School will host the 12th Annual Battle of the Middles Charity Basketball Game, which tips off at 6:30 p.m. on December 9.
Staffs of Warner Middle School and District Administration will take the court against the staffs of Power Middle School and East Middle School to raise funds for Farmington Area Goodfellows. Cash proceeds and donations of toys and canned goods will go directly to Farmington area families in need.
Last year’s game raised more than $9,346 and helped more than 200 Farmington area families. Over the past decade, the Battle of the Middles has helped raise more than $57,577 and collected countless canned goods and toys for the two charities. This year’s goal is $10,000.
The Farmington Area Goodfellows collects and delivers food and toys to ensure that no child or senior in Farmington or Farmington Hills goes without a Christmas. Neighborhood House, supported by the Goodfellows, operates year-round to help local families and individuals in need.
Doors open at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students, or $1 with two or more canned goods and free with a new unwrapped toy.
When an opportunity to lead Farmington Public Schools’ only school of choice opened up 11 years ago, Dr. Dyanne Sanders jumped at the chance.
Now Highmeadow Common Campus’ long-time principal sees expanding and moving the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) school as another opportunity to innovate.
“This is a chance for us to do something different…something right for the new type of learner we have,” she told Board of Education members during a Tuesday study session.
Officials voted earlier this year to close Dunckel and repurpose it as a K-8 STEAM school. Sanders said parents in surveys, at community forums, and in committee discussions expressed an interest in the program as an alternative. Tech-related businesses, including Hitatchi and Bosch in Farmington Hills, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, have expressed interest in forming partnerships, she added.
STEAM is a philosophy, rather than a program or curriculum, Sanders said. Through a project-based approach, students learn to creatively solve problems and develop the kinds of skills that will become even more valuable as they enter the job market.
Officials also learned about options for enrollment in the new school. Students currently enter Highmeadow through a lottery process, with siblings of enrolled students getting preference before the lottery is held in January. A committee charged with looking at the K-8 process recommended that siblings of the class of 2030 and beyond apply for STEAM through the lottery. Those not chosen would receive priority placement only after interested students from all buildings have been placed.
Other alternatives discussed included sticking with the current system, and eliminating sibling preference after the class of 2030.
Sanders also revealed the recommended name for the new school: The Center for STEAM Studies.
Recommendations were presented as an information item; board members will finalize the building name and lottery process at a future meeting.
Farmington Youth Assistance, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening area youth and families, is looking for Holiday Angels to make the holiday season a little brighter for young people ages 13-16.
This year, the program is empowering students by giving them the ability to choose. You can help by donating Target gift cards in the amount of $25 or $50, or making cash donations that will go toward gift card purchases. A special time will be set aside in early December for recipients to have their own special holiday shopping excursion at Target.
Donations are needed by December 13 at the Youth Assistance office, 32789 W. 10 Mile Rd., Suite 10-B, in Farmington. To learn more, call 248-489-3434.
On Tuesday, Farmington Public Schools Board of Education made Paula Sanders-Avant’s job as interim assistant principal at Power Middle School permanent.
Sanders-Avant began her career in Farmington Public Schools when she joined Farmington High School as a guidance counselor in 2007. She served in that role until she was selected in August 2016 to serve at Power.
Previously an elementary teacher and high school counselor in other school districts in Michigan and Illinois, Sanders-Avant earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Michigan State University and her M.S. in Human Services and Counseling from DePaul University.
“I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to work at Power Middle School as assistant principal,” she said. “I look forward to serving our students, parents, staff and the Farmington community in my new role. I really appreciate the support from my family, friends and FPS colleagues.”
“From the moment that Paula stepped into our school as an interim assistant principal, I have been impressed by her grace under pressure, her outstanding communication with our entire Power community and her dedication to Power Middle School,” said Power Middle School Principal Allyson Robinson. “I am beyond thrilled that I get to continue working with her in this capacity and I know that she will be an outstanding asset in every sense of the word.”
The combined bands of Farmington High, Power and East Middle Schools will present their 2016 “Music for the Holidays” concert at 7 p.m. on December 15, in the Farmington High School auditorium.
The multicultural celebration will include music composed and/or arranged by Bernotas, Long, Silvistri, Swearingen, and others. Musical pieces will include “The Polar Express,” “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “A Hanukkah Festival ,” “Deck the Halls,” “Sleighride,” and more.
Admission is free, but donations of canned food and cash will be accepted for Gleaners Food Bank and Farmington Public Schools music programs.
“We are pleased with the enthusiasm that the students have put into preparing for this holiday show. It will be a great night to get you in the holiday mood,” said Farmington High Director of Bands Michael Steele.
“The combined bands work very well together because we have great instrumental talent in Farmington schools and excellent teachers at all levels,” he added. “Mr. Drake’s and Mr. Wilson’s students were well prepared, and they have gelled quickly with our students for this concert, and it will show in the music.”
This will be the final musical performance in the Farmington High auditorium before it is closed for renovation in January 2017. Alumni and friends of Farmington High School are encouraged to attend.
UPDATE: Farmington Hills Police on Wednesday released even more information about the disappearance of 28-year-old Danielle Stislicki, who was last seen December 2.
Stislicki was last seen at her Southfield workplace but her vehicle was left near her home at Independence Green Apartments, in the area of Halsted and Grand River. She has brown, wavy, medium-length hair. She is 5’5” tall, weighs 123 pounds, and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black zip-up shirt, blue Eddie Bauer coat, and burgundy boots.
During a press conference, Police Chief Chuck Nebus said Stislicki was supposed to meet a friend for dinner that evening, and when she didn’t show up, the friend contacted police. Her purse was later found inside her car.
“We found no signs of a struggle or foul play,” he said, adding “extensive” lab and tech work has been done.
The search of the Independence Green apartment complex and surrounding area has included police, friends, family, and K-9 officers, along with the Michigan State Police helicopter.
“There has been, no exaggeration, hundreds of hours of investigation,” Nebus said. In all, a dozen agencies have been involved.
Stislicki’s parents also spoke at the press conference and expressed appreciation for everyone’s assistance in the search.
“Our concern is that Danielle is somewhere being held not by her choice and wants to come home, and we want to bring her home,” Ann Stislicki said.
The Department is looking for:
Anyone who may have seen Danielle and/or her vehicle leaving the Met Life office building or parking lot on Telegraph Road, north of 10 Mile, in Southfield on December 2.
Anyone who may have seen Danielle and/or her 2015 Jeep Renegade, Michigan license plate DGH 8957, in the area of her home on Lincoln Court in the Independence Green Apartment Complex between 5 p.m. on December 2 and 6 p.m. on December 3.
Anyone who may have seen or found a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime cell phone in a rose colored case and a key chain with a charm and two keys.
Friends and family are crowd-funding a reward to help find her, and as of Wednesday night, the “Find Danielle Stislicki” GoFundMe drive had raised $18,000 – well above its original $10,000 goal.
“Danielle is a wonderful human being who has many family and friends who love her dearly,” wrote friend Kathleen Price, who set up the account. “We want Dani home and need everyone’s help.”
Price also noted that if the reward is not collected, funds will go to the family.
Independence Green Apartments is also offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to Danielle’s safe return, or an arrest and conviction if foul play is involved.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Farmington Hills Police Department, 248-871- 2610.
Historic home owners who want to learn more about their properties – and those interested in genealogy and old homes – are invited to “Researching Your Historic Home,” presented December 7, 7 p.m., at the Heritage & History Center in Farmington Hills.
Preservation Farmington co-founder Jena Stacey will discuss how to dig deeper into your home’s history, using local resources from the Farmington Public Library Heritage Room and online records from Oakland County. The presentation will focus on several Farmington-area homes, giving an in-depth, step-by-step study for each.
Admission is $5, payable at the door. The Heritage & History Center is located insider Heritage Park, on Farmington Road between 10 and 11 Mile Roads. Learn more at facebook.com/events/318674911816848.
While the Farmington Winter Artisans Market has been up and running for a month, the weekly Saturday event got official approval Monday from Farmington officials.
Council member Jeff Scott questioned whether the action was necessary, since the market rents space in an existing building – the Farmington Masonic Lodge at the corner of Grand River and Farmington Road. City manager David Murphy explained that the market falls under events rules approved earlier this year, because it draws more than 25 people and uses an adjacent public parking lot.
“I’m going by the policy the council put in place,” he said.
The market didn’t require special permission for previous locations, in the Old Winery/Powerhouse building and American Legion Post #346, because both had private parking, Murphy said. And while food vendors operated outdoors at those locations, the new downtown home triggers the city’s food truck policy, set for final approval December 19.
Sweet Mary Lou’s BBQ has become very popular, market manager Penny Oglesby said. The company visited the market twice, but she asked them to hold off pending council review.
Cowley, a local restaurant owner, said he would approve the market’s application, but “it’s a no on the food truck.”
“The vendor you had there twice already takes revenues outside the city, and takes revenues from an existing restaurant,” he said.
Council member Sara Bowman countered that food trucks often have followings, people who will discover downtown Farmington businesses. She thanked Oglesby for keeping the winter market going.
“It’s an opportunity for people who get used to coming downtown on Saturdays a reason to keep coming,” she said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of that carry over.”
Oglesby said she has asked several downtown restaurants to participate in early 2017, when the market will be open only on the last Saturday of the month.
The draft policy limits food trucks to three visits per year, and officials approved one more stop for Sweet Mary Lou’s, along with the scheduled 2016-2017 Farmington Winter Artisans Market dates. But Mayor Pro Tem Steven Schneemann said he would like to see more clarity in the events and food truck policies.
“I think it’s difficult for people… to understand what kind of events they can set up, when there’s misunderstanding at this table,” he said. “As this moves forward, I hope we can refine it so there’s not so much uncertainty.”
Join the festivities at the 24th Annual Holiday Lights Ceremony, held at 6:30 p.m. December 6, on the Farmington Hills City Hall campus in the southwest corner of Orchard Lake and 11 Mile Roads.
Trees at City Hall will be illuminated along with a 20-foot tall candle.
“The lights and candle represent our commitment to peace and unity here in Farmington Hills,” Mayor Ken Massey said in a press release. “We look forward to seeing families come out for this traditional holiday event.”
Singers from the Encore Choir at Power Middle School will provide holiday entertainment. After the ceremony, refreshments will be served inside Fire Department Headquarters, 31455 W. 11 Mile Road, and there will be a special visit from Santa.
For more information, call 248-473-1800.
News from the heart of Farmington and Farmington Hills, Michigan