Category Archives: Uncategorized

Miss Farmington crowned July 19

Miss Farmington 2016 Grace Murphy will crown her successor July 19, during the Miss Farmington Pageant, which kicks off the Greater Farmington Area Founders Festival.

Opening at 7 p.m. in the Farmington Civic Theater, 33332 Grand River, the pageant is not a beauty contest, said organizer Ginny Morris.

“It’s about what’s up here,” she said, pointing to her head. “I want to see a young woman who knows what she wants for her future, a go-getter. A young woman who isn’t afraid to get out there and work and speak on behalf of the city. It’s a serious job. She’s Farmington’s ambassador at large.”

An educational program, the Miss Farmington Pageant requires among other things a 300-word essay and personal interviews with the judges. Miss Farmington makes community appearances, has opportunities to share her ideas with the city’s leaders, advocates on behalf of her chosen charitable platform, and works directly with people in the community.

“It’s about making sacrifices, not going to that special concert with her boyfriend because she has a scheduled commitment on behalf of the City,” Morris said. “Maybe she’s not feeling well and doesn’t really want to attend a meeting, but that’s what the job entails. She is an involved public member of the greater Farmington community.”

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Farmington Civic live music series wraps March 31 with songwriters

A series of live concerts held at the Farmington Civic Theater over the winter months has given music lovers an “off-season” reason to come to downtown Farmington.

Producer Tom Birchler, who also coordinates the warm-weather Rhythmz in Riley Park concert series, said the idea for Friday Night Live emerged from conversations with theater manager Scott Freeman, who has booked live events over the past several years.

“People have gotten used to the idea of coming to downtown Farmington for music,” Birchler said. “This is a trial to see if we can get people to support live music in the winter months.”

Birchler said the theater provides a more intimate space that allows performers to better connect with their audiences. It’s a different experience from open air concerts in Riley Park, where audiences are there for the experience as much as the music.

“When you’re sitting in a theater, in a very close environment, you’re there to listen,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to develop is that real close artist-audience connection.”

Sixties band Paisley Fogg and singer/songwriter Paco Higdon performed in January and February, respectively. The March 31 concert will feature The Motor City-Music City Songwriters Round, which brings a popular Nashville format to the theater stage. Performers will include Rob Taube, a New York-based musician, songwriter, educator, and producer; Mark Barnowski, a performer and songwriter living in Nashville; and Allie Louise, a singer/songwriter from Rochester Hills.

Louise and Taube have traveled to Nashville to write music with Barnowski, Birchler said.

The two-hour shows begin at 8 p.m., and all ages are welcome. Cash-only tickets are $10 in advance at the box office (after 2 p.m. daily) or at the door. The Farmington Civic Theater is located at 33332 Grand River.

Ready to dine al fresco? Downtown restaurants get seating waiver

As the mercury climbed above 60 degrees over the weekend, customers at Los Tres Amigos dined on the downtown Farmington restaurant’s patio.

But John Cowley & Sons owner Greg Cowley, who also sits on Farmington city council, said he had to keep his customers from dragging chairs outside. The difference? Cowley’s outdoor seating rests on a public sidewalk, while the Los Tres Amigos patio is private property.

On Monday, city officials temporarily moved the limits of an existing ordinance to allow all Farmington restaurants to take advantage of Mother Nature’s winter warm-up. Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen said the city has in previous years extended the end of the season but has not moved the opening date back from March 1.

“I don’t think it’s inappropriate of you to authorize the use of a public sidewalk,” city attorney Tom Schultz said, noting that officials are simply giving permission for the use of public property.

“Los Tres Amigos was packed outside over the weekend,” council member Sara Bowman said. “Obviously, we need to be flexible with providing for the needs of our customers.”

Council member Jeff Scott said he hopes businesses take advantage of outdoor seating while handling it appropriately if the weather takes another turn. But Mayor Bill Galvin wondered whether the temperature should make any difference at all.

“If somebody wants to sit out there when it’s 30 degrees, who am I to stop them?” he said.

The initial request to move the date came from Cowley, city manager David Murphy said, but Christiansen noted several other downtown businesses had contacted him for the same reason.

Officials also voted to refer a review of the outdoor seating ordinance to the Planning Commission.

Farmington students among National Merit semifinalists

Thirteen Farmington Public Schools high school students have been named semifinalists in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

They are among 16,000 seniors who have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $33 million that will be offered in the spring. Semifinalists include:

Farmington High School
  • Amanda Balogh
  • Kayley Chandra
  • Daphne Lin
  • Rohan Naik
  • Abigail Radomski
North Farmington High School
  • Suchet Anand
  • Valentine Garland
  • Emily Hanus
Harrison High School
  • Jeffrey Bell
  • Elizabeth Fahling
  • Elizabeth Leonard
  • Likitha Nimmagadda
  • Riya Shah

More than 1.6 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT ® ), which served as an initial screening of program entrants. From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the
finalist level, and will be notified in February.

Governor Warner Mansion gets spooky on Ghost Night

Warner Mansion Ghost Night
A veiled guest attends the funeral feast at the Governor Warner Mansion’s Ghost Night. (contribute photo)

Funeral biscuits and black-draped mirrors, fortune-tellers and a witches’ band are all in store on Ghost Night at the Mansion, held October 15.

Open from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the Governor Warner Mansion’s Halloween spooktacular provides a twist on the traditional house of horrors, with the ghostly, macabre scene of a Victorian funeral.

Turn-of-the-century traditions and superstitions about death will be the focus of the event, held at the historic house museum that was once home to Fred Warner, Michigan’s governor from 1905-1911. Heavily-veiled tour guides, dressed in black for deepest mourning, will reenact members of the Warner family, returned from the great beyond to share memories of Fred Warner’s life…and death.

In addition to the tours, admission also includes a host of outdoor Halloween activities: visit the Warner “graves” and the haunted classic cars, see the classic movie “Young Frankenstein,” and gather around the fire pits for s’mores. Follow the trail of tiki torches to the gazebo for cider and donuts. Psychic readings will be available for a nominal fee, and the Michigan Ghost Watchers will give several presentations throughout the evening, complete with photos and audio clips from their investigations at the Warner Mansion.

Ghost Night is recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $12 per person, or in advance for $10 per person at Farmington City Hall, located at 23600 Liberty Street, or by calling 248-474-5500 ext. 2225.

For more information, visit facebook.com/governor.mansion.

Car windows smashed, purses stolen in Farmington

Farmington Public Safety is reminding motorists to remove valuables from parked vehicles, after two “forced entry” larcenies over the past week.

According to a nixle.com alert, car windows were smashed in both cases. The first happened at Shiawassee Park on September 14 at around 8 p.m.; the second, in a parking lot of a business along Farmington Road on September 21, between 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Authorities also suggest parking in well-lighted areas and reporting any suspicious people, vehicles or situations. Call 248-474-4700, or for an immediate response, call 9-1-1.

Fresh Thyme parking: ‘The sky didn’t fall’

An informal survey of Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market attendees indicates that adding a grocery store in downtown Farmington may not have had the catastrophic effects on Saturday parking that some feared.

Before Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opened in the Downtown Farmington Center about a month ago, officials and residents alike worried that a requirement to reserve 30 spaces for store parking, adding about 100 employees, and projected increase in traffic would create parking nightmares, particularly during the Market.

On Monday, city council member Sara Bowman said market-goers who were recently asked “Where did you park today?” didn’t report unusual trouble finding a space.

“We didn’t have anybody that came by and said, ‘I circled for an hour and had to walk a mile.’,” Bowman said. “The words I kept hearing were, ‘I got lucky…Somebody was just pulling out of Starbucks. I got lucky.’, Well, you got lucky, or traffic was flowing.”

The “unscientific” survey identified under-used parking lots at Los Tres Amigos at Grand River and Warner Street, and the Maxfield Training Center lot at Warner and Thomas Streets. As a result, market manager Walt Gajewski has added some signage to make motorists more aware of those options, which are within about a block of the market.

“I just wanted to point out that the sky didn’t fall,” Bowman said. “Fresh Thyme has really been a great partner, and we’re addressing these on-going issues with our parking committee as we continue to grow.”

Earlier in the meeting, Parking Advisory Committee chair Elizabeth Turon presented a review of the city’s parking map. The group recommended imposing time limits on a State Street lot where vehicles park long-term, removing prohibitions against parking during school hours in front of the vacant Maxfield Training Center on Thomas Street, adding on-street parking on Mayfield and School Streets, and time-limiting 12 spaces behind The Vines Flower and Garden Shop.

Note: Farmington Voice publisher Joni Hubred-Golden is a Fresh Thyme employee. 

Farmington council supports Grand River ‘road diet’

Farmington city officials on Monday backed a “road diet” for Grand River, but at least one wants to see more action on traffic speeds.

While he didn’t make his concerns part of the formal resolution, council member Steven Schneemann favors lowering the speed limit west of Farmington Road. As traffic moves between Drake and Farmington, the limit steps from 45 miles per hour on five lanes, to 35 miles per hour on four lanes, and then to 25 miles per hour through downtown Farmington.

“I’m a firm believer that the posted speeds need to change to support the reconfiguration,” he said.

MDOT’s proposal, which is part of 2017 resurfacing project, would:

  • reduce the number of lanes between Shiawassee and Farmington Road from four to three
  • drop a lane and add 12 to 14 on-street parking spaces between Grove Street and Mayfield
  • improve pedestrian crossings, especially at the Liberty Street/Oakland Street intersection
  • add a bike lane on the north side on Grand River west of Farmington Road

Officials acknowledged that the bike lane may seem disconnected. Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen said the city’s long range plan involves so-called “Complete Streets,” which will include more lanes for non-motorized traffic. The north side was chosen, he added, because of the topography – it’s safer to have two-wheeled traffic rolling uphill.

“People should hang in there…it’s a great start,” council member Sara Bowman said. “It may be a little odd at the moment, but it will make sense in the bigger picture.”

Council member Greg Cowley asked about reducing non-delivery truck traffic downtown. He believes trucks have increasingly traveled Grand River because of road work on I-275 and I-75 this year. Public Safety Director Frank Demers said Grand River is a state trunk road, but said he would look into what might be done. Cowley suggested ramping up enforcement for larger vehicles.

“Word would spread pretty fast,” he said.

 

Get inside information about college September 28

Anyone facing decisions about post-secondary education is invited to attend “Inside Information: College Admissions and Financial Aid”, held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 28 at the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile Rd. in Farmington Hills.

Hosted by the Farmington Hills/Farmington Commission on Children, Youth & Families, this event is open to all high school students, parents, and other interested adults. In a small group setting, experts will offer tips and personal attention to participants on the following:

  • Clarifying the Admissions Process
  • Writing a Successful Essay
  • Fulfilling College Application Requirements
  • Obtaining Grants, Loans, and Scholarships

Figuring Out the New FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Representatives from the following institutions will staff information tables:

  • Wayne State University
  • Oakland University
  • Walsh College
  • Schoolcraft Community College
  • Henry Ford College

Refreshments will be served and registration is not required. A limited opportunity for individual consultations may be available. For more information, contact Ed Cherkinsky at 248-661- 5114 or echerkinsk@aol.com.

Press release

Learn about mass transit ballot proposal Sept. 21

Farmington Hills resident Alexis Blizman, who currently serves as a county coordinator for “C3: Citizens for Connecting Our Communities”, will speak at the September 21 combined meeting of the Farmington/Farmington Hills Democratic Club (FFHDC) and the West Bloomfield Democratic Club.

Blizman, who is Policy Director for the Ecology Center, an environmental non-profit with offices in Ann Arbor and Detroit, has been working in Democratic and progressive politics for over 20 years. She will address the mass transit proposal on the November 8 ballot proposal, which aims to connect Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties with rapid, reliable, regional transit.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m., with a “Meet and Greet” at 6:30 p.m., in the Pipefitters Local 636 Union Hall, 30100 Northwestern Hwy., Farmington Hills.

To learn more, contact chair Darryl Conliffe , info@ffhdc.org or 248-956-0480.

Press release