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The Year in Review 2013

January 01, 2014 - Editor's Note: A lot sure happened in 2013. Just in case you missed it – or perhaps forgot – here are the highlights. Enjoy.

January 2

Former Oxford Village Deputy Clerk Marion Patricia Paad filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the village, Manager Joe Young and Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth. Paad, who was terminated in March 2011, is seeking money damages against all three for purposeful discrimination and/or retaliation, which she claims took the form of losing her job and standing trial for criminal charges that she was innocent of.

Old Man Winter arrived in Oxford by dumping 7-8 inches of snow the day after Christmas.

Oxford's wrestling team finished second in the Oakland County championships last week.

January 9

Oxford Township Trustee Jack Curtis reports that MSP Industries still wishes to expand its operations here and bring new jobs to the community.

Joe Ashley is the new youth detective for Oakland County Sheriff's Department at the Oxford Township substation.

Ron Brock is the new president of the Northeast Oakland Historical Society and he has some new goals.

The Rotary Club of Oxford is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Oxford Superintendent Dr. William Skilling is planning to talk to the school board about the possibility arming the district's private security guards.

January 16

A group of property and business owners in Oxford's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) district are demanding that officials stop pursuing plans for a new $4.7 million streetscape and restructure the DDA itself.

A pickup truck, driven by a 27-year-old Brandon Twp. man, crashed into the attached garage of the home at 724 Seymour Lake Road in Oxford Township.

Oxford Village President Tom Benner passed away on Jan. 15, 2013. He was 73. Benner had served on council since April 2005 and became president in September 2011.

The Oxford Village Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment designed to give the owners of unoccupied, vacant or inactive properties a 43 percent discount on their monthly water, sewer and garbage bill. Instead of paying the minimum $52.86, they would pay $29.88.

The North Oakland Transportation Authority has been approached by Independence Township about possibly serving its riders as well as those in Springfield Township and Clarkston.

The Oxford Township Board voted 7-0 to place street lights where M-24 intersects with Market St. and Ray Rd in order to increase both pedestrian and vehicular safety.

Hubbard Spring Co. (595 S. Lapeer Rd.) has been rezoned from general commercial to light industrial.

January 23

The Oxford Virtual Academy is in the process of moving some of its operations into 5. S. Washington St. in downtown Oxford. The space formerly housed the ArtCapsule.

The Oxford DDA board listened to support, opposition and concerns regarding the proposed $4.7 million conceptual streetscape plan.

Addison Township is exploring the idea of having one trash hauler serve the entire community.

Oxford resident Thelma Lowe recalled her days as a Rosie the Riveter during World War II. She worked at Ford's Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti building B-24 bombers between 1942 and 1945.

Oxford officials submitted a grant application seeking $446,648 to make improvements to W. Burdick St./Seymour Lake Road. The money would be used to improve a 1,637-foot stretch of road between Ashley Way in the village and S. Waterstone Dr. in the township.

The North Oakland Transportation Authority received an additional $25,000 in funding from Training & Treatment Innovations Inc. and the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority.

Instead of doing it all itself, the Oxford DDA will be cooperating with other community entities to coordinate, promote and fund local events.

Addison Township employees, not elected officials, will be receiving a 2 percent pay raise. Their pay had been frozen for the last five years.

January 30

Students at Kingsbury Country Day School in Addison Township are busy making two large tile mosaics depicting brightly-colored fish to adorn the Children's Hospital of Michigan's "sea wall."

A study published in Bridge Magazine ranked Oxford Community Schools 21st out of 28 districts in Oakland County.

Tony Albensi was elected president of the Oxford Village Council. He replaces Tom Benner who passed away earlier this month.

Oxford Community Schools private security guards received approval from the school board to openly carry a firearm on school premises.

Nineteen Oxford High School students who are part of the Business Professionals of America qualified to participate in the state competition in Grand Rapids in March.

The Oxford Village Council approved a proposal from Black Dot Capital & Real Estate Group in California to buy out the village's existing lease agreement with AT&T Wireless for the cellular service equipment atop the municipal water tower on S. Glaspie St. The village will receive $445,000 in installment payments between February 2013 and July 2015.

February 6

Oxford's wrestling team secured another conference title after defeating 11 other teams in the OAA Red/White League Tournament held at the high school.

OHS seniors Rocco Borg and Molly Schultz are the Winterfest 2013 King and Queen.

Tutor the Llama, a resident of Windstar Farm in Oxford Township, has predicted an early spring this year.

Addison resident Jim Woon passed away on Jan. 3, 2013 at the age of 66. Woon worked tirelessly to help preserve and promote the township's history.

The new attendance policy – show up for class and you don't have to take a final exam – is working at OHS, according to Principal Todd Dunckley. A state report shows a 94.6 percent daily attendance average compared to 87 percent in 2009.

Clear Lake Elementary kindergartner Allison Hufstedler, 6, is one of three national winners in a tissue box design competition sponsored by White Cloud.

February 13

Jason Michael Carroll, a 2000 graduate of Oxford High School, is being remembered as a hard-worker and a loving father. The 31-year-old died in a Feb. 5 car crash in Metamora.

Oxford Schools' MEAP scores are showing an upward trend.

Addison resident Tyrone Sally, 52, shot and killed a raging bull that got loose from Upland Hills Farm.

Victoria Connolly, owner of Victoria's Delights in downtown Oxford, has been battling breast cancer while running her restaurant. She shared her story with the Leader.

Oxford resident Ljubiza "Louisa" Olinicenco passed away on Jan. 30, 2013. She was 89.

The cost for Addison Township's liability insurance keeps going down. The township recently received a $40,886 rebate.

February 20

The Oxford Village Council gave tentative approval to allowing a farmers market to take place in downtown's northwest quadrant parking lot later this year.

OHS seniors Connor Novack and Zack Lutey created a sculpture for art class out of old auto parts.

A Facebook page entitled "Oxford Problems" is being investigated because it paints some OHS students in an unflattering light. Oakland County Sheriff's Det. Joe Ashley is going to seek its removal.

Oxford firefighter Mike Upshur and Oxford Village Police Sgt. Mike Solwold were named "Most Outstanding Firefighter of the Year" and "Most Outstanding Police Officer of the Year" by Oxford American Legion Auxiliary Unit 108.

Longtime Oxford resident Sue Bossardet was appointed to the village council to fill the seat vacated when Tom Benner passed away in January. She will serve until November 2014.

Oxford Township officials unanimously approved the extension of a water main in the area of Indian Lake Rd. and M-24 which would allow the municipality to have an emergency water connection with Orion Township. Orion has agreed to pay for the project.

Oxford Township officials want to know if the rates and fees they're charging for water and sewer are adequate for the services provided. They've hired a consultant to study them and report his findings.

February 27

Property values are up in Oxford and Addison townships by an average of 3.99 percent and 1.08 percent, respectively.

Oxford Superintendent Dr. William Skilling's $199,170 pay package ranks 21st out of the 28 school districts in Oakland County, according to a new on-line database from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The Oxford-based Relume Technologies won two awards for two of its outdoor lighting fixtures at the Fifth Annual Next Generation Luminaires Solid-State Lighting Design Competition.

Danny Inman, a 2005 OHS graduate, is the first male professional advocate in Michigan in the field of sexual assault education and prevention.

Oxford Village and Lake Orion Village are talking about collaborating on a variety of public services they offer in order to save money.

For the second consecutive year, the Oxford/Holly Boys Ski Team claimed the Southeastern Michigan Ski League championship. The team beat eight competitors.

March 6

Officials from Oakland County Parks and Recreation are exploring turning the 1,200 Koenig Sand & Gravel property into a multi-use park centered around off-road vehicle use.

Camo, a mix of Catahoula Leopard Dog and pit bull, is staying with the K-9 Stray Rescue League in Oxford until he can find a home. He was abandoned at a coal mining site in West Virginia.

The North Oakland County Young Marines is seeking new members.

The Oxford school district has no more snow days left. It's already used the six allowed by the state.

Oxford High School's Wind Ensemble received high scores at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association district festival.

March 13

More than 30 boys and girls participatedin a Pinewood Derby held at Oxford Free Methodist Church.

A forensic audit report shows the Oxford DDA was not shorted $8,550 in property tax funds back in 2006 and 2007 as was previously believed.

The board which will oversee the new charter school in Oxford, Deerfield Academy, located on the campus of Crossroads for Youth, was sworn in. Serving on it are Stephen "Mickey" Hiatt, Rev. Joyce Matthews, Adrienne Cottingham, Mary Sutton and Amy Moore.

The Northeast Oakland Historical Museum in downtown Oxford is inviting folks to view its Lone Ranger display. Radio actor Brace Beemer, who was the iconic character's voice from 1941-54, lived in Oxford for 23 years.

The sign in front of Lakeville Elementary School along Lakeville Rd. was completely destroyed when a 1988 Dodge Durango driven by a 47-year-old Oxford woman plowed into it.

Jeromy Keller, who's family owns Keller Family Farms/Keller's Maple Products in Almont, visited Leonard Elementary and explained to students how maple syrup is made.

Parker Filtration, located at 500 S. Glaspie St. in Oxford Village, donated $500 to the OHS robotics team TORC 2137.

March 20

Alan Pratt, Jr., 22, of Oxford, is accused of burglarizing three Oxford Township homes within a week to finance his alleged drug habit.

Work on the portion of Enbridge's crude oil pipeline that runs through Oxford and Addison townships is expected to begin at some point between June 1 and Dec. 31.

OHS senior Michelle Vought's welding skills helped create a child's pedal car that won a competition and will be featured at Autorama in Detroit.

Bob Smith, who's regarded as the unofficial mayor of Lakeville in Addison Township, celebrated his 95th birthday.

Twenty-three OHS DECA students qualified for the international competition in Anaheim, California in late April.

The Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Dept. is one of only 23 local departments in Michigan that will be highlighted as part of the MI Big Green Gym program, which is designed to encourage folks to workout in the great outdoors at local and state parks.

Oxford Township officials approved $161,621 to construct new safety paths along Seymour Lake and E. Drahner roads.

The Addison Township Fire Department received a $61,667 federal grant to purchase two new heart monitor/defibrillator units.

March 27

Brandon Rank will stay with the OHS wrestling team after stepping down as head coach. He'll go back to being assistant coach.

Some members of the Oxford DDA board didn't like the idea of temporarily changing the name of "Celebrate Oxford" to "Lone Ranger Days."

OHS seniors Josh English and Mike Doell are heading to the state finals of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition.

Oxford Schools hired a new girls tennis coach and her name is Gayle Bailey.

Addison Township officials approved a $1.035 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins April 1. That's an increase of $15,870 over the current year's budget.

April 10

Once again, Standard & Poor's gave Oxford Village an 'A' credit (or bond) rating, but once again, it was accompanied by a "negative outlook," a warning that if the municipality's financial picture doesn't improve, that rating could be lowered.

A three-year union contract with Oxford teachers was approved and it still includes union dues despite the new Right to Work law.

Oxford Bridges junior Antonio Negron is training at Strike Fitness Club (275 S. Glaspie St.) to fight in the 82nd anniversary Golden Gloves state championships in April.

Artifacts from the War of 1812 are now on display at the Northeast Oakland Historical Museum in downtown Oxford.

A sneak preview of the new Lone Ranger movie starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp will take place at the Oxford 7 Theater at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 2. The special show ing was secured through the efforts of Jim Sherman, Jr., publisher of The Oxford Leader.

Oxford's Business Professionals of America chapter is sending Jon Doslak, Ryan Myers and Joe Sheppard to the national competition in Orlando, Florida next month.

The resurfacing of 3.2 miles of Rochester Rd. between Lakeville Rd. and the Leonard Village limits will begin in June and cost $5.6 million.

April 17

Oxford Village Police Officer Todd Barraco's sarcastic request to Dryden Township resident Nathaniel Bennett for $500 for his services earned him a suspension without pay while the incident is investigated.

Oxford DDA officials defended the $4.7 million conceptual plan to revamp downtown's streetscape. They said it's about pedestrian safety, not just aesthetics.

The 5th Michigan Regiment Band is scheduled to perform during Oxford's Lone Ranger parade Aug. 3.

Oxford Pastor Dave Gerber opened the Michigan House of Representatives April 11 session with an introductory prayer or invocation. He was asked to do so by state Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford).

Oxford Township officials approved a concept for new gateway signs to welcome visitors and give the community some identity. They would be located along M-24 at the township's northern and southern borders.

Oxford Township officials awarded a $66,488 contract to the Shelby Township-based H2O Irrigation to drill wells in two cemeteries and install new water lines and spigots in all four of the municipality's resting places.

April 24

Oxford resident Stephanie Schreiber shared her experiences of being right in the middle of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings.

Oakland County Parks/Rec. representatives will be visiting each of Oxford's governing boards to explain their concept plan for a multi-use park centered around ORV use. They're hoping to turn the 1,200 Koenig Sand & Gravel property into this park.

Members of the Seven Ponds Nature Center Astronomy Club gathered in Centennial Park to celebrate National Astronomy Day (April 20) and raise public awareness about this field of science that serves as both a profession and a hobby.

Oxford Leader Editor C.J. Carnacchio received four awards from the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He earned them for news reporting, editorial writing and photography.

Oxford Village Police Officer Todd Barraco is taking a voluntary three-month leave of absence following an incident in which he made a sarcastic comment to a citizen by requesting $500 for his services. He will not receive any pay during this leave of absence.

Wind gusts of 50-to-60 miles per hour toppled trees and left approximately 2,300 DTE Energy customers without power including Oxford High School.

Lapeer resident Diane Flis-Schneider donated vintage chalkware statuettes of the Lone Ranger and his horse, Silver, to the Northeast Oakland Historical Museum.

May 1

A late-night confrontation between a man's former caregiver and current caregiver ended in gunshots in the Hidden Lakes Estates mobile home park in Addison Township. No one was hurt, but Kimberly Ann Trackwell, 47, of Taylor, was arrested for allegedly doing the shooting.

Zach Line, a 2008 OHS graduate, signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent.

OHS seniors Mike Doell and Josh English won first place in the state finals of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition.

OHS senior Michelle Vought's welding skills earned her a gold medal at the SkillsUSA state competition. She'll go on to compete nationally in Kansas City, Missouri in June.

In order to solve the Oxford DDA's financial problems, Executive Director Madonna Van Fossen could find herself out of a job or working only part-time. Officials are discussing their options.

The proposed Oxford Village budget for 2013-14, presented by Manager Joe Young, contains no tax increase and cash reserves of approximately $300,000.

Entries are being sought for the Lone Ranger parade set to roll through Oxford along M-24 on Saturday, Aug. 3.

Before any money is spent, Oxford Village President Tony Albensi wants to settle the question of whether the municipality is going to upgrade its existing 9-1-1 dispatch center or contract with Oakland County for this service.

Addison Township honored Bill Devine for his 15 years of service on the community's planning commission.

May 8

The Oxford Village Council is hearing all sorts of possible options to fix the DDA's financial problems. The suggestions range from terminating the paid-director to placing the entity in a dormant state.

The Bloomfield Hills-based Robertson Brothers is hoping to build 53 detached condominiums in The Hills of Oxford development.

OHS senior Michael McCormick took his date, Sasha Runde, to prom in a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12.

Just four days prior to his 14th birthday, Brandon Barrows became an Eagle Scout. He's the youngest member of Oxford Boy Scout Troop 108 to achieve scouting's highest rank.

Civil War re-enactor Raymond Blissett, of Oxford, passed away on April 26, 2013. He was 52. Blissett was a regular part of Oxford's Memorial Day ceremony in Centennial Park.

Addison Fire Station #1 is officially paid off. The township originally borrowed $850,000 from Oxford Bank in 2003 to help build the 12,660-square-foot station.

May 15

Oxford's full-time firefighters have a new union contract that includes an 8.5 percent pay raise over three years.

Norman J. Fredericks, Jr., who owned and operated the Koenig Sand & Gravel mining operation in Oxford Township for 12 years, passed away on May 6, 2013. He was 73.

Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance recognized 46 local young people for their good deeds, compassionate acts, service to others, leadership roles and positive contributions to their classrooms, schools and community.

The Oxford Women's Club awarded $10,000 in scholarships to eight graduating OHS seniors.

May 22

Oxford High School sent 300 graduates into the world. Scott Skilling and Ademara Lowe won the Oxford Cup.

Oxford Bank terminated its deal to merge with the Farmington Hills-based Level One Bank. Oxford Bank made the decision because it could no longer function in a state of limbo while it waited for approval from federal and state regulators, and because its financial situation has been steadily improving.

Oxford Bank donated $2,500 toward the Hollywood-style sneak preview of the new Lone Ranger movie scheduled to happen at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2 at the Oxford 7 Theater.

Ninety-seven OHS senior athletes were honored by the Oxford Wildcat Athletic Boosters. Brooke Kovacic won the Helen Smith Award, while Rocco Borg won the George Prince Award.

Oxford resident Dr. John Todd, who served in the Vietnam War from 1968-69, was named the 2013 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans. In 1969, he lost his sight at age 22 while flying a combat mission.

OHS juniors Brianna Hughes, Noah Johnson and Kristen Godwin were selected for the Girls State, Boys State and Student Trooper programs.

May 29

Enbridge, Inc., a Canada-based energy distribution company, donated $5,000 to help finance the Hollywood-style sneak preview of Disney's new Lone Ranger movie set for Tuesday, July 2 at the Oxford 7 Theater.

Vietnam veteran Doug Moniaci, of Clarkston, was the guest speaker at Oxford's Memorial Day observance in Centennial Park. He told stories of two comrades killed in action – Jim Davis and Steven Kenoffel.

Ashleigh Bryant, a 2001 OHS graduate and U.S. Marine veteran, is working for the Disabled American Veterans as the assistant national director of communication.

Using the splash pad at Seymour Lake Township Park will now cost Oxford kids $1 per visit. The new charge is designed to help offset rising operational costs.

June 5

Oxford High School freshman Megan Marie Abbott committed suicide in a wooded area just south of OHS. She was 15 years old.

Citizens are being invited to attend three workshops regarding the proposed concept of creating a multiuse adventure park centered around ORV use on the 1,200-acre Koenig Sand & Gravel property in Oxford.

Oxford resident Mildred Pocock celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends at Independence Village of Waterstone.

The Oxford Village Council voted 3-2 to approve a significantly-reduced DDA budget that includes funding the director position on a full-time basis until Dec. 31.

The Oxford Village Council approved a $6.069 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year. The property tax rate will remain at 10.62 mills.

June 12

A total of 259 tickets will go on sale for a special July 2 sneak preview of Disney's new Lone Ranger movie at the Oxford 7 Theater.

Kingsbury Country Day School in Addison Township will officially close its doors as an independent private school on June 30. It will reopen July 1 as a charter public school.

In order to balance the budget, Oxford school district teachers and administrators agreed to take pay cuts across the board based on student population growth next year.

The Oxford Village Council changed its mind and voted 3-2 to eliminate the DDA director position from the 2013-14 budget. That means Madonna Van Fossen will be out of a job as of July 1.

Karey Collins, co-owner of Merge Studio & Gallery, is looking to purchase the old grain elevator at 33 Pleasant St. and move her art-based business there.

Oxford-Orion FISH celebrated its 40th anniversary.

June 19

The Oxford school district is considering sending a bus to Pontiac to pick up charter school students who wish to attend OHS as freshmen in the fall.

Oxford Township officials voted to dramatically increase building fees as of Jan. 1 because the current fees do not cover the cost of operating the building department.

Former Oxford resident and World War II veteran Robert Parenti received France's highest honor. He was appointed to the rank of Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honor.

The National Football League Foundation donated $200,000 to pay off the private debt on the synthetic blue football field at OHS.

June 26

A sizeable portion of Romeo resident Dale Lopus' Lone Ranger memorabilia collection is now on display at the Northeast Oakland Historical Museum in downtown Oxford.

Steve Stoll, owner of the Oxford-based Hi-Hill Lawn Service, wants Polly Ann Trail Manager Juliane Bagley to retract the allegedly defamatory statements she made about him and his company at a previous trail meeting.

Oxford resident Connie Miller is coordinating a good deeds contest to coincide with all the Lone Ranger-related festivities in town. The prize is a genuine silver bullet made by local jeweler Mark A. Young.

Don't miss Part II of The Year in Review 2013 in next week's edition.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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