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Barnett highlights development, business &Tigers
State of the Township acknowledges team spirit

March 26, 2014

Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett packed the Orion Center Wednesday morning his State of the Township Address, focusing on teamwork. He left the audience with a quote by LO Football Coach Chris Bell: "Enjoy cheering on your teammate more than you do yourself and watch what happens."
By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

Orion Township's "Bat Boy" delivered the State of the Township Address, along with nachos, hot-dogs and Detroit Tiger quips on Wednesday morning, commemorating the township and the Tiger's home opener next week.

Supervisor Chris Barnett, bat boy for the Orion Township 2014 starting lineup, pitched a fast one, highlighting as many community members as he could fit into his Tigers presentation.

Lyndon, "the Governor" Potter, Orion's second basemen and student at Stadium Elementary, introduced Barnett to nearly 150 community guests who attended the Orion Center 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Chris "Slim" Barnett introduced each of Team Orion's key players, only a small part of the Orion community who make the township what it is, he said.  

"We have the luxury of being in one of the best counties in the country," Barnett said, noting Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's business initiatives in the community.

"This is Brook's favorite number," Barnett said, referring to $2.6 billion.

In emerging sector business there have been 250 companies since 2004 that have invested $2.6 billion in Oakland County, those he referred to as "knowledge-based businesses."

Barnett also introduced The Township Youth Council, Orion's '"farm club" in the scheme of the game, and highlighted their student-led initiatives, including movie-nights at Wildwood Theatre this summer, and farmers plots.

One thing Barnett is very excited about is the community garden, coming to green-thumbs this summer at Friendship Park. Four by eight foot plots are already being built.

Susan "the undisputed champ" Kruger was Orion's 1st basemen in Barnett's lineup. Kruger of Lake Orion recently won Oakland County Executive's Elite 40 under 40, awarded for her exceptional impact on the local community and in her field as president/CEO of local business SOAR Learning, INC.  

Barnett introduced Orion's 3rd basemen Nikhil "put a spell on it" Dwibhashyam, the Scripps Middle School eighth grader who won the Oakland Press Regional Spelling Bee in early February on the word "satyr."

During his presentation Barnett asked Dwibhashyam to step forward and spell "hegemony." Dwibhashyam asked for the definition,"leadership predominance," before perfectly spelling out "the predomination of one nation of others."

That's when Barnett brought up Orion's leadership dominance.

"We have two awesome projects that are out of the ground, and many more that are ready to start," Barnett said referring to construction sites at Pulte Holmes and Heron Springs. 

In 2010 there were 22 building permits for new residential construction. In 2011 the township had 44. In 2012 building permits increased to 75, and by 2013 Barnett counted 162 permits.

Good news for residents, he said, was the speed and rates at which houses were selling. From data collected in 2010, houses sold within 99 days of putting them on the market.  In 2013, it took 24 days on average for an example neighborhood.

House values are on the rise, too, which grew from $226,000 in 2010 to $392,000 last year.

Ken "the synergizer" Nuss was Orion's Designated Hitter, and co-star of a video included in Barnett's presentation at Orion Oaks for the "Leader in Me" program. Barnett asked students about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People developed by author Stephen, R. Covey. Barnett also asked students if they knew what a township supervisor does.

No one knew.

So, Barnett let them know with a little follow-up video of his own.

Jaclyn "the artist" Priebe is the right-fielder and is Orion Township's Regional Arts and Culture Award recipient for her dedication to Team Alayna. She sang the National Anthem beautifully to get the game started.

Jaclyn Priebe worked with her mother Dawn Priebe and other honorable Orion people to raise $29,000 for Alayna "warrior princess" Zalac's medical expenses and new first-floor bedroom upon moving home in March.

Barnett also broke the news about the new all-accessible playground the township is fundraising with partner Sister Souls Inc. of Lake Orion. Kimberly Casper of Sister Souls and Barnett's goal is to raise $50,000 to start building the playground at Friendship Park in July, just to the left of the newly constructed Dragon's Den play structure.

Barnett highlighted many other Orion team players, including "Zander "can't wait to play" Schons, Orion's left-fielder, and only one of the many local kids the all-accessible playground will benefit;

Barnett stressed that these aren't the only team players of Orion, which is growing in part because of the community's dedication to each other.

Barnett also highlighted the township's relationships with Crank's Catering and Beaumont Health System who recently partnered with the Orion Center to help boost revenues, and new jobs coming to the township via up and coming businesses.

To view the full reenactment of Barnett's township address, log onto