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Northville’s News and Lifestyle Magazine

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SUPPORT THE ‘VILLE I started The ‘Ville because I felt our community needed a publication focused on … our community.


APRIL 2018

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Unlike traditional magazines, however, we do not charge a subscription fee. We mail directly to every household and business in Northville, because that model offers our advertisers the best bang for their buck. And advertising is ultimately what pays the bills. Building an advertising base takes time and persistence. So, in the meantime, your financial support will help us get over the hump, and insure local journalism is here to stay. Send us $5, $10, $20 or any amount you can, and we will list your name in upcoming issues as being a supporter of The ‘Ville and local journalism. Because LOCAL matters. Please send checks, cash or lucky charms to: Journeyman Publishing 16435 Franklin Northville, MI 48168

Kurt Kuban is an award-winning journalist, having served as a reporter and editor for several local newspapers and magazines, including The Northville Record, over the course of a career spanning more than two decades. Kurt lives in Northville with his wife, Cheryl, and their three children, who all attend Northville Public Schools.

CRAIG WHEELER – Creative Director

Craig has been in the creative industry for over 25 years. He has developed a diverse background in that time, but publication design has been his passion during the past 16 years. Craig enjoys cycling, running, wine tasting, his beloved Boston Terrier and an unhealthy addiction to movies.

JOHN HEIDER – Photographer/Writer

John Heider, 53, was the The Northville Record and Novi News photographer from 1996 until 2017. He lives in Ann Arbor and enjoys fishing, hunting, gardening, cooking, feature writing, woodworking projects and the symphony.


Michele Fecht is a longtime journalist whose first post-college reporter position was at The Northville Record before moving on to The Detroit News. A 30-plus year resident of the City of Northville and historic (old) house owner, she is an author, researcher, local history enthusiast, and community activist/advocate.

Thank you!




Here is a list of people who contributed to local journalism last month. We appreciate your support! Gail and Richard Bazzy Laurie and Marshall Blondy Patricia Davis Alayne and Charles Gelletly Kirt Manecke Carol McLaughlin Kathy and Scott Morris Joseph Nance Irene Petroski

KURT KUBAN – Editor/Publisher

Diane Pittaway Mary Kay Price Ronald and Susan Rozanski Jim and Lois Salley Robin and Carl Schleh Ramona Saurer Carolyn E. Toyer Theresa and Kenneth Whise Margaret Zonca

ADVERTISE The ‘Ville is mailed directly to every address in Northville – nearly 21,000 in all. To advertise contact us at:

Wensdy graduated with a degree in journalism from Wayne State University. Her first job was working as a reporter for The Northville Record. Now, as a freelance writer and editor, she works for a variety of magazines, and is excited to get back to her roots in The ‘Ville. -Photo by Kathleen Voss


Maria has edited Michigan History and The Active Learner magazines and reported for The Northville Record, Novi News, and Farmington Observer. She lives in Farmington and, as a self-avowed history nerd, routinely risks her life by standing in the middle of Grand River to take photos of old buildings.

P.A. RECH – Photojournalist

Photojournalist P.A. Rech ( has shot images around the world for news organizations and magazines, documenting life from urban strife to Capitol Hill. His editorial and corporate work is diverse, including: National Geographic; HOUR Detroit; Associated Press; CNN and others. When not on the streets, he’s out giving his all to the American Red Cross.

JENNY PEARSALL – Graphic Designer

Jenny has been in the design and print industry for more than 20 years, holding various positions in graphic design, large format and trade show graphics, print buying, production and print management. One of her favorite memories is working for Colorquik Graphix in the historic Water Wheel building in downtown Northville.

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The ‘Ville is a product of Journeyman Publishing, which assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information. Any form of reproduction of any content in this publication without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Comments are welcome at

A View From The ‘Ville

‘Water Wheel’ building a Blueprint for Success A few years back I interviewed Chris Johnson, Northville’s longest serving mayor, who remembered the days, in the 1960s and 1970s, when our town was down on its luck. It was a bleak time when downtown Northville was basically dead, filled with vacant buildings and not many visitors. “You could roll a bowling ball down Main Street in the middle of the day, and you wouldn’t have hit a soul,” Johnson told me at the time. Johnson, a 1973 graduate of Northville High School, credited two developments as being catalysts of the historic town’s revival. First was the passage in 1978 of the Mainstreet 78 plan and the creation of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), which has financed many of the physical improvements that we are familiar with today. The second, according to Johnson, came a few years later in 1994 when a manufacturer named Rick Cox came to town and purchased the old Ford Motor Company Valve Plant, which we all know now as the Water Wheel Centre. Johnson was the mayor when Cox bought the hulking, vacant building at 235 E. Main Street and remembers his initial conversations with Cox, who wanted to restore the Albert Kahn-designed building to its former glory when Henry Ford himself was a regular fixture. True to his word, Cox took great care and a keen interest in the building’s rehabilitation.

Today the “Water Wheel” building is undeniably one of Northville’s jewels. I had the opportunity to finally take a tour of the building a couple weeks ago and was ‘wowed’ by Cox’s efforts. The 20,000 square foot building that dates back to 1936 is home to about a dozen tenants, ranging from Planet Fitness to an internationally-acclaimed architectural firm, and houses more than a hundred jobs, including many well-paid The owner of the Water Wheel Centre has purchased this former professionals. Studebaker dealership at 200 S. Main Street. Johnson said the project spurred other investors to buildings around town that he has big plans for, come to town and rehabilitate other historic but isn’t quite ready to go public with yet. I’ve buildings. Shops were filled and life returned. seen some of his plans, and frankly they are pretty Downtown began to look like what it does today, amazing. Let’s hope they come to fruition. still possessing the timeliness and charm that we Cox’s approach is quite different from others all love. we have recently reported upon who want to Fortunately, Cox is not done. His company tear down historic buildings because they think just purchased the Stitching Post building at 200 the dirt they rest upon is more valuable. But, in S. Main Street, which was the former Petz Bros. reality, all they are doing is taking advantage of an Studebaker dealership. While it doesn’t look like economic climate created by visionaries like Rick much today, the building is located at one of the Cox who realized Northville’s history is a great gateways into the downtown. Cox plans to rehab foundation for future success. the building so it is a showpiece. Kurt Kuban is editor of The ‘Ville. He welcomes He’s also got his eyes on a couple other historic your feedback at

Your Voice – Letters


NHS students ‘walked out’ for change

Iconic water wheel to keep on turnin’


Survey team digs deep into Historic District


Officials say MSP shutting down gun range Robostangs learn important life skills



22 High School Confidential: Charity Week 24 Out & About – Community Calendar 26 Past Tense: Tracking down historic photos


Beloved NHS choir teacher bidding adieu Cover image by P.A. Rech (


It’s Your Business – North Center Brewing Company Dishin’ with Denise: Bring on Spring

32 The ‘Ville 3


Your Voice

Our History Makes Us Special I am a returning Northville resident. Our family moved to Northville in 1964, a time when all the kids referred to the town as “Northhole.” I often tell people we lived in Northville before Northville was cool. Little did I appreciate the quiet, historical character of our town. I moved back to our family home on Rayson Street a little over a year ago, and can fully appreciate keeping the history that makes our town special.

I am absolutely against letting the owner tear down the historic structure at 341 E. Main Street. The owner knew it was a historical building and should have done better due diligence on structural issues before purchasing the building. The Historical District Commission should adhere to their beliefs of preserving historical buildings, not caving to ensure parties make money. JACQUELINE DOBSON Northville

Feature Stories about History I just finished the latest copy of The ‘Ville and loved all of it. I especially LOVE the history articles you publish and hope you Dr. William H. Yarnall do more of them. I think (Yarnall Estate Collection. people really are interested All rights reserved.) in the “past” of Northville, as much as the present and future. GUY BARDSLEY Northville

Oasis of Journalism In the sea of digital media The ‘Ville is a refreshing oasis of local print journalism. I enjoy the local down home feel and the variety of topics you cover. What a wonderful gem you’ve created. I hope it flourishes and grows. Keep up the good work! RICH BAZZY Northville

Provide Swimming I have a suggestion for a parks and rec offering: adult lap swim somewhere (perhaps at the high school). I swim all winter at Novi Sports Club, but come the summer months there is basically no lap swim available there. I would love to be able to get a daily workout in a pool somewhere in Northville. We have an incredible amount of soccer fields, very few public basketball courts, and no public pools. It is frustrating. J. BISCIOTTI Northville

SOUND OFF 4 The ‘Ville

341 E. Main Street . Photo by Maria Taylor

No Negativity Thank you for The ‘Ville. We, too, dropped our newspaper subscription. It is pleasant to read a publication so apolitical, so informative, and so centered on our Northville area. We appreciate the broad coverage that embraces the interests of the young as well as the not so young and, most importantly, that there is no negativity. You are exploring our community and allowing us to know so much more about it. Please continue. CLARK & JACKIE LAWRENCE Northville

Protect Natural Lands

With growing development and population in and around Northville we will need more wonderful places like Maybury State Park to preserve the character of this amazing area and positively impact children’s and adults’ health. What about starting an effective nonprofit land conservancy similar to Little Traverse Conservancy (based in Harbor Springs, MI) right here in Northville? This would balance important economic development with the preservation of natural lands, working farms, wildlife and clean water in Northville and surrounding regions for current and future generations. Some landowners want to preserve their land, but are not aware of available options. If you are interested in putting an action group together to discuss ways to start this please email me at KIRT MANECKE Works in Northville

A group of wild turkeys cross Eight Mile near Maybury State Park. Photo by John Heider

Please submit your letters by emailing Editor Kurt Kuban at Letters must be 150 words or less. We reserve the right to edit all letters.

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NHS students ‘walked out’ to protest gun violence By Rachel Winfield


or 12 years the Northville High School Class of 2018 has practiced variations of lockdown drills. As school shootings become more frequent, the severity of the drills has also increased. Whether you believe in gun control, better mental health policy, stronger background checks, or even more guns are the solution, nobody can deny

that children dying, math books in hand, is an issue of immense importance. It should not be normal that kids need to have a mental plan for escaping their schools. It should not be normal that we are expected to throw protractors and paintbrushes instead of learning how to use them. It should not be normal for 15 kids and two adults from

Florida, who are just like us, to be killed in a sanctuary of learning. We chose to walk out because we cannot support a system that fails to keep us safe any longer. “That could have been us,” said Sophia Kenward, noting the reason she joined the walkout. Similar to the Freedom Riders of the sixties and our Founding Fathers, we have

If we want to see change, we have to be a part of that change. KIRSTEN LAM Senior

6 The ‘Ville

More than 300 Northville High School students walked out of class on March 14, joining other students from around the nation to protest gun violence. The students assembled in the track area, and listened as the organizers read aloud the names of the students and teachers murdered a month earlier at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The students urged each other to register to vote, and get active politically. found our issue to champion. We were not content with simply retweeting “RIP Parkland” and never thinking about this tragedy again. So we organized. After countless text messages from concerned students about the possibility of a student walkout, a meeting was arranged with NHS Principal Tony Koski. If we were going to engage in this protest we were going to do it the right way, and wanted to have the most communication with the faculty as possible. Everyone had their own significant reason to support the walkout, and we did our best to make sure all opinions were heard and respected. For some of us the connection to Parkland truly hit home. “I chose to walk out because two friends of mine attend MSD (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School), and I never want to be afraid for the lives of my friends or myself while in school ever again,” said Sam Tabaczynski.

For others like senior Kirsten Lam, the decision to walk out was rooted in political activism. “If we want to see change, we have to be a part of that change. When the people in power don’t work for the good of humanity, we must use our power of voice to change humanity for ourselves. The forefront of political and social movements

has always been young people, and every kid that walked out on March 14 is an example of just that.” Those of us who walked out were there to remember the 17 lives lost in Florida. The harder question is what can be done to prevent future tragedies. We just know something has to change.

“The walkout for me was acting more as a tribute to honor those students and faculty in Florida that had been murdered by one of their own. It was to signify a nation united as a memorial for those lives lost that day, a way of showing humanitarianism and respect,” said senior Megan Hotchkin. While we all have different

solutions to the issue of gun violence in America, we the students of Northville High School, are united in being the change. Rachel Winfield is a senior at Northville High School.

Keepon Turnin’ By Maria Taylor

Iconic water wheel to get new lease on life


hen Rick Cox bought the old Ford Valve Plant at 235 E. Main Street back in 1994 for his manufacturing company, he thought it was a really cool historic building with a lot of potential. What he didn’t expect was a call from the Northville city manager at the time, Gary Word. “Are you going to keep the water wheel turning?” Cox remembers Word asking. He was referring, of course, to the iconic water wheel designed in 1936 by legendary architect Albert Kahn as part of the former Ford factory, located at Main and Griswold. Initially, Cox wasn’t sure. After all, there really wasn’t a financial incentive to keep the water wheel functioning. But he latched onto the idea pretty quickly. “I caught the same ‘iconic’ bug as the rest of Northville,” he laughed. And the wheel has turned almost 24/7 since then – except in winter, when it sits at rest, waiting for

8 The ‘Ville

the ice to melt. But the same winter weather that gives the wheel a season-long reprieve has also contributed to its decay. Over his two decades of ownership, Cox has completed his fair share of repair projects on the wheel, including replacing lots of special ball bearings and buckets, which fill with water and turn the wheel. Much of the wheel has rusted away, easily noticed by passersby. So Cox decided to replace the wheel, which he will be installing this spring. It’s become a labor of love for a man who started his career working as an engineer for Ford Motor Co. It seems appropriate, considering the wheel itself started off as Henry Ford’s pet project. HENRY FORD’S WHEEL “He (Ford) used the water wheel to power up the plant, which was kind of a unique thing in those days,” said Christopher Johnson, who

served as Northville’s mayor when Cox purchased the old factory. “Because of its uniqueness, he would come by to check on it, and he was spotted around town.” Water Wheel Centre owner Rick Cox The wheel measures 19½ feet in diameter but because the building was and 7 feet wide and weighs located in the historic district, it 22,000 pounds. Back in the day, couldn’t be torn down without it ran a 30-horsepower engine good cause. that helped service the valve “They finally backed off, plant. Although it is located but then it was ‘We’re going to next to a pond, the wheel punish you,’ so it was empty doesn’t use water from that for years. They kind of walked source. The water comes from a away from it: minimal heat, oil aqueduct that runs beneath the spills on the floor, not in great building. condition,” Johnson said. The valve plant closed in By the time Cox came along, 1986. According to Johnson the building was mostly empty. Ford wanted to demolish the The paint was peeling, and most building and build new condos, of its 9,000 windows were either

water,” he “It’s just the one section that said. So the is bad,” he explained. wheel was Of the 60 buckets total on shut down the wheel, only 12 are damaged again while – but it’s getting a full facelift they ordered just the same. This time, 60 new the buckets were made by buckets from Globe Tech Manufacturing, a a company company in Plymouth. They’re in southeast stainless steel and thicker than Michigan the last set – and they’re also that made removable, in case they need buckets for a repair or replacement. similar water Installing the buckets wheel on a takes several days: taking out This 30-horsepower engine was once powered by the water wheel and helped service the valve plant. Ford plant in one section, putting in a new Tecumseh. section, bolting it down, and broken or painted shut. Still, the water wheel is “We thought we were set for rotating the wheel. The new “It’s really one of the most what most people identify the the next 50 years,” Cox said. Not buckets have been sitting on the historic buildings in the building with. so. While the buckets worked shop floor since last year – Cox downtown, and Rick Cox “It’s just one of those images for a while, within 11 years joked that his manufacturer did such a good job with the from Northville that’s been they, too, began to fail. Upon is itching to get them out of renovation” Johnson said. “He there for so long, and it’s sort of investigation, Cox realized there – but he’s had to wait for really kept the whole flavor of become synonymous with the that the metal they’d been the ice and snow to melt and the the building.” look of the city and what it feels manufactured from was about ground to dry out a bit. The building renovations like,” said Johnson. half the thickness of the original With the renovations were done in multiple stages: buckets. complete, Cox expects the first the manufacturing space, RUSTY BUCKETS Plus, there was the problem wheel to last another 75-100 and then space for tenants. It’s part of the community, of winter. To improve balance, more years. Cox’s design consultants kept too. Even when the building was Cox had installed a weight “I told my 5½-year-old a lot of the original elements, empty, Ford had continued to so that the wheel would stop grandson, ‘When you’re 80, you including the radiators, brick, pay a maintenance worker to in the same place. So every may have to redo it,’” Cox said. steel beams and the original grease the ball bearings on the winter, when the wheel stopped, He laughed, then added, “I’ll poured cement floors. They water wheel so it could keep the same side was always leave him the prints.” even developed a method to turning smoothly. When Cox underwater. mount double-glazed windows bought the building, that task into the historic window fell to him – and he sometimes frames, preserving the historic had to stop the wheel if he look while upgrading the energy planned on traveling and efficiency. wouldn’t be around to grease it. Ultimately, Cox decided to “Occasionally, the wheel would rent out all the space and move be stopped for a week or so, and his manufacturing operations I would get a call from the city to a facility in Plymouth. The manager, asking why the wheel Water Wheel Centre, as the was not working,” he said. old factory is now called, has In the fall of 2004, Cox been completely leased out started getting phone calls for since 2009, he said. It houses another reason: Water buckets a gym, a Taekwondo studio, were falling off the wheel. and the offices for a large “This time, we discovered international architecture that the bucket sections of the firm, among others. More than wheel had rusted through in Sections of the new wheel are ready to be assembled once the ground at the Water 100 professionals work in the many places, causing them to Wheel Centre hardens up. building, Cox said. fall from the wheel into the

The ‘Ville 9

Preserving Our Past

Architectural historian Katie Remensnyder was out in Northville’s Historic District photographing more than 300 properties.

photographing each property. This is where Michigan’s long, cold and snowy winter has challenged field workers. Because each property is photographed from the street or public sidewalk, standards for the Historic District Study Report require the ground be visible to gain a clear understanding of the building or site setting. “The state office requires that photographs not contain snow,” said Elaine Robinson, senior architectural historian and project team leader, adding

State-funded survey digs deep into Northville’s Historic District By Michele Fecht


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10 The ‘Ville

historical and architectural information to help in local planning as well as completion of a new National Register of Historic Places nomination to update the data in the federal register. Part of the methodology used for the survey includes



now can be a lovely backdrop for taking photos of winter landscapes. As a scene setter for taking photographs of historic structures? Not so much. Since its kick-off public meeting March 1 to outline the process for a new City of Northville Historic District Survey — and yes, that day was a “winter bomb cyclone” trifecta of rain, sleet and snow — the team of architectural historians at Commonwealth Heritage Group has been wrestling with Mother Nature. The Dexter-based cultural resource management firm is conducting an intensivelevel survey of Northville’s Historic District, encompassing 144 acres with up to 343 properties including residential structures, parks, commercial and public buildings (churches and schools), factories / mill complexes and utility structures. The survey will culminate in a Historic District Study Report providing new

that while the original start date for imaging was the first week in March, cold temperatures kept remaining snow on the ground for weeks. Imaging field work finally was under way March 20 with a 5-to-10 day window for photographing all 343 properties. The survey, funded through a $30,400 grant from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), is the first study of the district since 1972 when a partial survey of 61 structures was conducted. That survey

µ 1 inch = 400 feet Geographical data provides a spatial representation only. The City of Northville and Northville Township do not assume any damages or liabilities due to the accuracy, availability, use or misuse of the information provided. PU BL IC AT IO N D ATE : J ANUARY 24, 2018

contains information on what time,” Robinson said. were considered the city’s most Jim Allen, chair of significant historic buildings in Northville’s Historic District 1972, before current standards Commission, echoed for historic surveys were Robinson’s remarks noting that developed. the city often doesn’t have the The 1972 survey established metrics to determine whether the district’s original a structure is contributing or boundaries and succeeded in non-contributing. having the district entered The survey methods will in the National Register of follow procedures in SHPO’s Historic Places. In January Manual for Historical and 1974, the Architectural Northville Surveys in City Council Michigan. In adopted the addition to The City of Northville’s website is chockfull of information about the Northville field work, Northville Historic District and the Historic there also will current Historic District Survey under District be extensive way by Commonwealth Heritage Ordinance, research on Group. For information, visit the establishing the history city’s website at regulations of each and procedures property, for properties whether its For questions about the Historic within the contributing District Survey or to share information about a property in the historic or nonNorthville Historic District, please district. contributing, email: Historicsurvey@ci.northville. In 2007, and a a revision completed was made to inventory correct the use of a 200-foot form with details ranging from beyond the boundary clause in the year a structure was built to the earlier survey. its architectural style, integrity Of the 61 properties in the and historical significance. And original survey, only four are current photographs . . . without not residential structures. snow. Just two commercial buildings Unless significant history is are cited as well as the First easily identified, no research Baptist Church and Oakwood beyond the date of construction Cemetery. Virtually the whole will be conducted for any of the downtown commercial properties less than 40 years district is not included. old, which account for only 10Robinson emphasized that 15 percent of the properties in filling in the gaps is a critical the district. piece of the current survey. Research will include the use Paramount to the survey of city directories, newspapers, will be establishing a period tax assessor records, local of significance for the archives, maps and other district, which will then help resources. The consultants are determine whether structures hoping owners of structures are contributing or nonwithin the historic district will contributing. share their information with “It allows people to look the city. Each surveyed property at the resource with a lens of will be evaluated for historic

Get Involved

significance based on the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation. So why wait nearly 47 years to conduct another historic survey? For several years, the City of Northville worked through a process to become a Certified Local Government (CLG). The program, jointly administered by the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office, awards grants to CLG communities to support preservation efforts. The city was finally awarded CLG status in 2015. Today, only 30 municipalities across Michigan are CLG communities, including the Charter Township of Northville. Sally Elmiger, a city planning consultant, noted that Northville initially applied for the historic district survey grant through the CLG program in 2016, but was not successful. It reapplied last year and was awarded the grant in June. Initially awarded as a matching grant with the City of Northville paying a percentage of the approximately $30,000 cost, the city learned in March that due to project funding changes, SHPO increased its portion of the grant and agreed to cover the entire cost of the survey. Though Commonwealth Heritage Group was awarded the contract for the survey in October, it needed to be reviewed by SHPO before the project could get under way. In keeping with state legislation, the city council in January appointed a Local Historic District Study Committee to serve as liaisons between the city and the consultants. The committee members include Jim Allen and David Field from the Historic District

Katie Remensnyder doing field work on Dunlap Street.

Commission; Leanie Bayley and Mark Chester from the Northville Historical Society; architect Robert Miller; downtown property owner Suzanne Cozart and residentat-large Jeff Russell. The consultants and the study committee are scheduled to discuss the first draft of the report at a public meeting in June. Robinson noted that the timeline for the survey is extremely tight with all work to be completed by September. At the conclusion of the project, Robinson said the city’s historic district will be in compliance with updated enabling legislation, and will provide city planners more information about why something is historic so better decisions can be made during the review process. “A lot of what we do is tell your story, and be able to defend it,” she said. “It forces people to look at things with new eyes.” Longtime Northville Historic District Commissioner Tom Gudritz shared Robinson’s assessment noting that the survey is “something we have needed for a long time. “What the study will do is help us define what is historic and what is a contributing resource in Northville,” he said. “It will give us a much better definition of who we are.”

The ‘Ville 11


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A Lakes of Northville homeowner said his window was shattered by a bullet in October.

REPORT: State Police Shutting Down Gun Range Township officials hail decision a ‘home run’ for residents By Maria Taylor


t the March 15 Northville Township Board of Trustees meeting, Director of Public Safety Todd Mutchler announced that the controversial Michigan State Police gun range on Seven Mile will be closing down permanently this spring – a move that township officials have been advocating for years. The gun range borders the Lakes of Northville subdivision, where residents say stray rounds have struck houses and sent one man running in fear for his life. The latest report took place last October, when resident Bill Sivy said a bullet shattered one of his windows, half a mile from the range. That same day, Aron Crews said he was walking in the wooded area between Sivy’s house and the range when he heard gunfire and then heard several bullets whizzing by his head. In October 2016, bullets struck two separate houses a block south on Waterfall Road, breaking the back windows. No one was hurt in any of the incidences, but the issue

14 The ‘Ville

galvanized area residents to start a petition drive and take their case to Lansing. The gun range is on MSP property and is exempt from local control; only MSP themselves or an order from state government can shut it down. MSP has denied that the bullets were linked to the range, although many local residents are certain that’s the case.

Colbeck was “a big help” in getting the decision pushed through. “He had several meetings with the HOAs (homeowners associations) bordering the range and took the results to Lansing, where he spoke to officials with the state police. Obviously it convinced them of the need to relocate,” Snider said.

Metro North and Metro South posts, made the decision to move the range to Selfridge because it would be more practical for MSP’s use. Deasy did not return our calls for comment as of press time. “There’s been a change in leadership at the captain position,” said Mutchler, who attended a meeting in March with MSP leadership and

I think they took a look at everything that was occurring, and also recognized that Northville Township continues to grow, and I think they shared our concerns about the activity in and around the area.” Todd Mutchler, Northville Township Director of Public Safety Northville Township Manager Chip Snider called the closing “a home run” for the area. “We’ve been trying for years to get it closed,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the state police decision and with their cooperation.” Snider said Sen. Patrick

The range will be used one final time, this spring, for MSP officers to recertify with their handguns, said Snider. After that, MSP firearm training will be moved to Selfridge Air Force Base, near Mount Clemens. Mutchler said Captain Tom Deasy, commander of the MSP’s

was informed of the decision. “I think they took a look at everything that was occurring, and also recognized that Northville Township continues to grow, and I think they shared our concerns about the activity in and around the area.”


248 348 0496 | 422 East Main Street, Northville, MI 48167

I will miss the kids. Making music with them over the years has been pure joy and an incredible experience. I have been so blessed.”


Beloved NHS choir teacher bidding adieu after 40 years

Story by Kurt Kuban and Photos by P.A. Rech

When Mary Kay Pryce was reassigned to Northville High School in 1982 to take over the school’s choir program after having spent her first five years teaching music at the elementary level, there wasn’t much interest in the program. In fact, there wasn’t much of a program at all. “There were only seven kids enrolled in the choir program when I got there,” said Pryce. “We didn’t have a room for choir. We didn’t have uniforms. We didn’t have anything. It really was a fledgling program.” Pryce remembers nearly having to beg students to get involved that first year, ultimately convincing 17 kids to take part. Every year thereafter, however, it got a little easier as she began to establish the program.

16 The ‘Ville

What a difference nearly four decades of passion and leadership can make. Today, the NHS choir program is one of the best in the state, routinely winning awards and accolades. And Pryce no longer has to beg kids to join. There are more than 450 NHS students singing choir this year, an incredible number when you consider where the program came from. There is little doubt that Pryce has been the driving force – the conductor if you will

-- behind the program’s success and popularity. Like all great songs, however, Pryce’s teaching career will soon come to an end. She is retiring at the conclusion of the current school year. Using the power of music and an enthusiastic approach to teaching, Pryce has connected with thousands of students over her career. As she prepares to bid adieu to Northville High, she has been going over her records and estimates more than 5,000 students have gone

through the choir program since she started. UNLIKELY LANDING SPOT Pryce grew up in Detroit and graduated from Cass Tech High School before moving on to Wayne State University. Her first job offer after college came from some school district in a place called Northville, which she had never heard of before. “When they told me Northville, I said ‘where?’ They told me it was near Livonia, which I was a little familiar with,” Pryce said. So, in 1977, Pryce began teaching music at various Northville elementary schools, before being transferred to the high school five years later. At the time, Pryce never imagined

she would end up finishing her career in Northville, a community she feels so blessed to have been a part of. Pryce loved the town so much, she and her husband, Wayne, moved to town and have lived in Northville for 32 years. Both of their children – Kati and Steve – grew up in the community and graduated from Northville High. During the last four decades, Pryce has been a fixture in the NHS auditorium, having overseen some 36 musicals, her students wowing crowds with their polish, skills and passion. That’s because the students buy in to her program and give their all. Take it from Beth Richert, who has worked with Pryce as both a student and a colleague. Richert, a 1997 NHS grad, sang choir as a student and then a little more than a decade later came back to her alma

mater to teach. She, along with Mark Krempski, currently help Pryce run the choir program. Richert described Pryce as a driving force in her taking up the teaching profession. “She mentored me to pursue my goal to become a music teacher,” said Richert. “When I got hired in 2009 to come back and work with my mentor it was a momentous occasion for me.” Richert is not alone. Many of Pryce’s students have gone on to have careers either teaching music or in the music industry in some capacity. Richert said the reason is pretty simple – Pryce just connects with students and is able to transfer her passion for music. “She cares more deeply about high school students than anyone I’ve ever met. And they feel it. She inspires them,” Richert said.

AN INSPIRATION One of those students is NHS senior Winter Graham, who is actually a second generation Mary Kay Pryce student. “She was my dad’s elementary teacher,” Graham said. Graham knows firsthand how Pryce brings the most out of students. Mary Kay Pryce at Northville High in 1989. Graham didn’t even take up choir until her community events. sophomore year, but due to “She understands her kids Pryce’s encouragement, she so much more than other got more and more involved, teachers. She has a high level of and today is a member of the compassion and is able to relate Girls’ Ensemble, Chorale, to her students. She makes and TrebleMakers, a select everyone feel special,” Graham ensemble that performs at said. school concerts, pep assemblies, Parents have also taken music festivals and at notice of the influence Pryce has had on their children. “I know that my two sons loved every minute they were able to spend with her,” said Northville resident Julie Mantey. “She was able to connect in such a special way with all of the choir students while at the same time developing them and giving them such an appreciation for music. She has been a real gift to the Northville community.” Mantey, her sons, and many other NHS choir alumni are looking forward to attending a special concert planned for June 9 at Northville High that will honor Pryce. Richert, who is helping plan the retirement party/concert (dubbed the MKP Mic Drop), says it is going to be a special night, and will bring Pryce’s career full circle. “Lots of people are coming

Mary Kay Pryce leads one of her choir classes in song.

Curtain continued on page 18

The ‘Ville 17

Curtain continued from page 17

‘A CALLING’ Pryce isn’t retiring because back to talk about Mary Kay she doesn’t have passion for and to sing. It’s going to be a the job anymore. Rather, she is celebration of her 40 years. It following a different path that is will be like a family reunion,” tugging at her heart. She plans she said. to volunteer in Detroit, in her Richert said the party is old neighborhood, doing oneopen to the public, and she on-one ministry with teens and encourages all of Pryce’s former children, something she is very students to attend, especially passionate about. if they want to contribute old “It is a calling. That’s why I’m photos or stories. retiring. It’s not because I don’t like the job anymore. I want to do this while I still have the energy to do SPRING CONCERT it and know When: May 16 and May 17 at 7 p.m. I can make a More info: difference,” MARY KAY PRYCE RETIREMENT CONCERT Pryce said. When: Saturday, June 9 from 6-9 p.m. When Where: Northville High School Auditorium asked what More info: Email Beth Richert at richerbe@ she will miss or find ‘MKP’s Mic Drop’ on Facebook. most after


retiring, Pryce doesn’t even hesitate. “I will miss the kids. Making music with them over the years has been pure joy and an incredible experience,” she said. “I have been so blessed.” So it is a bit of an understatement to say she is looking forward to the reunion concert and seeing her former

and current students making music together – one last time. “It is going to be a blast – a lot of revelry and levity. My only question is will the auditorium be big enough,” Pryce said. For more information about the Mary Kay Pryce retirement concert, contact Beth Richert at richerbe@northvilleschools. org.

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Northville High junior Rachel Reiz looks at some CAD engineering on a laptop in the school’s Robostangs’ lab.

‘The Hardest Fun You’ve Ever Had’ Story and Photos by John Heider

Successful Robostangs compete while learning important life skills


f you want to know what the future looks like all you need to do is visit Northville High’s room 132. There reside some of the future’s engineers, designers, machinists, computer programmers, public relations experts and sales consultants. Room 132 is home to the NHS Robostangs – the school’s award-winning robotics team, which has been building robots and competing with them all

over the country for the last 16 years. Over that span, the team has won many Great Lakes regional competitions and was even named the 2015 GM Team of the Year. While the team has earned plenty of success, it’s not just the banners and accomplishments that attract so many students to the team, which now numbers more than 70 members. Part of the lure is the opportunity to work with

Robostangs teammates Nikah Ganan (right) and Salil Nadkarni work together to record a promotional video for the online outreach efforts.

20 The ‘Ville

other enthusiastic students, as well as parents and mentors, to design and build challenging projects. In the process, they are utilizing a wide variety of skills that will certainly come in handy in their future careers. The robotics lab — a huge double-size room that the team has completely taken over -- is located on the lower level of the school’s east wing. During a recent visit, the place was a labyrinth of tables and shelves filled with power tools, assorted motors, batteries, machining tools in the process of bending connector rods, computers booted up to design parts, and practice spaces where their six foot-tall robots are put through the paces. About 15 students, two parent volunteers and a couple of returning alumni helping to mentor the team all make for a busy hive of activity. Robostangs team member Nikah Ganan is focused on the team’s business side. He helps organize the Robostangs’ accounting and promotional/

marketing efforts. He’s been involved with the team for the last three years, but he’d argue that he’s been in the Robostangs pipeline for the last six years or so as he got involved in the First Lego League -- a sort of early robotics group for elementary schoolers. “I like putting smiles on people’s faces and helping so many kids,” said Ganan, a NHS junior. He says the team even helped start a couple teams based in Hyderabad, India. “It’s so cool to give back in that way. To be able to mentor like when others helped me when I was a kid. I’m paying it forward,” Ganan said. Ganan lays out the team’s itinerary. This year there are two world competitions: one in Houston and the other in Detroit. According to Ganan, the Robostangs, who have a total of 74 students and 26 adult mentors, have six weeks to create a robot from a standard kit to which they’re allowed to add some parts and different designs to make it their own.

Robostangs teammates Dana Clafton (left) and Stephen Milojevic work on one of the group’s robots.

After a month and a half they have to “bag” the robot and not touch it until they enter it into a competition. Building a ‘bot or two is not a cheap endeavor. The team’s budget, according to Ganan, is about $50,000 a year and that includes sheet metal, wheels, parts, motors, tools used, travel expenses and the cost of entering competitions. General Motors, alone, gives $20,000 to the Robostangs. The team’s summer camp, which introduces kids to robotics, brings in some money, as well. Any thought that the Robostangs are just a bunch of kids dinking around with kit robots in between playing on their smartphones is dispelled pretty quickly when you talk to team members. Not only do they learn important skills, but it teaches them about being part of a team. Salil Nadkarni, a junior, who works on the team’s website, says being on the team has opened new doors for him at Northville High. “There’s a lot to learn,” he noted. “I was new to the school and it introduced me to a lot

of students and through it I’ve learned a lot on the fly. It’s kept me busy.” Manning a nearby laptop, as she organizes a practice schedule for the team, is Robotstang parent Sherri Zajner, mother of team member Jacob. Zajner has been business-mentoring the team for two years now and helps

bring in some of its funding via sponsorships and branding of items like T-shirts. Zajner noted the dichotomy of the robotics team -- that it’s not all highly planned and engineered precision. “They’re using technology and brute force in order to compete,” she said, noting being part of the team is “super fun.” Before returning to her computer design program Rachel Reiz sums up the team’s lure: “I’m one of the people that’s here the most, maybe 40 hours a week. So it’s a full-time job. But it’s the hardest fun you’ve ever had,” she said. “It exposes you to a whole lot of different fields.” The modest student then lists her abilities that would make most collegelevel engineers jealous. “I can design, rout, measure, create

pneumatics, engineer, 3-D print, and I even edited our robotics-reveal video,” said the senior. Reiz concludes that one of the benefits of being on Robostangs is getting to rub elbows with real-world companies that are designing and building transportation and robotics. “So you see how other companies are run and you can see what kind of companies you want to apply to once you’ve graduated.” The team will compete in the state championships April 11-14 at Saginaw Valley University. The season concludes with the world championships April 25-28 in Detroit. For more information about the Robostangs, visit http://

At left, Kurt Wigent (center) and his Robostangs teammates put their practice robot through some exercises. Above, Northville High School freshmen Jonathan Jackson (left) and Kevin Tracz team up to drill some holes in the metal frame on the freshman team robot.

The ‘Ville 21


Names & Faces Composite project puts focus on NHS graduates By Michele Fecht


he first were rescued in the 1970s from a dumpster behind Main Street Elementary School. Others were found in attics, wrapped in quilts under beds, even on a wall in a bar in Mancelona. For nearly three decades, Martha and Jim Nield have made it their mission to find and restore the images — primarily photographic composites — of Northville High School’s graduating classes dating back to 1869. To date, 108 Northville High School class photos have been restored, professionally digitized and custom framed. Gracing the hallways in the academic wing of Northville High School, the images represent a timeline of the district’s storied history.

The Class of 1914 composite.

22 The ‘Ville

For the Nields, the search and rescue mission is a labor of love, and they are undaunted in their search despite the years that have waned since the last class composite was found in 2011 by the grandson of the Class of 1917 president. The hunt continues for the Class of 1920 and the classes of 1903, 1904, 1906 and 1907. The Nields also are searching for a photograph of Alice Beal (Collins), Northville’s first and only graduate in the Class of 1869. Class photos or composites prior to 1900 may not exist, Martha explained. The earliest class photo found thus far has been the Class of 1901. The composite format — individual portraits with names listed beneath each image — first

The Class of 1917 composite, which is the last one found (in 2011), hangs with other class composites in the main academic wing at Northville High School.

appeared in 1910. Prior to that date, portraits of class members grouped together were more the fashion. A Northville High School Alumni Directory published in 2000 listing all classes from 1869 to 2000 has proven an invaluable resource for tracking students in each graduating class. It also notes years there were no graduating seniors: 1871, 1872, 1874, 1875, 1876 and 1884. RESCUED FROM DUMPSTER The Nields stumbled into the composite project in 1990 when Martha, a former president of the Northville Historical Society and then PTA Co-Council president, feared the sale of Northville

Charley’s restaurant on Seven Mile (now Rocky’s) could mean the disposal of the restaurants contents. At that time, Charley’s walls were filled with local high school memorabilia including the class composites. The composites on Northville Charley’s walls were the originals retrieved by Tom and Judith Sechler in the 1970s from the Main Street Elementary School dumpster, Martha noted, stating that the couple rescued only the clean, undamaged composites. The Sechlers had purchased and rebuilt the former Northville Coach Lines bus garage into The Tack Room restaurant in 1973. Two years later, Chuck Muer would buy the restaurant and rename it Northville Charley’s.

The damaged composites left behind in the dumpster by the Sechlers were retrieved by then Northville Historical Society President Jack Burkman, who stored them in the basement of the New School Church in Mill Race Historical Village, Martha noted. “It bothered me to see these photos at Northville Charley’s,” she said. “It bothered me to see the damaged composites stored in broken frames in the wet basement of the New School Church.” With hundreds of empty feet of wall space in the hallways of Northville High School — then located at Eight Mile and Center at what is today Hillside Middle School — Martha approached then principal Dave Bolitho about having the images returned to the high school. Bolitho sent a letter to the Northville Historical Society asking that the composites stored in the New School Church basement be displayed at the high school. Then the two NHSs — the Northville Historical Society and Northville High School —joined forces and approached the Northville Charley’s owners about returning the composites to the school district.

and framing. Copies were made of each composite with originals wrapped in archival paper and stored in a basement safe in the school district board office on Main Street — the same building where the original composites were retrieved from the dumpster in the 1970s. As composites were completed, they were placed in the hallways of the former high school on Center Street. All composites on display are copies; the Northville Historical Society maintains the originals. In 1994, the Nields sent letters to nearly 60 individuals and civic groups asking for donations to “restore the faces of the past for the students of the present and future.” To date, donations have been received from 19 individuals, nine graduating classes, memorials, Quester groups, the Northville Kiwanis, Northville Rotary and various Florida NHS reunion groups. In the summer of 2000, Jim Nield took on the Herculean task of moving and hanging all of the composites from the Center Street building to the then newly-constructed high school on Six Mile. In 2009, former Northville Historical Society archivist Heidi Nielsen arranged to have all of the original composites placed in the society’s off-site storage. There also are digital records of the originals. A NEW HOME Martha noted there has not been a single By 1992, the composites were secured incident of damage to any of the composites and moved to the high school where in all the years they have graced the high they were taken out of their frames and school walls. stored in archival paper. Graphic artist They are a source of interest to students, Joe Lapinski of Farmington took charge she said, and many class reunion groups of the cleaning, restoration, glass cutting spend time walking the academic wing to view composites of their class and those of family members. Some current students find images of grandparents or even greatgrandparents in the class composites. The names beneath many of the faces are familiar. Among them are Yerkes, The Class of 1911 in the “Seniorette” -- the precursor to the hardcover yearbooks Parmenter, Ambler, that started in 1921. It is the photo used in the 1911 class composite.

Dubuar, Thayer and Carpenter. In fact, several of these same names are among the graduates in the Class of 1920, the elusive composite that has stymied the Nields search for many years. Michele Fecht’s column Past Tense is a regular feature of The ‘Ville.


The following is a list of students in the missing Northville High School composites and/or class portraits. Anyone with information about the images or family contacts for the students listed can reach Martha Nield at (586) 918-7000.

Class of 1920

Gladys Black, Gibson Carpenter, Ruth Cattermole, Stuart Colf, Mary Ellen Fuller, Ethel Limpert, Helen Millard, Helen Miller, Genevieve Parmenter, Pauline Pickett, Margurite Stucey, George Wilcox, Gerald Woodworth.

Class of 1907

Grace Biery, Oril Chapman, Iva Chappell, Sarah Cohen, James Leavenworth, Hilda Merritt, Charles Miller, Hazel Palmer, Paul Penfield, Carol Schoultz.

Class of 1906

Forest Ball, Lora Bristol, Moses Cohen, Edna Erwin, Hazel Furman, Jennie Matson, Ethel Neelands, Mark Risner, Bessie Seeley, Charles Sessions, Mable Stark, Bert Welfare.

Class of 1904

Ethel Chapman, Genevieve Clark, Ethel Greenly, Ermah Greer, Minne Gyde, Mary Holt, Buddington Jones, Vera Lawrence, Clyde Lewis, Charles Matthews, Ethel Scott, Mary Slater.

Class of 1903

Estella Angell, Raymond Holcomb, Edwin Perrin, Charlotte Terrill, Shirlie Tinham. In addition to composites and class photos, other memorabilia such as graduation announcements or programs, early yearbooks and other Northville school-related items can be shared with the Northville Historical Society by contacting Archivist Paul Snyder at (248) 348-1845.

The ‘Ville 23

HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL Senior Erik Finger, an in-bound exchange student from Germany, tells a joke between performing songs at the coffeehouse.

In the Spotlight Students fight off jitters, take the stage during first Charity Week Story and photos by junior Reegan Saunders

EDITOR’S NOTE High School Confidential is produced by journalism students at Northville High School under the direction of English teacher Amy Baditoi.


n Monday, March 5, students enjoyed coffee and refreshments, but the real treat was watching their peers perform at the Northville Charity Week Coffeehouse. The event was part of a weeklong fundraiser sponsored by the Northville Student Congress (NSC). Charity Week supported NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Along with the coffeehouse, the NSC organized a volleyball tournament, a charity dance and Mr. Mustang, a senior boy’s beauty pageant. Junior Megha Kunju, a member of Student Congress, explained what it was like to help put together these events. “Charity Week means the world to me,” Kunju said. “I got to organize

24 The ‘Ville

all of these cool events with people I love for an organization that benefits so many people.” Along with supporting NAMI, the coffeehouse provided a venue for students to express themselves in multiple ways, including song, poetry and dance. “It was incredible,” sophomore Addison Fites said. “Some of my friends performed who are fairly introverted, so it was a fantastic surprise to see them get on stage. Everyone did really well.” Fites also had the chance to take the stage, but not without some preperformance jitters. “Performing was a rush,” Fites said. “Everyone says I looked really confident, but I was actually having a nervous breakdown beforehand. As soon as I was on stage, I still felt

Freshman Tristan Presley plays guitar alongside his band “Tink and the Lost Boys”.

really anxious, but I had a great time in the end and hope to do it again soon.” As for Addison’s brother, senior Nicklaus Fites, the coffeehouse was an opportunity to try out some original material. “The song I performed was called Enthalpy,” Nicklaus said. “It kind of makes me nervous to play my own song, but I’m not close-minded to criticism or hate over it. If you like it, awesome. If you don’t, that’s all good, too.” Nicklaus is also the drummer for a new band called Tink and the Lost Boys. Other members include freshman Tristan Presley, sophomore Jack Fulton and senior Erik Finger. The coffeehouse served as the band’s first time playing in front of an audience. “Since I’ve been on stage before, it wasn’t really a difference,” Finger said. “Of course, we acted a bit more, but other than that, it was like band rehearsal. These three kids are my best friends, so it’s amazing.” Junior Kaitlyn Fox also played

(top) Sophomore Addison Fites sings her brother’s original song, “Enthalpy.” (above) Junior Megha Kunju is all smiles as she walks off stage after performing “No One Knows Me Like the Piano.”

an original song at the coffeehouse, but first, she had to finish writing it. The morning of the event, she decided on which song to sing but didn’t end up piecing together the accompaniment until after school. “When I got on stage, the piano was definitely what worried me the most,” Fox said, “But once I started singing, I was just caught up in the music. After, I just felt really proud of myself for being able to get up there and sing an original song.” Overall, the experience was unforgettable for Fox and many of the other performers. “I would definitely do it again. It was a lot of fun. Making music for people and entertaining brings me so much joy, and I would love to keep sharing it with people," Fox said.

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out & about YOUR GUIDE TO WHAT’S HAPPENING IN NORTHVILLE THIS MONTH crafters. Products offered include flowers, produce, honey, plants, hand-crafted items, baked goods and more, depending on the season. For more information, visit the Northville Chamber of Commerce’s website at


Jazz @ The Point

Saturday, April 14 at 9:30 a.m. Maybury Farm will host this annual event, which is put on by the Northville Community Foundation, Maybury State Park, Friends of Maybury, and Northville Parks and Recreation. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. Event is open to the first 700 children between the ages of 2-10. Kids redeem eggs for prize bags filled with candy and treats provided by local businesses. The egg hunt for 2-3 year olds begins at 11 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. for 4-6 year olds; and noon for 7-10 year olds. Admission is $5 per vehicle (cash only). All activities included with admission except food and drink. For more information, visit www.

Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. The Tipping Point Theatre’s popular jazz series will feature organissimo’s B3tles, A Soulful Tribute to the Fab Four. The event features a wine tasting and appetizers from 7-7:45 p.m. and a two-set (8-9 p.m. and 9:20-10 p.m.) concert. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by phone at (248) 347-0003, online at www., or at the theatre box office located at 361 E. Cady Street.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.. Ric Mixter, a diver and photographer, will make a presentation about the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and the storm on Nov. 10, 1975 that caused the sinking of this massive freighter. Mixter will present firsthand information of events from interviews he conducted about the famous tragedy. Part of the Northville Historical Society’s 2018 Lecture Series, the event will take place in the Old​​School​​Church at Mill Race Historical Village, 215 Griswold Street. For more information, visit

4th Annual STEAM Fair

Bullets over Broadway April 19-21 Northville High School Drama Club will present “Bullets over Broadway” the Musical at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21. There will also be a 1 p.m. performance on Saturday. Experience the ‘Roaring Twenties’ in this musical adaptation of the madcap film Bullets Over Broadway, featuring showgirls, gangsters, and more. Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door. For more information, visit

26 The ‘Ville

Wednesday, April 25 from 6-8 p.m. Join hundreds of Northville students at this 4th annual event held at the Northville Recreation Center @ Hillside Middle School. The event will feature dozens of interactive inventions and exhibits created by the students. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Road north off of Schoolcraft Road). Residents can dispose of many items including aerosol cans, antifreeze, household chemicals, batteries, computer equipment, gasoline, pesticides, expired medicine, automotive fluids, etc. For a complete list of what can and can’t be dropped off, or for more information, contact City of Livonia at (734) 466-2655.

Hazardous Waste Drop Off

Farmers Market Kick-Off

Saturday, April 28, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wayne County will host a free Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day that is open only to Northville, Northville Township and Livonia residents at Ford Field in the City of Livonia (enter on Stark

Thursday, May 3 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. The popular farmers market will kick off a new season at the corner of Seven Mile and N. Center Street in the Northville Downs parking lot. The weekly market takes place Thursdays and features a variety of vendors and

Relay for Life May 11-12 The Relay For Life of Novi/Northville Students will be on May 11-12, from 6 p.m.-6 a.m. at Ward Church, 40000 Six Mile Road in Northville. Currently, the Relay For Life teams are solely made up of Novi High School students, and more teams are sought for this cancer awareness walk and fundraising effort to support the American Cancer Society. The public is welcome to attend from 6-11 p.m. on Friday, May 11 to join in the festivities, fun, ceremonies, survivor celebration, and fundraising efforts. For more information, visit




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SHARE IT The Community Bulletin Board Page is just what it says. If you have events, photos or accomplishments you’d like to share with the community, please email Editor Kurt Kuban at


New DPW director ‘coming home’

Loyd Cureton was named director of the Department of Public Works (DPW) for the City of Northville and began his new role on March 5. Cureton succeeds Jim Gallogly, who retired after more than two decades in the position. Cureton will oversee city services, including water and sewer, snow plowing and road maintenance. Cureton has more than 26 years of experience at all levels of government, from planning and zoning to building and road systems, and has managed a cemetery. He comes to the city from Ferndale, where he served as DPW director. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Walled Lake for 20 years, first as a water technician, then for 18 years as DPW director. He graduated from Northville High School and has numerous certifications in the public works field. “Taking the job at Northville gives me the hands-on approach that I prefer. I like to interact with the staff and people in the field, and love being out in rain and snow,” the Northville native said. “This job is a ‘coming home’ for me." Cureton and his wife, Dianne, live in New Hudson.

Reader Raiders prevail

The Reader Raiders, a team of sixth- and eighth-graders from Hillside Middle School, won first place in the Northville District Library’s 12th Annual Battle of the Books on March 14 at Northville High School. Team members include Siddharth Tirumala Kanduri, Ved and Nila Muthusamy, Sophia Alexander, Andrew He and Vishalakshi Meyyappan. The team, which was managed by Viji Velayutham and Muthu Sivanantham, scored 255 points out of a possible 280. More than 150 middle schoolers and 29 teams took part in the competition, which is sponsored by Friends of the Northville District Library. Visit the library’s website at for scores and more photos.

28 The ‘Ville

NFL champion passes

Northville resident Dorne Dibble, who played for the Detroit Lions during their last two championship years, died at his home on March 1. Dibble, who also played football at Michigan State University, was part of NFL championship teams in 1953 and 1957, when he played receiver for the Lions. In six NFL seasons, he caught 146 passes for 2,552 yards and 19 touchdowns. Dibble, who served a stint in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Adrian and inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. He was 88 at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Kristin, and daughters, Lori and Kim, along with stepchildren Jennifer and Melissa, four grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty, and son, Dorne, Jr.

Local graduates from FBI Academy Northville resident Mike Jaafar, who is chief of operations for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy on March 16. To earn this prestigious honor, Jaafar completed a 10-week program that included coursework in physical fitness, intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law enforcement leadership, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science. The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated by agency heads for their leadership qualities. Only the top 1-percent of all law enforcement leaders worldwide have the opportunity to graduate from the academy. “This was the most memorable training I have ever experienced in life. The camaraderie, network, and people involved have become like family. I met people from all over the world. It was priceless,” said Jaafar, 43, who has five children. Jaafar, who is the department’s former deputy chief, was promoted to Chief of Operations in 2016. He has been in law enforcement for 24 years.

Emma Manross holds some of her delicious baked goods.

Northville Civic Concern Director Marlene Kunz (center) accepts a check from members of the NHS bowling team during their end of the year party at Novi Bowl.

Baking Some Hope Bowling team gets ‘locked Girl Scout providing homemade goodies to food pantry in’ for Civic Concern

By John Heider


mma Manross knows that Northville Civic Concern provides local families in need lots of canned and box foods that help them get through tough times. What’s she’s undertaken to fulfill her Girl Scout Gold Award badge will bring some tasty, homemade goods to those people, as well. A sophomore at Northville High School, Manross, 15, is beginning to put in the 80 hours of community service she needs for the award (equivalent to the Eagle Scout Award for Boy Scouts) and came up with what she’s calling “Bakers of Hope” for the Northville charity. Basically she’s asking that kitchen-crafty types visit civicconcern to sign up for a time to deliver some fresh-baked goodies for the Civic Concern’s distribution days. The next drop off days are Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26.

You can also help by baking fresh bread, granola bars, muffins, and cookies to donate to Civic Concern. Manross has been organizing the baked goods donations since November of last year and is always looking for more people who can donate their time – and their muffins, cookies or bread. While in the middle of baking some muffins and cookies on a recent March afternoon in her Northville Township home, Manross took some time to explain her effort. “I already liked baking things in general, so I decided to do this for Civic Concern and my Gold Award,” she said. “The idea is to get some more fresh-baked things, as Civic Concern already has a lot of canned goods.” So if you have the time, whisk, butter, sugar, flour, baking sheets and oven set to 375 degrees, please consider helping Emma and the needy clients of Civic Concern out.

By John Heider


n March 9 the Northville High School varsity bowling team gathered at their home lanes Novi Bowl - for their year end team event. The team got together that night to celebrate another season of good times and spirited competition, but they were also there to present Northville Civic Concern’s director Marlene Kunz with the fruits of their fundraising efforts. The team, under the direction of their coach and owner of Novi Bowl Jerry Harris, had a “lock-in” fundraiser expressly to benefit Civic Concern in February. The kids and some of their parents stayed in Novi Bowl from midnight until 8 a.m. and bowled, ate pizza, played basketball games and, in general, had fun - all in order to donate money to the Northville charity. Harris, who’s been running Novi

Bowl at 21700 Novi Road since 1994, said he asks the team every year what they want to do to give back to the community. This year, Harris and about 29 of his pin-busting bowlers found a night for the lockin, raised pledges, gathered donated food and dedicated themselves to a good cause. The students that showed up – nearly three-fourths of the team – raised a total of $2,800 during their lock-in and presented Kunz with a check at their March 9 gathering. “It was a good representation of the team - all the team’s coaches and parents volunteered their time for the event,” said Harris. “We hope the kids get the sense of responsibility to the community and to Civic Concern - that gives so much to the community,” said Harris. “It’s such a good feeling to be helpful.”

The ‘Ville 29

It’s Your Business North Center Brewing Company

Owner Kevin DeGrood

All About The Beer Northville’s craft brewery celebrates third anniversary By Kurt Kuban


lack Velvet Stout. Shipwrecked. Soft Hands Witbier. Belgian Tripel. Demon’s Blood Imperial Red. Happy Blonde. Of all the uniquely named and carefully crafted brews you routinely find on tap at North Center Brewing Company, there’s little doubt which one has the most meaning for owner Kevin DeGrood. It’s the one he named after his beloved late grandfather (“Boompa”), who he credits with not only passing on his love of beer but also inspiring him to brew his own. Today, Boompa’s Brown Ale is a staple of the menu and a crowd favorite at the brewery located on N. Center Street directly across from Kroger. DeGrood, 35, got serious about his hobby a few years

30 The ‘Ville

back, deciding to open a brewery and choosing to do it in Northville because he loved the downtown and the fact that there weren’t any other breweries in town at the time.

Although there were a few hiccups in getting all the city approvals and permits before he opened, DeGrood is celebrating his third anniversary in business this month.

The menu board is always changing at North Center Brewing Company.

North Center has slowly built up a loyal customer base, including more than 200 members of the North Center Beer Club, who get T-shirts, swag and plenty of beer specials. Of course, the common thread that ties his customer base together is a love of beer. “Northville has a diverse array of restaurants and bars, but I don’t think there is anything else like us,” said DeGrood. “We have a cozy atmosphere – a little like Cheers, where everyone knows each other. And, most important, we have a variety of great beer.” North Center typically has about 10 different brews on tap at any given time. Some are longtime staples, including Boompa’s Brown Ale and

Belgian Tripel, while others rotate in and out depending on the week, and whether they were well received or not. DeGrood’s philosophy is “If you like it, it’s a good beer!” So he is always experimenting with new batches. “When we have an idea pop into our heads, we make a small batch,” DeGrood said. “If people like it, we’ll put it on the menu, and if it does well, we’ll brew larger batches. That’s how we grow our menu.” North Center has enough brewing equipment to produce plenty of beer for DeGrood to distribute in other establishments. He said you can now find North Center beer at Lucy and the Wolf, the Rusty Bucket (on Five Mile), Ashley’s in Westland and about a dozen other local businesses.

“Our system was built to distribute to other places. I’m even working with a distributor on the west side of the state to get our beer over there,” DeGrood said. “My challenge is to make people aware of our beer. I have complete confidence people will like it after they try it.” In addition to regular hours, North Center Brewing Company hosts a couple special events each month, where they typically introduce special brews, like when they offered a beer that paired with Girl Scout Cookies. It may sound a little odd, but it works for some people. They also began serving food last year. The limited menu includes hot sandwiches, charcuterie boards, soups and chili. “Basically, stuff that

goes well with beer,” DeGrood explains. To celebrate their big milestone, North Center will host the Third Time’s a Charm - 3 Year Anniversary Party on Saturday, April 14. From noon until midnight, the brewery will offer 20 beers on tap, prize giveaways, and specials throughout the day. And there will be a pig roast, to boot. It’s just DeGrood’s way of giving back to his loyal customers, who share his passion for beer and the beermaking process. “We have a very educated group of consumers here,” he said. “For them, and me, it all starts and finishes with the product, and that’s the beer. You can’t fake it.”

NORTH CENTER BREWING COMPANY OWNER: Kevin DeGrood HOURS: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 1-8 p.m. Sunday PHONE: (248) 470-5700 ADDRESS: 410 N. Center Street, Northville, MI 48167 WEBSITE:

Uplifting Our Community From Within Main Street League is an organization of women dedicated to making a difference to those in need in the local community through the contribution of time, talents, and financial resources.

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Dishin’ With Denise

Denise Jenkins serves on the board of directors for the Northville Chamber of Commerce and Tipping Point Theatre. An avid writer and proponent of the arts, she is also plugged into what’s happening in Northville.

It’s springtime at last I was wondering who came up with the idea of spring cleaning? And wondering why as winter fades, and spring brings a rebirth we feel like it’s time to bring order to our lives. Well, Leo Tolstoy wrote “Spring is the time of plans and projects” back in 1877, in his classic novel Anna Karenina. And there it is… All electric car owners in Northville – good news! Plans are underway for charging stations in the downtown area. Coming soon! The city, the township and the school district all have plans and projects in place for spring, summer and beyond. Anyone interested in hearing more about those plans is invited to the annual State of the Community luncheon. Mayor Ken Roth, Supervisor Bob Nix and Superintendent Mary Kay Gallaher will be on hand to present updates. This year the luncheon will be held at the Schoolcraft College VisTaTech Center on Wednesday, April 18 beginning at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are available at the Northville Chamber of Commerce ( The plan to honor veterans in downtown Northville is in full swing. The Northville Chamber will be honoring veterans in May and November with the Military and Veteran Banner Program. Banners will display a photo of a service person, as well as their name, dates of service and branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. They will be hung throughout downtown Northville. The deadline to submit applications for a banner is April 2018. I am planning to honor my father, who would have been 100 years old this year, and his Naval service in World War II. You can sponsor a veteran or honor one of your own on a banner. Contact the Chamber at (248) 348-7640. Preservation Dental’s friend and beloved character, the Tooth Fairy, plans to make a special guest appearance at the Eggstravaganza event at Maybury Farm on Saturday, April 14. Egg hunt visitors can “guess the number of teeth she brings with her” to win a prize. There will also be photo opportunities.

32 The ‘Ville

Northville resident Hayden Kibbey is a young man with a plan. An honor student at Artist’s rendering of Catholic Central veterans memorial. Catholic Central High School and a Life Rank Boy Scout in Troop 755 (Northville), Hayden is working toward his Eagle Scout rank. His project is a veteran’s memorial honoring CC alumni who have served in the United States Armed Services. The memorial will consist of a garden with benches for prayerful contemplation and a life-size central sculpture of Christ embracing a soldier. The dedication on the CC campus is scheduled on Memorial Day. Details are available at Natalie Lomske, a screenwriter who is a familiar face in Northville, has won first place in the Project Cinema Michigan screenwriting competition. The award-winning script will be produced into a short film by Rich Brauer of Brauer Productions. According to Natalie: “I titled it Sheets of Sand, but I don’t know if that’s the title they are going with.” Lomske graduated from Northville High, and went on to the University of Michigan, where she studied Screenwriting, English, and Screen Arts & Cultures. Natalie’s one-act play, Crashed, was performed at Northville High School in 2011. During her senior year of college, she wrote and directed a short psychological thriller, Jordan Jones, which was filmed, in part, here in Northville. She enjoys spending time in New York and worked in the production department for the hit TLC series Long Island Medium. Prior to winning the Project Cinema award, her play Open Natalie Lomske Eyes made it to the final round of judging in the VSA Kennedy Center playwriting contest. Hopefully, there’s a plan for a screening in Northville later this year. I’ve promised to bring a freshly cleaned red carpet.



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The 'Ville - April 2018  
The 'Ville - April 2018