Wednesday, September 12, 2012
More than three months after her children were killed in a tragic rollover crash, Christie Siegel’s life still revolves around her children, Ashley and Jordan. Siegel stays busy raising money for causes that affect the lives of children in Royal Oak.
- LOCAL CONNECTIONS
- Judy Davids
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Despite the tragic loss of her two children, people are always telling Christie Siegel, “You’re so strong!” “I don’t always feel like I am very strong, but I stay so busy,” Siegel said. “I still spend my life around kids.” Siegel’s children—Jordan Siegel, 14, and Ashley, 11—were killed when the SUV driven by their stepmother, Dawn Siegel, rolled several times along southbound U.S. 23 in Pittsfield Township shortly before 3 p.m. on June 22. The siblings, who attended Royal Oak Middle School, were involved in soccer and lacrosse, plus Jordan was a quarterback and Ashley was a cheerleader. Siegel always found herself somewhere in the stands —and still does. Siegel attended the Aug. 31 Oak Bowl at Royal Oak High School to share a moment of …
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Rain or shine, snow or sleet, letter carrier and activist John Dick does more than drop letters in mailboxes - he delivers friendship to the Royal Oak residents he serves.
Letter carrier John Dick, of Royal Oak, remembers meeting Gregg Glowacz along his route more than seven years ago. Glowacz, a former director for ambulatory services at Beaumont Hosptial, was in his Royal Oak yard when Dick delivered his mail and asked him about his motorcycle. The two men started shooting the breeze and discovered they had a lot in common. They bonded, Dick said. "Gregg's a very friendly guy. We always chatted and then he had an aneurysm (in 2007) that left him a quadriplegic. He had everything going for him - a great job, a great house and a great wife." Gregg's wife of 27 years, Vicki Glowacz, remembers the day her world changed when she found her husband on the floor in pain. "He said he felt like he was shot in the …
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Wounded in 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam, Arnold Spencer receives a long overdue military decoration at the VFW Hall in Royal Oak.
Royal Oak resident Arnold Spencer was a teenager when he served in the Army during the Vietnam War and for years he didn't care to talk about it very much, according to his wife Madeline. That hesitancy had to somewhat change today, when the reserved Spencer, now 62, was awarded the Purple Heart. Sen. Carl Levin presented the medal to Spencer, a 40-year resident of Royal Oak at the VFW hall in Royal Oak on the Fourth of July in a small presentation attended by about a dozen people, including Spencer's wife Madeline, son Jeffrey, of Oak Park, daughter-in-law Holli and granddaughter Rian, both of Plymouth. Spencer's son Erik was unable to attend. After Levin pinned the medal on the soft-spoken former soldier's chest, Spencer gave brief …
Monday, May 28, 2012
Lifelong Royal Oak resident and historian is this year's Grand Marshal of Royal Oak's Memorial Day parade.
As dignitaries and public officials gave speeches Sunday at the unveiling of the WWII Legacy Memorial at Memorial Park in Royal Oak, a quiet unassuming gentleman briskly moved about the crowd taking photographs and documenting the event. John Wendland, 78, a lifelong resident of Royal Oak, is passionate about veterans, history and Royal Oak's war memorials, so he was in his element at Memorial Park snapping numerous photographs to put into a scrapbook. A veteran himself, serving in the 95th Combat Engineers in occupied Germany during 1954-55, Wendland is the historian of the Royal Oak Memorial Society and the Frank Wendland Post 253 American Legion, which is named for his uncle who was killed in World War I by enemy sniper on Oct. 4, 1918…
Thursday, May 3, 2012
When Muriel Versagi welcomes visitors to the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum, they end up sticking around as volunteers.
Knowledgeable, well-read, organized, dedicated and kind are just a few of the adjectives that quickly come to mind when people are asked to describe Muriel Versagi, the curator of the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum. “She is one in a million,” said Mary Pineau of Berkley, who volunteers at the museum a few days a week. “I have never met anyone as knowledgeable about her community.” Pineau stopped by the museum two weeks ago and is now a volunteer. Versagi is a past president of the Royal Oak Historical Society (1988-2001), which was founded in 1939. She has always loved and studied history. Throughout her life she read every how-to and preservation book she could get her hands on, she said. In 2004, after retiring from a consulting …
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
A hair-raising event for the Royal Oak police turns into a fundraising event for autism.
If you think big thick mustaches worn by cops are intended to prove they mean business, your right—and Royal Oak police are guilty as charged. Take one look at the mustachioed men of the Royal Oak Police Department on the Mustache March Facebook page and you’ll see these men aren’t joking—they’re serious about raising money for autism awareness. It’s all part of an effort to support Friends of Jacob, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of area families affected by autism spectrum disorders by providing financial assistance to help with therapeutic interventions, socialization activities, and support networks. Detective Patrick Stanton, who oddly is sporting his first cop ‘stache, thought having the all the men in the…
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Covering his eyes and wearing a bright orange T-shirt, this Royal Oak pet salon manager is hoping to get noticed to raise awareness.
If you see a man walking around downtown Royal Oak wearing a mask, don’t be alarmed – Brian Lane is not a bank robber. For 30 days, Lane – who works at Bingo Pet Salon on Fourth Street – will be sporting various masks and bright T-shirts that say, “Ask me why?” Lane is wearing the mask to raise money and awareness for the sight impaired. “When I was a senior in high school my mom fell and hit her head,” said the 31-year-old Madison Heights resident who has full vision. “She lost her memory and then a few months later she lost her sight in her right eye.” Terry Lynn Lane of Waterford was on crutches when she fell in 1997. "I was protecting a broken ankle and not my face,” she said. She hit her head so hard in the spill that she lost her …
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The door stays open at the Welcome Inn in Royal Oak for those in need.
- VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS
- Judy Davids
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Things are never easy for the poor, but when a homeless couple was arrested in the slaying of an elderly Royal Oak woman in November, things somehow managed to get even tougher for those seeking shelter and assistance. Some of the neighbors of the Welcome Inn Day Center — a daytime safe haven for the homeless located in the Unity Church on Crooks Road in Royal Oak — seized upon the tragedy to raise objections to the drop-in center. The center, which started in 2000, assists the homeless population in Royal Oak who use evening and overnight programs but who have few places to go during the day except the streets and public buildings. “They were saying, ‘See? We told you this would happen,’ ” said Dru Szczerba, who was hired in 2011 as the …
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Heather Kelly's art reflects her life growing up in Royal Oak.
2011 was a great year for mixed media artist and art teacher Heather Kelly. Kelly was awarded second place in the Michigan Fine Arts Competition, she received her first solo show and a personal work of art was acknowledged at ArtPrize. Though she dabbled in art from a young age, taking classes at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center (BBAC) and the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, the Bloomfield Village resident admits she is still growing and learning as an artist and a teacher. For the past nine years Kelly has been teaching art at Troy High School and working on personal projects on her own time. Kelly enjoys working in a variety of mediums and can be found morphing words into images, painting canvases of buildings in Detroit or even …
Friday, December 23, 2011
For years, Michael Whalen has collected Nativity scenes, amassing more than 400 of them. He will share his collection with the public Dec. 26-28 at an event at St. Mary Church in New Baltimore to benefit area food banks.
It started when Michael Whalen bought his first Nativity scene when he was 6 years old. Now his collection has snowballed to more than 400 different Nativity scenes, most of which can be seen by the public noon-7 p.m. Dec. 26-28 at St. Mary Queen of Creation Catholic Church in downtown New Baltimore. "We do it for two reasons," says the Clinton Township resident and retired mortgage representative. "One is for the beauty of it all, the faith and the art." "The other is for the food pantry," said Whalen. All donations from people who visit the event go to the food pantry and St. Vincent de Paul. "In this economy, they've been hit a lot. Their requests have gone up dramatically." Whalen, his wife, Theresa, his daughter, Jenny, and other …