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Downtown Farmington unveils its latest public art installation

A new mural greets those traveling north up Farmington Road and into downtown Farmington, a colorful work that celebrates the city’s rich history and today’s diverse population.

The city’s latest foray in its public art campaign is a colorful 8 ft. by 36 ft. mural by local artist John Martin. The mural, submitted under the theme Cultivating Community, was recently installed along the south wall of the CVS Pharmacy at State Street and Farmington Road.

Celebrating the community of Farmington and those that visit its downtown, the mural features the word 'Welcome' in a variety of languages, the artist’s attempt to recognize the different groups of peoples that have come to call Farmington home.

Also featured is a variety of graphics that reflect the nearly 200 years downtown Farmington has been a center of activity, yet represented with a colorful, modern flair. Some graphics are more obvious than others, and the city will soon unveil a legend for observers to learn about each.

To the right is Nathan Power, son of one of the town’s founders--though wearing a pair of Elton John-style sunglasses. To the left is a Detroit United Railway car, the interurban line that connected Farmington to downtown Detroit.

In between is a number of other graphics, some more prominent than others, yet all connected to the city’s local culture. These include the Lone Ranger, an ox, sunflower, and chimney swift, among many others.

"All of the imagery has special meaning," says Kate Knight, Director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority.

"It’s fun peeling back the layers of how much is represented."

This is the second artwork installed as part of Downtown Farmington’s Public Art Program. The David Barr Sculpture Exhibit was installed in Riley Park earlier this year.

This is just the beginning for public art downtown. Knight says that enthusiasm for the projects has been so great that she anticipates many more in the future.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Patterson appoints McCready to economic development role

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has appointed State Rep. Michael D. McCready to be Oakland County’s next director of the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. McCready will join Oakland County administration at the end of his current legislative term which concludes at the end of December.

“Mike’s exceptional background makes him well-qualified for this pivotal position in county government,” Patterson said. “He is a successful businessman plus a respected public leader whose official roles intersected with the business community.”

As a state legislator since his election in 2012, McCready served on the Commerce and Trade, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Families, Children, and Seniors committees, among others in the Michigan House of Representatives. He chaired both the House Appropriations Sub-committee on Higher Education and the House Appropriations Sub-committee on Michigan State Police. McCready also was a member of the Bloomfield Hills City Commission from 2007 to 2012 where he served as mayor, mayor pro-tempore, zoning board chairman, and as a member of both the planning commission and the library committee.

McCready is the principal of McCready & Associates in Birmingham, a small business that represents commercial furniture manufacturers in Michigan.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to utilize my business talents to drive Oakland County’s highly successful economic development initiatives forward,” McCready said. “I plan to hit the ground running in January.”

McCready has won several awards for his leadership as a state lawmaker. He was the 2017 Natural Gas Champion from Clean Fuels of Michigan and Natural Gas Vehicles of Michigan; the 2016 United States Humane Society Legislator of the Year; and the 2016 Library Champion from the Michigan Library Association.

McCready earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and business administration from Western Michigan University. He is an alumnus of Seaholm High School in Birmingham. Plus, he has two daughters.

McCready will serve as acting director when he joins county administration Jan. 1 until the Oakland County Board of Commissioners concurs with Patterson’s appointment. He replaces Irene Spanos who departed the administration Dec. 7 for a new role at Oakland University.

Pontiac's Baldwin Center innovates for the future

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The Baldwin Center started as a humble soup kitchen in the early 1980s, and over the years has expanded to include a number of services and programs, including a harvest table with available fresh foods, access to showers and laundry facilities, educational programs, and more.

More than a response to needs of the Pontiac community, this growth is the result of deep trust that has grown between the Baldwin Center and the clients it serves.

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From a family of rock collectors to a Royal Oak staple

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The Royal Oak jewelry staple, Miner’s Den, came about because Mike Schowalter’s mother had had enough.

The Showalters are a family of rock collectors and every vacation was spent in mines, on beaches or in the Upper Peninsula collecting rocks.

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Detroit Zoo's red panda forest gets expansion, rope bridge

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Rare red pandas are getting fancier digs at the Detroit Zoo.

The zoo has unveiled its newly expanded Holtzman Wildlife Foundation red panda forest, where visitors can cross an 80-foot-long rope bridge perched 10 feet high that cuts through the trees for a better view of the endangered species.

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Time to play! New playground opens at Pavilion Shore Park in Novi

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Less than a month after the Novi City Council approved a new playground at Pavilion Shore Park, the structure is up and ready for fun, just in time for the Christmas break for area children.

Jeff Muck, the city's director of parks, recreation and cultural service, said it's the fastest turnaround he's seen on such a project during his time with the city.

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Fitness club Equinox opens first Michigan location in Bloomfield Hills

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Equinox, which operates nearly 100 full-service fitness clubs across the U.S. as well as in London and Canada, opened its first Michigan location in Bloomfield Hills.

“Equinox was founded on the premise that fitness can power and empower a community of high-performance individuals, and Bloomfield Hills certainly embodies that ethos,” says Harvey Spevak, executive chairman and managing partner of Equinox. “We look forward to helping maximize lives and building community across this dynamic, sophisticated neighborhood by delivering performance-driven experiences, unparalleled programming and personalized service.”

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Restaurants, shops coming, going, moving in Oakland County

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From bookstores to bridal gowns to top-shelf beef, the Woodward Avenue corridor in southeast Oakland County is booming with new businesses. 

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Flying squirrels, mink found in first of its kind study at OU

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A group of biology students made some unexpected discoveries while conducting a wildlife mammal survey at the Oakland University biological preserve.

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Toyology: How a little metro Detroit toy store is thriving, expanding

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In today’s ever-expanding world of online shopping, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many small retail businesses to succeed and grow, and increasingly difficult to take a child to a bona fide toy store or go Christmas shopping at one. 

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Downtown Farmington mural installation reflects rich history

Downtown Farmington’s first official mural project was installed this week on the north elevation of the building at the corner of Farmington Road and State Street.  Crafted by Farmington Hills’ artist in residence, John Martin, the 36 by 8-foot piece graphically illustrates Farmington’s unique history and diversity.   
 
The Public Art Committee, established by Farmington’s Downtown Development Authority in early 2018, kicked off Farmington’s Public Art Program this summer with the David Barr Sculpture Installation in Riley Park.  Ending the year on a high note, the Committee installed its first mural, with plans for more, says Committee Chair, AJ Cooke. “The committee is thrilled to display the mural in Downtown Farmington while we concurrently plan more creative projects for our community to enjoy in the future.”  In fact, the Public Art Committee has a master plan for public art in Downtown Farmington referring to the Public Art Blueprint, crafted via public input collected in 2016 and 2017. A mural program was just what the community was asking for.  
 
The mural installation has been long awaited as the committee juried mural submissions earlier this year. According to the Call to Artists, proposals focused on “Cultivating Community” and the Committee encouraged applicants to “use the local neighborhood and culture as inspiration for their design.”  According to Cooke, John Martin’s proposal stood out. “Though we received several aesthetically appealing designs through our open call to art, John Martin’s submission was ultimately chosen because of its balanced composition and historical references.  We were intrigued by its throwback iconography – some of which is instantly recognizable, while others perhaps require research – all collaged together in one saturated graphic.” The mural is intended to entice both art lovers and history buffs alike.    
 
Mural fabrication and installation were made possible through a grant awarded to the Farmington Downtown Development Authority by Flagstar Bank in partnership with Main Street Oakland County. Downtown Farmington is a Main Street Community, which makes them eligible for placemaking grants that support projects like this one.
 
John Martin’s mural is rich with history and meaning. In order to express the intricacies, the Committee has plans to host a public event with John Martin in early 2019 to discuss his creative intentions as well as the historical references.  The Public Art Committee hopes the event will spur excitement regarding the Public Art Program and invite residents and visitors alike to enjoy Downtown Farmington’s growing arts and culture scene.
 
For more information about the John Martin mural and the Downtown Farmington Public Art Program, please visit downtownfarmington.org or follow Downtown Farmington on Facebook and Twitter

Joe's Army Navy: A great place for stocking stuffers

Excerpt

Jeff Goldsmith has never met a gas mask he didn’t like. Good thing for him they fit right in at Joe’s Army Navy Surplus.

Jeff Goldsmith is now the owner of the store, which has been a Royal Oak mainstay since 1976.

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All Aboard! model train exhibit presented by the Stoney Creek Model Railroad Club

Excerpt

The Stoney Creek Model Railroad Club has been planning this model train exhibit for one year and they can’t wait to share it with the community. The Calf Barn will be filled with modules that have been painstakingly built in scale and show locations near and far. A scavenger hunt through the exhibit adds to the fun. This wonderfully detailed exhibit, All Aboard! is a perfect family outing during the holiday season.

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Rochester Hills' Oakland University announces $150M campaign

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Rochester Hills-based Oakland University has announced a $150-million fundraising campaign, the largest in the school’s history. It has raised more than $50 million in the campaign's quiet phase over the past two years.

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Record turnout for Oakland County's "Small Business Saturday" promotion means cash and prizes

Holiday shopping turned lucrative for three area residents as they shared $7,500 in cash and prizes, just for making a purchase at an Oakland County brick-and-mortar business during the county’s “Small Business Saturday” promotion.

A record 1,992 shopping receipts totaling $145,000 were submitted by shoppers who wanted a chance to win $7,500 in cash and prizes. The total spent was a 47 percent increase from last year and the number of receipts increased 58 percent when the promotion lasted eight days instead of just one.

“This was our most successful ‘Small Business Saturday’ yet, with an unprecedented number of holiday shoppers supporting independent stores, restaurants and other businesses across Oakland County,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The contest provided three lucky winners with some extra holiday cheer and local businesses that are the lifeblood of so many communities were the beneficiaries.”

Contest winners received their awards Wednesday from Deputy Oakland County Executive Dr. Timothy Meyer at 20 Front Street in Lake Orion. The randomly selected winners were:

  • Lauri Lombardi, first prize, $5,000, courtesy of North American Bancard. She made her purchase from Holy Cannoli in Rochester.
  • Carla Tousely, second prize, $2,000, courtesy of Bank of Ann Arbor. She made her purchase from Bad Brad’s Barbeque in Lake Orion.
  • Leslie Cruz, third prize, $500 airline travel voucher, courtesy of Flint Bishop International Airport. She shopped at Frent & Sons in Royal Oak.
The businesses who registered for promotion and the person who made the winning sale were also given cash awards. Pigeon in the Parlour in Holly was randomly selected as the winner from the 375 registered businesses and received $1,000, courtesy of CEED Lending. Cathy Schulte of Holy Cannoli won $500 for making the sale to the first prize customer.


Businesses in Lake Orion led the way with 240 submitted receipts from its customers. Green Hippo Gifts in Lake Orion led county retailers for the second year. with 63 submitted receipts. Other notable business districts entries included Berkley (225), Holly (187) and Milford (182). The promotion was sponsored by Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

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