Archive for the Local News Category

Beware of Potholes: They are back and they are bad

Posted in Construction, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Local News, Worth Repeating with tags , , on March 19, 2014 by Pat Hansen

Potholes have returned and hitting one with your car can do a number on tires, wheels, steering, suspension and alignment.

Pothole (Sinistar |

Photo credit: Sinistar |

To help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged your vehicle, watch for the following warning signs provided by the Car Care Council:

  • Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key, safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals hub units and tie rod ends.
  • Pulling in one direction instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These symptoms mean that there is an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of the tires and helps ensure safe handling.
  • Flat TireLow tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible since tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.

“Every driver knows what it feels like to hit a pothole. What they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process. If you’ve hit a pothole, it’s worth having a professional technician check out the car and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability,” said Rich White, Executive Director, Car Care Council.

Potholes occur when water permeates the pavement, usually through a crack from wear and tear of traffic, and softens the soil beneath it, creating a depression in the surface of the street. Many potholes appear during winter and in spring months because of excessive rainfall and flooding. The deteriorating pavement is usually easy to spot since there are often chunks of pavement lying nearby. These chunks often pose a hazard as they can be sent flying if hit by passing vehicles.

Spring is on the way. The orange road repair trucks and orange cones should be a welcoming sight. A little patience is required here, but knowing that the menacing potholes will soon be filled is worth a few delays.

Now Is The Time To Order That Fresh Turkey

Posted in Dining with Pat, Holidays, Local News, Worth Repeating with tags , , on November 13, 2013 by Pat Hansen

If you are thinking about a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving, now is the time to order. Roperti’s Turkey Farm is one of a few turkey farms still operating. It has been family owned and operated for over 40 years. Currently, the 2nd and 3rd generations are operating their farm in Livonia, Michigan. Unlike Amish farmers who sell their turkeys to stores, Ropertis only sells the turkeys at their farm.

Turkey (Scott Bauer |

Large white turkey
(Photo credit: Scott Bauer |

The five acre farm operates much as it did 40 years ago with the exception of growing its own corn, wheat and oats. Today, the family purchases the grain it feeds its large Wilford White turkeys. Wilford turkeys are a large breed of turkeys that are very breasty and meaty. They get the turkeys from their grower in Zeeland when they are 8 to 9 weeks old and weigh about 2 pounds. The turkeys are picked up around the last week in August and are available for sale from October 1st through December 23rd.

The secret to good tasting turkeys is the right diet. In fact, the company motto distributed in neighborhoods in Oakland and Wayne counties, tells customers the importance of what a turkey is fed. “Remember, fresh is not the secret. The secret is what they’ve been fed.” Their turkeys are fed corn, wheat and oats, mixed with a high-protein mash, from the time they arrive until the last two weeks before they are killed, when they are fed nothing but corn.

But there is something else . . . they are uncaged and free to roam the 5 acres, enjoying the sunflowers that are grown for natural shade. They aren’t under stress from crowding or caging. Today, we call it “free range” and “organic” but that was how all responsible farmers cared for their livestock 50 years ago.

More about Roperti turkeys:

  • They cook faster than regular processed turkeys because there are no preservatives or chemicals in their system.
  • They are fresh dressed, just 24 hours before you pick them up.
  • Guaranteed to be juicy and tasty – first time customers always tell the Ropertis that they never knew turkey could be so good.

The busiest time of the year for the Ropertis is the four-day period immediately before Thanksgiving, when about 4,000 of the turkeys are killed and dressed by the family and a seasonal staff of 35 employees who set up a production line.

Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving Feast

Besides getting turkey ready for the roaster or deep fryer, the family also sells turkey, smoked for 12 hours, right on the premises, using apple and cherry wood with a little wet hickory thrown on top.

Ironically, when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner the Roperti family takes a pass on turkey. As Christine Roperti, the owner says, “My family has seen too many turkeys at that point and would hang me up like a dead turkey if I put a turkey on the table.” “For Thanksgiving, we have filet mignon, lobster and stone crabs and key lime pie my niece sends up here every year from Florida. She sends us the stone crabs and key lime pie in exchange for a turkey, of course.”

Location:  34700 Five Mile Road, Livonia, MI; 734-464-6546
Between Farmington & Levan, on the north side of Five Mile Road

Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., daily and weekends

Price: $3.39/per lb for Tom or Hen

The Taste of Clarkston Is Back

Posted in Dining with Pat, Local News with tags , , , , on September 11, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Save the date → Sunday, September 15, 2013 for the 16th Annual Taste of Clarkston that is the signature event put on by the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Independence Township Parks and Recreation and the Village of Clarkston. The event is structured to be family friendly, providing a safe and fun environment for a community block party celebration.

Hours: Noon to 6:00 p.m.
Shuttle buses start running at 11:30 a.m.

Free shuttle parking is available from Clarkston Elementary, Clarkston Junior High and Clarkston High School parking lots.

Village of Clarkston Clock

Village of Clarkston Clock

Main Street will be closed—from Waldon Road on the south, to Clarkston Road on the north—for this event to accommodate the restaurant booths and pedestrians coming to the event.  For the “Detour Map”, click here.

Tickets are available in $1.00 increments; food items are priced at $1 to $10.  They suggest you purchase a pack of $10.00 or $20.00 to get started. Taste Tickets are available on-site at three (3) ticket booth locations.

38 Restaurant booths will be set up on Main Street serving taste samples and/or meal portions of their specialties. For a list of restaurant participants and prices, click here. There is sure to be something tantalizing for everyone—from soup to sliders, BBQ pork to chicken chili and sweet endings from cheesecake to frozen custard. Every year the offerings are more enticing.

The Clarkston Union Oktoberfest tent will be set up and operating throughout the Taste of Clarkston, along with the Rotary Wine Tent and Wine Garden in Morgan’s Parking Lot.

OktoberfestThe Gazebo in Depot Park will be the site of entertainment starting at 11:45 a.m. until closing.

The “Heart of Clarkston” will be set up throughout the event where you can give your support to non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Habitat Women’s Build, Blessings in a Backpack, Friends of Ryan Kennedy, Easter Seals and more.

In Depot Park, there will be children’s carnival games, blow-up bounce houses and a ticket booth.

Bridgewood Church will have an archery area, children’s crafts, balloon animals and face painting.

For car buffs, the Clarkston News parking lot and Washington Street will feature a Classic Car Show coordinated through Bowman Chevrolet.

According to marketing studies, Taste of Clarkston is attended by 70% of Clarkston area residents and friends and relatives of Clarkston residents. Merchants and volunteers work hard to promote their businesses and take great pride in promoting their historic village.


Posted in I Wish I'd Thought About That, Local News with tags , , , on August 30, 2013 by Kevin Fox

Ever dream that your home could look as good as those professionally decorated model homes you visit? Well, now it can with our “Just Like The Model” Builder Estate Sale!

Quality brand name furniture including: love seats, chairs, tables, dining room furniture, bedding, lamps, artwork, accessories and much more!

Dates and Times:
Thursday, September 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Friday, September 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 7th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The sale will take place at Savoie Self Service Storage located at 9650 Dixie Hwy. in Clarkston, Michigan.

Click here for more information, including a full list of the items being sold and pictures.

The Economic and Emotional Value of Homeownership

Posted in Homeownership, Housing News, Lifestyle, Local News, New Homes, Sell your Home with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2013 by Pat Hansen

In good times or bad, there is one constant: Homeownership remains the American Dream for millions of American families. And there are many reasons why, both economic and emotional.

Robert R. Jones HomesMost Americans consider homeownership to be their single best long-term investment and a primary source of their wealth and financial security. Generations of families have counted on and used the equity in their homes for their children’s education, their own retirement and other milestone expenses.

Individual household budgets are helped by tax incentives that are designed to make owning a home more affordable. Deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. Home owners save nearly $100 billion annually on mortgage interest and property deductions alone.

And when home owners sell their primary residence, they get an enormous tax break. A couple who owns and lives in their home for two years and then decides to sell can keep up to $500,000 of the profit tax-free, and a single owner can keep $250,000.

A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger U.S. economy. In fact, fully 15 percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing.

Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured in the United States. Constructing 100 new homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income and $8.9 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. New home owners spend money on decorations and furnishings, to enhance the landscaping and to become members of the community by patronizing local businesses and service providers.

Robert R. Jones Homes (interior photo)Yet a home is so much more than an investment. In good times and in bad, the opportunity to own a home has been a cherished ideal and a source of pride, accomplishment, social stability and peace of mind.  Homeownership strengthens communities as well as families.

Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities. When a family owns their home, it is an asset that has a direct impact on their financial security and future. People are more likely to take care of things they own so they remain valuable. And a home’s value is determined by how well it is maintained as well as by the condition of the neighborhood it is located in. So home owners have incentive to spend their time and resources improving their neighborhood, even if it is just to protect the value of their investment.

Homeownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family and personal achievement and improves the quality of life for millions of people. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission has said that homeownership can “produce powerful economic, social, and civic benefits that serve the individual home owner, the larger community and the nation.”

Keys in DoorIt is important to know that despite the fact that housing and homeownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen, homeownership is under attack. Policymakers are proposing radical changes, including ending the mortgage interest deduction and mandating minimum 20 percent downpayments, that would threaten the dream of homeownership for millions of Americans.

The National Association of Home Builders’ website,, has more information about the threats to homeownership and how to take action to protect it.

To learn more about homeownership in the metropolitan Detroit area, visit

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Impatiens Tale of 2013

Posted in Landscape, Local News, Pest Control with tags , , on June 26, 2013 by Pat Hansen

If you depend upon impatiens for all-season color in your containers or garden, you may be disappointed this summer. If your impatiens die quickly, it probably isn’t the fault of the grower, the garden center or your own failing. The problem is a virulent strain of a water mold called downy mildew that has destroyed impatiens production in Europe and South Africa – and has now been confirmed in twenty states in America. Homeowners and businesses that expect masses of flowers, instead will see masses of dying, ugly plants.

Downy mildew infected impatiens

(Left) Downy mildew-infected impatiens showing leaf abscission. (Right) Landscape planting of impatiens following an epidemic of downy mildew. Photo credits: Mary Hausbeck, MSU

Not all impatiens are alike, and this disease only infects some of them – Impatiens walleriana is the victim, known to many people as the old-fashioned impatiens they buy in flats or as balsam or jewelweed. Newer cultivars such as double impatiens, Fusion and Spellwood are also susceptible. Fortunately, all the New Guinea type impatiens are not affected, including the Sonic and Supersonic series, Sunpatiens and the Divine series. 2013 may be the year of the New Guinea impatiens.

The Disease Story

Oval Spores

Oval spores produced on stalks that extend from the underside of the leaf. Photo credit: Mary Hausbeck, MSU

All diseases require three elements to succeed: 1) the pathogen, 2) the environment it requires, and 3) susceptible organisms. In the case of downy mildew, the organism is the impatiens crop. The pathogen consists of aerial spores that settle on plants. The environment for the spores to germinate is cool, moist conditions (temperatures from 59º to 73º Fahrenheit and either rain or overhead watering, especially late in the day). Here in Michigan, the rainy, cool spring was the perfect breeding ground for the downy mildew. Impatiens downy mildew also produces oospores that can survive through winter on plant debris above or below ground. So any soil where infected impatiens has grown is probably unsuitable for this crop for many years.

What You Saw

In greenhouses and garden centers, most impatiens looked healthy well into late spring. In those controlled situations, growers have products that manage disease outbreaks in early stages, and wind-blown spores aren’t likely to land on plants. When you bought and planted the impatiens flats or 4 inch pots at home – that’s when they were at risk. In two or three weeks, the plants showed pale green or yellowing leaves, some mottled foliage and eventually wilting, stunted growth, distorted leaves, severe leaf drop and total plant collapse. Light grey or white fuzz under some leaves is the definitive sign.

MSU greenhouse trial results

MSU greenhouse trial results. (Top left) Untreated control. (Top right) Adorn SC 2 fl oz drench. (Bottom left) Subdue MAXX EC 1 fl oz drench. (Bottom right) Heritage WG 4 oz + Capsil 4 fl oz spray. Photo credits: Mary Hausbeck, MSU

Prevent and Limit Diseases

For home gardeners or landscapers, some general principals can minimize the effect of this or another disease:

  • Avoid mass planting of anything. Mono-cultures incur the risk of a single species problem; diversity is good.
  • Water at the base of plants, if possible, rather than sprinkle all the foliage.
  • Water early in the day, if possible, so the garden can dry out before nightfall.
  • Thin out crowded plantings; lack of air circulation favors some diseases.
  • Do not compost diseased plants, but discard in garbage bags or bury them in a deep hole.

In the impatiens case, plants in brighter areas fared better than plants in deep shade.

Red Begonia Background (Andrew Schmidt |

Red Begonia Background | Photo credit: Andrew Schmidt |

Greenhouse growers are not writing off impatiens completely. They suggest planting impatiens in containers instead of in the ground. Some growers will suggest planting New Guinea impatiens as mentioned earlier; others will suggest shade garden alternatives such as begonias.

As consumers, we should respect the risk that plant growers and farmers must take – weather, disease, insects, animals and an ever-changing marketplace.

Explore the Paint Creek Trail

Posted in Dining with Pat, Holidays, Local News with tags , , on May 22, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Paint Creek Trail (Cjunker1 at English Wikipedia |

Photo Credit: Cjunker1 at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for an outing this up-coming Memorial Day weekend, consider walking or biking on the Paint Creek Trail. The Paint Creek Trail connects the communities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township and the Village of Lake Orion in Oakland County, Michigan. It is an 8.9 mile linear park and was the first Rail-to-Trail in the State of Michigan. It was converted to a trail from the former Penn Central Railroad.

The non-motorized trail is 8 feet wide and has an all-weather surface of crushed limestone which was chosen because it is an environmentally friendly surface for the trail’s close proximity to Paint Creek. If you like to hike, jog, bike, ride a horse, cross-country ski, fish or just watch nature, the Paint Creek Trail is for you.

The Paint Creek Cider Mill, a favorite stop along the Paint Creek Trail, is now open year-round, 7 days a week from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Paint Creek Cider Mill (AcrylicArtist |

Photo Credit: AcrylicArtist |

Bike Fixit Station: The Friends of the Pint Creek Trail donated their first gift to the trail – a bike fixit station located at the Paint Creek Cider Mill. Cyclists can inflate their tires and make adjustments or repairs utilizing the tools attached to the station. In addition, with an iPhone or Smartphone bar code scanner app, cyclists can scan a QR code and read repair instructions onsite.

Trail Hours: 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily

Parking: The Paint Creek trail offers 8 parking locations:

Rochester: Visitors may park at the Rochester Municipal Park, located off Pine Street north of University, and west of Main Street (Rochester Road).

Rochester Hills: A 12-space lot is located on the north side of Tienken Road just west of the Paint Creek Trail between Livernois and Rochester Road. A portable restroom is also located at this site from May-October.

Oakland Township: Four parking lots are available:

Dutton Road: The first is located on the north side of Dutton, west of the Trail, between Livernois and Orion Rd. This lot is the smallest of the parking lots as it only fits 5 vehicles.

Silver Bell Road: This lot is located on the south side of Silver Bell, west of Orion Road, approximately one mile north of Dutton on the Trail.

Gallagher Road: This lot is located on the north side of Gallagher, just west of Orion Road, approximately 0.6 miles north of Silver Bell on the Trail.

Paint Creek Trail Office: This lot is very close to the Gallagher parking lot. It is located at 4480 Orion Road in Rochester and is at the corner of Orion and Gallagher; this is a public parking lot that can hold up to 80 vehicles.

Orion Township: Parking is available at the intersection of the Paint Creek Trail and Clarkston & Kern Roads. There are two parking areas at this intersection. The parking area south of Clarkston and west of Kern is suitable for horse trailer staging. A restroom is also located at this site.

Village of Lake Orion: The Trailways Commission owns a 12-space paved parking lot located behind the Atwater Commons Plaza. The Plaza is located at the corner of M-24 and Atwater. The parking area is located behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken, near Converse Court and is marked with signage.

Novi Home and Garden Show

Posted in Landscape, Lifestyle, Local News with tags , , on April 3, 2013 by Pat Hansen

The upcoming Novi Home and Garden Show, April 5-7, 2013, at the Suburban Collection Showplace is a Home Builders Association Event, and an enjoyable, mood-lifting way to experience the sights and aura of spring. Sitting Area, Water FeatureThe Show has a remarkable following with an excellent list of quality exhibitors. Everything you need for your home and garden can be found under one roof.

  • The “Fountains & Flowers” sponsored by Huntington Bank features over 25,000 square feet of landscaped gardens featuring fountains, flowers, ponds and waterfalls. There are 26 landscape exhibitors.
  • The Green Thumb Theatre provides a variety of fun and informative 45-minute seminars on gardening and landscaping, including a demonstration of the key design principles used by professional designers to create stunning container arrangements.
  • Pergola, Sitting AreaThere is also a seminar on gardening myths and landscaping blunders filled with valuable tips on how to avoid some of the most common and costly mistakes. The seminars are scheduled hourly, on both Saturday and Sunday: from Noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and Noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
  • There will be amazing exhibits including an indoor fine arts fair hosted by The Image and Arts Council of Troy (I/ACT), which is a non-profit, Detroit-area artists organization that promotes art, culture and urban design in the metro Detroit area. There will be painting, pottery, artwork and much more available for purchase. Artists will be demonstrating their craft as well as selling their creations. “Buy local” – the artists are all from the Detroit Metro area.
  • The Home & Garden Marketplace will display many vendors including: crafters, local businesses and food merchants.
  • CJ Forge Blacksmithing will be on hand to provide live demonstrations in custom ironwork and blacksmithing techniques.
  • A great selection of perennials, from the best area greenhouses, will be available for sale.
  • Don’t forget the “In-Booth Giveaways” – several of the vendors are offering drawings, gift cards and incentives.

Novi Home and Garden Show
Suburban Collection Showplace
4600 Grand River Ave., Novi, MI 48374

Show Hours:
Friday, April 5th: 2-9 p.m.
Saturday, April 6th: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday, April 7th: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission & Discounts:
Adult admission (ages 13 and up) is $8.00
Senior Admission is $7.00
Children 12 and under get in free
→ Pick up a $1 off coupon at any Oakland County Tim Hortons location. To receive $2 off advance tickets, stop by your local metro Detroit Home Depot store.
Parking is available for a fee

A Sign Of Recovery? The Rising Demand For High-End Homes

Posted in Housing News, Local News with tags , on January 9, 2013 by Pat Hansen

On Sunday, Dec., 30th, the Detroit Free Press featured a front page article about the rising demand for high-end homes, mainly the $1,000,000-plus market. There were 148 recorded sales of $1,000,000-plus residences in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties in 2012. That is a 66% increase from a year ago and the highest number sold at that price point since the Realcomp multiple listing service organized the million dollar- and-above category in 2003, the article pointed out.

Home Under ConstructionRealtors boosted sales at the high end of the market with high-earning business people in finance, automotive and health care industries as well as people relocating from places like Chicago and New Jersey as the Michigan economy continued to rebound. All but 16 of the sales were in Oakland County, including the chart-topping $4.5 million dollar deal in Bloomfield Twp.

Real estate insiders attribute the 2012 high-end boom to a number of factors that proved just as true for the lower-priced homes in the suburban market including low interest rates, slimmer inventories of for- sale, move-in ready homes and the realization by sellers who swallowed their pride and gave up on the idea of what their home was worth before the economy took a downturn.

The rise in high-end home sales has also been good news for the builders of high-end homes. There has definitely been an increase in building permits.  In Bloomfield Twp. alone, building permits issued in 2012 were up 22% from the past year, which saw only a 7% increase from the previous year.

New home construction and remodeling projects are very apparent as you drive through the neighborhoods in Bloomfield Twp. and Bloomfield Hills. This speaks to the willingness of buyers to consider the option of building what they want in a new home, instead of settling for an existing home.

As a builder of custom high-end homes, we at Robert R. Jones Homes are pleased to see the resurgence in new home construction. For information on our homes and availability of homesites, please visit our website at

Did The Drought Ruin Christmas Trees?

Posted in Around Your Home, Holidays, Local News with tags on November 23, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Although some Christmas trees were victims of this year’s wild weather, Michigan growers say it is unlikely to affect consumers. The Christmas tree casualties were the tiny seedlings planted this year, not the mature trees that have been harvested for this coming Christmas.

One Christmas Tree Farm owner in Oakland Township, MI said he lost 30% to 50% of more than 2,000 seedlings he planted at his farm. The seedling trees were killed after a triple weather whammy; the same warm and cold cycle that killed the fruit crops, plus unusually hot summer days and the drought. He commented that he always plants more than he expects to sell. Weather extremes do result in losses. This is the risk any farmer faces regardless of the crop being raised.Christmas tree

Michigan is third in the U.S. in the number of Christmas trees harvested, and produces more varieties of Christmas trees than any other state. Growers agree that Michigan was certainly impacted by the drought and heat, but want consumers to be confident that the larger trees ready for harvesting were not impacted by the unusual summer’s weather conditions. The older trees have deeper root systems that enable them to survive drought conditions.

Since it takes 8-10 years for a tree to mature to Christmas size, growers will plant additional trees next year to make up for this year’s loss, and in the intervening years, the tree harvests will even out and not leave a gap when the lost trees would have matured.

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