June 25, 2020
A few years ago when I was on the Parks and Rec board we talked about upgrading all the parks so they are accessible. Wildwood was up next. Today while children played on the new structure behind me, I had the honor of cutting the ribbon for its official opening.
Each year when my husband and I renew our license plates we buy the DNR recreation pass. Part of that money goes towards a grant that helped with funding for this upgrade.
June 19, 2020
Perfect weather for an evening wedding!!
June 7, 2020
As the city, state and world slowly start to open up, we had beautiful weather for the first weekend in June. It was the perfect time to get outside.
Saturday morning my husband and I joined a few other Madison Heights Mens Club members to plant trees along Moulin. We worked with our masks on and in groups from our own households. Volunteers from ReLeaf, residents and Councilor Rorhbach grabbed shovels to help.
Councilwoman Kymm Clark recorded the program
March 12, 2020
Under the advice of the Madison Heights fire and police chiefs, and the department heads, the city is immediately implementing the following protective measures for the next 30 days:
- All nonessential public information meetings will be postponed.
- All recreation and senior programs will be canceled or postponed. We will consider refund policies later.
- Our Active Adult center and library will remain open but activities and programs are suspended.
- Meals at the Active Adult center will continue for pick-up and delivery only, no dine-in.
- Busing services will continue but passengers presenting with fever or flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to board.
- The city departments are cleaning counters and work spaces based on information from CDC protocols, and state and county health department recommendations.
If you have a fever or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 please stay home.
Stopping the spread of COVID-19 requires all of us to protect our most vulnerable residents. We encourage all community stakeholders, families, businesses, and schools to adopt their own mitigation strategies, and recommend the following:
- Learn about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, cell phones, and light switches.
- Reinforce best practices for washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Maintain a supply of medications, foods, and other essentials especially for individuals at risk of severe illness or those already showing symptoms.
- Cancel or postpone large gatherings, conferences, and sporting events.
- Cancel or postpone smaller gatherings that involve individuals at risk of severe illness.
- Consider video or audio meetings instead of face-to-face meetings.
This is a temporary situation and we will get through this but we need a communitywide effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 as effectively as possible.
February 28, 2020
The theme of today was tools. It started at the State of the Cities where I was awarded a giant wrench and the Mayor talked about the different economic development tools we are using in the city.
At the State of the Cities, Councilwoman Kymm Clark and Councilor Emily Rorhbach joined the mayor and I to officially represented Madison Heights while Robert Wittenberg and Senator Jeremy Moss represented the State. It was a great show of teamwork which is also an important tool.
In the afternoon I attended an anti-bullying program at Lessenger and learned about the tools we have within us to stop bullying. It was a powerful presentation and afterwards I talked with Doug, the presenter about how important it is to educate our youth so that they don’t grow up to be adults who bully. Matthew was flexible while the group did some problem solving.
Last up was the MML evening conference where Amy Aubry and I learned about some of the tools available to help with Municipal Finance. Emily and Mike joined other first timers in the Core class.
February 6, 2020
This morning SEMCOG held their first Economic Development Task Force meeting. We had some great discussions on what we can do to move forward. The key we agreed was that we have to work in collaboration.
I ended the day back in Detroit with the Mayor at County Leaders Night at the DIA. Even snagged some cool socks for the hubby.
February 3, 2020
Tonight Mayor Hartwell and I along with other members of council welcomed residents and neighbors to Madison High School for an update on the EPS site on Ten Mile. Lots of politicians attended but Tracy Kecskemeti from EGLE and Tricia Edwards from the EPA were the stars.
January 27, 2020
Today on international Holocaust Day I light a candle in remembrance of my great uncle I never met. Nusin Dovid Grafstein, his wife Esther and their nine children murdered in Oswiencim in 1942
January 24, 2020
Today a few hours after Councilwoman Clark and I attended our fifth EPS update at the EGLE offices in Warren, I had the opportunity to spend some time one on one with Governor Whitmer and we talked about the EPS site. If she didn’t know before our talk, she knows now that we are looking for support in our efforts to completely and permanently clean up the site.
She talked about reinstating the “polluters pay principle” and I suggested that procedural, administrative and communication changes within EGLE may help decrease the likelihood of something like this happening again.
During our conversation I let Governor Whitmer know what an amazing job Tracy Kecskemeti of EGLE has been doing this last month. From updating us weekly to testifying before the Appropriations committee, she has patiently answered our questions and acknowledged our frustrations. She is dedicated to getting us through this and making sure that Madison Heights is not forgotten.
January 23 2020
Another update about the EPS situation including my frustrations at the limits of municipal powers to address some of these issues
January 21, 2020
Today I joined Congressman Andy Levin at his Coffee with a Congressman in Ferndale. One of the many topics discussed was the EPS site on Ten Mile. There are still many misconceptions and concerns and I appreciated the opportunity to address some of them this morning.
January 18, 2020
Thank you to our snow plow drivers for spending the day digging us out!
January 17, 2020
This morning Mayor Hartwell joined us at the weekly EGLE update. Over the last month Councilwoman Clark and I have been joined by several department heads at these meetings. Our physical presence and continued questioning has kept the concerns of Madison Heights at the forefront of the meetings. Residents spoke out at public comment during a Special Council meeting December 30th and as they continue to ask questions, we are listening. Our deliverance of these questions have shaped the response from both EGLE and the EPA.
January 15, 2020
This morning Police Chief Haines and I accompanied City Manager Melissa Marsh when she testified before the Appropriations Committee asking for funding and support of a complete remediation and cleanup of the contamination.
We ended the day with other members of council and staff department heads at our Strategic Planning session.
January 14, 2020
I spent the morning at SEMCOG learning about the Michigan legislative process. It will come in helpful tomorrow when I’ll be in Lansing for the Appropriations hearing.
Yesterday City Manager Melissa Marsh and I sat down with Crystal Proxmire of Oakland115county to talk about what is happening with EPS
January 13, 2020
It’s our first council meeting of the year!
January 10, 2020
This morning after Councilwoman Kymm Clark and I attended our third EGLE update in Warren, we met with Senator Jeremy Moss and State Representative Jim Ellison to don hard hats, protective eye wear and shoe coverings before taking a tour of the inside of EPS.
Today I along with Senator Moss and State Rep Ellison issued a press release. Here is my portion portion of the press release
“Over the last three weeks I have reached out to experts in the field from across the country, seeking their guidance and suggestions on what our next steps should be,” Mayor Pro Tem Grafstein said. “I heard the concerns of our residents and as a resident myself, I want solutions and action. Right now, our focus is on cleanup and ensuring the safety of our residents. We appreciate everything EGLE and the EPA are doing now to expedite testing with a goal for complete remediation. Everyone is aware that all eyes are now on us. Moving forward I hope the state and federal agencies will use this as an impetus to update their procedures and policies so that no other municipality will have to go through this. We are working with Senator Moss, Representative Ellison, EGLE and other agencies to coordinate a Public Briefing to address our questions and concerns.”
January 3, 2020
On the morning of December 28, 2019 the City of Madison Heights updated their website calendar to reflect a Special Meeting to be held at 6 pm December 30, 2019. A hard copy notice was also posted at City Hall. A minimum of 18 hours notice is required for a Special Meeting but we strive to provide as much advance notice as is realistically possible. Approximately 20 residents came out to the meeting, significantly more than usually show up at a regular meeting. The city is in ongoing litigation with EPS and is unable to respond to most of the question being asked. Concerns were raised about the ease of entry onto the property and those were addressed the following day.
January 2, 2020
Mazel Tov to the happy couple!
Today I officiated the first wedding of the year at City Hall.
December 31, 2019
Happy New Year!!
Today the Madison Heights Fire and Police Chiefs met with the EPA at the 10 Mile site. They did a complete walk around the buildings and the EPA has agreed to immediately have the front and sides of the buildings fenced in. They are also working on having additional openings on the building boarded shut.
The EPA will also be taking boring samples in the City’s right of way along 10 Mile Rd.
Please continue to send us your questions and we will provide answers as they become available.
Thank you for your patience as we work through this situation.
December 30, 2019
Two years ago I was elected to city council.
Two months ago I was appointed as Mayor Pro Tem.
Two weeks ago Mayor Hartwell asked me if I could officiate at a wedding while he was away on holiday.
Ten days ago a toxic spill on I696 brought Madison Heights to the forefront of the news for all the wrong reasons. The Mayor and I spoke a few times about the situation and the need for me to step up in his place.
Five days ago the Mayor left for his planned holiday.
Three days ago I attended an update meeting about the toxic spill
I spent most of yesterday visiting the site and talking with other officials about the situation.
Three hours ago I chaired my first (Special) city council meeting and my first Executive Closed Session
December 29, 2019
This morning Madison Heights Police Chief/Deputy City Manager Haines and I stopped by the closed service drive on I696 to see first hand how the clean up is going. While there we spoke with EPA subcontractors and were reassured that the rainfall is being addressed by extra crews and the sump pump operating at the site is working as designed collecting contaminated water. After the site visit, I spoke with James Clift the Deputy Director at EGLE to briefly review events of the last week. In the afternoon I spoke with Jim Nash, Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner and confirmed his environmental unit is working with EGLE and later on I met with State Representative Jim Ellison to confirm his office is staying abreast of the situation.
An update from EGLE is expected tomorrow. I have asked that they include an FAQ and that this update include the presentations we saw at the Friday meeting.
On a happier note, my family and I ended our day with our Royal Oak neighbors at their first public menorah lighting.
December 27, 2019
Today I along with other officials from Madison Heights and various county, state and federal agencies participated in a conference call to update us on what is happening with the clean up on I696. As previously agreed, EGLE will continue to provide updates
December 24, 2019
Third night of Chanukah, also Christmas Eve at Beaumont Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams
December 23, 2019
Latest update about the bright green liquid on I-696 east in Madison Heights
Madison Heights continues to monitor the situation and our departments are involved but this is the responsibility of the EPA with support from state and county agencies. Because of the complex coordination of multiple agencies, the leaders of all levels of government agreed that unified messaging will come from the state level.
Testing is being done at this site and throughout the region to understand the breadth of the spread. We will share all information we receive.
December 22, 2019
First night of Chanukah menorah lighting
December 16, 2019
Since the fire at Cols last year, people have been asking when they will re-open. Today Councilwoman Kymm Clark filmed my first official Mayor Pro Tem act at their Ribbon Cutting.
We showed off our new City ID badges
and Councilor Emily Rohrbach joined in the festivities.
Thank you to our firefighters who stopped by for lunch
December 15, 2019
The Womens Club were on hand again to help the Madison Heights Youth Assistance with their Grinch event at the library! Children and their families watched the Grinch movie, searched for candy canes and even had the chance for a picture with the big green guy.
December 10, 2019
On December 9th council voted 5-1 in favor of a Brownfield application at 12 and John R. This is the first Brownfield that has been approved in the city. Earlier this year, six council members attended a public hearing where the intricacies of Brownfields were discussed.
The key points that address concerns of the public are:
- School taxes, debt, the DIA and Zoo millages are NOT impacted by the Brownfield Plan and will receive 100% of the direct increase in taxes.
- None of the existing tax base and taxes being collected will be impacted, the Brownfield only affects the increase in taxes collected.
Approval of this Brownfield allows for $38,000,000 investment at 12 and John R and the restoration of a functionally obsolete building. It is expected to create 300 construction jobs and 225 new full-time equivalent permanent jobs while retaining existing jobs at current tenants.
More information can be found in the official press release
November 25, 2019
Santa and Mrs. Claus came to Madison Heights
Waiting for Santa and Mrs. Claus
November 9, 2019
Thank you to everyone who came out last night to support the Mens Club at their annual fundraising dinner. Final totals of money raised aren’t in yet but we collected a lot of toys for families in the city who may be struggling this holiday season.
November 5, 2019
Election night! Congratulations new council members Kymm Clark and Emily Rohrbach and congratulations to Councilman Robert Corbett (not pictured) on his re-election.
November 4, 2019
Tonight Councilman Robert Corbett joined me to talk with the Lessenger Robotics team about ADA accessible playgrounds in the city. They in turn presented their design idea for an ADA accessible slide.
November 3, 2019
This afternoon I attended another fundraising dinner at the American Islamic Community Center on Dequindre. The topic today was the Sterling Heights Safety and Roads millage renewal. Just like Madison Heights, their property tax revenue plummeted ten years ago. When the economy began to recover, the city’s taxable value was only allowed to grow back at the rate of inflation, regardless of how much property values increased. Like us, in years when the city’s values outpaced the rate of inflation, the city had been forced to roll back its tax millage. The Sterling Heights millage is expected to stay at about $15 a month per household.
I was not able to stay for the dinner and while I was waiting for a plate to go, I discussed my adopt-a-berm idea with a Madison Heights business owner. He wanted to know what his options are to plant flowers or take other steps to beautify the city land in front of his main street business.
October 31, 2019
October 30 2019
It was a busy day in the city stopping off at noon to get a tour of BJs followed by their official ribbon cutting ceremony. Next up, the retirement party for Margene Scott.
October 24 2019
Tonight while my husband was out with Mens Club planning their dinner in a few weeks, I hung out with the Womens Club at the Annual Chamber Gala, Western Theme. Tickets to his MC dinner and our WC tea are still availale
October 17 2019
DDA, Parks and Rec, Planning Commission Master Plan meeting
As we begin the process to update our Master Plan, there will be more joint meetings between the various boards. While over the last two years I have attended several training sessions to help Madison Heights become a Redevelopment Ready Community and take advantage of Placemaking opportunities, after the meeting tonight I took it one step further and registered for the Citizen Planner program to help the city move along with our Master Planning update process.
October 15 2019
Tour at Civic Park with Clinton River Watershed Council, the Erb Foundation and Ralph Wilson Jr Foundation
On this crisp Fall morning I was on hand with our DPS Director to answer questions at the first stop of their bus tour. Thank you John Erb et al for funding the project and coming on the tour. We hope you come back in the Spring when the project is complete
October 13, 2019
We asked all the local schools to participate and send a few volunteers to help. Tons of costumes were received and over twenty families stopped by take home a “new” costume with leftover costumes donated to the Central Church.
October 12, 2019
Another year another Fire Station Open and Breast Cancer awareness shirt!
October 6, 2019
It was a beautiful day to bike to the Red Oaks Nature Center for the Harvest Hoedown complete with a Trick or Treat trail, Hay ride and lots of fun for the whole family.
October 2, 2019
On October 2nd I participated in the Oakway Fire Ops 101 for elected officials. After going through five 20 minute scenarios including fighting a house fire and a car fire both in full gear including the oxygen tank; going on an EMS run and administering CPR in the back of an ambulance that was turning like crazy and changing into hazmat suits which are giant plastic onesies with a face mask, I was happy to end the training using the jaws of life to take off the roof of a car.
Click here for the full article
September 27, 2019
September 27, 2019
I have spent the last three days in Detroit representing Madison Heights at the MML (Michigan Municipal League). I attended sessions on Human Trafficking, Electric Vehicles, the 2020 Census and affordable housing to name a few. I also represented the city along with the Arts Board for the Community Excellence Award. Thank you Arts Board Chair Kymm Clark for coming down and presenting your idea.