By ZEINAB NAJM
Here’s a look back at May through August 2019 and the news that shaped Dearborn and Dearborn Heights:
Members of The Fairlane Club, 5000 Fairlane Woods Drive, received an unexpected letter on May 1 informing them that the athletic facility services of the facility will be closed. The banquet hall and its services remained open for events. In the letter signed by the Ebeid family, owners of the club since 2011 when the late former Guardian Industries Chairman Russell Ebeid purchased the facility in a bank auction, an apology for the abrupt closing was given.
U.S. Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris spent her May 6 afternoon reading a book to and answering questions from fourth-graders at Miller Elementary School. Her visit aligned with the fourth-grade curriculum which included American government. Harris read “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson and gifted the school the book “Phenomenally Me” during her visit.
Pharmacist Nabil Fakih, owner of Dearborn Heights Pharmacy, 25524 Ford Road, and co-owner of Dial Drugs, 8225 N. Merriman Road in Westland, was indicted on federal charges involving an insurance fraud scheme. The indictment filed on May 7 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan accused Fakih of defrauding Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare and Medicaid of $5 million by fraudulent claims for prescription drugs since January 2011.
Former Dearborn Public Schools Trustee Pamela Adams died May 8. She served four terms over 18 years on the board from 1996 to 2014 when she retired.
City of Dearborn employee Bill Larion no longer works for the city following a controversial comment made on social media about a Muslim model. In a May 8 statement, the city confirmed the news and that they would not be commenting further on internal personnel matters. Larion, worked as a surveyor in the city’s engineering department and apologized for the comment with a written apology during a meeting with Dearborn police on May 7.
Dearborn Heights City Council voted 4-2 May 9 to file a complaint against Mayor Daniel Paletko after he refused to sign a contract approved by the council to conduct a forensic audit. Council members Bill Bazzi, Tom Wencel and Lisa Hicks-Clayton and Council President Denise Malinowski-Maxwell, voted yes while Councilmen Dave Abdallah and Robert Constan opposed and Councilman Ray Muscat abstained. The council was seeking answers for questions surrounding almost $1.4 million missing for the city’s Public, Educational and Governmental fund.
The Kroger, 23000 Michigan Ave. closed its doors on May 18 due to financial reasons, Kroger Co. of Michigan Corporate Affairs Manager Rachel Hurst said. All 84 employees from the store will be offered jobs at other Kroger stores in the area.
Dearborn Heights District No. 7 Supt. Jennifer Mast was suspended five days without pay claiming she violated a district policy when she made a champagne toast on school grounds last year. The district’s board of education held a special meeting on May 13 following a complaint from a district employee who was in attendance at the party. An attorney was hired by the board, the complaint was investigated and led to the board’s decision. Mast was suspended for violating the district policy that prohibits drugs and alcohol on school property as a result. She retuned on the week of May 20.
About 40 female students from Divine Child High School protested modesty lessons taught by a campus life minster at the school on May 31, according to WXYZ Channel 7. The students said that the lesson on sexual harassment and rape took place during theology when they were told that dressing provocatively contributes to bad behavior from boys and men. In response, the girls wore paper targets on their uniforms to protest being targeted, but were told to remove them or they would face detention.
Dearborn resident Hassan Fayad, also 411 Therapy CEO helped a homeless man who was beaten get a haircut, clothes and job following a story aired by WXYZ Channel 7 on June 3. John Boble was assaulted by a security guard in Detroit before he was located and brought to 411 Therapy. During his time at 411 Therapy, Boble was offered new clothes, a haircut, cell phone, shower and $1,000 donation to help him support his wife and three children.
Wagner Park in downtown west Dearborn officially opened with a ribbon cutting June 7. According to a Ford Land press release, the public green space will allow for daytime and evening place making opportunities through programmed events with partners such as the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority and the city.
The Dearborn Heights City Council unanimously confirmed the appointment of Attorney Mona Fadlallah as a part-time magistrate in the 20th District Court during a meeting on June 11. Fadlallah began her new role on July 1 succeeding 20th District Court Magistrate Donald Rivard who retired after 27 years. District Court Judges David Turfe and Mark Plawecki made the joint decision after going through a list of possible people to appoint.
Capri Bakery founder Virginia Errigo died at the age of 89 on June 14. Errigo opened the bakery with her late husband, John Errigo, and gained experience by working from the age of 10 at Roma Bakery in Detroit, founded by her father, Hugo Imperi.
Low levels of bacteria that causes legionella were found during water testing at the Ford Motor Co. Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant, 3001 Miller Road on June 20. WWJ News Radio obtained a letter sent to employees that stated the bacteria was found in three different locations within the complex: at a women’s restroom, medical department, and a second restroom.
A Wayne County Circuit Court jury unanimously agreed to award more than $3 million to Mariah Martinez, 26, who was misdiagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 9. The jury’s June 24 conclusion mentioned that Dr. Yasser Awaad was negligent and that Oakwood Healthcare — now Beaumont Health — was also negligent in its hiring and its supervision of the pediatric neurologist.
Attorney Brian McKeen of McKeen & Associates said Awaad prematurely ordered electroencephalogram tests for Martinez, made the diagnosis and prescribed her anti-seizure medication from 2003 to 2007. After those four years, another doctor determined Martinez’s tests were normal in 2007.
Littlefield Presbyterian Church Pastor Rev. Fran Hayes retired after 22 years of service at the church May 19. The retirement became official during a vote from the congregation during a meeting on June 25 making her honorably retired. Starting in 1997, Hayes moved to Dearborn from New Alexandria, Pa., after she was called to Littlefield and served as pastor until 2019.
A motion to add a section regulating the establishment and operating of smoking lounges was passed 4-2 during the Dearborn Heights City Council meeting on June 25. Councilmen Dave Abdallah and Robert Constan voted no and Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton was absent from the meeting which followed a study session on the topic.
Ladonna Boatwright, 37, of Detroit was charged for assaulting a pregnant woman with her vehicle at Burger King, 20401 W. Warren Ave. on June 29. The Wayne County Prosector’s Office announced the charges of two counts of assault with intent to murder, two counts of assault with internet to do great bodily harm, two counts of felonious assault, and assaulting a pregnant individual on July 3. That same day, Boatwright turned herself into police and was arraigned in front of 20th District Court Mark Plawecki.
Dearborn Heights Parks & Recreation Deputy Director Kim Constan filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city, Mayor Daniel Paletko and mayor’s chief of staff Kristina Laslo regarding the refusal to appoint Constan to the department’s director position.
The complaint filed on July 1 claims that the city, Paletko and Laslo did not appoint Constan because she reported that former Parks & Recreation Director Ken Grybel was conducting an eBay sports memorabilia business on his city computer during working hours in 2016. Nothing was done to address Constan’s concern and in April 2017 she again let Paletko know that Grybel was conducting the business, according to the complaint.
A house in the 1400 block of Hollywood serving as a group home abruptly closed on July 2 after the city of Dearborn found violations at the business. The violation notice posted on the door said “the property must be inspected by the city” and “cannot run a business from a residence” checked off with a scheduled follow-up date of July 15. A note left on the notice stated it was illegal to occupy the property.
Dearborn Heights Police Lt. Bruce Krot, 50, died after losing his long battle with cancer on the morning of July 2. He served the department for 20 years. According to a Dearborn Heights Police Department Facebook post Bruce Krot made over 1,500 drunk driving or drug driving arrests and earned numerous citations. He received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving award 16 times as a police officer and also received his last and most prestigious award, the M.A.D.D Longevity Award in June 2018.
Ali Saleh, a former Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn employee, filed an ethnic discrimination lawsuit against the hospital claiming he was forced to resign from his position as a clinical manager of nursing. Saleh’s supervisor, Karen DeLaurier, and assistant clinical manger, Shannon Meredith, were also named in the lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court on July 9. He is seeking $25,000 in damages.
U.S. Marine Veteran Anthony Procassini’s, 98, was awarded a Purple Heart during a July 12 ceremony at Dearborn American Legion Post, 3001 S.Telegraph Road. At the age of 22 in November 1943, Procassini enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Procassini submitted paperwork to the National Records Center, but never heard back about his Purple Heart Award after he returned home in 1946. After the meeting held at the Marine Corps League’s Dearborn Detachment, Procassini’s records were gathered and submitted for consideration in May. Neller expedited the process which lead to the July ceremony.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway dismissed that case against Samantha Eubanks of Dearborn who faced child abuse and firearm felony charges relating to a shooting at her house in 2017. According to court records, the case was dismissed on July 19 after a motion to quash the information was made by defense attorney TaTaNisha Reed on June 12. Eubanks was charged with 12 counts of second degree child abuse and two counts of felony firearms violations following an incident in which her 3-year-old child shot two other children at the Eubanks’ home daycare.
Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden visited Brome Modern Eatery, 22062 Michigan Ave., with granddaughter Finnegan Biden and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan July 24. U.S. Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also visited Dearborn at Qahwa House, 6655 Schaefer Road, on July 24 where he spoke with owner Ibrahim AlHasbani. Elected officials and presidential candidates were in town to attend the 110th annual NAACP convention ahead of CNN Democratic presidential primary debate on July 30 and 31 in Detroit.
Dearborn Resident Kimberly Ismail was one of three recipients of the Michigan Volunteer of the Year award for 2019. Some of her volunteering projects are constantly ongoing, annually or sometimes just as simple as finding someone who will sponsor $800 dental work for a woman. In 2018, Ismail organized a Thanksgiving food drive in collaboration with Summers Homemade Meals to deliver a box full of items for a Thanksgiving meal to 22 families.
The Crestwood School District non-homestead millage proposal was rejected by voters during the Aug. 6 primary election. The non-homestead millage proposal would have raised $40,000 for the school district.
Wesley Ryan, of San Antonio, Texas, was reunited with his restored 1993 Ford Mustang GT at Ford World Headquarters on Aug. 8. Last September, Ryan’s children found the Mustang that was sold 17 years ago to pay for his wife’s ovarian cancer treatment.
City Councilman Ray Muscat was sentenced to two months of non-reporting probation by 19th District Court Judge Sam Salamey for a misdemeanor charge of entry without owner’s permission on Aug. 13. He is also required to pay $400 in fines and costs. In June, Muscat pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge of entry without owner’s permission as a result of a plea deal for a Dec. 8 altercation with his neighbor, Nicholas Diedo.
Dustin Jordan, 21, of Dearborn and Richard Hayes, 18, of Detroit were charged with the in the stabbing death of Marine City man Corey Crum, 26, on Aug. 16. Jordan faced first degree murder and tampering with evidence charges while Hayes was charged with evidence tampering.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn will continue its winter gradation ceremony until the December 2021 ceremony — which will be eliminated, the university announced on Aug. 17. The initial decision was made after a discussion with senior leaders, deans, faculty senate leadership, Student Government and the Alumni Society Board chair. Students were disappointed after the university first sent an email stating that the winter graduation would be canceled starting in December this year.
Former Dearborn Heights Councilwoman Margaret Horvath, 82, died Aug. 17 after losing her four-year battle with cancer. She known in the community as councilwoman, school board trustee and community volunteer as a result of tireless work ethic and commitment to the area.
The city of Dearborn will not renew its contract with Calhoun County, ending the Police Department’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement by holding their detainees. Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. withdrew the resolution to extend the contract with Calhoun County for sentenced prisoner housing and transportation. The agreement would’ve been for the 2020 fiscal year and for an amount not to exceed $250,000.
Dearborn City Council President Susan Dabaja was appointed to the Local Community Stabilization Authority Council by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Aug. 30. Dabaja succeeded Mary Anne Jones, whose term expired on Sept. 3, for a term starting Sept. 4 and expiring on Sept. 3, 2025. She will serve as chairperson of the council.
(Next week: September through December.)