As we start a new year, here’s a look at a few of the stories that we’ll be watching – and writing about – in 2019:
1. Local elections
In Farmington, Steven Schneemann, Sara Bowman, and Joe LaRussa all have terms expiring this year. Farmington Hills residents will elect a new mayor (Ken Massey is term-limited), and three council members, as seats held by Randy Bruce, Richard Lerner, and Theresa Rich expire this year.
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2. A new superintendent
After five years in Farmington Public Schools (FPS) and more than 40 in education, Superintendent Dr. George Heitsch is retiring. School board trustees will decide – likely this month – whether to hire from within or open up the search, whether to hire a search firm, and what role Heitsch will play in the transition.
3. School board shake-up
Last year, after FPS trustees were unable to fill a vacancy, Oakland Schools trustees appointed Pam Green to fill the seat left by former board president Jim Stark, who resigned in October. Green will resign this month to begin the six-year term she won in November, and trustees will take another run at filling the original vacancy. Newcomer Zach Rich, also elected in November, begins his six-year term as well.
4. New downtown Farmington businesses
Sidecar Slider Bar’s owners have said they’re close to opening the restaurant on Grand River in downtown Farmington, and construction is expected to begin this year on a four-story building that will house a Japanese hibachi restaurant and apartments. There may also be a deal brewing for the sale of the Village Mall, an iconic and historic landmark in the southeast corner of Grand River and Farmington Road.
5. The Maxfield Training Center
Honestly, there’s no telling what will happen with this downtown Farmington property in 2019. But here’s what happened in 2018: