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 JANET DeMARTELAERE ROCCO TENAGLIA
BUFORD HERRONELIZABETH REIBER
GARY VETTRAINOGIOVANNINA WESOLOWSKI
MARY SULLIVANPHILIP KITTELL JR.
SHERRI LEWINSKITHOMAS AVEREYN
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Posted: 08/20/14

Oakland Twp. board gives girl special honor

by STACY SOBOTKA
Observer Special Writer
      A young lady who has courageously battled cancer received a distinctive honor at the Oakland Township Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, Aug. 12.
       Becca Prange, 13, was named an Honorary Firefighter by the Oakland Township Fire Department in a special ceremony at the start of the meeting.
       In November 2013, Prange had a cancerous tumor removed.
       "Since then, she's been living courageously, continuing to pursue the things she loves," said Township Trustee Robin Buxar.
       In July, Prange and her family visited the Bahamas with the help of The Rainbow Connection, a Rochester-based non-profit group that makes dreams come true for Michigan children who are literally fighting for their lives.
       Executive Director Mary Grace McCarter said as Rainbow Connection makes dreams come true, it gets to see the community come out and help and assist in ways that often the family doesn't know.
       "Certainly Becca is a role model for us all in strength and courage as are her wonderful family and her brothers and sisters, too," said McCarter.
       The trip to the Bahamas wasn't the only surprise Prange was to receive, said Buxar.
       "Also during that time, Becca's wish of owning a horse was granted when she (got) Finley," said Buxar. "Now as we all know, a horse needs a barn, and so Becca's wish for a horse naturally included a wish for a barn."
       She said as Becca and her family left for their short vacation, her aunt, Holly Prange, a township paramedic, contacted Oakland Township Fire Chief Paul Strelchuk and asked for his assistance in getting the barn built.
       Thanks to Strelchuk, numerous residents pitched in to cover the costs and construction of the barn.
       "It was truly an amazing display of well wishes and generosity of this community. And even though the barn is finished, our prayers continue to be with the Prange family and Becca," said Buxar.
       Strelchuk and Township Supervisor Terry Gonser presented Prange with a special certificate of recognition, making her an Honorary Firefighter.  Immediately after, Strelchuk pinned an official badge onto her shirt. 
       Prange was delighted with her new honor.
       "I'm very excited," she said.
       Her father, Norm "Chip" Prange, is a former Oakland Township firefighter.
       "We're thankful for all the work done and we're grateful to the community and the firefighters for making it happen," he said. "What a treat."
      
Cider Mill recognition

       Later in the evening, the board approved a motion supporting an application to place the Paint Creek Cider Mill on the National Register of Historic Places.
       The board felt that a listing on the National Register would make a positive impact on the township.
       "It's a bookend for the mill race. When you put the two together, you get a really nice combination," said Township Trustee Mike Bailey.
       Gonser supported the application but felt the Township Attorney needed to take a look at the application first to make sure there were no restrictions.
       "We all know the federal government has a lot of legal tentacles that reach out where you don't expect," he said. "I just want to make sure we have all the legal bases touched first."
       The Historic District Commission (HDC) submitted their application to the State Historic Preservation Office in January of this year. A follow up on the application is expected by January 2015.
       "The cider mill building probably is the most important building in Oakland Township," said HDC Preservation Planner Barb Barber. "It's not your approval (that we want) but your support. The approval comes from the State of Michigan. It's an important move for the community."
       HDC Chairperson Heidi Paterson said it would be a great honor if the cider mill received the listing.
       "The township residents are excited about this. It is one of our most historic districts in this township. When people think of Oakland Township, they think of the mill," she said.
       In other business, the Board of Trustees:
       - Approved the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain bond pre-payment of $161,272.
       - Approved the appointment of Danny Beer to the Planning Commission, replacing John Giannangeli, who is now the Board of Trustees representative.
       - Approved a motion to have the financial company MAXIMUS prepare a cost allocation and fee study for a one-year period.
       - Approved a charitable gaming license for the Baldwin School Parents and Teachers Association.
       - Appointed Sandra Stefanski to the Board of Review.
       - Appointed Larry Tomczak to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
       - Appointed Gary Kwapis and Anthony Scaccia to the Planning Commission.
       - Approved a motion to authorize the township attorney to prepare documents to release funds for road improvements to the Parkland Hills development.


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