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Birmingham High School Mourns Loss of Late Teacher Frank Ventrella

Here's a recap of the biggest stories around West Bloomfield during the week of Nov. 19-24.

A lot happened this past week, and we want to make sure you didn't miss a thing. Here are some of the biggest stories on Patch:

Birmingham high school mourns loss of late teacher Frank Ventrella

Birmingham Seaholm High School is mourning the loss of one of its own after special education teacher Frank Ventrella passed away Nov. 18, according to a report from Birmingham Patch.

Ventrella, 53, a 25-year Seaholm instructor and Northville resident, passed away after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. During his years with Birmingham Public Schools, Ventrella worked extensively with the district's Autistic Education Program.

A funeral service was held Wednesday at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Plymouth. All donations can be made to the Unlimited Strides Scholarship Fund in care of Frank Ventrella.

Man connected to Northville sleepwalking theft incident faces narcotics charges

A man who told Northville Police he was sleepwalking when he took a cash box from Northville Downs faces narcotics charges, according to a Nov. 21 report from Farmington-Farmington Hills Patch. 

According to the Farmington Hills Police report, officers spoke with the 35-year-old Lake Orion resident after stopping his van at Knights Inn on Grand River, because the license plate was not registered. Police also noticed the registration tab was fraudulent; it was made of paper and taped to the license plate. 

The report indicated that a search of the vehicle turned up a bag of marijuana concealed in a cigarette package, as well as orange pills and two white capsules. A check of the man's background showed he was a suspect in the Northville larceny. The date of that incident was not listed in the report. 

The man was released pending investigation, according to the report.

Changes in federal grant program mean delay for Streetscape project

Changes by the U.S. Congress in federal Transportation Enhancement Program grant funding will mean a five- to six-month delay for the Fenton Downtown Development Authority’s Streetscape project, Fenton Patch reported Nov. 20.

The amount of the grant, which the Michigan Department of Transportation is handling, is still is to be confirmed, but it will help the project significantly, says DDA Director Michael Burns.

Timothy Juidici, an engineering consultant for Fenton from OHM, said U.S. Congress has reauthorized the grant program, which it has done annually since the fund expired five years ago.

But in this year’s bill, Congress has combined the transportation funding with Safe Roads to School and a recreational trail fund. MDOT is learning how the program works, he said. Fenton was hoping to have plans for Streetscape ready and have bids by January. Now the earliest it can bid the project out is May 2013, he added.

Northville man says woman stabbed him with kitchen knife

Northville Police reported to a home where a man was knocking on a stranger's door at 1 a.m. after he told them he had been stabbed in the chest Nov. 18, according to Northville Patch.

Police reportedly arrived to find the 51-year-old Northville man in his boxers and a shirt, which was covered in blood from his collar to his waist. As the police exited the car, the man approached them and asked them for help. He told police the woman who stabbed him was still in his house and gave them permission to go in, the report said.

The man was then treated by EMS. He said he and his 41-year-old female friend had been drinking that night and that she lives in Sterling Heights but had been staying with him for the past couple of weeks, the report said.

The woman was arrested for aggravated assault with intent to cause serious bodily harm less than murder, the report said.

'Goofy' ketchup sayings inspire Brighton woman's unique collection

Brighton Patch reported Nov. 23 on Hartland High School teacher and Brighton resident Kim Evans, who collected 59 unopened bottles of ketchup with witty labels.

The bottles became a talking piece for her and her students, according to Evans, as well as a lesson in “subtle” advertising for her classes. 

“Some people collect porcelain birds and some people collect velvet Elvis paintings and I do ketchup,” she said.

Her love of the specific Heinz-brand condiment became a "thing" for her family and friends who began gifting Evans with T-shirts, magnets, posters and even more ketchup bottles.

Her classroom slowly became a small shrine to Heinz ketchup with bottles placed around the room and framed advertisements of Heinz ketchup on the walls. As the holidays approach, a Heinz-ketchup packet Christmas tree will be added to the décor. 

Patch local editors Laura Houser, Tatum Ryan, Rebeccca Jaskot, Joni Hubred-Golden and contributor Anna Troppens contributed to this report.

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