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Rochester Girl Spends Allowance on Statue for Vandalized Museum Garden

Here's a recap of the biggest stories around West Bloomfield during the week of Nov. 25-Dec. 1.

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:

Rochester girl spends allowance on statue for vandalized museum garden

Rochester Patch told the story of 9-year-old Nicole Bernstein, when out for a walk with her family Thanksgiving morning, she learned about the random crime that would spur her to action.

The Bernsteins live near the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm; the night before Thanksgiving, vandals smashed several concrete animal statues and other pottery in the Children's Garden at the museum. Some light fixtures and a park bench were also destroyed. 

That morning, while walking their dog, the Bernsteins ran into museum director Patrick McKay, who was outside cleaning up the mess.

"As frequent visitors to the museum, they too were shocked," said McKay about the Bernsteins.

In the days that followed, as McKay describes it, daughter Nicole "sprang to action."

Nicole counted her money — she had $36 — and took it to a nearby store that sells pottery. She bought a pig statue, named the pig Wilbur and brought it to the museum on Tuesday. 

"I bought it with my own money because I really was not happy that the vandalism happened, because I love that place," she said. 

Nicole, a fourth-grader at Rochester Hugger Elementary School, loves animals and has donated her own money in the past to the Michigan Humane Society, her dad said.

Fresh off their Thanksgiving Day performance alongside Kid Rock during the Detroit Lions' halftime show, members of the Wyandotte Marching Chiefs were pretty excited to receive a letter from the rock star on Thursday, reported Wyandotte Patch.

But there was more than a congratulatory note inside.

There was a check for $2,500.

With the halftime show being a surprise development and with the school district not having its own fleet of buses, the band incurred $2,400 in transportation costs getting to and from rehearsals, leading up to the big day.

According to the letter from Kid Rock, he read about the band's financial hardship and wanted to help out.

"I read the article in the Wyandotte Patch on the extra expenses you incurred getting back and forth to Ford Field to practice for the Thanksgiving Day half time show," the letter reads. "I hope this covers your expenses. Thank you....you guys did a fantastic job!!!!"

Farmington adminstrator accepts Birmingham Covington principal job

The Birmingham Covington School (BCS) may soon have a new principal, reported Birmingham Patch.

According to a note sent home to parents Friday, Mark Morawski, principal of Farmington's Gill Elementary, accepted the position of principal at BCS, Birmingham Public Schools' combined elementary and middle school.

A final decision is dependent on approval from the Birmingham Board of Education at their Dec. 4 meeting.

Morawski was named a finalist for the position in mid-November alongside Lake Orion's Oakview Middle School principal John Bernia. Both candidates met with parents at a community forum and meet-and-greet on Nov. 14 after a second interview with district officials.

BCS has been looking to hire a new principal after the former principal, Adam Hartley, left the district at the beginning of August, taking an assistant superintendent position with Swartz Creek Community Schools in Genesee County.

Bloomfield Township Police using more technology for external communications

The Bloomfield Township Police Department started using the best technology available to communicate internally as well as with other departments and first responders several years ago.

Now it's beginning to use the latest innovations in technology to communicate better with the media and directly with citizens, reported Bloomfield-Bloomfield Hills Patch. Beginning this week, the department will begin sharing a weekly crime summary exclusively on its Facebook page, officials said. 

Earlier this month, the department launched it's own mobile app that allows for immediate updates of traffic issues, emergencies, and other public safety matters. The system even supports text messages from the department that will alert citizens to missing persons in the area, traffic congestion and more.

Anyone can register as long as your phone supports text messaging. Visit the Township's website for more information.

Highland agrees to negotiate with school district for vacant building

In a 4-3 vote, the Highland Township Board of Trustees gave new Supervisor Rick Hamill the green light to move ahead with negotiations for the vacant Highland Middle School Building, reported White Lake-Highland Patch.

The move was necessary after the Huron Valley Schools Board of Education gave the township until Dec. 4 to decide if they wanted to purchase the building. The deadline had previously been March 2013, but recent state legislation that could take away the local control districts have over their vacant buildings was introduced in early November prompting the district to speed up the deadline.

"In a perfect world, I would have had the time necessary to come up with a full business plan and be able to tell you with certainty if this would work for the township or not," Hamill said to a crowd during Monday night's special meeting in Highland. "Unfortunately I do not have that time, so I am asking you to take a leap of faith with me."

Hamill said the township will be able to opt out at any time during the process should the township board feel the purchase is not in the township's best interest.

Patch local editors Laura Houser, Kristin Bull, Art Aisner, Jason Alley and Brooke Tajer contributed to this report.

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