A look back at 2011: January through June

Photo by Daniel Heraty

The Rev. Terry Jones held a second anti-Islam rally June 17 on the steps in front of Dearborn City Hall, calling for a five-point plan which includes halting Muslim immigration into the United States.

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Carmel Halloun, owner of Taboon restaurants in Flint and Sterling Heights, purchased the rights to the La Shish name and reopened the original location at 12918 Michigan Ave.

The restaurant chain closed in 2006 because of previous owner Talal Kahine’s legal troubles, including charges of tax evasion and his son’s 2005 sentencing for charges of second degree murder.

DEARBORN – Former 19th District Court employee Julie Pucci’s suit against Chief Judge Mark Somers, which began in 2007, was heard in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Pucci, who worked as deputy court administrator until she was terminated in 2006, sued Somers a year after she left the position, alleging wrongful termination due to her complaints regarding Somers’ use of religious language in court settings and Bible passages on court stationery.

DEARBORN — News of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation Feb. 11 following weeks of demonstrations in the Middle Eastern country brought strong reaction from Arab American leaders in metropolitan Detroit.

“We are witnessing history in the Arab world, the awakening of the Arab people and the beginning of democracy across the region,” Congress of Arab-American Organizations spokeman Osama Siblani said in a statement following Mubarak’s announcement.

HEIGHTS – City Clerk Judy Dudzinski tops a list of 14 elected and administrative officials who have announced their retirement.

Dudzinski, Deputy Clerk Donna Pawlukiewicz and City Council secretary Maria Lawrence retired March 31.

“It was definitely not an easy decision,” she said, declining to give a specific reason.

DEARBORN – A local couple sued a foster care center for monetary damages, saying that three of their children were abused under its care.

Rehab Amer and her husband, Ahmed, both of Dearborn, filed a lawsuit March 15 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan against three women employed by the Judson Center in Royal Oak and two employed by the Michigan Department of Human Services.

DEARBORN – Two men from Detroit suspected in the March 15 shooting death of a local businessman were arraigned March 21 in 19th District Court before Judge Mark Somers.

Tanaka Jayvon Wells, 19, and Ronnie Lamont Matthews, 18, were charged with murder and armed robbery in the shooting of Jay Shin, 60, the owner of a Sunrise Beauty Supply.

DEARBORN – The Divine Child girls basketball team marked its fifth state championship in 25 years. The Falcons captured the Class B crown with a 43-35 win against previously undefeated Three Rivers High School March 19.

HEIGHTS – A Crestwood School District Board of Education member was sued for embezzlement in a civil case in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Janey Golani, a board member since 2002, allegedly took over $700,000 from two companies where she worked as an office manager.

DEARBORN – The Rev. Terry Jones, leader of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, planned to protest Islamic law April 22 at the Islamic Center of America, 19500 Ford Road.

The protest was postponed until April 29 after Jones and fellow Pastor Wayne Sapp were jailed for refusing to post a $1 peace bond by 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers.

Jones, who gained national attention for threatening to burn a copy of the Quran, assumed leadership of the 30-member fundamentalist church in 1996.

DEARBORN – The Rev. Terry Jones filed a lawsuit April 23 against the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.

Jones and a fellow pastor at the Dove World Outreach Center, Wayne Sapp, were jailed April 22 following a trial in 19th District Court, where it was determined Jones’ plans for a protest outside the Islamic Center of America posed a credible threat to public safety.

Jones and Sapp refused to post a $1 peace bond ordered by Judge Mark Somers. The trial was initiated by a complaint from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

DEARBORN – Local reaction was guarded but excited about news of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The al-Qaida leader was killed May 1 following an order given by President Barack Obama after receiving information on bin Laden’s whereabouts. He was struck twice in the head following a shootout with Navy SEALs in a compound surrounded by 15-foot-high walls in Abbotabad, Pakistan, 31 miles northeast of Islamabad, the nation’s capital.

DEARBORN – The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled May 22 in the city’s in a case related to the distribution of religious literature at the 2009 Arab International Festival.

The ruling stated festival rules enforced by the city regarding distribution of literature on public sidewalks did not violate the plaintiff’s Constitutional right of freedom of association. The court also determined festival rules did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

DEARBORN – About 100 people went to Ten Eyck Park & Pool for a rally May 30 in an attempt to convince city officials not to close the city’s pools.

The pool closings were among cuts to the budget the city proposed to reduce a projected $20 million shortfall for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which began July 1. The proposed closings were Ten Eyck, Hemlock and Whitmore-Bolles pools in 2012, followed by Summer-Stephens, Crowley and Lapeer pools in 2013.

DEARBORN – A former 19th District Court probation officer was awarded more than $400,000 in lost wages and benefits following a civil lawsuit that ended June 3.

In the lawsuit against the Court and Chief Judge Mark Somers, Simone Calvas, who Somers fired in 2007, claimed her dismissal was discriminatory, and that Somers did not have just cause when he fired her.

DEARBORN – A police officers’ union agreed to return an award from a June 15 arbitration hearing against the city.

The arbitration case, filed in August 2010, stemmed from the 2010 Dearborn Homecoming festival, which was held Aug. 6 to 8. At the event, 17 Dearborn Police Reserve officers were used by the city as security on a roaming basis, meaning they patrolled the area, and relieved other officers while they patrolled the parking lot and vendor area.

DEARBORN – More than 21,000 people went to the Henry Ford Museum between 7 p.m. June 20 and 7 a.m. June 22 to get a glimpse of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The document was featured as part of a larger traveling exhibit called “Discovering the Civil War.” On loan from the National Archives in Maryland, the document was displayed from June 20 through June 22 and was available for viewing 24 hours a day.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)