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New Treat Shop Adds Eastern European Flavors to a Dessert, Ice Cream Menu

New Treat Shop Adds Eastern European Flavors to a Dessert, Ice Cream Menu

New Treat Shop Adds Eastern European Flavors to a Dessert, Ice Cream Menu

JULY 2019
LBN Community Series
It’s been a circuitous path, but John “Ivan” Zaryckyj has reached his longtime goal of owning a neighborhood sweet shop.

The Beverly Hills resident and his family recently opened Splitz ‘N’ Blitz, which sells ice cream, custard, sodas, candy and a variety of desserts, on East Merrill in Birmingham. The shop is located in the space formerly occupied by Sweet Thing, a candy store, and is next door to the restaurant 220 Merrill.


“It’s a treat shop for kids and families,” said Zaryckyj, adding that the shop offers “a little bit more than your standard ice cream fare,” including desserts popular in Eastern Europe such as Marlenka, a layered honey cake produced by a Czech company of the same name.

Splitz ‘N Blitz also carries back-in-the-day candies like Chuckles and Boston Baked Beans (peanuts in a candy shell) and desserts like strawberry shortcake and a “fudge brownie delight.” There are also hot dogs and chili dogs; Zaryckyj plans to add to the hot food menu when the weather cools.

The shop’s name, Zaryckyj’s daughter and go-to server Tassia explained, combines two dessert ideas: banana splits (“splitz”) and “an explosion of ice cream” (“blitz”).

Zaryckyj, who grew up in southwest Detroit and graduated from Chadsey High School and Wayne State University — he is “straight from the hood” in his telling — traces his love of the treats business to a Dairy Queen on Michigan Avenue near his boyhood home, where he began working at age 11.

“This was always in the back of my mind my whole life,” Zaryckyj said during a recent interview. As a preteen and a teenager, he said, he learned how to make everything that can be made with ice cream, and the importance of cleanliness in a place that sells dairy products.

However, Zaryckyj had a number of different careers before Splitz ‘N Blitz, including asphalt and concrete paving (he started as a teenage “grunt” and later owned a small company), cellular tower construction and servicing, and a short stint with Dairy Queen’s corporate office.

For the record, Zaryckyj is also president of the Michigan chapter of the Ukrainian American Youth Association, directs and dances in the Kolomeyka Dance Ensemble, which performs traditional Ukrainian folk dance, has run summer camps for kids and once owned a valet service. “I don’t sleep,” he said, only partially kidding.


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The drive to work, to stay busy, is part of who he is, Zaryckyj said. “I was the kind that, on Saturday, I always showed up” for a paving job as a youth, while his peers might’ve been partying the night before or spending Saturday at the beach.

Zaryckyj’s wife, Natalia, an executive at an auto parts manufacturer, is his partner in Splitz ‘N Blitz and their children, daughters Tassia and Lesia and son John, help out there.

Zaryckyj planned for his shop off and on for years, scouting locations and making deals that later fell through. “We were just looking for the right spot,” he said.

He found the place on Merrill Street, he said, when he stopped by the closed Sweet Thing to check out the fixtures that were being sold off. “One thing led to another,” he said, and he struck a deal with the building owner. He likes the shop’s location amid downtown Birmingham’s heavy foot traffic.

The shop officially opened on July 21 and marked its first full day in business on a recent Tuesday. “Hopefully, before it ends up I’ll have multiple locations,” Zaryckyj said.

“I just thought I’d like to see what it’s all about,” said Ella Carroll, who stopped in with her mother, Stephanie Carroll. (They each ordered an ice cream flurry.) She used to frequent Sweet Thing in the same spot, Ella said.

“We drive by all the time and we’re like, ‘Oh, we should go in,’ ” Stephanie Carroll said.

Splitz ‘N Blitz carries a small selection of toys, and Zaryckyj plans to add another product line that, along with ice cream, desserts and candy, will also appeal to kids: comic books.

“To me, it all falls together,” he said. “Everything kids like.”

Splitz ‘N Blitz, at 230 East Merrill, Birmingham, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Splitz ‘N Blitz
230 East Merrill











Birmingham – July 29, 2019

Birmingham – July 29, 2019

Gov. Whitmer Annouces Winners for 2019 Governor’s Service Awards

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Community Service Commission recently announced the winners of the 2019 Governor’s Service Awards. The winners are individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations that were selected for their commitment to volunteerism, service or philanthropy.

Allan D. Gilmour of Birmingham received the Lifetime Humanitarian award.

Gilmour served as an advocate for numerous nonprofits, businesses, organizations and universities. He has contributed his expertise to serve on the nonprofit boards of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber, Downtown Detroit Partnership, Detroit Zoological Society, Citizens Research Council and the Detroit Institute of Arts. His service also extends as an advocate for the LGBTQ community and supporting various LGBTQ endeavors.

His philanthropic efforts are vast. He was co-chair of the fundraising campaign at the University of Michigan that resulted in total gifts to the university of $1.4 billion, he then served as honorary co-chair on a second campaign that exceeded $3 billion. He helped found the HOPE Fund, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation that assists organizations that serve LGBTQ communities. He also created the Gilmour-Jirgens Fund in 1995, personally donating $4 million.

Birmingham Teacher Selected as a LEGO® Education Master Educator

LEGO® Education announced Jessie Heckman was selected by LEGO® Education for the 2019 cohort of its U.S. LEGO Education Master Educator Program. With the new cohort, the U.S. program includes more than 200 members, including Heckman, who embody the LEGO Education mission of enabling success for all students through hands-on learning experiences. Participants in the program represent a variety of grade levels and school districts from 39 states.

The LEGO Education Master Educator Program connects like-minded educators to share knowledge and ideas for student success through hands-on learning in classrooms. Participants also provide valuable feedback on solutions and programs to LEGO Education.

“I am so thrilled for the adventure that LEGO has provided for my students and me,” said Heckman. “I look forward to exploring and creating even more everyday creative opportunities for our school community through all that LEGO has to offer by bringing together a dream team of educators.”


Hot Nights with Cool Music

One of the great treats of the summer is sitting in a lawn chair with friends and family, listening to excellent music. So, don’t pass up the chance to lounge in Shain Park this summer and take advantage of one of the great summer experiences. All concerts except Wednesday, Aug. 14, are from 7 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, July 31- Thornetta Davis (Blues)
Wednesday, Aug. 7 – Magic Bus
Wednesday, Aug. 14 – SurfZurp (Beach Boys) noon to 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 14 – Nobody’s Business (Roots Rock)

Wondering Why the Public-Private Partnership for N.O.W.?

The rationale for pursuing a public-private partnership structure for the Birmingham N.O.W. project is to minimize the city’s exposure to risk, reduce overall project costs and engage in a more efficient project delivery model.

A public-private partnership delivery model is a globally recognized model with three key partners: government entity, developer and the design-builder. Each partner has a distinct and separate role.


Rebecca Calappi

Rebecca Calappi

City News Editor
Clawson – July 29, 2019

Clawson – July 29, 2019

Police Host School Supplies Fundraiser

Clawson Police are back for their annual school supplies fundraiser. Donations can be dropped off at the police department during regular business hours, or at the department booth on Sunday, Aug. 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Clawson City Park during the farmers market.


Down on Main Car Show Slated for Aug 10

The Down On Main Car Show returns to Downtown Clawson on Saturday, Aug. 10. This event is presented by the Clawson Lions Club. The car show entries – ranging from antiques to street rods, choppers, antique campers and bicycles – take over a half mile of South Main Street starting at 14 Mile Road.

Event registration for the show will be from 8 to 11 a.m. Judging begins at 9 a.m. The event ends when the last trophy is presented. You must be present to receive your trophy. Spectators be advised it is better to arrive after 10 a.m. to avoid the display set-up and traffic. Having 400-500 event registrations is not unusual.

The event supports charities, local business and community.

To download an event registration form and/or a sponsor form go to the Clawson Lion’s website at pick up at Clawson City Hall, Hunter Community Center, Clawson Public Works Building or the United Street Machines website. 

All proceeds will go to “Leader Dogs for the Blind” and other charities/projects supported by the Clawson Lion’s Club.

For more information or answers to questions please e-mail the Clawson Lion’s at or call Clive Brown at 248-979-5250.


Be a Part of the Streets of Downtown Clawson

Commemorative Brick Pavers add to the charm of sidewalks while celebrating families, friends and important occasions.

These bricks last a lifetime, sending a personal message to all who walk the streets of Clawson.

Just $80 buys a 5” x 9” custom brick paver engraved with a family name, a special date or message. Use them as gifts, remembrances or to celebrate a momentous occasion. 

Download the brick order form then bring or mail your order to Clawson City Hall, 425 N. Main, Clawson MI 48017. 


Fore! Rotary Club Hosts Golf Outing

Come enjoy the “Joe & Larry” Memorial Classic: 18 holes on one of Michigan’s finest courses, lunch on the course, dinner, prizes and more. The Clawson Rotary Golf Classic tees off at Glen Oaks Golf Club in Farmington Hills on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 10 a.m. Forms can be found in city buildings or register and pay online at


Rebecca Calappi

Rebecca Calappi

City News Editor

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email

Mount Clemens – July 29, 2019

Mount Clemens – July 29, 2019

New friends,

Welcome to City News! Through City News, I’m hoping to connect with each of you, to bring you closer to your community and maybe even tempt you to try something new.

Supporting local businesses is so important to a thriving community. Often, it’s the small business owners who support school functions, civic clubs and sponsor city events.

These entrepreneurs are critical to the health and wellbeing of our communities. It’s wonderful to support these folks and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating them through City News.

I’d like to know what bits of info interest you the most: Upcoming events? New businesses? A little of everything?

Reach out!

Rebecca Calappi

No August Primary Election

The next election in Mount Clemens is Tuesday, Nov. 5, for the following races: mayor and three city commissioners. There will not be an August primary election this year.

Please call the City Clerk’s Office at 586-469-6818, ext. 3 for questions about the election.

Farmers Market Celebrates 40th Anniversary

A Mt. Clemens mainstay, the farmers market has been bringing in fresh produce and supporting local farmers for decades. Join the fun in celebrating at the 40th Birthday Party on Saturday, Aug. 3, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the North River Road Parking Lot.

In more farmers market news, The Mount Clemens Farmers Market returns to Downtown Mount Clemens for a weekly Wednesday market now through September. Don’t miss the opportunity to shop for the freshest, certified locally grown produce right in downtown every Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The market is located in the Roskopp Parking Lot, adjacent to the Anton Art Center at Macomb Place and Southbound Gratiot. Parking is free for shoppers.


Crocker House Hosts Tea Party


Join in a celebration of the Crocker House turning 150 years old.

Joshua Dickinson had the beautiful Italianate home built in 1869 when his only surviving child Katherine became engaged to George Crocker. The following year, in September of 1870, George and Katherine were married.

This year partygoers can celebrate their engagement and the anniversary of the home. Joshua and Katherine Dickinson and George Crocker will be celebrating along with a few other characters. Each attendee will be given a name with information about that person, so participants can role-play.

Ranka Mulkurn will delight with hammered dulcimer music from that era, and a full tea will be served including Three Wives Tea, a variety of scones, tea-sandwiches and desserts.

Tickets are limited, non-refundable and cost $40 for members and $45 for non-members of the Macomb County Historical Society. ​For more information or to make reservations for group tours and special events please call 586-465-2488.



Apply for a Mount Clemens DDA Facade Grant

The Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority offers Facade Grant to businesses or property owners in the Downtown Development Authority Tax Increment Funding district to renovate and rehabilitate building facades.

The program offers a Façade Matching Grant Program: The DDA will provide a 1/1 matching grant for the cost of eligible and approved façade improvements. The matching grant shall not exceed $10,000 dollars.

The Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority Facade Committee administers the Facade Grant Program. Applications are available online.

This grant will be offered on an ongoing basis as funding permits until terminated by the DDA. The award amount is based on available funds, applicants and other variables. The grant will be allocated to façade, signage, awning, and other eligible projects, and is available to tenants, business and property owners. Larger grants may be considered at the discretion of the DDA Board only.

Who can apply for funding?

Any building owner or store proprietor/tenant with lease authority or authorization from the owner can apply for funding. Eligible properties can be commercial, including non-profits, or residential as long as they are located within the DDA District.

Rebecca Calappi

Rebecca Calappi

City News Editor
Royal Oak – July 29, 2019

Royal Oak – July 29, 2019

Skoop Pedicabs into Last Week

Who says there’s no such thing as a free ride? The Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority and Skoop will continue to provide free pedicab rides through July—just one more week.  

Take a Skoop pedicab to your downtown Royal Oak destination, compliments of the DDA. Hours of operation are Thursdays from 5 to 11 p.m.; Fridays from 6 p.m. to midnight; Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and evenings 6 p.m. to midnight; and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.

Whether you’re headed somewhere specific or just want to take a little tour of downtown, hop on the Pedicab and enjoy. 

Mushroom Walk Slated for August

How do you know mushrooms like to party? They’re a fungi. Get it? Fun guy, fungi? See for yourself on Saturday, Aug.24, on a “Mushroom Walk” at Cummingston Park at 10 a.m. Park and meet at Leafdale and Torquay.

Mary Fredricks, a member and botanist/mycologist of the Royal Oak Nature Society, will lead the walk. Anyone with an interest in learning more about mushrooms and other fungi of the urban woods is welcome. There is no preregistration or cost for this walk.

Business Improvement Grants Available

Spruce up the curb appeal of your business and apply for a façade improvement grant through the Downtown Development Authority.

The DDA administers a facade grant program for properties inside the Downtown Development District. Qualifying properties are eligible to receive a 50% reimbursement of the total cost of facade improvement work up to a maximum of $10,000. 

Completed applications must be submitted to the downtown manager, along with official cost estimates of the work and photos of the property. Completed applications are then reviewed by the DDA’s Infrastructure Committee and must be approved by the DDA Board of Directors. 

An application can be found here. 

MDOT Invests in Pedestrian Safety

The Michigan Department of Transportation will invest $1.2 million on intersection and pedestrian safety improvements on the eastbound I-696 service drive at the Woodward Avenue service drive, along with Woodward Avenue at Washington Avenue, and Washington Avenue over Woodward Avenue.

The project includes cold milling and resurfacing on the eastbound I-696 service drive, repairing curbs and gutters, drainage structure repairs, approach work, upgrading sidewalk ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, widening the sidewalk on the Washington Avenue bridge over Woodward, Woodward sidewalk work at Washington Avenue, and Woodward service drive work at the I-696 service drive.

Rebecca Calappi

Rebecca Calappi

City News Editor