SC: Erin Cummings engaged; Berry Gordy's aide dies

Susan Whitall and Chuck Bennett

A Central Park proposal

Actress Erin Cummings, an honorary Detroiter since her days living here and filming "Detroit 1-8-7" and her Mittens 4 Detroit project, is getting married. Without a doubt, her fiancé, actor Tom Degnan, wins the award for cool, romantic proposals. A couple weeks ago, Tom sent Erin on a scavenger hunt around Manhattan, making her visit a number of places that held special memories for the happy couple, like Sheep Meadow in Central Park, where she's celebrated two birthdays, and The Gaf, their favorite New York bar.

Tom Degnan and fiancé Erin Cummings.

"At each location, someone special was waiting for me with the next clue," Erin said. "I had no idea who was going to be waiting for me, and each clue was a reunion and mini-celebration as I got closer to the final location." The final clue was in the hands of her future mother and father-in-law, who flew in from Philadelphia for the proposal. That led her to Tom, waiting by Bethesda Fountain.

"He walked me to a quiet, grassy area, framed by two weeping willow trees with the serene beauty of the rowboats in the backdrop. He got down on one knee and said the most beautiful words that neither of us can remember. I said, 'Yes! yes! yes!' to a soundtrack of applause from Tom's family and Central Park bystanders. Little did I know that he had my parents on FaceTime from Texas so they could watch the proposal, as well." Erin and Tom will marry next summer in Notre Dame, Indiana. And Erin wants her Detroit friends to know, her ring was designed by Troy-based private jeweler Carlos Carmona.

A Motown stalwart dies

Berry Gordy and Edna Anderson-Owens.

The June 13 death of Edna Anderson-Owens has been confirmed. Anderson-Owens, 76, was the longtime assistant to Berry Gordy Jr. during Motown's Los Angeles years and beyond. No cause of death was released. She was a major character in Gordy's "Motown: The Musical," portrayed as a feisty social activist who challenged Gordy with the line, "Black people can't get ahead at Motown." In the musical, Gordy replies "It's people like you who are holding us back," and he offers her a job as his assistant. She took the job, working for him for some 45 years and ending up as a co-CEO of TGC Management, a Gordy-owned intellectual property company in L.A. Charles Randolph Wright, director of "Motown: The Musical" said in a statement about her death: "The only light in this darkness right now is that Edna shines brightly eight times a week in 'Motown the Musical.' "

Fine design brewing at ROAK

Most folks are excited about the variety of tasty brews offered at the sleek new ROAK Brewing Co. on Lincoln in Royal Oak, but we found ourselves amazed by the eclectic and edgy décor. Under the direction of owners John Leone and Chuck Mascari, artist and sculptor Mark Bommarito created the design and artwork that is both industrial and opulent. Overhead in the center of the taproom, there's a show-stopping 250-pound Swarovski crystal chandelier. Other impressive design elements include a 25-foot purple velvet curtain, a 30-foot-high mirrored sculpture with an infinity light box, 30-foot-tall ceilings, and a sparkling, polished concrete floor. ROAK opened to the public Thursday.