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WHMI 93.5 FM Radio Station for Livingston County Michigan with News, Traffic, and Weather Service for Howell and Brighton

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    10/8/12 - The statements made to police by a Stockbridge man charged in a Unadilla Township home invasion last year can be used at his trial. That was the determination Friday by Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty, who ruled that the statements made by 35-year-old Jason Robert Cavender during a 6-hour interrogation were “knowing, intelligent and voluntary, including his waiver of Miranda rights.” Cavender was arrested last year after Unadilla Township Police say Cavender entered a home on San Luray Drive on September 27th of 2011, pointed a gun at a female resident and demanded that she give him prescription medication. When the victim told him she did not have any, police say he got nervous and fled on foot. He is charged with 1st degree home invasion, assault with intent to rob while armed and two felony firearms counts. Cavender previously pleaded guilty to separate marijuana and methadone possession charges. He’s expected to receive a one year jail term when he’s sentenced on the drug charges October 25th. A trial on the home invasion charges, which carry a possible life prison term, is set for October 15th, but is likely to be rescheduled. (JK)

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    10/8/12 - Some telephone scams from bogus debt collectors are circulating in the City of Howell but so far, it appears as though no local residents have been taken in. It’s an ongoing scam occurring across the United States that has become increasingly local in recent months. Howell Police Chief George Basar tells WHMI they’ve fielded three calls recently from individuals who have legitimate debt and are receiving calls from fake collectors threatening to put them in jail if they don’t pay up. The department says the public should be aware that the police department does not arrest individuals on behalf of a collection agency for non-payment of private debt. (JK)

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    10/8/12 - Officials say there are at least 20 confirmed cases of meningitis in Michigan, including two deaths, caused by a tainted vaccine shipped to at least four clinics in the state, including one in Livingston County. The number of cases reported Sunday was up from eight reported Saturday. The Michigan Department of Community Health says it won’t be able to release details about the deaths until later today. The meningitis outbreak has been linked to a steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The steroid has been recalled, and officials have been scrambling to notify anyone who may have been injected with it. At least four places in Michigan received shipments of the medication, including Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton. The other three are: Michigan Neurosurgical Institute in Grand Blanc; Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation in Traverse City; and Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren. County health officials say anyone who may have received some of the tainted steroids will be contacted by their clinic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 91 cases nationally. The pharmacy that distributed the steroids has also issued a voluntary recall of all of its products. The New England Compounding Center said the move was taken out of an abundance of caution because of the risk of contamination. It says there is no indication that any other products have been contaminated. (JK)

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    10/8/12 - An open house this past weekend showcased a new student-run medical clinic to the community that will be operating out of the Faith Medical Clinic. The University of Michigan Student Run Free Clinic will be open on Saturday afternoons beginning October 13th. The medicine at the clinic will be done by licensed doctors from the university but every other task, including administrative, organizational, and patient interaction duties. About 24 student volunteers will work for the clinic, but only about eight will work at the clinic at any given time. Organizers from Faith Medical say the University will benefit from the clinic’s existing relationship with the community, while the residents in the area will benefit from increased access to free health care. Second-year medical student Mohamed Issa is one of the directors of the new clinic, and he tells WHMI that the students are benefiting from increased experience and exposure to both patients and the community. The student-run clinic will be open for appointments on Saturday afternoons, but only to adults under the age of 65 who have no insurance. (TD)

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    10/8/12 - A Howell Township woman is believed to be one of two Michigan residents who died after receiving a now recalled steroid shot from a local clinic. 67-year-old Lilian Cary was being treated for chronic back pain at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton and meningitis was said to have been a "contributing factor" in her death. The outbreak surfaced on Friday and the Livingston County Department of Public Health says the local clinic will continue to contact those who received the tainted shots and could be at risk. Michigan currently has 22 confirmed cases associated with the outbreak; 21 cases of meningitis including two deaths and one infection of a joint. Michigan Department of Community Health Spokeswoman Angela Minicuci tells WHMI they worked all weekend with the four facilities that received the contaminated shipment to identify patients and will continue to do so to determine if anyone has developed symptoms and get them tested. Cary first fell ill in August and originally sought treatment at St. Joesph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti but was released. She was admitted again to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor and was treated with antibiotics for a lung infection. She was said to be doing well and recovering but then suffered a stroke overnight and was removed from life support on September 30th. Funeral services for Cary are being handled by MacDonald’s Funeral Home on North Michigan Avenue in Howell. Visitation was taking place from 2-4pm and 6-8pm Monday with a memorial service to be held Tuesday at 10am. (JM)

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    10/9/12 - Bids are currently being sought from any parties interested in leasing some farmland in Hartland Township. More than 78 acres of farmland owned by the Township is available for lease in the Clyde Road and US-23 area for farming purposes. The township has traditionally tried to keep the land farmed, the soils turned and overall activity going. The properties have been farmed for years and officials felt it made sense to continue that but also only fair that the farming community have an opportunity to bid for access to the lands being they are publicly owned. All bids must be submitted to Township Manager James Wickman by 1pm on Tuesday, November 27th. Officials anticipate approving the winning bid on December 4th. Bid information and forms are available on the municipality’s website. You’ll find a link below. (JM)

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    10/9/12 - More than 200 people gathered at the Brighton Mill Pond to take part in a rally to support Republican candidates for national office, particularly the Romney/Ryan presidential campaign. The event included performances by Republican singers and discussions from presenters criticizing the Obama administration on topics like gas prices and the housing market. The rally was part of the ongoing “Rebuild America – Defeat Obama” program, a 72-city bus tour going around the country to raise support for the Romney-Ryan campaign. The main presenter at the event was singer and songwriter Lloyd Marcus, who tells WHMI that Michigan has become a major focus of the campaign. At least 15 stops on the tour will take place within the state. Following the rally organizers and attendees headed to Detroit to attend a political rally with vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. (TD)

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    10/9/12 - Some clarification has been provided to the Howell City Council when it comes to the cost of a recall election. Councilman Steve Manor is being targeted for recall in what has become a sometimes hostile campaign led by a local resident. He denies all of the accusations against him. The calculated cost of a recall election is pegged at $5,712, although it could be twice that amount if an additional special election is needed to fill a vacancy. If an elected official is recalled, the City Council can make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy until a special election is held on the next regular election date. However, should an additional special election be necessary to fill a vacancy, the cost would be similar to that of the recall election. The estimate was released by Clerk Jane Cartwright in a memo to the Mayor and City Council, as they and some residents had previously requested but the matter was not brought up nor discussed at Monday’s night’s meeting. The figure includes the costs normally changed to the election department budget but fixed costs such as the Clerk’s time was not included. The City did not budget for a special election in the 2012/2013 fiscal year and the next two regular election dates are February 28th and May 2nd. (JM)

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    10/9/12 - A trial is set later this month for a Livingston County man charged in Hawaii with embezzling money from a Kona coffee grower. 41-year-old John "Jason" Walaskay of Hamburg Township was extradited in August after he was arrested at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. He was indicted on theft and other counts, after police say he stole money from Kona's Best Natural Coffee while employed as comptroller. He could face up to 75 years in prison. Bookkeeper Cathy Kleger says the company lost nearly $200,000. Walaskay, who has a Whitmore Lake address but was living on Hall Road in Hamburg Township, has pleaded not guilty. A trial has been set for October 30th. This is not the first time Walaskay has been accused of stealing from an employer. According to a report by the Hendry County, Florida, sheriff’s office, Walaskay was arrested and charged with grand larceny in 2008 for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from The Wallace Group, where he had been the chief financial officer. He was released after posting $50,000 bail, but no record was found of that charge ever being prosecuted. (JK)

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    10/9/12 - The search for a new manager for the Village of Fowlerville will be put on hold for the next two weeks so village officials can figure out whether they can afford to fill the position. At its regular meeting last night, the village council decided to postpone any action on finding a new manager until after a budget report is delivered to the village finance committee on October 17th. The duties of the manager are currently being undertaken by Village Council Clerk Kathy Arledge and President Wayne Copeland, who also share the duties of the village Department of Public Works director. Copeland tells WHMI that neither of those positions is a full-time job and the two could be merged to save money. The manager position has been vacant since Joe Merucci resigned the post in April for unknown reasons. (TD)

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    10/9/12 - Following Monday’s news that a Howell Township woman was among the two Michigan fatalities of a fungal meningitis outbreak related to tainted steroid injections, local health officials say they are prepared to handle as many future cases of the potentially deadly disease as may arise. As of Monday, physicians within the St. Joseph Mercy Health System were treating 18 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in patients who received epidural spinal steroid injections from one of the four identified clinics located in Brighton, Grand Blanc, Traverse City and Warren. A number of processes have been put in place within the health system and any patients who begin exhibiting symptoms are being referred to emergency departments for evaluation. The effort is being coordinated at a number of different of levels to ensure that at risk patients are appropriately identified and followed up with. While this particular form of meningitis is very rare, it is not contagious and only patients who received the epidural injections from one of four facilities that got contaminated shipments are at risk. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lakshmi Halasyamani says the Brighton clinic has reached out to all of its patients and reviewed key symptoms for them to watch out for. Before they understood there was this sort of an epidemic linked to contaminated medication, she says patients probably were having some symptoms but weren’t quite sure what they were from. Now that there is a heightened sense of awareness, she says more patients are coming forward earlier and can be treated that much quicker. Dr. Halasyamani noted part of the challenge has been figuring out how to best manage these patients since they don’t have a lot of historical patients with similar syndromes to turn to and help guide their management. She says another issue has been the wide distribution of the compound nationally, with close to 18,000 vials of the medication sent out. She says everything is very new and still evolving but as a health system, they are working very hard to care for patients while helping the public understand their risks. Two women have died as a result of the outbreak including 67-year-old Lilian Cary of Howell Township. A memorial service for Cary is planned at 10am at MacDonald’s Funeral Home in Howell. The other death involved a 56-year-old woman, who was said to have been hospitalized at the time. (JM/JK)

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    10/9/12 - A forum for candidates vying for a seat on the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education will be held Thursday at the Brighton Community Center. The four candidates who are on the ballot for two, 4-year seats on the board have been invited to make a presentation at the forum, which will be moderated by Brighton Library Director Nancy Johnson. The candidates are Nick Fiani, Jonathon Krause, Kenneth Stahl and Keith Van Hentenryck. Krause is the only incumbent, and currently serves as board treasurer. Current Board President Cheryl Leach has opted not to run for another term. The forum is sponsored by Voters Voice of Livingston County, the Brighton District Library and the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce. The forum will include opening and closing statements by each candidate, and responses to questions posed by the audience. Residents wishing to submit questions can do so by e-mail until 5pm to: askaquestionbas@gmail.com

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    10/9/12 - Local hockey players raised more than two-thousand dollars last weekend as they took to “kick ice for cancer.” The Pink the Rink game featured the Howell junior varsity green hockey team versus the Brighton prep team in a game that began after a ceremonial puck was dropped by cancer survivors Michelle Jaworski Quigley of Fowlerville and Alicia Jonkheere of Brighton. The Highlander Way 6th grade choir sang the national anthem and the Livingston Skate Club’s youth synchronized team performed between periods. Although Howell beat Brighton 5-2, the ultimate winners will be cancer survivors as all of the money raised will go towards patient supportive care at St. Joseph Mercy Brighton Hospital. (JK)

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    10/9/12 - The Brighton Board of Education at its meeting Monday night was told that the enrollment numbers are better than had been anticipated. The official numbers from last week’s fall enrollment count conducted to determine state aid aren’t yet available. However, Superintendent Greg Gray says the Brighton School District has about 6,100 students enrolled for the 2012-13 academic year, which exceeds earlier projections. That includes over 600 schools of choice students who have come from other school districts, which is about the same number as last year. In addition, Brighton is now operating a shared services program with mostly private and parochial schools in the area, which adds a portion of a student’s state aid value, for each child enrolled. Gray says nonetheless that the district is continuing to lose students, although the rate of enrollment decrease has dropped significantly. Brighton closed two schools a few years ago because of declining enrollment, but Gray says the decline in students is stabilizing and may even start to reverse itself in a few years. (JK)

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    10/9/12 - Representatives from businesses and the Fenton Chamber of Commerce gathered near VG’s on North Leroy Street in Fenton today for a ribbon cutting to commemorate the end of a construction project on the road. Construction took place on North Leroy beginning in May and lasting through the summer and involved tearing up and resurfacing the road. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held as a way to inform the public that the area was once again completely accessible for business. It was a collaborative effort between the business district, the Fenton Chamber of Commerce, and the Fenton City government. Business District President Kevin Messing says the work was necessary to correct the badly damaged road, but some businesses were adversely affected as a result of the construction. He says a couple of businesses were even forced to close as a result of the reduced traffic. The North Leroy Business District has only existed for a few months and includes about 170 businesses in the area. Organizers plan to maintain a high level of community involvement, including a trunk-or-treat event planned for the VG’s parking lot on October 27th. (TD)

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    10/9/12 - As a Howell family remembers their loved one, the local clinic that administered the steroid injection suspected in her death is taking steps to protect its reputation. Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton released a statement today crafted by a PR firm but refused all requests for interviews. The contaminated compound was distributed to providers in dozens of states and the release says the Brighton clinic immediately discontinued use of the product after being notified of the recall and began contacting patients who may have been exposed. It goes on to say clinicians at the Brighton location treated approximately 875 patients with “lots” of the steroid medication. Any patients treated with the epidural injections at the Brighton clinic between August 7th and October 2nd are being instructed to go the emergency room at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti for evaluation if they’re experiencing any symptoms, even mild ones. Patients treated at facilities in Adrian and Ypsilanti are not affected. The statement says the clinic is greatly saddened some of their patients were affected and all of the injections were administered in a sterile environment under strict protocols, and it had no reason to believe the medication was tainted. It says the clinic is doing everything it can to bring the situation under control and is working to ensure that every patient who may have been exposed gets the information and treatment they need. Federal officials say Michigan now has at least 25 cases of fungal meningitis, including a new third death. A memorial service was held Tuesday morning for 67-year-old Lilian Cary of Howell Township, who was treated with the shots for back pain at the Brighton clinic and later died. Her husband received similar injections from the possibly tainted steroids and is awaiting test results. The full statement released to the media from Kitchen Public Relations LLC is posted below. (JM)

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    10/10/12 - Local residents are being encouraged to branch out with books as the days grow shorter this season. The Friends of the Brighton District Library is in the midst of its annual fall book sale, which is open to the public. The non-profit supports the library throughout the year and funds raised from the book sale help provide needed programming, equipment and services. Director of the Friends Book Sale Lisa Goring tells WHMI local residents can pick up a large variety of affordable materials and books ranging from fiction or romance to gardening and cooking. VHS tapes and audio books are also offered. The fall book sale runs all week and Saturday is bag day in which attendees can fill up a bag for $5 while Sunday is a free day from 1 to 4pm. For complete details, click on the link below. (JM)

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    10/10/12 - The Fowlerville Schools performing arts center has been renamed in honor of longtime district teacher and administrator Ed Alverson. That decision was made at last night’s meeting of the Fowlerville Board of Education. Alverson worked for the district for 40 years as a teacher and principal in the high school and as the superintendent that oversaw the construction of what will now be called the Alverson Center for Performing Arts. The name was chosen by a committee of board, staff, and community members. A ceremony to honor Alverson will take place at the board’s next meeting, and signage acknowledging the new name will be put in place sometime after that. The board originally planned to honor Alverson by renaming Gold Road, which leads to the performing arts center, but renaming the facility was deemed a more fitting tribute. The committee chose the structure of the new name in part to help people shorten it in conversation, allowing the facility to be referred to as “the Alverson Center” or simply “the Alverson.” (TD)

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    10/10/12 - Members of the community gathered in downtown Howell as dusk fell Tuesday to remember the victims of domestic violence and recognize the courage of survivors. LACASA held its 16th annual candlelight vigil and a large crowd gathered the historic courthouse to remember the men, women, children and families in Livingston County and across the state killed at the hands of domestic violence but also to support and honor those who lived to tell their stories. The vigil is held in October to mark National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Howell High School a cappella choir performed while the names of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence were read aloud. 101 silhouettes served as a visual reminder of those who have died locally and a letter from a survivor was read aloud. Speakers noted that the effects of domestic violence are devastating and far reaching because it speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities. Others spoke of the courage it takes for someone to not only leave a violent relationship but to stay in one because of the fear experienced. They say many choose to endure the abuse instead of putting their children at risk or stay because they realize if and when they do leave, that is when they’re at the greatest risk of death. In 2011, a total of 68,500 women in Michigan suffered from domestic violence and in Livingston County, law enforcement responded to 336 calls. (JM)

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    10/10/12 - Federal officials say Michigan now has at least 25 cases of fungal meningitis, including a new third death. The number reported Tuesday is up from 21 cases. Four clinics in Michigan, including one in Livingston County, received steroids that have been recalled by a Massachusetts pharmacy because of contamination. A Howell Township man whose wife's death was linked to meningitis says it should be a "wake-up call" that such mistakes shouldn't happen in the U.S. George Cary made the comments after a memorial service for 67-year-old Lilian Carey. (George Cary is at left in photo, with his daughters Heather Andrus, 33, center, of Howell and Jill Bloser, 43, at right, of Charleston, S.C.) Lilian Cary died Sept. 30 after failing to recover from a stroke. She was diagnosed with meningitis after being treated with steroids for back pain at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton. Her husband received similar injections from possibly tainted steroids and is awaiting test results. The latest victim reported on Tuesday was a 78-year-old Washtenaw County woman. The third death in Michigan was that of a 56-year-old Genesee County woman. No other details were released about those victims. However, it’s believed that one of the other two deaths is related to steroids received from the Brighton clinic. Michigan Pain Specialists said it treated about 875 people with the now-recalled product between Aug. 7 and Oct. 2. It has told patients to go to the emergency room at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti if they have symptoms, such as fever, stiff neck or a new headache. The Michigan Department of Community Health says that, so far, 25 fungal meningitis victims have been identified in Michigan, ranging in age from 46 to 89. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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