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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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    10/10/12 - Officials say the man selected to lead this year’s Fantasy of Lights parade in downtown Howell was an obvious fit. President and CEO Mike Hall of Cobb-Hall Insurance will serve as the Grand Marshal of this year’s nighttime parade that includes dozens of illuminated floats. Hall is known for his wide-ranging contributions to the community and volunteer efforts and was named Howell’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2006. The company serves as the major sponsor of the parade every year and the courtyard at its building on the corner of Grand River and Center Street is decked out every holiday season. The 29th annual Fantasy of Lights Parade will take place on Friday, November 23rd and is hosted by the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation. (JM)

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    10/10/12 - Three Wayne County men were arrested earlier this week in Genoa Township and authorities say they may be responsible for a series of thefts from Wal-Mart stores in Livingston, Oakland and Macomb counties. Detective Sgt. Gary Childers of the Livingston County Sheriff's Department tells WHMI that detectives from the State Police and Oakland County Sheriff’s Department interviewed the three suspects on Tuesday at the Livingston County Jail. Two of the suspects, a 35-year-old Redford man and a 33-year-old from Ecorse, were released pending further investigation. A third man, 36-year-old Eric Waine Kanack of Plymouth, remains jailed on a $10,000 bond after being arraigned on charges of possessing burglary tools and violating parole out of Wayne County. Childers said it’s believed the suspects walked into Walmart stores and used a professional lock-picking device to open cabinets with high-end electronics, which they then stole. He says they are suspected in a $10,000 heist from the Wal-Mart in Commerce Township and a previous $6,500 haul from the Genoa Township location. That’s where the three were spotted early Monday morning by Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Schmidt leaving the store with two large bags. He followed them across the street, where the suspects apparently spotted officers and tried to flee. They were all eventually taken into custody. Kanack was found in possession of a lock-pick device, gloves, a flashlight, a coat hanger and other items. (JK)

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    10/10/12 - A dental clinic serving low income Livingston County residents is getting a funding boost that will help to provide care for pregnant women. The VINA Community Dental Center has been awarded a $65,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to help provide dental care to low income residents but also launch the new “VINA Bright Start Dental Program”. The pilot program will allow the clinic to provide dental care to more than 160 low-income pregnant women enrolled in the federal WIC program. VINA Grant Coordinator and Periodontist Dr. Christine Love tells WHMI the program aims to help improve a mother’s overall health and dental health along with that her child while also allowing the clinic to track the success of both as they get older. She says one reason they wanted to extend care to this population was the link between pre-term birth and low birth weight babies and poor oral health. Love says are working to develop the program now and expect to launch it in early December. She says they will be hiring a dentist and hygienist to see the patients but expects they will address a certain group at a time, likely giving higher priority to those who have existing issues or a history of dental problems. The grant will be presented to the clinic at its annual tailgate-themed fundraiser next Thursday, which is a competition between Michigan and Michigan State fans to see who can raise the most in donations for the clinic. Details are posted in the link below. (JM)

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    10/10/12 - Local firefighters battled a barn fire in Deerfield Township. The Hartland Deerfield Fire Authority was called out at around 11am Wednesday to a fire that started in a barn off Latson Road, estimated to be around 20 by 30 square feet in size. Fire Chief Adam Carroll tells WHMI the barn was located in the backyard of a residence and was fully involved and in the process of falling down when firefighters arrived. There were no injuries and Carroll says all damage was contained to the barn, which was considered a total loss and contained a 1955 car and a couple of tractors that were also destroyed. Carroll says the fire is not believed to be suspicious in nature and appears to be accidental but the cause remains under investigation. The Howell Area Fire Department assisted at the scene. (JM)

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    10/11/12 - Downtown Pinckney will be transformed into a spooky village later this month. The “Pinckney Halloween Spooktacular” will take place in and around the township square on Friday, October 26th. A costume parade and contest and carved pumpkin contest are planned along with trunk-or-treats in which decorated vehicles and trailers will be filled with candy and treats. Spooky sports will be taking place on South Mill Street where organizations will provide games of skills with a Halloween theme. A spooky forest is also being offered to those ages 10 and older in which a troupe of actors will stage Halloween vignettes along a wooded path and perform scary scenes to those walking through. All of the events are offered free of charge to the community and those who bring a canned or non-perishable food donation will receive a free hot dog. The Pinckney Halloween Spooktacular is organized by the Downtown Development Authority with everything sponsored by local businesses and donations. (JK)

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    10/11/12 - A Howell man will spend at least the next couple of years behind bars following a high speed chase across Livingston County this past summer. 21-year-old Daniel James Bolenbaugh was ordered to serve a minimum of two years and six months and a maximum of 20 years in prison. He was sentenced as a 4th time habitual offender by Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty and received no credit for time already served in the Livingston County Jail. Bolenbaugh previously pleaded guilty to charges that included fleeing police, receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle and failing to stop after a collision. The July 28th chase started after police spotted Bolenbaugh driving a stolen Mercury Sable in Genoa Township. It reached speeds in excess of 100 mph along Grand River and Bolenbaugh ended up sideswiping a car driven by a 71-year-old woman at the Lake Chemung exit. He finally stopped at an apartment complex off Latson Road and fled on foot but was eventually caught by a K-9 unit after a Brighton police officer climbed up a utility pole and spotted him hiding in a field. (JM)

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    10/11/12 - The Howell City Council has decided against authorizing an energy contract proposed by Siemens AG that would make certain city-owned buildings more energy efficient. Siemens amended the program multiple times over the course of a year and a half, which would make improvements to the City Hall, the Bennett Recreation Center, and the Department of Public Works. After reviewing the just over $94,000 contract, the council decided that, at 15 years, the initial investment would take too long to earn back in energy savings to be beneficial to the city. Members have agreed to keep searching for ways to become more energy efficient in the future by making changes on a case by case basis. (SO)

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    10/11/12 - The Livingston Diversity Council held a seminar last night to inform local parents about the threat of cyber-bullying. About one in four adolescents in America reports being the victim of cyber-bullying, which is defined as bullying, harassment, or intimidation carried out on computers or cell phones. Last night’s presentation attracted about a dozen people and took place at the Livingston Educational Service Agency on Grand River. County Prosecutor David Morse gave a presentation on the legal aspects of cyber-bullying, including how to spot it in children and what recourse is available for victims. He emphasized the need for parental involvement and supervision to help reduce the occurrence and impact of bullying online. Clinical Therapist Megan Vaccaro from Livingston County Catholic Charities also spoke, focusing more on the psychological causes and effects of cyber-bullying. She tells WHMI that in her experience those who bully others are blind to the damage they may be doing. Morse also spoke about the issue of “sexting,” which occurs when adolescents send sexually explicit material of themselves electronically. He says the practice presents a threat to the reputations, prospects, and physical safety of the students involved. (TD)

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    10/11/12 - Funeral services are this weekend for a longtime Fenton City Councilman who passed away recently. John Rauch died at the age of 74 last Saturday. He served on the city council for 16 years, including a stint as mayor pro-tem, but declined to run again in later years due to health problems. Fenton Mayor Sue Osborn told the Flint Journal that Rauch will be sadly missed and was very dedicated to the city, spending countless hours working to make it a better community. Rauch was a Korean War veteran who retired from the Grand Blanc Township Department of Public Works and also served as an assistant police chief in that community. Visitation is from 2 to 4pm and 6 to 8pm this Friday at the Sharp Funeral Homes Fenton Chapel. Funeral services will take place at 11am Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church on Main Street in Fenton with burial to follow in Evergreen Cemetery. (JK)

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    10/11/12 - The returns from a recent fundraiser for a local non-profit took the chill out of what was otherwise a cooler-than-normal autumn evening. LACASA’s 2nd Annual Denim & Diamonds was held last Saturday at the Tamarack Ranch in Hartland Township and officials say the event nearly doubled in attendance over last year. More than 600 people turned out for a night of music, food, dancing, and games of chance including Diamond Dipping and Wild West gambling. The event also exceeded fundraising expectations, according to LACASA CEO & President Bobette Schrandt, who says preliminary figures show that Denim & Diamonds increased in revenue by 50 percent over last year. Schrandt thanked Barbara Walstrom and Gordon Follmer for hosting the event for the second year in a row, with all of the proceeds going directly to help vulnerable children and adults from Livingston County. LACASA provides comprehensive services for victims and survivors of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. (JK)

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    10/11/12 - A bicycle touring event this weekend will again showcase fall scenery while supporting health and human service needs in Livingston County. The Howell Rotary Club will host its annual “Tour De Livingston” on Sunday and offers family and recreational rides of 5 and 10 miles as well as longer routes of 27, 38, 62 or 100 mile rides. There’s also mountain biking routes from 7 miles to 50 miles. Registration starts at 7am, and those who do so by 7:30am will be eligible to win a $1,500 JAMIS bike donated by HomeTown Bicycles. All routes leave from the Mt. Brighton Ski area on Bauer Road at 8am. The annual fall bike tour is held in October to allow participants a chance to tour Livingston County take in the scenery and fall colors. All proceeds from the event are pledged to benefit local basic need programs through the Livingston County United Way. Last year’s event raised $31,000 to assist the various United Way basic need programs that impact hunger, homelessness, children, and unemployment. (JK)

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    10/11/12 - Vehicle purchases and building demolitions were discussed by the Livingston County Road Commission this morning as part of a review on its upcoming budget projections. The Michigan Department of Transportation projects that the Road Commission’s 2013 revenue will add up to just over $12 million. This represents an increase of less than 3% over 2012 revenues. Major expenses planned by the commission include the replacement of a foreman pickup truck, a heavy truck for snow removal, and two heavy rotors. Managing Director Mike Craine says those trucks last eight or nine years but tend to fail often beyond that point, leaving the road commission short-handed if they are not replaced. The vehicle replacements will cost around $900,000. The budget will also include the demolition of the Road Commission building on Rickett Road in Brighton, which is more than 70 years old and has not been used in almost a decade. Craine says the building will be leveled and the site returned to grass at a cost of about $25,000. He says the budget will probably be finalized at a special meeting sometime in mid-December. (TD)

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    10/11/12 - All three deaths linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak from contaminated steroid shots were administered by a local clinic. A statement issued today by Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton says the clinic is deeply saddened to learn that another of its patients is reported to have died following spinal steroid treatment at the Brighton facility. The Washtenaw County resident is the third person who has died as a result of contaminated medication administered at the clinic. The two others were a 67-year-old Howell Township woman and a Genesee County woman. The clinic has completed contacting patients who received the spinal steroid injections and is now in the process of notifying patients who received injections in other parts of the body. Any patients who received nerve, muscle or joint injections at the Brighton clinic between August 7th and October 2nd and are experiencing unusual pain, swelling, or redness are asked to contact the clinic for an evaluation. The clinic says it is relieved to report that most patients who contracted the illness since the recall announcement are responding to treatment and they are doing everything possible to bring the situation under control. (JM)

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    10/12/12 - About 20 people turned out Thursday night to listen to the views of the four hopefuls for the Brighton Area Schools’ Board of Education. The candidates’ forum was held at the Brighton Community Center. The candidates are Kenneth Stall, Keith Van Hentenryck, Nick Fiani and Jonathon Krause, who is the lone incumbent, The four are vying for two, 4-year seats on the school board in the November election. Former State Representative Judy Scranton, who is with Voters’ Voice, one of the forum sponsors, tells WHMI that the board hopefuls gave quality answers to the questions posed by moderator Nancy Johnson. The candidates generally agreed on most things: All said they want Brighton students to receive the best education possible so when they graduate they can compete in a global economy. All four said it was vitally important to keep pace with emerging technologies. They said Brighton provides an excellent education and they specifically moved to the Brighton Area because of good schools. Nick Fiani, a Brighton graduate, had arguably the most conservative views, saying the school board should have gone to a merit-based pay system for employees a long time ago. Van Henterynck said the schools need to provide a quality vocational program for students who don’t plan to go to college. Krause said more emphasis on foreign languages is needed in a global economy and that the Brighton school district is working toward that end. Stahl, who was the steering committee chairman during the recent bond issue campaign, stressed the need to work together as a unit, regardless of differences of opinion. Stahl is also on the facilities committee for implementing the $88 million bond issue that passed in May. (TT)

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    10/12/12 - The Howell High School auditorium held over 100 people for the movie screening of “Black and Blue”, the documentary about Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech football game. Filmmakers Brian Kruger and Buddy Moorehouse have had three public presentations of the movie. It depicts the story of Michigan football player Willis Ward being asked to sit out of the October 20th, 1934 game verse Georgia Tech due to his race. When Ward’s teammate, future President Gerald Ford, quit the team in protest, he was only convinced to play by Ward himself. Ward went on to become only the second African-American to win a varsity letter for football at Michigan. He later became a lawyer, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission and then a state court judge in Wayne County. Eight-year-old Genna Urbain of Brighton saw the movie with her mother earlier this year and was shocked to know that Ward has never been honored by U of M. Urbain tells WHMI she took it upon herself to lobby the Michigan legislature to recognize Ward and to have her resolution approved. Moorehouse, the film’s writer tells us he and director Kruger are pushing to have the movie handed out to every middle and high school in Michigan, along with study guides, lesson plans and an e-book. Urbain plans to attend the University of Michigan game on Willis Ward day, while Kruger and Moorehouse plan on celebrating with a game of backyard football. (DK/JK)

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    10/12/12 - A local road will be closed early next week as part of upcoming construction on the Latson Road interchange project. The Michigan Department of Transportation says Nixon Road will close on Monday, south of I-96 between Beck Road and the CSX Railroad. M-DOT says the closure is needed so that crews can relocate Beck Road as part of the upcoming interchange work at I-96 and Latson Road. The project is expected to take two years to complete. Work this fall involves relocating Beck Road, clearing and removing trees, relocating utilities. The rest area on westbound I-96 near the Lake Chemung exit just recently closed permanently to make way for the new westbound off-ramp. (JM)

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    10/12/12 - The number of Michigan residents seeking treatment for fungal meningitis has grown, according to the hospital designated as an area meningitis treatment center. As of Thursday, 26 people were hospitalized at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti. That’s up from 18 on Tuesday. Hospital officials say all cases were confirmed as fungal meningitis by the Michigan Department of Community Health. Meanwhile, the local clinic that administered the tainted shots, Michigan Pain Specialists of Brighton, confirmed that three of the four known deaths in Michigan had sought treatment there. Previously, the only confirmed death from the clinic was that of 67-year-old Lilian Cary of Howell Township. But a 56-year-old woman from Genesee County and a 78-year-old Washtenaw County woman who also died from meningitis are thought to have been clinic patients as well. Dr. John Chatas is the owner of Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton and he says their hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or who became sick as a result of the contamination that health officials say occurred at a Massachusetts pharmacy. "It's pretty devastating for the doctors and nurses and the staff at my office to have been part of this national epidemic. We're in health care and we're health care practitioners because we like making people feel better." Dr. Chatas tells WHMI when the recall was announced, some patients had already been hospitalized and were being treated for bacterial meningitis but not doing so well with the treatments. He says they immediately notified doctors that their patients had been exposed to the contaminated medication, who then switched them over to an anti-fungal treatment. Chatas says it’s important for anyone exposed to not ignore any symptoms, no matter how minor. Some have included headaches, dizziness, eye pain, feeling tired or out of it as well as memory trouble. He says they have been sending 20 to 50 patients to St. Joes in Ann Arbor for testing on a daily basis. The tests are spinal taps that examine white blood cell counts. Anyone with a slight abnormality in their spinal fluid is being admitted for treatment. Chatas says they were closed this week to focus all attention on their patients but expect to open back up next week. (JK)

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    10/12/12 - A full house packed Captain Joe’s Grill in Whitmore Lake last night for a fundraising comedy showcase to benefit the family of a slain police officer from Livingston County. 39-year-old Patrick O’Rourke of Tyrone Township was killed in the line of duty last month, leaving behind a wife and four children. Since that tragic day, efforts by a variety of groups have been raising money for the family including last night’s comedy show organized by the Livingston County Deputy Association. Among the lineup of comedians last night was Dwayne Gill, who has a special connection to the tragedy. Gill is a 19-year veteran of the Michigan State Police, who is based in Lansing. He tells WHMI that the bond between officers transcends all other barriers, and this was one event he absolutely wanted to be a part of. Also in attendance last night was O’Rourke’s parents, Arlene and Dan, who are pictured here hugging Barry White of Pinckney after he donated back his half of the winnings from a 50/50 raffle to the family. The O'Rourke's said they were overwhelmed by the response from the community. Organizers say they raised about $4,000 for the O’Rourke Family Fund, which has been set up through West Bloomfield Township. You’ll find a link for that below. They thanked the owners of Captain Joe's for their generosity in donating the club's proceeds to the fund as well as a $250 gift card for the family. A comedy show tonight at the club will also donate a portion of the proceeds to help the family. (JK)

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    10/12/12 - The sewer treatment plant shared by the City of Howell and Marion Township could be getting a new emergency generator courtesy of a state grant. The Capital Improvement Rate Advisory Board is a local body responsible for making recommendations about major capital improvements to the sewer system and adjusting sewer rates to pay for them. Marion Township Supervisor Bob Hanvey says the board has set its sights on state money to replace the plant’s emergency generator, which is more than 30 years old and is getting more expensive to fix than to replace. The emergency generator provides power to keep the sewer system active in the event of a blackout. The board is applying for a state grant in the order of tens of thousands of dollars to replace the unit since it is not needed for an increase in capacity. That grant would require 10% matching by the local units of government, and Hanvey says they should know whether they have been awarded the grant within thirty days. (TD)

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    10/12/12 - A local automotive test track and proving ground will be the site of specialized training this weekend that could save the lives of young drivers. For the fourth consecutive year, FT Techno of America, which operates an 870-acre test track and proving ground in Handy Township, will help high school students improve their driving skills, while increasing awareness of the dangers of distractions like cell phone use and texting while driving. The program is a partnership with the Tire Rack Street Survival School, a national initiative that teaches teens how to drive better, safer and smarter. FT Techno’s Mike Benjamin says the teen driving activity is a natural fit for the proving ground because safety is a priority at the research facility. Benjamin said the 25 to 30 Fowlerville High School students will take part in the full-day program on Saturday. It includes a mix of classroom and hands-on exercises with an instructor alongside each student in their own vehicle. In the classroom students will learn about proper seating and hand positions, mirror placement, the concept of the contact patch with the tires, theories of weight transfer, and the use of long distance vision and situational awareness. On the course, students will have the chance to experience real life situations in a safe environment, learning skid control on a wet skid pad; lane changes/accident avoidance maneuvers; and braking exercises. Students will also drive on FTTA's ceramic tile test tracks simulating ice and snow. (JK)

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