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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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    10/1312 - Nearly 700 pounds of prescription drugs were collected as part of a recent take-back event with the Michigan State Police Brighton Post collecting the most of all posts taking part. Michigan State Police partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration and various local law enforcement agencies for another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, September 29th. The day provided a venue for citizens to dispose of expired, un-used and un-wanted medications for destruction. Officials say a total of 698.75 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at posts across the state. The Michigan State Police Brighton Post collected 85 pounds of prescription drugs, the most of all 29 that participated. The Jackson and Bay City MSP posts also fared well with their collections of 68.1 and 62 pounds of prescription drugs. (JM)

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    10/13/12 - A Highland Township man has pleaded guilty in connection with a Green Oak Township bank robbery last June. 48-year-old Carlos Vilanova entered the plea in Livingston County Circuit Court this past week. Authorities say he walked into the First National Bank on M-36, handed the teller a note implying he had a weapon and demanded money. He will be sentenced December 6th. Meanwhile Vilanova was recently sentenced in Oakland County after pleading guilty to a single count of bank robbery for the July 11th robbery of the Community Choice Credit Union on Milford Road. He will serve a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 50 years in prison but must also pay restitution in the amount of $2,545. Police said Vilanova had been living in Highland Township but working in Ann Arbor when he robbed the Milford and Green Oak banks. However, he could also face charges in Illinois in connection with several bank robberies there. (JM)

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    10/13/12 - As the weather gets chilly, the Livingston County Road Commission will begin its preparations for the coming winter months. Managing Director Mike Craine tells WHMI that cold weather preparations so far are similar to those made in previous years. He says that includes inspections and making sure all equipment is tuned up and ready to go while also holding winter readiness meetings with staff and getting the barn full of salt. But after that, Craine says they do what everyone else does and wait to see what will actually happen with mother nature. He says the National Weather Service is predicting that this winter will have average levels of precipitation and above average temperatures, but warmer weather does not exclude the possibility of snow and could actually make it wetter and heavier. He says the NWS looks at conditions in the Pacific to make long-term forecasts, but repeated that making any predictions that far into the future is unreliable. The road commission will begin stockpiling salt in the coming weeks. (JM)

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    10/14/12 - Some recognizable faces were busy serving coffee and bussing tables at Olden Days Café in Fowlerville on Saturday as part of an event to benefit the Genesis House organization. Genesis House is a nonprofit agency that works to assist adults recovering from mental illness disorders as they make their way back into society. It runs on a clubhouse format in Fowlerville where participants in the program all contribute to its operation. A celebrity server event was held on Saturday, allowing patrons of Olden Days Café to be waited on by local figures such Sheriff Bob Bezotte, Representative Cindy Denby, and Fowlerville Police Chief Tom Couling. All the tips raised by the servers as well as a portion of the meal prices went to Genesis House, and a 50/50 raffle was also held to raise additional funds. Genesis House Executive Director Lee Kellogg was among those participating in the event, and he tells WHMI that the annual fundraiser was largely organized by Undersheriff Mike Murphy and allows Genesis staff to interact with the community while raising funds. Kellogg says the event was expected to raise about $1000 for Genesis House to help its member integrate into society. (TD)

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    10/11/12 - As the weather gets chilly, the Livingston County Road Commission will begin its preparations for the coming winter months. Managing Director Mike Craine tells WHMI that cold weather preparations so far are similar to those made in previous years and include vehicle inspections, staff readiness meetings, and weather-watching. He says the National Weather Service is predicting that this winter will have average levels of precipitation and above average temperatures, but warmer weather does not exclude the possibility of snow and could actually make it wetter and heavier. He says the NWS looks at conditions in the Pacific to make long-term forecasts, but considers any predictions made that far into the future to be relatively unreliable. The road commission will begin stockpiling snow in the coming weeks. (TD)

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    10/15/12 - Livingston County residents are being encouraged to take part in the fight against hunger tomorrow. Tuesday marks "World Food Day". First established in 1981, the nationwide movement encourages community members to focus on promoting healthier diets, sustainable farms and protecting the environment. In Livingston County, more than 21,250 individuals struggle with food insecurity and don't always have enough nutritious food. The Livingston County Hunger Council is urging community members to get involved and help in finding sustainable solutions. It offers some simple ideas to engage families, neighbors and co-workers in the fight against hunger. Some include hosting a holiday food drive or collection for Gleaners Community Food Bank, pack lunch for the week and donate the money saved to a food pantry or visit local farmers markets for fresh produce. To learn more or get involved, contact the Livingston County Hunger Council at 1-810-494-3000. (JK)

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    10/15/12 - The public is being invited to help celebrate the life and times of an local doctor best known for babies, melons and more recently, soy products. Dr. Louis Pat May, better known as Doc May, will be roasted, toasted and entertained at the celebration planned for Sunday, October 21st. Doc May founded the Howell Melon Festival and has a city park named after him but is also a proponent of natural cures and has developed natural soy products sold at the Howell Farmer’s Market. He also served in World War II and has delivered countless babies while practicing medicine in the community for decades. Organizers are hoping to have community members, family, friends and dignitaries share funny stories or make speeches about whatever they remember most about Doc May or may have heard about him. Event Coordinator Sue Torbico tells WHMI Doc May turned 90 in June and he’s still pretty sharp but does need a little bit of memory jogging occasionally. She says they are currently seeking letters, comments, cards, photos and other stories about Doc May, adding they especially want to hear from any babies he delivered since he claims to have delivered more than any other doctor in Livingston County. The event is open to the public on Sunday, October 21st and will take place at the Howell Eagles Club. Admission is $5, with a Dinner Special also $5. For additional information, call 517-548-1630 or 517-548-4313. (JM)

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    10/15/12 - Work is underway on the Latson Road Interchange, and the progress will become visible over the coming weeks and months. Nixon Road will close today, 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. As for the interchange itself, Road Commission Managing Director Mike Craine tells WHMI work crews will use the colder months to prepare the site for construction. Beginning this week, work crews will commence clearing the trees from the area around the work site. The following months will involve more utility relocations and construction on median support for the bridge. Demolition work has already begun for some houses on the south side of the freeway, which will allow crews to shift Beck Road southward and install new ramps. The rest area has been closed and is scheduled demolition in late October or early November to make room for the westbound off-ramp. Over the next few months, work crews will also begin removing soft sub-soils from spots around the work site and beginning the foundation work on the project. Craine says this is the best time to do that preparatory work since it is not affected by temperature. (TD)

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    10/15/12 - A Democratic candidate running for a seat on the county board is calling on Commissioners to delay final approval of an easement for an oil pipeline company. There have been ongoing easement issues between Enbridge and local property owners and the legal disputes are being heard in Livingston County Circuit Court. The finance committee of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners approved a $400,000 easement agreement with Enbridge Inc. that was negotiated by Airport Manager Mark Johnson and members of the aeronautical facilities board. However, Democratic candidate Jeanette DiFlorio of Oceola Township who is running for District 2 feels the county could have held off and used some its power to influence the company to reach a settlement with the property owners. She tells WHMI that many homeowners have expressed concerns with Enbridge tearing up their property or who felt they didn’t receive a fair deal. Commission Chairwoman Maggie Jones says the board is well aware of the property easement issues that exist with some of the homeowners along the pipeline route. She says the board has been in contact with Enbridge and individual homeowners on several occasions to do what it can within legal and statutory means to facilitate communication, obtain answers and allow a venue for public comment. Commissioner Dave Domas echoed those sentiments, telling WHMI it would be inappropriate for the county to get involved in the legal matters between Enbridge and local homeowners. Enbridge has said that a zero-risk pipeline is not possible and Domas says the company has not offered any written guarantees to the county that the original pipeline would not be used again. (JK)

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    10/15/12 - Pink Week, being celebrated to increase awareness for breast cancer and raise funds for the cause, is taking place all this week in the Brighton Area Schools. Most, but not all, of the activities will take place at Brighton High School. The BHS Leadership Class has organized all the activities, including the sale of pink T-shirts, a scavenger hunt by school faculty on Thursday, a pink tailgate party before the Friday night football game and a survivors' walk during the game with walkers wearing cancer survivor white sashes. In addition, the Brighton High School Marching Band will be sporting pink gloves during the game and the football players will be wearing pink wristbands. A movie night will be held in the field house after the game. Among other events taking place, there will be a raffle of donated items and a silent auction will be held each day during high school lunch hours, with the public invited to come and bid on items. Items to be auctioned off include hunting and fishing trips, tickets to the Michigan-Michigan State football game and four tickets for any performance at the Fox Theater in Detroit, the latter prize donated by Little Caesar's. Prizes have also been donated by school staff and raffle prizes were donated by Brighton merchants. Scranton Middle School and Maltby Intermediate School are also having pink T-shirt sales all week and plan other related activities. Brighton elementary students will be asked to wear pink clothing on Friday. Park says even the love-it-or-hate-it statue called "Decision Pending" at the Mill Pond (also known as the Ugly Naked Guy) will be outfitted in a pink T-shirt for the week. Proceeds from all the events will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. (TT/JK)

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    10/15/12 - A "Community Resource Night” is planned to help assist families experiencing financial difficulties within the Huron Valley Schools district. 15 schools and approximately 10,000 students from Commerce, Highland, Milford and White Lake make up the district and social workers coordinated the event for families experiencing financial hardships and applications for assistance will be available. There will also be opportunities to sign up for coats, food pantries, holiday help or assistance with utility payments and tutoring among others. The Community Resource Night will take place at Lakeland High School on Thursday, November 1st from 4:30 to 7pm. Child care is available at no cost and pre-registration forms are available on the district’s website. You’ll find a link at below and free pizza is offered to families who register by October 23rd. (JM)

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    10/15/12 - Whether walking, paddling a canoe, piloting small planes or driving; Fowlerville’s Clayton Klein is a man with some very non-conventional means of traveling and an obvious spirit of adventure. The 93-year-old is well known for his many walks from “Paradise to Hell and Beyond” to benefit Michigan Hospice and raise awareness of the health benefits of walking. Klein recently penned a new book titled “My First 90 Years”. The book highlights adventures and experiences throughout his life as a farmer, business owner and outdoor adventurer from exploring Canada’s river systems to the Fowlerville Christmas tree thief and canoeing across Everglades National Park. “My First 90 Years” is slated for release within the next couple of weeks and pre-sale copies can still be purchased. The entire interview with Klein is available for download in the podcast section of our website above. (JM)

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    10/15/12 - One of two men charged in a gruesome murder last year in Green Oak Township is set to be sentenced this week. Brian Jeffrey Stafford of Brighton Township pleaded guilty last month to a charge of 2nd degree murder for aiding and abetting in the death of Christopher London Townsend of Lyon Township. Stafford will be sentenced Thursday by Livingston County Circuit Judge David Reader. Under terms of the plea deal, Stafford would be eligible for parole in 15 years, but officials say because parole boards typically deny parole for this type of offense, Stafford would likely serve at least 20 years in prison before being paroled. Stafford can also withdraw his plea if Judge Reader doesn’t agree to the deal. He was originally charged along with co-defendant George Robert Tanner with murdering and dismembering the 40-year old Townsend before burning his body on wooded property in Green Oak Township that was owned by Tanner’s uncle on October 15th, 2011. Tanner’s case remains on hold pending an appeal. (JM)

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    10/15/12 - After four and a half years on the run, a fugitive wanted for an alleged sexual assault in Unadilla Township has been captured. 31-year-old Varnet Amaro Brito, a Mexican national, was arrested by the Blackhawk County Sheriff's Department in Waterloo, Iowa for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Unadilla Township Police were notified of his capture Monday and he is being held on charges as well as a deportation detainer from the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for having illegal immigration status. The Livingston County Prosecutor's Office has begun the process of extradition proceedings so Brito can be returned to Michigan to face local charges. He’s charged with sexually assaulting an incapacitated victim in Unadilla Township on March 19th of 2008. During the investigation, township police say they were able to recover forensic evidence from the crime scene, which was sent to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab. The department says evidence linked the suspect to the victim but would not elaborate as to what the evidence was. (JM)

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    10/16/12 - A Brighton man charged with home invasion after an incident last month at a Brighton apartment complex has been found incompetent to stand trial. The attorney for 28-year-old Nicholas Sloan successfully petitioned to have his client evaluated at the state’s Center for Forensic Psychiatry in August. Sloan was charged after Brighton Police say on July 24th he forced his way into the former apartment of a man he suspected of having relations with his ex-girlfriend. However, the man he was looking for had moved out several weeks before. Sloan is alleged to have kicked down the door of the unit at the Brighton Glen complex at around 3am, charged at a male occupant and began throwing punches. The man’s fiancé grabbed her 4-year-old son, ran to a closet, and called 911. Police quickly arrested Sloan, who was on rollerblades, down the street from the apartment complex. Having been found incompetent to stand trial Sloan has been referred to a forensic center, which will perform an evaluation of criminal responsibility and provide the court with a report within 60 days. (TD)

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    10/16/12 - The co-owner and manager of a smoke shop in Genoa Township are facing criminal charges for allegedly attempting to sell synthetic marijuana during a routine compliance check. 41-year-old Ronda Roszak and 27-year-old Melissa Dzierwa of Fowlerville are expected to be arraigned tomorrow in 53rd District Court. Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse tells WHMI the charges filed stem from an incident at the Smokers Depot store located off of Lawson Drive on April 26th during a compliance check conducted by Michigan State Police. Morse says Roszak is the co-owner of the smoke shop and Dzierwa is the manager. The charge filed is a felony punishable by up to seven years behind bars and/or up to a $10,000 fine. (JM)

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    10/16/12 - A local attorney representing an elderly Brighton couple is asking for a stay of court proceedings in the legal battle over two homes the city wants torn down. Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty recently ruled that since the homes have not been used for the past 30 years as a residence, their status as a non-conforming use in the downtown commercial district is gone and while they can be repaired, they must be brought up to commercial standards and code. The City has sought to tear down the homes based on its ordinance, which Hatty deemed to be unconstitutional in November of 2010 but the City is seeking to reverse that decision and has appealed. Attorney Dennis Dubuc represents Leon and Marilyn Bonner who first applied for the permits in January of 2009 after the City deemed there were alleged code violations at the two homes located on North Street. Dubuc says they applied for permits to repair the homes eleven times, which were denied by the City and the court eleven times. He tells WHMI the intent was always to fix up the homes to their original condition in the 1870’s. He says he believes 100% that the city doesn't want the homes fixed but demolished so it can put in a parking lot under eminent domain at less expensive cost since the Bonner's do not want to sell. The recent order states the City provide a list of concerns to Bonners and then have the Bonners apply for permits. Dubuc has appealed the ruling to fix the homes up to commercial standards and has filed a motion for a stay of proceedings that will be heard this Thursday in Circuit Court. Calls to the city attorney's office were not returned. (JM)

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    10/16/12 - After some trying times, a local theater group has found a home for the holidays in Hartland. The Dionysus Theatre and Performing Arts Academy has been looking for a permanent home since plans for a theater space in Brighton were rejected over zoning issues. And while that search continues, the group will be presenting its first original production this Christmas season in the Hartland High School auditorium. The family musical is titled “Home for the Holidays” and Dionysus Theatre co-owner Steve DeBruyne tells WHMI everyone was really helpful in allowing them to use the theater for a holiday show and he has also been working with students in the district's after school drama program. 12 performances of “Home for the Holidays” are scheduled starting December 7th and running through December 23rd. DeBruyne says they will be holding auditions next Tuesday and Wednesday from 7pm to 10pm at Michelle’s Academy of Dance in Brighton and that they’re looking to find some great singers and dancers. He says it’s an open call and encourages individuals to just show up and bring along some Christmas music. For more information, log onto the theatre's website through the link below. (JK)

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    10/16/12 - The Brighton Township Board has chosen a new township manager pending a tentative contract agreement. Members interviewed four candidates in September and have decided that former Grosse Pointe Manager, Brian Vick, will be a great fit for the position. Supervisor Tom Murphy, and other council members, have been filling in the gaps since the absence of the previous township manager. Murphy expects Vick to pick right up where the previous manager left off. Vick has over 20 years of experience in city management and township officials believe he will bring a lot of positive energy to lead Brighton Township, which is what Murphy says the township needs right now. (SO)

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    10/16/12 - A Livingston County woman has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Michigan residents sickened by tainted steroid injections that authorities say are the cause of a fungal meningitis outbreak that has led to at least four deaths in the state. 46-year-old Brenda Bansale of Howell Township filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit against the New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company that produced the tainted steroids. The lawsuit alleges the company has been selling large quantities of medications to hospitals and clinics, although it is licensed only to fill small, specialty prescriptions for patients. Bansale was diagnosed with fungal meningitis after being injected with the contaminated steroid for back pain. Because it’s a class-action lawsuit, it’s open to any Michigan resident who received or was exposed to injections of the contaminated drug. Bansale’s lawsuit is at least the second to be filed against the company. A Minnesota woman filed a similar lawsuit last week in federal court there. The Michigan Department of Community Health says that approximately 1,900 people were given the suspect injections at four Michigan clinics including the Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, which is where Bansale was treated. Michigan Pain Specialists has said it treated about 875 people with the now-recalled product between Aug. 7 and Oct. 2. Three of the four deaths in Michigan are thought to have been patients of the clinic, including 67-year-old Lillian Cary, also of Howell Township.

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