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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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    A statewide effort this weekend to get rid of expired medications, most especially opioid painkillers, will include Livingston County locations. On Saturday, April 28th, Livingston County residents can get rid of opioids and other unused and expired prescription medicines at a number of locations across the area. In Pinckney, a collection organized through the University of Michigan's Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network, or Michigan OPEN, will take place in the village’s Town Square Park on East Main Street. Also participating will be the Michigan State Police Brighton Post, Brighton City Police, Fenton Police and the South Lyon Police Department. All of the events will run from 10am to 2pm. According to Michigan OPEN, healthcare providers in the state wrote 11 million prescriptions for opioid drugs in 2016, enough to provide every Michigan resident with their own bottle of narcotics. The effort to properly dispose of opioids stems from the ongoing epidemic that kills 115 Americans every day, more than the number of people killed in car accidents or by guns. Authorities say that many addicts start their habit through prescription opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin or codeine, but eventually end up using heroin, which is increasingly mixed with fentanyl, an extremely powerful opioid often connected to overdose deaths. Picture courtesy of Michigan OPEN. (JK)

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    A fundraising polo match is slated to return to Hartland Township this summer. The inaugural Hartland Polo Classic was held last year at the Detroit Polo Club on Chukker Road in Hartland Township. The event, which benefits the Hartland Area Chamber of Commerce scholarship fund and community givebacks, is expected to have about 800 people in attendance this year. The 2nd annual match will be held at the polo club on Saturday, June 9th. Alcohol will be among the event vendors, requiring the property’s owner to obtain a special event permit. A request for the permit came before the township’s Board of Trustees at their Tuesday meeting and was unanimously approved. In addition to several new and locally-based vendors, the Polo Classic will include live entertainment from an interactive band, a halftime hat contest, raffles and parade of ponies. Katie Chuba, Executive Director for the Hartland Area Chamber of Commerce, says last year’s event allowed the chamber to give away two $2,000 scholarships to area students. Chuba tells WHMI proceeds from the match are also given to community organizations that the chamber board feels need the funds to carry out their mission. The Polo Classic will officially kick off May 9th with a polo hat and wine event at Tony Sacco’s in Hartland Township. Polo hats will be sold there by a Michigan-based hat designer for anyone looking to upgrade in hopes of winning the halftime hat contest at the Polo Classic. Details for Polo Hats & Wine can be found on the chamber's website in the events section. Additional Polo Classic details are available at the link below. (DK)

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    Community members have an opportunity to adopt a new cat or dog for free next weekend. The Livingston County Animal Shelter is participating in the Bissel Empty the Shelter free adoption event on May 5th. The day is sponsored by the Bissell Pet Foundation, which strives to help shelters and rescues find placement for the pets waiting for their forever home and encourage the community to adopt and not shop. Adult cats and kittens, and adult dogs and puppies will be available at the event. Photos will be online for viewing the week prior but those interested can also stop in shelter. Shelter Director Aimee Orn tells WHMI if there’s a good home or family looking to open their home to a shelter animal but maybe can’t afford the adoption fee, the event allows them to place the animal at no cost. She says they invite people to come in and fill out the pre-adoption forms early so they can arrive on May 5th and be ready to go, with really no waiting. All adoption fees are sponsored, although new dog owners are required to pay the $10 license fee. All of the animals are spayed or neutered, have up to date vaccinations and are microchipped. The event will be held from 11am-2pm and then again 4pm-6pm next Saturday. Pre-adopt forms are required for all adoptions and Orn says they highly encourage everyone to fill the form out by next Wednesday so staff has time to get them completed. Animal Shelter staff will approve or deny the application and then notify the potential new pet owner of their decision by phone. All pre-approved applications will get to come in one hour before the shelter opens to the general public for the Empty the Shelter event. Those arriving in the one-hour-early time window are also guaranteed an Adopt Box. The Adpot Box is filled with snacks, toys, and accessories to help the owner welcome their new pet into their home. Applications must be completed at the shelter located at 418 S. Highlander Way, in Howell, preferably by May 3rd. (JM)

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    A federal plea hearing is scheduled for a Howell man in connection with three bank robberies. 35-year-old Kenneth Kniivila is charged in U.S. District Court in Detroit with two counts of bank robbery. Although he stood mute at his arraignment in January and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, court records show that a plea hearing is now set for May 4th. If no deal is entered at that time, a jury trial is also on the docket for May 29th. Authorities say Kniivila admitted that he robbed the Bank of America on Grand River in Genoa Township on January 11th, followed by two more bank robberies on January 16th in Toledo and Monroe. After surveillance photos went public, law enforcement was able to identify Kniivila as the primary suspect. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office took him into custody without incident and a vehicle search turned up various items including four grams of suspected cocaine, two black semi-automatic pellet guns, money and green canvas bags. The Sheriff’s Office and the FBI interviewed Kniivila, who waived his Miranda rights and admitted to the three robberies. He told authorities he “lost his marbles” on the 16th and drove around Toledo looking for a bank to rob. (JK)

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    Several dozen area residents turned out for a house party in Pinckney Monday night as they cheered on a hoped-for retirement of an oil pipeline they say threatens the future of the Great Lakes. Hosted by local activist Terri Wilkerson, the gathering tried to bring awareness to the potential threat that the Enbridge Line 5 poses to the Straits of Mackinac. The line, which carries 22.5 million gallons of oil per day underneath the Mackinac Bridge, is 65 years old this month, prompting environmentalists across the region to hold “Retirement” parties. They were coordinated by Oil & Water Don’t Mix, an advocacy group dedicated to forcing the shutdown of the pipeline. The group’s concern increased recently after Line 5 was dented when a tugboat anchor hit a nearby electrical line, spilling over 600 gallons of a mineral-based coolant into the straits. That cleanup continues, but Wilkerson and those who gathered on Monday say that up to 740 miles of Michigan shoreline would be affected if Line 5 was to sustain a rupture. Enbridge officials have repeatedly insisted the lines are safe and point to an independent review by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the company's inspection data on Line 5, which, "concluded that the Line 5 Straits crossing is safe and fit for purpose." But Wilkerson says that Canada-based Enbridge is the same company responsible for the 2010 spill which resulted in 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River being closed for two years and that Line 5 is 24 years older than that one. Next up for the group is a rally on May 29th at the ferry dock in Mackinaw City to demonstrate citizen support for closing the pipeline to legislators, business leaders, and media that will be traveling to the Detroit Chamber of Commerce Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. (JK)

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    The Livingston County Board of Commissioners will extend a trial run of broadcasting their bi-monthly meetings. A committee, formed last fall, was tasked with exploring the concept of broadcasting board meetings. A trial period of six months was established and meetings are currently recorded and made available on the county website. The Board of Commissioners met Monday night and approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with SoundQue Multimedia to provide video recording services of the meetings through December 31st, 2018. Local resident Judith Minton attended the board’s meeting and says she support the decision to continue broadcasting as it is beneficial to a range of demographics. Minton says it's a great opportunity for those who work third and fourth shifts, but also a teachable moment for children to help engage them in community government. Minton says the recordings can be used by teachers to encourage young people to be civilly-minded. Resident Kasey Helton also supported the board's decision, saying she watches online when she can't make it to a meeting. Helton feels access to media is limited in Livingston County and doesn't see a reason to limit access to another arm of service that could be provided to voters to keep track of what the board is doing. Commissioners have said the decision to extend the services is based on the need for a longer proof of concept period. Commissioner Doug Helzerman says the number of viewers has been disappointing and more data is needed. He encouraged anyone watching to provide feedback as to why they watch the meetings online and for how long. Input can be sent to commissioners@livgov.com. (DK)

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    The search is on for a new South Lyon city manager. The South Lyon City Council voted recently to hire the search firm GovHR USA to assist in finding a full time city manager. Police Chief Lloyd Collins is serving as interim city manager while Manager Lynne Ladner is on her third, unspecified medical leave. No medical reason has ever been made public. The City has been dealing with budget issues, unfunded pension liabilities, negotiations with employee labor unions and shifting to a defined contribution pension plan for new hires - all of which Ladner was supposed to handle. Ladner was expected to return in February but her leave was extended again and expired March 28th. The South Lyon Herald reports that the City is now working out a detailed legal agreement to officially end Ladner’s tenure. It is currently being negotiated between the city's attorney and Ladner's legal representatives. The search firm hired by the City will handle all of the advertising and recruitment for the city manager position. The company will determine finalists and initial interviews, before presenting to City Council. The search could take up to 90 days. (JM)

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    Two Brighton High School students were given awards for their work on behalf of veterans at this week’s Brighton Board of Education meeting. Officials from AMVETS and the Disabled American Veterans were at the board meeting, in uniform, to honor seniors Bella Van Buren and Kelsey Adams. Van Buren told WHMI that she and Adams - with the help of Board Trustee John Conely - are building a display case to honor veterans from all branches of the armed forces who have attended Brighton High School over the years. Adams and Van Buren were recognized as Shining Stars by the Board of Education, and were honored with a plaque by Honor Guard Veterans, Tim Maher, Dick Young; and Livingston County Veteran of the Year, Charlie Brock Van Buren and Adams received identical plaques which read: “For your unselfish dedication, for recognizing American veterans, for sharing the cost of freedom.” The plaques were presented to the students because, in the words of AMVETS Post 1775 Commander Tim Maher, “We wanted to do something for them to show our appreciation.” The National Honor Society committee they formed has also sent cards of appreciation to American servicemen and women from the area who are serving overseas. And the students are working with school officials on a way to honor veterans who will be in the audience at high school graduation ceremonies in June. Van Buren and Adams have collected $500 to help defray expenses incurred in constructing the showcase. When completed, the display case will be placed in a prominent area near the high school cafeteria. (TT)

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    Demolition work is underway over at the Mill Pond gazebo in downtown Brighton. The construction of the Millpond Bandshell and Amphitheater is currently underway. It includes replacing the existing pavilion with a new bandshell, stage and seating area along with adding five large caliper shade trees, a grassy hillside, native landscaping, and a revised color scheme featuring a natural aesthetic. Construction is expected to take approximately four months with anticipated completion around the end of July/early August depending on weather. Assistant to the City Manager/DDA Coordinator Brandon Skopek tells WHMI demolition and site clearing is currently underway with footings and retaining wall installation to take place throughout the first few weeks of May. Substantial site work is expected to take place throughout May with construction of the band shell and stage to take place in June. Skopek says they do not anticipate any major traffic impacts as the staging area for the work only takes a few on-street parking spaces along Main Street and the delivery of materials taking place after rush hour during periods of limited traffic flow. He says the Downtown Development Authority is very excited about the project and can’t wait to share the space with the public later this summer and fall. (JM)

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    The myths and misconceptions surrounding sexual assault will be the focus of an event Friday. The LACASA Center helps victims of interpersonal violence and provides educational programs to increase community awareness. April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the local non-profit is inviting the public to take part in a multimedia presentation Friday at 7pm at the Historic Howell Theater. Titled “#MeToo HERE TOO”, LACASA Community Education Director Nicole Matthews-Creech says it will include a local panel of experts, a group discussion with public comments and takeaways on how to support sexual abuse survivors. Space is limited, so she suggests people interested should come early. The event is deemed appropriate for those 16 years of age and older. Matthews-Creech says the gathering is not intended to solve the problems in real-time, but rather to forge connections and learn together as a community. Complete details and different ways to get involved are available online through the link below. (JK)

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    An event at Cleary University’s Livingston campus next week will help build student-business connections while raising funds for the school’s enrichment programs. “Vehicle to a Better Future” will kick off the university’s spring commencement events. Set for Thursday, May 3rd from 5-9pm at Cleary University’s Johnson Center, it will pair area business executives with star chefs to compete for the Cleary Culinary Cup. One of those participating will be Adam Genei, whose custom car rebuilding company Mobsteel has shops in Detroit and Brighton and was featured on the History Channel show “Detroit Steel.” Genei was a guest on WHMI’s “Mike & Jon in the Morning” and says the fundraiser is a fun way to mix automobiles and food as each team will prepare a dish based on the make, model, origin and color of one of the vehicles. The event also raises funds that Cleary University officials say will be invested back into the classroom to enhance student learning. Attendees will also have the chance to win a full four-year scholarship to Cleary that they can use themselves or give as a gift. You’ll find details through the link below. (JK)

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    Repairs to a water system has promoted a precautionary boil water advisory for some residents in a Brighton Township subdivision. The advisory applies to residents within the Country Club Annex Subdivision utilizing the Livingston Community Water Authority. Around 9am Friday, the water system will be shut down to repair several fire hydrants and replace old worn out water main valves in the subdivision. Water Authority Chairman Mark St. Charles says because they need to shut the water off on Ethel Street, they are required to issue the precautionary boil water advisory. It’s anticipated the water will be off for approximately six hours. All homes on Ethel Street from Weber to Burson and possibly some homes on Burson and Weber will be affected. Since the water will be taken down to zero pressure, a precautionary boil water advisory is issued for 72 hours, or until noticed. The advisory is intended for any water that will be used for human consumption. Additional information is available in the attachment. (JM)

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    A prescribed burn took place at the Island Lake State Recreation Area. WHMI received multiple reports of large billowing smoke from listeners traveling in the Green Oak Township and Brighton areas today, although there was no cause for alarm. Bob Clancy with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Stewardship Unit says two prescribed burns were to take place at the rec area today, with one fully competed this afternoon. Clancy tells WHMI several burns are scheduled at various state recreation areas this spring during the month of April and the end of May. Additional burns are planned at Island Lake, as well as the Brighton and Highland Recreation Areas. There are no specific dates and times, as it depends on when conditions are appropriate. Details about the benefits of prescribed burning can be found through the link. Photo: MDNR. (JM)

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    The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office held its annual awards ceremony to recognize those who go the extra mile. The ceremony was held Wednesday evening at Parker Middle School in Marion Township and attended by friends and family of those being honored, as well as local leaders and officials. Numerous awards were handed out to individuals in various categories, including citations for valor, bravery, life-saving and meritorious service. Sheriff Mike Murphy noted recipients were chosen by a committee of their peers, indicating the committee members are aware of what goes into a day’s work and what it looks like to go above and beyond that. Sgt. Chris Schmidt (bottom pic) was chosen as the 2017 Officer of the Year. He was nominated by his direct supervisor who says Schmidt leads by example, takes on extra responsibilities and quietly does what’s expected of him and does it well. Schmidt was humbled to have been chosen, though feels the award could have gone to any one of his peers. Sgt. Kendall Kretzschmer received the life-saving award for his actions regarding an incident in Hartland Township about a year ago. An infant was unresponsive at a residence, but while enroute, responders were informed the mother had already left with the child. Sgt. Kretzschmer was able to locate and stop the vehicle on M-59 and performed CPR on the unresponsive child. When EMS arrived, the baby was breathing and had a pulse, and is said to be doing well today. Kretzschmer responded humbly to the recognition, saying any of his peers in that situation would've taken the same actions. Deputy James Steinaway received a citation for bravery, connected to an incident last May in Brighton Township, in which a suicidal subject advanced on responding officers while waving a handgun. The unit of responding officers was also recognized. The good citizenship category honored residents who have taken extraordinary actions to help or protect the community. Among the recipients were Bradley McClements and Adam Wilson (top pic), who are both employed at a local gun range and retailer. The two men contacted the Sheriff’s Office after noticing numerous firearms were purchased by the same person in the span of six months. Undersheriff Jeff Warder couldn’t reveal all of the case details, but fully believes McClements and Wilson helped stop what could’ve been a very serious and devastating situation. Wilson, the store manager, says he enjoyed working with the Sheriff's Office to make a difference in the community that has a little bit more meaning than what he does day to day. Christopher Wagner, Michael Rodriguez and Lauren Arceri were also recognized for good citizenship. The trio helped save a man who suffered a medical episode while driving and drove into a retention pond. Murphy says he couldn’t be prouder of his staff or to be Livingston County’s Sheriff, adding he’s also grateful for a very supportive community. (DK)

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    The City of Fenton has agreed to apply for funding through the Local Bridge Fund in order to repair three of their local bridges. Fenton’s Director of Public Works Dan Czarnecki approached city council on Monday night regarding the current condition of bridges on Leroy Street, Caroline Street, and Torrey Road. Czarnecki requested council’s approval to send an application to the state that would allow all three bridges to be repaired with the majority of the cost being funded by the Local Bridge Fund. The fund consists of federal and state dollars that go towards the repair and replacement of local bridges with cities only paying 5% towards the total project. Czarnecki said even though the three Fenton bridges are in fairly good shape, repairs are still needed. The cost of repairs would come to roughly $87,000 for Leroy Street, $66,000 for Caroline Street, and $58,000 for Torrey Road totaling nearly $211,000. Of the $211,000, The City of Fenton would only be responsible for about $10,550. Czarnecki told WHMI the next steps involve sending the application out to the state. He expects to hear back between late-Summer and early-Fall. Should the request be granted, the repairs and funding would not begin until 2021. (DF)

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    A Brighton native has been named the new Ann Arbor fire chief. Former South Lyon Fire Chief Mike Kennedy accepted an assistant chief position with the City of Ann Arbor Fire Department and started in December. He has now been appointed the new Ann Arbor fire chief. Kennedy spent seven years with the South Lyon Fire Department and told WHMI at the time it was very bittersweet because he was sad to leave but excited to move on. Kennedy noted he he’ll forever owe a debt of gratitude to South Lyon as it was an outstanding experience and he worked with a great group at the fire department, as well as city leadership. Kennedy also earlier worked for the Brighton Area Fire Department. He still resides in South Lyon but is expected to eventually relocate. (JM)

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    A local lawmaker’s bill that would protect underage sex crimes victims is one step away from becoming law. House Bill 5530 is part of a three bill package that requires schools to permanently expel students who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another school in the district. Currently schools are only required to expel if the sex crime is committed on school grounds. State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton drafted the legislature in response to a recent Livingston County case where a 16-year old convicted of multiple counts sought to return to the school his victims attended. Theis said that this creates a much safer scenario for the students and that the possibility of a convicted sex offender going back to school with his victims was unconscionable. The other bills in the package will do the following. Expelled students will be prohibited from attending another public school in Michigan unless they go through a reinstatement process. Additionally, if a personal protection order is granted to the victim, the offender would be prohibited from entering the victim’s school. House Bill 5530 completed final House passage Thursday and now goes to the governor’s desk. (MK)

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    A Genoa Township man being held on a $1 (m) million bond for attempted murder is undergoing psychiatric testing. 50-year-old Michael Troy Mapes appeared in 53rd District Court for an exam recently, where he was referred to the state forensic center for examinations related to competency and criminal responsibility. The case has been adjourned pending a completion of those examinations. Mapes remains jailed on a $1 (m) million cash/surety bond. He’s facing multiple felony charges including assault with intent to murder, attempted murder, arson-preparing to burn a building, and resisting/assaulting a police officer among others. The Livingston County Sheriff's Office responded to a 911 call of a possible armed suicidal subject at a residence off of Brighton Road in Genoa Township around 8:45pm April 10th. Mapes had already fled the area when a unit responded. Early the next morning, the Sheriff's Office received a second call from the residence indicating Mapes had returned. The 41-year-old female caller indicated that she had awoke to Mapes pouring gasoline on her and around her bed. The caller explained she observed a lighter in his hand and that Mapes had a rifle slung over his shoulder. The victim and her two children ages 12 and 14 were able to flee the residence, and while doing so indicated heard a gunshot and Mapes yelling. Deputies established a perimeter around the residence and attempted to negotiate with Mapes for several hours. He eventually attempted to leave the area in his vehicle. He was taken into custody after a short vehicle pursuit and physical altercation with deputies on scene. If convicted, Mapes could be sentenced to life in prison.(JM)

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    The Village of Milford is advising of an upcoming road closure for crosswalk repairs. Officials advise that weather permitting; Main Street between Liberty and Commerce will be closed at 6am Sunday morning for the repair and replacement of the Center Street Crosswalk, which was installed in 2002. Work will continue until and possibly through Monday evening. Main Street is expected to be re-opened before the morning commute on Tuesday morning at the latest. Motorists are being advised to follow posted detours, which utilize Liberty and First Streets. Picture courtesy of Google Street View. (JM)

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    Family and friends of a Brighton High School student who lost her life in a tragic accident are recognizing acts of kindness in the young woman’s memory. This past February, 16-year-old Darian Locklear from Brighton, and her friend Juliana Ward-Brown of Howell, were involved in an accident on westbound I-96 near Williamston Road that took both of their lives. Locklear’s parents, Regina and Troy, along with Amy Vandemergel whose daughters were friends with Darian, have recently started their new Kindness Warrior campaign. After Darian passed, her family began getting messages from students they didn’t know telling them about the effects Darian had on them and how she was there for them when they, themselves were struggling. As a reponse, the Locklears and Vandemergels have had bracelets made in Darian’s memory. One side reads “Fly High Darian,” and on the other side, “Kindness is Beautiful.” Vandemergal said her daughters have given some to teachers and have begun handing others out themselves. When they witness an act of kindness, or even see someone just being a kind person, they recognize it by giving them a bracelet, saying, “Darian would want you to have it.” They then ask that the recipient would post a picture of it with #KindnessWarrior to social media to help keep Darian’s memory alive. Vandemergal said the response has been greater than they could imagine and that teachers and administrators from several outside school districts have already contacted them about the campaign. They hope to have these bracelets in all middle and high schools across the state by the end of next year.(MK)

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