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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 potential primary fight for a local state House seat has been avoided after one of the candidates says he’ll be dropping out. Joe Riker, a candidate for the Republican nomination to the 42nd state House seat, has announced he is withdrawing his name from the race. That leaves Brighton Township Clerk Ann Bollin as the lone GOP candidate in the August primary. Riker said he is putting his candidacy aside in order to, “do what is best for Livingston County” adding that he wanted “to ensure that come November a conservative voice continues to represent the 42nd district; and having a difficult primary will hurt those chances. We need to focus our efforts where they need to be, in the general election.” He then endorsed Bollin for the position saying she, “will continue to uphold the local traditional values that families” like his, moved to Livingston County for. Riker’s withdrawal means Bollin will face the Democratic candidate, Journalist Mona Shand of Genoa Township, in November. (JK)

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    Motorists traveling on westbound I-96 in Howell, Fowlerville and Webberville this weekend should prepare themselves for delays and potential backups. The Michigan Department of Transportation advises that the left lane of westbound I-96 will be closed from M-59 to M-52. The Fowlerville Road entrance ramp to westbound I-96 will also be closed. The closure will be in effect from 9pm tonight through 5am Monday and motorists are advised to take alternate routes. M-DOT says this is one of four planned weekends to have major work occur day and night in order to avoid holidays and major events. The closures also increase safety for workers and motorists through the work zone. The work is part of a $14 (M) million project to resurface 11 miles of I-96 between M-52 and M-59 in Ingham and Livingston Counties. (JM)

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    A pedestrian was killed Thursday night while trying to cross a Hartland Township roadway. Deputies with the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to Highland Road near Cullen Road at approximately 9:13pm for a vehicle versus pedestrian injury accident. A preliminary investigation indicated that a 22-year-old Hartland resident was crossing Highland Road when they were struck by two separate eastbound vehicles. The first was a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado operated by a 47-year-old Milford resident. The pedestrian was then struck by the second vehicle, a 2002 Dodge Caravan operated by a 23-year-old Fenton resident. The pedestrian, whose name has not been released, was pronounced deceased at the scene by Livingston County EMS. The drivers of both vehicles were not injured. Highland Road was closed for approximately three hours during the investigation. Speed and alcohol use do not appear to be a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation. Deputies were assisted at the scene by personnel from the Hartland Fire Department, Michigan State Police, and Livingston County EMS. (JK) Submitted photo.

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    The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations from employers for a scholarship that would help dedicated, working students they employ. The Margaret Starkey Scholarship is designed to assist “non-traditional” students who are advancing their education while working. Some of the criteria used to evaluate candidates will include self-motivation and creativity, customer service, leadership, and self-confidence. Students nominated must have been employed with the nominating business since at least last September, and the company must be located in Livingston County. Up to $15,000 in scholarships will be awarded this year. The Howell Chamber is also asking businesses and families that hold these ideals to consider being a donor to the foundation’s scholarship fund. The scholarship’s namesake, Margaret Starkey, was an Executive Assistant with the Chamber for 31 years until her retirement in 1987. She passed away in 2002. Scholarship application materials can be downloaded through the link below, or can be obtained by contacting the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce at (517) 546-3920. Applications are due May 15th. (MK)

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    Local and statewide jobless rates were little changed from February to March. Unemployment rates in March fell in all of the states 17 major labor market areas, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Total employment levels rose in all areas over the month, while workforce levels were mixed. Michigan’s local labor markets were said to have been very steady over the past year, with unemployment rates showing little change since March 2017. Livingston County’s March unemployment rate stood at 3.5% - a drop of four-tenths of a percentage point from February. Livingston retained its ranking of fifth among Michigan’s 83 counties in terms of unemployment rates. Labor force changes were mostly minor over the month, with the largest advances posted in the Ann Arbor and Detroit-Warren-Dearborn statistical areas, the latter which includes Livingston County. (JM)

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    An upcoming educational event aims to help prevent senior citizens from falling victim to scams. A senior scam presentation is planned on Tuesday, May 15th at the United Brethren Church located at 9300 West Grand River in Fowlerville. The presentation will focus on local and national scams/frauds targeting senior citizens and what to look for so you or a loved one doesn't fall victim to fraud. The presentation will start at 6:30pm and continue until 8:00pm. Light refreshments will be available and there will be a question and answer session after the presentation. Organizers say all are welcome to attend. Those with questions can contact the Fowlerville Police Department at 517-223-8711. (JM)

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    A popular gas station and convenience store chain is opening another branch in Marion Township. Mugg and Bopp’s is setting to open their 19th store in the area on D-19 in Marion Township, at the current site of Bella’s Market. At Thursday night’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, Todd Lekander of Mugg and Bopp’s was present for final site plan review and a needed special use permit. The gas station will house 5 fuel stations with a canopy, with 7-feet of brick columns as per the township’s request. The site plan was approved based on fulfillment of recommendations from the township’s engineer. The special use permit proved to be a bit trickier. A broken pipe on Lekander’s property belonging to neighboring property owner Bob Diamond has been malfunctioning for years and causing flooding issues. Lekander said in discussions with Diamond, Diamond believes the county's road and drain commissions are responsible for repairs. Those two entities, it was said, believe that Diamond is responsible. Township officials just want this lingering problem fixed before it gets too great. Lekander said from the start of the meeting that he was willing to facilitate whoever was willing to fix it if they wanted to do it during construction. He agreed to give an easement to whichever party ends up fixing the problem. Lekander said they plan on beginning construction in the summer and should be ready to open in the fall.(MK)

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    In an effort to open up the Brighton High School pool to more people in the community, the school district will be making a few changes in the pool schedule. The Brighton Area Schools Board of Education Monday night discussed a coming change in the hours and of open swim availability. Superintendent Greg Gray told WHMI after the meeting that the hours of the open swim will be increased from the current 7-8:30 p.m. to 7-10 p.m. In addition, instead of having just one lane available for open swim, the number of lanes will be increased to two, with one lane for advanced swimmers who want to move faster through the water and the other being a slower lane for recreational swimming. The change isn’t official yet but is expected to be approved by the Board of Education at its next meeting. Meanwhile, Board President Andy Burchfield and Board Treasurer Bill Trombley both complained about the lack of proper upkeep of the pool. At the board meeting Burchfield said the pool, which is barely three years old, is being neglected. “We don’t treat our football field that way,” Burchfield told the board. And Trombley complained about dirty locker rooms with items scattered about. Burchfield said he has tried to have the problems at the pool addressed for two years and nothing has been done. Superintendent Greg Gray said that he will assign a high school custodian with the specific responsibility for keeping the pool complex clean. The high school pool was constructed as one of the last components of the $88.5 million bond issue which was passed by the voters in 2012. The total cost of the state-of-the-art pool was about $9 million, when renovations to the athletic wing and new heating and cooling equipment are factored in. (TT)

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    Employees at a Milford bank are among hundreds of layoffs recently announced in Michigan. MB Financial Bank is planning layoffs and facility closures in Michigan as well as other locations. The company is ending its national mortgage origination business and as a result, laying off 495 employees in Michigan. All facilities will close. The first layoffs will start July 2nd. 64 employees will be laid off in Milford, 406 in Ann Arbor and 25 at each facility in Farmington Hills, Northville, Southfield, Taylor and West Bloomfield Township. Additional layoffs at the Ann Arbor and Milford locations will occur through December. Layoffs in metro Detroit will also begin July 2nd. The decision to end the mortgage origination business came earlier this month after "an analysis of recent economic changes; the dynamics of the highly competitive mortgage industry, including recent very low origination margins; and input from the Company's stockholders". Photo: MB Financial. (JM)

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    The precautionary boil water advisory for residents in Brighton Township’s Country Club Annex subdivision has been rescinded. Mark St. Charles, the chairman of the Livingston Community Water Authority, says the water main that caused the shutdown has been repaired and a bacteriological survey has been taken that indicates the water is safe to drink. Once again, the precautionary boil water notice for the Country Club Annex subdivision is no longer in effect and the water has been pronounced safe for human consumption. (TT)

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    A Michigan congressman is weighing in on the upcoming summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Congressman Mike Bishop represents Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District, which includes Livingston County. After a roundtable discussion involving area manufacturing officials in Howell last week, Bishop told WHMI that the coming summit meeting is an important step in reducing tensions between the United States and North Korea and its neighbors, such as South Korea and Japan. According to Bloomberg, President Trump expects his historic meeting with the North Korean leader will take place “over the next three or four weeks.” On Saturday,Trump told a rally in Washington Township, Michigan that, in his words, “Strength is going to keep us out of nuclear war, not get us in,” Earlier, he said details of the summit are being ironed out, and that he’d spoken with the leaders of South Korea and Japan about preparations for the meeting. He said the call Saturday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in was “a long and very good talk.” On Friday, Trump said that the potential location of a meeting with the North Korean leader had been narrowed down to two or three locations that he didn’t specify. The president said earlier he feels Kim Jong Un is completely serious and not trying to fool the rest of the world with his pronouncements about wanting to de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula. (TT)

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    Brighton Area Schools’ Board of Education Trustee John Conely has announced that he will not run for another term. Conely is in the last year of his second, four-year term on the school board. Conely has built a reputation for his dedication to the high school auto lab program and the robotics program and his volunteer efforts on behalf of the Science Olympiad at Scranton Middle School, Brighton High School and – before that – at St. Patrick’s school in Brighton. Several times the Brighton Area Schools teams which he was a part of went all the way to the state championships in Science Olympiad. However, Conely has been controversial at times, occasionally being critical of fellow board members and taking an adversarial position toward the Brighton Education Association, which represents over 300 district teachers. When informed that Conely would not seek reelection, Board President Andy Burchfield told WHMI that, in his words, “It’s obviously a personal decision for Mr. Conely and I respect his decision. I know he is passionate in serving the Brighton (Area) Schools and this community.” Conely owns several businesses in the community, including Conely Auto Sales and an oil change and car wash business. He said he is considering running again for a seat representing District 9 on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. Conely ran in 2016 and lost to Gary Childs in the August Republican primary by 140 votes. Conely’s term on the Brighton school board term ends on Dec. 31st. (TT)

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    An online fundraising campaign has been set up to assist the family of a pedestrian killed Thursday night while trying to cross a Hartland Township roadway. 22-year-old Jack Orrico of Hartland Township lost his life while crossing M-59 at Cullen Road around 9:13pm Thursday. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office said preliminary investigation indicated Orrico was struck by two separate eastbound vehicles; a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado operated by a 47-year-old Milford resident and a 2002 Dodge Caravan operated by a 23-year-old Fenton resident. Orrico was pronounced deceased at the scene and M-59 was shut down for approximately three hours for investigation. The drivers of both vehicles were not injured and the Sheriff’s Office said speed and alcohol use did not appear to be factors. Since the tragic death, neighbors have come together and started a GoFundMe account to assist the family, saying they could really use the help but also thoughts and prayers to help lift them up. A link to the GoFundMe account is provided. (JM)

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    A large event at the Livingston County Animal Shelter will make it easier than ever to bring home a furry companion. The BISSELL Pet Foundation has announced that the upcoming Empty the Shelter event will be their largest to date. On Saturday, May 5th, the Foundation will be covering the cost of adoption fees at more than 75 shelters and rescue organizations across the state, including the Livingston County Animal Shelter in Howell. New adopters will be required to pay the $10 dog license fee. A pre-adoption application is required and the period for filling them out and turning them in is open from now until 4pm May 3rd. Animal Shelter staff will approve or deny the application and then notify the potential new pet owner of their decision by phone. All accepted pre-adopters will be allowed to enter the shelter one hour before it opens to the public, allowing them a better chance at adopting the pet they like. There will be no holds. Regular event hours are 11 am to 2pm, and 4pm until 6pm. 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. For more information contact the Livingston County Animal at (517) 546-2154. For a list of animals ready to be adopted, visit https://www.livgov.com/animalcontrol/pages/default.aspx (MK)

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    Stories celebrating the women who entered the workforce to help with World War II efforts will be shared at an upcoming event in Brighton. The image of Rosie the Riveter and the words “We Can Do It” helped inspire female workers across the country to enter the workforce in support of American troops. By 1943, there more than 300,000 women working in the aircraft industry, accounting for 65% of the total workforce. Donnaleen Lanktree is the daughter of a Rosie and past president of the American Rosie the Riveter Association. On Monday, May 7th, from 7pm until 8, she will give a special presentation at the Brighton District Library. Lanktree will read stories she collected from her time as president, taking attendees back in time to hear in the Rosies’ own words the experiences they had and shared with each other. Lanktree believes these women laid a strong foundation for not only their own daughters, but generations of women since. Lanktree said the Rosies are an inspiration, as many who began as unskilled housewives would rise above their ability to do what needed to be done and accomplish many things. More information on Rosie the Riveter and the event can be found at the Brighton District Library. Those wishing to register can do so by calling the Library at 810-229-6571. (MK)

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    Howell High School's annual Senior Survivor fundraiser is returning. 14 senior survivors arrived at the school Sunday with the goal of staying until Friday. Throughout the week, the senior survivors will raise funds during the day and compete in immunity and reward challenges at night. Each day, two students will be eliminated and sent home based on the amount of money raised. The student who raises the most money during the week will be named the winner. The winner and the total raised will be announced on Friday during a school-wide assembly. This year, the senior class voted to support two organizations, LACASA and The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance. FARA is said to be special to many of the students, as one of their classmates in affected by Friedreich's Ataxia. There’s also a new aspect to the fundraiser this year in which senior survivors will be supported by junior survivors. The junior survivors are 5th grade students at Southwest Elementary who have been paired with a senior survivor and will raise funds on their behalf. Last year, Senior Survivor raised more than $78,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Over the past ten years, the students of Howell High School have raised more than $250,000 for various charities. Details and donation information are available through the provided link. (JM)

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    A man accused of molesting young boys at a birthday party in Brighton has entered a plea. 38-year-old Andrew Joseph Arnett of Westland was charged in two separate cases in Livingston County, both of which relate to inappropriate contact with underage males. He entered a plea in the case Friday in Livingston County Circuit Court. Under the deal, Arnett pleaded guilty to three counts of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss ten other counts and drop the second criminal case. In the original case, Arnett was accused of sexually molesting at least four boys under the age of 13 at a birthday party in Brighton last January. He was charged with five counts of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of accosting a child for immoral purposes in that case. During interviews with children that attended the birthday party, police learned that other children may have been victimized by Arnett in a separate incident in Hamburg Township in June. Those allegations resulted in the second case involving three additional charges of 2nd degree CSC and accosting a child for immoral purposes. Arnett will be sentenced May 17th. (JM)

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    The death of a 15-month-old Lyon Township girl over the weekend is being investigated by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. Paramedics responded to a 911 call around 11:30 Saturday morning at a residence inside the Kensington Mobile Home Park, south of Grand River, east of Kent Lake Road. The sheriff’s office says the baby was found "unconscious and not breathing" and paramedics determined the baby "was beyond help and was deceased." A doctor confirmed her death remotely. The Oakland County Medical Examiner has scheduled an autopsy. The baby was home with her 22-year-old mother and the mother's 22-year-old boyfriend, both Lyon Township residents. (JK)

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    Livingston County teams acquitted themselves admirably at the 2018 FIRST World Championship this past weekend in Detroit, with the Brighton High School team making it the farthest. In all, 700 teams competed in the international event, held at Cobo Hall and Ford Field, with the winning alliance consisting of two Michigan-based teams; StrykeForce from Kalamazoo, their second world championship in a row, and Team RUSH from Clarkston. They were joined by robotics teams from Ontario and Pennsylvania. For local teams, the Brighton TechnoDogs was on the winning alliance in their division, before falling in the semifinals. Dan Delisle is one of the two coaches of the Brighton TechnoDogs and tells WHMI that they just missed out on making it to the finals, but nonetheless finished "the fourth team in the world" competing well against teams from across the U.S., but also China, Canada and many other nations. As for other Livingston County teams, the Howell S.C.O.T.S. Bots, Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy GEMS and Hartland Electro Eagles all made it to the quarterfinals in their respective divisions. FIRST, an acronym of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, brought 15,000 students from across the world to the Motor City, which is set to host the championship for the next two years. (JK)

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    The Health Department has released their 2017 Annual Report which is a snapshot of what they’ve worked on and achieved in the past year. A financial overview, statistics from main program areas, and articles that go more in depth on their activities and more can be found in the Livingston County Health Department’s yearly document. In the current edition, the department highlights expanding efforts at preventing chronic disease. The report digs into the Prescription for Health program, and a new Worksite Wellness program. In the Worksite Wellness program, the department partners with businesses in the county to help them work towards increasing healthy behaviors in employees. The Annual Report also delves into the department’s response to the Hepatitis A outbreak. Health Promotion Coordinator Chelsea Lantto said that the number of cases involving Hepatitis A doesn’t seem to be slowing down, which is disappointing. To date no common source of food or beverage has been identified as a potential source. The report does indicate that certain populations are at a higher risk of becoming infected, however. Those are people who use illegal drugs, homeless or transient people, and those who carry Hepatitis C. Lantto also said the number of sexually transmitted disease cases continues to grow in the county. She recognized that it is hard to get people to change their behavior, so the health department is stressing education as key to helping residents understand that they could be at risk if they are not careful. A link to the complete report can be found on the health department’s web page, which can be found through a link on our site. Mosquito surveillance is also addressed in the report, with the emphasis being on the potential presence of the Zika Virus. The annual report states that there is no evidence of Zika Virus-infected mosquitoes in the state at this time. The complete report can be found at https://www.livgov.com/health/Documents/publications/2017%20Annual%20Report%20final%2004_10_2018.pdf (MK)

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