Articles on this Page
- 04/30/18--07:07: _Commerce Girl Enter...
- 04/30/18--08:12: _Four Candidates Set...
- 04/30/18--11:21: _Man With Knife Shot...
- 04/30/18--23:48: _Howell High School ...
- 05/01/18--02:33: _8th District Congre...
- 05/01/18--03:27: _South Latson Zoning...
- 05/01/18--06:57: _Pool Of Medical Exa...
- 05/01/18--07:11: _Burn Bans Declared ...
- 05/01/18--05:16: _Panel Discussion Wi...
- 05/01/18--08:13: _Drain Replacement W...
- 05/01/18--10:04: _Truck Fire Spreads ...
- 05/02/18--00:39: _Committee Approves ...
- 05/02/18--01:09: _Tyrone Officials As...
- 05/02/18--01:55: _Brighton Assault Su...
- 05/02/18--05:30: _Supreme Court Won't...
- 05/02/18--06:58: _Huron Valley School...
- 05/02/18--07:34: _Howell Man Who Thre...
- 05/02/18--07:38: _Marion Township Res...
- 05/02/18--06:07: _Howell Police To Ho...
- 05/02/18--08:33: _Vaupel's Resolution...
A plea has been entered by an Oakland County woman in connection to a fatal traffic crash.
18-year-old Sophia Buttazzoni of Commerce Township was a passenger in the car driven by Jordan Watson of Howell the night of October 9th, 2016 when he drove into two Waterford Township homes, killing one of the other passengers in the vehicle. Buttazzoni was charged with one count of allowing an intoxicated individual to drive a motor vehicle causing death and two counts of the same causing serious injury.
Police say the car in question belonged to her father, but she had legal control over it that night and is accused of knowingly allowing Watson to drive while he was intoxicated. He had a blood-alcohol content of 0.32% at the time of the crash, four times the legal driving limit.
Last Thursday she entered a no contest plea in Oakland County Circuit Court to the two lesser counts in exchange for the more serious charge of causing death being dismissed. Sheâll be sentenced June 13th.
Watson earlier pleaded no contest to 2nd degree murder for the death of 19-year-old Gage Remsberg of Highland Township, who died from his injuries two months after the crash. Watson was ordered to spend between 19-and-a-half years and 50 years in prison. (JK)
A judicial seat set to be created next year now has a slate of candidates.
Last Tuesday was the filing deadline for candidates seeking to appear on the August primary ballot for an open seat on the 44th Circuit Court in Livingston County. Currently held by 53rd District Court Judge Carol Sue Reader, the judicial seat will move to the 44th Circuit Court on January 1st, 2019 following a recommendation from the State Court Administrative Office. Reader is prohibited from running again due to age restrictions.
Just a day before the deadline, 53rd District Court Judge Suzanne Geddis and Howell attorney Tara Pearson filed for the seat. Prior to that, Howell attorney Monica Copeland, one-time President of the Livingston County Bar Association, filed her papers April 3rd. The first to file was Brighton attorney Dennis Brewer, who did so in March.
The two candidates with the most votes in the August primary will go head-to-head for the seat in the November General Election. Whoever is chosen for the new seat will serve the first term for eight years instead of the usual six, so that judicial seats will eventually be staggered and up for election every two years. (JK)
A Handy Township resident was shot by a Fowlerville Police Officer Sunday morning after police say he advanced on them with a knife.
According to the Michigan State Police from the Brighton Post, troopers responded to a call at a home in the 5000 block of Hogback Road about 5am involving a suicidal subject. When they arrived on scene, they say the man, identified only as a white male in his 30s, had already injured himself with a knife and was hiding in the basement of the residence. After making contact and calling for an ambulance, they attempted to render aid. Thatâs when authorities say the man became combative and moved towards them with the knife, forcing the Fowlerville officer to shoot him. The man was airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital where he underwent surgery. His condition is unknown. Shrapnel from a bullet struck the responding Trooper in the leg. He was treated for his injuries, released from the hospital and is in good condition. Officers were also assisted by the Livingston County Sheriffâs Office.
Per standard procedure, the Fowlerville Officer involved in the incident is on administrative leave until the investigation is completed and reviewed by the prosecutorâs office. The incident remains under investigation by the MSP First District Special Investigation Section. (JK)
Today marks Howell High Schoolâs second annual Decision Day celebration.
The event celebrates all of the seniors who have committed to attend an institution of post-secondary education next year. It will feature a parade of seniors holding signs showcasing what college/university/trade program they plan to attend next year as well as guest speakers.
Decision Day is the third event of the year that Howell High School has planned to help promote a college-going culture. Earlier in the school year, students participated in College Application Week, where all seniors were encouraged to apply to at least one college. The school also held a College Cash Campaign, which taught students and parent about the various forms of financial aid available to help pay for college.
Decision Day kicks off at 9:30am and will be held in the Howell High School Field House. (JM)
A candidate for Congress in Michiganâs 8th District spoke with community members and local business owners while canvassing downtown Brighton, discussing the need for action in their areas of concern.
Democrat Elissa Slotkin began a series of events Monday with a Common Ground Breakfast with Republican and Independent Women in Rochester, next holding an Infrastructure Policy Roundtable in East Lansing. Slotkin then traveled to Downtown Brighton for a Small Business Canvass in search of what issues district voters want addressed.
Slotkin was interested in how business has been for each establishment; later saying there needs to be more conversation about job creation and the future of work in Michigan. She also asked community members what issues they believe need to be addressed, noting much of the feedback sheâs received has been related to deteriorating roads and infrastructure.
Slotkin was joined by Illinoisâ 17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who is a member of the House Transportation Committee. Slotkin says she invited Bustos to show her just how bad some of Michiganâs roads are, discuss what can be done and is hoping Bustos will take the conversation back to the Committee. Slotkin says this is an issue she hears about constantly, but she feels the 8th Districtâs current representative, Republican Congressman Mike Bishop, isnât doing anything about it.
Earlier Monday, Bishopâs office issued a press release in which Bustos is referred to as Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosiâs "top lieutenant" that was sent in to help Slotkin with out-of-state money. In response, Slotkin says she thinks Bishop has woken up to the fact that thereâs real competition in the 8th District as the public looks for a new generation of leadership. Slotkin says public service must be prioritized over partisanship in government, adding there must be a bridge in the political divide to get things done.
Slotkin shared with WHMI the belief that her background in national service will help her renew the spirit of serving the public in domestic politics. Slotkin served under both Republican and Democratic administrations at the White House, the Office of the Director for National Intelligence and in the Pentagon.
The third-generation Michigander believes citizens âon both sides of the aisleâ are looking for a different generation of leadership with the understanding that their congressional representatives are public servants.
Pictured (facing camera from left) Slotkin, Bustos (DK/JK)
A joint-meeting was held Monday night between Genoa Townshipâs Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals to discuss a new zoning plan.
Monday night, Assistant Township Manager and Community Development Director Kelly VanMarter presented the township with a new zoning plan for South Latson Road. Her plan involves creating two new zoning categories. The categories would include Interchange Commerical and Interchange Campus areas. The commercial zoning would be for the area north of the railroad tracks on Latson Road and just south of I-96 and would be used for highway services such as hotels, gas stations, and restaurants. The campus zoning would be for the area south of the railroad tracks and east of Beck Road. Campus zoning would be for businesses such as offices and clinics that would help drive up economic value.
VanMarter also received plenty of public comment Monday night. The majority of the comments consisted of concerns as to how the new zoning plans would affect traffic and projects done near residential property. VanMarter told WHMI she was very pleased to see such a strong response from the public. While concerns were addressed, she says she feels the overall presentation went very well and was well received. She does plan on revising some plans due to points brought up through public comment. VanMarter also told WHMI she feels comfortable moving forward with the plan knowing there is a good amount of support behind it.
Once revisions get done, another public hearing will be held for the planning commission and public comment. VanMarter said she hopes things go well and that the zoning ordinance gets adopted within the next five months. (DF)
The medical examinerâs position in Livingston County will soon be drawn from a larger candidate pool.
The Office of the Medical Examiner is mandated under state statute to investigate certain types of death, with the authority to order an autopsy to determine or confirm the cause and manner of death. Currently the county has a team of examiners providing the service using an on-call rotation to provide 24/7 coverage. They are led by Dr. Joyce L. deJong, who chairs the Pathology Department at Western Michigan University and served for 15 years as head of Pathology at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.
But officials say there has been decreased interest when it comes to working as many shifts as the four-member team has in the past, while some are nearing retirement. Livingston Countyâs Board of Commissioners recently approved a resolution approving the creation of a pooled medical examiner investigator position for the Medical Examiner Department. By pooling the position, the intention is to spread the work over more people and increase efficiency. It will also allow the county to keep the cost low and provide the service level required to maintain adequate coverage.
The pay remains the same since only one person is working on-call at a time, though now with a larger pool of medical examiners to draw from. (JM/DK)
Hot, dry and windy conditions have prompted several area fire departments to declare burn bans in effect for the day.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for all of southeast Michigan, in effect until 8pm. It was issued because any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly due to steady winds and wind gusts, rising temperatures and low relative humidity.
Outdoor burning is strongly discouraged, with many local fire departments instituting burn bans, including the Brighton Area Fire Authority, which covers the City of Brighton and Genoa and Brighton townships; the Green Oak Township Fire Department and the Hartland/Deerfield Fire Authority.
Officials say conditions over the next few days will actually be right for grass and field fires to spread more quickly and advise residents to check with their local departments if a burn ban is in effect. (JK)
An event discussing the nationwide opioid epidemic hitting Livingston County will be held next week.
The forum, which is sponsored by Project Opiate and The Big Red Barrel, will have speakers from across different agencies and try to bring attention towards the opioid crisis that Livingston County it experiencing. With nearly 2.5 million people affected by the crisis across the United States, Michigan is one of the hardest hit states, according to Livingston County District Court Administrator Francine Zysk. She says the meeting on the 7th is one that residents and workers within the county should attend. "We have done a lot of things on prevention and education so there are a lot of great organizations doing a lot of different things; what's going on legislatively, what's going on nationally, what's going on in law enforcement, what's going on in the court system, is coming together to say that we are aware of the issues and we're gonna press forward on what we are gonna do and we can all come together and join."
The event will be held from 1 to 5pm, Monday, May 7th at the Livingston County Judicial Center in Howell. It is entirely free and an RSVP is not needed. For more information contact Zysk, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Shera Novak, Snovak@livgov.com, you can also call at 517-540-7665. (EO/JK)
Road work this weekend will force the closure a section of Latson Road.
The Livingston County Road Commission says that Latson Road between Golf Club Road and McGunn Road will be shut down to through traffic starting at 6am on Saturday, May 5th and will remain closed until 9 oâclock that evening. The closure is needed for the replacement of two drain crossings under Latson Road and will involve the excavation of full-width trenches to place culverts and then backfill.
Residents whose homes are in the construction will be given access, but all other traffic will need to use a detour route utilizing McGunn, Gulley and Golf Club roads. (JK)
A truck loaded with charcoal caught fire Tuesday morning on US-23, just south of Hyne Road in Brighton Township, causing a grass fire that forced the closure of the northbound lanes of the freeway.
Brighton Fire Chief Mike OâBrian says the fire began around 9am when the trucks brakes caught fire and spread into the cab. Because of the windy, dry conditions, the resulting fire quickly spread to about 40 acres east of the freeway, but was under control within about an hour. However, it was more than four hours before the freeway was fully reopened.
The National Weather Service had issued a Red Flag warning for all of southeast Michigan, in effect until 8pm Tuesday. It was issued because any fires that developed would likely spread rapidly due to steady winds and wind gusts, rising temperatures and low relative humidity.
Outdoor burning was strongly discouraged, with many local fire departments instituting burn bans, including the Brighton Area Fire Authority, which covers the City of Brighton and Genoa and Brighton townships; the Green Oak Township Fire Department and the Hartland/Deerfield Fire Authority.
No injuries were reported as a result of the fire. Photo provided by Brighton Area Fire Authority. (JK)
Livingston Countyâs Emergency Operations Plan is in the approval process.
The Public Safety and Infrastructure and Development Committee met Monday night and approved a revised, updated Emergency Operations Plan or EOP. The comprehensive plan involves all-hazards planning including terrorism-related events. It offers an outline of what to do to coordinate emergency response efforts to save lives, reduce injuries, and preserve property during local emergencies or widespread disasters. The primary goal is to assemble, mobilize and coordinate a team of responders and coordinators that can deal with any emergency.
Livingston County Emergency Manager Therese Cremonte says the plan is very important to the county as it basically serves as a blueprint for any agencies or departments that would participate in mitigating an emergency or disaster. It outlines different roles and responsibilities, gives an idea of what direction to go but also helps with planning and logistics before an event happens. She noted the plan must remain flexible though, given the nature of such events. The plan is also a base for local training exercises, so all partners and responders know their roles and what to do.
Cremonte tells WHMI it was big undertaking, as it had to be updated and there have been many changes, especially with technology, over the last four years. She noted in the past there was a combined annex dealing with communication and information technology but those had to be split since each are their own discipline and very different. She noted they had to do a lot of modernizing and updating to the plan because so many advances have been made within the last four years and everyoneâs roles have changed just a little bit.
The plan must still be approved by the full Livingston County Board of Commissioners as well as the state, after which it will be good for four years. Cremonte says theyâll review and update the plan as needed during that time but will do a âsuperâ review and revision around the end of the three year mark to get another one in place. (JM)
Tyrone Township officials are asking for more information on the effects a green cemetery might have on their ecosystem before making the decision on allowing one.
At Tuesday nightâs meeting of the Tyrone Township Board of Trustees, several residents spoke their concerns about potential dangers to their water system should a new cemetery on Germany Road near Denton Hill be allowed. Hasan Siddiqui is a cemetery director hoping to use approximately 1.3 acres of his 10-acre property for a site performing âgreen burials.â
Green burials are used traditionally in the Muslim community. For one, the deceased is wrapped in a shroud and buried directly in the ground, with no coffin or embalming fluid. Siddiquiâs request for site plan and special use permit approval were before the Board with a recommendation for approval from the Planning Commission. In a letter to the Board from Planning Commission Chairman Mark Meisel, Meisel wrote that the Livingston County Health Department determined that the site has adequate soil conditions to protect the water. They also recommended annual site monitoring for surface and ground water contamination. Tyrone Township Supervisor Mike Cunningham said he believes the Commission did their due diligence, but the Township Board is just looking to make sure. He said this is new territory for them and that they want to know all the facts they can to help make sure they can make the right decision.
Trustee David Walker made the motion to postpone approval until the impact study was completed to see what effects the cemetery might have on soil and water conditions. Trustee Charles Shultz questioned if they should be asking the applicant to do this if all the advice theyâve been given to this point by authorities has been that the cemetery would be safe. The townshipâs lawyer advised the board that if they feel alright with what they know, they could approve it, but if they feel they need more information, itâs in their right to ask for the study. The board approved the motion asking for an environmental impact study 5-2. Shultz and Trustee Al Pool dissented. (MK)
A Livingston County assault survivor is the winner of a Governorâs Service Award.
Governor Rick Snyder announced the 38 winners of the 2018 Governor's Service Awards. The winners are individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations all selected for their commitment to volunteerism, service or philanthropy. Among them is Wendy Jo Morrison of Brighton, who won the Volunteer of the Year award. Sheâs a survivor who has dedicated her life to helping victims become fellow survivors.
In 1993, an assailant kidnapped her at gunpoint and attacked her for hours before she managed to escape. Morrison survived and followed her dream of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, serving in the Solomon Islands. Upon her return to the United States, she continued her education and achieved success in the corporate world. Despite addressing the emotional components of her attack, Morrison developed devastating physical symptoms years later and was diagnosed with a terminal disease called a Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) in 2010.
She left the country for a while in search of holistic healing methods not offered in the United States. In Greece, Wendy discovered Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release. She became certified in the modality â the only person with this certification in the United States â uses it to help other victims of trauma. Morrison then put all her strength into starting UBU Today, a non-profit organization focused on helping trauma victims. She serves as an advocate, leader and an inspiration to survivors. Wendy feels strongly that the assault, combined with the MSA diagnosis, pointed the way to her lifeâs purpose.
Her friend and coworker, Julie Melody, said Wendy, "...was VP of Human Resources for the Gap companies, and was living outside of this area, but returned to Brighton to be near her family when she was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) in 2010. She had hidden herself from her attacker so well that she was not informed of his potential release until his parole had been granted two years ago. She made an appeal to the parole board, and Floyd Jarvi's parole was rescinded--something that hadn't happened in Michigan in 50 years. Since he has served his minimum sentence, Jarvi is now considered for parole annually, which requires Wendy to make an appearance to re-tell her story to the parole board every year."
The Governorâs Service Awards winners will be honored during a special ceremony hosted by the Michigan Community Service Commission on Tuesday, June 5th at the Wharton Center in East Lansing. (JM/JK)
The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from a local religious school in its lawsuit against Genoa Township.
Livingston Christian Schools filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the township for its refusal to grant a special use permit that would have allowed the school to relocate to the Brighton Church of the Nazarene. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruled in favor of a lower court that the lawsuit had no merit, dismissing it. The First Liberty Institute has been representing LCS at the appellate level and filed a petition for a re-hearing, which was denied. An appeal was then filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, which announced Monday it will not review the case.
First liberty Institute issued a statement calling it a âdeeply disappointing decision, not only because of what it means for our clients, but because it will embolden other cities and towns across the country to keep religious organizations from contributing to their community. Federal law expressly prohibits the government from using zoning laws to keep religious institutions out of their town. We are extremely disappointed the Supreme Court will allow this terrible precedent to stand.â
When the permit was initially denied by the township, there was an outcry from officials and parents from both LCA and Light of the World Academy (LOTWA), a formerly private religious-based Montessori school that obtained authorization to re-open as a public charter school. The academy planned to move into the old LCS facility once that school moved to Brighton Church of the Nazarene. In its previous dismissal of the appeal, the 6th U.S. Circuit panel said the school was not substantially burdened within the meaning of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
LCS has been renting space from the Whitmore Lake Schools district during the legal process but has since worked out things at the township level and plans to move into space at The Naz. It submitted revised plans and a proposal for a K-12 school there that better aligns with township ordinances and requirements, which was approved by the board last year. Traffic concerns were among past issues, which have been addressed and the school is expected to occupy the new space this fall. (JM)
Community input is being as sought as Huron Valley Schools searches for its next superintendent.
The district wants to hear from members of the community as to what type of experience, credentials and characteristics the districtâs next leader should possess. The Board of Education has contracted with the Michigan Leadership Institute to help facilitate the superintendent search and selection process. It will host a public forum and input sessions today and tomorrow at the districtâs central office on South Milford Road. District employees and parents, as well as local public officials, members of the business community, clergy and other stakeholders are invited to share opinions about the qualities a new superintendent should bring to the job. Input will be collected and used by MLI to craft a personalized posting for the superintendent position.
Board of Education Secretary Lindsay Cotter says the input sessions are the important first step in the selection process and itâs the boardâs responsibility to make sure the publicâs wishes are represented as they choose a new superintendent. Time slots have been designated for specific groups, but those unable to attend during the allocated time may attend any session. (JM)
Wednesday, May 2nd
1-1:45 p.m. Administrators
2-2:45 p.m. Business owners/clergy
3-3:45 p.m. Union representatives
4-4:45 p.m. Village and township officials
5-5:45 p.m. PTA/PTO representatives
6-6:45 p.m. Parents/community
Thursday, May 3rd
Noon-12:45 p.m. Transportation
1:15-2 p.m. Food service
2:30-3 p.m. High school staff
3:30-4:15 p.m. Middle school staff
4:30-5:15 p.m. Elementary staff
5:30-6:15 p.m. All staff
A Howell man charged with assaulting police officers that tried to serve a search warrant at his home has entered a plea.
46-year-old Patrick Gizinski recently waived a trial by jury in Livingston County Circuit Court, and then pleaded no contest to three counts of assaulting a police officer, based on a lack of memory and civil liability. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but will be treated as such at Gizinskiâs sentencing May 24th. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss one count each of assault with a dangerous weapon, and receiving and concealing stolen property over $200 but less than $1,000. Gizinski agreed to pay full restitution on the latter charge.
Gizinski is said to have thrown furniture at Livingston County Sheriffâs deputies as they tried to enter his Marion Township home last August. None of the deputies were injured in the incident. Police had arrived at the home to serve a search warrant in an investigation of a breaking and entering complaint involving the theft of several thousand dollars of materials and tools reportedly stolen from a home under construction.
This is not the first run-in with the law for Gizinski, who was convicted of assault and battery, resisting police and disturbing the peace in 2015 after police say he attacked a coach for not playing his son during a Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy basketball game. (DK)
Marion Township residents had the opportunity to weigh-in on proposed, future objectives and goals for the area.
A workshop held Tuesday at Township Hall was attended by approximately 20 community members interested in the townshipâs Master Plan, which sets the goals and objectives for the next five years, after which it is required to be updated. Planner John Enos presented some ideas that have been suggested by officials regarding the regionâs transportation needs, maintaining agricultural areas, open space preservation and land use. Following the presentation, attendees were given green and red stickers to place on the poster of ideas to indicate whether they were for or against them. Each of the categories received only green stickers, except for some transportation items.
A number of guests voiced concerns about development that would increase traffic because the township is already somewhat of a thoroughfare due to its proximity to D-19. Enos says development can be mitigated or increased based on what land use within the Master Plan dictates and the extension of water and sewer lines. Developers can threaten a lawsuit if their plan for development is refused, so Enos says it's important the township stays strong by refusing to give in.
Residents also felt keeping the area rural was important, which Enos says can be done by establishing permanent preservation of large pieces of agricultural land, as well as avoiding industrial, commercial or residential uses from encroaching on agricultural space. That may not be a major issue as Enos believes brick and mortar development is lessening due to an increase in online shopping and delivery services.
Enos says the community feedback will be incorporated into a new draft of the Master Plan and brought back at a later date for further discussion. Officials hope to complete the Master Plan by the end of this year. (DK)
A local police department is inviting the public out to share a cup of joe with them tomorrow.
The Howell Police Department is hosting another Coffee with a Cop event where residents can meet with officers without any fear of speeches, agendas or presentations. Itâs part of greater community policing and outreach efforts for the department. The events are viewed as an opportunity to have a conversation about whatever is on oneâs mind with the officers that patrol Howellâs neighborhoods.
Coffee with a Cop will take place from 9am to 11am tomorrow at the Uptown Coffeehouse on Grand River in downtown Howell. (JM)
A local legislator is working to bring greater awareness to mental health issues across the state.
A House Resolution passed Tuesday declaring May 2018 to be Mental Health Awareness Month in the state of Michigan. State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township introduced the resolution which he said was inspired by the 1-in-5 adults in the U.S. who suffer from a mental health condition. Vaupel, who chairs the House Health Policy Committee, shed light on how widespread the problem is in Michigan. Michigan, he said, has 336,000 adults who are documented with having mental health issues. 85,000 adolescents also suffer from either anxiety or depression. Only 44% of people who need treatment are receiving some form of it.Vaupel also noted that in the long run, early diagnosis and treatment saves both money and human lives.
The representative is also co-chair of the House bi-partisan CARES Task Force which strives to investigate mental health issues and make policy changes to better connect people with access to care and treatment. As a result of their latest report, Legislature has introduced several measures to help train individuals to recognize a mental health crisis, fill the shortage of mental health providers, and address treatment and prevention in jails and the Michigan judicial system. Vaupel says he will continue to work to eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness while improving access to care for those who need it.(MK)