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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 Milford-based non-profit dedicated to providing hope and financial assistance to those coping with a cancer diagnosis is seeking community support in a fundraising competition. Five Points of Hope awards grants to help cancer patients pay bills such as insurance deductibles, prescriptions, medical equipment and utility bills. The small charity works with licensed social workers who nominate individuals and bills such as insurance deductibles, utilities, and prescriptions are paid directly to vendors to avoid any misuse of funds. It recently won $5,000 as a finalist in the “Thumbs Up For Charity” public voting contest and is hoping to build on that momentum. Five Points of Hope is now participating in the Art Van Charity Challenge, which got underway this week and is a donation based fundraiser. Donations of $10 and up to $10,000 count toward the competition and Art Van will award cash prizes to the top five charities in fundraising totals, with first place receiving $50,000. The charity that wins the contest wins $50,000 from Art Van, which officials say could be a real game changer for the tiny non-profit. That would allow Five Points of Hope to nearly double the number of patients helped over the next year, according to Founder Erin Welsh. She started the charity in honor of her father who passed away from cancer in 1999 and a friend, who is a cancer survivor. Welsh says the charity helps fill a gap for people with the grant awards but the need continues to increase, and the contest would help them expand the amount they give on an annual basis as well as the amount of people they can impact. She says many of those they assist actually have medical insurance, but their out-of-pocket expenses are so high they can’t afford their illness. She tells WHMI they want people to have one less burden so they can focus on healing. Welsh acknowledged winning the Charity Challenge won’t be easy but they’re hopeful and going to try. If not, she says it’s still a win-win because they will still get to keep the donated funds donated. Five Points of Hope is 100% volunteer-based so all funds raised or donated go directly to helping cancer patients. The Art Van Charity Challenge contest ends at 2pm May 22nd. A link to the donation page and more information is available through the provided link and press release. (JM)

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    Testimony was heard this week in a child abuse case involving a New Hudson man charged with trying to kill his girlfriend’s infant son so he could allegedly spend more time with her. A preliminary exam was held Thursday for 23-year-old Seth Blumberg, who is facing felony charges of assault with intent to murder and 1st degree child abuse. Blumberg is accused of trying to kill his live-in girlfriend’s 5-month-old son so he could spend more time with her. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and Child Protective Services were contacted after the mother brought the child to a local hospital on March 19th. The mother reported she had begun noticing bruising on the child earlier in the week and contacted the child’s physician. As the child’s bruising became more pronounced, she sought immediate medical care. The child was said to have suffered internal injuries as well as visible injuries to the face, head, and abdomen. During Thursday’s hearing, a deputy testified that Blumberg initially denied injuring the child when the mother was away at the store but then changed his statement. The deputy testified Blumberg admitted he choked the child until his lips turned blue but said he couldn’t kill him that way. Blumberg told police he then intentionally flopped his full body on the kitchen floor to land directly on top of the child. Blumberg also stated he removed a corrective helmet from the child’s head to increase. The child’s mother also testified during the hearing, saying she dated Blumberg for about a month before moving into a two-bedroom apartment with him and his step-brother on March 1st. She testified there were numerous occasions when Blumberg was being too rough with the infant, including picking the child up by his head. The hearing is set to continue Tuesday before Judge Robert Bondy in 52-1 District Court, at which time a medical witness is expected to testify. Blumberg remains jailed under a $500,000 cash bond. He is currently on parole from a 2016 Oakland County case in which he pleaded guilty to possessing child sexually abusive material and two counts of 4th degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person age 13 to 15. (JM)

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    Howell High School’s Senior Survivor raised a record breaking amount this year to support two charities. Following a busy week of fundraising, competitions and 14 students living in their school, Howell High School’s Senior Survivor fundraiser has raised $88,127. Katelin Bensman was named the winner of Senior Survivor for outraising all of the other survivors. The money raised will be split between two non-profit organizations, the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) and LACASA. FARA is special to the senior class as one of their classmates is affected by the rare disease which causes nervous system damage and movement problems. Senior Survivor began last Sunday when 14 Howell High School seniors moved into their school with the goal of remaining in the competition until Friday. Students collected donations during the day and competed in immunity and reward challenges at night. Some included a food challenge involving eating snails, completing an obstacle course, driving a police car through a training course and a lip sync battle. At the end of each school day, the two Senior Survivor contestants who raised the least amount of money that day were eliminated. There was also a new aspect to the fundraiser this year in which senior survivors were supported by junior survivors. The junior survivors were 5th grade students who collected donations on behalf of the Senior Survivors. The 5th grade students raised more than $5,600 towards this year’s total. Additionally, several schools around the district held various fundraisers to donate to Senior Survivor. Since it began 11 years ago, Howell High School’s Senior Survivor has raised more than $350,000 for various charities. Howell High School Principal Jason Schrock said each year Senior Survivor brings the school, district, and community together as one. He says it’s incredible that high school students can raise more than $88,000 in just one week and he is always amazed at the generosity shown by students and the community during Senior Survivor. (JM)

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    Adventure seekers of all ages and skill levels are invited to run an obstacle course fundraiser for the Brighton Rotary Club. The Top of Mountain Dash or Crash is coming back to Mt. Brighton on Saturday, May 19th. This year’s course will take runners all over the ski hill and golf course, while also asking them to navigate other natural features of the grounds like swamps and ponds. Fourteen obstacles stand between the start and finish lines including a tire bridge, log job, and multiple climbing walls. The race ends with a final trek down the main slope where runners will face the full force of Mt.Brighton’s snow guns showering water over the course. Kids will have an opportunity to get dirty, too, with a pair of 1-mile runs guaranteed to get them muddy and wet. Proceeds will help support the Brighton Rotary Club and their many programs, like the Rotary Raiders. The Rotary Raiders help low-income, house-bound residents by building ramps at their homes to help them gain back a bit of their personal freedom. This fundraiser also helps provide college scholarships for high school students, supports literacy programs in the county, helps Gleaners Food bank, and much more. Adults can participate in the 5K run for $45. The fee for the kids run is $15. Parking is free and there is no entrance fee for the event. Spectators can ride the chair lift to the top of the hill where they can see roughly 75% of the event. There will be music, food, and a kids zone, as well. Register before this Monday to receive an event t-shirt. For more information, or to sign up, visit the link below. (MK)

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    The budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1st in the city of Brighton is up nearly a half-million dollars from the current yer budget figure. City Council adopted the 2018-19 year budget at its meeting Thursday night. It totals slightly over $9 million, as opposed to the $8.6 million budget for the year ending June 30th. That’s an increase from earlier budget estimates. City Manager Nate Geinzer says the reason for the increase is a few unexpected revenue sources. They include $195,000 in personal property tax reimbursements from the state and $180,000 from more building permits than anticipated. The total budget for 2018-19 — which includes self-sustaining funds such as utilities - Geinzer tells WHMI that — although there are many pressing needs, such as replacing worn out city equipment, he placed the majority of the extra revenue in the reserved fund category. Despite the extra income Geinzer says it is still an extremely tight budget. Although the budget has been adopted, the fee schedule, plus the millage rate, has not been set. Geinzer says that will be done in two weeks at the next council meeting. However, he did say at Thursday’s meeting that water and sewer rates will go up about 5% and the trash pickup fee will also go up slightly. The biggest chunk of the city’s revenues goes to the police dept. at $28 million, followed by public services, at $2.3 million. The city will end the 2018-19 year with a healthy $2 million fund balance when both designated and undesignated reserve funds are included in the figure. That gives Brighton a fund balance that is over 15%, which is a stated goal of Brighton City councils both past and present. Financial analysts say that a healthy fund balance is necessary because in order to be able to handle any unexpected emergencies. (TT)

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    The Brighton City Council has approved a liquor license transfer for the company that plans to convert the vacant Border Cantina restaurant into a contemporary country music venue with live entertainment, a restaurant and lounge. Christopher Klebba purchased the former Border Cantina in January. There were no comments at its meeting Thursday night when council approved the transfer of a Class C liquor license from Border Cantina-Brighton, Inc. to SBS-1 LLC, doing business as Single Barrel Social LLC at 8724 West Grand River. The application would also allow Sunday sales and an outdoor service area permit which includes the sale of alcohol on a patio, and a dance permit. A criminal check by Brighton City Police revealed no violations by the major stockholders in the state of Michigan. The request will now go before the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for approval. The site plan will go before the City Planning Commission at its meeting on May 21st. Klebba plans to change the façade of the building — which is on the banks of the Mill Pond - and add a thousand feet of space. He foresees a raised dance floor, a lounge and bar. The project represents an investment of about $3 million. Klebba hopes to start construction as soon as plans are approved and be open for business by next winter or earlier. (TT)

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    A wrestling meet at Fowlerville High School was disrupted Saturday afternoon when an off-duty police officer accidentally discharged his firearm. According to Fowlerville Police Chief John Tyler, the incident involved an off-duty Flint officer at about 12:40pm as he stood on the gym floor. The bullet went into the gym floor and there were no injuries from the gunshot, although one person was treated by EMS for a twisted ankle. The meet resumed after about 50 minutes. Chief Tyler said a report will be referred to the Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office once they complete their investigation. The weapon was the officer's off-duty sidearm, which he was legally licensed to carry. The wrestling meet was not a Fowlerville district event, but instead one organized by a third party. (JK)

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    Clean-Up Day will be held Saturday, May 12th, from 9am to noon. Volunteers of all ages are welcome and will meet near Brighton City Hall before the tridge. Snacks, water and some tools will be provided, though volunteers will need to bring their own garden or work gloves. Volunteers are also welcome to bring hand pruners, loppers, waders, soil knives or rakes. The clean-up event is part of the city’s plan to restore the Mill Pond, which is said to be in unacceptable condition because it has served as a dumping ground. Part of the Mill Pond’s facelift includes the construction of a bandshell and amphitheater. The Mill Pond’s former pavilion will be replaced with a new bandshell, stage and seating area, along with adding large shade trees, a grassy hillside, native landscaping, and a revised color scheme with a natural aesthetic. The project is expected to be completed around the end of July or early August, depending on weather. (DK)

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    Construction continues at the Whitmore Lake boating access site, although the launch ramp will temporarily re-open this week. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is making site improvements to the public boat launch. The ramp and parking lot closed the week of April 23rd for grading and other work. The launch ramp is scheduled to temporarily re-open this Wednesday at 5pm and remain open through Sunday. The launch ramp will then close again on Monday, May 14th and it’s estimated that it will re-open around Memorial Day. Site enhancements include improved ramp accessibility, as a result of paving a small portion of Northshore Drive, as well as enhanced maneuverability of the existing double-lane ramp due to enlarging the launch lanes. The project also includes the re-design of the site access road to include a boat tie-down lane, a new entrance booth and parking for law enforcement. The access site road will be closed for the duration of construction. Officials say boaters who want to access the site when open for use should enter from Northshore Drive. Additional information regarding the closure is available through the provided link. (JM)

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    A new Transit Master Plan is in the works for Livingston County. The Livingston County Board of Commissioners recently approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with AECOM Great Lakes to provide consulting services for a countywide comprehensive transportation study in an amount not to exceed $150,000. The study is being funded by a Service Development and New Technology grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Transportation. It’s been more than a decade since a comprehensive transportation study was done for Livingston County. Since that time, the county’s population has increased and demographics have shifted to more transit-dependent citizens. There has also been an increase in “riders of choice”, such as commuters and school-age children who enroll in public school alternatives. Livingston Essential Transportation Service Director Doug Britz says there was various information derived from the 2007 study, which looked at the past, present and future. He says it was determined at that point in time they were doing all they could, unless additional funding could be found to expand. The new study will look at a variety of different types of modes of transportation and what public transit can do within the county. The new study will also include a non-motorized component to evaluate potential connectivity of existing pedestrian and bike routes. Britz says they’re looking to identify different areas of need and determine if more concentration would be beneficial in outside areas, perhaps a line haul with stops along Grand River or maybe M-59 or M-36. He tells WHMI they earlier received a $50,000 appropriation from the Board of Commissioners to expand service, which they’ve been able to leverage with federal and state dollars. He says they’re thankful for that needed funding to expand in outer communities and he hopes the new transit plan will reinforce that they are doing the right things. (JM)

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    The Old Village Cemetery in downtown Brighton once again looks majestic with its historic beauty as a result of the 10th annual Cleanup Day, sponsored by the Brighton Area Historical Society. Some 30 volunteers used hoes, rakes and other basic garden tools Saturday to remove the dry leaves, branches, twigs, litter and other debris that had accumulated over the winter months. Historical society President Jim Vichich tells WHMI that, with the hard-working volunteer crew and favorable weather, the cleanup day was a huge success. Vichich says students from the Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy in Brighton and Cub Scout Pack 345 assisted the adult volunteers. Among the volunteers was Brighton Mayor Jim Muzzin, along with some employees of the Brighton DPW. Restoration of the historic cemetery has been a labor of love for the historical society and will continue until all of the damaged headstones are repaired and restored to their proper place of honor. So far, Vichich says, 130 headstones have been restored — and the group plans to restore another 26 this summer. Many headstones were found buried or partially buried and in pieces, and have been restored with the help of a professional conservator. The oldest headstone is from 1837, that of Truman Worden, making it over 180 years old. It dates from about the time Brighton was settled as the unincorporated village of Ore Creek. Former Michigan governor Kinsley Bingham (1808-1861), who was governor from 1859-1861, and a US senator after that, is also interred there, as are 30 Civil War veterans. The cemetery, at one time neglected and closed, is once again open to the public. It is a registered Michigan Historic Site. Pictures courtesy of Brighton Area Historical Society.(TT)

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    A two-vehicle crash Saturday in Howell left one car on its side but no major injuries. The accident happened just before 5pm on M-59 at Byron Road. Howell Police Sgt. Jeff Woods tells WHMI that a Chevy 4-door sedan driven by a 17-year-old Pinckney resident was westbound on M-59 when he ran the red light and struck a Mercury SUV driving southbound on Byron Road, causing it to spin and roll over. There were only minor bumps and scrapes to the occupants, a 56 and 57-year-old Howell Township couple, and they were checked by EMS and refused to be transported to the hospital. A dog in the SUV had a possible broken leg and was taken to the vet. The Pinckney teen was cited for running the red traffic signal. (JK)

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    A community breakfast meeting will feature local business owners who will share some of their life experiences as an entrepreneur. “Family Adventures in Entrepreneurship” is set for Good Morning Livingston’s breakfast program Tuesday morning at Chemung Hills Golf Club in Howell. The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce program will host three local business owners who will talk about their family’s successes and challenges, as well as the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journeys. The event speakers will be the Walker family of Hartland Insurance, the Carrs of Carr’s Finishing Touch Auto & Service and the Gills of Coldwell Banker Town & Country Real Estate. The program will be emceed by Andrew Yost of Grand River Mercantile. The event begins at 7:30 am and those interested in attending can register by contacting the chamber at 517-546-3920 or e-mail jwillsmore@howell.org. Members can register online at howell.org. The cost for the breakfast event is $20 for members in advance or $25 at the door, and $30 for non-members.

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    The first of its kind for Brighton, the Children’s Entrepreneurship fair is happening this weekend, during the annual Flower Day Festival. The fair is being hosted in the State Bank parking lot in downtown Brighton, across the street from the Brighton Farmers Market during the Flower Day Festival this Saturday, May 12th from 10am until noon. The event has given young children, in grades K-8, the opportunity to come up with their own ideas, whether it is a product or service, market it and even sell it on the day of the fair. Founder and organizer Scott Taylor tells WHMI his goal for the fair was 20 children to participate, but he has 100 that have signed up. Taylor also is impressed with how the community has supported the fair, and for him this fair is his way of giving back and paying it forward in helping to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. The fair is free and open to the public. The only cost is for the products being sold by the kids. For information or questions about the event contact Scott Taylor either by phone, 586-337-9300, or email, scottktay@gmail.com. (EO/JK)

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    Residents with Brighton city water service are being advised of hydrant flushing this week. The City of Brighton Utilities Department will be flushing fire hydrants throughout the City’s water utility service area between the hours of 7am and 3:30pm starting Tuesday, May 7th lasting through Friday, May 11th. They will also be performing work between 12am and 6am on Tuesday morning, May 7th. Officials advise residents and businesses to plan water use accordingly, as the procedure may cause some disturbances and discoloration in the water system following the flushing. Customers may also experience a temporary drop in pressure. They are also advised to refrain from washing white or light colored clothes during the flushing period. Those that do experience discoloration and rust particles in their water should run cold water faucets only for approximately 10 minutes to clear the discolored water from your system. If the water is still discolored, repeat the same process one hour later. Those that continue to experience discolored water can call Utilities Director Tim Krugh at 810-227-9479 or e-mail at krught@brightoncity.org. (JM)

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    A proposed public safety assessment will be the topic of discussion at tonight’s Howell City Council meeting. Citing dwindling state revenue sharing and faulty funding mechanisms, Howell City Council is considering a proposed public safety assessment to help fund the city’s police department. If approved by council, the more than $861,000 it would generate annually would then allow funds from the city’s General Fund to be used instead on making what city officials say are necessary infrastructure repairs. The council already adopted a resolution to establish the assessment district, which includes all real property – residential, commercial and industrial. Council is considering the equivalent of three mills, which would cost the average homeowner in Howell $202 in 2018. However, the exact amount has not been determined and must be voted on by Council at tonight’s meeting, at which time another public hearing will take place. The meeting starts at 7pm in council chambers in the basement of Howell City Hall. (JK)

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    Trail improvements are underway at Island Lake State Recreation Area. Volunteers are being sought to help finish creating a short new section of trail on the Hickory Ridge Trail. Organizers say once it’s done, there will be an easier and safer alternate route along Kent Lake. It offers a second option for the traverse of the hill overlooking Kent Lake, west of the stairs at the Hickory shelter. There is also a new one mile loop option. Work consists of mostly tree and brush trimming, some small stump removal. No experience is necessary, and there is said to be plenty of work for all skill and ability levels. Tools will be provided but volunteers should being work gloves if possible. Long pants and perhaps long shirts are recommended. The work day is planned next Monday, May 14th from 6 to 9pm. The project is a joint venture with Crossroads Group Sierra Club, the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program, Island Lake Recreation Area, and the Friends of Island Lake. For more information, contact Tony Pitts at trails@islandlakefriends.org or John Wilson at crossroadsoutings@michigan.sierraclub.org. Facebook photo. (JM)

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    A longtime county commissioner has decided not to seek re-election. What had been a three-way fight in the Republican primary for the 3rd District seat on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners is now down to two after incumbent Dave Domas withdrew his petition seeking to run in the August 7th primary. Domas has served on the county board since 2005. Before that, he held this same position from 1993 -2002. His withdrawal leaves Tea Party activist Wes Nakagiri of Hartland Township and Hartland Township Trustee Matthew Germane as the two GOP candidates seeking the seat. However, according to a press release from Nakagiri, he is being endorsed by Domas to replace him. District 3 comprises all of Tyrone Township and all of Hartland Township, except Precinct 2. Nakagiri said he was, “pleased to have the support of Mr. Domas” who he called, “a great public servant for the citizens and taxpayers of our county.” Nakagiri has also been endorsed by Scott Hagerstrom, who served as the Director for the 2016 Trump campaign in Michigan. Navy veteran Steven J. Savela is the lone Democrat in the 3rd District race and will run unopposed in the primary. (JK)

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    Campgrounds are now officially permitted in Lyon Township, following the adoption of revisions to the municipality’s zoning ordinance. The township’s Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance amending the Campgrounds Zoning Ordinance. Prior to, the ordinance had included some standards, but didn’t actually permit campgrounds. The amended ordinance includes adding campgrounds as a Special Land Use in the Residential-Agricultural district, as well as more distinct definitions and regulations of campgrounds. Township officials had gone back and forth for several months trying to determine the needed changes, finally deciding to include maintenance of the current setback conditions, permit temporary residency for seasonal recreation campground use and clarify restroom and shower facility provisions. The new ordinance also speaks to internal road networks and establishes fence requirements to shield surrounding property owners from a campground. The issue was taken up after Wildlife LLC requested campgrounds be added under Special Land Uses. The company owns property north of Haas Lake Park and was reportedly contemplating seeking approval for a campground on the parcel. A spokesperson for Wildlife LCC said in January that revising the ordinance would allow them to “bring forth an application pursuant to a site plan”, though never explicitly stated they intend to follow through with seeking approval for a campground. (DK)

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    The City of Fenton is considering aiding The City of Escanaba with their legal battle with a big box retailer. Fenton, along with 34 other municipalities, contribute towards a fund that helps aid cases that The Michigan Tax Tribunal would eventually oversee. The Michigan Tax Tribunal is an administrative court that hears appeals relating to individual, property, and business tax matters involving taxes enforced by the Michigan Department of Treasury. The City of Escanaba and Menards Inc. are currently in a legal battle over the company’s use in evaluating company property within the city. Big box stores are using the value of older stores for newer stores which leads to less money paid towards taxes. The Michigan Supreme Court previously ruled in favor of The City of Escanaba while sending the case down to The Michigan Tax Tribunal for a fairer property value assessment. Fenton City Manager, Lynn Markland says the city is considering contributing some of their legal funds to help aid the process. The city would contribute $1,000 from their legal funds to help with the case. The city is expected to meet on Monday, May 14th where they will come to an agreement on whether or not to assist in the case. (EO/DF)

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