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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 judge has ordered a trial for a Fenton Township teen charged with fatally shooting his best friend. On Monday, 67th District Court Judge David Guin ruled there was probable cause to send 17-year old Abdurrahman Ahmed Akl to trial in Genesee County Circuit Court on second degree murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Brady Morris. He is also charged with one count of felony firearm. Charges of receiving and concealing a stolen firearm and another count of felony firearm were dropped by prosecutors. Police arrested Akl on March 4th, 2017 after responding to a 9-1-1 report of a male with a gunshot to the head. Authorities say evidence indicates that Akl and Morris, who were friends, were alone on the first floor of the residence when the shooting occurred. According to an autopsy report, Morris was shot from behind at point blank range on the top left side of his head. During a preliminary exam in 67th District Court last month, testimony was heard from two Fenton police officers who arrived first on scene, although the case was later turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. The 911 call of the incident was played along with police patrol car dash cam video. During the graphic 911 call, Akl can be heard screaming and told the dispatcher he pointed a gun at his friend and killed him. Akl remains jailed without bond pending new dates in circuit court. (JK)

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    A special school election is being held today for Fowlerville Community School constituents who are being asked to approve a $17.5(m) million bond proposal. The bond would be used for a variety of infrastructure improvements throughout the district, though voters won’t see an increase in their taxes if it passes. The district currently levies 9.55 mills for construction and bond payments. That rating would stay the same, even with the borrowing of $17.5(m) million. The district is able to achieve that by extending their bond repayment period to a total of 22 years. Superintendent Wayne Roedel says by adding four years onto their current repayment period, they’re able to recoup the $17.5(m) million up front. Boilers, classrooms, instructional technology, and athletic fields would all receive upgrades should the bond pass. Roedel says one of the main issues the district is looking to address is the roof of Kreeger Elementary School, which has long worn out its life expectancy. Voters in the Hartland Consolidated and Byron Area School districts are also voting on an operating millage renewals. Polls will be open until 8 o’clock tonight. (JK)

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    The Village of Milford says work is continuing as part of a residential paving program. Last week, the contractor performed ditching and re-grading work along the route to improve storm water drainage patterns throughout the project while waiting for the concrete to properly cure. Ditching work will continue and pavement milling work began today. Notices were delivered to residents regarding the work. Grading and aggregate base work will commence on Tennyson Drive on Wednesday, and asphalt paving operations will follow shortly but that is weather dependent. Flyers with additional information will be taped to the front door of all residential homes before both the milling and paving operations. (JM)

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    A combination federal-state grant will put half a dozen new and cleaner buses on the road in Livingston County over the next two fiscal years. Today, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, or SEMCOG, announced it had awarded over $46 million in federal funds to road and transit agencies throughout the seven-county region as part of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program for 2019 and 2020. The Livingston Essential Transportation Service or LETS, received more than $424,000 in federal funds, with a 20% state match for a total of $530,136. Greg Kellogg is the Deputy Director at LETS and tells WHMI that the money will be used to replace a total of six buses, three in Fiscal Year 2019 and three more in Fiscal Year 2020. All of the buses will use propane and replace dirtier-diesel engine buses currently in use. Kellogg adds that one of the buses will also be specially designed for kidney dialysis patients, which will take advantage of a special dialysis route they established this year thanks to a $50,000 contribution from the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program supports two goals: improving air quality and relieving congestion. SEMCOG administers it for Southeast Michigan and works with eligible road and transit agencies to develop projects that maximize improvements to air quality mainly by reducing vehicles idling and traffic congestion. (JK)

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    Work has begun for a new water treatment system in Lyon Township. An update on the project was brought before the township’s Board of Trustees Monday by Ed Kidston, owner of the company that designed the system, Artesian of Pioneer, Inc. Kidston says a concrete base has been poured for the water tower that will be located at Nine Mile and Griswold Roads. After the base cures and underground piping work wraps out, construction of the 120-foot structure will begin, which Kidston expects to be around Memorial Day. Kidston also expects construction to begin soon for the system’s first and main plant, or the “Woodwind Plant”, now that permits from the Department of Environmental Quality have been granted. Kidston says one permit in particular was “quite a challenge” to get through, though it will make Lyon Township the first community in the state to reuse the water that was once “backwashed” or wasted, after iron, manganese and other heavy metals are filtered from it. Kidston says it’s been proven over the last decade that once the water settles, it’s actually cleaner than the water found in wells. After the “backwash” water is treated, 90% of it can be reused instead of deposited into the environment. The process not only promotes a system of recycling, but will save money as the township will no longer have to pay for the water to be discarded. Kidston’s original goal, as stated in September, was to have one water tower and one treatment plant constructed and running in either late spring or early summer of this year. However he says it’ll like to be closer to the end of fall, due to the unexpectedly lengthy permit-acquisition process. (DK)

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    The community’s help is being sought in locating landscaping equipment that was taken from a stolen trailer. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says a 22-foot, black and white “Eastern Michigan Landscaping” trailer was taken from 6175 Argentine Road in Howell between 7:30pm Monday and 7:30am Tuesday. The trailer was recovered today in Gaines, MI, however the equipment it contained is still missing, which includes two Model 930m John Deere Zero Turn Mowers, four Stihl Backpack Blowers and four Echo String Trimmers. The value of the stolen items exceeds $20,000. The Sheriff’s Office says there is no suspect at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Gary Childers at gchilders@livgov.com or the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 517-546-8477.

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    A Headlee Override request will greet voters in the City of Howell in November. Council met Monday night and to the satisfaction of the crowd, voted down a motion to pass a public safety assessment. Mayor Nick Proctor was the deciding vote during the packed meeting, drawing applause and cheers from those in attendance. Proctor joined members Michael Mulvahill, Jan Lobur and Andrew Yost in opposition. Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor, Bob Ellis and Scott Niblock were in support. Over 100 residents and business owners attended the meeting and most all who spoke opposed the proposed assessment. It would have generated additional revenue for the police budget, freeing up other revenues to fund necessary infrastructure projects. Since the assessment failed, Council is expected to put a Headlee Override proposal on the November ballot. It will be a larger request than the proposed assessment at four mills and generate approximately $1.2 (m) million. Mayor Nick Proctor told the audience that in analyzing the options, they felt the three mill assessment would be more palatable than four mills, but he was further fearful it would be voted down and scared they would not be able to sustain the Howell he loves. Many residents threatened recalls and signed petitions protesting the assessment that were provided to Council. The majority of those who spoke during the meeting opposed the assessment based on the overall process, what they felt was short notice, the belief they could not write off the new assessment on their taxes, and the large impact to those on fixed incomes. Business owner John Cleary told Council that people are struggling and damage could be more than just financial and turn the town upside down. Other residents cited case law and their personal interpretations of the public assessment law, which prompted resident Karen Davis to speak out. Davis said she was offended by people coming to the podium acting as if they know law better than the city attorney. She further commented that Council was not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, as the issue has been heavily discussed and people need to do their duty as a citizen, attend meetings or read minutes so they actually know what’s going on. City officials say a broken state fiscal model, continued reduced state revenue sharing, and a variety of other factors have come together to create the perfect financial storm for not only Howell but municipalities across the state. It was noted the current path is not sustainable and the options are simply to either raise revenue or make serious cuts. Members all agreed valid points were made on both sides of the issue and it was not an easy decision but the City remains at a financial crossroads. Councilman Scott Niblock said he would rather suffer the wrath of residents than implement drastic cuts and change the overall fabric of the city. Pro-Tem Steve Manor stated he considered the best long term interest of the city as a whole in supporting the assessment, stressing staff and Council have worked hard to address revenue problems, made large cuts and adopted a lot of efficiencies. Councilman Bob Ellis echoed those thoughts, saying he doesn’t want to make cuts that would impact quality of life and allow the City to deteriorate. Mayor Proctor cautioned the crowd that should the ballot measure fail, drastic cuts will be implemented across the board. Some residents suggested Council eliminate the police department, as the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office could provide the same level of police services for less money. Council is not on board with that option and has cited numerous benefits of having control over a local department but also noted that when final numbers are hammered out, the cost is quite similar. Detailed information regarding fiscal situation the City is facing is available online through the link below. (JM)

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    For this Mother’s Day, the Livingston County Health Department is helping to encourage all women to begin living a tobacco-free life. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Michigan according to a recent release by the Livingston County Health Department. This Mother’s Day they are encouraging all moms, grandmothers, aunts, and women-in-general to begin leading a tobacco-free life. The department reports that tobacco-use kills more than 16,000 Michigan residents each year. Currently 18.7% of women in the state smoke, including 16% of women who do so during pregnancy. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that more than 100,000 babies have dies from complications caused by a mother smoking during pregnancy over the past 50 years. In a 2014 study by the Surgeon General, it was revealed that women’s risk for smoking-related diseases has risen sharply over the past 50 years. They are now equal with men’s risks for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular diseases. In COPD cases, the number dying from it now exceeds the number of men. The Health Department recommends that anyone wanting to quit talk to their healthcare provider of call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline offers free telephone coaching, nicotine replacement therapy, and a bundle of resources for those interested. Pregnant women can receive extra help from the Quitline from specially trained counsellors who will coach them during the time they are carrying and through the postpartum period. The Michigan Tobacco Quitline can be reached by dialing 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or by clicking the link below. (MK)

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    The bomb squad was called out to a construction site in Green Oak Township Tuesday, although it was just a scare. Green Oak Township Police and the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad responded to the intersection of Winans Lake Road and Willow Oak Drive around 10:30am. A construction foreman had noticed a pressure cooker on the side of the road and contacted police. After investigator and making sure everything was safe, the pressure cooker was eventually opened, and inside were several containers of beef stew in quart jars. It was said to be a strange sight, since there were a lot of glass jars with metal lids inside the cooker and many had burst open. Green Oak Police Chief Jason Pless tells WHMI he appreciates the vigilance of the citizen construction worker that reported the sealed pressure cooker as a suspicious item and the prompt response from the MSP Bomb Squad. Authorities cleared the area around 1pm. (JM)

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    Voters within the Fowlerville Community School district have approved a $17.5(m) million bond proposal, while operating millage renewals passed in Hartland and Byron. The bond will fund major infrastructure improvements at buildings throughout the district. Projects will be spread throughout the district, making it a “sweeping bond issue” that will benefit students no matter which building they’re at. Superintendent Wayne Roedel says there was tremendous support from the community and the bond issue passed by a 2-1 margin, which really says a lot. He says the Board of Education looked at projects and costs and this was the feasible solution to get things done and make sure the district is in great shape, especially over the next six to seven years. Roedel tells WHMI the Board of Education has been really committed throughout the whole process, both in this bond election and past bond elections, to make sure any parent and student in the system will see the effects of the bond. Roedel says a lot of time was spent educating the community about what the money would be spent on, different needs as a district and what the projects were. He says projects are planned from the Munn Early Childhood Center, all the way up to the high school. He says there will also be a good dose of technology upgrades, which was desperately needed for student’s sake. Roedel says parents should feel good their kids go to Fowlerville Schools when all these projects take place over the next three years. The number one ticket item the bond will address is Kreeger Elementary School’s roof, which is long past its expected lifetime. Mechanical systems, parking lots, boilers, classrooms, and athletic facilities will also see upgrades. While the bond will be used for a variety of infrastructure improvements throughout the district, voters won’t see an increase in their taxes. The district currently levies 9.55 mills for construction and bond payments. That rating will stay the same, even with the borrowing of $17.5(m) million. The district is able to achieve that by extending their bond repayment period to a total of 22 years. By adding four years onto the current repayment period, the district is able to recoup the $17.5(m) million up front. Also Tuesday, voters in the Hartland Consolidated School District overwhelmingly approved an operating millage renewal, providing more than $4.7 million. 2,637 votes, including those of absentee and Election Day voting, were counted for the operating millage renewal proposal at Tuesday’s special election. Nearly 75% of the votes were in favor of renewing the tax levy, leaving 25% in opposition. The 18-mill non-homestead tax provides funds for district operating purposes and has been in place for about 23 years. An operating millage renewal was also approved for Byron Area Schools. (JM/DK/JK)

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    Following Tuesday’s announcement by President Trump that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, it came as no surprise that the two people expected to square off for the 8th District Congressional seat had differing opinions. Republican Congressman Mike Bishop issued a statement Tuesday calling the deal “flawed from the beginning,” saying it, “enabled the foremost state sponsor of terrorism to gain access to billions of dollars and paved a pathway to nuclear weapons.” Bishop says Iran then used that money, “to increase their support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and fund development of ballistic missiles that threaten Israel.” Bishop said he hoped the, “action will lead to a better, stronger agreement that will ensure security for our allies and stability in the Middle East.” On the other side of the issue, Democrat Elissa Slotkin, who served three tours with the CIA in Iraq, added that as, “someone who has seen first-hand Iran's underhanded behavior in the Middle East” she would have applauded additional agreements…that built on top of the nuclear deal...but instead, the (Trump) Administration let politics dictate national security…and in one fell swoop, the US has made clear to both our friends and adversaries that a deal we sign isn't worth the paper it's written on." Meanwhile, France says the Iranian nuclear accord is "not dead" despite the U.S. withdrawal and that European countries will hold talks with Iran to find ways to keep it alive. (JK)

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    A local lawmaker and others are expressing concerns about statute of limitation bills designed to protect victims in the in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Senate lawmakers and victims of the former sports doctor who treated Michigan State University athletes and U.S. Olympians announced the 10-bill package in February, and the Senate Judiciary Committee quickly passed the bills the next afternoon. Hearings got underway in the Michigan House of Representatives Law and Justice Committee Tuesday, with lawmakers raising various concerns. Victims who helped draft the bills were among those testifying, including former gymnast Rachael Denhollander who filed the first criminal complaint against Nassar. Under the proposal, the law would apply retroactively to 1997 - the date complaints against Nasser surfaced. He was sentenced this year to decades in prison for sexual abuse. The bills would extend the state statue of limitations from 10 to 30 years for criminal cases, from three to 10 years for adults and 30 years for children for civil cases. Analysts say the legislation could prompt a significant increase in litigation and costs, but also note the difficulty in defending a complaint that long ago. Others say it could increase the prospect of wrongful convictions or bankrupt institutions. Universities, municipal groups, religious organizations, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and others have all expressed concerns about the unintended consequences of the bills. Lawmakers including Republican State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton Township also raised concerns about the length of time, with Theis pointing out schools are not even required to keep records for more than 30 years. Denhollander testified anyone bringing civil or criminal action would have to provide evidence, but it was pointed out that a civil action only requires a preponderance of evidence, as opposed to a criminal case. Denhollander questioned the legislators priorities. "What is more important here? Stopping childhood sexual assault and giving victims access to the justice system or institutions and corporations? You are playing a balancing game between children and dollars, children and institutions." Theis says taking time to ensure a fully vetted policy is their duty as legislators, which acknowledges the interests of the citizens of Michigan when considering such sweeping changes. Theis told WHMI it’s a shame the deliberative process is being characterized negatively. She says the bills propose monumental changes to both criminal and civil statutes so they must be thorough and ask the questions that need to be asked to ensure they are enacting good public policy. (JM/JK)

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    Fire Academy cadets from Howell Public Schools’ beat the heat in an end of the year training exercise. Tuesday morning, cadets put their year’s worth of training to the test by confronting an actual fire set upon the Hamburg Fire Department Burn Tower. The students completed several exercises such as observing how a fire begins and grows, pulling hoses into the building, and performing search and rescue operations from inside a smoke-filled room. Cadet Jared Kaminski said they learned first-hand just how hot it gets in the gear and saw what it is like to be inside of a burning building. The Howell Public Schools Fire Academy is a unique program open to high school juniors and seniors from around the county. During the year-long course, cadets will complete required classroom work and receive the practical training they need to earn their state firefighter’s certification. Several cadets begin working as junior firefighters with their local department during the year, and many graduates are now employed by fire departments across the Livingston County. (MK)

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    The Milford Planning Commission was met with a large number complaints about a proposed ordinance that would regulate sober houses in the Village. At Tuesday night’s meeting roughly 100 people, many in long-term recovery from substance abuse, spoke in opposition of the ordinance. The ordinance set guidelines and definitions for temporary housing in a supportive living environment for adults healing from drug or alcohol addiction. Much of the proposed ordinance was taken from or based on ordinances from similar communities that have adopted them. The ordinance separates sober housing into two categories; houses with 6 or fewer residents, and houses with 7 or more. The smaller homes would be allowed by-right in single family districts. The larger would require a higher level of scrutiny with a conditional land-use permit and would have to be located in a multi-family district. Many who spoke felt they were being stigmatized by the language in the ordinance and were being compared to criminals. A major point of contention was a section on separation requirements which would make it unlawful to allow the community service facility, or sober house, to be located within 250 feet of another like-facility and located within 500 feet from parks, schools, churches, and other recreational areas. The proposed language does allow for a waiver from the separation requirement. Others felt it was violating the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Resident and part-owner of Milford Counselling Rhett Reader said the ordinance was based on fear. He said they aren’t bringing blight to the community or devaluing properties. He continued by saying the ordinance lacks everything a healthy community would want to have to support recovery. Tyrone Township Supervisor Mike Cunningham was present and said that while he appreciates what the Village is doing for its community, it feels like they are lumping sober living in with convicted felons. He said sober living means no drugs and no alcohol. He urged the Commission not to put road blocks in front of people trying to get better. While most who spoke were negative on the ordinance, a few spoke in favor of there being a need for some regulation to be put in place. Some asked, how many people are too many people living in one space? Another was worried about what a relapse might mean. Planning Commission Chairman John Heidt said there was a lot to take away from the residents’ comments. He said they learned a lot from people who lived that life and it was very educational. He said he thought it would be a good idea for them to get together with some representation from that group and the legislative body in Milford and start working together to come up with good solutions. He said this isn’t an “us versus them thing, it’s a we thing.” Commissioner David Ebert said later in the meeting that the resident’s view was that this ordinance was hostile towards them, while the commission’s view coming in was that it was a technical land use issue. Planning Consultant Nick Lomako said the point of the housing is to mainstream recovery, but if you let the homes cluster together, it runs the risk of turning a neighborhood that feels residential into one that feels institutionalized. He admitted that the language used, however, was probably severe. Heidt said this is just an early draft and the first time the Planning Commission has seen the ordinance. A copy of it can be found through the link below, or by stopping in at the village office building. (MK)

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    A trial has been ordered for a New Hudson man charged with the severe beating of his girlfriend’s infant son. At a preliminary hearing Tuesday for 23-year-old Seth Blumberg, a doctor testified that the five-month-old child suffered a variety of injuries including fractured ribs and bleeding inside his head. At the conclusion of the hearing, Blumberg was bound over to Oakland County Circuit Court for trial on charges of assault with intent to murder and 1st degree child abuse. Police began investigating after the child’s mother brought the infant to the hospital March 29th when she noticed bruising on the child had become more pronounced over the course of a week. An Oakland County Sheriff’s deputy testified previously that Blumberg admitted trying to kill the infant, including trying to choke him, so he could spend more time with the child’s mother. The child’s mother said 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. Blumberg remains jailed under a $500,000 cash bond pending a May 17th arraignment in circuit court. At the time of his arrest, Blumberg was on probation from a 2016 guilty plea to charges of possessing child sexually abusive material and two counts of criminal sexual conduct involving someone ages 13-15. (JK)

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    Congressman Mike Bishop is seeking answers about government-funded research he believes is “unnecessarily killing hundreds of kittens in expensive and inefficient lab experiments.” The 8th District Republican this week sent a letter (see link below) to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue expressing concerns and seeking more information about what he called, “secretive and problematic experiments on cats and kittens being performed at a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.” The research involves feeding kittens’ parasite-infected meat in order to study toxoplasmosis, a disease that can have severe consequences for pregnant women. At the conclusion of the study, the kittens are euthanized and then incinerated. Bishop said he was “shocked and disturbed” to learn that the USDA, “the very organization charged with enforcing animal welfare laws” had been funding the research since 1982. Bishop added that the project "uses kittens as test tubes" and while he supports the objective of making food safer and protecting people and animals from infectious diseases, he wanted to ensure taxpayer dollars are used “effectively, efficiently and humanely." He asked Secretary Perdue whether the USDA had looked into alternatives for using cats and also questioned why the kittens determined to still be healthy at the conclusion of the study weren’t made available for adoption as opposed to being destroyed. In response, the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service told CNN the cats were "essential to the success of this critical research" of “one of the most widespread parasites in the world.” Officials say because the goal of the study is to reduce toxoplasmosis, adopting out cats after going through the study would undermine that goal and could cause severe infections, especially with unborn children or those with weakened immune systems. Congressman Bishop’s call for reforms in government research labs dates back more than a year and include a bipartisan effort that cut funding for experiments on dogs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA officials at the time pushed back at the cuts, saying that shutting down the research could deny veterans “hope for new and potentially life-changing treatments.” However, an internal review is underway to determine if the studies can be reduced or duplicated without using dogs, and no new studies have been authorized in 2018. (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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    Livingston County is part of a collaborative hiring initiate taking place all next week. The Southeast & Region 9 Veteran Community Action Team will host its annual Hiring Blitz in Livingston, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, and Washtenaw Counties next week. Livingston County’s event will take place on Monday from 10am to 2pm at the Livingston Service Center on Packard Drive in Howell. During the Hiring Blitz, job seekers will have the opportunity to engage with over 90 actively hiring employers. The public is welcome to attend but priority is being given to military veterans. Area employers are hiring for a variety of positions in numerous fields whether someone is looking for a new career or looking for summer employment. Some include CNC operators, welders, home health aides, drivers, merchandisers, clerical, sales, engineers, security officer, warehouse, law enforcement, carpenter, millwright, customer service representatives, cook, housekeeper, medical and federal law enforcement. Employers have the option to hold interviews on the spot, so attendees should dress for success and bring copies of their resume. More information is available through the link.(JM)

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    A vegan food truck that operates in South Lyon has been vandalized for a second time. The truck was recently broke in to while parked in the South Lyon VFW Hall parking lot. Reported stolen was over $500 worth of cash and electronics. Nine months ago, someone poured a red liquid into the gas tank of the food truck in South Lyon. Owner Debra Levantrosser told Detroit Metro Times it’s sad and a bit frustrating because they’re trying to do their part to end animal suffering and someone seems intent on breaking their spirits, which they won’t. PETA named Shimmy Shack as one of the top five vegan food trucks in America in 2015. The Shimmy Shack is now planning an August 1st opening for its new brick and mortar location in Plymouth Township. Anyone with information about the latest incident is being asked to contact South Lyon Police. (JM)

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    Women candidates running for seats in the Michigan House of Representatives had the chance to share some of their thoughts on various issues at a forum in Milford. Indivisible Huron Valley sponsored “A Woman’s Place is in the (State) House” at the Susan Haskew Arts Center Wednesday night. The non-partisan group's event was moderated by State Representative Kristy Pagan of District 21. Female candidates from both parties were invited to participate in the panel discussion; however no Republican candidates were in attendance. Six candidates from neighboring districts weighed in on issues like healthcare, keeping youth in Michigan and funding for infrastructure repairs and schools. Oakland County's candidates included Aditi Bagchi, Kelly Breen, Laura Dodd and Regina Strong. The Livingston County candidates in attendance were Colleen Turk, who’s running for the state representative seat in the 47th District, and Mona Shand, who’s in the 42nd District race. Shand, whose father is a retired doctor and mother a retired nurse, spoke to what she says is a healthcare crisis in Michigan. Shand believes a state-level, single-payer system is the best way to ensure “affordable and robust” healthcare, but has ideas to better the system in the meantime. Shand says more primary care physicians are needed, as well as preservation of the Healthy Michigan Plan. When discussing how to keep youth in Michigan, Turk piggy-backed off of Shand’s thoughts on healthcare, saying the lack of affordable healthcare and housing are just a couple of the reasons that contribute to a resident's decision to leave the state. Turk feels improving the public education system by creating opportunities for students will help build a stronger future workforce, therefore drawing "exciting employment" and youth to the state. Shand and Turk were both asked what can be done to promote a “more progressive agenda in Lansing” and both took a non-partisan approach. Turk feels people from all parties really do want the same thing, it just comes down to communicating with one another in a way that removes party lines. Shand agreed, saying it's become clear that no one side can go it alone. She says residents' support and patience is needed as parties attempt to build partnerships across the aisle. Sherri Masson of Indivisible Huron Valley says the goal of the event was to draw attention to some of the female candidates running in area districts as they are “part of a larger movement of women getting more involved in politics nationally.” Masson says there is a need for representation for a range of demographics, noting that while women make up over 50% of the population, they account for only 19% of the United States Congress and 23% of the State Legislature. There are 110 seats up for election this year in Michigan’s House of Representatives, with 97 female candidates in the running. (DK)

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