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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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    Livingston County residents are invited to help be the voice of change at an addiction and recovery rally in Lansing. The 3rd Annual United to Face Addiction Michigan, or U-FAM, rally will be held on the grounds of the state capitol next Thursday from 10 am until 4pm. U-FAM is a nonprofit organization that works to unify the voices of citizens impacted by addiction and the organizations working to change the way it is perceived and treated in the state. Through unity they hope to eliminate stigma, support prevention of substance abuse, create greater paths to treatment, and promote recovery. Comedian Mark Lundholm will make his return to Michigan to host and emcee the event. Lundholm is a recovering addict who has made several appearances in Livingston County and southeast Michigan over the past few years supporting addiction awareness. He said that part of what U-FAM does is to get people to start asking the right questions. To learn more about Unite to Face Addiction Michigan, visit their website, ufamichigan.org. For more information on the rally, contact Scott Masi at 1-810-360-5779, or email scott.masi@ascension.org. The State Capitol is located at 101 North Capitol Avenue in Lansing. (MK)

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    State Police apprehended a suspect from a Lansing homicide Wednesday in Livingston County. Our news partners at WLNS TV-6 in Lansing report that a Lansing man died after being shot Wednesday morning. When police showed up to the home, they found a 27 year-old man unresponsive in the front yard with gunshot wounds. The victim was taken to a local hospital but died from his injuries. Robert Merritt, the Public Information Officer for the Lansing Police Department, says that while they were investigating the shooting, officers learned of a single car accident on US-127 near Dunckel. Police say a driver stopped to help the person in the crash, but was carjacked, suffering minor injuries. But officials say details led them to believe the carjacker was the suspect responsible for the homicide. Once that connection was made, police put out a description of the suspect and vehicle to surrounding law enforcement agencies. “Within a short period, law enforcement officers on patrol in Livingston County spotted the carjacked vehicle and actually stopped the vehicle and placed the subject in custody.” The suspect is a 32 year old man and police believe the suspect and victim knew each other. Officials also say at this time it appears to be a domestic situation. Authorities say the suspect will be arraigned in the coming days. (JK)

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    An artist and Fenton native will create a unique mural on the exterior wall of a downtown business next week. The exterior of El Topo's building will display the creativity and expression of Artist Kevin Burdick. He will spray paint an original mural of concept art that he designed specifically for El Topo onto the east exterior wall of the building. All are welcome to watch the action and transformation next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 11am to 3pm, as Burdick takes the blank canvas wall of El Topo and turns it into a conversation piece and future landmark in Downtown Fenton. The Fenton Arts Council is sponsoring the project. The inspiration for the mural includes colors from the Mexico flag—red, green, and white. The eagle is symbolic of Mexico City and also has a connection to sightings of eagles in Fenton. The fox is said to be representative of Burdick’s connection back to Fenton. Meanwhile, Burdick is slated to create another design for the “Arts Are the Heart” event at Rackham Park in Fenton on May 18th, again sponsored by The Fenton Arts Council. For more information about Kevin and his work, visit his website at scrapsdesigns.com. For more information about the upcoming events, visit fentonartscouncil.com. The link is provided. Facebook Photo, Kevin Burdick design. (JM)

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    Changes to the shared driveway and private roads ordinance were discussed by the Putnam Township Planning Commission. Commissioners reviewed language to the amendment sent to them by the township attorney, Wednesday night. One of the changes to the ordinance discussed was that if a land owner wants to split their land, they will require them to put in a road allowing access to all the new lots. As an example, at last month’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, a property owner was present who bought 30 acres behind 2 other lots and has no access to the property. A private road is needed to get back there, but the other owners are unwilling to help pay for it. Under the amended ordinance, when the 30 acres was originally split, a road would have had to have been put in before building permits would be issued, protecting the buyer. The Planning Commission also debated the necessity of limiting shared driveway distance to 600 feet before it would need to become a private road. Some thought that number seemed arbitrary and wondered why the township would care in the case of a driveway 2 people were sharing. It was decided to consult with emergency services and the Fire Marshal to get their opinion before moving forward with changes there. The redrafted amended ordinance is expected to be back before Commissioners at June’s meeting. (MK)

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    A Fenton High School student accused of making a verbal threat against the school Wednesday could face criminal charges. Superintendent Dr. Adam Hartley sent out a letter explaining the incident this morning. The letter states the student made a comment during the last block of the day and threatened to harm Fenton High School. The student’s teacher referred the matter to administration, which investigated and contacted Fenton Police. It was determined there was no credible threat to students or staff but the student has since been removed from school. Hartley says all threats are taken seriously and if substantiated, will result in criminal charges as well as disciplinary measures up to and including expulsion. He advised parents to use the opportunity to remind their child of the serious nature of any threats. Fenton Police and administration continue to investigate. A report will be forwarded to the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office, which will determine if charges are warranted or not. (JM)

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    A series of bills spearheaded by a local legislator protecting underage victims of sex crimes have been signed into law. Distraught by a recent case where a 16 year-old Livingston County student was convicted of criminal sexual conduct charges and attempted to return to the school his victims attended, State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton Township set out to make sure that could never happen again. On Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder signed her 3-bill package into law. The new law now requires permanent expulsion of students who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another pupil in the same school district. This is regardless of where the act took place. It also prohibits an expelled student from attending another public school in Michigan unless they go through a reinstatement program. Additionally, if a personal protection order is issued for the victim, the offender would be prohibited from entering the victim’s school. Protections for underage victims also extend to transportation to and from school, such as on school buses. Theis said she is proud to have worked on this with victims and their families to make sure that this previous loophole in state law is being erased. House Bills 5530, 5531, and 5532 are now Public Acts 144, 145, 146 of 2018. (MK)

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    Company expansions and new talent partnerships are being highlighted in Livingston County. Ann Arbor SPARK partners with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County and works to advance the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. SPARK recently released its quarterly report from January through the end of March, highlighting work being done to drive economic progress in Livingston County and expand economic opportunity throughout the region. The report highlighted company expansions and new talent partnerships that are working to expand economic opportunity throughout the region. Director of Business Development for Livingston County Marcia Gebarowski tells WHMI there are a lot of exciting things happening throughout the county. She says many projects are gearing up to put a shovel in the ground this spring while others continue to do their due diligence in the community. Gebarowski says there is continued economic progress, development and activities with current employers. She says a big focus remains on how to be creative in growing the talent pipeline for Livingston County employers. Gebarowski says staff has had a strategic focus on community-based projects staff with public sector partners. The report highlights several local projects SPARK assisted with. Bulletproof glass manufacturer Total Security Solutions is preparing to break ground on a new 46,000-square-foot facility close to its current building in the Fowlerville industrial park. The new facility will house manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, and office operations for the company. Ann Arbor SPARK provided support to the project by helping the company with the process for applying for critical financial incentives. Surgical Safety Scanner recently moved into a larger building in the City of Brighton, consolidating the small company’s numerous offices under one roof with room to grow. Surgical Safety Scanner utilizes RFID tags for surgical instruments and other medical devices. Ann Arbor SPARK connected the company with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) on a grant to help offset costs of attending a key overseas tradeshow where it explored export opportunities. Ann Arbor SPARK provided assistance to development group E&M Fowlerville Investments in applying for a 10-year property tax abatement from the Village of Fowlerville for a speculative development. When completed, the 50,000-foot-facility will be able to house one large or two smaller businesses. Ann Arbor SPARK has worked with the MEDC to include the building in a number of qualified request-for-proposals for buildings from companies across the globe looking for suitable locations in North America. Ann Arbor SPARK assisted the Village of Pinckney with it economic development strategy and completed a marketing package for the City of Howell to help the communities tap in to the State of Michigan’s new Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program. RRC is a statewide certification program to highlight communities that have completed strategic planning for redevelopment and establish a seamless process for developers. Ann Arbor SPARK Vice President for Business Development Phil Santer says by leveraging local and state partnerships, they’re helping businesses in Livingston County expand, find talent, and access critical training resources. He says when businesses invest in their growth and create jobs, then economic potential grows too. A copy of the report is attached. (JM)

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    A choir from a local high school has again been selected to perform at a gala event in Kalamazoo. The Brighton High School Concert Choir and Chamber Choir are participating in the 56th annual Michigan Youth and Arts Festival, taking place this weekend in Kalamazoo. The festival features more than 1,000 students, who applied and are picked out of 250,000 students from across the state. The Brighton High School Concert Choir is one of just two in the state that will perform at a Gala Concert tonight, which is considered by many to be the state championship of choir. This is the third year in a row that Brighton choirs have been selected to perform for the festival. But Brighton High School Choir Director Phil Johnson says the three-day festival covers much more than just music and includes student exhibitions and performances in dance, theater, instrumental and vocal music, visual arts, music composition and film, as well as the publication of a volume of creative writing. Also honored was Brighton's Julianne Roberts, three time State of Michigan Champion in the vocal arts. The students that are invited to perform at the event are selected based on their artistic merit, through a succession of auditions. Invitation to the festival represents one of the most prestigious honors in the arts education community. (EO/JK)

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    Livingston County is preparing to host a warrant amnesty program later this month. The 53rd District Court announced the amnesty program for those who are delinquent on payments to the court. The program offers waivers of late fees to individuals upon payment of fines and costs in full, for a one-day period only. The program will be held on Thursday, May 24th from 8am to 4pm and is designed to enhance collections and minimize costs to the county. Provided that the individual does not have another valid warrant for his or her arrest, and the individual appears at the 53rd District Court on the 24th and pays all fines and fees, the warrant will be cancelled All misdemeanor and civil infraction cases in which a late fee and/or cost to compel appearance fees have been assessed are eligible. Court officials stress that there will be no negotiation on the amount of restitution owed. 53rd District Court records showed active warrants for more than 4,100 individuals. Complete details can be found in the attachment below. (JK)

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    The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will recognize the Village of Pinckney next week for becoming certified under a statewide program. A ceremony will be held at the village offices on South Howell Street in Pinckney this Monday, May 14th, at 7pm. Community members are invited to attend and celebrate the village’s journey in the Redevelopment Ready Communities program. RRC is a MEDC program that aims to revitalize communities by attracting and retaining businesses, entrepreneurs and talent. Clerk Amy Salowitz says village officials saw the program as an opportunity to become more competitive in development and redevelopment, specifically by tackling areas in the municipality that were affected by the recession. The village began to pursue RRC certification when the program was launched in 2014, but was denied acceptance as only 10 communities were taken the first year. Because they applied, village officials were able to utilize the RRC curriculum and participated in training and self-assessment. When they reapplied in 2016, an initial review found they were already close to completion. Officials completed and submitted the final paperwork for the certification early this year, making the Village of Pinckney the 19th and smallest community in the statewide program to become certified. At the May event, Salowitz says MEDC officials will share some of the village’s best practices and how they can maintain their certification. Salowitz tells WHMI achieving certification has helped them streamline processes and view them from a different perspective by removing personal opinions, adding the journey, as a whole, has been “very educational”. (DK)

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    An Oakland County probation agent killed in a car crash in Oceola Township will be memorialized with a piece of M-59 named in her honor. Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation Thursday designating the stretch of M-59 that runs through Livingston County the “Candice Dunn Memorial Highway”. Dunn was a 12-year veteran with the Michigan Department of Corrections who was killed a year ago in a car crash while coming home from a banquet where she received the MDOC’s 2017 Parole/Probation Agent of the Year award. Dunn’s mother and her mother’s boyfriend were also killed in the May 9th, 2017 crash at M-59 and Argentine Road. Dunn’s boyfriend survived. The crash occurred when the driver of the other vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of M-59 and Argentine. The driver reportedly had a BAC of .15 and was estimated to have been driving over 100mph down Argentine just before the crash. Two people in his vehicle were also killed. Snyder says Dunn’s death “was a devastating loss to the community, the Department of Corrections and Michigan as a whole.” In addition to her work with the MDOC, Dunn worked in the Eastern District Probation Office, Troy Office and as a Drug Court Agent in Wayne County. (DK) Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Corrections

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    A culinary convoy will be trucking into downtown Howell next weekend. Howell Main Street Inc’s summer season is kicking off Saturday, May 19th with their largest Food Truck Rally to date. 15 trucks bringing selections from state and local vendors will be parked and open for business in the Depot public parking lot off of North Walnut Street from noon until 3:30pm. Attendees will find a diverse selection of food including barbeque, Mexican, dessert fares, and more. In addition to the food trucks, there will be live music throughout the afternoon and a biergarten for adults 21 and up. There is no entry fee to event, but beverage tickets for the biergarten are $5 each. Food prices will range from $3 to $15. Proceeds from the event will support Howell Main Street Inc’s year-round programming and volunteer-led projects. For more information and a list of all the trucks coming to the rally, visit the link below. (MK)

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    A trial has been ordered for a Fenton Township man charged in the ongoing sexual assault of a child. 53-year-old Michael Sackrider was charged in two separate cases involving minors and following a preliminary exam in 67th District Court Thursday, he was bound over to Genesee County Circuit Court to stand trial. Sackrider was arrested March 26th and charged with five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office says they were initially contacted about the incidents in January. The alleged victim told investigators Sackrider, who was her mother’s ex-boyfriend, sexually assaulted her several times at his Linden Road home from 2006 through 2015 when she was between the ages of 11 and 16. Two new charges were filed April 11th against Sackrider for a felony count of third-degree CSC and fourth-degree CSC, both with an incapacitated victim. Officials say the incident prompting those charges took place in July 2017. Sackrider has since been released from custody after posting bond, but is required to wear an electronic tether. New dates in circuit court have yet to be set. (JK)

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    The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will recognize the Village of Pinckney next week for becoming certified under a statewide program. A ceremony will be held at the village offices on South Howell Street in Pinckney this Monday, May 14th, at 7pm. Community members are invited to attend and celebrate the village’s journey in the Redevelopment Ready Communities program. RRC is a MEDC program that aims to revitalize communities by attracting and retaining businesses, entrepreneurs and talent. Clerk Amy Salowitz says village officials saw the program as an opportunity to become more competitive in development and redevelopment, specifically by tackling areas in the municipality that were affected by the recession. The village began to pursue RRC certification when the program was launched in 2014, but was denied acceptance as only 10 communities were taken the first year. Because they applied, village officials were able to utilize the RRC curriculum and participated in training and self-assessment. When they reapplied in 2016, an initial review found they were already close to completion. Officials completed and submitted the final paperwork for the certification early this year, making the Village of Pinckney the 19th and smallest community in the statewide program to become certified. At the May event, Salowitz says MEDC officials will share some of the village’s best practices and how they can maintain their certification. Salowitz tells WHMI achieving certification has helped them streamline processes and view them from a different perspective by removing personal opinions, adding the journey, as a whole, has been “very educational”. (DK)

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    The one-time head of the Livingston County Bar Association is among the candidates seeking a judicial seat set to be created next year. Among the four candidates who have filed to run for an open seat on the 44th Circuit Court in Livingston County is Howell-based attorney Monica Copeland. Copeland, who says she has grown concerned over the public’s lack of faith in the legal system, holds a bachelor’s degree from Alma College and earned her Juris Doctorate, Cum Laude from the Thomas Cooley Law School. Elected as the county’s Bar Association President in 2003, she now serves as Chair of the association’s Family Law Section. Raised in South Lyon, Copeland lives in Brighton with her husband of 20 years Marty Albright. Also in the running are 53rd District Court Judge Suzanne Geddis, Howell attorney Tara Pearson and Brighton attorney Dennis Brewer. 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. 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. (JK)

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    A paving project in the Village of Milford is entering a new phase. A residential paving program is underway and this past week, the contractor performed additional ditching work and began road milling on all streets. Those include Tennyson, Deep Valley, and Winding Way. Milling and grading work was wrapping up and paving work, beginning with base repairs, will be commencing. Resident notices were distributed with additional information on Thursday. Mainline paving work is expected to begin on Monday and the Village reminds people to not park on the street while paving work is being performed. All projected dates and timelines are weather permitting. Meanwhile, intermittent lane closures are occurring as needed. Motorists are asked to drive with caution and avoid use of cell phones through the work zones as workers will be present. The Village advises that the paving materials are applied at extremely hot temperatures and they ask that people avoid touching or walking on surfaces until they are completely cooled. Photo: Village of Milford. (JM)

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    Howell High School alumni who have served in the armed forces are being honored with a new mural. The Hometown Heroes Wall is located outside the school’s Air Force Junior ROTC classroom. The mural includes images representing each branch of the armed forces. Next to the mural, plaques will be installed, featuring the names of alumni who have served. Senior Command Cadets in the JROTC program will maintain the wall and are selling the plaques. Plaques on the Hometown Heroes Wall are $10 for an engraved name tile with their branch of service and class year placed on a recognition board or and $25 for a 5x7 photo with nameplate, their branch of service and class year. The first Howell High School classed graduated in 1925, so all veterans who served before World War II to the present may have their name included. The Hometown Wall of Heroes will be officially dedicated on May 22nd at 4pm. The Hometown Heroes mural was a joint effort by the Air Force Junior ROTC program, Andrea Gorham, and Lisa McQueen. The mural was designed by Howell High School alumna Alyssa McQueen. A plaque order form can be found through the provided link. (JM)

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    An event in Lansing recognized a group of seniors from the 8th District that have shown great leadership and academic excellence throughout their high school careers. 19 students were chosen to receive the Congressional Medal of Merit for Outstanding Youth Leadership, which was presented by Congressman Mike Bishop at the Capitol Building Friday. In addition to family members, some teachers and principals attended the ceremony as it is the school administrators who nominate students with exemplary leadership and citizenship qualities. One senior from each participating school in the district is chosen to receive the medal. The 8th District is comprised of Livingston County, northern Oakland and Ingham counties. The students selected from Livingston County are Cecilia Mikat from Brighton High School, Kyle Gnass from Pinckney High School, Teaghan Germane from Hartland High School and Faith Williams from Kensington Woods High School. Williams says her post-high school plans include attending a community college for the first two years, and then transferring to the University of Michigan’s law program. The 17-year-old, whose ultimate goal is to become a corporate lawyer, was surprised to find out she was even nominated for the Medal of Merit. Williams is the president of her school's mock trial club, a volunteer on LACASA's teen advisory council and last year's class president. Congressman Bishop says the event gives credit where credit is due, adding that the accomplished and engaging students are already well on their way as leaders in the community. After acknowledging the students, Bishop took time to praise the family members and educators that supported them along the way. One educator in particular is special to award recipient Sam Spitzley, an 18-year-old from Mason High School. Spitzley says he's very close with his principal, who encouraged him as he pursued leadership roles in a variety of fields. Spitzley is a member of his school's student senate, a volunteer with the National Honor Society and captain of the varsity soccer team. He plans to attend business school at Michigan State University to study supply chain management. Other award recipients include: Hunter Arnett of Leslie High School, Luis Borrero of Okemos High School, Wendy Dong from Rochester Adams High School, Kennedy Ferguson of Haslett High School, Max Ford of Holly High School, Mustafa Hadi of ACE High School, Zachary Jewison from Williamston High School, Jessica Kruger of Lansing Christian High School, Kalli Mulholland of Oxford High School, Sage Paris from Clarkston High School, Brendan Ryder of Dansville High School, Sophia Simon of East Lansing High School, Meredith Stalions of Lake Orion High School and Tanner Thering of Holt High School. (DK)

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    Michigan officials say a significant portion of Island Lake State Recreation Area will be restored under a deal to eventually clean up a former mining site. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the update comes after a 10-year mineral lease was recently signed with Spring Mill Reclamation LLC. The DNR says Spring Mill will mine aggregate from the site and the parkland will be restored to largely become prairie. The reclamation project involves a 540-acre former gravel mine in Green Oak Township. The DNR also will get about $10 million in royalty payments for the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund. As part of the transaction, the DNR will acquire a 155-acre parcel that will expand the Pinckney Recreation Area in Washtenaw County. (AP)

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    Information about parks around Livingston County will be the topic of discussion during an upcoming lunch event. The Brown Bag Lunch Series is a quarterly event held by the County Planning Department. For the event, planning professionals, local government officials, and community leaders come together in an informal setting to share ideas. At the next Brown Bag Lunch, 3 county Supervisors will discuss parks and recreation opportunities in Livingston County. Taking part in the panel will be Oceola Township Supervisor Bill Bamber, Hamburg Township Supervisor Pat Hohl, and Green Oak Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles. The program will take on Wednesday, May 30th, from noon to 1pm at the Oceola Township Hall. RSVPs are requested, and attendees should bring their own lunch. To RSVP, email Kathleen Kline-Hudson at KKline-Hudson@livgov.com, or Scott Barb at SBarb@livgov.com. Educational materials for the series can be found through the link below. (MK)

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