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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 joint meeting between two parties invested in the Livingston Regional Sewer System took place in Hartland Township. Members of the Livingston County Department of Public Works Board met with the Hartland Township Board of Trustees, Tuesday evening. Hartland Township Supervisor Bill Fountain said the two boards hadn’t formally met before, and he wanted to invite the county out for a discussion on the state of the sewer system. Drain Commissioner Brian Jonckheere gave a presentation that began with the formation of the Livingston County Sewer System, or LRSS, and ended with the challenges they may be facing in the future. The Sewer System was implemented in 2005, and through partnerships, carries Hartland Township’s and Tyrone Township’s waste north to Genesee County for treatment. Jonckheere said the LRSS had some dark days early on, but has grown to a point of stabilization. They’ve come out of a point where there was no growth, to now, when growth has picked up. This has allowed for the general stabilization of rates without residents seeing exceptional increases. The County has commissioned a capacity study to help identify bottlenecks and system impacts, especially in Hartland Township where they see a greater potential for growth. They are hoping this will help them to get ahead of older infrastructure and lower capacity pipe problems before developers run into them. Fountain pointed out the impact the sewer receiving station has had. 26-million gallons of waste is being taken up to Genesee County yearly and being treated where previously it would have been ground-applied locally. Fountain called it a “win” for the entire county. Jonckheere noted in his presentation, however, that Genesee County is implementing stricter requirements which are causing the Livingston County DPW to explore options at reducing their footprint at the plant. (MK)

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    Brighton Superintendent Greg Gray told the Board of Education Monday night that US News & World Report – which is considered the global authority in educational rankings, last week published its 2018 edition of “Best High Schools” in the nation and placed Brighton High School in the top 3.5% nationally. The magazine annually evaluates almost 21,000 public high schools nationwide to identify those that best serve all of their students and assess the degree to which students are prepared for college-level course work. Overall, the list is based on student outcomes, using data on graduation rates and state assessments. Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI that Brighton High School’s high ranking is a testament to the hard work of the staff and administration at the school, along with the quality and academic prowess of its 2,100 students. In the published report, Brighton High School scored a silver medal, with its 97% graduation rate and 45.4 college readiness score. South Lyon East High School in Oakland County was 36th in the state rankings and also received a silver medal. US News says that students at the schools which receive national recognition graduate at rates that are 12 percentage points higher, on average, than students from other schools throughout the country. International Academy of Macomb in Clinton Twp., Michigan, was named the best Magnet school in the nation. (TT)

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    A construction project expected to significantly impact traffic in Genoa and Oceola Townships starts Thursday. The pavement rehabilitation project on Latson Road between Golf Club Road and M-59 will get underway around 8pm Thursday and last through 6am Tuesday. The Livingston County Road Commission advises there will be a major traffic impact due to high traffic volumes on Latson Road. Work will be performed during evening and nighttime hours to reduce long delays and to expedite construction. In order to protect workers on the ground and motorists in the work zone, traffic during the construction hours will be only allowed to travel southbound from M-59 and from the side streets and businesses along Latson Road. Officials say that provides more room for equipment, workers, and private vehicles during construction. Contractor personnel will be on site to direct traffic. The traffic flow will be directed southbound only from M-59 to Golf Club Road. All northbound traffic will need to use a detour of either Gulley Road (east of Latson) or Eager Road (west of Latson). Extended delays are expected during the beginning of construction each night and at the end of work the following morning. Motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes. Meanwhile, unrelated construction is also being performed by MHOG in the area of Earl Lake Road and Golf Club Road to repair 1,000 feet of sanitary sewer, also at night. Traffic will be down to one lane in that area and controlled by flaggers. (JM)

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    The Fowlerville Police Department worked to inform senior citizens about scams and how to avoid becoming a victim with a presentation Tuesday. The event, “Senior Scams”, was held at the United Brethren Church in Fowlerville and educated guests about the different types of scams circulating in the community, as well as proactive and reactive measures that are being taken to combat them. Guest speakers from Livingston County Catholic Charities and Adult Protective Services also shared information on resources that are available to seniors to better protect themselves from scams or what to do if they think they’ve become a victim. Chief John Tyler of the Fowlerville Police Department says some popular scams currently circulating locally involve the scammer claiming to be from the IRS and are seeking back taxes, from a jail where the victim’s family member is incarcerated in order to obtain bail money or from the Sheriff’s Office regarding failure to appear for jury duty and demanding the victim pay a fine. Chief Tyler says no legitimate entity would seek payment or ask for personal information over the phone. Chief Tyler says one of the best ways to avoid becoming a victim is to shut down a scammer before they even get started. He wants seniors to know it’s okay to hang up the phone on these scammers even if it seems rude or to threaten to call the police. Tyler says senior citizens are often targeted because they sometimes have trouble spotting fraud or are naturally trusting. He believes the reported statistic that seniors make up 30% of fraud victims is actually quite low, noting many don’t want to admit they’ve become a victim or are unsure of how to report the crime. Reporting it to the police department is one way for authorities to address the problem, but Tyler cautions if money has already been sent or wired, it can be difficult or nearly impossible to get back; hence the preventative measures being taken to educate seniors before they get into that position. Tyler says scammers should not be doubted, as they can be extremely creative and are usually two steps ahead of their intended victim. Above all else, Tyler reiterated, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." Local resources dedicated to preventing elder financial abuse can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    The amazing tale of a World War II pilot being shot down and escaping capture from the Axis powers will be presented by his son this weekend in Brighton. John Carah was a U.S. Army Air Force airman during the Second World War When his B-17 was shot down over France in 1943; he parachuted to safety, was rescued by the French Underground, and made his way to safety in Switzerland. His son, Warren Carah, will tell the amazing story of how his dad was then hired as an assistant military attaché, worked for the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA, and was likely witness to several secrets of the war. The presentation will be held Sunday from 1pm to 2:30pm at the Brighton CoBACH Center next to the Millpond. Carah will have on display artifacts and pieces of the B-17 that his father recovered upon returning to the crash site in 1996. (JK)

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    Members of the public are being advised to use caution while traveling in the area of the old Highland House restaurant this week, as multiple fire departments are coming together for a training exercise. The Highland Township Fire Department and multiple other area departments will be conducting training exercises at the old restaurant from Thursday through Sunday. Officials advise that there will be multiple fire trucks and fire fighters inside, outside and in the area so they ask that people use caution in the area during those times. Fire departments taking part include Milford, White Lake, Commerce, Walled Lake, Hartland, Springfield and the North Oakland County Fire Authority, which includes Holly and Rose Townships. The Highland House officially closed operations this week after serving the community for the past 42 years. Demolition work will commence after the training. The restaurants new location is right next door and has been under construction, although no official re-opening date has been determined yet. Various training evolutions will be performed during the upcoming days. Highland Township fire officials say the department is grateful the owner agreed to provide the building for training before tearing it down, as they very rarely get a commercial property to train in. They add that opening up the training to all of the different departments will prove beneficial in a number of ways but also allow the community to see them actively training to better serve them in the event of an emergency. Photo: Google Street View. (JM)

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    A flood warning continues for the Huron River in Hamburg Township. The warning is in effect until further notice for the Huron River following heavy rains and thunderstorms. Flood stage is 6.5 feet. As of today, the stage was 7.6 feet and near steady according to the National Weather Service. Hamburg Township Supervisor Pat Hohl says the majority of flooding is on Ore Lake but the high water level is throughout the entire Chain of Lakes, all the way down to Portage Lake. He says there doesn’t appear to be any homes impacted but there are a lot of crawl spaces, porches and docks currently under water. With nice weather coming this weekend, Hohl asks that boaters be courteous and try to eliminate all wakes on the Chain of Lakes. He tells WHMI people are already dealing with the high water levels and the waves from wakes only make things worse. Hohl says hopefully water levels will be down to normal by next Wednesday and they would ask boaters to avoid all wakes until then, on the river and the lakes. Hoihl says the waves can easily destroy someone’s personal property as they wash up on shore or elsewhere so they just ask that people be considerate of those on the water, adding no one wants to see waves rolling through their porch and homes because someone is going by on a speed boat. With all of the recent rain, Hohl says it looks as though they’re going to reach the 5th highest level on the Huron River since records began in 1958. The National Weather Service says the Huron River was near crest today and should go below flood stage Monday. (JM)

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    Michigan State University has reached a $500 million settlement with hundreds of women and girls who say they were sexually assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar in the worst sex-abuse case in sports history. The deal was announced today by Michigan State and lawyers for 332 victims. Nassar pleaded guilty to assaulting victims with his hands under the guise of treatment. He also possessed child pornography and is serving decades in prison. He treated campus athletes and scores of young gymnasts at his Michigan State office. He had an international reputation while working at the same time for USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Olympic gold medalists Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney say they were victims. (AP)

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    Congressman Mike Bishop on Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation designed to stop the flow of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, in the international mail system. The bill, called the Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act of 2018, was co-sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrel. Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires advance electronic data for shipments by private carriers into the United States. Officials say that the data enables them to target high-risk shipments for inspection and seizure. However, those requirements do not currently extend to international mail shipments sent through the U.S. Postal Service, which Bishop says creates a “significant vulnerability…allowing criminals to ship synthetic opioids into the United States with ease.” The legislation will require the postal service to obtain the advanced data for 70% of international mail shipments by the end of this year and 95% before 2023. It would also empower them to refuse shipments from foreign mail services that fail to comply. The bill was passed unanimously Wednesday by the House Ways & Means Committee. (JK)

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    Honor and support veterans past and present with a special flower on a commemorative day coming up. The American Legion Family is celebrating National Poppy Day on Friday, May 25th. The Family is made up of members from the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, and the American Legion Riders. This coming weekend, members of the Brighton Family will be around town distributing the flowers. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they will be outside of the Brighton Kroger’s, Busch’s, Harley Davidson , and the 7-11 at Pleasant Valley Road and Grand River from 9am until 4pm. The red poppy, being the memorial flower of the American Legion Family, symbolizes blood shed during battle. It gained its significance following the publication of the wartime poem In Flanders Field. The poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who penned it while serving on the front line during World War I. Wearing a poppy on National Poppy Day helps bring remembrance to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, while also supporting the future of veterans, active-duty military, and their families. The American Legion requests that the person receiving the flower make a donation that will help with funding of their programming and support of local veterans and who may come across medical and financial needs. (MK)

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    Three current and former police officers charged with falsifying state vehicle inspection documents have been bound over for trial. 65-year-old Robert Greene of Canton (top), and his two sons, 42-year-old Tim Greene of Romulus (middle) and 43-year-old John Greene of Wyandotte (bottom), were bound over to Livingston County Circuit Court Tuesday, after District Court Judge Suzanne Geddis determined there was enough evidence to send their case to trial. Each defendant is charged with various counts of uttering and publishing connected to allegations that they falsified documents for inspections intended to detect stolen vehicles and parts. Lt. Tim Greene of the Northfield Township Police department was placed on unpaid administrative leave last year prior to the investigation. His brother, John Greene, was a Detroit Public Schools Public Safety Officer, while their father, Robert Greene, is a former VanBuren Township Officer. The trio is facing local charges because they were authorized by the Hamburg Township Police Department to conduct the inspections. No Hamburg officers were involved, nor was that department in any way implicated in the investigation. Also charged in the case is a Redford Police Department Detective, a Detroit Police Officer, a former Chief of the Bangor Police Department and a former Riverview Police Officer. Future court dates for the Greenes’ have not been set at this time. (DK)

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    Putnam Township officials made a decision on their police protection contract that left one Pinckney Village official dismayed. Village President Linda Lavey told Township Supervisor Dennis Brennan that she was disappointed and that he “screwed up” the process for choosing between the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department and the Pinckney Police Department for Putnam Township’s police contract. She pointed out that 2,400 township residents live in the village and accused him of ignoring them “all the time.” This came in the closing call to the public at the Board’s meeting Wednesday when they voted unanimously to renew their police contract with the Sheriff’s Department. Councilman Bob Vedder also voiced his displeasure in the decision. He claimed to have asked for chance to bid a year ago, and told the Board they blew “a chance to save $10,000 over 3 years to get one-third more coverage.” Last month, the Board faced an agenda item for the renewal, but postponed it for a month at the request of Lavey so that Pinckney Police Department could make a bid. Brennan said it wasn’t originally put to bid because they believed the Sheriff’s Department has done a good job with a high level of quality and offered a lower price with their new contract. He said nobody on the board suggested it be put to bid, and so if it is a mistake as Lavey suggests, it’s the whole board’s mistake, though he still doesn’t believe it to be one. Brennan said that what the Sheriff’s Department offers is worth the higher cost. He said the Sheriff’s Department provides resources to cover the entire county. They have equipment, command staff, a detective bureau, forensics and other services the local department doesn’t have. He said he’s not “saying the Pinckney Police Department isn’t a true police department, it’s just a small village police department.” Before he became Supervisor, Brennan said he was on the police protection committee, 4 to 5 years ago. After reviewing police logs and talking to the residents in the surrounding communities, they came to the conclusion that the people were satisfied with their police coverage, which was the Sheriff’s Department at the time. Brennan said so that when the Board got into this contract, he looked at the same things. He asked "How do people feel about the Sheriff’s Department? Are they doing a good job?" He summarized, saying that he that when you have a contractor, especially at that level of quality, and they are doing a good job and offer you a lower price, he believes there is no reason to put it out to bid year after year or contract after contract. The Sheriff’s Department’s proposal was for 40 hours of service per week, plus the entirety of their added resources, for just over $98,530 the first year. This is 5.67% lower than the current year. The price will raise 3.5% each of the next two, meaning the second year will still be less expensive than this year. The Pinckney Police Department countered with 56 hours a week for $95,500. Their price would raise 3% each of the next two years. They also offered a second option for 24/7 service starting at around $134,000 per year. Pinckney Chief Jeff Newton said he thought this would help unify the township and village, as they get calls routinely from people not in the Village who think they are part of it. Brennan said he heard from only 2 residents weighing on in the decision over the past month. One was in favor of the Sheriff, the other in favor of the local department. Trustee Bob Press said he had heard from people that they prefer the Sheriff’s Department. That the Pinckney Department knew the Sheriff’s proposal going in had an effect, leaving many Board members feeling uneasy about the ethics. Trustee Norm Klein suggested in the future they just automatically put it out for bid. The new 3-year contract with the Sheriff’s Department begins on July 1st. (MK)

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    Evidence of child pornography discovered at the home of a Fowlerville man has led to charges. 45-year-old Daniel Delavergne was arraigned earlier this week in 53rd District Court in Howell on one count each of unlawful posting of a message and child sexually abusive material, and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime. Delavergne, who turned himself into authorities Tuesday, was arrested as the result of an investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police (MSP) Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The investigation began following a tip forwarded to the MSP. A search of the residence where Delavergne was living in Fowlerville netted multiple electronic devices and evidence. If convicted, Delavergne faces up to two years for unlawful posting of a message, four years for possession of child sexually abusive material and four years for each count of using a computer to commit a crime. Future court dates for Delavergne are unknown at this time. The MSP Computer Crimes Unit encourages parents to speak to their children about the safe use of the internet. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides a comprehensive list of resources on their website at http://www.missingkids.org. Anyone with information regarding possible child sexual exploitation is asked to report it to the CyberTipline. That link is below.

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    A suspicious incident while a student was waiting for the bus was actually a misunderstanding. Fenton Area Public Schools sent out a communication Monday after a morning incident involving a Tomek-Eastern Elementary student waiting for the bus, who reported a suspicious truck that drove by numerous times. The student became frightened and went inside, and the truck eventually pulled in her driveway. Superintendent Dr. Adam Hartley says due to the diligence of the Fenton Police Department, they now know that the truck roaming neighborhoods Monday morning was work related and not a dangerous situation. He was notified the truck belonged to a contractor working in the neighborhood. Hartley says the driver could not find the house he was scheduled to work at and pulled in a driveway to make a phone call. He says police talked with both the homeowner and the contractor to confirm it was indeed the truck and driver that caused the alert. Hartley noted the student did the right thing by returning home and the parent did the right thing by calling the police. Since the letter was sent out, he says both the school district and the police department have received many calls regarding the incident. Hartley says the community showed once again how caring and protective it is when it comes to the safety of children by sharing tips, talking with neighbors, and communicating with the appropriate people. (JM)

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    Legislation sponsored by a lawmaker and longtime veterinarian would establish new pet store standards, while protecting them from ordinances passed at the local level he says could put them out of business. Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel, a veterinarian of more than 40 years, says it’s a very important, personal issue to him, considering his background and instances where he has seen animals not being treated the way they should. Under the plan laid out in House Bills 5916 and 5917, breeders would be required to supply their U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports to pet stores, in their entirety. Any major violations within the past two years would make it impossible for a breeder to engage in sales to a pet store in Michigan. With household demand for pets growing every year, Vaupel says more and more consumers turn online or unwittingly to sources like flea markets or unregulated breeders. Some experts believe up to 80% of online advertisements for pets may be fraudulent. He says in addition, when forced to online retailers, consumers often have no recourse if the puppy is unhealthy or not as advertised. The legislation would prevent Michigan pet stores from acquiring dogs from unregulated breeders, sometimes known as “puppy mills”. It also establishes a minimum age at which puppies can be placed up for adoption, ensures all dogs have a certified health certificate from a licensed veterinarian, and requires dogs to be vaccinated and micro-chipped. Vaupel noted pet stores must comply with all local ordinances and regulations but a municipality can’t just arbitrarily ban them. The legislation also prevents local units of government from enacting or enforcing any ordinance, policy, resolution, or rule that would ban such shops from retail districts. Vaupel said the provision would protect, “responsible breeders and local store owners who pour their hearts and souls into building safe and humane facilities, employ dozens of people and are ingrained in the fabric of local communities across the state.” (JM/JK)

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    A presenter on campaign finance says citizens must do their due diligence in researching the financial supporters behind a political candidate. The League of Women Voters Brighton/Howell Area Unit hosted the “Following the Money in Michigan Politics” seminar at the Howell Carnegie Library Wednesday. The event featured Craig Mauger, Executive Director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN), who discussed the influential amount of money increasingly being poured into politics. MCFN is a nonpartisan group that aims to educate the public about the impact and role monetary contributions made to politicians play in a governmental system. Mauger says this year’s state election could be unprecedented in terms of the amount of campaign money being spent. Mauger says current indicators show interest groups are not only collecting a record amount of funds, but that the money is also becoming harder to track back to the source. The source can use that “dark money” to spread misleading advertisements without fear of repercussions. Mauger feels the growing financial influence and its diminishing paper trail is affecting not just the public, but more importantly, policy makers themselves. While donor-funded ads and sponsorships are an obvious and intended influence on voters, the simple knowledge of who is donating and why may have an even greater impact as it can direct the way an official votes on issues that are of interest to a donor. Mauger says money isn’t the only form of power, but that information can be too. He encourages voters to take an active role in researching candidates and their donors prior to the election to determine how those funding sources could affect a political figure’s decisions. More information about the MCFN and its mission can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    A former congressman who is running for his old seat is suing an opponent for what he calls a malicious defamation campaign about his military record. A lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of Kerry Bentivolio in Oakland County Circuit Court seeking $10 (m) million in damages from Rocky Raczkowski. Both want the Republican nomination for the 11th District seat. Bentivolio lives in Milford and is an Army veteran and former teacher at Fowlerville High School. The lawsuit alleges Raczkowski told others at political gatherings that Bentivolio's military record is made up. Raczkowski says the lawsuit is "frivolous" and he expects it to be dismissed. Bentivolio represented the GOP-leaning 11th District for one term after being elected in 2012. He lost in the primary to Republican Dave Trott in 2014 and launched a write-in campaign that year for the general election, which he lost by an almost 2-1 margin. He made an independent run for the seat in 2016 but received less than 5% of the vote. Trott is retiring after two terms. Several other candidates are seeking the seat. (JM/JK)

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    High water levels should begin to slowly recede this weekend along the Huron River and lakes throughout Hamburg Township. As of this morning, the river was at 7.44 feet and slowly falling. Flood stage is 6.5 feet. Flooding has been occurring with docks, porches and some roads submerged, as well as playground structures. In some areas, people have been out kayaking. While some enjoy the high water levels, it causes problems for others. Hamburg Township officials ask those out boating or jet-skiing on Ore Lake and the Chain of Lakes eliminate all wakes through the weekend due to the high water levels and potential property damage. The National Weather Service forecasts the Huron River should fall below flood stage Monday. However, a flood warning remains in effect until further notice. Light showers are possible this weekend but amounts will not be enough to cause the river to rise again. (JM)

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    Sentencing has been handed down to a Westland man charged with molesting several young boys at a birthday party in Brighton. Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Hatty sentenced 38-year-old Andrew Joseph Arnett Thursday to seven to 15 years in prison. Arnett is required to make restitution in an amount that has yet to be determined and must register as a sex offender, in addition to being electronically monitored for the rest of his life. Arnett was first charged with sexually molesting at least four boys under the age of 13 at a birthday party in Brighton in January 2017. During interviews with children that attended the birthday party, police learned that other children may have been victimized by Arnett in a separate incident in Hamburg Township last June. Those allegations led to a second case and additional charges against Arnett. He pleaded guilty last month to criminal sexual conduct charges connected to the Brighton incidents and prosecutors in exchange agreed to dismiss ten other counts and drop the second criminal case. (DK)

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    Charges have been authorized against three area teens accused of attempting to rob two people during an alleged drug deal. 17-year-olds Paul Durkin of Pinckney, and Cooper Hahn and Andrew Harper, both of Whitmore Lake, were arraigned in 14A 1 District Court in Ann Arbor earlier this week. Each defendant is facing two counts of armed robbery, while Hahn is also charged with possession of a short-barreled shotgun/rifle. The charges stem from the May 11th incident, which began when the trio met up with two females from Brighton; one a 16-year-old and the other a 19-year-old. Police were called around midnight to Main Street and Pine Drive in Northfield Township on a report of an attempted robbery. The victims told authorities they had been hanging out with one of the suspects after meeting on social media. Two individuals dressed in black reportedly rushed towards the victims’ car with a firearm. Both females were unharmed and drove off, while the three suspects were arrested a short while later. Police believe Durkin, Hahn and Harper may have been involved in a drug deal with the females when they attempted to rob them. Durkin and Harper are being held in the Washtenaw County Jail on a $25,000 bond, while Hahn is being held on a $75,000 bond. All three return to court May 22nd for a probable cause conference.

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