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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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    Two men were arrested over the weekend after an assault that stemmed from a musical dispute. South Lyon Police say one of their officers was on patrol just after 7:30 Saturday night when he pulled into the Wendy’s parking lot on S. Lafayette and noticed a man who appeared to be upset. The 30-year-old homeless man, whose elbows and forehead were scraped and bleeding, said he had been eating his meal when two men approached and attacked him. He told the officer that one of the men was angry over something he had posted on Facebook about the man's girlfriend. Witnesses pointed out a man in a red t-shirt as one of the assailants, who then began to walk away and refused to stop when ordered by the officer. The 24-year old South Lyon man was apprehended by a second officer in a nearby parking lot. The other suspect, a 22-year-old South Lyon man, was arrested a short time later. They told police that the dispute began when the victim argued with them several days before over musical tastes. They claimed that when they saw him at the restaurant they approached him and that the victim punched one of them first. One witness, an 85 year old woman was also eating at the restaurant, disputed that and said the two suspects began the fight. The 22-year old suspect was cited for fighting in public and held on five outstanding warrants, while the 24-year old suspect was cited for fighting in public and resisting/obstructing police. The victim initially indicated he didn't want to prosecute the two men, but changed his mind after seeking medical treatment. (JK)

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    Livingston County residents will join nearly 1.3 million Michiganders expected to travel during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. After enduring a long winter, AAA Michigan says it’s anticipating a nearly 5% increase in those traveling to mark the unofficial start of summer. That means busy roads and typical travel delays should be built into plans. AAA Spokeswoman Susan Hiltz tells WHMI the majority will be traveling by some form of vehicle and it looks as through the weather should cooperate. However, travel delays on major roads could be 2-3 times longer than normal, with the busiest days being Thursday and Friday as commuters mix with holiday travelers. Hiltz advises motorists pack their patience and keep their destination in mind, saying it usually helps to avoid rush hour and head out earlier or come home later. 90% of those choosing to drive this holiday will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. The statewide average daily gas price rose above the $3 mark last week, for the first time in nearly three years. Hiltz notes the higher gas prices will not be enough to keep travelers from embarking on a Memorial Day getaway. She reminds motorists to buckle up, ditch distractions, avoid cell phone use and make vehicles are prepped and ready for the road. (JM)

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    With near one-quarter-million teenagers expected to be in the job market this summer, a local recruiter has some advice that could make a difference in landing employment. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget has released its employment forecast for teens in the coming summer. Positive labor market conditions mean the teen labor market situation is likely to be competitive. Director of Michigan Works! Southeast, Bill Sleight, said many of the traits employers are seeking in their new-hires transfer across several fields. They want people who sport a good attitude, have a positive work ethic, show up every day and on time, and are serious about the work they are supposed to do. Sleight also advises teenagers to consider that while this summer job is often just a “first job” and not a “career job,” the experience can help lay the foundation for their future. According to the forecast report, the number of teens in the work force is down 18% from 2001. Sleight warns that those who don’t get some work experience when going through school may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage when looking for that career job later. He suggests looking at one’s one skills and interests and applying at places where those can be maximized. Students should start looking early for that summer job and not give up. They should visit local businesses, talk with school guidance counselors, and utilize social media. For more information and additional resources, check out Michigan Works! online, through the link below. (MK)

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    A Linden High School graduate and a female accomplice are facing additional charges after allegedly robbing three Texas hotels, a police chase and head-on crash. 21-year-old Zachary Kentish and 22-year-old Gabriela Richie were arrested May 15th after leading police on a chase that ended with the suspects crashing into a police car. Kentish attended Linden High School but currently resides in San Antonio, Texas. The mini crime spree involved three hotel robberies along Interstate 10. The pursuit went through neighborhoods and the suspects started driving in the wrong lanes. The San Antonio Express-News reports they hit one pursuing officer and then smashed head-on into another, effectively ending the chase. Police believe the duo was involved in other robberies reported the same morning at two other nearby hotels. This week, two additional counts of aggravated robbery were issued against both. An arrest affidavit states in one incident, Kentish displayed a black handgun and demanded money from an employee. He faces three counts of aggravated robbery, one count of robbery and theft of a firearm. Richie is charged with three counts of aggravated robbery and theft of a firearm. Both have maintained their innocence. Photo: Caleb Downs - San Antonio Express-News. (JM/JK)

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    Charges have been authorized against a local woman who is accused of bringing an underage girl to a tryst that ended with the minor being sexually assaulted and impregnated. 26-year-old Paige Nicole VanCamp of Brighton is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with accomplices. She was arraigned in Lenawee County District Court earlier this week and is being held in the Lenawee County Jail on a $10,000 bond. VanCamp in September of 2016 is said to have driven a 16-year-old girl to Adrian with plans to have sex with her, another woman and a man. The teen was allegedly plied with alcohol and pressured to have sex with the man, which resulted in her pregnancy. 32-year-old Shane Rodgers, a parolee from Adrian, was originally charged with first-degree CSC for assaulting and impregnating the teen. He pleaded guilty to a reduced count of third-degree CSC and was sentenced last month to five to 15 years in prison. VanCamp returns to court May 29th for a pre-examination hearing. Picture courtesy of Lenconnect.com. (JM)

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    Organizers of the Milford Memorial Day Parade are encouraging area veterans and active military members to take part in the event, while reminding the community of the reason for gathering. The parade kicks off Monday at 11:00am at the American Legion Post 216 on Commerce Street. Parade Chairman Joe Salvia recommends those attending arrive around 9:30am. Approximately 1,000 veterans and active military members participated in last year’s event and Salvia says any who are interested in walking or riding in provided jeeps should meet in the post’s parking lot by 10:00am, giving veterans time for fellowship prior to beginning. First-time veteran participants will ceremonially receive a special medal. This year’s event will feature various military aircraft, barring any weather or mechanical issues; bands and representatives from community agencies. The parade will proceed through Main Street down to Central Park, where a Memorial Day Ceremony will be held. The parade will be held rain or shine, as Salvia says, “What greater gift to give to our fallen soldiers than 10,000 umbrellas on a rainy day.” Salvia says it’s important to remember the reason for observing Memorial Day, which is to honor our fallen soldiers and their sacrifice. He encourages anyone who can’t attend Milford’s parade to visit a local cemetery and the graves marked with American flags. More information can be found at the link and attachment below. (DK) Photos courtesy of Joe Salvia.

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    Residents interested in learning more about the Michigan State Police will have an opportunity to do so later this spring. The Michigan State Police Brighton Post is preparing to host its 3rd annual Citizens’ Academy, which will start June 6th and end August 1st. The academy will meet on Wednesdays from 6 to 8pm. It gives citizens the opportunity to get to know personnel at the Brighton Post, become familiar with the mission and operation of the MSP, understand the procedures troopers follow and increase awareness of the role law enforcement plays in the community. The Academy will coincide with the Brighton Post Open House during the first week on Wednesday June 6th at 6pm. A graduation ceremony will be held on Wednesday, August 1st. Individuals who are interested in attending the Citizens’ Academy should contact Trooper Olivia Sivy of the Brighton Post to receive an application at 810-227-1051 or email at sivyo@michigan.gov. (JM)

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    The Howell Downtown Development Authority heard from the mayor and city manager on the public safety assessment that was turned down by City Council. Howell Mayor Nick Proctor sits monthly with the DDA and sounded disappointed in sharing the news that the proposed public safety assessment that would help fund the police department was turned down. City Council voted 4-3 against it, with Proctor the deciding vote in opposition. The assessment would have affected all property owners in the city to the equivalent of 3 mills, or roughly $202 annually. Proctor said it wouldn’t have made the city’s financial problems go away, but it would have mitigated them. With the district for the assessment remaining approved, he shared that in his mind “it’s still a viable option.” City Manager Shea Charles said the decision doesn’t directly affect the DDA, but they were sharing the information for the sake of the businesses in their district. Charles pointed out that Howell is not unique in their current struggle, and that they are going through the same financial stress that all Michigan communities are going through. Charles said that he believes the fiscal model for funding communities to be fundamentally broken. The decline of revenue sharing, Proposal A, and Headlee Amendments allowing millages to be rolled back have made it difficult for some communities to recover from the 2008 recession. Charles said the city lost 27.6% of its taxable value 10 years ago, and has only recovered 6% back since. City Council will look at their options, which include a Headlee Override and possible service reductions, during a budget work session June 18th. (MK)

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    A federal plea hearing has been held for a Howell man in connection with three bank robberies. 35-year-old Kenneth Kniivila had been charged in U.S. District Court in Detroit with two counts of bank robbery. But at a hearing Wednesday, he entered a guilty plea to one count in exchange for the other one being dropped. Authorities say Kniivila admitted that he robbed the Bank of America on Grand River in Genoa Township on January 11th, followed by two more bank robberies on January 16th in Toledo and Monroe. After surveillance photos went public, law enforcement was able to identify Kniivila as the primary suspect. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office took him into custody without incident and a vehicle search turned up various items including four grams of suspected cocaine, two black semi-automatic pellet guns, money and green canvas bags. The Sheriff’s Office and the FBI interviewed Kniivila, who waived his Miranda rights and admitted to the three robberies. He told authorities he “lost his marbles” on the 16th and drove around Toledo looking for a bank to rob. Court records indicate Kniivila faces a sentencing range of between 57 and 71 months in prison when he is sentenced September 21st. He must also pay restitution of $6,799, the total amount he made off with from the robberies. (JK)

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    Today marks Heat Awareness Day, and officials are using it to advise residents about the health risks associated with extreme heat. Southeastern Michigan hasn’t experienced an extreme heat event in several years. The region averages up to 12 days of 90°+ days through the year. The National Weather Service will issue a number of heat related alerts which include; Excessive Heat Watch, which will be issued two to three days in advance, if the heat index is expected to reach 105°. A Heat Advisory will be issued if the heat index is expected to hit 100° for three hours or more. Finally, they'll issue an Excessive Heat Warning when the heat index is expected to reach 105° for more than three hours. Livingston County and Southeastern Michigan haven't been under a Excessive Heat Warning since 2013, and the area hasn't been under a Heat Advisory since 2016. Meanwhile, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments has announced that today is the first Ozone Action Day of the season, when weather conditions (such as heat, humidity, and air stagnation) run the risk of causing health problems. Residents are asked to do various things to help reduce air pollution, including delaying mowing your lawn until evening or the next day, avoid refueling your vehicle during daylight hours, consider carpooling and reduce electricity use. (EO/JK)

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    In the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, new legislation from a local lawmaker will help keep children safe in the doctor’s office. State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton’s bill to protect child patients was approved by the Michigan House on Thursday. Under the legislation, procedures involving pelvic penetration of minors will be prohibited unless certain conditions are met. The medical treatment must be within the professional’s scope of practice. A second health care professional must be in the room during the procedure. Finally, written consent on a standardized form must be supplied by a parent or legal guardian. The bill does allow for exceptions such as a medical emergency or for services relating to reproductive or gynecological health. Theis, who is a member of the House Law and Justice Committee, said that most doctors have the best intentions of treating patients, but that we must also do what we can to make sure a Larry Nassar-type incident never happens again. The bill will now go to the Michigan Senate for consideration. (MK)

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    A national cable television commentator spoke on the Trump presidency to area Republicans at their yearly dinner. Pete Hegseth, co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend, was the keynote speaker at the Livingston County Republican’s 2018 Lincoln Day Dinner, Thursday night. The event took place at Crystal Gardens Banquet Hall, in Genoa Township. Hegseth spoke to approximately 250 people in attendance, many of who are community leaders, including 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop, State Representatives Hank Vaupel and Lana Theis, and State Senator Joe Hune. Originally a supporter of Marco Rubio and then Ted Cruz in 2016, Hegseth shared with the crowd his Donald “Trump conversion moment.” He said at one point he saw the “cultural fight for our country.” He continued, asking, “Do we have borders or not? Do we stand for the anthem or not? Do we support our cops or not? Do we fund our military or let it become dilapidated? Are we American citizens, or global citizens? Do we say the Pledge (of Allegiance) or not? These shouldn’t be left or right issues. These are American issues.” An Army Major who was deployed 3 times post 9-11, Hegseth discussed with the crowd 3 pillars of Trump’s presidency. The first is the president’s indictment of the “fake news media.” The second is his war on political correctness. Hegseth said the political correctness needs to die, and that people should stand up, be tall, and learn from the president. And the third was his reverence for patriotism. He rallied those in attendance to stay true to their civic duties and to encourage a sense of patriotism in their kids. Hegseth said he sees the Republican Party as the lynchpin of the free world, and if the 21st century doesn’t belong to America, then it won’t be a free century. (MK)

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    A charge has been filed against an off-duty police officer who accidentally discharged his firearm during a wrestling meet at Fowlerville High School. 40-year-old Mark Andrew Boudreau of Flushing is facing one count of careless discharge of a firearm causing property damage over $50 in connection with the May 5th incident. Fowlerville Police Chief John Tyler previously told WHMI an off-duty Flint officer was standing on the gym floor when the firearm discharged. The bullet went into the gym floor and though there were no injuries from the gunshot, one person was treated by EMS for a twisted ankle. The wrestling meet resumed after about 50 minutes. The weapon was the officer's off-duty sidearm, which he was legally licensed to carry. The wrestling meet was not a Fowlerville district event, but instead one organized by a third party. Boudreau is set to be arraigned in 53rd District Court June 7th. (JK)

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    A Putnam Township resident has been chosen to join the Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education. The Board interviewed two finalist candidates at their meeting Thursday, seeking someone to fill the seat left open due to former Trustee Rob Guilloz’s resignation. Board members asked questions regarding the applicant’s motivation for applying, qualifications and their thoughts on challenges and highlights in Pinckney schools and the state’s public education as a whole. After the interviews, board members, excluding Superintendent Rick Todd for protocol reasons, voted to appoint Bill Wearne to the position. Wearne’s interview was conducted over the phone due to his prior work engagements. Wearne has two children that are elementary school students in the district, explaining his motive behind applying and being engaged in school volunteerism. Todd says one of the things that stood out to board members was Wearne’s thoughts on making decisions that are in the best interest of the district’s students. On the back of each board member’s nameplate is the phrase “Is it good for kids?” Wearne was asked what that means to him and Todd says many board members liked his definition. Wearne responded to say it means making decisions keeping in mind what he would want for his own children, and then determine whether it’s best for all students. Wearne also voiced beliefs regarding the importance of engaging community members, seeking their opinions and collaborative partnership. The new board member believes the biggest issues facing the district are declining enrollment and the subsequent loss of per-pupil funding, while feels the district excels in marketing. In terms of statewide public education, Wearne thinks one governing body setting regulations for all public schools in Michigan, instead of based on what’s best for each district, is an issue. (DK)

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    A Webberville man who helped steal snow plows from a Hartland Township business has been sentenced. 28-year-old Albert Cook III was sentenced to five months in jail and 18 months of probation by Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty Thursday. Cook and his brother-in-law, Joshua Couden of Wixom, were both charged in the theft from Beauchamp Lawn Care and Landscape Supply in Hartland Township. The pair reportedly took eight snow plows from a parking area adjacent to Beauchamp’s in the early morning hours of November 20th. Beauchamp’s reached out to the community and received a number of tips regarding a truck pulling a trailer full of plows the morning of the theft. Social media and Craigslist ads displaying identical plows for sale were also discovered by Beauchamp’s employees. The information led to an address in Webberville where the snow plows were discovered, along with vehicles, construction equipment, trailers and other miscellaneous items totaling over $250,000. Cook previously pleaded guilty to receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle and felon in possession of firearms as a habitual offender, while Couden admitted to receiving and concealing stolen property and a stolen vehicle. Couden was sentenced in April to five months in jail and three years of probation. (DK)

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    A drive to help fund a new playground for local students is in the final stretch. The playground at Whitmore Lake Elementary has stood there as long as the school and is in need of repair. Along with aging equipment, poor drainage on the site often causes the playground to become unusable during wet weather. As a result, the school, with help from the community, has launched Project Playground: $50K for Play to help pay for the required fixes. With a week left in the project, Playground Committee Chair Heidi Roy-Borland said they are only a few thousand dollars away from their $50,000 goal. Roy-Borland said that if they hit their goal, there will be further opportunities for the community to help with the project. For those that would like to get involved with building the set, they are looking for an additional 20 to 25 volunteers on Saturday, July 21st. Eight to 10 more are also needed that day to help with registering people, preparing meals, and doing other various small tasks. The students at Whitmore Lake Elementary have taken a big part in helping design the new structure. Second graders worked with teachers and a playground ground designer to dream up their ideal playscape. They took accessibility for kids with different abilities and needs into consideration and then created a survey for kindergartners through 6th graders to fill out on what they thought. This Friday, June 1st, is the last day to donate. For more information, or to donate, visit Whitmore Lake Public School’s website, www.wlps.net. (MK)

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    A semi-truck hauling asphalt rolled over near Kensington Road at about 8am along eastbound I-96, closing the freeway for several hours. The load of asphalt spilled across the freeway, forcing officials to close the eastbound lanes from US-23 and backing up traffic for miles. Crews worked to clear the asphalt and were able to reopen the freeway around 11am. State Police said a preliminary investigation showed the truck may have been improperly loaded, or possibly experienced an equipment problem, resulting in the driver losing control and then overturn. There were no injuries. Picture courtesy of ClickOnDetroit.com (JK)

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    A program will put technology in the hands of students in Howell public Schools this fall. The district will launch a 1:1 program beginning with the 2018/2019 school year. The program will provide each student in sixth through twelfth grade with a Chromebook for use at both school and home. In grades third through fifth, additional devices will be added to each classroom to create a 1:1 environment, however, the students will not be allowed to take the devices home. The program will be funded through the district’s technology bond which was passed in November 2015. The district’s Board of Education heard an update on the plan during its most recent meeting and will vote on the purchase of devices during the June 11th meeting. Superintendent Erin MacGregor says they’re excited to provide resources to students and teachers which will increase engagement while expanding learning opportunities beyond the traditional school day. He says a device will never replace the authentic connection between a highly qualified teacher and a student. However, it can become an important resource and tool for both teachers and students. To ensure the safety of students, the district’s content monitor and filter will be installed on each device. The system will block inappropriate materials, monitor device use and alert the district to any questionable material both at home and at school. It will be the same system currently used on the devices in the district and on student email accounts. If approved by the Board of Education, the district will spend the summer preparing the devices for students. At the elementary level, the additional devices will be installed in each classroom before the start of the school year. At the middle and high school levels, devices would be issued near the end of September. (JM)

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    Construction is wrapping up on a paving project in the Village of Milford. A residential paving program has been underway. Ditching work and road milling was done prior to paving work on various streets. The work required intermittent lane closures. Village officials say paving work has been completed and they’re currently awaiting the contractor's schedule on the restoration, irrigation repairs, and final ditching operations. That work could begin as early as Tuesday. All projected dates and timelines are weather permitting. Meanwhile, motorists are reminded to drive with caution and avoid use of cell phones through the work zones. (JM)

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    Sentencing has been handed down to a local man charged with assaulting police officers that were trying to serve a search warrant at his home. 46-year-old Patrick Gizinski of Marion Township was sentenced to 18 months of probation by Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh in Livingston County Circuit Court Thursday. Gizinski will also be monitored electronically for 45 days. He previously pleaded no contest to three counts of assaulting a police officer. A count of assault with a dangerous weapon and receiving and concealing stolen property was dismissed in exchange for his plea; however he will be required to pay full restitution on the latter charge. Gizinski is said to have thrown furniture at Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies as they tried to enter his home last August. None of the deputies were injured in the incident. Police had arrived at the home to serve a search warrant in an investigation of a breaking and entering complaint involving the theft of several thousand dollars of materials and tools reportedly stolen from a home under construction. This is not the first run-in with the law for Gizinski, who was convicted of assault and battery, resisting police and disturbing the peace in 2015 after police say he attacked a coach for not playing his son during a Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy basketball game. (DK)

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