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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 House committee chaired by a local lawmaker has again delayed legislation designed to expand access to a different type of chemotherapy. Supporters were hoping for a first public hearing on Thursday but that didn’t happen and the House Insurance Committee quickly sent the oral chemotherapy fairness bill to a different committee. Oral chemotherapy is done with a pill instead of an IV. IV chemotherapy is covered with a co-pay, but the pills fall under the pharmaceutical category, so patients who aren't covered have to pay up to thousands of dollars per month. Michigan is one of only seven states without a law requiring insurance companies to cover the costs of different types of chemotherapy equally. The legislation has died in a House committee three times since 2009, leading to allegations some Republican lawmakers and their insurance company allies want to kill the bill. The House Insurance Committee is chaired by Republican State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton Township, whose top four campaign donors are insurance companies. A report by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network showed that the Michigan Insurance Coalition, which represents the state’s largest auto insurers, contributed $80,000 last fall to the Leading Michigan Forward Fund, an “administrative fund” run by Theis’s husband. Theis maintains the action is not tied to insurance company campaign contributors and tells WHMI the bills were referred to the Health Policy Committee because it’s working on pending legislation to address the transparency of pharmaceutical companies. She says it makes sense that the bills be sent to the same committee so they can be worked on together. Theis noted that while the majority of other states have passed legislation dealing with oral chemo parity, it is not identical across those states; and nearly all of them have followed up by passing additional laws to control the resulting increases in prescription drug costs. Left unregulated, she says the mandate increases costs to insurers and thus raises premiums. Theis says big pharmaceutical companies take advantage of these government mandates; and in an era of exponentially increasing insurance premiums, giving pharmaceutical companies the opportunity for a blank check is unwise and would harm those without insurance the most. Her full statement is attached. (JM)

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    Donations are being sought toward renovations at the Olds Cemetery in the South Lyon area. The cemetery is said to be falling apart and the South Lyon Area Historical Society is accepting donations for much needed work. It’s an old pioneer cemetery located south of Eight Mile, near Pontiac Trail dating back to the 1830’s. The society is having three veteran headstones repaired this year but is also in need of a volunteer surveyor, some stone for the driveway and a sign. Officials say a lot of work has been done to date but there’s still more to go. Donations toward the Olds Cemetery can be made to the South Lyon Area Historical Society. Photo: Steve Roberts. (JM)

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    The Oceola Township Board of Trustees has approved their next fiscal year budget. The Board approved an approximate $1.6-million 2018-19 fiscal year budget at their regular meeting Thursday night. Oceola Supervisor Bill Bamber was positive about the township’s finances. He said they are in “very good shape financially” and that will allow them to get some special project done over the next year. One was road improvements throughout the township. Bamber also speculated about the possibility of a pavilion being built for the public at town hall. Public hearings were held for proposed millage rates earlier in the night, but no comment was made. As it was, property tax millage was set at .6735 mills, along with a road levy of .9641 mills. Some office staff workers and elected officials were all granted a 2% increase in wages by Board vote. The Supervisor, Clerk, and Treasurer’s office were all approved to make approximately $61,500 next year. Trustees will earn $10,400, with an additional $95 coming per board meeting they attend. Bamber said this raise came by looking at the federal rate of inflation and matching it. The Supervisor said there weren’t any real challenges to putting this budget together, which will take effect on July 1st. (MK)

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    pplications are being accepted from Brighton city residents interested in serving on the Principal Shopping District board. All applicants must be representatives of a business located within the Principal Shopping District or a resident of the City of Brighton. A map of the boundaries is available on the City website. The Principal Shopping District Board is a nine-member board that oversees the promotion of the Downtown Brighton. The new board member would serve a three-year term. Those interested in sitting on the board should send a letter of interest and resume by close of business on Friday, July 6th to skopekb@brightoncity.org, subject line: PSD Application. Anyone with questions is asked to contact Brandon Skopek, Assistant to the City Manager/DDA Coordinator at skopekb@brightoncity.org or (810) 225-8019. (JM)

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    Police continue to investigate after a possible road rage incident over the weekend in Highland Township involving a pickup truck and a golf cart. Deputies with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Highland Township Substation responded to the 3000 block of Beaumont Drive just before 8pm Saturday on an assault complaint. Upon arrival, Deputies located the victim, a 22-year-old Dexter man, who stated that he was driving his golf cart with some friends on Lakeview Drive. He claimed that during the drive, a subject, who appeared intoxicated, began yelling at them. The victim says he approached the male in an attempt to speak with him, but the man slapped him in the face. He told deputies that he then hit the man back, at which point the suspect got into a white GMC pickup truck and intentionally drove it into the golf cart and began pushing it. The victim says he was able to drive away in the golf cart, but that the suspect began to chase them through the neighborhood in his pickup truck. The victim drove the golf cart back to his home and says the suspect stopped following him and left the area. Deputies attempted to make contact with the suspect at his residence on Lakeview Drive, and while they found his vehicle in the driveway, there was no answer at the door. The incident remains under investigation. (JK)

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    The CSX Railroad will be performing maintenance work on the Brighton Lake Road railroad crossing in Brighton this week. This work will be a complete reconstruction of the crossing, and as a result, Brighton Lake Road will be closed at the crossing in both directions. The closure is scheduled to begin this morning, June 11, and continue through Thursday, June 14, weather permitting. City DPW Director Marcel Goch tells WHMI it’s actually a blessing in disguise that the 2nd St. project is starting a week late, because the fact that the railroad crossing is being done the week before will result in fewer traffic disruptions. Last year CSX performed reconstruction work on the West Main St. crossing to make it smoother, and the Third St. crossing is this year’s project. Goch asks that motorists who normally use Brighton Lake Road in the city of Brighton follow the posted detour. TT

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    A new publication focuses on positive youth development and recognizes the value of community in helping young people thrive. The Livingston Council for Youth grew out of a grassroots effort and now represents various community groups that offer services for youth including schools, the faith-based community, non-profit governmental entities and the Livingston County United Way. It works collaboratively to develop community-level strategies that promote positive change and empower kids to thrive. The Council earlier administered a survey to all 7th, 9th and 11th grade students in all five public schools districts in Livingston County to gather baseline data to analyze. Council Co-Chair Sam Larioza says they’re essentially taking what’s already happening that’s great for youth in Livingston County, helping coordinate it and give it some data based focus. He says the Council has been working the last four years, which culminated in the magazine, and the bulk is topics for parenting and helping parents raise great kids. He says the goal is also to expand on current topics and use articles and issues that are really current to parents today, such as doing better in school, vaping, or technology. Larioza says it’s not that there is any crisis or a need to fix local youth but rather a desire to celebrate and acknowledge kids. He says things are good but there is still room to improve and do better because kids are the future of the county. Larioza says reviews and feedback have been beyond expectation for the magazine but it’s really just the first step. He says they must now follow through and really reach out to all parents, organizations and everyone in the community - not just adults with children. Larioza says they wanted to make sure circulation goes well beyond parents and students in the local public schools and want to be fully inclusive no matter where a student goes to school or how parents raise their children. He says they’re working to access home school and private schools parents but also providing copies at local doctor and dentist offices. The inaugural electronic edition of the Youth Connections Magazine is available through the link provided. Pictured are Youth Council Co-Chairs Scott VanEpps and Sam Larioza with YC Magazine. (JM)

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    A fundraising drive for a new playground for students at Whitmore Lake Elementary has almost hit the finish line. The playground is original to the school and long overdue for repairs. 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, earlier launched Project Playground: 50K for Play to help pay for the required fixes. Organizers say there is a lot of momentum going as another Recess Hero, the Whitmore Lake Public Schools PTO, came through with another investment today. That took their total for the project up to $3,700, in addition to all of their support in rallying other people to join the cause. There is now less than $800 left to go. The students at Whitmore Lake Elementary played a big part in helping design the new structure. Second graders worked with teachers and a playground 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. More information and a link to donate is provided. (JM)

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    A stretch of freeway in Livingston and Ingham counties will again see a lane closure this weekend. The Michigan Department of Transportation is in the midst of resurfacing 11 miles of freeway as part of a $14 million project that will again close the right lane of eastbound I-96 from M-52 near Webberville to M-59 in Howell Township. It will also shut down the Fowlerville entrance ramp to eastbound I-96. That work is set to begin at 9 pm this Friday, June 15th. This is expected to be the final of four planned weekend lane closures on that stretch of I-96, which began in the spring. MDOT has been conducting the paving operations on select weekends to try and avoid hitting holidays and major events. They advise drivers to seek alternate routes during the closure, which is scheduled to wrap up on Monday, June 18th at 5 am. (JK)

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    Livingston County’s new 911 Central Dispatch Facility is moving toward construction, following the acceptance of bids for the project that officials say will cost a little more than originally planned. The overall probable project cost was first estimated at $6.3 million, but has been revised to $6.5 million, which will be paid for in full from Central Dispatch reserves. The final numbers include architectural, municipal and utility fees, in addition to Information Technology and other miscellaneous costs, as construction alone will cost approximately $5.4 million. On Monday, the county’s General Government and Health & Human Services Committee reviewed and approved a resolution authorizing the revised project cost and the acceptance of bids recommended by Construction Manager JS Vig. The new facility will be built directly behind the current building and parking lot on Highlander Way, and the old building will be demolished once operations are moved. The original facility was constructed in the 1970s’ and first served as a district court, then was later converted into the 911 center. Due to an increase in volumes and staffing, Central Dispatch has since outgrown the building, which also does not meet current security standards or requirements. Planning for the new facility has been ongoing since the beginning of 2015. Project leaders have said the goal is to complete construction by spring of 2019. (DK)

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    A controversial decision to end an organized event in Fowlerville has resulted in the resignation of a trustee. Wheels in the Ville, set for August, had previously been approved for a beer tent at the event. But at their May 29th meeting, the board reversed their decision to allow the sale of alcohol in a village-owned park following remarks by several community members, including County Commissioner Doug Helzerman, who said the beer tent threatened to tarnish the image of the village and questioned the worthiness of the event. The event planned to raise funds for The Family Impact Center and The Parks and Recreation Scholarship Fund. The event was to also include children activities, a car and bike show and bands. With the decision to forbid the sale of alcohol, event officials decided to cancel the event altogether. One member of the Wheels in the Ville Committee was Trustee Theresa Mailloux. Mailloux told WHMI the bulk of the funds raised were going to come from the beer tent. Without the sale of alcohol, organizers decided that it would be too much work and effort put into the event with very little to show for it. Mailloux addressed her fellow trustees at Monday's meeting with her frustration over the event being cancelled. Mailloux also stated the lack of respect she felt she received from fellow board members for her involvement in the committee. She then immediately announced her resignation as a member of the Board of Trustees before adjournment. (DF/JK)

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    40-year-old Mark Andrew Boudreau of Flushing was arraigned in 53rd District Court Monday on 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 Boudreau, 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 due back in court for a pre-trial hearing June 25th. (DK)

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    The Brighton Board of Education has decided not to proceed with a November bond issue. The board has been debating whether or not to go to the voters with a bond proposal on the November general election ballot. At Monday night’s meeting, the board voted 4-2 not to proceed with President Andy Burchfield and Treasurer Bill Trombley opposed. Vice President Dave Chesney was absent. Talk of a bond issue surfaced after some board members felt it was necessary to take care of items that were left out of the $88.5 (m) million bond issue passed by voters six years ago. The reason those items were removed from the bond issue was the fear of sticker shock on the part of voters. The board was looking at a possible proposed bond for about $45 (m) million and had already went through different line items at a previous meeting. Big ticket items such as replacing old, maintenance-prone boilers at several schools, repaving several school parking lots, roof replacement and other infrastructure items are needed. Last night, the board needed to decide if it wanted to move forward and take the bond to Treasury, but members decided not to. Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI at this point, the board is not moving forward with putting any bond issue to voters but especially not in November. He says the board wanted to do some further exploration and there was some added scope a couple members wanted to look at in price so the topic won’t be back anytime soon. Gray noted it’s a process looking at increased or decreased scope so it’s basically back to the meeting board now. He says there was again some discussion about additional items and existing items, as well as whether or not members had enough information or time to explore whether they wanted to put it on the November ballot. Gray says it really came down to timing and they’ll continue to evaluate and re-evaluate facilities and continue to discuss potential options to the board, which can give direction on how they want to proceed. (JM)

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    A proposed resolution opposing the recreational use of marijuana has failed to pass a Livingston County subcommittee, following a tie vote. The county’s General Government and Health & Human Services Committee met Monday and discussed the proposed resolution, which asked the Board of Commissioners to show their opposition to the legalization of marijuana for general use, as well as encourage others to oppose the issue through similar resolutions. Committee members Bob Bezotte and William Green voted in support of the resolution, as Bezotte stated residents looked to their officials to take the lead on these types of matters. Dennis Dolan and Gary Childs voted against the resolution, saying the issue will ultimately be up to citizens in November’s election when they vote on a ballot proposal that would legalize the possession and sale of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use. As the committee’s vote was a tie, the resolution failed and will not move forward as it stands. Dave Domas, who represents the county’s 3rd district on the Board of Commissioners, approached the committee during the meeting’s second call to the public with some heated words. Domas told committee members, "Anybody that votes against this issue doesn’t belong on this board. Not now, not ever." The resolution previously came before the county’s Board of Commissioners and Domas says it was then that he saw many community members expressing opposition to the legalization of marijuana, including several youth. He says the kids in attendance were "victims of recreational marijuana and they didn’t want to share that bad experience with anyone else", so they asked county officials "to listen to them and act on their behalf.” Childs defended his decision to vote against the resolution, again staing he believes it’s up to Michigan’s residents to decide. He feels the county has more important things to deal with, specifically naming the opioid crisis. Childs also responded to Domas’ confronting the committee, saying some of his information related to the ballot proposal and potential law was "erroneous". Domas later told WHMI he “…expected this sort of performance from the board, based on the way they handled this resolution two weeks ago”, claiming the committee refused to let it be presented. Domas says he’s working on presentations he’d like to share with local units of government that would “present the side of recreational marijuana that people don’t understand”. He also says the community shouldn’t be surprised to see a similar resolution make its way to the Board of Commissioners, adding, “If it dies, a lot of stuff dies with it, and we’re not gonna let that happen.” (DK)

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    A free four-year university scholarship is being made available for local high school seniors, but just days remains to apply. Brighton Realtor and Livingston County Commissioner Carol Griffith was the winning bidder for a 4-year full tuition scholarship to Cleary University at the recently held Vehicle to a Better Future event at the school’s Genoa Township campus. Griffith has decided to award it an “exceptional graduating high school senior who is determined & inspiring” for use this fall. Griffith says she is “particularly excited and humbled” to be a “game-changer” in a student’s future, adding that Cleary has a “prominent reputation for advancing students and retaining academic talent to work right here in our community.” Griffith says it’s a valuable component of economic development and adds to the strength of the community. Some of the criteria for the scholarship includes meeting Cleary University admission requirements and a completed application for admissions. Students must also complete a free application for student aid to be eligible in accordance with Cleary University admission requirements. Submissions for the free 4-year scholarship must be made by this Friday, June 15th. Email letters of consideration to: Carolgriffithscholarship2018@cleary.edu no later than June 15th, 2018. (JK)

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    All three state lawmakers that represent Livingston County have called for the resignation of a local judge facing multiple investigations into her conduct. State Reps. Hank Vaupel of Handy Township and Lana Theis of Brighton Township on Monday jointly announced the need for 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan to resign. Vaupel said a resignation was “necessary to maintain confidence in the judicial system in Livingston County,” and that, “Ongoing issues have long put in doubt Judge Brennan’s ability to serve in this capacity and continue to uphold the public’s trust.” They have since been joined by six Livingston County Commissioners, who issued a letter today calling on the judge to resign. Brennan is under investigation by both the Michigan State Police and the Judicial Tenure Commission in the wake of an affair with former Michigan State Police detective Sean Furlong who was the chief witness in the 2013 double-murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, over which Brennan presided. Brennan and Furlong maintain the affair took place after the murder trial, but phone records revealed during the judge’s divorce proceedings indicated the two spoke on the phone nearly 40 times between the start of the trial and sentencing. The legislators say that as a result, Brennan misrepresented the details of the relationship when she was questioned about it under oath, violated professional standards becoming of a judge, and engaged in “egregious misconduct from the bench” while also “misappropriating public resources for personal gain.” Theis said “Brennan should have already stepped down of her own volition, but to have her on the bench over a long, lingering process waiting for federal lawsuits and calls for a grand jury investigation is harmful to the residents who have to deal with her courtroom.” The commissioners; Gary Childs, Bill Green, Don Parker, Bob Bezotte, Doug Helzerman and Dave Domas, said Brennan had embarrassed not only elected officials but also the entire community. The statements follow a similar call for Brennan’s resignation last week from State Senator Joe Hune of Iosco Township. In addition, retired Judge Daniel Burress recently filed a petition for a special prosecutor to be appointed and citizen’s grand jury to be impaneled to investigate Brennan. If the Judicial Tenure Commission’s investigation reveals wrongdoing by Brennan, a recommendation for sanctions will be made to the Michigan Supreme Court. The court then would decide on a penalty, which could include censure, suspension or removal from office. (JK)

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    UPDATE: The standoff has ended in the gunman's death due to a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Authorities in Fenton are in the midst of a barricaded gunman situation. The situation began to unfold this morning when a woman entered the Fenton police station to file a domestic complaint against her 35-year-old boyfriend. The Tri-County Times reports police went to the couple’s home in the 600 block of Hickory Street to try and make contact with the man but were unsuccessful. Further questioning of the woman revealed a felony had been committed and police returned to the home to try and arrest the man. As police approached the front porch of the house, they heard a single gunshot at which point they pulled back and contacted Michigan State Police for backup. Fenton Police Chief Jason Slater said it was believed the man was alone in the house. The couple have children in common but they were reportedly not home. A two-count felony warrant has since been authorized in Genesee County District Court for assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and domestic violence. All attempts to communicate with the man are said to have been unsuccessful and he had yet to surrender as of this afternoon. The Times reports MSP were able to breach the front door and windows with rubber rounds of ammunition, which were fired so that police could put in a robot, which helps determine where the suspect is inside. (JM)

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    Participants are being sought for a new National Diabetes Prevention Program coming to Livingston County. Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is implementing the year-long program, which is free and will meet at two different locations. To qualify, an individual must be overweight and at high risk for developing diabetes, or be overweight and have been diagnosed by a physician as someone with pre-diabetes. However, a combination of different risk factors such as family history, being overweight or obese, gestational diabetes and inactivity could also put someone at risk, and therefore make them eligible for the program. A trained lifestyle coach will facilitate the group in learning about various behavior changes over 16 one-hour sessions. It’s a classroom setting and the group will help motivate and encourage each other. Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator Leigh Vogelsong says the program can be a challenge but there has been a lot of success with it. She tells WHMI the program is centered on learning and practicing ways to make modest lifestyle changes to become healthy habits, which takes time. It helps participants adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight. Vogelsong says the ideal group size is about 15-20 people and group support is really important for the program, which will also examine what habits have led participants to where they are. Vogelsong says there is a large population that might be eligible for the free program. She says there are about 11,000 people with diabetes in Livingston County but more with pre-diabetes as about 1 in 3 have it but aren’t aware. Two preview sessions are scheduled this Wednesday that Vogelsong says will help determine eligibility and if someone is ready to make a lifestyle change. The first will run from 10am to 11am at First United Methodist on Bower Street in Howell. The second session is scheduled from 2 to 3pm at the Hamburg Senior Center on Merrill Road. So long as there are enough participants, the program will start the following week at the same time and in the same location. To register for NDPP or learn more about the program, please call Leigh Vogelsong at 517-545-5245 and leave a message or visit www.stjoeshealth.org/Livingston and select classes and events. That link is provided. (JM)

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    A barricaded gunman situation in Fenton today ended with the suspect taking his own life. The situation began to unfold this morning when a woman contacted Fenton Police to file a domestic complaint against her 35-year-old boyfriend. Police went to the couple’s home in the 600 block of Hickory Street to try and make contact with the man but were unsuccessful. Police Chief Jason Slater tells WHMI further questioning revealed the suspect had assaulted and strangled the 34-year-old woman so police returned to the home to try and arrest the man. The couple has two children but they were not home at the time. As police approached the front porch of the house, they heard a single gunshot at which point they pulled back and contacted Michigan State Police for assistance. All attempts to communicate with the man were unsuccessful and the standoff stretched into the afternoon. MSP were able to breach the front door and windows with rubber rounds of ammunition, which were fired so that police could put in a robot to help determine where the suspect was inside. He was later found dead in the basement from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His name has not been released, pending notification of next of kin. (JM)

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    The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has filed a formal complaint against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan. The complaint alleges various counts involving failure to disclose/disqualify and states Brennan’s actions constitute a pattern of improper conduct in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The complaint states Brennan did not disclose the full extent and nature of her relationship with MSP Detective Sergeant Sean Furlong during the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, which she presided over. Furlong was a significant witness for the prosecution as he took the statement of the defendant. The complaint states Brennan also failed to disclose her close, personal friendship with Brighton Attorney Shari Pollesch, who was the counsel of record in various cases before Brennan and never obtained a waiver of disqualification. Another instance noted is related to 53rd District Court Administrator & Chief Probation Officer Francine Zysk and alleges Brennan failed to disclose regular contact and a close social relationship with Zysk and presided over her divorce case. Other counts are related to Brennan failing to disqualify herself from her own divorce case in a timely manner, alleging she waited to sign the disqualification order until six days after she knew the complaint was filed. Other counts are tied to an appearance of impropriety, conduct during depositions, failure to be faithful to the law, improper demeanor, directing staff to conduct Brennan’s personal tasks on court time and misrepresentations. The Judicial Tenure Commission his requesting that the Michigan Supreme Court appoint a master in relation to the formal proceeding. The full complaint filing is attached. (JM)

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