Articles on this Page
- 06/29/18--02:15: _Lake Trust Looks To...
- 06/29/18--02:28: _Detroit Man Enters ...
- 06/29/18--03:10: _Summer Talks Planne...
- 06/29/18--05:38: _City Of Howell Exam...
- 06/29/18--07:48: _Fowlerville Distric...
- 06/29/18--08:27: _Trial Date Set For ...
- 06/29/18--09:25: _State Supreme Court...
- 06/29/18--10:07: _Local Hero Receives...
- 06/30/18--01:36: _Fenton ArtWalk Appr...
- 06/30/18--02:20: _Single North Villag...
- 06/30/18--05:54: _MDOT Easing Off Of ...
- 06/30/18--08:35: _Hamburg Township Fi...
- 07/01/18--00:06: _Red Cross Seeks Sum...
- 07/01/18--05:00: _Brighton 4th Of Jul...
- 07/01/18--07:44: _Crews Battle Fire I...
- 06/30/18--08:06: _Sinkhole On Rickett...
- 07/01/18--21:03: _Nearly 1.6 Million ...
- 07/02/18--00:53: _Teens Caught Damagi...
- 07/02/18--03:31: _Hartland Schools Ba...
- 07/02/18--05:46: _Deadline Extended I...
- 06/30/18--01:36: Fenton ArtWalk Approaching In JulyFenton ArtWalk Approaching In July
- 07/01/18--00:06: Red Cross Seeks Summer DonationsRed Cross Seeks Summer Donations
Plans are moving forward for a new Lake Trust Credit Union branch in the City of Howell.
The cityâs Planning Commission recently reviewed preliminary plans for an approximately 2,300-square-foot bank building on vacant property on West Highland Road. The property is one of the outlots of the Crossroads Town Center adjacent to M-59, and has remained vacant throughout the development of the shopping center.
In reviewing Lake Trustâs request for site plan and special land use approval, commissioners noted a few issues with parking. The site has more parking spaces than whatâs required, but the credit union says the additional spaces are needed as the building will function more like an office building instead of a bank branch. The location of parking was also considered an issue, though relatively minor.
Community Development Director Tim Schmitt says the credit union will need to get approval for a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for the lotâs location. Assuming they do, Schmitt thinks the project will move toward construction rather quickly. Because the site already has utilities, there won't be much underground work so Schmitt figures it'll be a quick build. He guesses the branch will open in next spring.
Schmitt does not believe Lake Trust has plans to close their branch in Howell Township, which is about a mile to the west of their proposed new location. He says to his knowledge, they havenât closed a location in some time and appear to be in âgrowth mode.â (DK/JK)
A plea has been entered by a Detroit man charged with attempting to carjack two vehicles in Milford.
21-year old Kamil Gillette of Detroit had been charged with two counts of carjacking and one count of receiving and concealing stolen goods for the March 14th incident in the parking lot of the Prospect Hill shopping plaza. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty as charged in exchange for one of the carjacking charges being dropped.
Police say Gillette stole a vehicle from the Royal Oak area, eventually making his way to Milford where the car became disabled. Attempting to carjack a new vehicle, Gillette approached a car with an elderly female, which bystanders saw and called 9-1-1. As he made an attempt at a second car, officers pulled onto the scene and say Gillette began walking towards the Kroger store in the plaza. Officers drew their guns after noticing he had an unknown object in his hand and asked him to show his hands. Police say Gillette repeatedly told the officers to shoot him and that he didnât want to live. Once officers saw the object in his hand was a pair of scissors, they used a Taser to get him into custody.
As part of the plea deal, Gillette also agreed to accept to serve a minimum of 51 months in prison when he is sentenced in Oakland County Circuit Court on August 7th. (JK)
The students may not be in the classroom during the summer months, but summertime generally means the time for contract talks between school districts and their unions and, in Brighton, this year is no exception.
The Brighton Board of Education will soon enter into negotiations with the three unions representing district employees: the Brighton Education Association, the Brighton Education and Support Personnel Association and Brighton Area Schools Administrators Association. Superintendent Greg Gray, who is also Brightonâs human resources director, will again be the chief negotiator for the district.
Gray says none of the employee contracts expire this year, but all three bargaining units have wage reopeners. He tells WHMI that he and the district have always had a good working relationship with the three bargaining units.
Other than the annual salary reopener, the BEA contract â which covers 310 teachers â expires in 2019, as does the BASAA contract, which covers about 25 principals, assistant principals and department heads. The contract with BESPA, which represents about 65 maintenance workers, para-professionals, student nutrition and secretarial employees, doesnât expire until 2020. (JK)
The Howell City Council is examining potential changes to ordinance dealing with code enforcement. However, it ultimately boils down to a broader policy issue on how hard the City wants to push down on owner-occupied properties.
Residents who live near a property on West Washington Street have been attending recent meetings to speak out about various issues with general upkeep of the property and junk and debris outside. They allege there are 18 cats living there, a garage always left open filled with stuff, tall weeds and grass and inoperable vehicles. A number of tickets have been issued in regard to grass mowing and weed violations, which tend to get resolved at the last minute. City staff and Council are limited in what steps they can take to address issues under current code and ordinance. Staff has been dealing with multiple code enforcement cases on the property since the current owners took title in 2014 and, but even more effort prior to that.
The City acknowledges itâs a challenging property and there has been a tremendous amount of staff time utilized on the property over the past several years. Council members commented they felt for the residents but also agreed there is a fine balance when navigating between property rights and public nuisance. Staff noted that the goal is compliance, not always tickets, and they try to be fair to all when it comes to code enforcement â although some might not necessarily be happy. Staff further noted there are equal levels of enforcement but some properties are more deserving of attention than others.
At the request of neighbors, staff brought forth options on code revision at Mondayâs meeting to potentially address issues. One option is to amend the Cityâs property maintenance standards to incorporate the International Property Maintenance Code, which would increase the potential for code enforcement and provide some consistency. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI itâs a code adopted by many communities throughout the state, and developed by those who develop the state building code. Council ultimately sent the code to the Planning Commission for review and input and to provide feedback before considering adoption. Charles says the International Property Maintenance Code is much broader than current standards. He says the City has rental inspection standards, which are primarily focused on life and safety, as well as additional property maintenance standards but theyâre not as broad as what is within the property maintenance code. Charles noted some of the issues brought forward by neighborhoods are things not in current code but would be addressed by the International Property Maintenance Code.
Meanwhile, an update was given on a different eyesore property in the court process. A home and garage structure at 816 McPherson was earlier deemed unsanitary and uninhabitable. Environmental remediation was deemed not necessary and court orders are in. The next step in the process is demolition and the structures should be down sometime in July or August. The cost of demolition would be attached to the property. (JM)
A local library has moved and administrators couldnât be happier with the results.
The Fowlerville District Library has completed the transition to its new home, on the old site of the Curtis Grocery Store on Grand Street. Back in May of 2017, the Board of Trustees purchased the building, and work with architects and construction companies began almost immediately. It opened officially earlier this month after 6 weeks of intensive help from local movers and volunteers. Acting Director Beth Lowe said she was excited for people to see the new place. The interior was completely redesigned with additional office space, a staff work room, and a family bathroom that wasnât previous available, being built.
All-in-all, over 40,000 books, DVDs, and other items that could be checked out were moved. Programming supplies and the libraryâs historical collection that couldnât fit at the old location are now integrated under the new roof. There is even space for future expansion. Lowe said on the first day they were open, they had a record 570 patrons come through the door. She said they expected to see high returns, but what surprised everyone was that they loaned out over 1,000 items. The acting director said the numbers have been comparable and steady ever since.
Marion Cornett the President of the libraryâs Board of Trustees was excited about the new facility. âIt is amazing to see all the items, for so long displayed in a 4,225 square foot building, now all available with elbow room in the 10,330 square foot finished area. We'll be finishing an additional 2,990 square feet in Phase Two.â (MK/JK)
A local teen charged in connection with a shooting threat at South Lyon High School will go to trial in September.
18-year-old Ryan DeBruyne of Green Oak Township is charged with making a false report or threat of terrorism after allegedly sending a friend a Snapchat message on February 16th, asking if he would like to re-enact the Florida school shooting two days before that left 17 people dead. Following a pretrial hearing earlier this month, a September 10th trial was set for DeBruyne, who remains free on bond but is required to wear a GPS tether. A psychological exam had also earlier been ordered.
Police say after DeBruyne sent the message, his friend replied ânoâ and reported the incident to authorities the next day. Police interviewed DeBruyne and his family, and no firearms were found in DeBruyneâs possession or under his control following a search of the familyâs home and vehicles.
After friends, fellow students and their parents voiced support for DeBruyne, saying heâs not a dangerous person, a judge reduced his initial $10 (m) million bond to $100,000 with a 10% cash surety. (JK)
A denial has been handed down by the Michigan Supreme Court to an appeal by Howell Public Schools in a lawsuit filed by a real estate broker and agent.
North American Brokers, a real estate agent and real estate broker, filed suit against Howell Public Schools in 2015, alleging that they had engaged a buyer to purchase the former Latson Road Elementary School property owned by the district but received no broker commission for the sale. St. John Providence, which purchased the land and constructed a medical center on the site, is also named as a defendant in the case.
Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty granted a motion by the school district to dismiss the case on grounds that the statute of frauds barred plaintiffsâ claims. That statute requires certain types of agreements to be in writing and signed by the party against whom it will be enforced. The brokersâ case essentially relied on the understanding of a verbal agreement between the parties. In February of last year, the Court of Appeals reversed Hattyâs decision, saying that while it was compelled to reach the result by binding precedent, it was of the opinion that it was the wrong result, and urged the Michigan Supreme Court to address the issue.
After hearing oral arguments April 12th, the stateâs highest court issued a ruling today rejecting the appeal, saying it was unpersuaded the questions presented should be reviewed. The opinion upheld the concept of promissory estoppel; the legal principle that a promise is enforceable by law, even if itâs made without formal consideration. The lawsuit will now be allowed to proceed to trial. (JK)
A special ceremony at the Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce honored a local hero who risked his life to save anotherâs. For the 114 years, the Carnegie Medal of Honor has been awarded to individuals who put themselves in extreme danger to save, or attempt to save, the lives of others. 54-year-old Michael Rodriguez of Howell said he was very humbled and honored to receive the award when it was presented to him earlier today.
Last July, Rodriguez witnessed 45-year-old Matthew Harris of Howell, who suffers from a medical condition, lose control of his vehicle and drive off the highway into a 9-foot-deep retention pond. Rodriguez, who is a self-proclaimed poor swimmer with a bad shoulder, jumped into the water and dog-paddled to Harrisâs car. Using a pocket knife, he cut Harris free from his seatbelt as the vehicle was sinking, and swam him to safety. Carnegie Hero Fund Commission President Eric Zahren was present to read the account of Rodriguezâs heroism. He called that the third pillar of what the foundation does, with the first two being to recognize civilian heroes, and then support them. He said that, for the commission, it is equally important to tell the stories of the heroes for a number of different reasons. Zahren said they give people a sense of hope in our society that there are still people out there who care enough about another individual to risk their own life. He continued, saying that they remind us that when we are at our best, we are capable of great things, and that there is hope for our society.
Also present at the ceremony were 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop, State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township, and members of the Livingston County Sheriffâs Office. Vaupel complimented Rodriguez, saying that itâs not every day you get to meet a real hero. Representative Bishop spent time with the humble recipient, sharing a story about a time a hero helped him in his life, and the effect it had on him. He spoke of the ripple effect Rodriguezâs action would have, not just for Harris and his life, but for Harrisâs family in not losing him to tragedy.
In addition to receiving this medal, Rodriguez was also honored at a gala event in Pittsburgh earlier this month with other award winners from around the United States and Canada. The Carnegie Hero Medal Commission reviews 850 to 1,000 cases each year, but only selects around 10% of those for award. Rodriguez has become the 9,999th to receive the medal since it was first given out in 1904. (MK)
The City of Fenton will showcase the skills of local artists around the downtown area as part of an annual event.
The Fenton ArtWalk is a community event celebrating the arts and showcasing local and regional talent with the visual art, music, entertainment, technology integrated art, and childrenâs activities. Artists will display their work along the streets of Downtown Fenton or inside participating businesses and at local organizations. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the downtown and restaurants while enjoying the event.
Those interested in showcasing art at the Fenton ArtWalk still have time to do so. Southern Lakes Parks & Recreation is currently accepting applications for artists at the 2018 Fenton ArtWalk, set Saturday, July 14th from 10am to 8pm. Those interested can visit the link to download an artist application. (JM)
A proposal to develop a 23 acre space in Northfield Township is now under consideration.
The Northfield Township Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Planning Group created a request for proposal to develop the mixed-use parcel called North Village. The area is located next to downtown Whitmore Lake. The deadline to submit was June 20th and the township received only one proposal from Lockwood Companies to develop the land. Officials say the proposal fills the needs of the township and complies with the townshipâs request to address public improvements and private land use, both physically and in terms of community benefit.
The proposal is now being reviewed and scored by Northfield Townshipâs Planning Consultant, Paul Lippens. It will also be reviewed by the board of trustees within the next few weeks.
The Michigan Department of Transportation is doing what they can to make 4th of July travelling easier for residents.
Beginning at 3pm on Tuesday the 3rd , 86 out 131 statewide MDOT projects will have lane restrictions removed for holiday. Construction projects will remain suspended through the 4th and resume again at 6am on Thursday, July 5th. None of the Livingston County work zones will be active during this time. Drivers are being cautioned to still be aware of equipment, shoulder closures, and temporary shifts that may remain in place.
State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle said that the 4th falling in the middle of the week this year has made it difficult to project traffic patterns. AAA is projecting that 1.6-million Michigan residents will travel 50 miles or more from home. This is a 5.5% increase from last year, when the 4th fell on a Tuesday. While they will do their best to keep traffic moving and work zones safe, Steudle said that they canât shut down all of their projects for an entire week and still meet deadlines for reopening vital roads. For up to date information on MDOT projects and to view statewide lane closures, visit the link below. (MK)
The Hamburg Township fire chief signed off Friday.
Chief Mark Hogrebe is retiring from the department after nearly seven years of dedicated service. A retirement open house with cake and coffee was held Friday at Fire Station 12 off Veterans Memorial Drive. Hogrebe thanked the residents of Hamburg Township for their unwavering support and kindness, saying theyâve backed the department 100%. He further thanked the men and women of the department for their devotion to the service of others, saying theyâre an incredible group of people who work hard every day to be the best during training and their shifts. He says the quality of the people really stand out, as theyâre hard workers who help each other to be successful but also watch out for one another to stay safe.
Hogrebe started with the Hamburg Fire Department on December 26, 2011 after retiring from the City of Allen Park Fire Department. His career in the fire service has spanned nearly 30 years. When it comes to retirement, Hogrebe plans to stay in the area and enjoy life, spend more time golfing with his wife and get ready for his daughterâs wedding. The search process for a new chief has not been finalized but Deputy Chief/Training Officer Nick Miller is serving as acting chief in the interim. (JM)
The American Red Cross of Livingston County is urging blood donors to fill missing types to prevent summer shortages.
The organization has been running a #missingtype movement attempting to show the importance of filling empty hospital shelves with missing blood types. The Red Cross says that thousands have donated, but more are needed to ensure the blood types donât disappear, especially around holidays like Independence Day, when donations often donât keep pace with patient needs.
In Livingston County there are a few donation times and dates between Monday, July 2nd and Saturday, July 7th where those who donate will get an exclusive Red Cross missing types t-shirt, while supplies last.
But officials stress that there are always additional opportunities to give blood. Information on how to schedule an appointment and more donation times can be found online at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
Times and dates of donation centers are located in the PDF attached. (EO/JK)
Both the community and organizers are gearing up for Brightonâs Independence Day Parade.
The Brighton Area Fire Authority and the Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club are working in conjunction on the 2018 Brighton Independence Day Parade and festivities on Wednesday, July4th. Brighton Fire Chief Mike OâBrian says Brighton has a very busy 4th of July and this year marks one of the fullest parades theyâve seen. The theme of the 2018 parade is âSuper Hero for A Dayâ and there are almost 90 entries this year.
The day starts out with the Hungry Duck Run half marathon or 5K at 7am, followed by the Duckling Dash down Main Street for younger kids at 9:30am. Floats, bands, cars and fire trucks are featured as part of this yearâs parade, which steps off at 10am sharp from Main and Church Streets and ends at Brighton High School. Theme trophies will be awarded for most patriotic, most musical and most creative.
OâBrian tells WHMI they want everyone to come out and be part of the celebration, as well as the 12th Annual Hungry Duck Run which helps raise awareness and funding to fight hunger in Livingston County. OâBrian says the parade is capped off with two great events including the Duck Race Raffle.
There are typically some road closures in the Grand River and Main Street areas associated with the parade. Main Street will be closed through downtown for the duration of the parade. Shuttles will be available between the BECC building and parking at the high school.
Also over at the Mill Pond at Main and West Streets next to the CoBach Center, OâBrian says theyâll Brightonâs largest water sprinkler set up, a ladder truck, so kids can play and cool off after the parade. For details and race registration, visit the provided link. (JM)
Crews worked to extinguish a blaze in an industrial complex in Lyon Township early Friday morning.
The Lyon Township Fire Department was dispatched at 4:41am to a reported working commercial fire on William K Smith Drive. The on duty crew responded as well as paid on call firefighters from their homes. While en route, the Oakland County Sheriffâs Office advised fire was through the roof. A box alarm was requested, which brought a ladder truck from the Milford and South Lyon Fire Departments, as well as engines from Green Oak Township and Novi. A working fire was discovered in the shop area of an industrial complex.
Lyon Township firefighters made an aggressive interior attack and found a shop office on fire and heavy fire in the ceiling. Officials say crews had to pull back a little when it was discovered that a roof air conditioning unit was on the verge of falling through the roof onto firefighters below. A second alarm was requested as precaution, but was later cancelled. The fire was stopped to the area of origin and no fire extended into the office area or other units. No injuries were reported and officials commended all of the crews that assisted on scene. FB photo. (JM)
A sinkhole in the City of Brighton prompted traffic hazards and emergency repairs Friday.
At approximately 3:30pm a small sinkhole, caused by a collapsed sanitary sewer line, was identified in the northbound lane of Rickett Road between Sisu Knoll and Oakridge. The sinkhole was relatively large and posed traffic hazards for those traveling in the area. The City says thatâs the same sanitary sewer line that experienced a failure further south on Rickett Road and is scheduled for repair. Rickett Road re-opened around 6pm.
Officials say what happened is a perfect illustration of why the Brighton City Council has placed a Headlee Override request on the August 7th ballot. Without adequate funding for streets, the City says it is nearly impossible to stay proactive on needed underground utility replacements. Officials add there is older underground infrastructure elsewhere in the City needing to be replaced. (JM)
Those who werenât able to get a jump start on the holiday and leave early will encounter busy roads this week.
AAA Michigan projects nearly 1.6 million Michiganders will be traveling this 4th of July and journeying 50 miles or more from home for the holiday. Thatâs the highest Michigan travel volume around Independence Day since AAA began tracking 18 years ago. AAA Michigan Spokeswoman Susan Hiltz tells WHMI there will be a lot of people on the roads so those traveling should make sure their vehicle is ready, avoid distractions, buckle up and stay sober.
Hiltz says the 4th of July is a special holiday in Michigan because itâs usually the warmest time of year, the days are longer and it offers a great opportunity to just celebrate and vacation. She says there are also different options for travelers. Based on the way the holiday falls this year, Hiltz says some people will have opted for a long weekend prior to the holiday, while others will go this weekend.
Hiltz says motorists could see a bump at the pump due to the holiday and more demand. However, she says most travelers are not deterred by higher gas prices and will instead cut their budget in other areas such as eating in or at less expensive restaurants, or perhaps take a shorter trip. (JM)
Some Milford teens were detained after allegedly causing damage to Central Park restrooms.
Milford Police were notified of multiple young teens causing damage in Central Park last Thursday, including the restrooms. The department says multiple teens were detained with charges pending that will include restitution. A resident utilizing the park observed the destructive activity and notified a Milford DPS worker who was in the area. Police were notified and fortunately were in close proximity. Officials say as it turns out, damages were caused in two of the restrooms over a period of at least two days by some of the same teens.
Police say this is a great example of somebody seeing something and deciding to say something. They ask that the community help keep Central Park safe and in good order and "If you see something say something". Officials noted the community has worked too hard for such a great space to let a handful of unsupervised, disrespectful teens cause destruction. (JM)
Hartland School officials are trying to remain positive when it comes to the districtâs tight budget, but are up against an uncontrollable factor thatâs affecting districts across the state.
The Board of Education recently discussed the districtâs 2018/2019 budget with an eye on major challenges and the best solutions available. Board members say currently the biggest road-blocker is the unpredictability in state revenue, which is an issue all districts are battling. Michiganâs education budget for the next school year calls for an increase in base K-12 funding for lower-funded districts, from $120 to $240 per student. Itâs the largest increase in 17 years. Superintendent Chuck Hughes says itâs a nice number from the governor this year, but wonders if itâll last.
Hughes says state revenue is a big player when it comes to budget planning, but its inconsistency makes it difficult. Hughes says the board has worked hard to cover their bases and even set aside funds in the event of an emergency, but noted the district has a long list when it comes to items that will soon need replacing. Hughes says it may come to a point where the district will have to bring a bond proposal before voters, depending on per-pupil revenue in the coming years and the ability to climb out of a structural deficit.
In the meantime, staff members say the district has taken on some positive proactive measures, like privatizing their services and advertising as a school of choice in order to grow their student body. Staff member Scott Bacon says, âWeâll survive just like we always do.â (DK)
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has extended the deadline for an embattled local judge to respond to a formal complaint against her.
The complaint filed last month against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan alleges various counts involving what the commission called, âa pattern of improper conductâ regarding her failure to disclose various personal relationships and disqualify herself in several key cases. The complaint was filed June 12th and required Brennan to offer a written response to the allegations within two weeks. However, the JTC has extended that deadline indefinitely. Lynn Helland, the JTCâs Executive Director, tells WHMI that while he was not at liberty to say why the deadline had been extended, there was, ânothing unusual in this.â
The heart of the complaint alleges that Brennan did not disclose the full extent and nature of her relationship with former Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Sean Furlong during the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, which she presided over and resulted in Kowalskiâs conviction and life sentence. Furlong was the chief prosecution witness as he took Kowalskiâs confession, which has since been disputed as coerced. While Brennan and Furlong admit an affair, they claim it began after the trial. However, testimony and documents from Brennanâs 2017 divorce seemingly dispute that and indicate it began long before the trial.
The JTC has requested that the Michigan Supreme Court appoint a master in relation to the formal proceeding. But the commissionâs own website says a date for a hearing is not set until after the judgeâs response to the allegations is filed.
Meanwhile, a request for a citizenâs grand jury investigation of Brennan is in limbo after it was assigned to an out-of-county judge following a ruling from Livingston County Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh that fellow Judge David Reader had improperly recused himself from hearing the matter after making several key decisions in the case, including appointing Howell attorney Tom Kizer as a Special Prosecutor. Kizer represented Brennanâs ex-husband in their divorce case and has been a long-time critic of Brennan. Cavanaugh ruled that Readerâs recusal in the matter should have come before any decisions were made, not after. (JK)