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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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    Motorists in the Green Oak Township area should brace themselves for a lengthy closure as part of a roundabout reconstruction project. The overall goal of the project, in addition to restoring pavement integrity, is to correct a crash pattern in which people are turning the wrong way from the wrong lane. The middle lane at the Whitmore Lake Road roundabout will be eliminated so there will just be two circulating lanes in the roundabouts. When the project is finally done, everything that was built as part of the original roundabout project will be completely resurfaced. Due to the amount of traffic in the area, the project has to be done in careful stages. Signs have been put up on the freeway and surface streets to prepare motorists. Livingston County Road Commission Managing Director Mike Craine says some relatively low impact work has been taking place on the north leg of Whitmore Lake Road but crews will show up big time on Monday. Starting July 9th, there will a complete closure of the Whitmore Lake circle for 15 days. At that time, he says the only movement working at the Whitmore Lake roundabout will be coming southbound on US-23, get off and then go up Old US-23. He says that movement takes place outside the roundabout and will continue to be available for use during the day. Other than that, the entire circle will be closed for 15 days. Craine says crews will start by taking out the old concrete central island and then pull out some of the other islands. He says they’ve authorized 24-7 work by the contractor to get done if necessary, as that stage must be completed in 15 days. Then around July 23rd, Craine says they’ll enter a final stage where a lot of pavement work will be done. Craine notes there is a lot of concrete to place, which must be left alone to cure at some points in order to move into the next construction stage. Most of the work after phase two will be in the evenings only but there will still be plenty of detours to access businesses. Craine says Costco can be accessed via Rickett to Maltby Road, but there is also a separate back way in off Maltby Road. Another entrance on Whitmore Lake Road will also be open, but motorists will have to enter from the south. Green Oak Village Place will always remain accessible via US-23. Information detailing the Lee Road reconstruction project and detours are available on the Road Commission’s website to help people get around. That link is provided. (JM)

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    A local hospital has received an award for patient stroke care. Three Saint Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals have received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The Gold Plus recognition is the highest award offered by the associations for stroke care. The award acknowledges a hospital's commitment to ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. St. Joe's Ann Arbor, Livingston and Oakland earned the Gold Plus award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. Measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other transition of care interventions. According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. (JM)

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    A local woman is unrelenting on her fight to bring Alzheimer’s to an end. Lauren Kovach has been co-chair of the Brighton Walk to End Alzheimer’s since its inception, 8 years ago. This year’s walk will take place on September 29th. After losing her grandmother to a 15 year struggle with the disease last year, the lifelong Brighton resident has stepped up efforts to bring awareness of, and to end the disease, even more so. Kovach recently returned from the National Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum in Washington D.C. She said it was one of the best experiences of her life as she and 1,200 advocates talked to senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill. She said she believes they made a lot of progress pushing for a couple Acts and fighting for increased research dollars. Now back on the homefront, Kovach says she and a friend have announced the first ever Gatsby Gala fundraiser to help support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Attendees are invited to dress up in their favorite 1920s, Great Gatsby-era inspired gear. The guest of honor will be former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple. There will be dancing, hors d’oeuvres, giveaways, and a silent auction. The Gatsby Gala will begin at 7pm on Friday, August 10th at the Oak Point Country Club in Brighton. Tickets are now available for $75 at https://www.brightongatsbygala.com/events/the-gatsby-gala. More information the Brighton Walk to end Alzheimer’s can be found at http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2018/MI-MichiganGreatLakes?pg=entry&fr_id=11296. (MK)

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    Outdoor enthusiasts will soon be able to preview and virtually travel down hundreds of miles of nearby trails. Take a walk down a nature path or ride a boat down a river over the next couple of weeks and there’s a chance you may see camera operators capturing much of the region’s beauty around you. From July 8th through the 18th, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, or SEMCOG, is partnering with Terrain360 to capture high definition imagery of nearly 700 miles of hiking, biking, and water trails in the area, according to mLive.com. When the project is completed, users will be able to go onto SEMCOG’s Southeast Michigan ParkFinder website or mobile app and find an experience akin to Google Street View. Twenty miles of the Lakelands State Park Trail are scheduled to be a featured highlight from Livingston County. ParkFinder users will also be able to paddle down 140 miles of the Huron River Water Trail through parts of Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties. SEMCOG Director Kathleen Lomako is excited for this new feature to roll out, stating that she believes it will highlight the beauty and many recreational opportunities in the region, while giving enthusiasts the chance to prepare for new outdoor adventures. Visit https://maps.semcog.org/ParkFinder/ search for any number of the 2,600 parks in SEMCOG’s 7 county district, filtered by location, size, amenities, and activities offered. (MK)

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    The man charged in the brutal stabbing death of a former Pinckney woman has been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. 18-year-old Tywaun Sims-Scott is charged with a single count of homicide-open murder in the stabbing death last month of 19-year-old Jamie Barsegian. At a hearing last week in Washtenaw County District Court, Sims-Scott was referred to the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry to undergo a mental evaluation that will determine whether he is competent to stand trial. A follow-up hearing is set for August 30th. Ypsilanti Police found Sims-Scott in the street on June 15th, armed with knives and blood on his clothes. Police were responding to reports of a man making threats in the area of Leforge Road and North Huron River Drive. Investigation led police to Barsegian’s residence on Green Road, where she was found stabbed to death. Her fiancé previously said they had taken Sims-Scott, who was a neighbor, into their home after he was kicked out of his apartment. Barsegian’s obituary said she spent “many years living in Pinckney.” (JK)

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    A local judge is calling into question the efforts of Michigan State Police following the announcement Tuesday that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will review their investigation into 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan. Retired Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Burress issued a statement Wednesday taking issue with the Michigan State Police’s handling of the Judge Brennan investigation. Burress says, “The truth is that they have been involved for about 18 months. They executed a search warrant on the courtroom and residence of Judge Brennan over a year ago and have kept the contents and results of that search secret.” He added that a law enforcement agency normally requests an outside agency to investigate one of their own, but that wasn’t done in this case. He says because of that, “we have to question why it is taking so long” and that, “It is time they pulled up the anchor and issued their report.” Burress became involved in the Brennan case last month when he requested a citizen’s grand jury investigate allegations of impropriety on her part. Brennan is the subject of a complaint filed by the Judicial Tenure Commission involving her relationship with former Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong. He served as the chief prosecution witness during the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, which Brennan presided over and resulted in Kowalski’s conviction and life sentence. While Brennan and Furlong admit an affair, they claim it began after the trial. However, testimony and documents from Brennan’s 2017 divorce seemingly dispute that and indicate it began long before the trial. In Schuette’s announcement on Tuesday, he said his office’s Criminal Division will review the evidence to determine if there were criminal wrongdoings by the judge and any potential charges. Judge Burress says that while, “We don’t know if Mr. Kowalski is guilty or innocent…it seems clear that he was not tried before an impartial tribunal as required by law. It is time to do the right thing.” (JK)

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    Some Marion Township residents have expressed an interest in bringing a children’s playground and/or splash pad to the area; however township officials have indicated it’s an unlikely venture. Township Supervisor Bob Hanvey received three emails June 15th from residents who say they’d love to see the addition of a children’s playground, park and/or splash pad in the township. All three emails referenced playscapes in Genoa and Oceola Township that their children have enjoyed, but several members of Marion’s Board of Trustees say the financial difference between the communities must be accounted for. Several board members say Marion’s budget doesn’t compare to the other two municipalities and that there are park resources already in place anyway. Hanvey reminds the community that Marion Township is part of the Howell Parks and Recreation Authority and the Huron-Clinton Metropark system. Hanvey says they already pay for the latter by way of a millage that's been on the tax roll "for many, many years and will be there for a long time yet". Furthermore, Hanvey does not believe the township’s water would even be appropriate for a splash pad, joking that it’d come out of the jets red in color, based on their rural location. The issue was discussed at a board meeting Thursday and has been passed along to the township’s Planning Commission to make them aware of the request, despite the lack of feasibility when it comes to being fulfilled. (DK)

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    Livingston County’s master plan is complete & public input is being sought. Livingston County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state and the county’s planning commission has released the current draft of the master plan for Livingston County. The master plan started 13 years ago and will be used as a guide so communities in the county can coordinate in a timely manner for population growth within their communities. Currently the plan is under a 63 day review period where the public can comment and ask questions, which the Planning Department will take and respond or make adjustments accordingly. The date of a future public hearing has yet to be determined. The review period ends September 6th until then the Planning Department will not adopt the current plan. The review period ends September 6th until then the Planning Department will not adopt the current plan. (EO)

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    The deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming August elections is nearly here. Residents interested in taking part in the August 7th primaries have until this Monday, July 9th to register. It can be at any Secretary of State office or at the resident’s county or local clerk’s office. Applicants must be at least 18 years old by August 7th and a United States citizen, living in the city or township they wish to vote in. The primary is important for narrowing down candidates for several local and state elections coming in November. Livingston County voters will have a chance to have their say in who gets party nominations in the races of governor, U.S. Senator, 8th District Congress, State Senator 22nd District, and State Representatives in the 42nd and 47th Districts. All 9 County Commissioner spots are on the ballot, along with a non-partisan section for 44th Circuit Court Judge and various city, township, and school proposals. Those interested in voting with an absentee ballot have until August 4th to apply. Registered voters may obtain an absentee ballot if they are 60 or older, physically unable to attend the polls without assistance from another, expecting to be out of town on August 7th, in jail awaiting arraignment or trial, unable attend due to religious reasons, or if they are working as an election inspector in a precinct outside of their precinct of residence.Absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk’s office by 8pm on Election Day. The Secretary of State’s office recommends mailing the ballot 5 business days prior if choosing that route. Voters who are already registered but need to change or update their registration address can do so online for free at www.ExpressSOS.com. View a sample ballot for any municipality in the state through the link below. (MK)

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    A Democratic Livingston County commissioner candidate made several allegations against a Republican candidate concerning a Facebook post implying he condones white supremacy. But at least two of the accusations are being disputed as false. Democratic District 6 candidate Kasey Helton issued a Facebook post calling out District 3 Republican candidate Wes Nakagiri for posting a meme quoting what she called a “white supremacist and promoter of Nazi-centric philosophy” Hans Hermann Hoppe on the Livingston County For Trump Facebook page. Helton claimed Nakagiri was the sole administrator of that page. The quote reads “Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else”. Helton further alleged Nakagiri is the campaign manager for Brighton Township Clerk Ann Bollin, who is running as a Republican for state representative in the 42nd District. But both Bollin and Nakagiri say Helton is wrong that he manages her campaign. Bollin said the post was “inaccurate and a cheap shot,” adding that attempts to make leaps to create controversy are not helpful to the election process. Bollin said she will, "remain positive and focus on my own candidacy and the opportunity to work for the citizens of the 42nd District." Meanwhile, Nakagiri provided WHMI with proof that he is not the only administrator of the page and did not post the Hoppe quote, saying Helton should have checked her facts before publishing her post. He, however, declined to say who did post the quote. Nakagiri noted Helton is a former journalist and says had she published the assertions at her old newspaper, she “clearly would have been guilty of journalistic malpractice.” Nakagiri says had Helton taken the time to contact him, he would have set the record straight. Helton maintains Nakagiri is an administrator of a Facebook page that has reposted propaganda from a known white supremacist and if he disagrees with those points of view, he should have removed the post as soon as a user pointed it out last week. Helton says she raised issues because Nakagiri has a leadership role in a group that is comfortable promoting and spreading harmful messages. Helton said if she incorrectly involved Bollin's campaign with her remarks, it was based on misinformation she received prior to this occurrence and for that she apologizes and will amend her post. Nakagiri told WHMI Helton has not substantiated her claim that Hoppe is a white supremacist. He says until Helton makes her case, her unsubstantiated claims do not merit further comment. Statements from Helton and Nakagiri are attached. (JM/JK)

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    A popular event celebrating outdoor Recreation that offers a cultural experience is returning to Kensington Metropark next week. Paddle to the Symphony is returning to Kensington Metropark for its 20th year on Saturday, July 14that Maple Beach. The event which will feature performances from The Michigan Philharmonic group, and also canoeing. Paddle to the Symphony has grown to be a celebration for Southeast Michigan outdoor enthusiasts. The event is now run as a SOLAR outdoors activity. SOLAR is a Southeast Michigan based social club dedicated to the enjoyment of nature and outdoor activites. The concert is free but those who want to join the paddle event, are asked to pre-register. The cost is $30 for those who don’t have a kayak, and those who bring their own will pay $15, $10 for members. The deadline to sign up is Friday July 13th.(EO)

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    Ahead of schedule, an area roadway has reopened to traffic after being closed for months for construction. The Road Commission for Oakland County has completed paving Napier Road from 9 Mile Road to 10 Mile Road on the Novi/Lyon Township border and says it is now open to traffic, a week ahead of the scheduled mid-July opening. The section, which was formerly a gravel road, had been closed since early April for the second phase of the Napier Road project, which included the gravel-road paving and drainage improvements. Officials say this marks completion of the entire Napier Road project, which began with the construction of a roundabout at Napier Road and 10 Mile Road in 2017. The combined $6.3 million project was funded with a mix of federal and local dollars. Local funding was shared by the road commission, Lyon Township and the City of Novi. In addition to paving the gravel road and constructing the 10 Mile Road/Napier Road roundabout, previous improvements in earlier phases of the project included reconstruction of 10 Mile Road from Copperwood Drive to Nepavine Drive and a significant reduction of a hill on 10 Mile west of Napier to improve sight distance and enhance safety. This section of Napier Road carries approximately 2,350 vehicles daily. (JK)

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    The Brighton City Council Thursday night approved over $200,000 for repairs to a ruptured sewer line and a sinkhole on Rickett Road which occurred in an industrial area on June 29th, south of the railroad tracks. The funds used to pay for the work will come from the city’s utility reserve fund. After the incident last week the northbound lane was blocked off at that point and northbound traffic re-routed through Summit St. and Sisu Knoll. However, on Thursday Rickett was reopened to through traffic, according to Brighton DPW Director Marcel Goch. After considerable discussion, council approved the lowest responsive bid, by Joe Raica Excavating of Fowlerville, which city officials say has a good reputation for its work. A friendly amendment approved by council tacked on some extra dollars to repair the road where the sinkhole occurred, about 200 feet away, for a bid award of $195,000. Council also approved $12,300 for Tetra Tech, the city’s engineering firm, to do design and engineering work on the project. City Manager Nate Geinzer says the sewer main where the breach occurred is one of several old sewer lines in the city which date back to 1938. Due to the age of some of the city’s sewer and water lines, another rupture could occur in the near future anywhere in the system. However, city officials say when, and the location, would be hard to predict. The Rickett Road repair work is expected to start on Monday, July 9th, and be completed by the end of the week, with favorable weather. (TT)

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    Five years after making headlines by moving to Livingston County, a celebrity couple says they are moving to The Big Apple. Melissa Gilbert and Timothy Busfield, who moved to Howell in 2013 and then to the Brighton area two years later, say while they have enjoyed their time in Livingston County, career opportunities are calling them elsewhere. Gilbert is perhaps best known for her role as a child actress on the 1970s television program “Little House on the Prairie,” while Busfield was a star on ABC’s “thirtysomething” in the 1980s and NBC’s “The West Wing” in the 2000s. In her two years as a Howell city resident, Gilbert made several forays into community involvement, helping to judge the Runway Repurposed fundraiser for the Howell Opera House and working with kids involved with the Community Theatre of Howell. But her failed run for Congress in 2016, in which she withdrew from the race for medical reasons, marked the end of her public persona locally as she began to take on more projects outside of Michigan. But she tells WHMI that she will leave with a lifetime of memories. "This has been the most incredible five years, just being here. I was trying to describe what Michigan has meant to me and what being here has meant to me and the best way to describe it is to say it's been my blanket. I've been safe and comfortable and happy and at peace and content and this has been the perfect place to have that." Busfield, who lived in East Lansing when his father was a professor at Michigan State University, followed in those footsteps in his time here, taking on the role of actor in residence at MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences. They are both looking forward to the release of a film shot in Chelsea, “Guest Artist” which they produced along with Jeff Daniels. Busfield says it was a real family effort. "Jeff said he wanted to make a movie of one of our plays and use our kids and see if we can't do it and...on Monday I go down and Ben Daniels puts the last of the music on the movie." He says it has been submitted to the Toronto Film Festival and after that perhaps they'll enter it in the Sundance Film Festival. The couple says they will also be having an estate sale of most of their items from their Brighton-area home later this month, including memorabilia from both of their careers. That is planned for July 27th and 28th and will be handled by Poof Estate Services. You can get details and hear the entire interview through the podcast link below. (JK)

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    A Livingston County woman has been appointed to a state panel overseeing the implementation of Michigan’s medical marijuana laws. On Thursday, Lorri White of Pinckney was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Marihuana Advisory Panel. White is the owner and operator of Lakeland Laboratories, located on Pettysville Road, providing full service chemical analysis for environmental, industrial and hazardous waste industries and medical marijuana analyses. She holds an associate degree from Ferris State College and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Eastern Michigan University. She will represent safety compliance facilities. Housed within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and established by the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), the 17-member panel was created to make recommendations to the LARA and to the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board concerning the administration, implementation and enforcement of the MMFLA and the Marihuana Tracking Act. White’s term will expire in December of 2019. (JK)

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    Summer fun will continue in Downtown Howell with a popular music and foodie series. Rock the Block kicked off the season with a new format, food and fun. The popular series will return next Wednesday, July 11th from 6 to 9pm. Last month’s event brought over 1200 people to dance the night away in downtown Howell. Howell Main Street Inc. Chief Operating Officer Cathleen Edgerly says the new format is being embraced this summer. Instead of four smaller acoustic bands and venues, she says they changed up the layout and have two streets closed off with larger bands but still kept everything family friendly. Edgerly says combining the music, food and brews all within two larger venues not only allowed them to attract larger bands but gave the entire event more of a festival atmosphere for attendees. The two bands performing during Rock the Block include The Weekend Comeback will perform from 6 to 8pm in the 100 block of North State Street by Dairy Queen and plays Motown, pop and rock favorites. The Vinyl Underground plays classic rock and Motown and will perform from 7 to 9pm in the 100 block of South Center Street by Cobb-Hall Insurance. Outside of the live music, various food options and brews, there are said to be some surprises for kids at the State Street location during the second music series of the summer season. Event information is available online through the provided link. (JM)

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    The new Huron Clinton Metroparks director is getting settled in. Amy McMillan’s first day in the new position was April 30th. She served as the parks director for Genesee County for almost 19 years before coming to Huron Clinton Metroparks. McMillan says she was actually an intern at Metro Beach back in 1988, and it feels like coming home after all those years. She’ll oversee the 13 parks that cover five counties including Livingston. McMillan says they have a talented team, parks beyond compare, a great Board of Directors and she couldn’t feel more fortunate. She stressed there is also a great group of volunteers and a large community that’s very supportive of the Metroparks. McMillan tells WHMI there are a number of goals they’re looking to achieve, in addition to the everyday responsibility to be extraordinary stewards of the properties they manage. She says they’re working to put systems in place to get a better sense of who visits the Metroparks, who doesn’t, how to fill those gaps and better connect people to the environment and services. McMillan says they’re focused on ways to collaborate more effectively with local units where parks are located toward broader regional goals but also focused on connectivity between Metroparks and other park systems in the five county area. She says they have also been working for a long time to improve access to parks for those with special needs and disabilities. It’s estimated on average that attendance is somewhere around 7 million people and McMillan says they’re always interested in learning from visitors and people who live in the region. A five year plan addresses big goals for the Metroparks system, but 10 out of 13 parks have their own 10-year master plan addressing programming and facility development. Locally, Kensington’s plan is complete. The draft plan for Huron Meadows is online and will be before the board in July for approval. (JM)

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    The search process is progressing when it comes to hiring a new South Lyon city manager. Police Chief Lloyd Collins has been serving as interim city manager since January, when former manager Lynne Ladner took an unspecified medical leave. No medical reason was ever made public and she was expected to return in February but her leave was extended again. A separation agreement was eventually negotiated between the city attorney and Ladner's legal representatives, which took effect March 29th. City Council hired the search firm GovHR USA to assist in finding a full time city manager. More than 30 candidates had applied as of the July 5th deadline. The position has an advertised annual salary of $95,000 to $105,000, depending on experience and qualifications. The search firm will begin narrowing down the list of candidates July 23rd and conduct interviews, with finalists to be presented to City Council in a closed meeting. (JM)

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    A search is underway for a Highland Township man who went missing from the Electric Forest music festival. 28-year-old Kevin Graves was last seen Sunday evening. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office is investigating, along with the Michigan State Police Hart Post. Family members have been canvassing the Rothbury and Muskegon Heights areas and putting up missing person posters, in addition to sharing information on social media. Authorities say Graves was at the festival with his girlfriend but they got into an argument and he indicated he was going back to the tent to rest but was not there later. Graves is described as a white male with blond hair and blue eyes, standing about 6 feet tall and weighing 185 pounds. Anyone with information about Graves' whereabouts is asked to contact the Oakland County Sheriff's Office at 248-858-4950, Michigan State Police Hart Post 231-873-2171 or Mason-Oceana Central Dispatch 231-869-5858. A link to the missing person post is provided. Facebook photo. (JM)

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    A bill sponsored by a local senator has been signed into law that codifies a program in state law and aims to strengthen Michigan’s workforce. Senate Bill 946, now Public Act 260 of 2018, is sponsored by Republican Senator Ken Horn. He represents the 32nd District, which includes Argentine Township, Fenton Township and the City of Linden. Michigan has had a skilled trades training program in place since 2014, and while the program has been very effective at creating jobs, Horn says it had no statutory authority and relied on annual approval in the state budget. SB 946 places the program in state statute while formally changing the name of the program to the Going Pro Talent Program. The purpose of the program is to ultimately close the “talent gap” and strengthen Michigan’s workforce. Competitive awards, similar to grants, are provided to qualified, in-state employers that are used for workforce training such as talent enhancement and skill development, increasing worker productivity, management training and worker retention. The Skilled Trades Training Fund, now the Going Pro Talent Program, has provided $72.9 (m) million in competitive awards to more than 2,000 companies for training and apprenticeships since its beginning. Horn says it’s a highly successful program that gives workers additional skills to advance their careers, noting he’s heard from countless employers struggling to find qualified workers. He says the state is rooted in manufacturing and skilled trades and programs like this are working to put Michigan back on the map in terms of qualified employees. (JM)

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