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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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    Green Oak Township officials say the municipality is taking a break from one of its yearly community events, citing construction of the township’s new police station as the major factor. The township is replacing its “severely outdated” police station with a new 17,000-square foot building behind the existing fire station on Whitmore Lake Road, west of US-23. Construction is said to be going well, but has prompted a challenge when it comes to holding the township’s annual “Green Oak Day”. The September celebration commemorates the establishment of the municipality in 1835. The event offers residents an opportunity to get to know their township government, board members, and police and fire departments. In the past, the property on which the new police station is being built has been used for Green Oak Day’s various events and parking space. Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says while they could’ve scaled back the celebration and held it at township hall instead, it made more sense to skip it this year. The board of trustees at their Wednesday meeting agreed with that sentiment, saying they’ll make up for it next year. While disappointing, St. Charles looked on the bright side, noting crews are making "great progress" on the new building and can continue that momentum. The approximately $6 million dollar police station is being funded through a combination of bonds and township general fund money. $1.5 million will come from the general fund, while $4.5 million will come from bonds that will be paid off over the next 20 years. The project is on track to meet its previously estimated completion time frame, with plans for the building to be operational this fall. (DK)

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    The Livingston County man who drowned over the weekend has been identified. 54-year-old Todd Mara of Hartland drowned Sunday in White Lake and his body recovered by divers on Tuesday. An autopsy yesterday determined his death was accidental. Mara was reported missing in the portion of White Lake near Seven Harbors in Highland Township. His wife said he had jumped into the lake to cool off but failed to resurface. Divers and the Marine Division of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office used a Natural Resources boat launch off Duck Lake Road as a staging area over the course of the three days spent searching for his body using side-scan sonar and other equipment. But the effort was slowed down by murky water and severe weather on Monday. Also assisting were the Highland Township Fire Department and White Lake Township police and fire. Area residents also brought food and water to searchers during the search. A service for Mara will be held at 10am on Monday, July 23rd at Church of The Holy Spirit in Highland. Facebook photo (JK)

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    Dozens of political activists from around Michigan gathered in Brighton for a candlelight vigil to peacefully fight the corruption they see in government. Roughly 75 people from Livingston, Oakland, and Ingham Counties formed a picket line in front U.S. Congressman Mike Bishop’s office on Grand River, Wednesday evening. Chants of “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump has got to go,” and “This is what democracy looks like” were heard along the street. The event was one of several “Confront Corruption: Demand Democracy” vigils held across the country in the wake of President Donald Trump’s and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s summit in Finland. Local resident Peggy Van Sickle was responsible for bringing the demonstration to Brighton. She said she got to the point where she said she thought “enough was enough and somebody (needs) to do something.” Despite never organizing an event like this before, that someone was her. Van Sickle was applauded by the crowd for making it happen in less than 48 hours. The crowd marched with anti-Trump, Putin, and Bishop signs, while cheering for both supporters and those in opposition of their protest driving by. As the sun went down, the crowd gathered in front of the steps to Bishop’s office to share what being a patriot means to them. Candidates running for office led the discussions off, but as the night grew darker more residents stepped up to speak. Brighton native Jesse Arquette shared his feelings on the Trump administration, saying he was sick of the hate and the prejudice. Geologist Emily Duthinh spoke about family values, being a first generation immigrant, and Trump taking children away from their families. Thirty year Howell school teacher and Brighton resident John Morgan shared the core values of democracy he taught to students for decades, including truth from the government and diversity as being a thing to be celebrated. While Bishop issued a statement Wednesday calling Russia, "one of the most threatening adversaries facing our nation" and that he stood behind American intelligence agencies and voted to expand economic sanctions on Russia, that was not enough for the demonstrators. They encouraged each other throughout the night, that if they aren’t happy with the trajectory they see the country on, they need to be the ones to spark the change at the polls this August and November. (MK)

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    A new trial date has been set later for a New Hudson man charged with the severe beating of his girlfriend’s infant son. An evidentiary hearing will be continued July 30th for 23-year-old Seth Blumberg, who is charged with assault with intent to murder and 1st degree child abuse. His attorney is seeking to exclude his statements to police from being used at his trial, which had been set for July 30th, but is now rescheduled for November 26th. Police began investigating Blumberg after the child’s mother brought the infant to the hospital March 29th when she noticed bruising on the child had become more pronounced over the course of a week. An Oakland County Sheriff’s deputy testified Blumberg admitted trying to kill the infant, including trying to choke him, so he could spend more time with the child’s mother. The child’s mother said she dated Blumberg for about a month before moving into a two-bedroom apartment with him and his step-brother on March 1st. She testified there were numerous occasions when Blumberg was being too rough with the infant, including picking the child up by his head. Blumberg remains jailed under a $500,000 cash bond. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. At the time of his arrest, Blumberg was on probation from a 2016 guilty plea to charges of possessing child sexually abusive material and two counts of criminal sexual conduct involving someone ages 13-15. (JK)

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    Years of work by a group of volunteers to restore a piece of history in Howell will culminate with a weekend event. The Howell Area Historical Society is hosting a grand opening event to celebrate the interior restoration of the 1888 Grand Trunk Western Caboose. The entire “Caboose Crew” of volunteers has put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours over the last six years to get the caboose to restored condition. Officials say all of the work done is truly amazing and what was once a terrible eyesore and home to various wildlife, is restored back to its early 1940’s-era glory. The community is invited to stop by and see what the Caboose Crew has done on Sunday from 10am to 2pm, while enjoying lemonade and cookies. The caboose is located next to the Depot Museum on Wetmore Street in downtown Howell. (JM)

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    A Tyrone Township man lost his appeal to reduce or eliminate the fees charged to him from a “false alarm” fire run to his house. On April 29th a neighbor of Raed Sahouri, unsure if anyone was home, called 911 after seeing smoke coming from Sahouri’s property in Tyrone Township. According to the neighbor, he asked the dispatcher to send a police cruiser to check it out, and then told dispatch twice that a fire truck wasn’t necessary. Sahouri, was in fact home and attending the fire, and said he called dispatch to cancel the call, stating it was a false alarm. The City of Fenton Fire Department still sent two fire fighters, who Sahouri said, were only there for 30 seconds and didn’t get out of the truck they came in. When Sahouri was asked about having a burn permit, he revealed he did not have one. Tyrone Township contracts out their fire services and then charges the residents for reimbursement. Sahouri was charged the standard $1,419 for the run. At Tuesday night’s meeting with the Board of Trustees, he appealed the fee, believing it was an unreasonable cost for it being a false alarm. Trustee Charles Schultz led the argument against Sahouri, telling him it was unreasonable for him to not follow the burn ordinance and have others pay for the run. Supervisor Mike Cunningham said that it’s tough having to charge residents or non-residents with a $1,400 fire run bill, but that they have ordinances and rules, and if they aren’t followed, they will bill for the costs. Sahouri, being in violation of the burn ordinance and not having a burn permit, tipped the scales against him. Trustee David Walker motioned for cutting the bill in half, with support. That motion failed by a 4-3 vote. (MK)

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    Motorists are being reminded of a law that aims to protect the lives of emergency responders stopped on a roadway, but many times is ignored. Michigan’s Emergency Vehicle Caution Law went into effect in 2001 and requires motorists to move over at least one lane or two vehicle widths when they see stationary emergency vehicles or tow truck drivers pulled over with lights on. If moving over is not possible, then motorists must slow down and pass with caution. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has released a video public service announcement to educate the public about the law and the importance of protecting lives. The newly released PSA features Johnson, Michigan State Police Director Kriste Kibbey Etue and several emergency responders. It opens with state police video footage of a tow truck driver narrowly escaping with his life as a car smashes into his vehicle. Johnson tells WHMI she’s noticed while driving that it’s not teenagers but mostly older people who simply don’t know about the law. She says teens are taught during driver’s education courses but for others, it’s hard to know about a law that’s been around for 17 years. Johnson is hoping the 30-sec PSA might help save a life or quality of life for tow truck operators, M-DOT workers, rescue and emergency medical personnel, law enforcement, and others. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, the number one cause of law enforcement deaths is traffic incidents. Further, the Emergency Responder Safety Institute estimates that a tow truck operator is killed every six days in the United States while providing roadside or towing services. (JM)

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    A Fenton woman has been reappointed to serve on a state commission. Governor Rick Snyder announced Thursday that Manal Saab was reappointed to the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs. Saab is the CEO of Sorensen Gross Construction Services. She is the chair of the National Advisory Board for the Arab American National Museum, chair of the Board of Directors of the American Druze Foundation, a member of the National Professional Advisory Board of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, a trustee to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and has co-chaired the University of Michigan-Flint Capital Campaign. Governor Synder said “the input will help improve the quality of life for Middle Eastern Americans by ensuring their voices are heard.” The 15 member commission was created to act in an advisory capacity to the governor and is housed within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Saab will serve a four year term which expires on April 19th, 2022. (EO)

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    A new filtration system for Green Oak Township’s waste water treatment plant is expected to keep its machines from continuously experiencing expensive equipment failures. Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says for nearly two decades, the treatment plant has been adversely affected by by-products like napkins, diapers and bottle tops that have not been properly filtered out prior to the process. After those materials are ground up, move through the system and mix with air, they tend to cling to machine floats and control mechanisms, causing frequent system failures and sometimes, an odor. St. Charles says those system fixes have been extremely expensive and an ongoing problem for the last 18 years. Township officials have been keeping their eye on the problem and saving money for a solution. On Wednesday the board of trustees took action, authorizing an expenditure of up to $35,000 to design a new screen and filter system for the plant. St. Charles is glad to see the plant evolve, noting that most plants that are being built these days are designed with that type of filtration already in place. The total project is estimated to cost around $480,000, which St. Charles says is about $250,000 less than the estimate they received when exploring the concept two years ago. The township already has the money available in their capital fund, which was allocated specifically for plant improvements.(DK)

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    Construction scheduled tonight in the Brighton area will cause some traffic headaches for motorists this weekend. The Livingston County Road Commission advises pavement rehabilitation work will get underway on Challis Road between Grand River and Karl Griemel Drive in Genoa Township staring at 8:00 tonight, lasting through 6am Monday. The work involves base repair, adjusting drainage structures, milling existing pavement and then replacing with new asphalt. The Road Commission advises there will be a major traffic impact. From 8pm tonight until 6am Saturday, milling of the existing asphalt will take place. During daylight hours Saturday, base repair and adjusting the drainage structures will occur with lane closures. Paving will then take place from roughly 8pm Saturday until 6am. All of the weekend work will be done until traffic regulator control and is weather permitting. Motorists are being encouraged to seek alternate routes as long delays are expected. Officials say evening work will hinder access to side streets and commercial properties. Motorists are encouraged to use the posted Brighton Road detour. Access to Target will be via Grand River. But there is good news for haggard motorists who have had to go several miles out of their way because of the construction. According to city DPW Director Marcel Goch, Challis will tentatively be reopened to traffic next Wednesday, July 25. Goch says the road work is a month ahead of schedule, thanks to favorable weather. The primary reason for the Challis Road project is the new University of Michigan Brighton HealthCare South medical complex. The 295,000-square-foot facility, costing an estimated $175 million, is scheduled to open right after Labor Day. To handle the expected increase in traffic, the Livingston County Road Commission embarked on a project in April to completely reconstruct Challis Road and make other improvements from Grand River to the railroad tracks. The road commission has already completed extensive roadway improvements including softening curves and hills and improving drainage, and has installed new pavement from the railroad tracks to Karl Greimel Drive. The $2.1-million project is being funded primarily by the road commission through its 2018-19 budget, plus MDOT and federal dollars, with the city of Brighton and its Downtown Development Authority also pitching in financially. Photo: Google Street View. (JM/TT)

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    The Michigan War Dog Memorial is holding a fundraising event that will help them continue to inter noble animals for free. The Michigan War Dog Memorial in Lyon Township educates on the heroics and dedication of K-9s and provides full honor interments to the dog’s owner at no cost. Memorial President Phil Weitlauf said he’s often asked which dogs are eligible. In the beginning, the Weitlauf said the Memorial Board considered going with just military dogs, but later decided to consider any K-9 that serves and protects… For instance, they also recognize law enforcement dogs; search and rescue dogs that help find lost children or seniors who may have become confused; service dogs that give the handicapped more independence; therapy dogs that comfort the ill and elderly; and companion dogs that help give a sense of security to soldiers suffering from PTSD. When the time comes and the dog is certified, owners can contact the War Dog Memorial for arrangements, which include a monument-style headstone. If it’s a military dog, its tattoo, or serial number, and the last unit it served on will be etched into the gravestone. Weitlauf said it is because of the generosity of the public that they can perform these ceremonies for free. To help support their cause, they are holding a fundraiser tomorrow at the South Lyon VFW from noon until 3:30. There will be a light lunch, silent auction, over 150 gift baskets, and a 45-minute presentation on war dogs and the memorial. More information on the memorial can be found online at www.mwdm.org. (MK)

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    Rickett Road reopened this morning after a sewer line ruptured on June 29th, exactly three weeks ago, which in turn caused a portion of the pavement nearby to buckle. The sewer line and road were to have been repaired and reopened to traffic before now, but unforeseen problems led to various delays. City Dept. of Public Works Director Marcel Goch tells WHMI it’s been a hassle the last few weeks for motorists who use the road, and he thanks them for their patience. Rickett Road was closed from Sisu Knoll Drive to Oak Ridge Drive during the period for the emergency repairs, which required taking about $200,000 from the utility emergency fund to bring in an outside contractor to make the repairs. The sewer main where the rupture occurred is one of several old mains which date back to 1938. Due to the age of some of the city’s sewer and water lines, another break could occur in the near future anywhere in the system. However, Goch says when and where that might happen is hard to predict. (TT)

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    A local restaurateur is spreading his Howell brand of dining out to Royal Oak. Adam Merkel became owner of Diamond’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant in Howell in 2013. Since then he has opened The Silver Pig Bar and Oyster Room and Cello Italian Restaurant. On August 1st, the Free Press reports that he will be taking over operations of the Red Fox English Pub in Royal Oak, turning it, and the neighboring Cantina Diablos into a new dual concept restaurant. On the first floor of the Main Street building, the former Cantina Diablos will be transformed into a second Diamond’s location. Merkel hinted that the new location may carry a more urban theme than its Howell counterpart. While renovations there are taking place, the Red Fox will stay open on the second floor of the building, but will see a new menu. Once work on Diamond’s is complete this fall, Merkel will close the Red Fox and turn into what he called an garden themed bar named Pinky’s. Pinky’s will have live palm trees, a dance floor, a seasonal patio, and focus on small plates and cocktails. (MK)

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    Area voters will have another opportunity to hear from candidates for local offices at a candidate forum set next week. The Pinckney/Putnam/Hamburg/Hell Chamber of Commerce is hosting a "Meet the Candidates" forum on Monday, July 23rd at 6pm at the Hamburg Township offices on Merrill Road. Each candidate will be given 5 minutes to introduce themselves and their platform. They will then respond to questions submitted by attendees. The event will be moderated by Rick Beaudin, chairman of the board for the PPHH Chamber. Candidates have been invited for all contested positions in the August 7th primary, including the four people running for a newly created position on the 44th Circuit Court; Dennis Brewer, Monica Copeland, Suzanne Geddis and Tara Pearson. Also featured will be the GOP primary battle for the 6th District Livingston County Board of Commissioners featuring incumbent Bob Bezotte and challenge Steve Williams. The event will be broadcast live on Channel 191 on Charter Cable in Hamburg, Pinckney and Putnam Township. It will also be rebroadcasted regularly prior to the election. A live stream will also be available. Questions can be sent to Rick Beaudin at Rick@PinckneyPirate.com (JK)

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    A Republican candidate for Michigan governor has announced a campaign swing that includes local stops. Dr. Jim Hines announced a 10-day, 11 county campaign tour featuring stops in 23 communities, in which the physician and president of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations said he plans to knock on doors and meet with voters. Hines will be visiting Linden on Monday; Howell, Brighton and Hartland on Tuesday; Milford on Thursday and Dexter on Sunday. Hines says he’s looking forward to taking his auto insurance and roads reform plan straight to the people of Michigan during the final two weeks ahead of the August 7th primary. Other Republican candidates running for governor include Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Senator Patrick Colbeck. Democratic candidates include Grtetchen Whitmer, Abdul El-Sayed and Shri Thanedar. (JM)

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    The Brighton City Council has voted to approve the purchase of a new water filter “media” at the Challis Road water plant. The filter, one of four filters at the plant, will replace one that has failed due to the buildup of mineral deposits over a 30-year period – the age of the filter. Cost of the purchase and installation is $130,000, based on the lone bid received. Cost of the filter will be covered by the city’s utility fund. This is the second major maintenance expense incurred by the city within the past month. With the city’s new fiscal year less than a month old, City Manager Nate Geinzer tells WHMI such problems are not atypical for an older community, but are beginning to add up, and could impact the city’s budget if more maintenance issues develop. The other recent unforeseen project involving the city’s aging infrastructure took place on June 29th when a rupture occurred in a city sewer line on Rickett Road. The City Council had to quickly approve nearly $200,000 in emergency expenditures from the utility reserve fund to fix the problem. (TT)

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    Fenton Center of Hope is currently raising funds for heating and cooling fixtures for the pantry, according to their website. The additions are needed especially for the purpose of storing fresh produce and food during the hot summer months. The food bank provides about 10,000 pounds of food to an estimated 150 local families per month. In addition to serving as a food pantry, Fenton Center of Hope includes a baby closet for those in need, a pregnancy resource center, job skills training and small groups. The nonprofit organization has been given a $5,000 quote to have a heating and cooling unit installed. Donations can be made online or by mailing a check payable to Fenton Center of Hope, 2525 W. Shiawassee Ave., Fenton, 48430. More information can be found at the link below. Fenton Center of Hope Facebook photo.

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    The Le Concours de Livingston is returning next month. This is the eighth year the fundraiser is returning to Livingston County to benefit Love INC, which networks together local churches, church volunteers and community organizations to help people who lack resources. The fundraiser is being held on Sunday, August 5th and features a classic car show. The show will also feature live music, appetizers, adult beverages, and a live and silent auction. The live auction will include a signed Guitar by Bruce Springsteen. The fundraiser and car show are being held at the Waldenwoods Resort and Conference Center in Hartland Township from 2-6pm. The cost is $50 per person. A link to purchase tickets can be found below. (EO/JK)

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    A jury has convicted the driver of a semi-tractor trailer whose vehicle crashed and killed three people on US-23 in Green Oak Township. 63-year-old Gary Bryce Erard was found guilty Wednesday by a 53rd District Court jury following three days of deliberations. Erard had earlier withdrawn a no contest plea to three misdemeanor counts of moving violation causing death after hearing that Judge Suzanne Geddis would sentence him to six months in jail and two years of probation. His plea deal had called for 30 days in jail and at least six months of probation. Defendants can withdraw their plea if a judge exceeds plea terms. But with his conviction, Erard now faces up to a year in prison when he is sentenced August 27th. Erard was charged as a result of the April 2017 incident on southbound US-23, south of Lee Road, which involved multiple vehicles and ended in three fatalities. Green Oak Township Police say Erard failed to stop as he approached other vehicles stopped in a construction zone, striking six of them. One of the vehicles, a 1997 Ford Escort, was completely destroyed in the crash after the truck rolled over on top of it. The driver of the Escort, 51-year-old Robin Brown of Milford, was pronounced dead at the scene. His 25-year-old fiancé, Sarah Miller of Milford, later died from her injuries at the University of Michigan Hospital where she was taken after being removed from the wreckage by members of the Green Oak Township Fire Department. 52-year-old Roby Steele of Davison, who was driving a 2016 Chevy Sonic that was also hit by the semi, was also pronounced dead at the scene after being removed from his vehicle. (JK)

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    The fair, which runs through Saturday, starts the week with 4-H shows beginning at 9am Monday. 2018’s Homemaker of the year and Senior of the Year will also be announced Monday, in addition to the introduction of the Fair Queen. Gate admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 5 to 12, and children ages 4 and under get in free. Various Grandstand events are scheduled throughout the week, including a harness race, demolition derby, and a truck and tractor pull. Grandstand events and carnival armbands cost extra. The carnival is open from 1 to 11pm each day and will feature a new, 120-foot tall ride. The year’s event also includes the Butterfly Experience and Livingston County Farm Exhibit. “Kids’ Day” is Wednesday, which offers free admission to children ages 12 and under from 9am to 5pm. The fair concludes Saturday, which is “For Those Who Serve Day”. Veterans, active military, police, fire and EMS personnel will receive free gate admission that day from 9am to 4pm with proof of status. The Fowlerville Family Fair is held at the fairgrounds located at 8800 West Grand River, west of the village. Additional information can be found at the link below. (DK) Photo courtesy of the Fowlerville Family Fair/Fowlerville Agricultural Society Facebook page.

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