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WHMI 93.5 FM Radio Station for Livingston County Michigan with News, Traffic, and Weather Service for Howell and Brighton

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    Two more measles cases have been confirmed in neighboring counties and officials in Livingston County want residents to get vaccinated. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed two additional Measles cases in Oakland and Washtenaw Counties. However these cases aren’t related to the ones in the spring. All four cases were of the result of international travel. One of the individuals arrived at Detroit Metro Airport on July 18th in the international arrival area of the North Terminal and the person didn’t advise airport officials that they were ill but was considered contagious at the time. The second individual was not contagious during their flight. Health Promotion Coordinator Chelsea Lantto with the Livingston County Health Department tells WHMI it’s been a year since there have been any local cases of measles but they encourage residents to get vaccinated before they travel internationally. Officials are in the process of contacting those on the airline flight into Detroit. In 2017, there were 118 cases of measles reported in the US with two cases in Michigan. (EO)

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    The Lyon Township Fire Department has been awarded a federal grant that will hopefully improve the air quality for firefighters. The $122,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency through a 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grant will be used for exhaust removal systems to be installed at both of the township's fire stations. Lyon Township will provide a 5% match. Fire Chief Ken Van Sparrentak told the South Lyon Herald that the two previous times they applied for the grant, they were rejected, but they got lucky the third time, adding that they have been waiting for the grant for at least five years. One factor cited in approval for the grant was the department’s move to 24-hour staffing at each fire station. The department is currently getting bids for the purchase and installation of the exhaust removal equipment. Once that is done, the township board will then need to provide final approval. (JK)

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    The local jobless rate edged upward slightly from May to June. Livingston County’s unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in June, up from 2.8% in May. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget says June was very typical for the state’s job market. Livingston County’s ranking among Michigan’s 83 counties dropped one spot to third. Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives, says workforce levels swelled throughout the state as many individuals entered the labor market seeking seasonal employment. He noted most of Michigan’s local labor markets in mid-2018 continued to show slight improvement over last year. During June, unemployment rate increases in the 14 regions were moderate. The state says the largest over-the-month jobless rate hike occurred in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn statistical area, which includes Livingston County. (JM)

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    The owner of a popular day spa in Fenton presented an updated rendering for their new building to be constructed. Rejuv Ave Spa has seen growing success over the past few years and is preparing to move out of their leased space on Leroy Street in Fenton to a new location On Mill Street and Adelaide. At Thursday night’s meeting of the Planning Commission, representatives brought a new rendering of the building for comment and clarification. Acting Chairperson Skip Bancroft said this new plan was more in line with what the City of Fenton requires of businesses downtown. Bancroft said that they don’t want to prevent business owners from doing some things with their buildings, but that the City of Fenton has long standing design standards that they work hard to enforce. The goal, he said, is keep the city from having a “hodge podge” look about it. With Rejuv moving to a corner location, the Planning Commission at a previous meeting was concerned about how far the front facing limestone material would wrap around to the side. It was decided between the parties, that with one windowed bay and two architectural panels that could in the future be windowed, that the limestone should extend to the end of the third panel on the side. The owner was eager and willing to work with the Planning Commission, though he said this was going to hurt his budget. Members of the Commission and city planning team were all impressed by the design and are excited to see it be built. Planning Consultant Carmine Avantini said he expects the spa to thrive in the new location and wouldn’t be surprised if they came back in a few years looking to expand. (MK)

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    A weekend event will force road closures in downtown South Lyon. The LAKE Street Cruise-in Motorfest will feature hot rods, custom and vintage cars along with entertainment on Saturday. South Lyon Police advise that the intersection of Pontiac Trail and Lake Street will be shut down from 6am to 7pm, although the actual event runs from 11am to 5pm. Additionally, Lake Street will be shut down from Washington to Reese. Pontiac Trail from Whipple Street to Liberty Street will be closed as well. Motorists are reminded to not park in “no parking” areas and should follow detour signs around the event. Police advise factoring in extra time if traveling in the downtown area due to congestion. Photo: Facebook. (JM)

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    The Senate will now consider bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Mike Bishop designed to assist identity theft victims. The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed The Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act (H.R. 6084), requiring the Social Security Administration to provide a single point of contact for individuals requesting a new Social Security Number due to identity theft, as well as for anyone who needs help resolving identity theft issues related to their Social Security benefits. Bishop, a Rochester Hills Republican, introduced the bill in June along with Connecticut Democrat John Larson. Bishop said that all too often Americans who are victims of identity theft, “find themselves being transferred around a phone tree from person to person, requiring them to start back at square one each time they contact the agency.” If enacted, the Social Security Administration’s single point of contact would be required to track each individual’s case to completion and coordinate with other specialized units to resolve case issues as quickly as possible. That's according to the summary in the congressional record. The bill was also supported by the Association of Mature American Citizens, AARP, and the National Council of Social Security Management Associations. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for deliberation. (JK)

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    A pretty cool family-themed attraction could be coming to Wixom. Plans are said to be very preliminary for the mixed-use project totaling roughly $300 (m) million. The vision is a resort-like atmosphere featuring an indoor/outdoor water park, a luxury hotel with 500-800 rooms, office buildings, shops and restaurants. Wixom-based Damas Group LLC purchased 82 acres of empty land surrounding its corporate building on Beck Road, north of I-96. The three parcels sold earlier this month for $3.9 (m) million and have been vacant for decades. Developers told Crain's Detroit Business the idea came from their own families. They all have kids but are always going to other water parks because there isn’t anything around the local area. Developers are said to be working with the City of Wixom and Oakland County to determine the best use of the property. If all goes well, they could break ground next year. (JM)

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    A Hamburg Township music instructor is giving young musicians the real world experience of what it’s like to play in a rock band. Scott Christopher is the owner and lead music instructor at the Buzztop Studios Music School. While instructing and giving lessons for nearly 3 decades, Christopher noticed a lack of opportunities for guitar students to perform. Not satisfied with having them stand on stage by themselves, he wanted to learn like he did- by playing in a band. Over the past 7 years, Christopher has begun inviting students he instructs to graduate into a “School of Rock-style” rock band class, with the goal of getting them to play live shows. In class, students learn to play with other musicians in a rock, pop, or even country band. They get into rhythm and timing, learning their stage and live gear, and how to prepare for a gig. Christopher said there are even real world lessons that the students will learn that carry on through life. He said that it is ultimately about the kids forming a group, having a goal, and working together to achieve it. He used the analogy that it is like a college class where you start to learn and form a team. Then you become an adult and learn to work with others. He continued by saying, “Even if you’re like, ‘I’m not sure that’s the way to do it,’ (the students) find a way to work through the songs together. It’s a lot different than playing by yourself in a basement.” At the end of every 10 week session, the band performs at a live show. The current quintet of players performed this summer at Art in the Park in Pinckney, and at Burrough’s Roadhouse in Brighton. Their setlist of roughly a dozen songs covered 4 decades of rock, including music from Led Zeppelin to Radiohead to the White Stripes. Christopher said it’s not unusual for parents to come into a gig skeptical and leave blown away by what they’ve heard when the whole band is together. The current group of five (their band is named Plunge), when asked what they liked most about the class, all responded, first, with the friendships they’ve formed through it. They got a kick out of being on stage, as well.10th grade bass player Annabelle Sharp said that coming off stage with people cheering you is really good to hear after all the work and effort you put in as a group. Twelve year old drummer Nate Oseland says he feels nerves before they play, but once he gets into the swing of things, everything starts to settle down. Oseland said he realized at one point that when his nerves kick in, it actually starts to help him focus. 9th grade guitarist Ciel Mandzuik said that seeing the audience dancing and having a good time is a sign that she is doing her job well. 8th grade guitarist Miguel Deras said he’s more comfortable in the recording studio, but he finds it rewarding to come off stage after performing for others. 10th grade keyboard player Ava Taube said she was never into this kind of music before joining the class, but that it’s really broadened her horizons. She said being up on stage and seeing people get into their music is one of the coolest things she can think of. Christopher is starting a new semester of Rock Band Class the 2nd week of September. A certain base skill level is required for getting into the class, and it’s limited to students in grade school. (MK)

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    A second building will be constructed onsite at Hartland Township’s Water Treatment Plant, as public works officials claim the original building is running out of storage space. The facility is located north of M-59, between Old US-23 and Cullen Road, and was developed as the Water Treatment Plant in 2001. The five-acre parcel currently includes a water tower and the treatment facility. But the township’s Public Works department says a second building is needed onsite for the purpose of storing maintenance equipment. The Planning Commission on Thursday reviewed a proposal from Public Works Director Bob West, which sought an amendment to the original site plans in order to construct the 40 by 60ft. building to the north of the treatment facility. The site plan, which only requires approval from the Planning Commission, was approved unanimously. A final project cost is unknown at this time. No additional improvements or expansions are currently planned for the site and officials do not expect the building to impact local traffic. (DK)

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    Some precincts could be changing for voters in Highland Township. Highland Township is changing election precinct sites to save money and increase efficiency. Boundaries will remain the same, but the precinct sites for voters could change. As a way to save township money on the new election equipment required by the state, Highland Township’s eight precincts will now be paired up at four locations. The Clerk’s office evaluated the prior polling locations and some potential new locations for ease of access, amount of parking available, space to fit two precincts, and long term prospects for the availability of the building. Highland Elementary and Spring Mills Elementary are said to both work well for elections, but the VFW Hall, Duck Lake Center, Highland Activity Center, and Apollo Center were less suitable. Two new facilities were chosen to replace them: Highland United Methodist Church and Church of the Holy Spirit. Officials say voting in church buildings is new to Highland Township but is a common practice in neighboring communities and around the state. It was noted both churches have facilities that will work well for elections and have a strong history of involvement in the local community. The plan was previously approved by the township board. A precinct map is available on the Highland Township website. The link is provided. (JM)

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    Northfield Township officials are considering reopening proposals while they negotiate with the one developer who submitted for work on the North Village district in Whitmore Lake. Northfield Township Manager Steven Aynes foreshadowed the feelings of the Board of Trustees when he said he was “not impressed” by the lone Request for Proposal submitted for improvements to downtown Whitmore Lake. Aynes felt there was a lack of detail and information in the proposal that was submitted by Lockwood Companies. The Township Board has been working with the community to create a vision of what residents and business owners would like to see in the North Village. Lockwood’s specialties lie in senior housing, and that was prevalent throughout their plan, with rental buildings being the central focus. The Board of Trustees was looking for more a more multi-generational mix with homes or condos for purchase, rather than rent. Trustee Tawn Beliger said she was strongly against rentals. Supervisor Marlene Chockley said the DDA looked at the proposal and wanted to de-emphasize senior housing, but not necessarily completely. They also wanted a larger common area. Chockley said that, personally, she wouldn’t mind seeing some rentals for Millenials who don’t appear to be buying homes in general. The Supervisor, overall, supported a wide spectrum of housing available rather than the narrow focus in the proposal. Northfield Township Clerk Kathleen Manley wanted the beach work moved up from phase 2 into phase 1, as it is important to residents. Trustee Janet Chick wanted to see it closer to the community vision plan as a whole. Treasurer Leonore Zelenock said she was shocked and stunned that only one proposal came in for this project. Aynes said he talked to a couple developers who didn’t submit during the RFP time limit. One, he said, claimed that the community’s vision was not open to development. Another developer was impressed, Aynes said, but was seeking a financial partner and couldn’t secure on in time to draft a proposal. Planning Consultant Paul Lippens spoke to the board during their Tuesday night meeting about his impressions. Lippens created a scoring method for proposals and graded the Lockwood submission based on how the township’s requests were addressed. The proposal scored a 77 out of 100. He confirmed that they seemed to miss the mark in many aspects, but gave encouragement in that they were willing to take a shot at this investment in Whitmore Lake. He stated that Lockwood seems willing to work with him and the township on a more detailed and revised proposal. The Board of Trustees approved a motion to continue working with the developer over the next 60 days in order to get a complete proposal. With this, they are asking for a financial evaluation of the project. Officials also expressed an interest in exploring the cost of reopening the RFP process and allowing rolling submissions to come in until they find the proposal they like. (MK)

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    A longtime officer is retiring from the Howell Police Department and was recognized for her service and dedication during Monday night’s City Council meeting. Officer Linda Renae Small was recognized for more than 23 years of dedicated service. She joined the department as a reserve officer in 1995, completed a police academy and was later promoted to a full time position. She is also a certified field training officer. During the course of her career, Small received a letter of commendation for assisting the Fowlerville Police Department, an award of bravery, and a life-saving award for assisting residents in apartment fires. She also participated in Shop with a Cop. Letter of appreciation from citizens described her as pleasant, professional, responsive and calming. Those in attendance expressed best wishes for Small upon retirement from the department on September 1st. Howell Mayor Nick Proctor read a proclamation aloud on behalf of the City Council, expressing appreciation from a very grateful community. Proctor extended his and Council’s sincere appreciation for Small’s dedication, service and contributions to the Howell community. Police Chief George Basar said it was his bittersweet duty to present Small with her retirement badge at the meeting. He congratulated Small on a long, successful career and wished her well in the next chapter of her life, which involves traveling with family. Photo: Howell PD. (JM)

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    Brighton Area Schools Superintendent Greg Gray says he will set up a meeting with local government officials to discuss the possible installation of a pedestrian crosswalk with flashing lights on Brighton Road near Brighton High School. Parent Ellen Webb told the Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday that while there are flashing traffic signals on Brighton Road at the side street that runs near the football stadium, there are no flashing pedestrian crossing lights. As a result, Webb said, it’s dangerous for students to cross there to get to the high school, particularly with heavy morning commuter traffic whizzing by. Superintendent Greg Gray said the school district solved a similar problem several years ago in front of Maltby Intermediate School and Hilton Elementary with the installation of flashing yellow pedestrian crossing signs that also change the speed limit when activated. The project was done in conjunction with the Livingston County Road Commission, which sets the speed limits on county roads. Gray has been in touch with Brighton City Manager Nate Geinzer regarding the need for pedestrian crossing lights, and the alternative of putting in pedestrian crosswalks at the 6th Street intersection, which is within the city limits. Gray said further that he will arrange a meeting with Livingston County Road Commission Managing Director Mike Craine, Genoa Township Supervisor Bill Rogers, City Police Chief Rob Bradford, Geinzer and himself to discuss a solution. Webb said she hopes the work can be done before the start of school in September. (TT)

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    Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are being made available to small businesses in Livingston County and surrounding areas. The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations that August 21st is the filing deadline for federal economic injury disaster loans in Michigan as a result of a frost and freeze cycle from May 7th through the 9th of 2017. The disaster declaration includes Livingston, as well as Genesee, Ingham, Oakland, Shiawassee and Washtenaw counties. Under the declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. The loans are for working capital and can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 3.215% for eligible small businesses and 2.5% for nonprofit organizations, and terms up to 30 years. Applicants can apply online at Disasterloan.sba.gov. Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website using the link below. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than Aug. 21, 2018. (JK)

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    The Brighton Area Schools Board of Education has approved the purchase of 255 Chromebooks for use by students at Scranton Middle School and Brighton High School at a cost of about $56,000. The purchase - approved at the school board meeting Wednesday night - also includes management licenses for the devices, plus seven storage carts. The Chromebooks are being purchased for use in the district’s world language pilot program, an initiative led by Hornung Elementary Principal Jack Yates, in collaboration with Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Laura Surrey. Gray says although the Chromebooks will belong to the district, students will be able to check them out and take them home for special assignments. There are 2,000 Chromebooks already in use at Scranton and the high school, and the 255 new ones will be additions, and not replacements. They are expected to be available for use by students at the start of the 2018-19 school year. The new Chromebooks are needed because textbooks are no longer available for the World Language program and the courses are now only accessible online. (TT)

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    An educational luncheon event this week will help support a local nonprofit that helps advocate for the special needs community. The Arc Livingston will hold Saladpalooza 2018 on Tuesday, from noon to 1pm, at Eternity Brewing Company in Howell. Guests will enjoy a summer lunch and learn tips for smarter, healthier eating from Renee Chodkowski, The Great Foodini. The cost to attend is $15 and all proceeds from the event will benefit The Arc Livingston; an agency that supports and empowers people with disabilities and their families. The nonprofit also provides advocates to help parents understand the laws and rights that protect their children, as well as information and consultation for people with developmental disabilities. Online registration for Saladpalooza is still open and tickets must be purchased prior to the event, which can be done through the link below.

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    The Livingston County Health Department reports the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development identified pigs at the Fowlerville Fair that tested positive for swine flu, or influenza A. The Fowlerville Fair Board has taken steps to isolate infected pigs to prevent additional exposure. Infected pigs began showing symptoms Thursday evening and laboratory results were confirmed late Friday afternoon. The fair kicked off Monday and concludes today. At this time, there are no reported human illnesses. The Health Department and Fowlerville Fair Board are reaching out to swine exhibitors, their families, and anyone who visited the swine barn at the fair to notify them of possible exposure to infected pigs. The Health Department is also instructing healthcare providers in the area to watch for patients with respiratory symptoms who report exposure to swine or who visited the fair. Swine flu can spread quickly between pigs and while rare, can pass to humans through droplets in the air when sick pigs cough or sneeze. Human symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu and can include fever, cough, runny nose, and sometimes body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within three days of exposure but can occur up to 10 days. Currently there is no vaccine for swine flu, nor will the seasonal flu vaccine protect against swine flu; however, antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu and Relenza, are said to be an effective form of treatment. The Health Department’s full release can be viewed at the attachment below. Facebook photo.

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    The deadline is approaching for applications to be submitted for anyone interested in becoming the next Village Clerk in Pinckney. Longtime Clerk Amy Salowitz previously announced she was moving out of state and would be stepping down from the position. Applications and resumes for her replacement are being accepted through 4pm this Thursday, August 2nd. A job description and application are available on the Village of Pinckney website, a link for which is posted below. Salowitz says the position is not an elected one so applicants do not have to be village residents, although she says having a basic knowledge of the area is a must. For anyone thinking about applying, but unsure if they can do the job, she says she will plans to remain on board through the end of the year and make sure there is a smooth transition. Salowtiz encourages applicants to address their transferable skills in their cover letter, including what they think would work well from previous experience and why they want to make that change. (JK)

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    An upcoming ceremony will lay a four-legged friend to rest, honoring the Public Education Dog’s work with children and seniors. An interment for K9 Faith will be held September 1st with a full ceremonial burial at the Michigan War Dog Memorial’s cemetery in Lyon Township. K9 Faith was a "Public Education Dog" stationed at the Troy Fire Department. She was trained and handled by Lt. Tonya Perry. K9 Faith’s duties included educating school children, special education children and seniors on how to survive a fire. During a presentation on fire safety, K9 Faith would show her skills by teaching how to stop, drop and roll, crawl low under smoke, feel doors for heat, and how to find a meeting spot. Phil Weitlauf, Director of the Michigan War Dog Memorial, encourages residents to attend the ceremony to honor the K9 hero’s service to the community. The Michigan War Dog Memorial offers a final resting place for military, law enforcement, search and rescue, therapy, companion and service dogs. Photos courtesy of Michigan War Dog Memorial.

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    Hartland Township officials are planning for an analysis of the area to determine how much demand there will be for retail in the future. The township’s Planning Commission met Thursday and discussed bids from three different firms looking to conduct the retail market analysis. Township Planner Troy Langer says a couple of developers have recently approached the Planning Commission about changing areas with a commercial zoning in the township to residential zoning. Some claim the retail market is not strong enough, citing the supposed trend of consumers shopping online instead of at brick and mortar stores. But there is still debate surrounding that trend. A recent Forbes’ article indicates retail experiences push customers to shop online, while others say brick and mortar retail simply needs a makeover that’s already underway. Langer says the latter has the Planning Commission wondering whether it’s too soon to assume brick and mortar is out and rezoning is in. He says the Planning Commission is struggling with the suggestion to rezone because they feel once they give that land up to residential, it likely will not be available for commercial developments again, adding commissioners are trying to think long-term before they make a decision. Commissioners are hoping the firms looking to conduct the market analysis can give them an idea on what the demand for retail may look like in the future, what kind of retail that would be, and whether they should rezone commercial districts to residential. Langer says officials have already met with one firm and would like to hear from another before choosing which will carry out the analysis. (DK)

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