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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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    Community members can help an area nonprofit win a grant that will be used to continue their work for those with disabilities. Special Ministries of Livingston County (SMLC) has been chosen to compete for a $25,000 grant from State Farm. 200 nonprofits were chosen nationally and only four from Michigan made the cut. The competition is based on online voting and the top 40 nonprofits with the most votes will each win $25,000. SMLC is currently in 90th place and says they can’t win without the community’s help. Residents can vote several times by using multiple emails and designate all of their votes straight to the organization. SMLC offers educational and recreational activities to those with disabilities. The organization’s focus is to provide a sense of belonging and inclusion, as many children and adults with disabilities often experience high rates of isolation and lack community involvement. SMLC plans to use the grant to support the continued learning, social engagement, building relationships and independence for program participants. Voting is open now through August 24th and the winners will be announced September 25th. The link to vote is posted below. (DK)

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    Some approvals have been granted for a future condominium project in the works in Genoa Township. The Genoa Township Board met recently and approved a rezoning of 74.8 acres of land, located on the east side of Chilson Road, south of Brighton Road, along the southern township boundary with Hamburg Township. The rezoning was from agricultural to low density residential, which is consistent with the township’s master plan. The Chestnut Springs project is being proposed by Chestnut Development LLC and would feature 25 condo units, on 1-acre lots. Preliminary site plans and an environmental impact assessment were also approved, with some stipulations. Supervisor Bill Rogers says the project has been in the works for a while but is now starting to proceed, likely because of site conditions. He says they got it down to 25, 1-acre lots, which is the township’s low density standard and fits in with the master plan. Despite challenges with wetlands on the property, Rogers says the proposed subdivision should fit right in. There is a fair amount of wetlands on the property, roughly 35 acres, which are regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. There was further board discussion at the meeting about an existing lawsuit that needs to be resolved before the project could officially proceed. Rogers said there is a court case out there and they want to make sure the site is cleaned up before any building takes place. The litigation is said to have involved the mining of sand before all of the necessary approvals were obtained and work is supposed to be done to land balance and put the property back to its previous state. Rogers says the township wants to ensure compliance with any court settlement that gets reached. He says that will be a condition before the project can move forward or an arrangement will be worked out between attorneys and the township. Meanwhile, developers are expected to be back before the planning commission and township board for potential final approvals in September. (JM)

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    Three members of the real estate establishment are being honored by the Livingston County Association of Realtors. The titles of 2018 Realtor of the Year, Affiliate of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year were handed out during the LCAR’s General Membership Meeting earlier this week. Carol Griffith took home Realtor of the Year honors. Griffith is Vice President, Broker, and Co-Owner of Griffith Realty in Brighton. The third generation realtor is the current Chairwoman of the LCAR Governmental Affairs committee and housing symposium taskforce. Griffith additionally serves on the Michigan Realtors Personnel committee and Realtor Active in Politics committee. Griffith serves as a County Commissioner, has spent time as both chair and vice chair of the board, and is the current chair of Finance. She is a member of both the Brighton and Howell Area Chambers of Commerce, a member of the Howell Rotary, and has recently awarded a scholarship to a student attending Cleary University. The 2018 Volunteer of the Year award went to Lisa Bohlen of Preview Properties in Brighton. Bohlen serves on the LCAR Board of Directors and was recognized for dedicating her time and talents whenever needed to various causes around the state. Finally, James Cole was named 2018 Affiliate of the Year. Cole was recognized for his many accomplishments including, but not limited to, making the LCAR summer picnic a success, helping with food drives for Gleaners, and serving on the Affiliates committee.(MK)

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    Data from a traffic safety initiative in the City of Wixom aims to help boost awareness. Since the inception of the Traffic Safety Initiative or TSI, there have been 19 events. Raw data indicates 174 traffic stops, 130 warnings, 44 citations and four arrests. Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Ron Moore says two arrests were for driving on a suspended license and two involved possession of marijuana. Processed data showed there were 9.1 average stops per event, 6.8 average warnings per event and 2.3 average citations per event. 75% of total stops were warnings while 25% involved citations. Moore noted he also just recently received data from a speed study he requested on one of the TSI roadways, which will be passed along once reviewed. He thanked motorists for driving safely and courteously. Facebook photo. (JM)

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    Livingston County has gained the endorsement of one of the entities needed to pass the new Master Plan. The City of Howell Planning Commission, under the guidance of Community Development Director Tim Schmitt, approved the county’s Draft Master Plan for Land Use at their meeting, Wednesday night. State legislation requires that Master Plans are distributed to all surrounding municipalities and utilities for review and an opportunity to provide comment. Coming in at over 300 pages, county officials have chosen to distribute the document digitally, rather than in print form. Schmitt said it was structured around the idea of presenting Best Practices. This approach allows municipalities within the County to learn what others are doing successfully and how those tactics can be applied back home. Schmitt said this will allow the city when they are confronted by an issue the ability to quickly seek information on how surrounding communities have addressed it. Schmitt said that the Draft Master Plan was so thorough that it covered nearly every scenario relevant to his job. He said that this point he couldn’t think of anything he’d change or recommend differently. He complimented the comprehensiveness of it, admiring the way county planners juggled the dichotomy of the rural north of Livingston County and the more urban Howell – Brighton corridor. A copy of the Master Plan can be found at the link below. (MK)

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    An off-duty Flint police officer who accidentally discharged his firearm during a wrestling meet at Fowlerville High School has entered a plea. 40-year-old Mark Andrew Boudreau of Flushing appeared in 53rd District Court in Howell Friday and pleaded no contest to one count of careless discharge of a firearm causing property damage over $50. Boudreau’s plea was not accepted but will be taken under advisement for a period of nine months during which he must adhere to certain conditions. Boudreau cannot possess any firearms on Fowlerville Community School grounds and must comply with any disciplinary measures, gun safety or training requirements imposed by the Flint Police Department. He must also pay $250 restitution to the district to cover the cost of repairs to the gym floor that was damaged when his firearm went off. The charge against Boudreau will be dismissed upon successful performance of the agreement’s terms and conditions. If he does not comply, violates the law or fails to return to court May 14th for a review hearing, his plea will be accepted and a conviction entered. The court would also be allowed to impose any sentence permitted by law. Boudreau was standing on the gym floor at the May 5th wrestling meet when his off-duty sidearm discharged. The bullet went into the floor and though there were no injuries from the gunshot, one person was treated by EMS for a twisted ankle. The wrestling meet resumed after about 50 minutes. The wrestling meet was not a Fowlerville district event, but instead one organized by a third party. Boudreau was legally licensed to carry the firearm at the time of the incident. (DK)

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    A Livonia man accused of breaking into a storage unit in Hartland Township has entered a plea in the case. 22-year-old Nicholas Cashero of Livonia appeared in Livingston County Circuit Court Friday and pleaded guilty as charged to 17 felonies, which include 16 counts of breaking and entering a building with intent, and one count of assaulting/resisting/obstruction a police officer. He also pleaded guilty to two of malicious destruction of personal property, which were reduced to misdemeanors in exchange for his plea. Prosecutors agreed to a three-year cap in the Michigan Department of Corrections at sentencing and to dismiss a habitual offender charge as part of the agreement as well. Cashero and his cousin, 19-year-old Kenneth Helbig of River Rouge, were each charged with 21 counts connected to the June 17th incident. Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an alarm at Livingston Concrete on Old US-23, south of Bergin Road. While checking the alarm, deputies heard loud noises coming from Best Self Storage, which is located directly to the north. They observed two males breaking into storage units and stealing property from inside. Deputies requested additional units, which responded and converged on the suspects. Cashero was taken into custody after a minor physical altercation. Helbig fled on foot, but was apprehended during a traffic stop as he attempted to flee the area. Helbig recently pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him. He and Cashero will be sentenced September 6th. (DK)

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    Property in Macomb County has been chosen over a site in Green Oak Township for the home of a new veterans housing complex. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, or MVAA, had been considering Sebille Manor in Chesterfield Township and the former site of the W.J. Maxey Boys Training School in Green Oak Township, which closed in 2015. The MVAA announced Wednesday their decision to purchase Sebille Manor from the U.S. Department of Defense at a cost of $820,000 as the soon-to-be site of the Southeast Michigan Veterans Home. The site, which is near the Selfridge Air National Guard Base, was formerly used for military housing. The new facility will house 128 veterans in complexes split into four homes that connect to a community center. Adam Smiddy, Director of the Livingston County Department of Veterans’ Services, says he's disappointed, but that the decision between the two sites is one that lies solely with the MVAA, noting some community members have inquired about the decision-making process. He says it's up to the MVAA and their due diligence in choosing a site that they found the most appropriate. Smiddy says he did have a conversation with the MVAA after learning of their decision. Agency officials have cited the Sebille Manor property’s proximity to all three regions of the tri-county area as one of the reasons why. Smiddy took the high road when the MVAA indicated they would be relying on Livingston County Veterans’ Services for some support from the county’s veteran’s millage, which Smiddy said they are happy and willing to help with. He says the new living complex will be a “very nice facility”, but feels it’s not as accessible as the Maxey Boys site would’ve been. Smiddy says locally there is a need for a low-cost facility for the elderly veteran population in general, as they see many who don’t have the resources to place themselves in some of the nearby facilities. The Maxey Boys site could still be considered in the future, as the MVAA plans to build seven new veterans homes across the state over the next 10 years. (DK)

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    The Village of Milford is advising of a road closure that starts today. A temporary road closure is being implemented on East Huron Street. The Village advises that E. Huron Street between Main Street and River Drive will be closed to thru traffic. The closure is needed for road and sidewalk repairs, as well as other right-of-way work being completed as part of an adjacent development. All of the work is weather permitting and is expected to take two weeks to complete. Motorists are asked to follow posted detours during that time. (JM)

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    A number of volunteers will be helping out a local non-profit Friday that works to transform lives by building, affordable quality homes with families in need. Livingston County Habitat for Humanity is working on its latest partner family home, located on North Street in the City of Howell. AVI-SPL Michigan is a provider of audio video technologies, and managed audio/video services to businesses and organizations. The company selected Habitat for Humanity for this year’s company-wide activism day and around 20 employees will be helping install siding on the house Friday. AVI-SPL Michigan’s Office Manager/Director of Spirit Diane Blakeney told WHMI they felt it was the perfect fit and continues their commitment to community outreach. Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Rob Johnson says all of the walls are up, electrical work is done and windows and doors are in. The inside walls have been studded, HVAC work is done and plumbing is 90% complete. Groups were recently brought into install drywall but Johnson says there is still a lot of work left to be done including landscaping. It’s ADA compliant, as the hope is to make it a forever home for the family selected, which must have an income and a need to qualify for the program. Habitat for Humanity homes are not a hand-out but a leg up for someone right at the cusp where they just can’t quite get ahead but have worked hard to get where they’re at. The once empty lot will eventually be the new home for Becky Gremore, who says it’s perfect for her and her two children, as well as others she hopes to foster one day. Gremore had a tough childhood and was in and out of foster homes but managed to graduate with honors from Howell High School and has held steady employment. After getting divorced, Gremore and her two children lived in her friend’s basement while trying to find something she could actually afford in the area as a working mom. She earlier told WHMI that was no easy feat and she applied for a Habitat for Humanity home after seeing an ad in the ReStore. Volunteers will be broken up into smaller groups on Friday to install siding. Johnson says it’s a two-story home so volunteers will be going up and down ladders, which takes up time. He stressed their number one goal is safety and while there are ways to install siding faster, they’re going to do it right and with safety at the forefront. AVI-SPL volunteers and others will be working Friday at the build on North Street from 9am to 3pm. Facebook photo. (JM)

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    The Genoa Township Board met recently and approved some items related to continuation of a sidewalk project. The scope of this year’s sidewalk project is on the north side of Grand River from Kellogg to Hughes Road. It has a slightly higher cost, which is attributed to the construction of an aluminum boardwalk bridge to expand the pathway over wetlands and add a pedestrian crossing. The board approved the purchase of aluminum boardwalk material in the amount of $147,860 for the 2018 Grand River Sidewalk Project. A separate amendment was approved to include a pedestrian signal at Hughes Road for $8,000. The township has been doing the project in stages. Supervisor Bill Rogers says this is a far more expensive portion because a bridge is needed to expand the pathway over wetlands and the pedestrian signal is being added at the Hughes Road crossing to boost safety. Rogers tells WHMI the project has been a progression along Grand River and they are now getting some of the final legs done. Personally, he says he would prefer to get more money in roads but wants to see Grand River sidewalk finished as it’s a main walking corridor and the areas they’re focusing on now are the reason they weren’t done first. Rogers says it’s fantastic to be able to complete this latest segment of sidewalk, because the ambitious can ultimately go from Brighton to Howell on the path. He says it’s nice and accessible so a lot pf people are taking advantage of it, noting the Grand River corridor is a busy pathway for not only walkers but joggers. The goal is to have the next sidewalk segment completed this year and installation of the pedestrian signal, weather permitting. After all of the work is done this year and the signal is put in, the only remaining section to complete a continuous path across the entire township will be from Hughes Road to the roadside park on Lake Chemung. (JM)

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    Fowlerville’s Fall Festival is returning in September. The Livingston Center Historic Village will host the 4th annual Fall Festival at the Fowlerville Fairgrounds. The event will have crafters and food/ snack vendors, live entertainment, children’s games, children’s crafts, and bounce houses. New this year will be a taxi service from the entrance gate all around the grounds. Also new will be bicycle races. Kids can bring their own bikes at no additional fee; adults can also participate by racing vintage three wheel tricycles, which will be provided. The event will also have a raffle drawing. All profits will go toward preservation and maintenance of the eight historical buildings in the Livingston Centre Historical Village. The Fall Festival will be held on the Fowlerville Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 15th at 10am. Craft vendors are still needed, and anyone interested can contact Bette Kelly at 517-546-8797 for information on both availability and fees. (EO/JK)

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    Changes to Fowlerville Community Schools’ athletic handbook will extend the application period of its rules, while also giving student athletes that have found themselves in trouble a chance to redeem themselves. Superintendent Wayne Roedel says school officials have been discussing the issue of when training rules apply to student athletes, as many of the district’s athletic programs have become year-round. Roedel says the rules listed in the former handbook really only applied from the first official day of competition in the Michigan High School Athletic Association to the last day. The rules didn’t speak to anything that occurred outside of that time frame, which caused concern as many practices are held during the off season and summertime. Roedel tells WHMI the first change to the handbook calls for student athletes to abide by the rules year-round and for the remainder of their high school athletic career. He notes the consequences themselves didn’t necessarily change, but more so how they apply or build up. There are three steps in the district’s athletic consequences system, with the third violation removing the athlete from the program. However Roedel says the nice thing is that the second change to the handbook is adding a “positive behavior support system”. Athletes who are on one of the steps of consequence can move back a step for every six months of good behavior. The amendments to the handbook were unanimously approved by the district’s Board of Education Tuesday and go into effect at the start of the school year. (DK)

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    A Livingston County man was killed over the weekend when his motorcycle was hit by a car in Oceola Township. Troopers from the Michigan State Police Brighton Post responded to a truck – motorcycle crash on M-59 at Hickory Hills Boulevard at approximately 8:20pm on Saturday. The initial investigation revealed that a Chevy pickup truck driven by a 55-year-old woman from Howell was waiting to make a left turn from Hickory Hills Boulevard onto eastbound M-59. As she pulled out to make a left turn she struck a Harley Davidson motorcycle that was traveling westbound on M-59. The driver of the motorcycle, 62-year-old Jon Perry of Howell, was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Perry was wearing a helmet. The driver and passenger of the pickup truck were not injured. Alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor. The crash remains under investigation. Troopers ask anyone who witnessed the crash to contact the MSP Brighton Post at 810-227-1051. (JK)

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    An event this week will allow Hamburg Township residents a final chance to weigh in on the creation of the municipality’s master plan. A public outreach event for the 2020 Master Plan will be held Wednesday from 7 to 9pm at Township Hall, located at 10405 Merrill Road. The Ice Cream Social and Open House will be led by the 2020 Master Plan Steering Committee and the Hamburg Township Planning Department. Township officials say this is the last community event for residents to have their voice heard in the creation of the document that will guide the development of the township for the next 10 to 20 years. Details can be found through the link below. (DK/JK)

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    The Livingston County Board of Commissioners met Monday night and heard a presentation on economic development activities. Representatives from Ann Arbor SPARK, which partners with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County, updated the board on its most recent quarterly report of economic activity and successes in county. Director of Business Development Marcia Gebarowski says there is currently a pipeline of about 20 active projects that staff is working on, which equates to a little more than 600 jobs, noting the average lifetime for projects has been about 150 days. Gebarowski noted there has been really good development activity in the Fowlerville Industrial Park. She says Total Security Solutions held a groundbreaking ceremony a 46,000-square-foot headquarters facility to be built on Garden Lane, which highlighted the new building but also celebrated the next step and growth of the company. CZ Cartage is another new business located on Van Riper in the industrial park. Gebarowski says the logistics trucking firm is now in its newly constructed building and they toured the facility, marking a $6.5 (m) million investment that began in 2017. A new venture is also moving along in Hamburg Township, where a Canadian forest seedling grower has secured a lease with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the Brighton State Recreation Area. The land will be put back to use as a nursery operation and will produce more than 8 million various tree seedlings annually. The total investment from PRT Growing Services is pegged between $4 to $5 (m) million and once up and running, will have an combination of annual and seasonal workforce that equates to about 50 total jobs. A lot of focus for employers is on trying to attract, retain and develop talent. It’s not just an issue locally but across the state and nationwide. Gebarowski tells WHMI Livingston County continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state and with the industries located here, there is an immediate need for talent. She says a lot of manufacturers need an added shift and there is continued commercial and retail development in need of hourly and sales workforce. One big disruptor has also been healthcare investments. Gebarowski noted with the new University of Michigan Brighton Health Center opening and continued investments with IHA and Ascension, there continues to be a big need for talent in many different sectors of that industry. She says the partners they coordinate and collaborate with continue to grow to attract talent, but also get the training needed for those interested in pursuing a job in those fields. She says they’re working to help different industry get the word out, learn how to compete with jobs in other counties and make Livingston County a great destination to come to work. Meanwhile, the Economic Development Council of Livingston County will host its annual meeting on September 19th at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Genoa Township. The Council is celebrating 35 years of economic development locally and the luncheon will highlight local successes and provide recognition to the top economic drivers in the community. The quarterly report is attached. (JM)

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    A Fenton Township doctor is facing federal health care fraud charges. A grand jury indictment was unsealed last week in U.S. District Court in Detroit against Dr. April Tyler, Patrick Wittbrodt and Jeffrey Fillmore. The three face one count of attempt and conspiracy to commit fraud and 17 counts of health care fraud. Fillmore is also charged with laundering money. Tyler is an osteopathic physician who owns and operates Fenton Creative Healthcare on North Long Lake Road. She is the sole practitioner. Wittbrodt is the owner/operator of Wittbrodt Consulting and worked with Dr. Tyler at Fenton Creative Healthcare from July of 2014 to July 2017. He served as an unpaid consultant manager while operating at Tyler’s clinic. Jeffrey Fillmore worked for Wittbrodt as an independent contractor, compensated by commission for sales of compounded creams and other services. He also operated out of the Fenton clinic. The indictment alleges the three executed a scheme to defraud the health care benefit programs administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, ESI and/or Medicare. The three are accused of unlawfully enriching themselves by submitting or causing others to submit fraudulent and false claims for prescription pain creams, scar creams, pain patches and vitamins fraudulently authorized by Dr. Tyler. Fillmore reportedly had acquaintances and personal contacts with the UAW through his job and various family members. Wittbrodt, meanwhile, is said to have had business connections with multiple pharmacies and entered into contracts to receive kickbacks for directing prescriptions to them. Wittbrodt is accused of separately paying monetary kickbacks to Fillmore for the prescriptions he generated. The three allegedly scheduled time at various UAW meetings to tout products. Tyler is accused of authorizing the prescriptions but did not establish a valid doctor patient relationship with UAW members or their families and the prescriptions were provided without any physical exam or corresponding office visit. The three are facing up to ten years in prison on the felony counts, which each carry fines of up to $250,000. Court dates are pending. (JM)

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    Brighton Charter Township’s Board of Trustees met on Monday night to discuss a telecommunication project along Kensington Road. The board agreed to move forward with The Metro Act Right-of-Way Permit that will allow the company 123.Net to install a fiber optic cable underground. Planner Kelly Matthews told WHMI the cable will extend underneath Kensington Road between Grand River and the GM Proving Grounds. She said the goal of the project is to encourage competition among telecommunication providers. 123.Net specializes in fiber cable installation to provide faster and more secure telecommunication services. Funds for the project will come from the state’s Telecommunications Act. While Matthews did not have an estimated date for when construction will begin, she says once the permit officially gets signed she expects the construction date to be announced soon. (DF/JK)

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    Following a raid by narcotics officers, the license of an adult foster care home run by a Highland Township woman has been suspended. An order from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs alleges multiple violations at the Carter Country Homes in Holly. The Oakland County Narcotic Enforcement Team executed a search warrant at that location on August 2nd following an investigation into drug dealing taking place on the premises. Police say the raid turned up cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and morphine, along with firearms and packaging materials associated with drug trafficking. 45-year-old Angela Cockerham of Highland Township served as the facility manager for the adult assisted living home. Her husband, 48-year-old Russell Cockerham, reportedly lived at the home, but was not listed as an adult household member. Neither were her two adult children, who were also living at the home. Residents said Russell Cockerham regularly smoked marijuana at the home and that suspected drug dealing at all hours would wake them up. He was charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession with intent to deliver ecstasy, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of morphine, being a felon in possession of a firearm and five counts of felony firearm. Angela Cockerham was charged with one count of cocaine possession. The couple has a probable cause conference set for Wednesday in Oakland County District Court in Novi. The suspension order, which went into effect last Friday, cited numerous violations including failing to provide a safe environment for residents. (JK)

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    A school in Brighton will host an anti-bullying initiative this week The Michigan Department of Civil Rights on Monday announced that the Relentless Tour, featuring motivational speaker Anthony Ianni, will speak to students and parents at Flex Tech High School on Thursday at 6:30pm. The one-time Spartan basketball player was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4 and was the victim of bullying as a child. He graduated from MSU and became the first known individual with autism to play Division I college basketball. Under Spartan coach Tom Izzo, Ianni played with the 2010 and 2012 Big Ten Champion teams, and the 2010 Final Four team. He won the 2012 MSU Unsung Player Award and was named a 2013 Detroit Pistons Community Game Changer Finalist. Through the Relentless Tour, Ianni and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights are hoping to raise awareness of autism and the problem of bullying. Students with autism are frequently targeted by bullies, with an estimated 65-90% of individuals with autism having been victims of bullying at some point in their lives. Ianni hopes that by telling his story he can help to not only “inspire kids to take a stand against bullying but also make bullies rethink their actions.” To learn more, visit http://relentlesstour.com.

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