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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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    Road crews are being commended for coming to the rescue following an incident in the City of Wixom. The City is in the midst of repaving the City Hall parking lot at 49045 Pontiac Trail. On August 27th, a subcontractor dump truck exited the lot, turning left onto Pontiac Trail, without lowering the truck’s bed. That resulted in a collision with the traffic signal and street sign arm for westbound Pontiac Trail at Center Boulevard. The arm was spun to face away from westbound Pontiac Trail. The electrical wiring was apparently damaged as a result, leaving the signals inoperative and ineffective and leaving the City with an unsafe situation. City Manager Steven Brown formally thanked the Road Commission for Oakland County for its prompt response in a letter. He says crews quickly appeared on scene and got the remaining signals functioning in a way to minimize the impact on traffic and safety the same afternoon. Given the electrical problems, Brown said he had anticipated the repair would take days. Instead, he says crews were on site quickly the next day and had completed repairs and restored the signal to safe operation within hours. In the end, the situation was back to normal in just over 24 hours. Brown said he found the turnaround time fantastic and the City of Wixom certainly appreciates the prompt, and effective, action on the problem. He says it was important for both safety and traffic flow reasons and road commission staff certainly treated it that way. He thanked everyone involved for a truly efficient and prompt response to the local problem. (JM)

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    A water tower will be undergoing some maintenance in the City of South Lyon. Beginning Tuesday, September 4th, the South Lyon Water Department advises that it will be taking the water tower out of service for approximately 4-6 weeks. The scheduled maintenance work will include washing, sandblasting, painting and other safety upgrades to the water tower. Under normal conditions, the water tower supplies water and maintains continuous pressure throughout the City. During the maintenance period, the water department will be utilizing a special type of motor controller on its high service pumps to maintain water service and pressure. Officials caution customers that they may experience slight pressure fluctuations at peak times of the day. Although they don’t anticipate any disruption, they ask for cooperation in conserving water whenever possible. Any customers with questions should contact the South Lyon Water Department at 248-437-4006. (JM)

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    Another busy Labor Day weekend is anticipated on the roads and Livingston County residents are reminded to stay safe if traveling. With relatively stable gas prices and an improving economy, Labor Day tends to be the last hurrah for many in wrapping up summer and getting in that one last time on the water or closing up cabins. AAA Michigan is projecting that more than one million Michiganders will be traveling for the Labor Day holiday weekend. Since most travel by vehicle, the typical traffic congestion can be expected on roads and freeways depending when people head out. AAA spokeswoman Susan Hiltz says it’s traditionally the third most traveled holiday of the summer season. With congestion expected on roads and freeways and people hurrying to get in or out of town, law enforcement agencies will be stepping up patrols throughout the holiday weekend. Additionally, motorists will still encounter some active work zones but many construction restrictions will be lifted. Labor Day is typically the final summer holiday before many parents prepare for the start of another busy school season. However, this year most Livingston County school districts started early. Hiltz tells WHMI the school schedule does have an impact on travel but parents will make a decision on what’s good for their family. She says they do understand that once school has started already and children are kind of getting into a schedule and their sleeping mode, sometimes families don’t want to go away on a vacation. Hiltz says instead, they might decide to do a stay-cation closer to home, which could be easier and not get kids off track so much. She reminds that AAA starts it’s “School’s Open, Drive Safely” safely campaign right after the Labor Day holiday and drivers need to be more alert. Meanwhile, gas prices are up about 40-50cents over last year but have somewhat stabilized. Hiltz noted motorists traditionally see a bit of an increase during the holiday period itself, which is defined from Friday to Monday for most but some try to get an early start Thursday to avoid traffic jams. She says AAA is going back to basics when it comes to traffic safety, encouraging motorists to buckle up, obey speed limits, ditch distractions and wear a helmet whether riding an ATV, motorcycle or a bicycle. (JM)

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    A Pinckney woman bitten by a rattlesnake could be facing hefty hospital bills. 61-year-old Laura Bowen was bitten on her leg August 20th by an Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake in her yard. She had been cleaning out her garage and was walking back and forth between her garage and home. Bowen ended up spending four days in a hospital and received a total of ten vials of anti-venom. She went back and forth between the hospital and home after blood tests revealed she needed more of the anti-venom. Neighbors reportedly helped find the snake and relocated it away from her home. Bowen came home for good Monday but is now faced with questions surrounding the potential insurance claim. The claim has not been processed yet but Bowen said each vial of anti-venom is $3,000. That means if the claim is not covered, she’ll be facing a bill of more than $30,000 for treatment of the snake bite. The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is Michigan's only venomous snake. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says “although many people have an innate fear of massasaugas, it is actually a secretive, docile snake that strikes humans only when it feels threatened and cornered.” (JM)

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    Demolition of an unsafe structure is proceeding Friday in the City of Howell. City Council earlier awarded a demolition contract for the house and garage structure at 816 McPherson, which was earlier deemed unsanitary and uninhabitable. The City began dangerous building procedures last year and the condemnation process proceeded through the local court system. Environmental remediation was deemed not necessary and the final step is now demolition. Howell City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI the City deemed the house to be unsafe and it was ultimately condemned. He says Council awarded the contract a few meetings ago and the contractor is now ready to move so they’ll begin the demolition process this Friday. He noted the physical demolition won’t take long but the clean-up of the site will take a few days. The demolition contract was awarded to the low bidder, TLS Construction, for an amount not to exceed $19,500. The cost of demolition will be attached to the property. The owner has been notified of the pending demolition multiple times and will be given a final opportunity to enter the property. (JM)

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    Livingston County is encouraging recycling and waste reduction with grants for local municipalities looking to take part in supporting programs. The Livingston County Solid Waste Management Plan promotes the continuation of existing programs, as well as new or improved programs, that focus on recycling and long-term waste reduction by offering Solid Waste Challenge Grants to area units of government. $15,000 in funding was set aside in the county’s budget in 2018 and five communities applied for the grants, including Brighton, Hamburg, Hartland, Marion, and Oceola Townships. The requested amounts range between approximately $1,000 to $2,700. The townships’ request for the funds came before a county subcommittee Monday and was granted. Officials say the waste reduction programs that would be funded through the grants include spring clean-up events and drop off recycling sites, which have been found to reduce illegal dumping and neighbor junk complaints successfully by providing residents the means to properly dispose of unwanted items. The City of Howell and Recycle Livingston had also applied for the Challenge Grants, with plans to apply the funding to construction of a new Volunteer Center. DPW Coordinator Robert Spaulding and the Solid Waste Management Committee are still evaluating the request and deciding how to proceed, as Recycle Livingston is facing some dramatic changes due to the costs associated with foreign markets that are now closed to United States recyclers because of poor standards stateside. (DK)

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    The Livingston County United Way says its 17th annual Day of Caring was a huge success. The one-day community improvement blast was held August 15th and helps residents of all ages, as well as area nonprofits and schools. The focus of the Day of Caring is to improve lives, help area residents remain independent, and support the efforts of the organizations who serve the community. 1,216 volunteers completed 130 projects, including fixing up homes of local families and seniors, cleaning and gardening at local schools, and supporting the efforts of community non-profits. This year, the Brighton Rotary Raiders helped to build three ramps at the homes of residents needing increased mobility options. There was also increased engagement from local sports teams and high school students. Organizers say Diane Duncan, first year Day of Caring coordinator, did a fantastic job organizing the event along with two co-chairs, Piet Lindhout and Jeff Blagg, a great committee, and volunteer University of Michigan intern Alais Murillo. Officials say there was another first for this year’s event. Participants from Special Ministries joined the lunchtime picnic and danced along with members of the Dance Project. Over 600 volunteers were fed, either at the picnic or their volunteer worksite. (JM)

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    A road closure starts tomorrow in Unadilla Township until further notice, due to structural problems with a bridge. Bowdish Road between Jaycox Road and Worden Road will be closed to through traffic starting Friday. The closure is required due to significant deterioration in the support structure of the bridge over Portage Creek. It’s located right where Ingham, Jackson, and Washtenaw County meet and currently carries about 100 cars per day. The Livingston County Road Commission says it is evaluating possible replacement options, including complete removal of the bridge. However, no schedule for replacement has been identified at this time. Managing Director Mike Craine tells WHMI the bridge has had load restrictions for a while and the wood piling has reached its life expectancy. Motorists are advised to seek an alternate route as no detour has been posted. (JM)

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    Ghosts of Fenton’s past will be inhabiting a local cemetery for an event that will take families on a walk through the city’s history.The annual Oakwood Cemetery History Walk is scheduled for Saturday, September 8th, from 1pm until 4, or when the last tour ends. Groups will depart throughout the afternoon on a guided tour through the grounds stopping at several gravesites along the way. Posted at these graves will members of the Fenton Village Players portraying important figures from Fenton’s past. For example visitors will get to meet with Dexter and Bryson Horton, who fought in the Civil War and Spanish-American War, respectively. Attendees will also “meet” First Lieutenant Thad Johnson who was a World War I pilot and has connections to Charles Lindbergh. Oakwood Cemetery Board Chairman Doug Tebo said there will also be a treat for the people who want to peek inside a vault. Family members from two different mausoleums will be present to open them up for those people curious about what they look like inside. The event is scheduled rain or shine. The History Walk is free to the public, but pets are not allowed on the cemetery grounds. This event is being sponsored by the Fenton Historical Society, the Fenton Memorials, and the city of Fenton. (MK)

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    Nearly a year after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in a sexual assault case involving a former Howell business owner, a date has been set for a local hearing. 53-year-old David Price III, former owner of the now-closed Hog Wild BBQ and Catering in Howell, was charged in 2016 with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct involving two separate cases. The case became bogged down, however, after a ruling to exclude evidence in his case was challenged by the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office. That challenge went to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which ruled last October that Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty did not engage in the proper legal analysis when deciding the motion to exclude the prior acts because he had failed to determine if they were “relevant to the existence of a scheme or plan” related to Price’s alleged intent to use his position as employer to perpetuate a sexual assault while controlling the surroundings to gain “the element of surprise.” The case was then remanded back to Hatty to decide the motion based on the proper legal standard. But only recently was a court date finally set in the case, which will go before Judge Hatty September 7th for a final settlement conference. Price was charged after two 20-year-old women alleged he assaulted them soon after they started work at the restaurant. The first alleged assault occurred in November 2014, with the second in August of 2015. Authorities say DNA evidence gathered after the first assault matches Price. He claims the sex in both instances was consensual. (JK)

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    The football field at Howell High School’s Memorial Stadium has been officially renamed in honor of a long time coach. Former Howell Varsity Football Head Coach John Dukes was honored in a ceremony preceding the Highlander’s home opener Thursday night. Dukes, a lifelong Howell resident, has ties going back to 1963 when he served as their waterboy. A 4-year player while in high school, he came back to Howell after college, and took over the head coaching job in 1975. He led the green and gold for 25 years, winning 161 games, while also teaching physical education and science for 35. Coach Dukes said, “I think the thing I am most proud of is that I got to coach and teach some great men, and coach some outstanding young men who happened to be pretty good football players. But it’s the relationships you have with your players is what’s most important. The wins and losses…the wins are nice, but the most important thing is the relationships you have with those people.” Howell Public School Superintendent Erin MacGregor spoke to the packed stands about Dukes’ being a counsellor, coach, teacher, and leader. Board of Education Vice President Brent Earl played for Dukes in the ‘80s and shared a collection of words he and other former players associate with the coach. Integrity came up the most often. Another former player, Bill Chopp, said Dukes was a big, positive influence in his life. Chopp told WHMI, “He was one of the first people who believed in me for the talent I had and kind of fostered it. And when you’re a kid, that’s what you’re looking for- someone who believes in you. And that’s who Coach Dukes was for myself.” Dukes thanked his wife and children for their support. He said that an honor like this isn’t something you think is going to happen, but that it has, is an honor and he feels truly humbled by it. (MK)

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    A retired judge has filed a motion to disqualify an out-of-county judge to hear his request for a grand jury to investigate alleged misdeeds by Judge Theresa Brennan. Former 44th Circuit Court Judge Daniel Burress had requested a grand jury look into issues surrounding Brennan’s admitted relationship with former State Police Detective Sean Furlong, the chief prosecution witness in a 2013 double-murder trial that she presided over and resulted in the conviction and life sentence of Jerome Kowalski. Those actions are currently the subject of a State Police criminal investigation and Judicial Tenure Commission complaint. Livingston County Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh asked the State Court Administrative Office in June to assign a judge from another county to hear the grand jury request, saying rulings from Circuit Court Judge David Reader were improper once he recused himself from hearing the case. The case was then assigned to Eaton County Circuit Judge John Maurer. Buress has characterized the entire process as “judge shopping at the highest level “and on Thursday filed a motion to disqualify Maurer saying he has no jurisdiction to hear the case because Judge Cavanaugh’s decision to move it out of the county violated an administrative order that she herself signed just days before. That order stipulated that once a judge disqualified themselves from hearing a case, all other available local judges should be given an opportunity to take the case. The chief reason cited by Judge Cavanaugh in her decision to send the case out of the county was Judge Reader’s appointment of Howell Attorney Tom Kizer as Special Prosecutor for the grand jury, noting that Kizer was a long-time critic of Judge Brennan and had served as the attorney for Brennan’s ex-husband in their 2017 divorce. While the Judicial Tenure Commission complaint could remove Brennan from the bench, Burress contends the investigations have taken far too long and that a citizen grand jury is “exactly the remedy needed to solve inaction by elected and appointed officials who fail to do their jobs they were put in office and paid to perform.” (JK)

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    Local businesses are encouraged to take part in a new Business to Business Expo coming up soon in Howell. The second Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Business to Business Expo is coming up Tuesday, September 11th. The event will take place from 9am until 11:30am at the Cleary University Johnson Center. The expo is being targeted to all area purchasing managers and decision makers who may work for, or run a business that offers products and services to other businesses. The Howell Area Chamber is hoping to use this event as a way to create a stronger local business community by encouraging attendees to shop local and purchase local. Admission is free for visitors, and all attendees will have the opportunity to take part in raffles and giveaways. The Great Foodini Renee Chodkowski will be there to do a Workplace Wellness Food Tips & Tricks demo. The first 5 guests who register will also get free headshots from Richard Lim Photography, with special pricing offered to everyone else throughout the morning. For more information, contact the Howell chamber at www.howell.org. To register your business to be an exhibitor at the expo, visit http://howell.chambermaster.com/events/details/business-to-business-expo-7543 (MK)

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    The man charged in the brutal stabbing death of a former Pinckney woman has been found competent to stand trial following 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. In July, Sims-Scott was referred to the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry to undergo a mental evaluation to determine whether he was competent to stand trial. At a follow-up hearing Thursday in Washtenaw County District Court, a preliminary exam was set for September 26th. 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 Brighton Township family is safe after a fire this morning severely damaged their home. Brighton Fire Chief Mike O'Brian says they were called out shortly after 6:20am to the home in the 3000 block of Hilton Estates, off of Hilton Road, just west of Old US-23. O'Brian says when they were about a mile away they could already see heavy smoke and by the time they arrived on the scene, heavy fire had already swept through the garage and was spreading into the house. The occupants of the home had already self-evacuated, although one person was treated for smoke inhalation and transported to a medical facility. Because there are no hydrants in the area, the Lyon Township, South Lyon and Hartland Area Fire Departments were called in to help truck water to the scene. O'Brian says it took about 20 minutes to get the flames under control and another 30 minutes to overhaul the scene. He said the home had working smoke detectors, but because the fire started in the garage, it was well established before the smoke triggered them. The house is uninhabitable but that there is nothing at the time to indicate it was suspicious in nature. (JK)

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    A ‘Do Not Eat’ fish advisory has been expanded for the Huron River, now stretching all the way to Lake Erie. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued the expanded advisory for all fish in the Huron River in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. Testing has detected per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances - known PFAS and PFOS chemicals. MDHHS Spokeswoman Angela Minicuci tells WHMI the advisory for the Huron River starts where North Wixom Road crosses in Oakland County and extends all the way down to Lake Erie in Wayne County. The advisory includes: Norton Creek (Oakland County) Hubbell Pond, also known as Mill Pond (Oakland County) Kent Lake (Oakland County) Ore Lake (Livingston County) Strawberry & Zukey Lake (Livingston County) Gallagher Lake (Livingston County) Loon Lake (Livingston County) Whitewood Lakes (Livingston County) Base Line & Portage Lakes (Livingston/Washtenaw County line) Barton Pond (Washtenaw County) Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County) Argo Pond (Washtenaw County) Ford Lake (Washtenaw County) Bellville Lake (Wayne County) The “do not eat” fish advisory was originally issued for a portion of the Huron River on August 4th. Last week, Minicuci says they received additional surface water data which indicated high levels of P-FOS, so a further fish advisory was issued. Then this week, she says they received data from additional fish sampling that indicated high levels of PFOS in additional water bodies, which resulted in the extension. Fish fillet data from Base Line Lake on the Livingston/Washtenaw County line and Argo Pond located downstream from Kent Lake were found to have high PFOS levels. Additionally, high PFOS surface water levels were found upstream of Kent Lake. Minicuci says they’re recommending that no fish from that river be consumed, noting the big concern with PFAS chemicals is when they are ingested. She stresses they don’t have any concerns about swimming or other recreation but rather ingesting and swallowing the water on a regular basis. She says an occasional swallow of river or lake water is not considered a health concernShe says if someone is in the river and gets some in their mouth, it’s not a concern – it’s really when it’s being used as a drinking source that’s of concern. Minicuci says it’s hard to say how long the chemicals have been in the water or fish, without having more information about a source. Minicuci says a lot of the science around what types of health impacts might be associated with PFAS are pretty minimal. However, there have been some associations with thyroid issues and increased risks of cancer, such as prostate cancer. She says it’s more of a long term concern and they recommend that anyone with concerns talk to their health care provider. Minicuci says they recommend that any time someone is going fishing that they check their local guidelines to see what type of recommendations may be in place, which is a good rule of thumb any time someone plans to consume the fish they catch. She notes the advisory will continue to evolve as more data is received. More information is available through the link. (JM)

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    The Democratic candidate for Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor will speak at an upcoming event for the Livingston County Democratic Party. Fresh off his nomination at the Michigan Democratic Party state convention, the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor will be visiting Livingston County. Garlin Gilchrist II will speak at the Livingston County Democratic Party’s Fall Fest on Saturday, September 8th, at the Howell Nature Center. Gilchrist, a Detroit Native and former political organizer for Moveon.org, ran for Detroit city clerk in 2017 on a platform calling for easier access to voting, more early voting and new polling places in the city. Gilchrist graduated from the University of Michigan where he majored in computer science, went on to work as a software engineer at Microsoft and then left to work with Moveon.org. He managed social media for President Barack Obama’s campaign and then returned home to Detroit in 2014 to direct the office of Innovation and Emerging Technology for the city of Detroit. He now is the executive director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan. Gilchrist joins Elissa Slotkin, Democratic candidate for 8th District Congress, as speakers at the Fall Fest. Doors open at noon, and lunch will be served beginning at 2pm. More information can be found at the link below. Facebook photo.

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    Changes have been finalized to water and sewer tap in fees in the City of Howell. The Howell City Council adopted an ordinance amendment modifying the City’s water and sewer tap in rates. The water and sewer capital connection charges were formulated based on a study conducted by Utility Financial Solutions. It was affirmed that there are currently no outstanding requests and there will be no retroactive charges. Community Development Director Tim Schmitt noted the fees are based on exponential growth of flow, but are still significantly lower than surrounding communities for single family residential properties and continue to be competitive for new developers. City Manager Shea Charles described it as an evolving rate structure relying more on usage fees than on tap fees, and tap fees have not increased in 16 or 17 years. He added that there has also been a decrease in water usage REU’s due to water saving devices. (JM)

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    After a successful summer campaign, the Salvation Army is gearing up for fall and winter programming. The Salvation Army of Livingston County is sending out a thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who donated their time and talents to their many programs this summer. The Summer Lunch Bunch served thousands of meals to kids who may have gone without while also giving them a fun and educational way to spend an afternoon. Because of volunteer efforts, the food pantry now has regular hours, whereas in the past residents needed to schedule an appointment. The Salvation Army’s Echo Grove Summer Camp ran 30 sessions ranging from 3 days at time up to a full week. For $15 to $30, children were offered camping experiences that included sports, music, water activities, crafts, and team building. The Pathways of Hope initiative provided counseling, education, and resources that helped several families become self-reliant. A single mother found housing through the program, while another parent secured a job that pays enough to support their family. Now, as autumn approaches, the Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance planning begins. Donations and volunteers are being sought to make the upcoming fall and winter as successful as summer has been. Red Kettle sponsorship opportunities are now open with limited locations. Proteins and personal care items are still needed for the food pantry. For more information on volunteering or donating items, visit www.salvationarmylivingston.org, or call Nikki Moor at (517) 295-4342. Donations may also be mailed to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 647, Howell, MI 48844, or dropped off in person at the Corps Community Center located at 503 Lake Street, in Howell. (MK)

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    It will be next year before a lawsuit against Hartland Consolidated Schools filed by a former administrator will finally get in front of a jury. Tracey Sahouri sued the district in 2012, alleging it violated the Whistleblower Protection Act when it removed her as principal from Creekside Elementary School. Sahouri claims her removal as principal and re-assignment to a teaching position was in retaliation for reporting “irregularities” in how the district administered state-mandated student achievement tests. The district contends Sahouri’s re-assignment was based on the conclusions of a state report that determined teachers at Creekside improperly gained access to material from the tests. Discussions over a possible settlement in the case have failed and a trial that had been scheduled in Genesee County Circuit Court for this past Tuesday was adjourned because the date coincided with the beginning of a new school year and officials felt it could be disruptive since the suit involves teachers and administrators. It has now been rescheduled for March 5th of 2019. (JK)

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