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Articles on this Page
- 09/07/18--14:53: _Fowlerville Native ...
- 09/08/18--04:23: _Poor Attendance Pla...
- 09/08/18--05:24: _Annual 9-11 Remembr...
- 09/08/18--06:00: _Motorists Urged To ...
- 09/08/18--06:30: _Charyl Stockwell St...
- 09/09/18--05:06: _Applicants Sought F...
- 09/09/18--05:46: _Highland Township M...
- 09/08/18--07:27: _Pair Sentenced In S...
- 09/09/18--10:20: _Brighton Ready to H...
- 09/09/18--09:03: _Brighton Council OK...
- 09/09/18--23:26: _Crossroads Group Of...
- 09/10/18--01:48: _Theis Legislation T...
- 09/10/18--02:45: _Hearing Set On Moti...
- 09/10/18--04:18: _Local DAV Changes C...
- 09/10/18--05:41: _Free Screening Of N...
- 09/10/18--06:30: _Livingston County B...
- 09/10/18--06:40: _James Will Headline...
- 09/10/18--08:21: _Howell Chamber Name...
- 09/11/18--00:33: _ESPN to Present Awa...
- 09/11/18--01:51: _City Of Howell Proa...
- 09/10/18--08:21: Howell Chamber Names New PresidentHowell Chamber Names New President
A local serviceman has been awarded one the stateâs top honors.
Senior Airman Caleb L. Jenkins of Fowlerville was recently honored as the State Airman of the Year during the annual Pass in Review ceremony at Camp Grayling. He was chosen out of a pool of over 2,000 airmen from across the state. Jenkins, who is stationed at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County, is assigned to the 191st Operations Support Squadron.
Jenkins was honored with the award in part due to his service in the Middle East as an Intel Analyst supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, which involved military intervention against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Operation Resolute Support, which helped to train Afghan military forces.
Jenkins graduated summa cum laude with a bachelorâs degree from Eastern Michigan University in 2017, majoring in political science and minoring in military science and leadership. His parents, Gerry and Jill Jenkins, are lifelong Fowlerville residents.
Pictured with Jenkins are the commander of the Michigan Air National Guard Major General Leonard Isabelle (right) and Command Chief Master Sergeant Trever Slater. (MK/JK)
Few people showed for a medical marijuana education forum that aimed to focus on compliance and changes to the law.
After cancelling last yearâs forum when nobody showed up, this yearâs event held by the Livingston County Sheriffâs Office and Livingston County Prosecutorâs Office was more of a conversation between law enforcement and Democratic candidates for County Commission. Kacey Helton, Kristina Drake, and Alex Hansen made up the bulk of the attendance that also included one representative from the Livingston County Community Alliance and one from Livingston Catholic Charities.
Lieutenant Eric Sanborn and County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt updated the candidates on changes made by the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, in the past year. Chief among those are medical conditions added to be allowed. Among those are arthritis, autism, Parkinson âs disease, Touretteâs, and chronic pain. Chronic pain actually accounts for 93% of medical marijuana cards issued. Not added to the list were those suffering from anxiety, asthma, a brain injury, depression, diabetes, or non-severe chronic pain.
When Sanborn was asked how easy the current laws are to enforce, he said the ambiguity of it makes it difficult. He said, like any other law, theyâre out there to enforce it, but they arenât out there hunting anybody or knocking on doors doing spot checks. He and other officers shared that itâs people drawing attention to themselves for other potential crimes as being when their non-compliance on marijuana laws often come to surface.
Vailliencourt was asked if he had information on the number of patients and caregivers in Livingston County. He said by the most recent report, there are 4,234 patients and 693 caregivers.
As for the repeated poor attendance the Lieutenant said they possibly could have done a better job promoting the event. Candidate Drake said that the event was definitely more open and welcoming than she anticipated with it being run by law enforcement. She suggested that if it was run by people not in uniform, it might have gotten a better turn out. She credited the Sheriff and Prosecutorâs Offices for still being open with them and thought the conversation was great. Candidate Helton echoed those thoughts, and added that in the future, they consider live streaming the forum so that people who are homebound can participate. (MK)
Local first responders, public safety officials and the community at large will gather for a ceremony next week to mark the events of September 11th, 2001.
The Brighton Area Fire Authority will host its annual 9-11 remembrance ceremony at the main fire station on Grand River next Tuesday. Local public safety officials will recap and talk about the events before a wreath laying ceremony. The 9-11 ceremony starts at 6:30pm and is open to the public. Those attending should plan on arriving early to give themselves time to find parking. Handicap parking will be available on site.
Individuals are encouraged to bring chairs as seating is limited and to dress appropriately, as the ceremony is held outside. In the event of rain, it will be moved inside. (JK)
The Road Commission Oakland County is imploring motorists to pay attention and slow down after a car plowed through another work zone.
Officials say for the third time in less than a month, an incident on Friday involved a careless driver who put road commission employees at risk while working near a busy road. Fridayâs incident took place on M-59 east of Williams Lake Road in Waterford Township. Officials say fortunately no one was hurt but a car drove into the barreled-off work zone, scattering barrels but luckily missing staff and equipment.
This follows an incident this past Wednesday in which a driver slammed into a Road Commission pickup truck on M-5 in Farmington Hills causing the truck to flip over and sending two road commission employees to the hospital. One remains hospitalized. Officials say on August 20th, a semi plowed into the back of a road commission truck in a work zone on I-96 near Milford Road in Lyon Township.
The Road Commission is imploring motorists to slow down and be aware that there are men and women in the work zones, adding when driving, it is imperative drivers watch their surroundings and slow down in work zones. Officials say working near traffic is a difficult job, and the last thing they want to see is road workers put at risk by careless drivers. (JM)
Students in the inaugural class of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy have begun their final year of studies in the prestigious program.
CSPA is the only International Baccalaureate World School in Livingston County. After five years of research, planning and training, efforts paid off and CSPA was granted the status of IB World School in November 2016. The first IB classes were offered in September 2017. 35 seniors are currently on track to earn their full IB Diploma in June 2019 and 75 juniors will begin their IB course work. The IB Diploma Programme is recognized worldwide as the most rigorous course of study for secondary students. Lisa Pick, CSA District Director of Curriculum and Instruction and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, says IB course work requires students to make connections across subjects. She says such connections are real life, linking student learning of their local community, their country and the world.
Students in the IB Program take course work in six academic areas including English, history, science, math, a world language (Spanish or German) and the arts. In addition, IB courses in music, drama, biology, chemistry, math and math studies are offered. Students also take a Theory of Knowledge class that is designed to help them understand how their thinking and understanding shape how they see the world. The IB Programme culminates with students taking IB exams and submitting their extended essay, which is a scholarly research paper. Further details about the program can be found in the attached press release. (JM)
The Livingston County Sheriffâs Office is seeking applicants for a Citizens Academy.
The Academy will be starting up November 1st. Classes will be held on Thursdays, from roughly 5:30/6pm to 8pm, with the exception of one class that will be on a Saturday. The majority of the classes will be at the Livingston County EMS headquarters building, but a few will be at the Livingston County Sheriffâs Office. The Academy will cover a variety of areas including patrol operations and tactics, use of force, traffic stops, victim services, traffic enforcement and accident reconstruction and a tour of the new Livingston County Jail.
A complete course outline and application are attached. (JM)
The search is continuing two months later for a Highland Township man who went missing from the Electric Forest Music Festival.
28-year-old Kevin Graves was last seen the evening of July 1st. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office is investigating, along with the Michigan State Police Hart Post. Family members say extensive searches have been conducted of the 1,000-acre Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, where the festival was held. Volunteers assisted, along with members of Shiawassee Search and Rescue. His parents reside in Howell and say thereâs been no activity on his cellphone or credit card.
The family is now at somewhat of a crossroads, saying they are not giving up but donât know where else to search or what to do. Some tips have been received but nothing panned out. The family is still offering a $10,000 reward for credible information and a Facebook page is titled âHelp Us Find Kevin Gravesâ. Authorities earlier said Graves was at the festival with his girlfriend but they got into an argument and he indicated he was going back to the tent to rest but was not there later.
Graves is described as a white male with blond hair and blue eyes, standing about 6 feet tall and weighing 185 pounds. Anyone with information about Graves' whereabouts is asked to contact the Oakland County Sheriff's Office at 248-858-4950, Michigan State Police Hart Post 231-873-2171 or Mason-Oceana Central Dispatch 231-869-5858. (JM)
Sentencing has been handed down to two men that broke into a storage unit in Hartland Township.
Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh sentenced 22-year-old Nicholas Cashero and his cousin, 19-year-old Kenneth Helbig, Thursday in Livingston County Circuit Court. Cashero had previously pleaded guilty to 17 felonies and Helbig had pleaded guilty to 21 felony counts, both connected to the June 17th incident.
Cashero was sentenced to a minimum of 30 months to a maximum of ten years in prison, which runs concurrent to a sentence of 81 days that he has already served. Helbig was sentenced to 82 days of boot camp and 36 months of probation. The pair must pay $1,389 in joint restitution, though Helbig is solely responsible for an additional $824.52.
Cashero, whoâs from Livonia, and Helbig from River Rouge, were caught by Livingston County Sheriffâs deputies breaking into storage units in Hartland Township and stealing property from inside. Deputies had been responding to an alarm at Livingston Concrete when they heard loud noises coming from Best Self Storage, which is located directly to the north. Deputies spotted the pair and requested additional units that responded and converged on the suspects.
Cashero was taken into custody after a minor physical altercation, while Helbig fled on foot. He was later apprehended during a traffic stop as he attempted to flee the area. (DK)
Although long-range weather forecasting is an inexact science, predictions for the coming winter are calling for warmer temperatures than last year, with the same - or less - snow. Brighton Dept. Of Public Works Director Marcel Goch says the Brighton DPW will be ready for the white stuff with the new trucks recently purchased and a repaired salt dome.
Goch says the salt dome roof at the DPW center on Third St. experienced dry rot last winter and had broken shingles, and has been replaced with a new roof. Goch says the new roof cost about $13,600. The city spread about 1,800 tons of salt on the cityâs roads and streets last winter, and that amount could easily be equaled this coming winter. Goch says with the recent purchase of new trucks the city should be even better able to handle anything that comes along.
Council also approved purchase of a new mini-excavator which will replace a cemetery backhoe and a Bobcat skidloader. He says the city has been offered a tradeâin value of $29,500 for the backhoe to be replaced, so the cityâs final cost will be just $22,000. The new excavator will have many uses including concrete and asphalt removal, sidewalk, and storm repairs. He says it will also prevent the need to rent an excavator, such as the city had to do three times in the last year because it lacked such equipment. (TT)
The Brighton City Council has approved removal of a deed restriction which prohibited a theater for the former Beverly Raeâs building on West Main, next to the Mill Pond. Marcus and Amy Goller plan to open a coffee house and part-time theater at that location. As part of the motion, council also approved an outdoor patio. The property was recently the center of a legal dispute in which Beverly Raes store owners Tom and Deborah Carley, who were tenants, said they had a valid lease on the property to the year 2020.
The legal dispute was not discussed at the meeting, city officials having said previously the dispute was between the tenant and landlord. After the legal case was settled the Carleys agreed to relocate, and Beverly Raes is now situated across Main St. in a former furniture store next to the former Downtown Brighton Martini Bar & Grille. Coincidentally, the martini bar was also recently forced out in a landlord-tenant conflict which â in that case â involved an increase in the lease rate.
Bohn said it he thought it odd that the problems presented by the deed restrictions hadnât come up previously in discussions before both the City Council and Planning Commission. To that, Community Development Manager Mike Caruso replied that the deed restrictions werenât discovered until staff went through the permitting process.
Bohn said council needed to look at the site plan to see what the proposed patio would look like because of the small amount of green space at the site, which is only separated from the Mill Pond sidewalk by a grassy area. Council was told by Caruso that the site plan was unavailable, but he would e-mail them a sketch of the planned changes. Neither the Gollers nor the owner were at the meeting. Bohn was told the owner plans to make the site more aesthetically pleasing with landscaping.
Council was also informed that since the planned patio is on private property, the owner can make whatever changes he wants, as long as they comply with city ordinances. Bohn, who had previously expressed concerns about the effect on parking on that side of downtown, voted no on the motion.
The city itself had put the deed restrictions on the site back in 1984 when it sold the property â which the city owned â for $122,000. The Gollers plan on a coffeehouse on the ground floor and holding dancing lessons for children on the second floor. Childrenâs dancing lessons are also planned for the patio in good weather. (TT)
Environmental issues and the upcoming November election will be the focus of a program in Brighton later this month.
The Crossroads Group of the Sierra Club is presenting âPolitics of the Environmentâ, which will focus on the races and candidates that voters in the area will see on the ballot in November. The featured speakers will be Legislative/Political Director Mike Berkowitz with the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club, as well as Political Committee Chair Richard Barron. Theyâll talk about the various positions up for grabs in the mid-term election and where various candidates at the state and federal level stand on environmental issues and environmental justice.
Lee Burton is chair of the local group and tells WHMI a lot rides on elections. He says the club is strictly non-partisan but does endorse political candidates, stressing all final decisions are based on environmental stance. He says they will send out questionnaires to political candidates, ask if theyâll meet with club representatives, and then endorse candidates that support environmental issues. Burton says the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline is a serious environmental issue, as is renewable energy. He says gerrymandering is considered an environmental justice issue so that people can be properly represented, along with another ballot measure trying to expand absentee ballot and make it easier to register to vote. As for the Crossroads Group, Burton says the local environmental organization represents Livingston County and some surrounding area. He says itâs simply a group of people who live in the area and are concerned about the environment that take opportunities to get out and enjoy nature but also protect natural resources.
The upcoming âPolitics of the Environmentâ program will be held at the Brighton District Library on Wednesday, September 19th at 7pm. (JM)
A local lawmakerâs legislation designed to protect underage victims of sex crimes has been signed by Michiganâs governor.
State Representative Lana Theis on Friday welcomed two Livingston County teenagers who inspired her to introduce legislation improving protections for underage victims of sex crimes to Lansing for a bill-signing ceremony with Governor Rick Snyder. The new law requires permanent expulsion of any student convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another pupil enrolled in the same school district.
Brighton High School students Gianna Duva and Mya Zaplitny worked with Theis to develop a solution and testified in support of the measure throughout the legislative process, after becoming victims themselves. Theis introduced the legislation in response to a case in which a 16-year-old offender was charged with 31 felonies against multiple victims, including Duva and Zaplitny. The Brighton Township teen ultimately pleaded guilty to six of them, including 1st degree criminal sexual conduct.
While WHMI does not normally identify victims of sexual assault, we are in this instance because they have willingly identified themselves. Standing, from left, are Meghan Reckling, senior advisor to Rep. Theis; Rep. Theis; Mya Zaplitny; Myaâs mother Jacqueline Zaplitny; Gianna Duva; Giannaâs mother Ashley Howe; and State Rep. Sylvia Santana. (DK)
A hearing has been set to hear a motion to disqualify an out-of-county judge to hear a request for a grand jury to investigate alleged misdeeds by Judge Theresa Brennan.
Court records show that a September 21st hearing is set to hear the motion, filed by former 44th Circuit Court Judge Daniel Burress. He had requested a grand jury look into issues surrounding Brennanâs 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, who will preside over the September 21st hearing to decide if he should be disqualified from hearing the case. Burress has characterized the entire process as âjudge shopping at the highest level âand last month filed a motion to disqualify Maurer saying he has no jurisdiction to hear the case because Judge Cavanaughâs 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. Officials with the State Court Administrative Office insist that all rules and procedures are being followed.
The chief reason cited by Judge Cavanaugh in her decision to send the case out of the county was Judge Readerâs 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 Brennanâs ex-husband in their 2017 divorce. (JK)
A local veterans group is changing their title to honor the memory of one of the chapterâs founding fathers.
The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 125 in Howell, once known as the Reed J. Daparto Chapter 125, has changed its chapter name to the Donald R. Burgett Chapter 125. The DAV recently received approval from the National Headquarters of the Disabled American Veterans confirming the change, which pays tribute to Burgett, one of the founders of the chapter upon his return from WWII.
Burgett passed away just before his 92nd birthday in March of 2017; leaving behind a legacy that encapsulates the man often described as âlarger than lifeâ. Burgett, an Army paratrooper, participated in the opening operations of the Normandy Invasion. Burgett was a member of the 101st Airborne, A Company, 1st Battalion, 506th PIR and fought throughout the European theater, including Normandy on D-Day, the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden, and Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. He returned to the United States and lived almost his entire adult life in Howell. He later published four books, once of which was endorsed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and is considered a classic.
The DAV, local veterans, family and friends attended a Livingston County Board of Commissioners meeting last week to announce the chapterâs new name. Burgettâs daughter, Renee Burgett-Powell, told commissioners about her fatherâs love for the veteran community.She says her father was always so proud of being a paratrooper, adding that he was a paratrooper first and that meant that he was a veteran first. Renee says her father was ahead of his time, knowing there would be a need to keep the chapter alive when it was first founded, and "he did just that."
Don Burgett was interred last June at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly with full Military Honors. (DK)
A free screening of a non-partisan documentary about the effects the 2016 election had on several Michigan families is coming to Howell. Bridge Magazineâs 2018 Michigan Truth Tour is making a stop at the Historic Howell Theater on Friday, September 21st, at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. Howell is one of 100 communities being visited by the Truth Squad as they attempt to ensure all residents have equal access to the reliable information needed to vote.
The Tour is being brought locally through a collaboration between the League of Women Voters Brighton Howell Unit, the libraries in Howell, Brighton, Fowlerville, and Hartland, and the Livingston Diversity Council. League of Women Voters Chair Ellen Lafferty said she is excited to see the hour-long documentary, Michigan Divided, being shown that night. The film explores the divide created in the state from the 2016 election by following six families across political, socioeconomic, and racial lines throughout 2017. The Truth Tour Squad will then lead a discussion on the filmâs themes and have a question and answer session afterwards.
The League will also free voting guides available along with information on a pair of proposals they supporting on the November ballot. One is for redistricting to be done by an independent commission, and the other is in support of a constitutional amendment which will update the stateâs voting laws. On October 9th, the League is hosting a âproposal nightâ at the Howell Carnegie District Library for educational purposes involving these and other area proposals. They are also cohosting a general election candidate forum on October 18th. More information on the League can be found at https://lvwbrightonhowellarea.org. Visit Bridge Magazine at www.bridgemi.com. (MK)
Organizers for The Wall That Heals exhibit say the event was a huge success, with Livingston County setting the record for most attendees.
The Wall is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Over 12,000 people visited The Wall within three and a half days while it was on display at the Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy Airport the second to last week of August. Event Organizer Dale Brewer says thatâs the most visitors the replica memorial has had in any of the locations itâs been at while traveling the country this year. Brewer says this was the first time The Wall has come to Michigan and that Livingston County was the first to hold an Agent Orange Awareness Day and a prayer service.
Mark Kovach, Commander for the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 125 in Howell, attended the countyâs most recent Board of Commissioners meeting with a number of other veterans and people that helped with the exhibit. Brewer offered a summary of the event to commissioners, while Kovach and others shared profound memories they had made.
Kovach was volunteering when he met a 95-year-old woman who was searching for her sonâs name. Kovach, who recently lost his mother, helped the Gold Star mom who had never seen the exhibit before and therefore had never seen her sonâs name etched into The Wall. When they found his name, Kovach says the woman put her hand on it and started crying. Kovach told her, âMama, donât you worry. Heâs going to be there when you get there.â
Kovach says what also stood out to him was the communityâs welcome when The Wall arrived with its large escort that included the Sheriffâs Office, EMS, State Police, over 140 motorcyclists, 150 people that rode in cars and trucks, and a 72-passenger bus carrying veterans and their families. Kovach was on his motorcycle and says it brought tears to his eyes to see the thousands of community members that lined up along Grand River to welcome the group. Brewer says itâs questionable how successful the project wouldâve been without the support and help of volunteers and local agencies.
Brewer noted gifts that were left at The Wall by guests, including 66 roses, 44 carnations, 20 flower arrangements, over 50 American flags, more than 15 wreaths, five bracelets, notes and letters. At the Commissionersâ Tuesday meeting, Brewer, Kovach and others presented the board with a Wall That Heals flag signed by guests and local officials, plaques with a smaller version of the flag inside, and a memory box of some of the notes and letters that were left at The Wall. Commission Chair Don Parker says the items will be displayed in a prominent place where they are visible to the community. (DK)
The man seeking to unseat incumbent Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow will be keynote speaker at the Livingston County Republican Partyâs 2018 Reagan Day Dinner.
John James will headline the event, set for Tuesday, October 30th at Crystal Gardens in Genoa Township. James, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, is a West Point graduate and a combat veteran who served in Iraq as an Apache helicopter pilot. He is the president of his family-run business, a global provider of logistics support for Fortune 500 companies.
Other Republican candidates attending the dinner include Secretary of State Candidate Mary Treder Lang; 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop; State Representative Lana Theis, who is seeking the 22nd State Senate seat; State Representative Hank Vaupel and Brighton Township Clerk Ann Bollin, who is running for the 42nd State House seat.
Tickets are $60 per person. Those who purchase dinner tickets will have the opportunity to attend a candidate reception in the main dining hall before the dinner. Additional details are posted below. (JK)
The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce has named its new leader.
Janelle K. Best, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce, was named today as the new President for the Howell chamber, succeeding Pat Convery, who retired earlier this year after over 15 years as the organizationâs President & CEO.
Chamber officials say Best was chosen following a national search, with an emphasis on finding a candidate with Michigan and Great Lakes roots. Best was said to have stood out due to her, âleadership and dedication within a local chamber and community resulting in increased revenue, membership numbers and new successful events.â
As head of the Clarkston chamber, Best served on a number of community organizations and was also named as one of Oakland Countyâs Elite 40 under 40 earlier this year. Her first day as President of the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce will be Monday, October 22nd.
Jeff Rey, chair of the Chamberâs board of directors, called Best an âexperienced chamber leaderâ he was confident would be an âexcellent CEO to lead the Howell chamber in the future.â He also offered praise to Kim Esper, who had served the chamberâs interim President since Converyâs departure in early March. (JK)
A big celebration is planned next month to recognize Brighton High Schoolâs Brighton Unified team, its coaches, players, for being named one of five exemplary high schools in the nation.
The honor comes through the ESPN Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools' National Recognition Program. ESPN will arrive at the high school on Oct. 17th for two days of activities, among them a pep rally and an assembly. Brighton Area Schools Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI that at that time ESPN will present the award, and a national banner, to Brighton High School.
Gray says the occasion will be an opportunity for the Brighton Area Schools to demonstrate for ESPN what the district has accomplished, particularly in the area of inclusion of all students in its program.
Unified Champion Schools incorporate Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities that empower students to be agents of change in their communities. In the program, special education and regular education students work together to create supportive classrooms, school-wide activities and opportunities for growth and success for all.
The Brighton Unified squads play three sports: flag football, basketball and bocce ball. In the sports, special and regular education students play on the same team, and Gray says the camaraderie between students on the team - who may be very different in some ways - is evident. The program is now in its third year. Gray adds that the games draw huge crowds, and being part of the activities â whether as a spectator or playing on the team â is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. (TT)
The City of Howell is keeping ahead of the curve when it comes to work to determine if PFAS chemicals are present in water.
PFAS are a group of chemicals deemed an emerging contaminant on the national landscape. Theyâve been used for decades in many industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, waterproof clothing, upholstery, food paper wrappings, fire-fighting foams, and metal plating. Howell City Manager Shea Charles provided City Council with an update during Monday nightâs meeting on the situation â noting drinking water is completely safe but one company had issues and is mitigating the situation. He says with the state and area learning about the potential impact of PFAS chemicals and presence in drinking water, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been going through and testing different communities to make sure their systems are safe.
When issues first started to emerge about PFAS in the state, the Cityâs wastewater staff went worked to try and identify potential companies that may have had PFAS. The state put together an action plan to test water and wastewater systems throughout the state. A lot of communities are dealing with issues and testing was done over the summer. Charles said they got the results last week from state samples, as well as samples the City took. There are a couple of smaller wells that are not production wells but are also being tested. Those results should be back by end of September. Since so many are dealing with issues and testing, Charles said there is slow turnaround time for results and labs are slammed across the country.
On the drinking water side, tests came back non-detected so there was no presence of the chemicals, which Charles said they were pleased to see but not surprised given the location of the aquifer. On the wastewater side, Diamond Chrome Plating was identified as previously having used PFAS materials as part of their manufacturing process. The chemical processing company provides metal finishing services to various markets including government and defense, aerospace and aircraft and other commercial industries. Charles says results came back from the state and did show a presence of residual PFAS coming out that facility. He says the DEQ originally gave the company until October 15th to come into compliance of some sort and a plan to address issues. Charles says they were pleased to see the company moved ahead with that at end of August, which was about a month and a half ahead of schedule. Diamond Chrome has implemented a pre-treatment system.
Charles says they will continue to test and monitor the situation, and will continue to do going forward. As for the actual testing, wastewater was tested at the discharge point for the company and in the outfall area, which is where the water leaves the plant to see if PFAS were present. They were detected at the company and outfall side, which Charles says they were able to trace back and verify. He noted they are doing additional testing throughout the system, just to make sure itâs not going to show up anywhere else but they have a high degree of confidence it was just the single company.
The Cityâs wastewater team and staff were commended during the meeting. It was noted they actually got quite a bit of feedback from the MDEQ because the City was ahead of the curve in surveying companies and doing initial footwork and investigation in trying to determine if this was an issue. The City was out doing work before the DEQ had guidance, some of which pre-dated the state by a couple of months.
More information on PFAS chemicals is available through the link provided. (JM)