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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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    With approval by the Brighton Board of Education, the Brighton Police Dept. will now be able to conduct training exercises with a school bus. The board on Monday voted to approve the donation to the police dept. of a school bus that was no longer needed and scheduled to be auctioned off. Police Chief Rob Bradford says the bus is in drivable condition and the police dept. will be able to take it to various locations for training. This includes an active shooter training scenario on Oct. 7th at the GM Proving Grounds. All area police depts. in the county will be invited to attend and participate — the sheriff’s office, state police, and city, village and township police depts., along with fire depts. and other emergency First Responders. Brighton School Supt. Greg Gray tells WHMI the Brighton School District is only too happy to be of assistance in helping area police officers undergo such training. The school bus donated to the Brighton Police Dept. is a 2004 Blue Bird with 180,000 miles on it. The bus is in running condition, but is considered “obsolete”, according to Alice Johnson, director of transportation for the Livingston Educational Service Agency. Although the Brighton Area Schools owns its own fleet of buses, LESA is in charge of transporting students to and from school and hires the bus drivers. Police Chief Bradford says in addition to training first responders how to handle a school bus accident, the bus will be used for training in cases of an assaultive or unruly person on board or other types of disruptive or threatening situations. Bradford says the training can also be used for emergencies involving other types of buses, from those which transport workers to area manufacturing plants to party buses or Greyhound buses. Bradford expressed gratitude to the Brighton Area Schools for its donation of the school bus, which — when not in use — will be housed at the Brighton Schools' Transportation Center. (TT)

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    The North Second Street reconstruction project is progressing in the City of Brighton. The project includes replacement of sanitary sewer lines and water mains, concrete curb and gutter replacement, resurfacing of N. Second Street from Cross Street to Millpond Lane and new five foot sidewalks on each side of N. Second Street. In the most recent update, the City says its contractor has completed the replacement of sanitary sewer and has initiated water main replacement. The contractor anticipates beginning service leads and connections October 1st. Prep work for road building on the west side of N. Second Street has started at Walnut Street and contractors were to complete prep work up to Cross Street over the weekend. The City says sidewalk replacement along N. Second Street is anticipated to continue as the contractor progresses with the water main replacement. The approximately $2.2 million project is funded by both the City of Brighton and the City of Brighton Downtown Development Authority. The City’s Utility Reserves Fund has provided the funding for the utility work and the City of Brighton Downtown Development Authority has provided the funding for the street and related infrastructure work. Details and project updates can be found through the link provided. (JM)

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    Local officials are encouraging voter participation among individuals with disabilities or those in need of assistance, by working to ensure that all community members’ voices are heard. The “Accessible Voting For All” class was held at the Livingston Educational Service Agency last Tuesday, with about 45 people in attendance. The session was presented by the Abilities Alliance; a workgroup under the Livingston County Human Services Collaborative Body that aims to increase understanding, reduce stigma and provide opportunities to youth and adults by addressing challenges that may exist in the community. One area group leaders targeted was voting, as a lack of knowledge among voters or poll workers can make the voting experience difficult. Anne Richardson, Director of the Arc Livingston, says she was glad to learn that many of the participants in the class were already registered to vote and some had already done so in the August primary election. Richardson says the class discussed issues like how to use voting equipment, the process, citizens’ rights, what to expect, and why it’s important to vote. Richardson says when she asked the group why they thought it was important, she was impressed to learn that they already knew the answer: in order to pick officials you feel will best represent you and your needs. Abilities Alliance member Mark Hymes feels the class will go a long way in promoting voter participation. Hymes says he’s heard from other organizations and individuals that the voting experience can be problematic due to a lack of knowledge. Hymes felt the class was important to support residents’ civic duty, adding that “the more knowledgeable people are about it, the more apt they are to use it.” He also feels learning how to use the equipment is very easy, noting features that include voting options being read aloud and a user-friendly controller for the selection process. The state’s new voting equipment was implemented last year in the November election. County Clerk Betsy Hundley says one of her passions is helping those with disabilities and in need of voting assistance learn about the process to become participants. (DK)

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    Howell Public Schools has scheduled two community meetings to share information about its Securing Our Future Sinking Fund Millage proposal that will appear on the November ballot. The two meetings will provide an opportunity for the community to come and learn about the proposal that will appear on the November 6th ballot. Superintendent Erin MacGregor will make a presentation detailing the need, the plan and how the proposal will provide the district with funding for security upgrades and major building repairs with no expected tax rate increase. MacGregor tells WHMI there will be a roughly ten minute overview of the proposal, and then community members will be able to ask any questions they might have about the proposal. If passed, the millage would provide the district with approximately $1.3 (m) million dollars annually for the next ten years to fund security upgrades and perform major repair projects throughout the district. MacGregor tells WHMI a comprehensive ten-year capital needs plan identified some critical areas that need improvement, specifically centered on school security and building repairs. He says many items have simply reached their life span. Due to the district’s expected declining debt levy, the point-5 mill proposal is not expected to result in a tax increase for residents. Instead, it would freeze the current combined sinking fund and debt levy at 6.30 mills for the first year. After the first year, the total levy is expected to begin to decline with the district’s debt being paid off by 2029. The first of the two meetings will take place tomorrow at 6:30pm and then again on Tuesday, October 9th, also at 6:30pm. Both meetings will be held in the Howell Public Schools Board of Education Room, located at 411 North Highlander Way. Complete information about the Securing Our Future Sinking Fund Millage Proposal is available on the district’s website. That link is provided. (JM)

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    The owner of the former Lindbom Elementary School property in the City of Brighton will make a third attempt at developing the parcel, with a proposal up before the city’s Planning Commission tonight. Holly-based developer Pat Battaglia wants to build a new 210-unit senior housing complex on the site of the former school on State Street. To be called Brighton Village at the Mill Pond, it would utilize the existing school building as well as additional buildings on the site. According to site plans submitted to the city, the development would include units for independent living and assisted living along with memory care and activities centers. Originally closed by the district in 2010 due to declining enrollment, Lindbom was purchased in 2015 by Battaglia for $1.45 million, who originally planned to locate a charter school at the site. When that fell through after the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education declined to offer a charter, Battaglia then proposed a $30 million senior housing complex called Arcadia Village of Brighton. But that also fell through due to financing issues. Several residents who live near the shuttered school say they plan to attend tonight’s planning commission meeting to air their concerns about the development. One specific issue is a decades-old chemical plume that is emanating from an old industrial site located just north of the school and how further construction will affect that. There are also issues of whether the development would fit the city’s draft master plan for the area. The Brighton Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed senior housing complex tonight at 7pm. (JK)

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    The Brighton Area Schools’ new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction is hitting the ground running. Liz Mosher was the director of secondary education in the Plymouth-Canton School District in Wayne County before coming to Brighton. Prior to that, she was director of secondary education in the Huron Valley School District. Mosher replaces Laura Surrey, who left the district this summer after serving 17 years in various capacities. Surrey had been the assistant superintendent for instruction since 2009. Mosher attended her first Board of Education meeting in her new capacity last week. WHMI spoke with her afterward, and Mosher said she is excited to be in Brighton, especially since it is constantly focused on expanding its programs and course offerings. Mosher adds that she has received a tremendously warm welcome from the staff and administration since her arrival. Mosher has a 2-year contract at $130,000 per year. She is married and has two children, ages 11 and 9. The family lives in Genoa Township. (TT)

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    There's not much time left for low-income Michigan families to apply for a credit that can ease the burden of their winter utility bills. Applications are being accepted for the Michigan Home Heating Credit until Sept. 30 for the 2017 filing season. Brian Wheeler, a spokesman for Consumers Energy, says that in a typical winter, as many as 1-in-5 families struggle at some point to make their monthly gas bills. "Whether you're using natural gas or propane or burning wood, there are expenses that you use to heat your home through those cold Michigan winters. The Home Heating Credit helps to reimburse families in need to help with those expenses and help take a bite out of those winter heating costs." Wheeler says Consumers Energy is getting the word out because there are potentially thousands of eligible Michiganders who could miss out if they don't apply. And he notes the deadline is a Sunday, so folks should ensure the application is postmarked Sept. 30. Last year the average assistance was about $160. To be eligible, families must be at 110 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which is about $27,000 annually for a family of four. The credit is the only heating assistance that does not require a customer to fall behind on utility bill payments. Wheeler says folks should not be reluctant to ask for help. "If people can really reach out as soon as they see the need for assistance, maybe they've lost a job, maybe someone's been sick in their household, maybe some circumstances have changed. If you can reach out sooner for assistance, you really can stay on top of things and not be in a bad situation." Eligible utility customers can be homeowners or renters who pay heating costs. They do not need to have filed a state income tax return to receive the credit. More information is available by calling 211. (Public News Service)

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    More than 100 people turned out for a surprise event to honor a Livingston County man’s commitment to area veterans. Bob Beck was presented with the American Legion Son of the Year award for the State of Michigan by Mike Holley, State Sons of the Legion representative on Sunday at the American Legion Hall in Howell. In his nomination letter, Holley described Beck as a 27-year member of the Sons of the Legion, who has served in every capacity and held every office in his squadron and, “continues to lead and organize and is first to step up.” The avid outdoorsman travels to Alaska almost every summer to fish for the past 25 years, local veterans have reaped the benefits of those trips as Beck organized a wild game dinner fundraiser which provides funding for veteran support in excess of $6,000 each year. Much of the game prepared for the dinner is donated by him from the Alaska trip. He also created the Sons of the Legion Pizza Night 25 years ago which remains one of their most popular events. Many other Sons of the Legion fundraising events including Annual Christmas Tree Sales and Sons of the Legion Mother’s Day Breakfast were also developed by him. A proclamation from Governor Snyder signed by State Representatives Hank Vaupel and Lana Theis and State Senator Joe Hune was also presented to Beck for his dedication to local veterans and the community. (JK) Top Picture - Bob Beck on Pizza Night Middle Picture - Block and his wife Melissa Bottom Picture - Mike Holley & Bob Beck

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    More than 60 hearses converged in Hell over the weekend despite a local township's cancellation of an annual hearse festival. Hearse Fest organizer Frank Hendeen says the festival was canceled last month after Putnam Township officials denied the festival's permit amid concerns about traffic and parking congestion. However, township officials maintain that event organizers were told last year that they needed a permit to host the event but failed to obtain one. While organizers technically “cancelled” the event, their website encouraged people to, “come see the hearses or drive one to Hell.” Township ordinance requires a permit for any event with 750 people or more. Festival organizers had predicted that the event could attract more than 900 people. Hendeen says the festival has rarely applied for a permit despite running for nearly two decades. Despite the cancellation, more than 750 spectators and hearse collectors came to Hell for a wedding linked to the Just Hearse'n Around Hearse Club. Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy tells WHMI that deputies were on hand to monitor parking and traffic and that most participants were cooperative. No tickets were issued nor any vehicles towed. (JK) Picture courtesy of Go To Hell Facebook page

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    An upcoming event will benefit the Milford Skatepark Project, which aims to create a safe and well-designed skateboarding & BMX plaza. Project: S-Park is a group of Milford residents who say they are working to revitalize an underutilized space to build a high-quality skatepark and adventure area. The group believes the community amenity will promote healthy and active lifestyles among local residents. Project: S-Park is hosting the Milford Ramp Jam community event from 3 to 9pm on Sunday, September 23rd. The event takes place in the parking lot behind the Palate of Milford and will feature autographs and photos with U.S. Olympic snowboard silver medalist Kyle Mack, as well as live music from Michigan Rock School students and special guest Vinnie Dombroski from Sponge. Food and drinks from Palate of Milford will be available for purchase, and there will be free hot dogs for children 12 and under. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Family packs are available for $275 and include four event tickets plus an engraved legacy brick once the park is built. Children ages 5 years and younger are free. You can find event details at the link below.

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    A local police officer is being praised after doing something he’d never done in his 20-plus years of law enforcement. Argentine Township Officer Paul Honkanen is being commended for his actions to help deliver a baby in July. Jennifer Hilla says she was still two weeks from being due to deliver her child when she went to her mom's house in Byron on July 17. When she began having contractions, they were far enough apart that she wasn’t worried at first. But when they became closer, her sister called 911. But the ambulance got lost after it was mistakenly dispatched to Gaines Township instead of Byron. Officer Honkanen had also originally headed in the wrong direction, but was able to eventually find the correct house and was first on the scene. But Hilla was already on the front lawn and ready to give birth, so he used his training and walked her through the process, resulting in baby Scarlett being born at 8:54pm. At the August 27th meeting of the Argentine Township board, Officer Honkanen received a departmental Commendation for his assistance in delivering the baby. (Honkanen at right with Chief Dan Allen)

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    Three finalists have been selected in the Huron Valley Schools search for a new superintendent. Three candidates have been selected by the Huron Valley Schools Board of Education for second interviews for the position. The decision by the board was made at the conclusion of first-round interviews held last Friday. The board interviewed six candidates over three evenings and then narrowed the field to three individuals. One of those who was eliminated was Ionia Public Schools Superintendent Ronald Wilson, who previously held that position in Howell until he was fired by the board in November of 2014 after it was determined he had obtained mileage reimbursements he was not entitled to and then lied about afterward. Wilson sued the district for wrongful termination but eventually settled the dispute for $350,000. The three finalists include Scott Lindberg, Interim Assistant of Administrative Services and Human Resources for Huron Valley Schools; Steven Archibald, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for Livonia Public Schools; and Dr. Paul Salah, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services for Wayne County RESA. Lindberg will interview on Wednesday at 8pm, Archibald at 7:30pm on Thursday and then Salah on Monday at 7:30pm. Dr. Mike Wilmot of the Michigan Leadership Institute will host each of the candidates during small group meetings throughout the day on Wednesday, Thursday and Monday. Parents and community members will have the opportunity to meet each of the candidates at 7pm on their respective interview date. All meet and greet opportunities and interviews will be held in the Large Group Instruction room at Milford High School. The interviews are open to the public. (JM)

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    Brighton Township has adopted new and amended policies related to the municipality’s sewer system as a result of a settlement in a class action lawsuit. Original users of the sewer system filed the lawsuit against the township, claiming they’ve been overcharged in assessment fees for years. A settlement agreement was reached earlier this year and calls for the township to pay $1.5 million from the general fund to a sewer settlement fund for a payout to those represented in the lawsuit. The township’s Board of Trustees on Monday approved a resolution adopting administrative policies for the sewer system, some of which were new or had been amended to include language from the settlement agreement. Township Manager Brian Vick says the goal was to establish how the policies are being exercised and the rationale behind them. To reflect the terms of the settlement, one of the new policies guarantees that the lawsuit class members will no longer be charged a debt service fee, and that a similar cap will be placed on the debt service charge to all parcels in the sewer district. Other new and amended policies identify parcels in the district that are eligible for a $3,800 credit toward a REU, or residential equivalent unit, and the ability to pay an REU charge over a period beyond ten years if the township has bonds outstanding beyond ten years. The Board of Trustees voted six to one to adopt the policies, with Trustee Steve Combs as the lone dissenting vote. A public hearing was held prior to the board’s vote, at which time several residents questioned or expressed dissatisfaction with the policies and their effect on the sewer Special Assessment District (SAD). Some felt a petition or vote was needed to modify the SAD. Resident Bob Potocki, who says he is a property owner “abused by the rigging of the SAD role terms and prices”, called for petitions, public hearings and an unbiased financial impact analysis of any proposed change to the original terms of the SAD petitions. Potocki says he and other citizens have an “obligation to carefully oversee operations going forward”. Resident Doug Taylor also asked why the cost of the system’s construction had fallen on sewer users and not the township, citing the Drain Code that states “the petitioning municipality…will be liable… for at least a percentage of the total amount to be assessed”. But Trustee Sam Theis says Michigan law is clear when it comes to who the SAD is charged to, stating that it would be inappropriate for the township to absorb the costs as SADs are charged to property owners who derive a special benefit specifically from the project in question. (DK)

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    A preliminary planned unit development for a $34 million, 206-unit senior housing development proposed for the former Lindbom School in Brighton has been tabled. It’s the second go-around for developer Pat Battaglia of Holly, who first proposed a virtually identical development for the former school in 2015. His company, under the name of American Classical Academy Brighton Holdings LLC, purchased the school, which was closed in 2010, for $1.45 million from the Brighton Area Schools. He proposed that a charter school called the Livingston Classical Academy go in at the site, but the Board of Education turned down his request that it sponsor the school. Ultimately, Battaglia ended up getting the charter school in Whitmore Lake, with the Whitmore Lake Schools as the sponsor. An overflow crowd attended Monday night’s planning commission meeting, with residents spilling out of council chambers into the lobby of city hall. A large number of people spoke at the public hearing, the majority of them opposed to the project. Battaglia, through his BVMP Development Group LLC of Holly, is now proposing a development called Brighton Village at the Mill Pond, which would utilize and renovate the existing school building and add other buildings at the 10.5-acre site totaling about 140,000 square feet. There would be separate centers for independent living, assisted living, a memory care center and an activities center. Battaglia said he would put in screening in the way of deciduous trees and evergreen bushes so that the neighbors wouldn’t be looking at walls. One big problem that Battaglia said he could take care of with mitigation procedures is the plume of toxic trichloroethylene gas which earlier this year was found to be in several neighborhood homes, resulting from an old, former manufacturing site on nearby 5th Street. Battaglia said that whereas if the site were developed into single family homes the owners couldn’t individually neutralize the gas, he could have vapor barriers installed at his development to take care of the problem. Cal Stordahl, who lives at the corner of Sixth and Main, said after the meeting that the scale of the project is too large, overwhelms the residential neighborhood, and needs to be reduced in size. Commissioners said there were too many unanswered questions and they would not approve the preliminary PUD for the proposed project until they are answered. The matter will not be taken up again until the December Planning Commission meeting. (TT)

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    A proposed thrift store could be coming to Genoa Township, becoming at least the fourth such outlet in Livingston County. At a recent Genoa Township Planning Commission meeting, representatives of Volunteers of America proposed locating a thrift store in the former Tenpenny Furniture store at 2700 East Grand River Avenue, just east of Chilson Road. If approved it would join the Salvation Army Thrift store, also in Genoa Township, along with the Love INC store and LACASA Retail Boutique in Howell. Alex Brodrick is the President and CEO of Volunteers of America and says that really shouldn’t be an issue. "We have found that multiple thrift stores are often times much to the community's advantage, giving people a place to donate and also places to shop and address needs they have in the community," adding, "Where we have these thrift stores we get very involved in the community and other services and we're excited to be coming out to this township to hopefully offer another thrift and other opportunities." Volunteers of America already runs four thrift stores in Michigan; one each in Burton and Corunna and two in the Lansing area. The proposal for the Genoa Township location was tabled by the commission to deal with various issues, but Brodrick was confident those would be resolved soon and they could begin work to have the store opened by early next year. One of the issues noted by the township’s Planning Director, Kelly Van Marter, was a proposal for donation items to be dropped off in the front of the building. Van Marter said the goal will be to avoid a large quantity of goods sitting in front of the building for an extended period of time and that further details are needed on how and when deliveries will be accepted and processed. (JK)

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    A hunter safety course is being offered through the Fowlerville Police Department. The department says hunter education courses teach new hunters responsibility, ethics, firearm safety, wildlife conservation and wildlife identification, game care, survival and first aid. The program is being recommended for mature and responsible learners who are able to sit for four hours and actively participate. A Michigan DNR certified instructor and Officer Sorenson will teach the two day course, which has a maximum capacity of 25 students. Classes will take place on Friday, October 5th and Saturday, October 13th, from 5 to 9pm. The class days are not consecutive, but officials stress that attendance to both class days is mandatory. The course will take place in the Village of Fowlerville Offices. Those interested in the Hunter Safety Course are asked to register via esorenson@fowlerville.org. (JM)

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    UPDATE: A criminal investigation is underway concerning the Livingston County Veterans Affairs department. Livingston County Administrator Ken Hinton has confirmed that Michigan State Police are investigating an allegation that a woman was unable to obtain a donation receipt for a $400 check she wrote to a member of the Livingston County Veterans Affairs Committee. Hinton became aware of the complaint August 24th and after requesting additional information, referred it to the State Police for further investigation the following week. Hinton declined to identify the committee member, citing the ongoing investigation. ORIGINAL STORY: Members of the Livingston County Veterans Services Committee addressed allegations being made by local Democrats during Monday night’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners and attribute the claims to the election season. Voters approved a county-wide millage for veterans’ services in August of 2016. Committee members are appointed by the board and oversee implementation of the millage. The Livingston County Democratic Party issued a press release last week (posted below) alleging that the Committee is not properly implementing the millage designed to expand services for local veterans, and that only a fraction of funds raised from it are being spent. It was further alleged that Commissioners have failed to oversee implementation of the millage and the Committee, whose members they appoint, have stymied efforts to implement more programs. Some Democratic candidates running for the county board were at Monday’s meeting, along with Party Chair Judy Daubenmier. She called on the board to make a real effort to look into why the money is not being spent and appoint new Committee members. District 6 candidate Kasey Helton referred to it as a numbers issue that could be resolved by looking at the budget, adding no disrespect was meant to any veterans. "My husband and my father are both Navy veterans -- this issue touches every family with a veteran, regardless of their political affiliation. Therefore, it should be plain that this is not a partisan issue, but rather an issue of priorities and simple accounting. The veterans services committee has not disputed any figures that point to the lack of investment in Livingston County veterans, and that should be a concern to all of us." Committee Chair Hansel Keene and member Bruce Hundley addressed board during the call to the public portion of Monday night’s meeting. Both took exception to the allegations and suggestions they don’t care for veterans - being vets themselves. Keene told the board all veterans are treated with the highest dignity and respect that that they deserve, saying they would never suggest veterans call a taxi or Uber for a ride and do whatever it takes to make sure they get to their destination. There is a lack of transportation volunteers so Keene and Hundley both regularly volunteer, sharing recent instances of such. Keene said the Committee is very cognizant in what it does and positive work is being done such as paying back taxes for local veterans or their mortgage when they get in arrears as well as put new roofs on homes. But local Democrats say the county commissioners themselves need to be more involved. Alex Hansen is running for the 5th District seat. "I’m perplexed that the County Commissioners have not taken a more involved role in the veterans services being decided in this county. Why was a County Commissioner not on this committee or why aren’t any of the county commissioners attending the committee meetings?" As to the accusation that he is posturing on the issue for political gain, he told WHMI, "I have been accused of posturing for every major stance I have taken since starting my campaign be it marijuana or PFAS. Bringing attention to an important issue is something I will never shy away from. Veterans services should not be a partisan issue. The only folks that lose when this happens is the Veterans. We should all want better transparency and better access to services for our veterans. I look forward to hearing more about the veterans committee’s activities and how they are helping our area veterans." Hundley told the board and audience they appreciate everyone’s vote in support of local veterans and they take their jobs very seriously - stressing they are constantly studying and looking at better ways to serve veterans. He acknowledged that they are short on drivers, and both he and Keene regularly volunteer to drive veterans. Hundley said he found it offensive at particular this time of an election cycle that there is “newfound love for veterans”, adding he’s been on the Committee for the past 21 months and didn’t see one person Monday night who has ever attended a meeting. He stated the budget is all public information and they just recently bought a new van to use for veterans. Hundley closed to say they’re looking for volunteers to assist with transportation – adding somewhat jokingly that given there are so many people who love veterans, he’s sure their Facebook site will be flooded with people who want to help and volunteer. Commission Chair Don Parker told WHMI all members of the committee are veterans and they appoint them to not only oversee the millage but services for veterans. "They're all excellent individuals. They all care about veterans, they volunteer a lot of their time assisting veterans with their issues that they face." The department is currently looking for a new director, after the committee voted to terminate former Director Adam Smiddy after a little more than one year. Parker says there is a process and the Committee will decide who the new director will be, and he has "complete confidence in them." Parker added that he has dedicated much of his career on the county board to issues involving veterans and stressed he is committed to the veterans of Livingston County and making sure they get what they deserve. Details on services provided and the millage can be found on the Livingston County Veterans' Services website. The link is provided. (JM/JK)

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    A criminal investigation is underway concerning a Livingston County department. Livingston County Administrator Ken Hinton has confirmed that Michigan State Police are investigating an allegation that a woman was unable to obtain a donation receipt for a $400 check she wrote to Livingston County, with a member of the Livingston County Veterans' Services Committee listed in the memo line. Hinton became aware of the complaint August 24th and after requesting additional information, referred it to the State Police for further investigation the following week. Hinton declined to identify the committee member, citing the ongoing investigation. The committee is currently comprised of Chairman Hansel Keene, along with Bruce Hundley, Kevin Nagle, Jim Wallace and Joseph Riker, community liaison for 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop. All five are veterans who were appointed by the county's Board of Commissioners. The committee has come under fire after local Democrats last week questioned a statement from Keene at a board meeting that there was only $80,000 in available funds. A check of their budget records indicated there was actually more than a million dollars. They have also questioned why the money fro the millage is not being spent on more programs and services for area veterans. (See story below) Keene has so far refused comment to WHMI about the discrepancy or the allegation that the committee has not been using the funds as designed by the 2016 millage passed by voters. Keene has also declined to comment on the recent firing of Veterans Affairs director Adam Smiddy. (JK)

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    A special event is coming up for residents wishing to properly dispose of unused medications, sharps, and needles. The Big Red Barrel, the Livingston County Drain Commissioner, and Walgreens are teaming up to help residents get rid of extra medicine and related paraphernalia the right way. There will be no costs, and no questions asked. The event takes place on Saturday, September 29th, from noon until 4pm at the Howell Walgreens on East Grand River Avenue. The Drain Commissioner’s Office will be onsite to collect sharps and needles for they are billing as a “one time opportunity.” Sharps need to be in a heavy plastic container, like a plastic laundry detergent jug sealed with tape. This collection is for residents only, no businesses or medical facilities allowed. Liquid medications can be accepted only if they are in a zip-lock bag, stuffed with enough paper towels to absorb all the liquid. Separate bags must be used for each medication. Prescription drug abuse information, including info on Narcan will be available. A pharmacist will be on hand to answer questions, and those interested in a flu shot can get that taken care of as well. (MK)

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    With questions not answered to the satisfaction of city planners, another development proposal in Brighton has been tabled. The first proposal at the City Planning Commission meeting Monday, to repurpose the mothballed former Lindbom School into senior housing, was tabled. After a break, a second public hearing was held on the proposed Bluffs at Spring Hill residential development. The Bluffs at Spring Hill would be constructed near Spring Mountain Drive off Flint Road, on the south side of the I-96 overpass. The Bluffs at Spring Hill would consist of 72 single-family homes in a site condominium development. It would be situated on 31 acres directly beyond the cul de sac at the end of Spring Mountain Drive, where a site condo development already exists. The 31 acres is currently undeveloped and is largely forest land. The developers, Steven and Spencer Schafer of Schafer Development in Farmington Hills, say that a 66-foot easement off Flint Road would allow them access to the property so that a street could go in and the development be constructed. Planning commissioners were told that the 72 homes would be site condos, which are homes in every sense, with the caveat that site condos are completely detached from one another. In addition, the owners own the home itself, the land on which it sits and the yard, so each homeowner is responsible for upkeep of the yard and removing snow from their driveway in the winter. They pay association fees, with the money collected used for amenities outside the boundaries of their individual properties. A large number of people commented at the public hearing on the preliminary planned unit development (PUD) on the proposal — virtually all of them opposed to the project. The residents mostly live in the Nelson St.-Hillcrest Ave. area. According to City Council Member and Planning Commissioner Jim Bohn, objections cited centered on the density. Although 72 homes on 31 acres equates to nearly half an acre per home, in reality 11 or 12 acres, or more than one-third of the land, would be left undeveloped as green space. Another objection cited by nearby residents was a need for buffers along the perimeter of the development. The homes would range from 1,600 square feet to 2,800 square feet in size and priced from the upper $300,000 range to the lower $400,000 range. The developers told commissioners their market research indicates homes in that price range built as site condos attract empty-nesters, professionals, and upwardly mobile young people. Since six conditions must be met before a preliminary site plan can be approved, and because the Planning Commission felt they had not all been met, commissioners voted to table the matter until the October meeting. (TT)

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