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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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    As a State Police investigation continues into a missing cash donation made to a Livingston County Veterans Services Committee member, a closer look at the committee’s dealings show a pattern of questionable payments and relationships that raise conflict of interest concerns. The investigation began after a woman was unable to obtain documentation for a $400 check she wrote to a committee member in August. The woman also donated a set of vacuum cleaners and a lawnmower. In a September 12th letter sent to Livingston County Administrator Ken Hinton (posted below), a legal firm representing the woman indicated that the committee member who had received the check was Chairman Hansel Keene and that, further, Keene had directed the woman to make the check payable to him and that, “Mr. Keene represented himself as having the authority to solicit donations and cash checks on behalf of a county department.” A receipt dated September 17th (also posted below), signed by Keene and Administrative Specialist Susan Cassie, recognizes the vacuum cleaner donations, but nothing else. When Keene was contacted about the receipt and his apparent role in the investigation, WHMI received a communication from another committee member, Kevin Nagle, stating that he was representing Keene in the matter. Nagle is an attorney with a practice in Brighton. WHMI followed up by asking Nagle about the ethical implications of one committee member providing legal representation to another member while that committee is facing a police investigation. Nagle was also asked about seven disbursements made from the Veterans Services Relief Fund to either himself or his law firm between May of 2016 and February of 2017 totaling $4,900. The payments were discovered after WHMI made a Freedom of Information Act request. While the payments were ostensibly for veteran-related legal representation, they raise questions about the propriety of a committee member receiving payments approved by a committee that he sits on. WHMI has yet to receive a response from Mr. Nagle on either issue. In fact, county policy prohibits the use of county facilities for the referral of customers or clients and that employees and volunteers should, “Not cause any incompatibility, conflict of interest, or any possible appearance of conflict of interest, or any impairment of the independent and impartial performance of employee’s duties.” When asked about the payments, Ken Hinton told WHMI that while the general approval process for an expenditure requires department head approval and approval by the Board of Commissioners, “Expenditures for indigent veterans relief are a little different” and that, “Essentially, the Committee is charged with the nature and amount of relief provided for individual indigent veterans while subject to the overall appropriation of the Board of Commissioners. The review process is still followed to assure accuracy and conformity with budget and process.” Hinton declined to comment on the letter from the donor’s lawyer indicating Keene was the committee member under investigation. The workings of the Veterans Services Committee came under scrutiny after the firing of Director Adam Smiddy in August. Smiddy claims his dismissal by the committee was in retaliation for his insistence that the complaint filed by the donor be fully and properly investigated and that a full accounting be made. That was followed in September when Keene told county commissioners at a meeting that the committee only had a balance of $80,000 at the end of the fiscal year. Livingston County Democrats then issued a release saying that there was actually more than a million dollars in available funding and questioned why the committee had failed to initiate any new programs since the veterans millage was passed in 2016. The Chair of the county Democrats, Judy Daubenmier, called the situation a “disgrace,” telling WHMI that, “this money should be going to veterans and not to line the pockets of some committee members, but that’s not what’s happening here and unfortunately I think our Livingston County commissioners have been derelict in their duty while overseeing this committee where there has been an alleged embezzlement and spending that appears to be conflicts of interest.” She called for a new process to oversee the committee. “You can’t have a situation where the commissioners don’t review the expenditures by an agency and then that agency can fire the person who notices that something is wrong.” When Smiddy was contacted for his comment on the story, he told WHMI, “While the Director I only sought to run the department in a way to preserve public trust in our services and that I went to great lengths to do so.” (JK)

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    An opportunity to properly recycle used and unwanted electronics is coming up. The Livingston County Solid Waste Program has scheduled an electronic waste collection event this Saturday from 9am until 1pm. It will take place in the parking lot at the East Complex of the Livingston County Offices located at 2300 East Grand River in Howell. This is a free opportunity for Livingston County residents and small businesses with fewer than 10 employees to safely recycle unwanted electronics such as televisions, computers, printers, monitors, and laptops. The event is made possible through a grant from Chen-Trend Inc. in cooperation with the Livingston County Drain Commissioner – Solid Waste Program. For more information, call (517) 545-9609, or email solidwaste@livgov.com. A list of acceptable items can be found at www.livgov.com/dpw. (MK)

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    A movie presentation this weekend in Howell will attempt to challenge what it means to be intelligent. The documentary film, “Intelligent Lives” is being shown Saturday at the Historic Howell Theater by the Arc of Livingston. Narrated and executive produced by Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper, it is described as pointing “to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment and intimate relationships.” The film features the story Micah Fialka-Feldman (pictured), a Michigan native and a graduate of Michigan K-12 schools. During a panel discussion with the Fialka-Feldman family following the film, attendees can learn more about Micah’s journey as one of the first students to be fully included in his school district and who later became part of the first wave of students with intellectual disabilities attending college. Micah now is a teaching assistant in the School of Education, Syracuse University. This film showing is a free event and includes a reception and panel discussion. However, pre-registration is required. You can do that through the link below or by calling The Arc Livingston at 517-546-1228. (JK)

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    A purple glow lit up the Brighton Mill Pond Tuesday night, highlighting the strength of survivors of domestic violence and the efforts being made to bring about change. Local nonprofit LACASA held their annual Shine the Light ceremony in downtown Brighton, inviting the community to join in recognizing October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. LACASA has held a candlelight vigil in years past with a somber ceremony that honored victims and survivors of domestic violence. However this year’s event was instead orchestrated with a positive undertone to illuminate the strength of survivors and efforts being made to combat domestic violence. To add to the uplifting mood, the evening included performances from Brighton and Howell high school choirs and the Dynamic Expressions dance team from Hartland. LACASA’s Teen Advisory Council spoke during the event, sharing their efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence. Council member Holly Humphries says they want to spread encouragement by supporting others when they’re going through tough times. Humphries says no one ever deserves to go through something as traumatic as domestic violence, and everyone deserves a second chance and hope that they can move forward in life. Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt shared recent successes among the community’s various law enforcement agencies as they work to end the cycle of violence. Vailliencourt tells WHMI local police agencies have been updating the protocol for responding to domestic violence incidents. Officers from every police agency have now been trained in investigating strangulation, which is a particularly violent and traumatic form of domestic violence, according to Vailliencourt. As dusk began to set in, purple lights that hung from the bridge and light poles turned on, casting a glow over the crowd. Purple is the cause color for domestic violence and LACASA is inviting area businesses and residents to display purple lights on store and home fronts this month to help raise awareness. LACASA provides critical services to victims of abuse and their families. President and CEO Bobette Schrandt says by shining a light on the issue of domestic violence, the community can be encouraged by all that has been done to combat the problem and what is still to come. She hopes those efforts can one day help put LACASA out of business. Schrandt says the courage, compassion and determination she sees every day among survivors is what keeps her going. Bobette says the Shine the Light campaign is a reminder that the community can and is working together to make a difference, and that is a reason to believe in hope. (DK)

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    A full service Secretary of State mobile office will make a stop at a local library later this month. The Secretary of State Mobile Office will pay a visit to the Salem-South Lyon District Library on Pontiac Trail on Wednesday, October 17th. The office will be open from noon to 6pm to serve area customers by offering a full range of services. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says all of the services of a traditional office will be brought right into the community, where residents can have their transactions handled quickly and easily. Tab renewals, voter registration, address changes, signing up for the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and other services will all be available at the mobile office. Residents can also ask questions about the elimination of Driver Responsibility Fees, including those who have associated debt or a related driver’s license suspension. (JK)

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    A forum next week in Hamburg Township will features candidates for various races in November’s General Election. The Pinckney/Putnam/Hamburg/Hell Chamber of Commerce is hosting a "Meet the Candidates" forum on Monday, October 8th from 6 to 9pm at the Hamburg Township Offices on Merrill Road. Each candidate will be given five minutes to introduce themselves and their platform. They will then respond to questions submitted by attendees. The event will be moderated by Chamber President Rick Beaudin of RE/MAX Platinum. Candidates have been invited from all parties for contested races at the local, state and federal level. They include the 22nd State Senate race featuring Democrat Adam Dreher, Republican Lana Theis and Green Party candidate Eric Borregard; 42nd State House with Republican Ann Bollin and Democrat Mona Shand and 44th Circuit Court featuring L. Suzanne Geddis and Dennis Brewer. Also featured will be 6th and 8th District Livingston County Commissioner races and Pinckney School Board. The event will be broadcast live on Channel 191 on Charter Cable in Hamburg, Pinckney and Putnam Township. It will also be rebroadcast regularly prior to the election. A Live Stream will also be available. (JK)

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    A local lawmaker has drafted a plan to better protect those working in the health care profession safe from attackers. With an increase in attacks on health care workers across the profession, State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township is looking to help make their jobs safer. He testified Tuesday for 2 bills, House Bills 6203 and 6204. If passed into law, they would add health care workers to the list of first responders and make it a felony for any who attack them while they are performing their job. Vaupel said by making it a felony it becomes a warning to people that if you assault a worker while they are trying to provide service, there will be more severe penalties, up to and including jail. Vaupel said these attacks often happen in emergency rooms, where people come in for something drug related, or feel like they aren’t being treated quickly enough or the way to want to. Under current law, many professionals feel nothing comes from reporting crimes in the ER, and thus many have stopped reporting them. Some health care professionals have even left the field for fear of their own safety. Vaupel said this will assure that the crimes will not be brushed away and will hopefully give workers more peace of mind while trying to offer care. The proposed bills are under consideration in the House Law and Justice Committee. (MK)

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    The City of Howell held their third of four informational meetings in preparation for a Headlee Amendment override request in November. City staff and officials held the meeting for residents at the Livingston Educational Service Agency building, Tuesday night. Howell, like many others in the state, has had a difficult time recovering from the 2008 recession. Because of the Headlee Amendment and the way it works with Prop A, which limits the increase of taxable value on homes, the city can only draw roughly 15.5 mills of their authorized 20 from residents. Paired with State Shared Revenues that are still below 2002 levels, the city is in need of raising revenue to maintain services and roads. On Election Day, they are asking citizens to restore the lost 4.5-mills for the next five years, via a Headlee Override. Residents attending the meeting got to visit various breakout stations and speak with city leaders on what passing the override would mean. City Manager Shea Charles said this chance to connect with residents is important for helping them explain and understand how they got to this point. If the override is approved, it would generate roughly $1.4-million per year for the next 5 years. Homeowners owning a house with the average taxable value of $70,000 would see their city taxes go up $315 per year. This would be used primarily on roads and infrastructure. Around 20% would be used to correct a deficit and maintain city services at their present level. Failing the override could mean a reduction in services like road repair, police protection, snow removal, park maintenance, and curbside leaf pick up. The 4th and final public information meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24th, at 7pm at the LESA Building. More information can be found online at www.cityofhowell.org/headlee. Charles invited anyone with questions to send him an email at scharles@cityofhowell.org. (MK)

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    More testimony will continue today as part of a hearing for Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan. Tuesday marked day two of the hearing in 16th District Court in Livonia that is expected to last several days. Retired Judge William Giovan is serving as special master over the evidentiary hearing. Once it concludes, he will issue an opinion to the JTC. That body can either dismiss the complaint or recommend the Michigan Supreme Court impose discipline. Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission Executive Director Lynn Helland has been questioning Brennan and noted the case involves three main themes: abuse of power, conflict of interest and false statements. Helland plans to add additional complaints of destroying evidence and obstruction of justice. On Tuesday, he asked Brennan about how she treated staff and other people who appeared in court. Different video clips were played. In one instance, Helland asked if Brennan demeaned her former court reporter and referred to her as “brain-damaged”. That employee eventually took a two-level pay cut to transfer out of the district court in Brighton, where Brennan was the only judge. Brennan acknowledged “there were times where I didn’t act in a way I liked”. Testimony will continue today from Livingston County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shawn Ryan in regard to different social interactions between Brennan, law enforcement and Furlong. On Tuesday, Ryan talked about romantic shifts she noticed between Furlong and Brennan before Kowalski’s trial, and a kiss that happened in 2007. She also detailed various outings and how everyone got together at Brennan’s house and went skinny dipping, would go out for dinner or drinks, attend sporting events or visit a cottage Brennan owns. Court employee Robbin Pott worked as a research assistant for Brennan and testified about how the judge would yell or shout almost daily and described it as a “very tense angry chaotic courtroom". She also offered testimony about a discussion in which Brennan asked how to destroy a phone and remove messages. Pott testified she felt targeted for not wanting to do certain tasks for Brennan and was retaliated against. Judge Giovan overruled Brennan’s attorney on a statement Pott made during questioning. Giovan said the case, if nothing else is about the character of the respondent and it actually goes to the heart of the matter. On Monday, Brennan often said she couldn't recall when asked about details about her relationship with former Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who was the chief investigator in the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski. Records show Brennan made three phone calls and dozens of text messages to him during the murder trial. Kowalski’s son Jared has been attending the hearing and told WHMI there is no excuse as to why his father has not been granted a new trial, with all the evidence out there. He says it was all information Brennan lied about and never disclosed before his father’s trial. Kowalski said Tuesday was an interesting day and that the presiding judge is listening and being fair but also asking great questions. He says testimony was spot on in describing the way Brennan would act in court but also that Brennan would have cases decided before reading anything and cut off attorneys during hearings. He says Brennan further lied about phone calls and text messages – many of which occurred late at night during his father’s trial. Kowalski said it appeared as though Brennan’s attorney was trying to attribute the condition of the courthouse and her pending divorce to her demeanor and how she treated people in her courtroom. He noted Brennan claimed she was a basket case because of her divorce but Pott testified that the day she was served divorce papers, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Kowalski said it’s amazing watching all of the individuals who testified after Brennan, and that their memory is spot on and they don’t hesitate to answer questions but Brennan remembers nothing. He says they could all accurately remember things but yet Brennan’s responses were always “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” or “I’m not relying on my memory…I’m over 60”. Kowalski says Brennan under oath twice testified that she has to be careful with her words. He added that when Brennan was finishing up her testimony, the judge questioned her about comment she made during conversations with Furlong and Brennan said they would talk about cases, although she never handled criminal cases. Brennan technically remains on the bench but her docket has been removed and re-assigned, although she is still getting paid. The hearing continues today in 16th District Court in Livonia. (JM)

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    31-year-old Andrew Yost appeared in 53rd District Court Tuesday and was sentenced by Judge Carol Sue Reader to six months of probation and ordered to perform four days of community service. Yost last month pleaded guilty to charges of Attempted Interference with Electronic Communications and Domestic Violence. The Domestic Violence plea was taken under first offender deferral provision of state law. The charges stem from an August 13th incident, involving Yost and his father. Yost admitted to forcibly putting his hands on his father’s shoulders in attempt to stop him from calling the police. This is not Yost’s first brush with the law. He has four previous traffic-related misdemeanor convictions, including driving on a suspended license and failing to report an accident, between 2008 and 2010 in both Livingston and Eaton counties. Yost was elected to Howell City Council last year to a term that expires in 2021. He resigned from City Council shortly after the charges against him came to light.

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    The Hamburg Township Board of Trustees has unanimously approved sending a letter to the mayor of Wixom demanding the city take action to stop the ongoing contamination of the Huron River. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality last month confirmed that a Howell-based company’s Wixom location was the source of a class of polyfluoroalkyls, better known as PFAS, that are being discharged into Norton Creek, which feeds into the Huron River. PFAS are man-made chemicals found in a variety of common household products, construction materials, electronics and firefighting foam. Tribar Manufacturing has been given until October 19th to come up with a detailed plan on how the contamination occurred and how it plans to prevent further discharges. But Hamburg officials say the delay is unacceptable, telling Wixom Mayor Richard Ziegler they want, “an immediate and total elimination” of the discharge into Norton Creek, and calling on him to “close the valve today!” The letter goes on to say that Hamburg Township has between eight and ten thousand residents living on, or along, the Huron River and its associated chain of lakes and that the range of emotions expressed by residents ranges “from abject disbelief and anger to fear for their health and the health of their families.” The contamination of the Huron River has resulted in health advisories from state officials against eating the fish in the river or ingesting the foam from its waters. The Huron River Watershed Council, along with Milford, Milford Township and Wixom officials, will be hosting a public meeting tonight at 7pm at the Milford Civic Center regarding the contamination. (JK)

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    Local Democrats are pushing for accountability within the Livingston County Veterans’ Services Committee after questionable payments and relationships that raise conflict of interest concerns. A Michigan State Police investigation was launched in September after a woman was unable to get documentation of a $400 donation. WHMI reported on Tuesday that a letter from the donor names Committee Chairman Hansel Keene as the recipient of the missing donation. It was further learned that seven disbursements were made from the Veterans Services Relief Fund to another committee member, Brighton Attorney Kevin Nagle, or his law firm between May of 2016 and February of 2017 totaling $4,900. The Livingston County Democratic Party and some party candidates running for the County Board of Commissioners issued a press release yesterday that says local voters approved a tax increase to take care of veterans’ needs but now they find out new programs are not coming on line, that a committee member did not turn over a donation from the public, and another committee member is receiving payments approved by the committee he sits on. Party Chairwoman Judy Daubenmier says the county needs to restore trust in the committee because of the recent scandal, the MSP investigation and failure of the committee to use millage funds approved by voters. In an effort to restore trust, she says the county could reassure the public that everything is above board by starting with a detailed audit and some new polices, as well as more oversight by commissioners. Democrats suggest a forensic audit covering the entire period that Hansel Keene and Kevin Nagle have been on the board, looking for cases of conflicts of interest or misappropriation of donations, followed by regular audits of that fund that go into more detail than the county’s annual audit. They also suggest a conflict of interest policy barring committee members from receiving payments from the Veterans Relief Fund for services provided to veterans. In addition to the detailed audit, new policies and more training provided for committee members, Daubenmier says the committee should lay out a formal plan for how they are going to spend the millage money that voters approved and expected would be spent on veteran services, rather than being stockpiled in a bank account for the county. Daubenmier added she would also like to see more diversity on the committee, perhaps a commissioner who is a veteran, as well as some women and younger veterans who have served in the more recent conflicts the nation has been involved in. Daubenmier says the committee is a unique part of county government. The committee is set up under law to spend money for veteran’s relief but is not totally under county government control like some other agencies are. That’s why she feels commissioners need to take some extra steps to make sure the oversight is there. Daubenmier says the current board also has close ties to some of the committee members, and she thinks that gets in the way of being objective about what needs to be done to have good business practices and so forth on the committee. If commissioners don’t do anything, Daubenmier feels the future of the Veterans Service Millage is in doubt, and would be very hard for voters to approve an extension of that millage and that would be too bad for the services veterans need in the county. Daubenmier feels the current board is very much wedded to a kind of a “good ole boy” network and won’t change unless they have to. She says the only way voters can force change is to put some new faces on the board in November. Daubenmier noted to date the Board of Commissioners has not had much discussion, other than during call to the public. She says no committee of any kind has been formed for an internal investigation, which is of concern, and the Veterans Services Committee has also not taken any sort of action or addressed the issues. At this past Monday night’s board meeting, Commissioner William Green stated it was his opinion and he is only one member, but the board needs to get more answers out to the public and felt it would be wise to put it on an agenda. Commissioner Bob Bezotte commented he attended the recent Veterans Services Committee meeting and felt the board was receptive when asked about information about financials and the numbers of veterans being served. He indicated some committee members would be making a report to the board during a future meeting. The press release is attached. (JM)

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    County staff, former friends, and an ex-husband gave testimony Wednesday in the case regarding the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission’s complaint against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan. Wednesday marked day 3 of the JTC’s hearing, which is being held in 16th District Court in Livonia. The main issue in the complaint is Brennan’s relationship with former Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong. Furlong was the chief prosecution witness in the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, who was convicted and sentenced to life by Brennan. Brennan and Furlong claim their relationship started after the trial, though documents from Brennan’s 2017 divorce case suggest otherwise. The session began with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shawn Ryan taking the stand and sharing insight on pool parties and cottage visits attended by both Brennan and Furlong. Once on friendly terms, Ryan disclosed her feelings on Brennan have shifted. She said before all this happened, she thought Brennan was a truthful person, but learning of the things that have come out, the things she has claimed and said others have done when Ryan knows they haven’t, make her believe she is not truthful. Brennan’s ex-husband Don Root took the stand on Wednesday, as well. He said that while he considered Furlong an acquaintance and initially a “pretty good guy,” he was Theresa’s friend first. Root said he didn’t like the idea of her spending so much time in social situations with a cop, out drinking. When further asked if he consented to their relationship, he said “no.” Court recorder Felicia Milhouse took the stand and said in the fall of 2016 Brennan began asking about how to delete email accounts from her phone. Milhouse couldn’t remember if she was asked first, directly, or if it was a general question to all the court staff at the time. She said she tried to figure it out, even Googling it, but couldn’t. Milhouse said it felt “urgent” and said she was even asked to step away from her duties once to try and make it happen. She said they were going on record one day, and Brennan told her that after Milhouse calls the case, she can leave the courtroom and see if she can get her Hotmail account deleted. When asked if her place was in the courtroom while Brennan was on the record, millhouse responded, “Yes.” Brennan’s attorney during cross examination asked if it was possible that Brennan was trying to remove the emails from her phone before returning it to Root, who asked for it back. He also suggested that she may have been trying to transfer them to a new phone. Two email accounts were in question, one Hotmail, the other gmail. Milhouse said she gets them confused, but believes there was a request to delete to Hotmail account, but transfer the gmail. Kristi Cox served as Brennan’s court reporter for 10 years. She said she remembers the Kowalski case and a conversation she had with Brennan before it was assigned to her. Cox said she had been retained by the State Police to transcribe interviews from Kowalski and the witnesses. She said she approached Brennan, finding it interesting as she didn’t know where the charges were coming from and that there was no evidence. Cox said Brennan told her she knew he did it because she had had a conversation with Detective Furlong who had told her about the case. Cox said that for her entire decade with Brennan, Brennan was “hostile, demeaning, belittling, and degrading” to her. She told JTC Executive Director Lynn Helland that the only time Brennan was kind was during an election year. Cox claimed she was diagnosed with PTSD for her time working with the judge. Former Law Clerk and Attorney Magistrate Jessica Yakel-Sharpe said Brennan would often have her and Cox use county time to do errands for her. This included paying her bills, buying plane, sports, and concert tickets, and even staining her deck. Yakel-Sharpe said that while she observed Brennan being mean to Cox, she and the judge bonded quickly, forming what she thought was a strong friendship. But as time went on, Yakel-Sharpe said that changed. Believing she was a role-model when she started, she said before she left Brennan became very aggressive, mean, and condescending. She said she was not the person she knew as a boss or friend, and that she was someone she didn’t want to work with or be around. Yakel-Sharpe said it got so bad she had to find another job, and noted in her resignation letter, that she had to leave for her sanity. She gave an opinion that she does not believe Brennan is a truthful person, citing an incident where a group of them went to a Tigers game and claimed, while parking, Brennan hit a car and moved to another spot without doing anything. Attorney David Caplan has practiced family law since 1974. He closed Wednesday’s session, telling Helland that in terms of judicial temperament he found her to be “unique.” When asked what that meant, he said he thinks she has the worst judicial temperament he has ever come across. Brennan’s attorney asked Caplan for examples, which he did not provide. The hearing continues throughout this week, with the courtroom reserved for next week, if needed. (MK)

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    A popular breakfast gathering will explore the state of manufacturing across the Livingston County at an upcoming meeting. October’s Good Morning Livingston event will feature 3 speakers from Livingston County who will share projects they are working on, what residents can anticipate in the manufacturing field moving forward, and the responsibilities their businesses face. John Hafner of Competitive Power Ventures will speak on a proposed natural gas power plant that could be built in Handy Township. The plant could power over a million homes in a cost-effective, environmentally responsible manner, while also creating hundreds of construction jobs and dozens of operating jobs. Cliff Cummins of CZ Cartage will share thoughts on the growth and challenges of Cartage’s new $6.5-million, 131,000 square foot semi hauler terminal and warehouse in Fowlerville. And Jay Howie of Brivar Construction will discuss challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them while staying within timelines and budgets. This Good Morning Livingston event takes place this Tuesday, October 9th, from 7:30 am until 9 at Crystal Gardens in Genoa Township. Howell Area Chamber of Commerce members can get in for $20 if they pre-register, or $25 at the door. Non members and guests can partake for $30. Along with the presentation, the event includes breakfast, coffee, juices, materials, and a chance to win a raffle prize. (MK)

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    Green Oak Township residents may soon have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the municipality’s burning regulations. Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says he’s received numerous complaints over the years from residents related to smoke generated by burning yard waste. The township was recently contacted by a resident who suggested a township-wide burn ban, which prompted some discussion at the Board of Trustees’ meeting Wednesday. While St. Charles doesn’t think a township-wide ban would fly with some residents, he is interested in options and alternatives, like a burn ban in higher-density areas. That would allow for small, recreational fires in those regions, but not the kind used for burning leaves and yard waste as they generate a lot of smoke. He says those smaller subdivisions are where he receives the majority of complaints from anyway, and not so much the rural parts of the community. It’s all about finding a balance, according to St. Charles, who understands the concerns of residents whose health may be affected by excessive smoke, but also the limited options for disposing of yard waste and residents’ ability to do so. St. Charles is interested in putting a public survey on the township’s website to obtain feedback from residents on what they’d like to see in regards to burning regulations. Officials have not cemented the survey idea or even discussing options, but St. Charles felt it was important to at least consider. In the meantime, he encouraged the community to be considerate to one another, suggesting that if someone does plan to burn leaves or yard waste, that they wait for a day with no or minimal wind to avoid spreading the smoke. St. Charles says the situation is very similar to the issue of why the township doesn’t have a single-source garbage hauler, adding that a lot of people want that, but a lot of people also want the right to choose their own. (DK)

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    A temporary lane closure is planned Friday in the Village of Milford. The Village advises that weather permitting; the right lane on northbound South Milford Road will be closed to traffic, starting after the morning rush hour on Friday. The right turn lane at South Milford Road and General Motors Road will not be impacted. The closure is needed for utility connection work to be completed. Officials say the work is being completed as part of an adjacent development and is expected to take two weeks to complete. The road will remain open to traffic during that time, but drivers are reminded to drive with caution in construction zones. (JM)

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    A former Brighton woman who claimed to have cancer and took donations from an online fundraising account is heading to prison. 34-year-old Candace Ann Streng was sentenced in Livingston County Circuit Court today and ordered to serve 28 ½ months to 15 years in prison. She earlier pleaded guilty to larceny by false pretenses of $20,000 or more. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a count of Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime. As part of her plea, Streng is required to pay restitution of $51,024.04. She has paid more than $19,000 toward restitution owed to people who donated money. The charges were the result of the Brighton Police Department’s investigation into allegations that Streng falsely claimed to have Stage 4 breast cancer and was collecting donations to help with her medical expenses. Several fundraisers were held for Streng over the past year with friends rallying by her side. Police in January began looking into a GoFundMe account called “Candace Kicks Cancer”, which had been set up for Streng. Police say the evidence indicated the account was fraudulently used to accept donations based on Streng’s false cancer claims. GoFundMe records show 399 people donated money totaling $31,645 before the account was deactivated. GoFundMe banned Streng and worked with the Brighton Police Department to refund donors. (JM)

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    The Livingston County Board of Commissioners is officially requesting a report from the Veterans Services Committee following reports of questionable spending and conflicts of interest. A Michigan State Police investigation into the Committee was launched in September after a woman was unable to get documentation of a $400 donation. That investigation is continuing. Yesterday, the Livingston County Democratic Party called on the county to restore trust in the committee because of the recent scandal, the MSP investigation and failure of the committee to use millage funds approved by voters. In an effort to do so, Democrats suggested the county reassure the public that everything is above board by starting with a detailed audit and some new policies, as well as more oversight by commissioners. Today, County Commission Chairman Don Parker provided WHMI with a copy of a letter addressed to Committee Chairman Hansel Keene dated October 2nd, which serves as a request from the county board for a report from the Veterans Services Committee. That was the same day WHMI reported that a letter from the donor named Keene as the recipient of the missing donation. It was also learned that seven disbursements were made from the Veterans Services Relief Fund to another committee member, Brighton Attorney Kevin Nagle, or his law firm between May of 2016 and February of 2017 totaling $4,900. The letter from the county states the requested report shall include all expenditures of the Veterans Services Department for the years of 2016 through 2018, as well as the Committee’s plans for revenue received as a result of the millage levied for veterans’ relief. The report is to be presented during the Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, October 15th. It starts at 7:30pm in board chambers of the county administration building. (JM)

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    A complaint filed against Livingston County District Court Judge L. Suzanne Geddis has ended with no charges being pursued. In a letter Thursday to Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt, Ingham County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Dewane said that after reviewing the investigatory materials and relevant legal precedent, he was declining to pursue any criminal charges against Geddis, a district court judge who is running for a newly created seat on the 44th Circuit Court. Vailliencourt had recused his office from investigating the complaint due to a conflict of interest. At issue was a complaint that wording Geddis used on campaign signs and materials used the term "judge,” implying she was an incumbent for the circuit court. State election law prohibits candidates from using “any words that give the impression that the candidate is an incumbent” when they are not. The Geddis campaign added stickers on the signs putting the word "District" in front of the word "Judge." Geddis is facing local attorney Dennis Brewer in the November election. (JK)

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    Results of a recent poll show Congressman Mike Bishop narrowly out in front of his main challenger with just about a month until the election. A release from the Bishop campaign Thursday pointed to a New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll that has the Republican incumbent ahead of Democrat Elissa Slotkin 47 to 44%. Bishop won the district by 17 points in 2016. The poll was conducted with 501 respondents from September 28th through Wednesday and was termed “a decent result for Republicans” by the organizers. Bishop’s campaign said he continued to lead Slotkin “in every independent poll conducted and the poll almost identically matched poll results” they released last week. Consultant Stu Sandler said they are “confident that the voters in the 8th district will re-elect him,” adding that, “Public records show that the NRCC, America First Action, and other conservative groups have more than $5 million committed to Mike Bishop in the 8th district campaign.” That follows last week’s news that the Congressional Leadership Fund had pulled more than $2 (m) million that had been set aside for television air time in Michigan to help defend Bishop after disappointing polling results. Sandler insisted the campaign’s internal polling has the Congressman in the lead and that Bishop, “will continue to work to win this race and continue to represent the district where he has grown up and raised his family.” In response, Slotkin spokesperson Laura Epstein told WHMI, “Our internal poll shows Elissa Slotkin leading, and all of the recent polls are within a margin of error, showing this race in a dead heat. We're glad that Elissa Slotkin’s bipartisan record of national security service and commitment to bringing a mission-focus to Congress are resonating with voters across the political spectrum, and we're confident that will bear out at the ballot box in November. People are tired of career politicians like Rep. Mike Bishop who vote in the interest of their corporate donors at the expense of Michigander voters, and they’re ready to elect a new generation of leaders to Congress.” Also running for the seat is Libertarian Brian Ellison and David J. Lillis of the U.S. Taxpayer Party of Michigan. (JK)

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