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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 less than two weeks before the election, backers of Proposal 1 have released their first advertisement, hoping to convince voters to make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana. The commercial, from the group MI Legalize, argued that the move would reduce dependency on opiates, citing a drop in opiate prescriptions in states that have decriminalized marijuana. Native Michigander Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said she is convinced that society would be safer if people could buy marijuana in a store instead of on the black market. "It's only through regulation that we can be sure that consumers have a safe, tested product that they know isn't contaminated with dangerous pesticide or even laced with other drugs." Opponents have maintained that marijuana is a dangerous drug that breeds addiction and crime, and that the federal government is unlikely to change its stance on marijuana anytime soon. Among them is Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy who says the legalization campaign fails to take into account the increased potency of marijuana today versus the experience of most voters when they were adolescents or young adults decades ago. He also says the proposed law would allow an individual to possess up to ten ounces, which he believes in far too much, while only taxing marijuana sales at 10%, which Murphy says would be among the lowest of any of the states that have already legalized marijuana use. The pro-Proposal 1 ad touted new jobs and a new source of tax revenue. It also mentioned that Michigan would see 20,000 fewer marijuana arrests per year and thus save more than $100 million in prosecution costs. O'Keefe contended that the current laws have left too many Michiganders with criminal convictions that can cost them their livelihoods, over a substance that more than half of Americans say they've tried. "Marijuana convictions can really destroy a person's dream. It's like an economic death penalty. A person can have very much trouble getting jobs, getting an education and getting housing if they have to check a box saying that they have a criminal conviction." If Proposal 1 passes, it immediately would become legal for anyone age 21 and older to have marijuana for personal use. It would take a year or two before regulations could be put in place to allow commercial growing and over-the-counter sales.

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    A Howell man will serve time in prison for his attempt to murder his wife with a hammer. 71-year-old Scott Lannin recently appeared in Livingston County Circuit Court for sentencing, after pleading guilty earlier this month to one count of assault with intent to murder. Lannin was sentenced to seven to 20 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections with a credit of 133 days served. Court records indicate the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office will notify federal courts in Canada, as Lannin is a Canadian citizen and could be deported after he finishes serving his sentence. Lannin was arrested following the June 14th incident in which he reportedly attacked his wife with a hammer. Lannin’s wife survived the attack.

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    Vice President Mike Pence will visit Michigan early next week, with plans to attend a campaign rally with 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop. Pence will be campaigning with Bishop Monday at the Midfield Management Hanger #2 at the Oakland County International Airport on Highland Road in Waterford Township. Bishop, who is being challenged for his congressional seat by Democrat Elissa Slotkin, is currently seeking his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Monday’s campaign rally will be open to the public. Pence, pictured here with Bishop and Lansing resident and autism advocate Xavier DeGroat at the White House in April, will also reportedly attend a rally in Grand Rapids the same day to campaign with Republican Senate candidate John James. Pence’s visit is the fifth time he has campaigned in Michigan during the midterm cycle and his eighth trip to the state since he was elected to office.

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    Donations for the therapy dog program in the Brighton Area Schools continue at a fast pace…Over $60,000 has been donated over the last several years toward the therapy dog program in the Brighton Area Schools. The latest gift - $2,000 – is from the Forcier family and was accepted by the Board of Education at its meeting last week. Karen Storey, a Brighton special ed teacher and the founder of the program, reports that the training program for the most recent dogs to be purchased: Shadow, Ford, and Buckley, is ahead of schedule, and they will be starting at their respective schools around Thanksgiving. When all the dogs are trained and assigned sometime in the coming year, the Brighton Area Schools will be the first district in the state to own a therapy dog at every school. Each dog costs $8,000 to purchase and train, with the training taking up to 14 months to complete. In addition, the dogs incur expenses for regular vet care. Although all of the therapy dogs have been purchased, Storey says they are seeking donations for veterinary services for a few of the dogs. Donations may be sent to Karen Storey at Maltby Intermediate School, 4740 Bauer Road, Brighton, MI 48116, or e-mail her for more information at storeyk@brightonk12.com. (TT)

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    The Brighton Area School District is looking at adding a new program at the high school. It’s called the Junior ROTC program and it’s for students – both male and female - who are interested in a possible military career. JROTC stands for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI that a survey will be taken of students at Scranton Middle School and Brighton High School to ascertain whether there is enough interest to sustain such a program, which would require a minimum enrollment of 100 students. A total of 29 high schools in Michigan have a junior ROTC program, including Howell, whose program is connected with the US Army.If the interest is there, Gray says the program could begin as early as next fall. Michigan Junior ROTC official Col. George Pettigrew, who gave a presentation at a recent meeting of the Board of Education. Pettigrew said JROTC teaches self-discipline, developing a strong work ethic, responsibility, camaraderie, organizational skills and patriotism. One potential drawback is the cost, which would likely total about $150,000 per year. Except for classroom materials, the district would be required to pay all expenses connected with the program, including teachers’ salaries, uniforms and insurance. Brighton would be allowed to invite students from other area school districts in order to make the minimum enrollment requirement and would receive their home schools' state aid for the amount of time spent in the Brighton classroom. (TT)

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    A Fowlerville High School student has been suspended for ten days after repeatedly punching a fellow student in the hallway on Thursday. The fight was caught on cell phone video and broadcast by WDIV-TV in Detroit. In the video, one of the students confronts another in a crowded hallway and after making a threat, begins to violently punch the other student, knocking him to the ground, where he repeatedly punches him in the face until a pair of faculty members intervened and broke up the fight. The video of the fight was shared by students on social media. In response to the incident, Fowlerville Community Schools Superintendent Wayne Roedel released the following statement; “Fowlerville staff and administration reacted quickly, bravely intervening, separating the students and ensuring safety. Administration conducted a thorough investigation and applied all appropriate disciplinary consequences. This was an isolated incident in which the students involved were not interested in solving their issues in a civil manner. The Fowlerville Community School District does not condone this type of behavior and strives to teach students how to cope with adverse situations. We mentor students to encourage them to choose better and non-violent alternatives to solving disagreements. The Fowlerville High School student code of conduct is clear about how situations like this are handled from a disciplinary perspective. When isolated incidents like this take place, it is natural to think that it is the norm and it is far from normal at FHS. Incidents of assault or even fighting are rare at Fowlerville Community Schools and are met with rigorous but appropriate consequences. School officials will continue to promote the safe environment that currently exists at FHS and to focus on curriculum, student achievement, and supporting the 99.9 percent of students who are focused on their school and life goals and who treat each other with civility, empathy and respect. In compliance with FERPA laws, there is no further or more specific information I can share about the incident." The student who threw the punch was suspended for 10 days, pending a meeting with the school board when further disciplinary action could be taken. Picture courtesy of clickondetroit.com (JK)

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    A ceremony in Lyon Township next month will pay tribute to a canine hero as he is laid to rest. The Michigan War Dog Memorial will hold an interment on Saturday, November 10th, for K9 Moose of the Novi Police Department. K9 Moose's partner was Officer Shawn Penzak and they patrolled together for more than six years. K9 Moose retired in 2013 and enjoyed retirement with the Penzak family. This year, at the age of 13, Moose's health deteriorated and he passed away on September 17th. He will be laid to rest with a full ceremonial burial at the Michigan War Dog Memorial cemetery, which is located on Milford Road in Lyon Township. The ceremony will begin at noon. The MWDM has made a goal of expanding knowledge and awareness of the K9’s that serve and protect, while continuing restoration and maintenance of the cemetery grounds. For more information about the burial or the organization, visit the Michigan War Dog Memorial’s website at www.mwdm.org. Photos courtesy of the Michigan War Dog Memorial.

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    Donations are being sought to help make the holidays a little brighter for men and women still serving overseas. The Ladies Auxiliary Post 4357 in Brighton is collecting donations to include in packages for troops that will be mailed out in December and arrive just before Christmas. Cards or letters of appreciation and support are being sought, along with snacks and personal care type items. Auxiliary President Tami Spiece tells WHMI they like to make sure the troops are taken care of at Christmas time since most are away from family and friends, adding they just want them to know people are thinking about them and appreciate what they do for their country and community. She says donations have been down the last couple of years and they would really like to send out around 100 packages this year. Donations will be accepted through the end of November, as Spiece says they’ll need to start sorting and packing boxes the following week. Donations of hard candy, beef jerky, energy bars, flavor packets for bottled water, personal care products such as wet wipes or deodorant, playing cards, DVD’s and white t-shirts are some items being collected. Spiece says basically anything that is small with a shelf life is good and they like to put a variety of products in each package. After everything is collected, packages will be put together and shipped out to the different addresses they’ve received. Spiece says they are also seeking the addresses of any men or women who are deployed so they can send them a package. Monetary donations are also being accepted to assist with the shipping charges, which gets expensive. Items can be dropped off at the American Spirit Center on Grand River in Brighton, which is open 11am until around 8pm Monday through Saturday and from noon to 8pm Sunday. Anyone with addresses of deployed men or women should contact Sherry Gransden at 810-623-6652. Spiece says monetary donations can be dropped in the clubhouse mailbox on the wall. Checks should be mailed to VFW Auxiliary Post 4357 P.O. Box 485 Brighton, MI 48116. (JM)

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    The second and final public education meeting on a proposed road millage in the Village of Milford is tonight. Two proposed charter amendments will appear on the November ballot. The first would increase the pay of elected Village Council members, which has remained at $7.50 per meeting since the adoption of the current Village Charter by voters in 1958. The change cannot be done via a vote by Council, only voters. The larger of the two ballot proposals, and the one that will be the focus of tonight’s public information session, is a revised road millage for additional projects in the Village. It would alter the 20-year-road millage adopted by voters in 2012. It would actually lower the millage rate to 2.9 mills but extend the length of the revised millage out to 2032 to generate funding for additional road projects. Tonight’s public information session starts at 7pm at the Milford Civic Center on Atlantic Street. It will feature presentations from staff and consulting engineers, as well as an opportunity for questions and answers. Detailed information on the proposed Charter amendments is available on the Village of Milford website. (JM)

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    A recent meeting was held to educate the public about historical contamination at a site in Pinckney and new testing that’s underway. There is a historical groundwater contamination plume related to ACO Products on Hamburg Street, formerly Pittsfield Products. TCE, trichloroethylene, has been detected in soil gas wells in certain locations between ACO and North Mill Street. A meeting was held last Wednesday at the Pinckney Village offices and featured various representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. A history of the site and contamination was provided. There was widespread contamination of household wells in the 1990’s, and the Village moved to a municipal water system. A consent judgment against ACO resulted and work was done to clean up the site. More recently, monitoring wells have detected TCE levels that exceed standards and the DEQ has been in contact with 19 homeowners in areas of “vapor pins” to test indoor air quality, which is not cause for immediate alarm but additional testing is needed. Livingston County Director of Environmental Health Matt Bolang tells WHMI samples were collected Thursday from soil gas wells in the area. He noted they are located outside of homes to evaluate for the potential for the contaminated groundwater to release vapor. Should any elevated results come back, mitigation units would be installed inside homes, until a permanent system is installed. Costs are covered by the MDEQ. It will likely be a few weeks before results from recent testing are known. (JM)

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    Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer will bring her campaign bus to Livingston County on Friday as she stumps throughout the state to help Democrats get out the vote for the Nov. 6 election. Whitmer, who is facing off against Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, will stop at the headquarters of the Livingston County Democratic Party in the Woodland Plaza in Genoa Township at 10 a.m. on Friday. The visit is part of Whitmer’s week-long campaign swing throughout the state in advance of the November 6th election, which will determine the successor to Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who is term-limited. Schuette was last in Livingston County just prior to the August primary when he took part in a “grassroots lunch” at his campaign’s Livingston County Field Office in Brighton.

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    The Village of Pinckney is looking for volunteers to help spruce up one of the oldest features in the municipality during seasonal clean-ups. The Pinckney Cemetery located just west of downtown Pinckney on M-36 dates back to the mid-1800’s and includes hundreds of burial sites. Village officials say there are two opportunities to serve the community this year and they’re putting out the call for volunteers on Saturday, November 3rd and Saturday, November 10th. Both clean-up dates will run from 9am to noon. Individuals, students, youth groups and organizations are needed to help out and officials say the project is also a great opportunity for those needing to log community service or volunteer hours. Faded décor will be removed along with other yard waste and downed branches or tree limbs. Officials say as always, the biggest project will be focusing on leaf removal. Those with questions are asked to contact the Pinckney Village offices at 734-878-6206. (JM)

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    Voters in both Fenton and Linden will be asked to approve road millages on November 6th. In Fenton, voters will cast ballots on two proposals. The first would amend the city charter to increase the length of voter-approved road millages from three to ten years, while the second would levy a 5-mill tax increase, “for the sole and exclusive purpose of improving roads and streets within the City.” Both would need to pass for the tax increase to go into effect. If they are approved, officials expect they will raise an estimated $2 million for neighborhood roads in the first year alone. The proposal follows a failed attempt last November to increase the charter limit from three to ten years, although at that time it was not explicitly being designated for roads. A final public meeting to discuss the proposals will be held this Thursday at 11am at the Fenton Community Center on S. LeRoy Street. Meanwhile, in Linden, voters are being asked to approve a 5-mill, 10-year levy, “for purposes of improving, replacing, resurfacing and reconstructing streets in the City, including drainage improvements and curbs and gutters…” Linden officials have also held a series of public meetings to discuss the proposal, which would raise more than $5 million over the course of 10 years if approved. (JK)

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    An upcoming event will give community members the chance to share their thoughts on options that are being considered to improve transportation in Livingston County. A public open house will be held at Genoa Township Hall from 4 to 7pm on Thursday, November 8th. Dr. Leo Hanifin is Chairperson of the Livingston County Transportation Coalition, which is comprised of various organizations and individuals that feel there is a need to improve and expand transportation services locally. Hanifin tells WHMI the open house will gather residents’ input on options that are being considered following a data analysis conducted by transportation consultation group AECOM. Hanifin says this is a great opportunity for the county to move forward with ideas that help the transit dependent and riders of choice. Some of the options currently proposed are improved LETS reservations and services, commuter options, scheduled routes, better bike paths and express bus service to the airport. The options are a part of a comprehensive planning project to develop the Livingston County Transit Master Plan. More information about the planning project’s results to date can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    Local foster families will benefit from a donation to a nonprofit organization. Livingston County Catholic Charities (LCCC) recently received a donation of $5,500 donated by the Livingston County Sarah Regan division of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH). Each year the division hosts an annual Charity Golf Outing at Chemung Hills in Howell and the funds raised support local community charities. For the fourth year in a row, LAOH members have chosen LCCC Foster Care and Adoption programs as the recipients of their generous funding. Mark Robinson, Executive Director of LCCC, attended their October meeting to accept the check from representatives of the LAOH and personally thank them for their generosity. LCCC will use the funds to grow their Foster Family Care special needs fund. This fund provides assistance to the children in foster care, the foster families and birth families. The children are placed into foster care due to neglect or abuse and often do not have basic necessities including coats, hygiene items and appropriate shoes or boots. Additionally, the fund assists with the purchase of items such as a bed and bedding to the foster home if needed; car seats; gas cards for both foster families and birth families to assist with travel for visitation visits and medical appointments; and other extraordinary needs. LCCC officials say they don’t ever want minor needs to delay or hamper the placement of a child or possible reunification and these funds will help avoid that. (JK)

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    A collaboration between community partners and a week of various activities aim to shed light on the issue of homelessness in Livingston County. Homeless Awareness Week is set for November 10th through the 18th, with events scheduled throughout in Howell and Brighton. Terri Ariss, who sits on the Homeless Continuum of Care Committee for Livingston County, says the goal is to draw attention to the prevalence of homelessness in a region that often appears to be very affluent. Ariss, who was once homeless herself, reports 823 occurrences of both literal and at-risk of homelessness in the county last year. During the school year, there were 414 homeless students. Though the data may be surprising to some, Ariss reminds the statistics are motivation for community members looking to get involved. She says the theme was chosen as organizers wanted to focus on how community members and groups can make a heroic effort in helping those who are surviving homelessness. Ariss says raising awareness about homelessness is not just about draw attention to the problem itself, but also to local resources that are a part of the solution. In addition to raising awareness, Ariss says organizers and participants also hope to dispel myths and misconceptions about homelessness with the week’s scheduled events. Among the activities are a bake sale and paint and pour fundraisers, with a portion of the proceeds from the paint and pour fundraiser going toward a special fund earmarked for homeless services to local residents accessing housing programs. The Paint and Pour fundraisers will be held at Studio West on Saturday, November 10th, for adults, and Sunday, the 18th, for kids. The awareness week’s main event, which includes a student art show and speakers, will be held at the Howell Opera House on November 14th, while a documentary about homelessness will be shown at the Howell Movie Theater on November 16th. (DK)

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    Today is the first in a series of profiles on the candidates for the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education on Election Day, one week from today. There are six candidates for three seats — all of them four-year terms — on the Brighton school board. There is one incumbent: Trustee Ken Stahl. The other candidates are Sean Hickman, Angela Krebs, Laura Mitchell, Andy Storm, and Kara Totaro. The candidate being profiled today is Angela Krebs. She is married to Todd Krebs. The couple has two children and they are residents of Green Oak Township. Angela Krebs, who is 52, is a tenured associate professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan Dearborn Campus, teaching math for prospective school teachers. She is married and has two children: Jacob, who graduated from Brighton High School in 2015 and is a senior at Central Michigan University, and Anna, who graduated from Brighton High School in June and is a freshman at the U of M-Dearborn. The Krebs’s children both attended Brighton Schools in all grades, from “pre-K” through 12th. Krebs, a 22-year Brighton area resident, says she is running for the school board because she feels she has a unique perspective to bring because, in addition to being a district parent, she is also a professional educator and a former high school teacher, with a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. Krebs adds she now has enough time and energy to devote to the school district since both of her children have graduated. Krebs says she continues to be active in the Brighton Schools as treasurer with the Brighton Band Boosters, and was a Rugby Mom for the four years her son was on the Brighton rugby team. She has also received extensive training in mediation resolution, which she feels could be very useful as a board of education trustee. Krebs is one of three “recommended” candidates by the Brighton Education Association, the union which represents Brighton teachers. After conducting interviews, the BEA recommends the candidates it determines would be good choices for election to the school board. Krebs regards the recommendation as a compliment, saying, in her words, “It’s a wonderful vote of confidence.” Krebs says she is in favor of the bond issue of around $45 million that will likely be on the ballot next year, saying it comes at the time when older bonds will be paid off, and therefore would result in no tax increase. However, Krebs says it’s imperative for Brighton to keep its fund equity high so it does not end up in the same situation as it did several years ago, when the district built up a multi-million dollar deficit. She gives Superintendent Greg Gray much of the credit for putting the district back on a sound financial footing and for improving its academic programs. Krebs says she would have “no agenda” if elected to the school board, saying she wants to continue the progress the district has been making, both in academics and the other aspects that make for a well-rounded education such as athletics, the Robotics program, band, choir, and the theater program. Krebs says the Brighton Area Schools is in a “wonderful place” right now — a place where she wants to keep it, while still continuing to improve. Tomorrow’s profile will be on incumbent Ken Stahl. (TT) BIO: ANGELA KREBS AGE: 52 OCCUPATION: Associate professor of mathematics at U of M-Dearborn with PhD. in curriculum and instruction FAMILY: Married, two grown children RESIDENCE: Green Oak Twp. YEARS LIVED IN DISTRICT: 22 REASON FOR RUNNING: To bring her unique skill set to the board table GOALS: Keep the district financially sound while continuing to improve programs RECOMMENDED BY BEA: Yes POSITION ON 2019 BOND ISSUE: In favor

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    A workshop for Handy Township officials delved into the roles and responsibilities of each governing board in the municipality. The event had perfect attendance from all members of the township’s Board of Trustees, Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. The workshop was led by Township Planner John Enos and the township’s attorney, Mike Kehoe. Enos noted the refresher course on planning and zoning basics was beneficial, as about half of the members of the planning commission and zoning board of appeals are either new or are now serving in different positions than what they originally had been. In addition to reviewing each body’s duties and methods for effective decision-making, Enos discussed components of the township’s zoning ordinance that new members might be unaware of, or how the ordinance could be affected by an entirely new law. One such example was the township’s ability to regulate businesses involving marijuana, should a proposal pass in the November 6th election that would legalize recreational use of the substance. Enos also addressed rezoning, as that was an issue township officials encountered on a large scale earlier this year when a company began considering property to construct a power plant. Enos and Kehoe’s workshop also reviewed the site plan approval process, with an emphasis on knowing and identifying why an official would approve or deny a request. One of the most important things, Enos told officials, is understanding the responsibilities, adding that residents, businesses and families are counting on them “to make the right decision based on the zoning, based on the master plan, protecting property values and preventing nuisances”. (DK)

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    A federal loan will help one local community upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. The Village of Pinckney has received a $2.9 million low-interest loan from the federal government to use to replace a nearly 40-year-old force main and build a new pump station. In addition, a new screening facility will be added to the wastewater treatment plant to help filter out large refuse items before the wastewater enters the treatment process. It’s those items, such as diapers, wipes and clothing, which have stressed the system and caused problems. One of the issues is debris that clogs the treatment plant's aeration system, decreasing the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, which in turn makes the water more difficult to treat. The new pump station will be located at the corner of Mower and South Howell streets, which will be connected to the new force main and new screening building. Village Clerk Amy Salowitz says they have been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development for over two years. Village officials will close on the 40 year loan, which comes with a 2.375% interest rate, November 8th. (JK)

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    A health needs assessment has determined the greatest needs of the Livingston County communities served by the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. The Community Health Needs Assessment is a requirement of all tax-exempt hospitals established as part of the Affordable Care Act. Focused on Livingston County, the assessment included an in-depth review of national, state and local data; key stakeholder interviews and community focus groups. Community members identified obesity, food access, and cardiovascular disease as priority concerns. While the percent of overweight or obese adults in the county is on par with the state, health system officials say it has shown a continued increase over time. In addition, behavioral health was a top concern, with both suicide and drug overdose rates in the county above the state rates. Access to care is a concern for many community members with the ratios of physicians to community members across primary care and specialties “much lower than the state and national ratios.” System officials say that strategies to address these needs in Livingston County include supporting schools with education and prevention strategies around behavioral health and weight management; improving community access to nutritious foods and addressing access to care barriers such as transportation. St. Joseph Mercy Livingston has developed an implementation plan to address these health issues and you’ll find a link for that below. (JK)

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