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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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    A statue dedication Sunday in Downtown Howell for Duane Zemper brought out more than 150 community members, dignitaries and family members. The man, known affectionately to so many simply as Zemp, would have been 99 years old on Sunday as the lifelike statue of him standing and leaning on a stack of books was unveiled in front of the Howell Carnegie District Library, following a countdown led by artist Kristine Poole. Poole and her husband Colin are a nationally-known sculpting team based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, although Kristine has family in Livingston County. They were given the commission to create the statue by the Duane Zemper Legacy Project, which was formed shortly after his death at age 96 in 2016. The committee sought to honor Zemp’s more than 50 years of volunteerism in the community, including co-founding the Howell Area Archives and preserving hundreds of original photographs of Howell and Livingston County dating well back into the 19th century. Sunday’s ceremony included an Honor Guard salute and a Missing Man Formation flyover to honor’s Zemper’s service in World War II as a combat photographer who regularly flew on bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe. Afterwards, Zemp’s son Eric reflected on the statue’s significance. "It's fantastic. It's nothing I would ever have expected growing up. I was very surprised and very pleased, humbled when I heard this was going to happen. I was happy to have been able to take part in the whole process. It's just great. I really appreciate the community doing this." After the unveiling, the crowd moved over to the Howell Opera House where Zemper’s award-winning photos were on display and a proclamation from Governor Snyder was presented by State Representative Hank Vaupel and State Senator Joe Hune. Details were also presented about the next phase of the Zemper Legacy Project, which may include a walking historical tour of Downtown Howell using many of the photographs Zemper preserved and possibly even including his own narration using past interviews. (JK)

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    A White Lake Township man charged in a retail fraud incident at Rural King in Hartland Township has been sentenced. 39-year-old Sean Thompson appeared in Livingston County Circuit Court Thursday and was sentenced by Judge Michael P. Hatty to one year of probation with a credit of two days served in jail. Thompson was originally charged with one count each of unarmed robbery and 3rd degree retail fraud; however he pleaded guilty last month to two added counts of larceny from a building and assault and battery as a second time habitual offender. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the two original charges and to no up-front jail time at sentencing. Thompson was charged as a result of the April 7th incident, which occurred at the Rural King on Highland Road. Store employees told responding Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies they observed a man attempting to conceal an unknown item in his coat. The employees pursued the man, later identified as Thompson, into the parking lot and attempted to restrain him for suspected retail fraud; however he managed to escape and fled in his vehicle. The employees sustained minor injuries but did not seek medical attention at the time of the incident. Thompson was later located by the Sheriff's Office with the assistance of the White Lake Township Police Department. (DK)

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    A recent report indicates that homelessness in Michigan is on a steady decline. An annual report released earlier this month by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, or MSHDA, shows that the overall homeless population in the state has decreased for the third year in a row. From 2015 to 2017 it has dropped 9%. The report was done in conjunction with the Michigan Campaign to End Homelessness. Much of the decline is credited to coordinated efforts of state and local partners to prioritize those in need using the Housing First model. The Housing First model moves people into housing as quickly as possible while providing support structures that help improve physical and mental health. Since 2015, there has been a 10% drop in youth homelessness. MSHDA’s data suggests that a network of creative supportive services and transitional living programs have helped with this number. Jasmine, an 18-year-old woman from Livingston County, was identified in the report saying that she sought help through the transitional living program after having troubles at home. The program helped her learn adult responsibilities like budgeting, saving, understanding rent and utilities, and other things she said she wouldn’t have learned at home. As for Livingston County, and its 3-county region that also includes Ingham and Shiawassee, there were a reported 6,014 homeless people in 2017. This accounts for 9% of the total homeless population in the state. The complete report can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mcteh/2017-Annual-Report-WEB_634753_7.pdf (MK)

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    With a large turnout expected Tuesday, polling locations across Livingston County are likely to be busier than usual. Clerk Elizabeth Hundley says for those planning on casting ballots Tuesday, they should be aware that there are time frames that are historically busier than others. Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm and Hundley says traditional peak volume times are generally when the polls first open up in the morning as people are heading in to work. They again see a spike at lunchtime and then again after 5pm when people get out of work. Hundley advises that if people have an option, they should ahead to attend when polls are not so busy. Hundley says voters should make sure they know where their correct polling location is, noting there is a tool available on the county clerk’s website for people to locate it. That link is below. She adds that if a qualified voter is in line at 8pm when polls are closing on Election Day, they will get to vote. However if someone arrives at 8:01, they will not be eligible to cast a vote. (JM)

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    It’s the most expensive Congressional race in Michigan history and both incumbent Republican Mike Bishop and Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin say they are taking nothing for granted as people get set to cast ballots on Tuesday. Bishop, who won the district by nearly 17 points in 2016, is polling within the margins against Slotkin and told WHMI on Sunday that his focus remains on getting his supporters out to the polls. "You just keeping pushing through the tape. I'm doing my same thing. I started with church this morning and I spent the rest of the day meeting and talking with as many people as I can talk to and encouraging them to vote and be a part of their democratic system. I feel good about it (but) you never know. 2016 was an anomaly maybe, or was it kind of a trend? So I don't know how accurate these polls are. I tend not to believe them, but we'll see on Tuesday." While Slotkin disagrees on most every major political issue with Bishop, one thing she is in sync with him on is in not trusting the polls to coast to a victory. "I don't take much stock in the polls. I don't watch what the pundits tell me. What I am hearing is from people on the ground when we knock on doors and surprise them at their front door. And what I've been really, really heartened to see is that people across the political spectrum; Republicans, Independents and Democrats, just feel that the tenor and tone of politics is off in Washington and they just want someone who is actually going to do something for them particularly on things like health care." Bishop says he also is concerned about the tone the campaign has taken, saying “The incivility in this country has gotten so bad and I think it’s wrong and I think we as a country have to stand up to it.” While Slotkin and Bishop point to the other as the cause of that perceived incivility, Slotkin says she has no apologies for making the race competitive. (JK)

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    After several failed and tie votes, the Livingston County Board of Commissioners will not be re-upping their contract as currently proposed with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County. Commissioners voted last year to approve a one-year contract with the EDC for $175,000. The EDC works to provide economic development services for the area and contracts Ann Arbor SPARK to provide business recruitment and retention services in the region. The EDC came before the county’s Finance Committee with a contract for three years at the same annual fee on October 24th; at which time the committee reportedly voted unanimously to recommend approval to the Board of Commissioners. However when the contract came before the board on Monday, some commissioners took issue with it, despite some of the commissioners sitting on the Finance Committee, which previously voted in its favor. After a handful of residents spoke out against the contract, Commissioner Dave Domas did as well and agreed with the residents that feel there is a lack of transparency in how the contract funds are used. Speaking to representatives from the EDC and SPARK that attended the meeting, Domas said, “I don’t really believe that you make things happen here. I don’t believe that you construct buildings. I don’t believe that you make jobs. I don’t believe that you create a workforce out here…and we have a vibrant economy. We have vibrant people. We have a high degree of educated people in this county. We have wealthy and healthy people in this county and you found that. You didn’t create that.” Commissioner Bob Bezotte also had some concerns about the contract, stating that he took issue with SPARK for taking credit for a project in Brighton Township that had begun before the municipality contracted the organization. Bezotte stated, “Since 2011 through 2018, we’ve invested over $1.2 million. Many of these communities have invested $2,500 a year, $8,500 a year…This is big taxpayers’ money that we’re supporting EDC and I believe we should support EDC, but I don’t agree with… I think we’re paying too much for this…I don’t see the success from the seven years that we’ve been in this.” A motion was made to amend the resolution and contract that would make the agreement $175,000 for one year. That vote failed five to three. The board then voted on the original contract at three years, which failed in a tie vote. A motion was then made to reconsider the one-year contract, which also failed in a tie vote. There was some confusion about the amended resolution and what constitutes a failed vote, so the board voted once again to reconsider the one-year contract, which once again failed in a tie vote. Afterward, SPARK Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Phil Santer, responded to comments made by community members and commissioners that suggested SPARK focused most of its efforts in Washtenaw County. Santer reminded the audience that the county’s contract would be with the EDC, not SPARK, and that the EDC is locally based. Santer said, “The EDC is a local economic development board of 30 members of local Livingston County stakeholders. It is made up of municipal partners, as well as the private sector, which also invests into the program overall.” Rebecca Foster, a pro-tem trustee on the Village of Pinckney’s council and a member of the EDC, also disagreed with the board’s decision, sharing an example of how the EDC and SPARK has helped the village. Foster told commissioners, “As you may know, we were recently awarded the status as a Redevelopment Ready Community and we would not have been able to navigate the steps of that process without the assistance from the EDC and SPARK staff. Their well-qualified assistance helped us to streamline processes…execute an economic development plan and many other benchmarks that were required for this qualification.” A resolution regarding the contract could still return to the Board of Commissioners at a later meeting. (DK)

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    A retired local judge and an area attorney seeking a citizen’s grand jury are going all in and appealing rulings to the Michigan Supreme Court. In July, former Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Burress and Howell attorney Tom Kizer filed separate appeals of a ruling by Livingston County Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh assigning an out-of-county judge to hear a request for a grand jury to investigate Judge Theresa Brennan. At issue is Brennan’s admitted relationship with former State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who served as the chief prosecution witness in the 2013 double-murder trial of Jerome Kowalski that she presided over and resulted in his conviction and life sentence. The chief reason cited by Judge Cavanaugh in her decision to send the case out of the county was Judge David Reader’s appointment of Kizer as the grand jury’s Special Prosecutor, questioning Kizer’s impartiality as he is a long-time critic of Judge Brennan and had served as the attorney for Brennan’s ex-husband in their 2017 divorce. In an opinion issued October 12th, the judicial panel denied the leave to appeal, “for lack of merit in the grounds presented” and further denied a motion for reversal of Judge Cavanaugh’s order, “for failure to persuade the Court of the existence of manifest error requiring reversal and warranting peremptory relief.” At the time, both said they were surprised and concerned over the one sentence denial without any written analysis of the serious issues raised. Burress and Kizer have now filed applications for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which includes the same arguments made to the Court of Appeals. Issues are further raised about Cavanaugh’s social interactions with Judge Brennan and Det. Furlong during the time leading up to and beyond the trial of Mr. Kowalski, which they feel has not been adequately revealed. Brennan’s conduct during the Kowalski trial is the subject of a Michigan State Police criminal investigation and a complaint by the Judicial Tenure Commission, which charged Brennan with “a pattern of improper conduct.” That complaint was heard over an eight-day period in October, with an additional day of testimony expected before a recommendation is made to the JTC about whether or not sanctions should be made against Brennan, which could include removal from the bench. (JM)

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    The Howell City Council met Monday night and approved a deficit elimination plan that was the result of timing issues and changes in the interpretation of a grant agreement. Due to timing issues, the City did not receive a refund from CSX Railroad for the cost over-estimation in time to eliminate the deficit in the McPherson Park Grant Fund. Council earlier approved a revised M-DOT contract for a grant to reconstruct portions of McPherson Park Drive in order to include the $65,000 paid for the CSX railroad crossing reconstruction as an eligible expense. $49,924 was received October 22nd, which was lower than the deficit, and the shortfall of $1,501.22 will be made up by the general fund. During Monday night’s meeting, a new resolution was approved by Council. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI Council adopted a resolution for the deficit elimination plan. He says it was just a timing issue that resulted in the small deficit and the plan approved by Council eliminates that. Based on revised project costs, the City anticipates receiving an adjustment from the state. When all of the final accounting is completed, an additional budget amendment will be required. (JM)

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    Survivors of suicide will be the focus of an event in Howell later this month that will be among many taking place across the country. Livingston County Community Mental Health will be once again hosting a program as a part of International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. The event will take place on Saturday, November 17th at the CMH Miller Building, 622 East Grand River in Howell from 9 to 11am. It's being held in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Southeast Michigan Chapter. The program will include support and resources to those who have lost a loved to suicide. Registration for the event and more information can be found through the link below. (JK)

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    Livingston County voters have several high-profile races and ballot issues to decide on today as they head to the polls. At the top of the list is the race for 8th District in Congress, with Republican incumbent Mike Bishop being challenged by Democrat Elissa Slotkin. Polls have the race within the margin of error, but both candidates say voter turnout today will be the key to whether they win or lose. For State House, the race that has attracted the most attention is that for the 42nd District, where Democrat Mona Shand is giving Republican Ann Bollin a serious challenge to become the first Democrat elected to that position in decades. In the 47th District, incumbent Republican Hank Vaupel is being challenged by Democrat Colleen Turk. The 22nd State Senate race features Republican Lana Theis hoping to move up to the upper chamber from her current position as a state representative. She is being challenged by Democrat Adam Dreher and Green Party candidate Eric Borregard. Democrats are also challenging several incumbent Republicans for the county board of commissioners. Meanwhile, voters in the City of Howell and Village of Pinckney will decide whether or not to approve a Headlee Override request, while the Howell Public School district has a sinking fund millage on the ballot as well. And voters across the county will decide a high-profile race for a new seat on the 44th Circuit Court featuring L. Suzanne Geddis and Dennis Brewer locked in a highly contentious battle for an eight-year term on the bench. There are also contested races for school board in Brighton, Howell, Hartland, Fowlerville and Pinckney as well as for trustee positions in Cohoctah, Howell and Putnam townships. A complete look at the ballot can be found through the link below. Polls open at 7am and will remain open until 8pm. Meanwhile, voter assist terminals are available at polls throughout Livingston County today. Elections Coordinator Joe Bridgman says each precinct will have a voter assisted terminal for anyone with special needs so they can come and cast their ballot in a secret, private way just like anyone else would. He says the units will be set up at each precinct or polling location, and the machines are available for any voter who needs assistance and it’s a great tool. Bridgman tells WHMI basically the way it works is a voter will vote their ballot electronically on the machine. (JK)

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    Marijuana legalization, non-partisan redistricting and expanded voting access were all given the green light by voters across the state and locally in Tuesday’s General Election. Michigan has become the first state in the Midwest to approve recreational use of marijuana. Proposal 1 legalizes the use and sale for adults 21 and older. The ballot measure comes ten years after Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana. Sheriff Mike Murphy said he was disappointed the proposal passed, and anticipates there will be litigation for years to come. He says the passage of Proposal 1 is a disaster that will change the face of Michigan and he’s disappointed the message didn’t get out and that people were somewhat ambivalent. The measure passed in Livingston County, which Murphy said "floored me to be honest" that people didn't think it was a big deal. He feels those who voted in favor will change their tune in three to five years. Municipalities previously had to “opt in” to allow dispensaries but under the Proposal 1, municipalities have to “opt out." Murphy said he plans to speak with local townships, cities and villages and express it’s probably not what they want. He says it will ultimately be up to them, but he’s hoping to get most to opt out. Murphy noted there are more pot shops than Starbucks or McDonalds in Colorado and that’s not what he wants in Livingston County - and he truly doesn’t think that’s what other people here want either. (JM)

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    Despite much outreach and public education meetings, voters in the City of Howell resoundingly turned down a Headlee Override request. A similar request also failed in Pinckney. Howell is faced with a structural deficit and a broken state funding model. The request would have generated roughly $1.4-million per year for the next five years to be used primarily on roads and infrastructure, while around 20% would be used to correct a deficit and maintain city services at their present level. Mayor Nick Proctor says it’s not great news but the voters have made their voices clear so the City will operate under the existing fiscal stream. He notes they have a budget meeting scheduled next Monday evening, where Council will have to make some tough decisions for the next fiscal year on service reductions, and whether or not they put any money into infrastructure. Proctor says they’ll probably have to go the latter because they just don’t have money to repair the roads and will make do with what they have. Proctor tells WHMI voters have decided that they prefer the tax levels currently in place so the City will live within its means and look at ways to trim services. He says City Council will have to start the tough task of right-sizing the budget to make select service reductions and probably not doing any roadwork for the foreseeable future, unless they get significant cost sharing from the state as they simply don’t have the funds to repair or resurface roads. He stressed the defeat was nothing personal for those on City Council as it is democracy at its best and the voters have spoken. Proctor added that Howell is not alone in this dilemma, noting the City of Brighton had a Headlee Override in May that failed by just 120-some votes. Meanwhile, the Howell Public Schools Securing Our Future Sinking Fund Proposal failed by 28 votes. It would have provided approximately $1.3 (m) million dollars annually to fund safety and security upgrades, and major repair projects across the district. Superintendent Erin MacGregor says as a district, they’re disappointed the proposal did not win voter approval but student and staff safety will continue to be their top priority, and they’ll work to improve building security as funds are available. He says the district will also begin to re-evaluate its capital improvement needs as it looks for ways to complete major repair projects with limited capital improvement funds. (JM)

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    A plea has been entered by the second suspect charged with threatening to shoot up a Whitmore Lake school building. 18-year-olds Michael Gage Perks and Eric Gordon Deaton, both of Whitmore Lake, were charged in Washtenaw County Trial Court on charges of false report or threat of terrorism after the incident in March. During a pre-trial hearing Monday for Perks, he pleaded guilty under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which will erase his conviction if he successfully completes probation. He will be sentenced January 7th. Northfield Township Police received information March 13th from Superintendent Tom DeKeyser regarding a threat to “shoot up a school building” within the district, which was forced to close the following day as officers investigated. Deaton and Parks were identified as suspects. Police say they recovered a firearm at Perks’ home. Perks was a student at FlexTech High School in Brighton at the time, but was a one-time student in Whitmore Lake schools. Deaton, who entered a guilty plea in April, was sentenced in June under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. (JK)

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    Voters in the Village of Milford cast ballots for two proposed charter amendments on Tuesday. The larger of the two was approved while the other was close but ultimately defeated. Voters approved Charter Amendment 2, which alters a 20-year-road millage earlier adopted by voters. Village Manager Christian Wuerth tells WHMI the approval lowers the road millage for the next four years and then extends it out for an additional ten years. He says it will generate a little over $4 (m) million in revenue for roads to be maintained. Wuerth says since 2013, the Village has had another road millage in effect and this approval will alter that. When asked about the support, Wuerth said he thinks residents have had an opportunity to see how the current millage funds have been used to date. Through discussions for this proposal, Wuerth says they were able to talk about potential projects that could happen with this millage and some things that could be done moving forward to step up and continue to maintain the roads appropriately. Meanwhile, voters turned down Charter Amendment 1 that would have increased the pay of elected Village Council members. It 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. (JM)

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    For the first time since 2000, the 8th District will be represented by a Democrat after Elissa Slotkin pulled out a close win over incumbent Republican Mike Bishop. Speaking to supporters this morning in Rochester, Bishop conceded he had the lost the seat he had held since 2014. It was a close win, within the margin of error in polling leading up to the election and Slotkin thanked her supporters for the upset, saying "this is what happens when you set a goal and you stay focused and you believe in this country." Bishop easily won in Livingston County, out-polling Slotkin by nearly 20,000 votes. He also won in Oakland County by 14,000 votes. But that was more than made up for in Ingham County, where Slotkin beat Bishop by a 40,000 vote margin. The final results with 100% of precincts reporting was Slotkin with 172,878 votes (51%) and Bishop with 159,804 votes (47%). Despite the win, Democrats in Livingston County were still unsuccessful in breaking the GOP hold as both incumbent Hank Vaupel and Ann Bollin won their respective House seats handily. Vaupel defeated Democratic challenger Colleen Turk, 62 - 31%. Vaupel said while economy and jobs were the top priority, "health care, the cost of health care, mental health care and the opioid issue is something we really want to concentrate on." Turk thanked her supporters and congratulated Vaupel on his win, saying, "Running to represent the 47th District while working a full-time job was not easy, but getting out into the community and making face-to-face connections with voters was so worth it. I look forward to continuing to build connections among community members and educating citizens on the truth about what's happening in our government.” Democrat Mona Shand, who lost to Bollin by 56 to 37% for the 42nd State House seat, remained upbeat in defeat and thanked her supporters. "I'm incredibly proud of the grassroots campaign that we ran. We had such a great response from people all across the political spectrum. We had so many volunteers, so many people really connecting with the message we had of positive change for this area and for our state." Republicans also retained their lock on the county board of commissioners, easily winning all of the contested races there. Meanwhile, in the contentious race for a new seat on the 44th Circuit Court, 53rd District Court Judge Suzanne Geddis narrowly defeated Dennis Brewer, with a less than 2% lead; 39.31% to 37.71%. That term will be for eight years. Lana Theis was successful in her bid to become a State Senator, winning the race for the 22nd District over Democrat Adam Dreher 59 - 33%. Green party candidate Eric Borregard picked up just over 2% in that race. Theis told WHMI what her priority would be in her new position. "Auto no-fault reform, auto no-fault reform and auto no-fault reform. We need to fix this. I think this is one of the biggest things that is holding Michigan back and I think its something that's absolutely solvable. To that effort, I am looking forward to making that happen." The vote for a Headlee Override in the City of Howell was resoundingly defeated, 55 - 38%. A similar measure in the Village of Pinckney was also defeated, 53 - 40%. A Sinking Fund millage in the Howell Public Schools District lost by just 28 votes. In school board races, Ken Stahl was re-elected to the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education along with newcomers Angela Krebs and Laura Mitchell. In Howell, incumbents Brent Earl and Grace Trudell also won re-election along with newcomer Christy Conn. In Pinckney, Amanda Mortenson and Melissa Mueller were elected to the school board, while in Fowlerville, Trish Reed, John Belcher and Steve Frederick were the winners. Complete Livingston County unofficial election results can be found through the link below. (JK)

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    Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week is underway and officials say knowing how to recognize and prevent it could save someone’s life. The three months that are most prevalent in terms of carbon monoxide poisoning are December, January and February. Carbon Monoxide is deemed the silent killer being a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Consumers Energy spokeswoman Debra Dodd says most people don’t know they have a problem unless they take proper precautions to prevent it and install an audible CO alarm in their home or business. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen almost anywhere; in homes, businesses, RVs, or boats for example. Some signs of a problem and symptoms if someone doesn’t have a carbon monoxide alarm tend to mimic the flu and include headaches, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. Dodd says every year there are usually 400-500 people affected by carbon monoxide poisoning in the state. She notes that fortunately, very few succumb to that but in the past five or six years in Michigan, there have been several victims of carbon monoxide poisoning based on various things. Dodd says furnace inspections are recommended before the winter hits and that furnace air filters are changed at least once a month in the winter. Chimneys and vent pipes should be examined to make sure animals aren’t trying to nest or any leaves or other debris are clogging things up. There are other hazards to be addressed when it comes to using snow blowers, or warming up vehicles. Dodd tells WHMI vehicles should not be left running in a garage, even with the door open, because dangerous levels of C-O can build up. She says snow blowers should also be started and kept running outside of an enclosed area, and the same goes for generators. Consumers Energy recommends installing an alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of a home. C-O alarms are often combined with smoke alarms and can be purchased at most grocery and hardware stores. For anyone that thinks they do have a carbon monoxide problem, Dodd advises to get out of the house or building and call both 911 and your energy provider. Further details and safety information is available through the link provided. (JM)

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    Hartland Township officials met with the Livingston County Drain Commissioner for their bi-annual update on the sanitary sewer. Drain Commissioner Brian Jonckheere led a discussion with the Hartland Township Board of Trustees during the informational portion of their regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday night. Hartland is part of the Livingston Regional Sanitary Sewer system, or LRSS, with neighboring Tyrone Township. Jonckheere started with the system’s accomplishments, leading off with the fact that they have continued to increase their percentage of surplus revenues since getting out of the deficit in 2011. This was credited partially to the modernization of their grinder pump fleet. Hartland Township is currently in year 4 of a 7-year transition period to align fixed and variable user sewer fees with actual expenses. Jonckheere said that sewer users on gravity are likely seeing positive results for their pocketbooks. The flow rate per 1,000 gallons was $7.77 4 years ago. This year it is down to $4.78, and will continue to drop the next 3 years. Offsetting this is the grinder pump fee. That fee has risen $11 in the last 4 years, and will go up another 6 by 2021. One issue Trustee Joe Colaianne had was with the Readiness to Serve Charge raising from $7 in 2014 to $52 in 2021. The Board also discussed a spike in long-term capital reserve recommendations for the sewer system. The study suggested having $3-million in reserve by 2024, 3 times what they have now. Until an asset management study that is underway is completed, Fountain said they don’t have a really strong idea on just how much they need. He said they’ll know more when it is completed in 3 to 4 month’s time. Jonckheere said they’ve also completed a capacity study, and focused on a potential chokepoint at Clark Road. It’s good news for users in that area. Jonckheere said they found out they have more time than they thought before backups caused by power failures become a problem. They also learned that the unwanted overflows would drain into roadside ditches, and not basements. (MK)

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    A local judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a man who was attacked with a baseball bat by his ex-employers. Changqian Zou filed the civil lawsuit last May seeking damages to exceed $25,000 related to the April 2016 incident. Zou is a former employee of Bubba Changs; a Chinese-American buffet in Genoa Township that closed after a fight in the parking lot between several ex-employees and the restaurant’s owners. After being fired, Zou and another ex-employee, Shiguang Zheng, showed up at the restaurant to collect some personal belongings and back wages. An argument with Bubba Changs owners, Jeremy and Johnnie Lee Hamilton, and dishwasher Timothy Borg, turned into a physical fight that led to Zou being beat up with a baseball bat. Johnnie Hamilton’s wife, Angela, reportedly hid the bat after the attack. In the aftermath, Zou sued Hamilton Cedar Creek Inc., which listed the Hamilton brothers, Angela Hamilton, and Borg as the defendants, for injuries he sustained from the fight and the resulting medical bills, lost work time and income, and pain and suffering. The defendants filed counterclaims against Zou, alleging they have suffered pain, humiliation, lost earning capacity, lost business, and loss of society and companionship because of the incident. However on October 19th of this year, Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Hatty dismissed the lawsuit because Defendant Shiguang Zheng and Plaintiff Timothy Borg had not participated in court-ordered mediation. Court records indicate Zheng, a former Ypsilanti resident, now resides in Kentucky, while Borg is currently serving a three to ten year prison sentence for charges related to the assault at Bubba Changs. In Judge Hatty’s dismissal, he noted that the court retains jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement between the parties. (DK)

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    Sexual assault charges have been filed against an area man who is an employee and volunteer at schools in Ingham County. The Unadilla Township Police Department conducted an investigation of a reported sexual assault that took place this past June. The suspect, 19-year-old Bradley Nowak of Gregory, allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old female while they were both visiting the residence of a mutual friend. As a result of the investigation, the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office charged Nowak with two counts of 3rd degree sexual assault and two counts of 4th degree sexual assault. The Unadilla Township Police Department arrested Nowak on October 30th and he was lodged at the Livingston County Jail. Nowak was arraigned on the charges and released on a $50,000 bond. Nowak is an employee of the Ingham Intermediate School District in Mason, MI and volunteered with Stockbridge Community Schools. If anyone may have additional information please contact the Unadilla Township Police at 734-498-2325 or send an e-mail to tips@unadillapolice.org. Survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence are encouraged to reach out to LACASA 24 hours a day at 866-522-2725.

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    WHMI and the Gleaners Community Food Bank of Livingston County are once again teaming up to help make sure local families in need get a holiday meal. Gleaners estimates there are 1,000 area families who will need assistance to put a holiday meal on the table and with the organization’s buying power, a full meal is possible with just a $20 donation. Starting this Saturday, November 10th and lasting through Thanksgiving, WHMI’s 12 Days of Gleaners will seek donations to make sure every family has a holiday meal. Bridget Brown is the Director of Food Secure Livingston and says cash donations allow them to fully stock their Shared Harvest Pantry to provide a grocery store experience. And to further help, Ford Motor Company is once again doubling all donations made during 12 Days of Gleaners. You can find details and donation options through the link below. (JK)

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