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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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    The founders behind a mobile food truck that provides food assistance to area residents say they have finally found a permanent home for a facility to help train members of the disabled community for culinary careers. The Torch was founded in 2012 by Rhonda Callahan and Sarah Ruddle, who outfitted a food truck and soon hit the streets of the Livingston County area serving free food. In 2015 they founded Torch 180 after noticing gainful employment was a big problem for many of their disabled clients who lacked opportunities to learn skills that could get them hired. Almost immediately they began to search for a permanent location with a commercial kitchen, using a variety of temporary facilities in the meantime. But as of Wednesday that search came to an end as Ruddle and Callahan say they were able to pay cash for their new permanent location, which is the old Fowlerville Library building at 131 Mill Street. Callahan says once they get the old library retrofitted and equipped, which they hope will be by next summer, they will become a satellite campus for the Michigan Career and Technical Institute, based in Plainwell, near Kalamazoo. MCTI trains individuals with disabilities to achieve industry standards in a variety of employment opportunities. They plan to show off their new location to the public on December 1st during Christmas in the Ville. (JK)

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    Residents in one Hartland Township community will soon be getting what they asked for- road improvements. A second public hearing was held Wednesday night for residents in the Bullard Lake Woods Road area. Residents came to the township asking for a road improvements that would include Erika Street, Joshua Lane, and Pamela Court. They petitioned the township with 83% of the signatures required from the 36 parcels that will become part of the special assessment district. The project will cost just short of $166,000 in total. Residents will pay a 10-year annual assessment with no interest of $460 each year. Hartland Township Public Works Director Bob West said there were drainage concerns in the area where water is not going into the proper ditches, but instead into driveways. This project will correct that. Neil Burnett lives on Erika Street and is the president of the homeowner’s association. He said that drainage is a big issue and he’s glad to see it addressed. When he asked about non-functioning culverts under driveways, West said that any in dire need of replacement will be fixed. If driveways are torn up from this process, Burnett wanted to make sure that concrete would be replaced with concrete, and asphalt with asphalt. West said that would be the case. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to confirm the assessment roll for the SAD. A 30 day period for dispute is now open. The project is expected to take place next summer. (MK)

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    The Cromaine District Library in Hartland has announced winners of the 2018 Grant Sweet Memorial Essay Contest. The contest was open to all Livingston County students in grades 7-12. Students had to interview a soldier or veteran and compose a 250- word essay on what service meant/means to the veteran and themselves. Cromaine Library hosts the contest in memory of Grant Sweet, a long-time Cromaine employee, who cared deeply about veterans and had tremendous respect for their contributions. This year's contest winners are all Hartland Consolidated Schools students. Logan Berner, an 8th grader at Hartland Middle School, won first place for $300 and an American Legion gold medal. Jackson Donaldson, a 9th grader at Hartland High School won second place for $200 and received an American Legion silver medal while Elizabeth Arnold, an 8th grader at Hartland Middle School, won third place for $100 and an American Legion bronze medal. Supporters of the contest prizes include Friends of Cromaine Library, American Legion Austin Moore Post 415, and anonymous donors. All of the winning essays will be featured on the library’s website at www.cromaine.org and in the 2019 Memorial Day Parade Booklet. Pictured from left, Logan Berner, Doug Kuhn (Commander of American Legion Austin Moore Post 415), Jackson Donaldson, and Elizabeth Arnold. (JM)

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    Demonstrators in Livingston County joined with groups from over 900 locations across the country in an effort to show support to Robert Mueller. Roughly 2 dozen protesters gathered outside Congressman Mike Bishop’s Brighton headquarters late Thursday afternoon. This came in response to the recent firing/slash- resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump’s naming of Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General. This puts Whitaker as special counsel Robert Mueller’s boss as Mueller investigates claims to Russian interference within the 2016 election. Democrats fear that Whitaker will stifle the investigation by either firing Mueller or reducing his resources down to a level where the investigation can no longer take place. The protests were organized by the Nobody is Above the Law network that is demanding that Whitaker commit to not assume supervision of Mueller’s investigation. Sherry Massen came out from Milford to demonstrate and show the President that she believes he is out of line. Massen said “the kinds of manipulations he’s (Trump) doing with the justice department- it isn’t his weapon…” and shouldn’t be used as such. “The separation of the justice department and executive branch is something we should honor, it’s always been that way. And he’s crossed some lines that are really destroying democracy, in my opinion.” Chair of the Livingston County Democrats, Judy Daubenmier, was part of the protest. Daubenmier said it is important that with Sessions gone, that assurances are made that the investigation will be allowed to continue. She said she hopes the new Congress can provide protection for Mueller and the work he doing because “it’s not over yet.” (MK)

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    Billowing black smoke from a large vehicle fire could be seen throughout the Village of Pinckney Thursday afternoon. A Hummer caught on fire in the parking lot of the Rite Aid store on Dexter Street at around 3pm. It attracted a lot of attention due to the amount of smoke and flames. The Putnam Township Fire Department extinguished the blaze and is conducting the investigation. Pinckney Police told WHMI there was nothing believed to be suspicious about it. (JM)

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    Just two days after being elected to the State Senate, a local lawmaker has joined the GOP leadership team. State Rep. Lana Theis of Brighton Township was elected Thursday as the Assistant President Pro Tempore by the incoming Senate Republican majority. Theis said it was “truly an honor” to be selected by her peers to serve as a member of the Senate leadership team and looked forward to working with her colleagues, “toward continuing Michigan’s success.” Theis was first elected in 2014 as the State Representative for the 42nd district state house seat and will be succeeded by Brighton Township Clerk Ann Bollin, who won the seat in Tuesday’s election. Theis currently serves in the House of Representatives as Assistant Majority Floor leader and Chair of the Committee on Insurance.

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    A truck driver was killed in a Thursday morning crash that forced the closure of westbound I- 96 for roughly ten hours. It happened around 5:50am on westbound I-96 at Kent Lake Road. Michigan State Police Lieutenant Mike Shaw tells WHMI preliminary investigation revealed that a semi-truck started having engine and electrical problems, so the driver pulled over to the right as soon as they could before the semi quit running. Shaw says a box truck then approached the semi from behind, also in the right lane. He says unfortunately the semi did not get over all the way onto the shoulder and the driver of the box truck ended up hitting the back of the semi-truck, killing the driver instantly. Shaw identified the victim as a 36-year-old male from St. Clair and says his family has been notified. The driver of the semi was not injured. The westbound lanes of I-96 at Milford Road were shut down around 6am and re-opened after 4pm in time for the afternoon rush. He says motorists were advised to avoid the entire I-96 corridor, which was jam packed especially during the morning rush due to the usual gawker delays. Eastbound I-96 and US-23 were also affected by the closure. Shaw noted that it took longer than usual to complete the investigation because they had to get the trucks up-righted and recover the driver from one of the vehicles. He says there was also an oil spill and some other things that caused them to keep I-96 closed. Shaw said they appreciated everyone’s patience during the closure as it was a long stretch for a very well-traveled freeway system. Picture courtesy of WDIV-clickondetroit.com (JK/JM)

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    Michigan’s new 8th District Congresswoman-elect was in Livingston County yesterday to meet and greet with constituents. Democrat Elissa Slotkin made a stop at Great Harvest Bread Company in Brighton, Thursday afternoon, hot on the heels of her Election Day victory over Republican-incumbent Mike Bishop. Slotkin spoke to the crowd for a few moments, thanking them for their support and sharing her goals for when she gets to Washington. She then shook hands, took pictures and even signed some autographs. With the district being fairly divided in her race, she extended an olive branch to Bishop’s supporters, saying that just because they didn’t vote for her, that doesn’t mean she won’t work for them. Slotkin thanked Bishop and his family for their graciousness during this transition time. She said Bishop has offered to have his staff sit down with hers to hand over constituent cases and help everything go as smoothly as it can. Slotkin said she sees her win as the beginning of the rise of the “Midwestern Democrat.” The Midwestern Democrat, to her, is someone who is “practical, reasonable, independently minded, and willing to work across the aisle.” The other important thing she said they believe in, is that “every American deserves a fair shake. No more, no less.” Slotkin said the first bill she has been pushing for is for campaign finance reform. She commented on the large amount of corporate PAC money that was brought into her race and that how it poisons the system. Second is finding a health care solution that works and is affordable for everybody. The Congresswoman-elect said she plans to have town hall meetings every 3 months, coffee-sessions, and a run an office with lots of open communication with the public. When asked about the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and how the new Democrat majority will protect special-council investigator Robert Mueller, Slotkin said she’s not sure how the incoming majority will act, as she’s not in office yet. She said she was voted in to take action, however, and won’t let issues like this stall out for years at a time. (MK)

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    A conference dedicated to early childhood education and trends will give participants an opportunity to connect, collaborate and learn together. More than 1,000 professionals are expected to attend the 28th Annual Child Connect Regional Early Childhood Conference Saturday at the Howell High School campus. The conference was organized by Child Connect for Family Success, a non-profit that provides support, early childhood resources, education, training and other services to families and professionals. Each year, hundreds of teachers, program administrators, students and social workers choose from multiple presentations and exhibits to explore the latest trends and best practices in the early childhood field. The featured speaker at this year’s conference is Lisa Murphy, founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc. Her mission is to assist in the transformation of the industry of early childhood education by offering the best workshops and trainings; and the most up to date materials and resources. After the keynote, participants can attend their choice over 75 workshops during three interactive sessions and enjoy lunch and networking with other professionals during what is billed as a busy day of early childhood professional development. (JK)

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    The Green Oak Township Police Department is hoping to move into its new building by the first of the year, as the project begins to wrap up. The township’s Board of Trustees met Wednesday and approved the final bid packages for the approximately $6(m) million facility. The project is being funded through a combination of bonds and township general fund money. $1.5 million will come from the general fund, while $4.5 million will come from bonds that will be paid off over the next 20 years. Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says the ability to fund the project is a testament to the Board of Trustees’ fiscal responsibility, as well as the hard work and collaboration between police, building committee and township officials. St. Charles is a big fan of the facility that is nearly complete. He had his first walk-through last week and was “impressed”, adding that the facility is state-of-the-art and that he could “find no faults” in it. Yet he notes it’s “not overdone”, calling it a very practical building. The new building will house an evidence room, fitness and training room, and interview rooms. St. Charles reflected on the quality of the building, saying that it will serve the community well for fifty years and beyond. He says he’s looking forward to watching the officers move into the new building, which is expected to be around the beginning of 2019. St. Charles says weather has contributed to the delayed move-in, having had a wet spring and fall, and now preparing as snow begins to arrive, but adds that project leaders are continuing to work inside. (DK)

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    A group of local transportation officials and analysts working to develop the Transit Master Plan for Livingston County are centering their efforts around public feedback in a multi-faceted approach. The Livingston County Transportation Coalition, stakeholders and analysts from AECOM have been collecting data for the plan that aims to enhance and expand local transit services. An online survey was first posted in August and received over 800 responses. A public open house was then held at Genoa Township Hall Thursday to showcase and discuss the survey’s results. The survey found within the county, residents are most seeking transportation services to the Grand River corridor between Brighton and Howell. Outside of the county, residents are most looking for service to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, closely followed by the City of Ann Arbor. Livingston Essential Transportation Service (LETS) Director Greg Kellogg says the high demand for service to the airport could be satisfied with a potential partnership. The Michigan Flyer/Air Ride partners with Ann Arbor transit, providing transportation services from East Lansing to Ann Arbor and then to the airport from there. Kellogg says the company’s motor coach buses pass through Livingston County twelve times a day, but don’t stop because they don’t have a pick-up location and parking lot here for its customers in Livingston County. Kellogg says if a space could be created or established, they’d be interested in partnering with the company to provide residents with transportation to the airport. While approximately 21,760 people live and work in Livingston County, more than 57,830 commute from the area to other counties. Kellogg says LETS is also looking into technology upgrades, ways to increase efficiency and scheduled services that would help take pressure off LETS’ dial-a-ride. Still, those aiding in developing the Transit Plan are exploring the various options based on what residents want. Kellogg says they’re working hard to make public outreach a big component of the plan’s creation, adding the last thing they want to do is push services that residents and the county don’t want or need. AECOM Transportation Planner Jeromie Winsor says that’s why they’re seeking feedback from community members through multiple outlets and steps. Winsor says information gathered from the first survey and the open house will help to determine the public’s priorities. Some of the options most frequently identified as priorities will next be put through an analysis for cost and feasibility purposes. A second survey will then seek input on potential actions that could be taken. Winsor says eventually all of that feedback will be used in developing the Transit Master Plan, which includes goals that aim to improve system efficiency, provide regional connections and potentially building collaborations across counties. More information about the Transit Master Plan, materials from Thursday's open house and the new survey can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    A variety of activities are scheduled in Livingston County this weekend to mark Veterans Day. The remembrances will begin in Brighton Saturday with a Veterans’ Day Parade that starts at 11am on Main St. followed by a program at the Millpond’s Veterans’ Memorial. Then around 11:40, a solemn memorial service for Civil War soldier, Private Ernest Crippen, will take place at the nearby Old Village Cemetery, next to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The Sons of Union Veterans Post 120 will present the program in full Civil War uniforms, concluding with a 21 musket salute from the honor guard which will be followed by the playing of Taps. In addition, St Paul’s Episcopal Church will be holding a Special Veterans’ Day WWI Exhibit from 10am -1pm. Then on Sunday, the American Legion Devereaux Post 141 in Howell and the Marine Corps League Murnighan Detachment will hold their annual Veterans Day Salute at the veterans’ memorial on the lawn of the historic Livingston County Courthouse at 11am. That ceremony will include a 21-gun salute, flag-raising and taps. That will be followed from noon to 2pm with a Veterans Day luncheon at the American Legion Post. Finally, on Monday, November 12th there will be a Veterans Day Salute at Howell High School presented by the Howell High School Leadership Class. The guest speaker will be U.S. Army disabled veteran James Rutherford (picture courtesy of Richard Lim). There will be a Meet & Greet in the lobby of the Bushey Performing Arts Center prior to the assembly. All veterans are invited to attend, but are asked to RSVP via VeteranHonors@gmail.com or by calling 517-540-8300. (JK)

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    "Facility Security and Staff Safety" will be the featured topic during the next Good Morning Livingston breakfast program. Organizers say the event next Tuesday, November 13th should not be missed as it offers peace of mind and precautions to protect individuals, staff and building facilities. Speakers will include Livingston County Emergency Manager Therese Cremonte. She’ll present on the new citizens alert program LivAlert and what this program could mean for a family's safety, business safety and what to expect. The presentation will detail what sort of emergencies will alert your phone systems and how to be added to the system. Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy will present on facility safety and public safety, as well as being aware of surroundings and when you should call the police and sheriff's office to respond to a situation. The third featured speaker is Sam Larioza of Ohana Karate. He’ll present on personal safety, what to be aware of and how to protect yourself. Attendees will also learn how staff and children can protect themselves and best practices for a breach of security if you are being personally threatened. Individuals, businesses and/or staff members are being encouraged to register for Good Morning Livingston through the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce. The event will run from 7:30am to 9am next Tuesday at Chemung Hills Golf Club. The cost is $20 for pre-registered Howell Chamber members and their staff; $25 at the door and $30 for non-member businesses and guests. Details can be found on our website. The cost includes a full hot breakfast, coffee, juices, program, materials and a chance for every attendee to win a raffle prize. Details can be found through the link. (JM)

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    The Livingston County Building Department is once again lowering its permit fees, making it the third reduction since 2016. Building Official Jim Rowell came before the county’s Board of Commissioners Monday night for a resolution that would authorize a reduction in the multiplier used to calculate building permit fees and other adjustments in permit fees for the Building Department. According to a letter from Rowell to commissioners, the Building Department lowered the multiplier by 25% in 2016, then reduced the multiplier by 25 % again last year. In 2017 the department also reduced the majority of fixture-based fees, created a sliding fee scale for higher-valued commercial projects and eliminated unnecessary permits. The Construction Code Act requires that permit fees “bear a reasonable relation to the cost” of services and Rowell indicates the Building Department currently operates with approximately half the staffing level of the previous high growth year of 2005 / 2006, while current department permit activity and inspections have increased exponentially each year since 2010. The resolution states due to higher efficiencies combined with increased activity, the department fund balance is still at an amount which justifies adjustments in the permit fees, prompting Rowell to recommend another 25% reduction in the multiplier used for fee calculations. To show how the reductions would affect those obtaining a permit, Rowell included examples of typical projects that the Building Department commonly reviews and permits. One example was a 2,000-square-foot single family home with a 2,000-square-foot unfinished basement and 600-square-foot garage. While the current multiplier calculated the project’s permit fee to be $809, the new multiplier would reduce the fee to $607, saving customers over $200 in that one instance. Commissioners approved the resolution unanimously, with the new fees scheduled to take effect December 1st. The new multiplier will be used to calculate fees until December 31st, 2021, after which time the multiplier will return to the current rate and all other fee adjustments will remain lowered. (DK)

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    Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies are ditching their razors and shavers to support a local hospital and a nonprofit organization. Deputies are taking part in No Shave November and December, which excuses them from the department’s clean-shaven policy during those months so long as they make a $50 donation to each of the chosen causes. The past several years the Sheriff’s Office has raised funds for cancer organizations and centers during the month of November. Last year’s fundraiser brought in $2,120 that was donated to the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s Oncology Center in Howell, with an additional $850 donated to the Cancer Support Community. The Oncology Center has once again been chosen as the recipient of the November fundraiser, while December’s beneficiary will be Livingston County United Way. Last December deputies raised money for Good Samaritan Chris Alvarado Jr., who lost both legs in a car crash while he was attempting to assist a broken-down motorist in Genoa Township. (DK) Facebook photo: Deputies presenting the donation from 2017's "No Shave November" to Katie Rusak of the St. Joseph Mercy Health System.

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    A school bus driver intentionally drove over an injured deer to end its suffering. Dexter Community Schools reported the incident to families via a letter Friday. The district says the driver's actions in front of children was "absolutely not a course of action we condone" even if the driver was acting out of compassion for a seriously wounded deer. The school district calls it a "very human mistake." The deer was hit by a vehicle on Dan Hoey Road and was said to be seriously wounded before entering a student drop-off and pick-up zone. The district says in an attempt to quickly put the suffering animal out of its pain, a member of the transportation team instinctively drove over the deer to end its suffering. The school maintenance staff got rid of the dead deer. No injuries or damage to the bus were reported. The district says it hopes everyone concerned can understand that the driver made a very human mistake out of compassion for the animal and they have addressed the situation with staff. (JM)

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    Hilton School has become the fourth and last Brighton elementary school to become part of the Recess KLUB and receive its complimentary “Meet Up Spot” bench. The acronym “KLUB” stands for Kindness and Leadership Uniting Buddies”, and that’s the purpose of the program - to exhibit kindness to fellow students and make sure that no one is lonely or left out. Part of that goal is accomplished by the special bench, which is now installed at the outdoor playground outside Hilton, just as it is at the other three elementary schools in Brighton: Hawkins, Hornung, and Spencer, as well as Maltby Intemediate School. At an assembly held Friday, Principal Jeff Eisele showed Hilton students the bench and provided an introduction to the program. The Recess KLUB started in 2015 at Hawkins School, where Charlotte Mandziuk was a student. According to her mother, Nicole Mandziuk, Charlotte noticed that sometimes a student might be alone and off to himself or herself, and seemingly lonely, or perhaps with a personal problem. Charlotte got the idea of a “Buddy Bench” for kids to sit on if they needed companionship at recess from her sister, who came home upset one day because she didn't have anyone to play with at recess. Charlotte thought up the idea of having a special bench where students at the school would be versed on performing an act of kindness by sitting with the student and making conversation, playing with him or her, or drawing the child out if having a personal problem. Mandziuk says that Charlotte entered a contest sponsored by Toys “R” Us called the “National President of Play" contest with her Buddy Bench idea and ended up a finalist. As a result, she received a $10,000 prize to be used to purchase the special benches. Charlotte first went to the Hawkins School principal, and from there to Superintendent Greg Gray and the Board of Education. The result was a resounding “yes”, and the green light to have the benches and appropriate signs installed at the schools. Nicole Mandziuk says that according to what staff and administrators have told her, the Buddy bench idea has been very successful at the schools where the program has been put into place. (TT) Top photo: Spencer Elementary Recess KLUB mentors, together with Principal Bill Renner and the Brighton Bulldog mascot. Bottom photo: Hilton Recess KLUB mentors, Principal Jeff Eisele and club founder Charlotte Mandziuk. Photos courtesy of Nicole Mandziuk.

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    Congressman Mike Bishop recently visited a local elementary school to talk with students about protecting the environment. Congressman Bishop visited Challenger Elementary and spoke with students in Abby Aldred’s third-grade class about protecting the environment. The visit was prompted by letters the students wrote regarding the oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac. The students wrote the letters following their science unit Earth and Me, which covered how humans affect the environment. During the science unit, students researched oil spills and pipelines in Michigan. Aldred says as they conducted their research, students had concerns about the oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. Using guiding questions, she says students wrote to Congressman Bishop to share their concerns and inquire what the government was doing to prevent an oil spill. Aldred says the science unit turned into a wonderful lesson in civics for the students. One student said the project was about helping the earth and helping the Great Lakes from getting oil in them and hurting the animals. During his visit, Bishop answered several questions from students regarding the pipeline and protecting the environment. He also read a book to the students. (JM)

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    An acclaimed cardiac treatment program is now available in Livingston County. St. Joseph Mercy Livingston hospital is now offering the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program to treat patients with cardiovascular disease. John O' Malley, president of St. Joe Mercy Livingston, says, “The Pritikin program has proven to be very successful for patients at high risk for a cardiovascular event,” and will be the only intensive cardiac rehab program available in Livingston County. The Medicare-approved, evidence-based rehab program helps reduce risk factors for those who have experienced a serious heart event by implementing lifestyle changes that promote long-term health and well-being. Numerous studies have documented the Pritikin program's ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and blood sugar control and reduce other lifestyle-related risk factors. Eligible patients can be enrolled at St. Joe's in the Pritikin ICR program immediately following a heart event. The sessions offer a mix of exercise, individual education and group workshops and instruction on healthy food shopping and meal planning. The program is located in newly-renovated space on the first floor of St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, which now includes a state-of-the-art gym and classrooms with a demonstration kitchen. The program is now accepting patients. For more information, please call St. Joe's Cardiac Rehab at 517-545-6385. (JK)

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    Bells across the globe are tolling again today, 100 years after the signing of the Armistice and the end of World War I. On all US Navy and Marine ships and installations, at landmarks around the country, and from the towers of churches, bells were to ring at 11 a.m. local time to honor those who sacrificed their lives to preserve freedom. Locally, those who served in past wars and military conflicts were honored Saturday at the Veterans Memorial on the Mill Pond in downtown Brighton. Preceding the observance, a Veterans Day parade with color guard proceeded down Main Street, ending at the memorial for solemn ceremonies honoring US veterans, both living and dead. Despite cold and blustery weather, about 150 people attended the parade and related activities, many seated in the brand-new amphitheater next to the Veterans Memorial. Steve Conaway, chairman of the Brighton Veterans Memorial Committee, tells WHMI the event went well, despite a blustery day with temperatures in the mid-twenties, resulting in a wind chill in the single digits. Although local Veterans Day ceremonies were held Saturday, today, Sunday, is actually Veterans Day, a US legal holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, which became known as “The war to end all wars.” Observed in many countries as Armistice Day the following year, November 11th became a federal holiday in the US in 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day. (TT)

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