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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 financial forecast is clearing up for the Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority, after spending the last five or so years in a deficit. Executive Director Tim Church says this past January, the HAPRA board directed him and staff to implement a 2.7% deficit elimination plan, after what Church says has been HAPRA’s slow crawl out of debt over the last four or five years. Church was happy to report at a Howell City Council meeting Monday that HAPRA is expected to have completed its deficit elimination plan by the end of this year, filling in the $53,000 needed to put them back in the black and maybe even a little beyond. Church says it came down to tightening their belts by working with each department to increase revenues and seeking out help by way of sponsors. He tells WHMI now that their financial situation is looking much brighter, HAPRA can focus on needed improvements. Church says the authority has spent money this year, specifically on upgrading the floors at the Bennett recreation center and upgrading to LED lights- areas that the board felt needed to be addressed. Still, he says they’re improving because they made a point to use their resources wisely. HAPRA was effective enough in its money-saving tactics that there were no program rates increased as a source of supplemental revenue. After all of their efforts, Church is hoping the 2018 audit will show a cleaner record, noting that they’re on target and may even have a little bit of extra money to spend on infrastructure. (DK)

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    Community members are being invited to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and enjoy two upcoming musical performances. The Fenton Community Orchestra is a community - supported orchestra that provides a place for musicians of all ages to connect through music by offering an educational and entertaining music program for its members and audiences. FCO and the Fenton High School Jazz Orchestra will host two performances at 7:30 pm on Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th at the Fenton High School. The concert will feature a variety of classical and jazz favorites with a flurry of Christmas and holiday songs mixed in, performed by the Fenton Community Orchestra (FCO), Fenton High School (FHS) Jazz Orchestra, FCO’s Wind Ensemble and FCO’s Simply Strings. Selections will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 4 in G Minor, Fantasia on Greensleeves, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor and A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson among others. FCO Music Director Andy Perkins says they’ve been working on some difficult and fantastic literature, noting every year they mix up selections to offer audiences something familiar and something new. Perkins says “We also have a wonderful relationship between the FHS Instrumental Music Program and the Fenton Community Orchestra, each allowing the other program to expand and support one another. Band students benefit from the educational experience of performing alongside string musicians in an orchestral setting and the FCO is fortunate to be able to use the FHS Rubi Zima Auditorium for our seasonal concerts and the FHS band room for evening rehearsals.” Board Member Eric Szczepanski also serves on the City of Fenton Arts and Cultural Commission. He says they’re meeting a community need and he’s in awe of how far the organization has grown since he last served on the board. From 2013-15, he says the orchestra grew to 70+ members and the 2015 spring concert was standing room only. Szczepanski says that was a great problem to have and they began strategic planning sessions and invited community input to address the need, which led to adding a second night to their concerts. Wind Ensemble and Simply Strings were also formed in addition to the full-orchestra. Wind Ensemble offers opportunities for wind, brass, and percussion players while Simply Strings gives beginner and intermediate string players the chance to perform and develop their skills. The concert is free to the public. Details can be found by visiting the provided link. (JM)

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    Milford Township officials need one more special meeting to iron out details on their new budget. Questions arose, Wednesday night, as the Milford Township Board of Trustees had their 2019 proposed budget on the docket for approval. Much of the concern was around the pay scale for township staff. Trustee William Mazzara said the budget before him at the meeting was a higher budget than the one he remembered from their last work session. The township brought in a consulting firm last year to do a salary study and bring staff and officials to a comparable level as similar municipalities. Mazzara said they implemented a step process for raises based on merit, with a 2% cost of living raise. But as he saw the numbers, nearly everyone was given the step with some township staff receiving double the 2% raise or more. He took issue with the deputy clerk’s wages, as it rose 19% from the current year. Supervisor Don Green and Township Clerk Holly Brandt said that wasn’t actually case. A new deputy clerk, they say, was hired since last year’s budget was made, and at a higher wage. This wage was never amended in the 2018 budget, so it just looks like a 19% increase. Green had made a motion to pass the budget, but it failed to pass by a 2-2 vote. He and Brandt voted for approval, Mazzara and Trustee Dale Wiltse voted against. Treasurer Cynthia Dagenhardt, and Trustees Brien Worrell and Randall Busick were all absent on that evening before Thanksgiving. The Board has already had 6 budget work sessions and will now schedule a 7th as they only have one more regular meeting planned before it needs to be in place. (MK)

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    Law Enforcement agencies within Livingston County collaborated with various stores including the Howell, Brighton Township, Hamburg Township and Hartland Kroger’s, Genoa Township Aldi, and Wal-Mart in Fowlerville. Over 15,000 pounds of non-perishable food and paper products and $1200 dollars in cash was collected and donated to area food banks and pantries throughout the region. The food banks included The Hidden Springs Church, Youth Connection in Howell, First Baptist Church of Howell, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Howell, Fowlerville Impact Center, Howell Public Schools Innovation Academy, Senior Centers in Brighton, Howell, Pinckney and Gregory, Bountiful Harvest of Brighton, Pinckney Community Schools food bank, St. Mary’s Catholic Church food pantry in Pinckney and Gleaners. Deputies from the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office also prepared 25 food baskets which were delivered to seniors throughout the Howell/Brighton area. The participating agencies say they would like to thank the great Livingston County Community and retail partners for supporting this event and giving back to those who need it the most. They say they are already looking forward to another fantastic event next year.

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    A Lansing woman has admitted to charges related to allegations that she stole from an elderly Genoa Township man. 46-year-old Jolyn Suzanne McAllister appeared for a final settlement conference in Livingston County Circuit Court Monday. She pleaded guilty to identity theft and larceny in a building; two of the original four charges levied against her. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges of false pretenses $50,000 to $100,000, and uttering and publishing a document affecting real property. McAllister is set to be sentenced January 3rd. Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to an elderly man’s Genoa Township home in January of 2017 on the report of a theft in progress. The victim told deputies that he and McAllister were partners in a property management business when she took $4,500 in cash from his home. While the cash was recovered, authorities say that further investigation revealed McAllister had signed checks and other legal documents in the victim’s name over a one-year period for more than $50,000.

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    Local students have kicked off an annual food drive with a record number of donations goal in mind. Howell Public Schools, through the organization of Howell High School’s leadership classes are in the middle of a district-wide campaign to help put food on the tables of the less-fortunate in Livingston County. Their goal is collect 30,000 cans to support Gleaner’s Food Bank. Last year, the food drive gathered 22,000 cans, which equated to nearly 9-and-a-half tons of food. That was enough for over 15,000 meals for families in the county. According to Feeding America and the Meal Gap project, 14,000 residents of Livingston County face food insecurities. Food-insecurity refers to the United States Department of Agriculture’s measure of lack of access to enough food at times for an active, healthy life for household members. Households like this are not necessarily food insecure all of the time, and it may be a reflection of the need to make tradeoffs between nutritional food and other basic needs like housing or medical bills. Donation boxes are located in each Howell Public Schools building. Monetary donations can be made online at http://www.gcfb.org/howell_public_schools. The canned food drive runs through Friday, December 7th. (MK)

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    Northfield Township residents are being encouraged to get involved and apply for various openings on municipal boards. Officials say 2018 will soon be coming to an end, and with that comes the end of some member's terms on various township boards. There are anticipated openings on the planning commission, zoning board of appeals and board of review, with both members and alternates needed. If any of the various openings are of interest, individuals are asked to complete the "Boards and Commissions Application" and turn in their submission by Wednesday, December 5th. The Township Board of Trustees will be looking to fill the openings at an upcoming meeting. The application is attached. (JM)

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    One area township is piecing together the pieces for a new housing rental ordinance.The Milford Township Board of Trustees discussed the language for the ordinance that will define the fees and regulations for rental properties. Supervisor Don Green said he started working on this about 6 months ago when another board member brought some disturbing news to his attention. He said that some time ago, one of the trustees came in and showed him pictures of electrical outlets hanging out of the walls of rental properties. Add in tenants complaining about broken furnaces, water heaters, and leaky roofs that are going unfixed, and Green believes something needs to be done. Green said he estimates that roughly 10% of Milford Township residents are renters. Township attorney Jennifer Elowski said she was working with bringing over language from the Village of Milford’s ordinance with modifications. The working proposal offers a clearer definition of “building official” and implements measures to trigger regular inspections on rental properties, and suggests a fee schedule. The fee schedule used as an example was one out of Muskegon that is enforced by a company Milford Township is considering for running their operation. Under that plan, fees would range between $75 to $105 plus extras, depending on the size of the property. It is also being discussed that when the ordinance is approved, existing residential rentals will have 6 months to register. The township recognizes this will require an aggressive notification campaign to make certain property owners become compliant. No official action was taken during Wednesday’s meeting. (MK)

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    Fenton Township is accepting applications for candidates to fill a vacant board trustee position. The Charter Township of Fenton is seeking qualified individuals, those being registered voters in the municipality, to fill a vacancy on the Fenton Township Board. The vacancy stems from the anticipated resignation of Trustee Shaun Shumaker, who voters elected as the 6th district commissioner of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners. As Shumaker’s term begins January 1st, he is expected to submit his resignation to be effective December 31st. The newly appointed trustee would start January 1st to serve the remainder of Shumaker’s term, which expires November 20th, 2020. The submission deadline is Thursday, December 13th, at 5pm. Applications can be submitted to: Charter Township of Fenton Attn: Thomas Broecker, Operations Manager 12060 Mantawauka Drive Fenton, MI 48430 tbroecker@fentontownship.org Questions can be directed to: Operations Manager Thomas Broecker at 810-629-1537.

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    For the fifth year in a row, the Howell Elks Club is collecting deer hides to be made into gloves for wheelchair-bound veterans. Spokesman Ed Perez says the hides are collected and stored behind the lodge and are shipped out once a week during the hunting season to be processed. Perez tells WHMI that so far this year, they’ve collected 42 deer hides donated by area hunters, and their goal is to top last year’s total of about 60 hides. Perez says this is the fifth year the Howell Elks Club has been involved in the national program. The deer hides are used to provide professionally-crafted gloves for veterans in wheelchairs, and are distributed at veterans’ adaptive sports clinics and gatherings throughout the country. The program begins with the start of the bow and arrow season on the first of November, continues during the firearm deer season through Nov. 30 and the second archery season from Dec 1 to Jan. 1. Perez says they also accept cowhide. The Howell Elks Lodge is located on East Grand River between Latson Road and Chilson Road. For more information on the program or to donate a hide, call 546-4941 or e-mail to elks2168@gmail.com. (TT)

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    Donations are being sought to place a wreath on all veteran’s headstones in Pinckney. The Village is again participating in the Wreaths Across America program. Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization that teams up with communities to remember and recognize those who served our country. A ceremony is held every year at more than 1,400 locations across the country on Saturday, December 15th. The goal is to place a live, balsam fir wreath at the headstone of every veteran through fundraising and donations. There are roughly 450 veterans’ headstones in the Village Historical Cemetery and within St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s cemetery that have been identified. Village Clerk Amy Salowitz tells WHMI Pinckney Historical Cemetery was the first in Livingston County to participate and the idea is wreaths are placed on gravesites of veterans and they request that the person’s name be said out loud so they are never forgotten. The veteran’s cemetery in Holly participates in Wreaths Across America, which is how Salowitz learned about it. A special fundraising program is taking place through the end of the month in which for every two wreath sponsorships that are sold, a third wreath will be provided. There are two fundraising pages for each cemetery. Donations can also be made by cash or check at the Pinckney Village Hall. (JM) For online donations to the Pinckney Historical Cemetery, follow this link: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/23373/Overview/?relatedId=16207 For online donations to the St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, follow this link: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/24985/Overview/?relatedId=24829

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    A woman charged with fatally shooting a pregnant Linden woman and her co-worker has rejected a plea deal. 56-year-old Jacquelyne Tyson is charged with two counts of pre-meditated 1st degree murder and two counts of felony firearms in the shooting deaths of 20-year-old Lyric Work and 45-year-old Tamara Johnson at the leasing office of the Grand Oaks Apartments in Grand Blanc on July 26th, 2016. Johnson was pronounced dead at a hospital while Work, who was pregnant, was put on life support so the baby could be delivered. Work then passed away three days later. Her child survived. Authorities have yet to say what the motive was for the shooting. However, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton previously said the shootings could have precipitated from a dispute over Tyson's apartment. Tyson is being held without bond at the State Forensic Center for Psychiatry, and has twice been declared incompetent. In August, Tyson was offered a deal in which she could plead guilty but mentally ill with two counts of second degree murder. In exchange, the sentencing agreement would recommend a prison sentence of 20 to 50 years. Tyson rejected the plea deal at a hearing Monday, prompting the scheduling of a pre-trial hearing for January 29th, 2019. A jury trial has been set to start the following day. (DK/JK)

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    Donations are being sought to place a wreath on all veteran’s headstones in Pinckney. The Village is again participating in the Wreaths Across America program. Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization that teams up with communities to remember and recognize those who served our country. A ceremony is held every year at more than 1,400 locations across the country on Saturday, December 15th. The goal is to place a live, balsam fir wreath at the headstone of every veteran through fundraising and donations. There are roughly 450 veterans’ headstones in the Village Historical Cemetery and within St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s cemetery that have been identified. Village Clerk Amy Salowitz tells WHMI Pinckney Historical Cemetery was the first in Livingston County to participate and the idea is wreaths are placed on gravesites of veterans and they request that the person’s name be said out loud so they are never forgotten. The veteran’s cemetery in Holly participates in Wreaths Across America, which is how Salowitz learned about it. A special fundraising program is taking place through the end of the month in which for every two wreath sponsorships that are sold, a third wreath will be provided. There are two fundraising pages for each cemetery. Donations can also be made by cash or check at the Pinckney Village Hall. (JM) For online donations to the Pinckney Historical Cemetery, follow this link: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/23373/Overview/?relatedId=16207 For online donations to the St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, follow this link: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/24985/Overview/?relatedId=24829

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    The grand opening of Holiday in the Park in the City of Howell is approaching. The Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority is lighting up Howell City Park with 12 different classic holiday movie scenes, as well as Christmas trees decorated by local families. People will be able to drive around and view everything that is on display in the park. A grand opening is planned from 6 to 9pm on December 7th in which visitors can take pictures with Santa, write letters to the North Pole, and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. The cost is $5 per vehicle to enter the park located on Thompson Street. Tree sponsorships are also available. Trees cost $40 for a family or $100 for a business. Decorating got underway after Thanksgiving and all trees must be decorated by December 7th for the grand opening. Those looking to sponsor a tree should contact the Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority at 517-546-0693. (JM)

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    Livingston County officials have approved a contract that will continue a partnership with an organization dedicated to promoting local economic development. The county’s Board of Commissioners last week approved a three-year contract at an annual rate of $175,000 with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County, or the EDCLC. The EDCLC works to provide economic development services for the area and contracts Ann Arbor SPARK to provide business recruitment and retention services in the region. In addition to past growth, EDCLC Board Chair Ron Long says the partnership is working on some possible projects that could soon come to fruition. Long says, “…we’ve got a number of large, potential investments here in the county that we’re working hard here to cross the finish line and we’re looking forward to continue making Livingston County a great place to work, play and live. Also looking forward to continuing to increase the tax base here in Livingston County that benefits all the residents.” The contract with the EDCLC includes a clause that calls for an annual review of the partnership’s progress to be presented to county officials. The decision to approve the contract comes less than two weeks after a vote to approve a similar contract failed by a board of commissioners’ vote. The original contract had previously gained a subcommittee’s approval for recommendation; however it failed when it reached the board of commissioners, which includes commissioners that are also members of said subcommittee. The contract was revised to then include a provision allowing early termination at December 31, 2019 or December 31st, 2020, upon written notification by either party no later than 30 days prior to the early termination date. The same county subcommittee voted three to one to recommend approval of the amended agreement, before it came to the board of commissioners, where it finally received approval. (DK)

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    The trial of a New Hudson man charged with the severe beating of his girlfriend’s infant son has been pushed out to next year. 23-year-old Seth Blumberg was set to stand trial today on charges of assault with intent to murder and 1st degree child abuse. But court records show that it has now been adjourned until next April to allow for additional investigation and discovery. Police began investigating Blumberg after the child’s mother brought the infant to the hospital March 29th when she noticed bruising on the child had become more pronounced over the course of a week. An Oakland County Sheriff’s deputy testified Blumberg admitted trying to kill the infant, including trying to choke him, so he could spend more time with the child’s mother. The child’s mother said she dated Blumberg for about a month before moving into a two-bedroom apartment with him and his step-brother on March 1st. She testified there were numerous occasions when Blumberg was being too rough with the infant, including picking the child up by his head. Blumberg remains jailed under a $500,000 cash bond. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. At the time of his arrest, Blumberg was on probation from a 2016 guilty plea to charges of possessing child sexually abusive material and two counts of criminal sexual conduct involving someone ages 13-15. (JK)

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    Recreational marijuana-related facilities will not be prohibited in Putnam Township, following a board vote to opt out of such establishments. The township’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously last Monday night to opt out of recreational marijuana facilities, joining the Village of Pinckney, which was the first municipality in the county to opt out. The City of Howell is also considering an ordinance to opt out, which they will vote on at their December 3rd meeting. Putnam Township Supervisor Dennis Brennan says there are several factors that contributed to the board’s decision; one being the commercial enterprises that accompany legalization, noting it’s not about the use of marijuana, but instead the establishments that would arise in the community. He adds that the law does not allow a municipality to regulate what types of licenses that can be issued, only the number of licenses. As an agricultural community, Brennan says officials might consider allowing a grow operation if they were allowed to opt in for just that type of license, but they can’t choose which licenses to allow. Brennan says no one on the board would ever agree to allow a dispensary in the township, so if they don’t want a dispensary, they would have to opt out of everything. If the municipality were to opt in, there is also the potential they township could be challenged on why they only allowed a certain number of licenses and where they were prohibited. Brennan says attorney costs are not something the township can afford. Brennan says he’s also noticed community members’ comments on social media that generally say the communities that opt out of recreational marijuana facilities are missing out on revenue. But Brennan says it’s a lot more complicated than that. The state must first collect the amount of money it takes to cover the cost of implementation, enforcement and administration of the law. The FDA then collects the first $20 million from the state through 2022. The municipality can then receive up to 15% of what is left, which won’t be until 2022 at the earliest. Brennan says all of that information led to the board’s decision. Communities that do choose to opt out have the option to reverse their decision at any time. (DK)

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    Due to increasing budget pressures, residents in the City of Howell may not be getting an annual city calendar this year. The Howell City Council has discussed the calendar at various meetings at length and different motions to purchase different amounts for lesser cost have failed. The calendar is apparently a very popular item and copies move fast. While the cost for the calendar is not huge, Council is looking at ways to control costs and implement savings. Some members have noted the importance of the calendar for keeping track of recycling and other city services but also that it serves as a vehicle for publishing the annual report, and increases community engagement. Most recently, Councilman Bob Ellis made a motion to approve purchase of 2,500 community calendars to be distributed from City Hall at a cost of $4,647.66. That motion failed in a 4 to 3 vote. However, it was agreed three was no harm in trying to solicit sponsors to potentially fund the calendar. City Manager Shea Charles told WHMI Council voted not to approve the calendar and there was quite a bit of discussion. As for next steps, he says Council provided consensus to staff to try to find a sponsor for the calendar at a cost of $6,200. The item is expected to be discussed again at the December 3rd meeting. The City is faced with a structural deficit and a broken state funding model. Voters shot down a Headlee Override proposal that appeared on the November ballot and City Council has previously warned that if it did not pass, cuts would likely be inevitable. Mayor Nick Proctor spoke of the City’s budget deficit and when referencing the community calendar, said “…people have to start seeing that we’re serious and things have to go by the wayside.” (JM)

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    A recent ruling may result in a lawsuit involving the City of Linden ending up in the Michigan Supreme Court. The lawsuit was filed last year by Howard Schrock against both the city and the Genesee County Road Commission involving an incident on Ripley Road in July of 2016. Schrock says he suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury when his bicycle hit a pothole, catapulting him over the handlebars into the roadway. A Genesee County Circuit Court judge ruled that the road commission had jurisdiction over that portion of Ripley Road. The commission then turned to the Michigan Court of Appeals to review the ruling. In a decision last month, the appeals panel reversed the original ruling and said the City of Linden had retained jurisdiction, pointing out that the city had received state funds for the roadway, in addition to performing maintenance on both lanes on that section of the road. The Tri-County Times reports that during a Linden Council meeting earlier this month, the city’s attorney indicated that their insurance carrier was interested in potentially filing for a review of the decision by the Michigan Supreme Court, although that has yet to take place. (JK)

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    The Brighton District Library is helping families get in the holiday spirit with their upcoming open house. Santa and his reindeer will be making an early Christmas stop at the library on Saturday, December 8th, from 11am to 2pm. The family-friendly event will include bell-ringing, music, treats, stories, and crafts. Festivities begin with a visit from one of Santa’s magical reindeer. Kids can meet throughout the day and take pictures with Santa, who’ll have arrived straight from the North Pole to hear their wishes for Christmas. Then from 11:30am to 1pm, there will be a performance by the Vintage Strings Band, which is followed by ringing and singing with the First United Methodist Church of Brighton Bell Choir from 1 to 1:30pm. All ages are welcome and admission is free. For more information, call 810-229-6571 ext. 223.

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