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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 Brighton Area Schools has had an excellent band program over the years, with a 260-member high school marching band considered one of the best in the state - one which has won numerous awards. However, due to budgetary considerations, Brighton did not have an orchestra program for many years, that is, until a couple of years ago. With more cash on hand after getting itself out of deficit, the Board of Education in 2016 re-established the orchestra program, which is now in its third year. Superintendent Greg Gray says the orchestra program has made huge strides since it was launched. The after-school Bulldog Chamber Orchestra, consisting of 7th-through 12th-grade students, has been honing its skills and is now performing before the public. Last week the ensemble played holiday music for the patients at the Caretel Inn assisted living and nursing home facility in Brighton. And the Bulldog Chamber Orchestra will be performing again on Monday, Dec. 10th, in the lobby of the new University of Michigan medical facility on Challis Road, at 3:30 p.m. (TT

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    About 20 parents of Hilton Elementary kindergarten students were at this week's Brighton Board of Education meeting to complain to the board that their children in one particular classroom were afraid to go to school because of a disruptive student. The parents told the board that their kids — whose classroom is called the “mouse room” — were constantly in fear because of one particular student who expresses his anger by throwing items such as chairs, books and shoes, adding that he even punched one child in the face. The parents' group stated the class has had to be evacuated many times this fall because of the out-of-control student. Parent Ross Gemuend told the board that in one incident, both a teacher and student were hit by a chair, and the teacher was injured, although it apparently was not serious. Parent Ross Gemuend told the board that their kids “have a right to a safe learning environment,” and the unruly student should be removed from the classroom and placed in an environment that protects both him and those around him. Superintendent Greg Gray later told WHMI that due to students’ privacy rights he wasn’t at liberty to discuss the specific incident. However, speaking in general terms about such cases, Gray said, “We collect the data and make the best recommendations we can for (all of) the students’ safety. Gray also said in cases of a student’s disruptive behavior, “an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) team meets with the parents, data is collected, and a determination is made about the IEP plan for that student.” According to the concerned parents’ group, a para-professional has been assigned to the student, but add that so far it hasn’t stopped the incidents from recurring. One parent told the board that her child no longer wants to attend the school because of the incidents and she wants to be home-schooled. The parents have asked that the student in question be removed from the classroom, one parent estimating that the class has lost seven hours of instructional time this fall due to the evacuations and other disruptions caused by the student in question. The parents said that the school district has not communicated with them about any of the incidents and they have not been notified when any of the frequent evacuations have taken place. Another parent said that is in stark contrast to an incident when a smoke alarm went off, the students were evacuated and parents were notified by the school immediately. After several parents had addressed the board, Board of Education President Andy Burchfield thanked the group for their input, assuring them the board would look into the matter and get back to them with a response. He told WHMI Friday that the district was handling the matter "internally" and there would be no comment on the case from the board. (TT) Below is a statement issued by the parents' group following their appearance before the school board: "Our objective for bringing this issue to the attention of the board of education is not to demonize the administration or the offending student, but to shed light on a law or policy that has unintended consequences. We only discovered this issue from our children and other parents sharing stories with incidents that their child had been directly impacted by. Our desired solution is that every parent is notified when a classroom is evacuated for any reason, to ensure that students that need additional help receive the help they need in a timely manner, and that appropriate resources are available so that special needs resources aren't removed from one student and given to another."

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    A local charitable organization has received funding to help support programming for seniors and those who care for them. Livingston County Catholic Charities received, this week, the second year of funding from a 2-year, $90,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The grant money was awarded for general operations in support of Catholic Charities’ 3 senior service programs; Be Our Guest Adult Day, Volunteer Caregiver, and the Resource Advocacy program. The latter 2 are offered free to county seniors, with Be Our Guest Adult Day offered at a discount. After support from The Area Agency on Aging 1-B, the Livingston County United Way, and the Diocese of Lansing, there is a still a $100,000 yearly gap that needs to be fundraised in order to keep these programs afloat. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports 34 million people in the U.S. have provided care for seniors, and that this can produce a higher rate of negative mental health and physical health consequences in caregivers. LCCC and the Wilson Foundation recognize that the majority of caregivers are family members of loved ones who are often juggling jobs, children, and other responsibilities. The Be Our Guest Adult Day program, specifically, offers the caregiver a break from around-the-clock caring with the knowledge that their loved one is being cared for in a safe, stimulating environment. LCCC Executive Director Mark Robinson said they are thankful to the Wilson Foundation for the grant and that they are “very committed” to the older adult population and those that care for them both locally, and across the region. More information on the services they provide can be found at www.livingstoncatholiccharities.org. (MK)

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    A trial date has been pushed into next year for a Fenton Township teen charged with fatally shooting his best friend. 18-year old Abdurrahman Ahmed Akl is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Brady Morris. He is also charged with one count of felony firearm. A November 27th trial date had been set in Genesee County Circuit Court, but court records show that due to a death in the family of Akl’s defense attorney, the trial has been delayed until March 12th. Police arrested Akl on March 4th, 2017 after responding to a 9-1-1 report of a male with a gunshot to the head. Authorities say evidence indicates that Akl and Morris, who were friends, were alone on the first floor of the residence when the shooting occurred. According to an autopsy report, Morris was shot from behind at point blank range on the top left side of his head. During a 911 call of the incident, Akl can be heard screaming, telling the dispatcher he pointed a gun at his friend and killed him. Previous testimony included two Fenton police officers who arrived first on scene, although the case was later turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Patrol car video of Akl after he was placed into custody showed him screaming, “Why did I do this?” He remains jailed without bond. (JK)

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    “Older Driver Safety Awareness Week” gets underway today. Officials say it’s a time to reflect on a sometimes difficult topic as families and friends want their aging family members to stay safely mobile - whether they are driving, thinking about stopping driving, or have given up the keys. Drivers age 65 and older represent the fastest growing segment of the state’s population. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has been working to get the word out more to senior drivers, their families and professionals who work with aging drivers to let them know what resources are out there. During the awareness week, different topics can be explored related to aging and driving such as identifying changes that can affect driving, family conversations, screenings and evaluations, equipment that can empower drivers and taking changes in stride. Michigan’s population is aging so there are more older drivers on the road. SOS spokesman Fred Woodhams says for the most part, older drivers are very safe and have less incidents of problem driving such as drunk driving or aggressive driving but things change as people age. He says it’s a very difficult subject for families and everyone dreads having the conversation with mom or dad but sometimes it just needs to happen because they aren’t willing to give up the keys when they really should. Woodhams tells WHMI for the most part older drivers self-regulate and limit their driving but sometimes there are instances where a person is in denial or they might not be fully aware because of medical issues. He notes resources are also there if they need to report a driver to the SOS and look into whether they should be driving or not. Woodhams says older drivers, families and friends are encouraged to begin discussions by visiting the state’s Safe Drivers Smart Options: Keys to Lifelong Mobility website. The link is provided, along with a press release. Woodhams says the website features steps aging drivers can take to avoid problems, along with self-assessment tests to evaluate where they’re at as a driver and how safely they’re able drive by themselves. There are also resources for families who might have an aging driver on the cusp of needing to give up their license, and advice on how to broach the subject with a loved one. The website further features resources for law enforcement officers and medical professionals about how to evaluate a person’s driving, along with things to keep in mind when they encounter an aging driver who might be ready to give up the keys or should be giving up their license. Finally, there is information on alternative methods of transportation as it might be cheaper than owing a vehicle to avoid repair costs, insurance and vehicle registration fees. (JM)

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    A survey being conducted by the Brighton Area Schools will determine new high school course offerings for students in the coming years. The survey was sent to families which have upper-grade-level students in district schools. The survey comes in response to an effort by Board Trustee John Conely to initiate a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program for high school students interested in a possible military career. A total of 29 high schools in Michigan have a junior ROTC program, including Howell (pictured), whose program is affiliated with the US Air Force. However, the survey is not merely for those interested in a JROTC program. It is also for those who would be interested in starting a computer programming course and adding an international language class, particularly Mandarin Chinese. It's the most widely spoken language in the world, with about one billion people calling it their first language. In addition, as China moves up as a world power economically — with the second-largest economy in the world next to the US, more people in business are being required to learn the very complicated language. The survey went out last week and Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI he hopes to have full results by the end of the year, and partial results by the next board meeting. In regard to starting a JROTC program, Gray says the district needs to know if there is enough interest to sustain such an expensive program, which, according to JROTC rules, requires a minimum enrollment of 100 students. A couple on the board think that would be very difficult to attain, at a school with about 2,100 students. But if the interest is there, Gray says the program could begin as early as next fall. Michigan Junior ROTC official Col. George Pettigrew, who gave a presentation at a meeting of the Board of Education a few months ago, said JROTC develops self-discipline, a strong work ethic, responsibility, camaraderie, organizational skills and patriotism. (TT)

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    One of the three teens charged with threatening to shoot up a local high school has been sentenced…again. 18-year-old Kody Brewer was ordered last week to wear an electronic tether for 90 days after again violating the terms of his probation. His sentencing was delayed while he completed boot camp. Brewer was initially sentenced to five years’ probation last year for the October 2015 incident in which police discovered messages online by Brewer and two other boys, 20-year-old Ryan Stevens and 17-year-old Lamarr Dukes, in which they discussed bringing guns to Linden High School. They had originally faced charges of attempted false report of terrorism, a five-year felony, but those were later reduced following plea agreements. The first time Brewer violated probation was in June 2017 when he was out on bond and living with his parents. He created a social media account and carried a cell phone against court orders. The second violation occurred last December when he refused to allow a probation officer to enter his residence. Brewer’s probation requirements include not owning a computer, not creating social media accounts, not violating the law, monthly reporting, drug testing and more. He will also not be allowed to leave his house during the 90-day tether period. Dukes was ordered to take part in a year-long rehabilitation program in Pennsylvania in September 2016, while Stevens, who had already served a year in jail, was sentenced in December of 2016 to five years’ probation. (JK)

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    A fairly new program implemented by Consumers Energy is serving as an affordable payment plan to help residents stay on top of their energy bills. For customers who qualify for the Consumers Energy CARE program and are struggling to pay their energy bills, a portion of the monthly bill is paid for through the program and past due balances are gradually forgiven as a reward for making on-time payments. Participants also qualify for energy-saving tools, including free in-home energy efficiency upgrades. Spokesperson Debra Dodd says Consumers Energy recently made a $2 million contribution that will help as many as 2,500 households in its CARE program. She tells WHMI the $2 million will be disbursed among four nonprofits across the state, those being United Way of Jackson County, TrueNorth Community Services, The Salvation Army and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW). Dodd says help for any customers of any utility is just a phone call away, adding that there are a variety of programs and services available to customers. She says Consumers Energy wants to make sure Michigan’s residents stay warm and have the heat that they need this winter. Those who are facing hardship with energy bills or other needs are encourage to call 2-1-1; a free service in all Michigan counties that connects people with resources to help in their community. Those who call 2-1-1 can be referred to one of the four nonprofit organizations that are receiving the $2(m) million from Consumers Energy. More information about the CARE program can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    A body was discovered in a wooded area near an elementary school in Milford on Sunday morning. Milford Police are investigating but have not yet identified the man, other than to say he is middle-age and not a Milford resident. A resident walking his dog discovered the body near Kurtz Elementary School and called police around 8:40am Sunday. Police Chief Tom Lindberg tells WHMI they are still working to notify loved ones but there is nothing at all to indicate foul play. He further noted the incident was not related to the school in any way. The body was found on wooded property owned by Huron Valley Schools but it is not actually part of the Kurtz elementary campus. The school issued a letter to parents. Lindberg said the property is accessible from Hill Street and the body was found close to the road. The investigation is still very preliminary and police believe they located the man’s vehicle. An autopsy will be performed along with toxicology testing, although it could be couple months before those results are known. (JM)

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    Parents of middle and high school students are encouraged to attend a special presentation this week in Howell on the signs of depression and other mental health problems. Howell High School, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP), will be hosting “More Than Sad: Suicide Prevention for Parents” on Tuesday at 6pm in the Rod Bushey Performing Arts Center on the high school’s campus. Stephanie Harris of Howell is involved with the program and has a very personal connection to the topic. She and her husband lost their son Ethan to suicide last year. Speaking Sunday on WHMI's Viewpoint, Harris said it threw them into “a pit of heart-hurt like no other.” Harris says after Ethan’s death, she began doing some research of her own and became acquainted with the ASFP and very much appreciated their data-driven approach to the issue. At Tuesday’s presentation, the foundation’s Michigan director, Steve Windham, will speak on ways to spot signs of depression as well as provide tools and strategies for starting a conversation with your children. Tuesday’s event is best suited for parents of middle and high school students, but it’s open to the public and everyone is welcome. Details are available through the link below. (JK)

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    An annual snack food drive that will benefit homeless students and those in need during the holiday break is wrapping up this week. The Livingston Educational Service Agency, or LESA, developed The Education Project a number of years ago after realizing just how many students are considered homeless in the area. The program collects non-perishable food items, which are then put together in snack packs and sent home with students in need during their winter break from school. Last year, the Education Project was able to help out 550 low-income students and supply 10 families with emergency food kits. This year’s donation drive runs through this Friday, December 7th. Snack packs will be distributed the following week to kids who are eligible through the McKinney-Vento Act. The McKinney-Vento Act supports children who are homeless, living in temporary situations, or might be in transition of housing. Some of the items being sought are pudding and fruit cups, mini cereal, juice boxes and water, popcorn, granola bars, crackers, and snack-sized chips. All items can be dropped off at the LESA building located at 1425 West Grand River, in Howell. Any with additional questions can contact project coordinator Candice Olrich at (517) 540-6834. (MK/JK)

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    A network working to provide shelter and resources to local individuals experiencing homelessness has made some big changes coming into its 5th season of serving the community. The Severe Weather Network of Livingston County (SWN) is a collaborative effort of The Salvation Army, the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency (OLHSA) and local churches. The network works to provide emergency, overnight refuge during the winter months for individuals affected by homelessness and to connect homeless adults with agencies providing the services and support for the transition into affordable housing. The group provides shelter from 6pm to 7am nightly at a different location each month, December through April. The Emrich Retreat Center in Brighton will serve as the shelter location for December. In past years, the shelter locations have not opened until the second week of January. One of the positive changes the SWN has implemented this year is opening earlier than past years, that being December 1st, and staying open later into the spring, which will be April 14th. SWN Executive Board Chairperson Diane Duncan says they do have the option to stay open through the end of April if necessary. Duncan says the organization was also granted 501 (c)(3) non-profit status in September; a change that allows them to accept monetary donations and apply for grants. The network has also taken another big step in reaching the population they serve, making a change from utilizing volunteers for transportation services to instead contracting a transportation business. Duncan says the SWN can always use the help of volunteers, as it is volunteer-run only, and have begun online training this year for that purpose. With all of these changes, Duncan says the network is hoping to make their impact even more widespread than before. She reminds the community that besides the SWN’s shelter limited to overnight stays during the winter months, there is no actual homeless shelter here in Livingston County. The SWN reports there were 823 documented cases of homelessness in Livingston County in 2017, including 64 veterans and 414 youth. On any given day, 100 members of the community endure the challenges of being homeless. Last winter, the SWN served 18 adult guests, 13 of whom transitioned into stable housing, and in 2017, served 15 guests, 9 of whom transitioned into stable housing. Guests who wish to utilize the center are required to register with OLSHA by phone or in person prior to staying at the center. More information about the network’s services and ways to get involved can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    Area residents are being asked to provide some holiday cheer for a 12-year-old Brighton girl battling leukemia. Emma Roberts, a Maltby Intermediate School student, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in April and has been undergoing treatment since at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Family and friends rallied over the summer to design “Emma Roberts Strong” t-shirts, which were sold to raise funds for the Roberts’ family to be used toward medical assistance and other needs. Now they are asking for as many people as possible to send her a Christmas card as she continues her fight against a type of cancer that causes the bone marrow to make too many immature white blood cells, which in turn affects her ability to fight off infection. Because her immune system is compromised, she has to be isolated from many of the things she loves to do. Organizers are hoping to have Emma receive cards from all over the world and say they don’t have to be Christmas cards. Cards should be mailed to: Emma Roberts 8096 Pine Ranch Drive Brighton, MI 48114

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    Following election to the state legislature, a longtime member of the Brighton Township board has turned in her resignation. Ann Bollin officially turned in her resignation Monday night as Brighton Township Clerk, following her election in November as a Representative for the 42nd State House District. Bollin had served as the township’s clerk since 2003. Township Manager Brian Vick tells WHMI that applications are being accepted from individuals interested in serving out the remainder of her term through November 20, 2020. Interested candidates must be a qualified elector of the Township and registered to vote. To be a qualified elector, a person must be 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and have lived in the township at least 30 days. Property ownership is not required. Resumes and a Letter of Interest must be submitted by Noon on Friday, December 21st with interviews held on January 2nd and 3rd. (JK)

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    Just like the Grinch, identity thieves and other scammers are ready and waiting to squash the joy of the holiday season. However, Michiganders can reduce the chances of becoming a scam victim. With shoppers distracted by their to-do lists and opening their wallets frequently, Mark Hornbeck, associate state director for communications with AARP Michigan, says thieves are ready to pounce and explains that online shoppers need to watch out for fraudulent websites when making purchases. "They can make addresses that are similar. For example, amazon-shop.com is not amazon.com. And this is called spoofing. It gets you to reveal some information about yourself that can be used for identity theft or other foul purposes." Also, Hornbeck suggests avoiding public Wi-Fi when checking sensitive personal information or making purchases and using a credit card rather than a debit card can help better protect shoppers. Hornbeck says another common scam involves gift cards. He recommends always buying them directly from the cashier, instead of off of a rack where they could be compromised. In addition, the convenience of online shopping means packages can pile up on doorsteps, which Hornbeck says might draw porch thieves. "When you have a gift delivered somewhere, you should require a delivery signature for packages to avoid the possibility of those packages being stolen from the recipient's doorstep, which is becoming an increasing problem." Hornbeck says charitable giving also presents an opportunity for con artists, and so Michiganders should verify the legitimacy of any organization that is asking for money. He adds that scammers have even have developed a new, fake letters-from-Santa scheme in which they get you to share your child's personal information, which can then be used in a variety of negative ways. AARP has gathered other tips on how to avoid becoming a scam victim. You’ll find that link below. Public News Service assisted with this story. (JK)

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    The City of Howell is paying attention to a number of bills pending in the lame duck Michigan legislature. During Monday night’s Council meeting, City Manager Shea Charles provided an update on a series of bills that he says got ramrodded through the Senate last week. The legislation was passed largely along party lines in the GOP-led chamber and will now be taken up by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Charles tells WHMI the lame duck process is always a bit of an adventurous time for local communities. Charles says a lot of bills that typically would not be acted upon surface, putting communities and other groups in reaction mode to several things. He says there is a series of bills moving through right now preempting local control in regard to vegetation ordinances. Charles said there are a lot of concerns about those bills and the continued erosion of local control. He encouraged Council members to reach out to local state representatives to express opposition to the bills as this is continued erosion of local control and it’s just not a good thing for communities. The bills Charles referred to are SB 1188 through 1194 They are sponsored by Republican Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba. His “Vegetation Removal Prevention Act" would restrict municipalities' ability to regulate the removal or trimming of trees on private property and prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or charters prohibiting or restricting the removal of trees or other vegetation. It would apply for vegetation on agricultural, business, commercial or industrial property. Local governments could still have rules protecting "heritage" trees, which are at least a certain height and not diseased, dying or otherwise a safety threat. Municipalities could not prohibit or require pre-approval for the trimming, felling or removal of vegetation, except for heritage trees. They also could not impose fees or fines or require landowners to plant replacement trees. (JM)

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    Dangerous building proceedings have been initiated by the City of Howell against the property owner of a former gas station viewed as an eyesore. The City has been increasing efforts to deal with overall blight and address properties not up to code. The City has fielded countless questions and complaints about the property at 401 East Grand River, the site of a former Citgo gas station. The owner, Fadi Kajy, had obtained all of the necessary approvals to re-open a gas station on the site in 2016 but nothing ever came to fruition and the site has sat vacant since. Staff has been in contact with the Kajy multiple times about the condition of the property but most recently last summer. Nothing has been done to secure the building, causing it to deteriorate further. The City issued tickets for trash piling up on the property and lack of maintenance but it was noted during the meeting that conditions didn’t rise to the dangerous building enforcement level until October. That’s when the front windows and door were broken out, prompting the City to board up the building. The City has declared the building unsafe and was prepared to proceed with demolition but the owner’s attorney finally re-submitted plans last week to re-open a gas station on the site. Staff estimated the owner could get through the approval and building permit process to - in theory - be under construction in April or May. The City Council met Monday night and reluctantly approved a motion to postpone dangerous building proceedings until January 28th to see if the owner actually moves forward with anything. If not, the City will follow through with demolition. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI Council approved the deferment and staff will report back at that time on where they are in the process and see where it goes. He noted the City verified with the state that the owner still has the ability to re-open that facility, although testing will need to be done in regard to storage tanks. Council members were hesitant to grant the two-month postponement; given the condition of the building and site and the fact the owner hasn’t done anything in two years. Councilwoman Jan Lobur felt the City has already given the owner too much leeway going on two years now, and others agreed. Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor predicted that nothing will happen and they’ll have to initiate demolition proceedings anyway but commented that the two months will give the owner time to get things in motion. Prior to approval, Mayor Nick Proctor questioned why they should give the owner more time based on history -saying he didn’t see a reason to have any optimism that if they approved the postponement that they would actually see anything through next summer. Proctor said he doesn’t think they’ll see a damn thing and doesn’t any hope based on staff reports so he wants to put pressure on it. Proctor said he assumed that even if the postponement wasn’t approved that the City wouldn’t do any demolition until spring anyway, which would give the owner time and added incentive to do something over the winter or the city “will tear the darn thing down.” Top picture courtesy of Google Street View. (JM)

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    More details are being released following the discovery of dead body in the Village of Milford. Milford Police Chief Tom Lindberg says at this point in their investigation it is moderately clear that the subject found deceased in a wooded area near Kurtz Elementary School around 8:40am Sunday morning suffered an unintentional overdose. Lindberg says he either died directly as a result of the overdose or hypothermia after going unconscious. He says they will not know for sure until the toxicology report comes back from the Oakland County Medical Examiner, which could take a couple months. The man’s name is not being released but he has been identified as a 44-year-old Highland Township resident with a long history of drug abuse. A man was walking his dog and found the body on wooded property owned by Huron Valley Schools but it not currently used or part of the Kurtz campus. Chief Lindberg says it’s not known why the man ended up at this specific location; however his car was located in the area. Lindberg says they believe he was actively using narcotics while driving in the area and began to experience the effects of the narcotics. It is believed that is why he got out of the car and began walking with his small dog that he had with him. Lindberg says the dog was located unharmed in close proximity to the body, and was turned over to family members Monday evening. Lindberg said the additional details were provided to assist in preventing any false information or rumors in the community. (JM)

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    The City of Howell is the latest local municipality to “opt out” of allowing marijuana related establishments for the time being. City Council met Monday night and approved an ordinance that prohibits both medical and recreational marijuana facilities. There is no process established yet for businesses to apply to open marijuana facilities and the state needs to establish guidelines and rules for issuing licenses. It was noted during the meeting that by opting out, the City is really just saying “not yet”. Council has the ability to modify the ordinance and it can be repealed at any time so the City could embrace marijuana businesses if the state establishes implementation rules. The state has until December 6th of 2019 to develop implementation rules. If that doesn’t happen, then local jurisdictions will have control over regulations. There is still a lot of gray area after voters legalized the recreational use of pot. Recreational use among adults who are at least 21 can start Thursday. City Manager Shea Charles says opting out of allowing the facilities for now was the recommendation of staff as the state begins to develop rules and regulations based on the ballot proposal. He says the City is taking the same position as pretty much all communities in the area to give the state a chance to get rules in place and then the city will evaluate what steps it wants to take. Charles says one of the concerns is that there are some different legal interpretations that arguably a business could have applied before the regulations were in place. He says not everyone agrees with that interpretation but a lot of communities are just airing on the side of caution to make sure it’s not an issue. Charles says the City has received inquiries over the years, as have most communities. Councilman Bob Ellis again raised concerns about prohibiting the facilities and trying to overturn the will of the people. Ellis said he has no confidence that the state will ever develop any appropriate regulations – pointing out that the City had a moratorium on medical marijuana to be in effect until the state developed regulations but that never happened. Ellis said if there are people that want to establish businesses that are willing to take that risk and might be regulated out of existence at some point, he doesn’t want to stand in their way. He questioned what would happen if the City took no action and just allowed marijuana businesses to operate. Staff reiterated that there are still no state rules and in that scenario, the businesses would still be prohibited under local zoning regulations. Members felt it would also be prudent to wait and see what comes out of the lame duck Michigan legislature. Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor commented it’s the intent of many of the legislative body to do whatever they can to inhibit the enacted law. (JM)

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    The traditional sound of bells ringing out at The Livingston County Salvation Army’s Red Kettles were heard all over the county last Friday and Saturday thanks to the over 400 volunteers who helped. Each year, The Salvation Army asks busy do-gooders to volunteer time at the Red Kettles. Officials at the local Corps say they never had 100% volunteers and have paid bell ringers to fill in those open shifts. This year was different and the Corps accepted a challenge to make December 1st a 100% volunteer day. As of November 30th at 10:30am, the challenge was met. Excited staff and office volunteers celebrated throughout the day until about 4pm when two shifts were canceled due to unexpected circumstances. However, officials say the fact that volunteers all over Livingston County helped fill 170 of the 174 hours is certainly something to celebrate. It was also noted that the Livingston County Realtors Association stepped up and took over half of the shifts on Friday, November 30th, which equates to over 40, two-hour bell ringing shifts in one day, done by one organization. Those volunteers raised over $5,000 of the $8,000 total for the day. Development Director April Dertian says it was an exciting weekend in that not only were they able to accomplish something never done before, but they also saved money that would have went toward paying hired bell ringers. She says the season isn’t over yet and there are many more days to help The Salvation Army meet its fundraising goal of $385,000 by volunteering time. Much needed volunteers can sign up for two hour shifts online. That link is provided, along with information on other volunteer and donation opportunities. Bell ringing shifts can be scheduled through the link or by calling the Corps at 517-546-4750 ext. 347. Those that are not able to ring outside or would like to do more can help by signing up to Virtual Bell Ring. Virtual Bell Ringers can spread the word and raise money right from the comfort of their home. Donations are accepted via mail to The Salvation Army P.O. Box 647 Howell, MI 48844, online or text Hope16 to 41444. (JM)

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