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WHMI 93.5 FM Radio Station for Livingston County Michigan with News, Traffic, and Weather Service for Howell and Brighton

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    A special program was held for concerned parents on how they can help their children through depression and prevent a tragedy. Roughly 150 people attended More Than Sad: Suicide Prevention for Parents at the Rod Bushy Performing Arts Center at Howell High School, Tuesday night. Steve Windham, the Michigan Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, delivered a 90-minute presentation on identifiers to be aware of in young people, and how to help steer those suffering from depression in the right direction. Windham said that while we know a lot about depression, anxiety, and mental illness, there is no easy formula for identifying it. He says that you have to be educated, vigilant, and aware of the signs and symptoms. Sometimes, the director said, mental health symptoms are often misinterpreted as normal adolescent things like mood swings, laziness, poor attitude, and immaturity. Windham identified 3 warning signs under the categories, “talk,” “behavior,” and “mood.” For example, speaking about being a burden to others, killing oneself, or feeling trapped may signal imminent suicide risk. The increased use of drugs or alcohol, withdrawing from activities, and giving away prized possessions are just some examples of behavioral triggers. A person at-risk to themselves might also show one or more of moods like depression, rage, anxiety, and sudden unexplained unhappiness. Windham said if these signs are recognized, it’s time to open up a caring conversation with your child and be direct. Asking “Have you considered suicide?” and not sugar coating it by that using that word, takes away its power. Talk to them in private, listen to their story, express concern, and reassure them that help is available. Windham says the next steps are to contact a mental health professional, do what you can to reduce stress triggers, and remove and secure all lethal means in your home. The AFSP reports that 90% of people who die of suicide had diagnosable mental illness. Windham said that the stigma around mental health causes many people hide or cloak their feelings, and that that stigma needs to be shattered. Depression is a common problem, he notes, and that 2 out 3 teenagers suffering from it are not being treated. When help is asked for, treatment is effective for 8 out 10 people. More complete information can be found on the Foundation’s website, at www.afsp.org. Contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline (non-emergency) at 1-800-273-TALK If a suicide attempt is in progress, dial 9-1-1. (MK)

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    A former Fenton woman continues to recover following a shooting in Washington State last month that left her boyfriend dead. The Spokane Spokesman-Review reports that 29-year-old Sasha Ross (left), a 2007 Fenton High School graduate, was critically injured November 20th when she was shot by her estranged husband, Donavan Gibson, after he forced his way into the home she shared with her boyfriend, Devan Bouge (left), who was fatally shot. The 25-year-old Gibson turned himself into police the following day and is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Despite being shot in the head, Ross was reportedly able to talk with officers and provide information about Gibson. The Spokesman-Review says court records show Gibson and Ross were in the midst of a divorce and that family members said they got into an argument on Facebook Messenger the night before the shooting, at which time Gibson said he was going to kill himself. A gofundme account had been set up to help pay for Ross’s medical expenses, but her family asked the proceeds instead be used to pay for her boyfriend’s funeral costs. You’ll find that link below. (JK)

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    An investigation of a site owned by Green Oak Township has found that while soil has been impacted by heavy metals, there is no immediate or significant environmental health risk. Environmental consultants from Hydro-Logic Associates presented the report at a public meeting held at Green Oak Township Hall Tuesday. At the request of the municipality, Hydro-Logic investigated the 3.35 acres of township-owned property located on Rushton Road after heavy metals were discovered four feet below the land’s surface. Hydro-Logic collected soil, sediment, surface water, drinking water and groundwater samples; all of which returned results indicating that the impact does not appear to pose a significant or immediate environmental health risk. Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says while there’s no reason for immediate concern, the municipality will continue the investigation and testing, as well as work with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Livingston County Health Department, to resolve the contamination. Based on the results of their investigation, Hydro-Logic is recommending the township install a fence to restrict access to the site, conduct ground and surface water sampling again in 2019 and 2020, and ensure that no excavation and/or soil removal activities occur on the site without proper approvals. The township acquired the property in 1997 and officials were later made aware of “suspicious mounds” on the site that turned out to be piles of metal and buried deer carcasses. While there has never been a building or industrial activity on the acreage now owned by the township, aerial photographs dating back to 1940 show a consistent pattern of industrial uses on property to the north of the site. St. Charles says it’s possible the township’s property could’ve been associated with the property to the north at some point, potentially even considered as all one parcel, but notes that the site’s history is “sketchy”. At Tuesday’s meeting, St. Charles also addressed rumors that the township is selling the property and rumors of Chernobyl-esque creatures. He made it explicitly clear that the property is not for sale and that there are “no green, glowing frogs”. More information about the investigation and results can be found at the link below. (DK)

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    A new partnership aims to help address a critical shortage of skilled workers locally while also providing promising career training opportunities for students. Huron Valley Schools and SME PRIME are currently exploring plans to create a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing lab at Milford High School to prepare high school students to enter the next generation manufacturing workforce. PRIME or Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education is part of the SME Education Foundation. SME PRIME would work in tandem with the district and local businesses to design and build a manufacturing lab and then develop appropriate curriculum. The program would accommodate multiple business partners and become part of the district’s growing Career and Technical Education Program. HVS Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations Kim Root tells WHMI the manufacturing community is hurting for skilled trades and talented people to come in and see the jobs as the future for them. She says they want to encourage young people to go into these fields and open the eyes of students to what the possibilities are in terms of careers in manufacturing. Root says when SME approached Huron Valley Schools, they saw it as a great opportunity for kids but also a future opportunity for the businesses and manufacturers involved. Ultimately, Root says they hope to raise the funds to build the lab at Milford High School. She says it would which would cost approximately $315,000 and be built from donations and contributions from the businesses and manufacturers involved. HVS would supply and pay the instructors and provide space for the lab at MHS. The district is hosting an informational meeting from 8-10am this Friday at Milford High School. Local manufacturers, business owners and community partners are invited to learn about the program, tour the school and ask questions. Those interested in attending can contact Root at kim.root@hvs.org. (JM)

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    All three of Livingston County’s representatives in the Michigan Legislature voted with their GOP colleagues late Tuesday to delay a minimum wage hike and scale back paid sick leave requirements. Lana Theis of Brighton Township and Hank Vaupel of Handy Township were among 60 Republicans in the State House to push through the unprecedented lame-duck legislation that was fast-tracked and drew protesters to the Capitol. State Senator Joe Hune of Fowlerville also joined with his 25 GOP colleagues in the upper chamber to pass the bills. Changes were made at the request of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who stayed mum on whether he will sign the measures despite Senate leaders saying they expect him to do so. The business community supports delaying the boost in the minimum wage to $12.05 until at least 2030 and limiting paid sick time requirements to employers with 50 or more workers. Opponents say the move is illegal and an insult to voters. To prevent minimum wage and paid sick time ballot initiatives from going to the electorate last month, after which they would have been much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP legislators — at the behest of business groups — preemptively approved them in September so that they could alter them after the election with simple majority votes in each chamber. One bill would gradually increase the state's $9.25 minimum wage to $12.05 an hour by 2030 — maybe later in the case of a recession — instead of $12 by 2022. It would also repeal provisions to tie future increases to inflation and bring a lower wage for tipped employees in line with the wage for other workers. Another bill would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from having to provide paid sick time as required under the existing law that is scheduled to take effect in March. It also would limit the amount of annual mandatory leave at larger businesses to 40 hours, instead of 72 hours, and other changes. About 162,000 small businesses that collectively employ 1 million workers would be exempt from awarding paid sick leave under the legislation, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy. Democrats said the bills betrayed and ignored “the will of the people” while Republicans defended the votes as helping businesses and in fact, the move was backed by several state business groups including the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. If Snyder signs the bills, lawsuits are likely. Paid sick leave advocates have already vowed to launch a 2020 ballot drive if the Legislature successfully guts the law that made Michigan the 11th state to require employers to provide paid time off to workers who are sick or who have ill family members. (JK)

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    A local organization will connect the community to the past with an old-fashioned Christmas celebration this weekend. The Brighton Area Historical Society will host the free event this Sunday at the 1885 Lyon One-Room Schoolhouse, which will be decorated for the Christmas season. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos, so attendees should bring their cameras or cellphones as well as any lists kids might have for Santa. Homemade cookies and cider will be available, along with along with adult supervised “make and take” ornaments” for kids can craft. Officials say the “Old Time Christmas” celebration is said to be a perfect time for families to experience history in the schoolhouse that was used between the 1800s’ and 1950s’. The Lyon One-Room Schoolhouse is located at 11455 Buno Road in Brighton Township and is a barrier free building with plenty of onsite parking. For more information about the event, call 810-250-7276 or visit the link provided. BAHS Facebook photos. (JM)

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    A Brighton man has been bound over to stand trial on charges he sexually assaulted a teenage girl as she worked at an area golf course. 20-year-old Zachary Lally is charged with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and assault with intent of sexual penetration. The 17-year-old girl testified Tuesday at Lally’s preliminary hearing that she was working at a concession stand at the Oak Pointe Country Club Golf Course in Genoa Township on October 4th when Lally and another man bought beer from her and then left to go golfing. She said Lally later returned and that she got into a golf cart with him to go search for a deer that had been spotted earlier. She said when they got a stand of trees; Lally forced himself onto her, at first trying to kiss her, but then pushing her to the ground and raping her. Afterward she fled in the golf cart back to the concession stand, where she found Lally's phone and called his friend. The two of them proceeded to go back and pick up Lally as she was concerned about his state of mind. But she said when they returned to the concession stand, Lally again tried to assault her, but was interrupted by other club members, one of whom drove her back to the clubhouse. If convicted on the first-degree sexual assault charges, Lally faces up to life in prison. In reaction to some of the comments about this story, Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy released the following statement; "The Sheriff's Office thoroughly investigated this case. Please keep in mind that there is always more to an investigation than is reported, and/or is available by the rumor mill or social media." (JK)

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    Green Oak Township has joined several other municipalities in Livingston County in prohibiting recreational-marijuana facilities within their community. The move to block the facilities is technically a decision to err on the side of caution, as recreational marijuana facilities cannot submit an application for their establishment to the state until 12 months from the effective date of the initiated law, which will be mid-November of 2019. Green Oak Township’s Board of Trustees met Wednesday night and discussed an ordinance prohibiting all marijuana establishments within the township’s boundaries. The ordinance was adopted following a unanimous vote, just four hours and 15 minutes before the statewide prohibition on recreational marijuana ended. Communities were required to either opt in or opt out of recreational facilities before marijuana became decriminalized today. Those who chose to opt out can opt in at any point, but those that did not opt out will no longer have the option to. Referencing the legalization of medical marijuana 10 years ago, Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles says officials didn’t want to do anything back then to interfere with individuals who had a legal medical marijuana card or a caregiver’s abilities to help a patient. He says in the same way, they don’t want to do anything to interfere with what the voters had voted on, adding that on the other hand, they have an obligation to all of their citizens to take a good, hard, deliberate look at marijuana establishments. St. Charles tells WHMI the time frame between the election and legalization was too short for officials to fully discuss the logistics. Several other municipalities in Livingston County have already opted out, including the City of Howell, Putnam Township, and the Village of Pinckney. Communities that choose to opt out have the option to opt in at any time. If the state does not have guidelines in place by December 6th of 2019, local governments will have complete control over how the facilities are regulated in their municipality. (DK)

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    A unique fundraiser this weekend will help bring awareness to addiction and recovery through comedy. Nationally renowned comedian Mark Lundholm will perform Saturday, December 8th at Shalom Lutheran Church in Pinckney to help raise funds for various recovery based initiatives in the area, including The Amber Reineck House and Connect 3 House. Lundholm, a former drug addict, uses humor and personal experience to bring awareness to addiction and recovery. He says whether speaking to high school students or jail inmates, his message is essentially the same. "If you don't see grace, be grace. If you don't see patience, be patience. If you don't see love, be love. It's real simple stuff. There's KISS; Keep It Super Simple. The message is, 'Hey, if you want to keep going to jail, keep doing what brought you here. If you want to stop going to jail, keep doing what they tell you here." Saturday’s performance is part of Unite to Face Addiction Michigan’s 7th Annual Recovery Live Residency Tour and will also feature former NFL player Randy Grimes, musician Matt Butler, ex-con and former addict Tim Ryan, who was the subject of the A&E documentary “Dope Man” and recovery advocate Ryan Hampton. A buffet-style BBQ dinner will take place before the show sponsored in honor of the Amber Reineck House, a local group trying to establish a home for recovering addicts. You’ll find complete details and ticket information below. (JK)

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    Emergency Managers from across the state have recognized a local couple for their outstanding efforts at supporting first responders. Roy and Linda Seifreid have been recognized by the Michigan Emergency Management Association as their 2018 Volunteers of the Year. The Seifrieds lead a team of 18 volunteers known as the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART. DART provides canteen and comfort services to first responders, often at the site of emergencies. Roy says he and his wife began as volunteers on the Red Cross Disaster Team, but when they changed their policies they saw an opportunity in Livingston County. They met with Howell Area Fire Chief Andy Pless with a plan to take care of the first responders. Pless thought the idea was great, convened with the other county Fire Chiefs about the idea. Roy said, “They sat down and said ‘Whatever you guys want, we’ll make sure you have it.’ And by golly, they have.” The Seifried’s said its rewarding to see the looks on the first responders faces when they’re able to provide them with even the simplest things. This might include having cold drinks and ice towels on hot days; or warm quilts, coffee, and glove warmers on the cold ones. Linda has sewn several of the quilts, herself, which are also used to help warm families that have lost their homes to a fire until the Red Cross can arrive. The couple has even inspired similar teams to begin operations in Washtenaw and Jackson counties. Roy said, locally, they’ve recently acquired a second truck and are getting ready to start a second Livingston County team in the Hamburg-area. The couple was presented the award during the county’s 911 Administrative Oversight Board meeting, Wednesday morning, to applause from several police, fire, and EMT staff. For more information on DART, contact Roy at (517) 518-2636, or send an email to rstuff8@comcast.net. Pictured left to right: Livingston County Emergency Manager Therese Cremonte, Linda Seifried and Roy Seifried. (MK)

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    A former Stockbridge teacher has been sentenced for sexually assaulting a teen student. 27-year-old Allyson Moran was sentenced Wednesday in Ingham County District Court to 25 months to 15 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Moran, who worked as a long-term substitute and as the girls’ soccer coach at Stockbridge High School, reportedly invited the boy to her home in Dansville in April 2017 to have sex, greeting him at the door wearing an open robe with only her bra and underwear underneath. A second assault occurred several days later. The teen eventually told his girlfriend, and a family member then called police. The Lansing State Journal says the boy testified that he frequently ate lunch in Moran's classroom and hung out there after school, until in March of 2017, they began talking on Snapchat. Moran’s attorney had requested probation, saying losing her job as a teacher and spending a lifetime on the sex offender registry was enough punishment. But after hearing from the teen’s mother about the negative impact the assaults had on her son, Judge Joyce Draganchuk passed down the prison sentence. (JK) Picture courtesy of WLNS

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    For those who enjoy binging Christmas movies, a song that opens up one of them has a local connection. Hamburg Township singer-songwriter Angela Predhomme sings “Christmas Time with You,” featured in the opening scenes of the film, “Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane” which is airing this month on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Hallmark Christmas movies have a massive following, with each film having an average of 3 to 5 million viewers, with estimates that well over 50 million watch throughout the holiday season. Predhomme tells WHMI that after recording the song, it was licensed to a music library service, which later informed her it would be used in the movie, although she had no idea just how it would be utilized and was thrilled to learn it was right at the beginning and in a featured position. “Christmas Time with You” was co-written with British lyricist Paul Robert Thomas, who wrote it as a tribute to fallen military soldiers. But Predhomme says it has a universal appeal. “Even though this song is bittersweet, about loss, it still embodies the spirit of season while acknowledging that it’s a hard time of year for many people.” This isn’t Predhomme’s first foray into television, having had previous songs appear on hit shows like “Dance Moms” and “Switched at Birth,” but she’s very excited about this opportunity to become a part of everyone’s holiday season. (JK)

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    No criminal charges will be filed in connection to the alleged misappropriation of donated funds by a member of the Livingston County Veterans Services Committee. The investigation began in August after a woman said she was unable to obtain documentation for a $400 check she wrote Committee Chair Hansel Keene in October of 2017. The donor says when she wrote out the check to the Livingston County Veterans Department, Keene instructed her to include his name on the check, alleging he was authorized to cash county checks and could more easily deposit it. The woman says that over the next 9 months, every time she asked about the receipt Keene would repeatedly say he forgot it, finally leading her to contact then-Veterans Services Director Adam Smiddy on August 22nd. But Smiddy was fired by the committee five days later, he says in retaliation for his efforts to determine exactly what happened to the donation. A check for $400 was eventually provided to the donor’s attorney by the law firm of Kevin Nagle, a fellow committee member who is representing Keene. A Michigan State Police investigation involving donations to the Livingston County Veteran’s Services office was eventually launched. Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt says his review of that investigation has now been completed. He says Michigan State Police did not request charges, but sought a review of their investigation. Based on that review, Vailliencourt says it has been determined that there is insufficient evidence to justify any criminal charges in this matter. He says while there may have been non-compliance with applicable county policies, he says that non-compliance does not constitute a criminal violation of the law. The Livingston County Democratic Party earlier called on Vailliencourt to bow out of any decision on charges citing a conflict of interest, since Smiddy has filed a whistleblower protection lawsuit against the county for his firing. Party Chairwoman Judy Daubenmier issued the following statement to WHMI: "This decision gives a green light to county officials to put government money into their own bank accounts for nine months and not surrender it until asked about it. This failure to prosecute will have a chilling effect on any donations by the public to the Veterans Services Committee because the public will have no confidence that the money and donations will go for the intended purpose, and that will hurt our veterans in the long run. But unfortunately, this is what one might expect from a county government where all the members belong to the same club – where everybody agrees to sweep everything under the rug in the name of protecting fellow Republicans. The ball is now in the county commission’s court. Will it insist on compliance with “applicable county policies” or will it pretend everything was handled just fine? I fear I know the answer.” (JM)

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    The Brighton City Council had a fierce discussion with local civic events leaders Thursday night in regards to proposed fees for civic events next year. Among the points of contention are the proposed $300 fee for a half-days use and $500 for a full-day’s use of the new Mill Pond band shell and amphitheater, which some say is too high, including Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pam McConeghy and Dennis Dimoff of the Brighton Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the highly popular summer Mill Pond band concerts. McConeghy and Dimoff say the proposed new fee structure, including the amount proposed to be charged for police and DPW services, is too high, and Dimoff said the proposal to postpone action on the fee schedule until next March would essentially mean no concert season next summer. With about 16 civic events during the year, Brighton officials say it costs the city about $94,000 in police and DPW costs, use of vehicles and equipment, electrician services and supplies to host the events. Popular civic events include A Taste of Brighton, the Fine Art and Acoustic Music Festival and the Smokin’ Jazz & Barbecue Blues Festival, among others. Initially, council was prepared to pass the proposed fee schedule, but Mayor Pro Tem Shawn Pipoly said it would be unfair to local businesses to take action immediately because Thursday night was the annual Ladies’ Night Out in Brighton – which is the biggest shopping event of the year, and most merchants were at their stores minding business. He said that the input of local businesses was necessary before making a decision. As a result, council decided to table the matter. Council Member Jon Emaus urged that the matter be taken up again for a decision in the very near future. Mayor Jim Muzzin said a possibility for partial funding for the civic events might be via the Downtown Development Authority, saying he would make the request at the next DDA meeting in two weeks. In their defense, city officials say they have no choice but to institute a new fee schedule in light of major budget problems. They say as a result, Brighton is seriously considering what was called “deep” staff cuts – which would include cutbacks in police dept. and DPW personnel, and another millage request in May. (TT)

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    All donations made to the Salvation Army of Livingston County’s red kettles this Saturday will be doubled. With three weeks left of red kettles on the streets, officials with the local Corps say holiday shoppers can double their generosity when they donate to a Livingston County Salvation Army red kettle at the Kroger stores in Howell and Brighton. Thanks to The Brighton Rotary and Auto Lab, all donations will be matched up to their designated amounts; a donation of $1 is effectively $2, $5 turns into $10, and so on. The higher the donation amount, the higher the matching contribution. Due to national contracts, the Red Kettles went out two weeks later than in the past so the local Corps is behind on its normal donations totals for the week. Officials say any boost in donations will make a huge difference. Major Prezza Morrison says they are blessed to have such a generous community that steps up when needed and Saturday’s matching kettle day will give them the boost in donations they need. Funds raised support programs and services for thousands of local families and individuals in times of need 365 days a year across Livingston County. Red Kettle donations ensure The Salvation Army can continue to provide more than just food and shelter to local citizens in need that include youth programs, utility assistance, Pathway of Hope family assistance and many other vital services. There are a myriad of ways supporters can make a tax-deductible contribution to The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign through December 31st. Those include: -Visiting www.SalvationArmyLivingston.org -Texting HOPELC to 41444 to donate via mobile phone -Calling 517-295-4342 -Starting a Virtual Red Kettle via below link. -Sending/dropping off cash, a check or money order , made payable to The Salvation Army of Livingston, to: 503 Lake Street, P.O. Box 647, Howell MI 48844. Facebook photo. (JM)

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    A Handy Township man accused of drunkenly crashing into a utility pole at an intersection causing power outages has been arraigned. 49-year-old Randy Edward Longthorne was arraigned Thursday in 53rd District Court in Howell. He is charged with operating with a BAC of .17% or more, operating while intoxicated, carrying concealed weapons under the influence (pistols), and possession of firearms while under the influence. The charges stem from an incident that happened shortly after 11pm November 26th in which a single vehicle had crashed into a utility pole on westbound Grand River near Owosso Road in Howell Township. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says investigation showed speed and alcohol were involved, and Longthorne was traveling westbound on Grand River when his pick-up truck slid off the road and hit a utility pole, snapping it off at the base. Longthorne, who was wearing a seatbelt, was unharmed and removed from the truck. The incident caused a power outage in the area and the intersection was closed for hours while DTE crews made repairs. Longthorne is due back in court December 19th for a pre-trial hearing. (JM/DK)

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    Thanks to local service agencies and a state-wide non-profit organization, several Livingston County foster children will find Christmas presents under the tree this holiday season. Operation Good Cheer began in 1971 and helped deliver gifts to 66 kids in foster care that year. Now, 47 years later, they are preparing to distribute more than 20,000 presents to nearly 6,800 children. Hundreds of volunteers are currently sorting these gifts at Oakland County International Airport, this morning. Operation Good Cheer actually begins each spring, with local social service agencies enrolling children. The kids compile a wish list of 6 gifts they’d like, with those lists then being delivered to donor groups in the fall, who buy at least 3 of them. Today and tomorrow are when they are sorted and sent out to all corners of the state, including Livingston County, by fleets of planes and trucks. Once received by the social service agencies, each agency will make their own decision on how to get the gifts to the kids. Some do it privately, while others have Christmas parties with Santa handing them out. Child and Family Services of Michigan runs the program. Administrative Director of CFSM, Sherry Brackenwagen, said one of the requirements of children who are enrolled is that a thank you card be sent following Christmas. Brackenwagen says this helps the donors see the positive impact they made over the holidays. She said many children write saying they didn’t think anyone cared for them, or that they couldn’t believe someone would buy these gifts for them. Of the 283 donor groups, Brackenwagen said many were foster children when younger or cared for foster children as adults. More information on Operation Good Cheer can be found by calling CFSM at 517-349-6226, or by visiting www.cfsm.org. (MK)

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    A fresh wave of leaders has been elected to Livingston County’s Republican Party, in addition to the creation of a new role. Meghan Reckling was elected as the party’s new chairperson at their Executive Committee meeting Thursday. Reckling is currently an aide to State Representative Lana Theis and has managed other political campaigns. Reckling tells WHMI, ”It is truly an honor to be elected as Chair of the Livingston County Republican Party. I’m excited and ready to work with our elected officials, Executive Committee, candidates and volunteers on re-electing Republicans in 2020.” Reckling is taking over for former Chair Dan Wholihan, who served for three terms and six years as chair. Wholihan had decided to not seek re-election and in a Facebook post stated he believes the party is left in good hands and looks forward to working with the new team. That includes Joseph Riker, who was elected Vice Chair, Daniel Schifko, who was elected treasurer and new secretary Kathy Jacksey. Wholihan stated that Tim Kandow will also serve as the first officeholder of the brand new position of Youth Vice Chair. (DK) Facebook photo.

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    A local family that is a finalist in a national invention contest is asking for the community’s help in snagging the $250,000 prize. Jennifer Copland, and her sons Parker and Evan Frye, beat out thousands of other families across the country to nab a finalist spot in The National Frito-Lay Variety Packs Dreamvention contest. The contest encouraged families across America to dream big and submit an idea to solve an everyday problem. For Copland and the Frye boys, their idea was “Sole Riders”. Parker Frye, who has held the role as the primary inventor, says the idea of "Sole Riders" came to him as a result of having to walk to and from his bus stop. “Sole Riders”. Sole Riders are footwear with special built-in connectors in the soles that allow the shoes to connect to numerous attachments, many of which fit in a backpack for easy transport. The various attachments allow everyday footwear to be transformed into skis, floor mops, lawn aerators, roller-skates and snowshoes, among other things. The whole family pitched in to create the design, with Copland suggesting attachment ideas like a mop to help keep the house clean, and Evan helping with the design and graphics for the online Dreamvention submission. The local family learned they had made the top five in June and was flown out to Hollywood with the other finalists in September. Finalists weren’t allowed to notify anyone outside of the household until November 26th - a secret that Copland says was very hard to keep. Now, the family is asking for the community’s help to win the $250,000 prize that the boys plan to use for college should their invention take first place. The winning invention is selected by online voting, which runs until January 6th. Supporters can vote once a day per device per browser and the winner will be announced early January. A link to vote is posted below. (DK) Facebook Photos. Photo 1: (From left to right) Parker, "Dreamvention" celebrity spokesperson Cobie Smulders, Evan and Jennifer.

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    Governor Rick Snyder will have the duty of appointing a replacement for Livingston County District Court Judge Suzanne Geddis. Voters last month elected Geddis to the newly-created circuit court judgeship, which will be added January 1st of 2019, while a district court judgeship will be eliminated effective December 31st of this year. Geddis contacted the Governor’s office and was told she would have to resign her district court position by December 15th in order for Gov. Snyder to appoint her successor. Had she resigned after then, Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer would have had the responsibility of making the appointment. Geddis submitted her resignation letter November 13th, making her last official day as a district court judge Friday, December 14th. With her experience in district court and her 16 years as a prosecutor prior to that, Geddis says she’s “more than ready to take on the job of being a circuit court judge and maybe making more of a difference in the type of cases that they have”. Still, she says she will miss some parts of working in district court, specifically naming the fast-paced cases because it “never gets boring”. She hopes to continue presiding over the Intensive Treatment Mental Health Court, which she says has been very interesting and rewarding. Reflecting on the program’s participants and seeing their growth throughout recovery, Geddis says “they come alive”. Despite having been a district court judge for 14 years, Geddis will have to attend “judge’s school” for a week prior to taking her seat in circuit court. Geddis says she will likely hear cases in district court for about a month even after becoming a circuit judge in order to keep the docket moving while the newly appointed judge gets settled in. (DK)

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