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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 local credit union is supporting a new charitable initiative created by a Cleary University student and baseball team member. Lake Trust Credit announced a donation of $2,500 worth of pajamas to benefit Jamar’s Jammies for underprivileged inner-city youth. Cleary University senior and baseball team member Jamar Bray conceived the effort to bring a smile and warmth to a child in need this holiday season. The announcement was made at Cleary’s Howell campus during the holiday tree lighting event. Bray recalled that growing up in a single parent household he knew his mother’s struggles, including the sacrifices she made so he could live life and play baseball. He envisioned Jamar’s Jammies as a pajama drive to give back and positively impact families and underprivileged youth in troubled areas during the holiday season. Lake Trust President/CEO David Snodgrass said what’s impressive in this young man is that he remembers where he comes from and he remembers others in need. Cleary University announced in November 2017 that its new 150,000-square-foot athletic complex would be named Lake Trust Stadium and is slated to open in spring 2019 on the school’s campus. (JM)

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    One teenager from White Lake is facing charges for driving around other teens that were destroying mailboxes. White Lake police responded last month to a call after 1am that a group of juveniles were hitting mailboxes from a vehicle in the area of East maple and Childs Lake Road. Officers found the damaged boxes and then were directed Pontiac Lake Court by a resident who followed the boys. Two kids, ages 12 and 14 admitted they had done the act, with a two more saying they were just along for the ride, reports the Milford Times. The driver, a 19-year-old man, had fled the scene. The 12 and 14-year-old’s parents could not be reached so they were taken to the police station, where juvenile petitions were filed. Due to their cooperation, the officer sought a Youth Assistance deferral for both. The driver was called by police and came to the station. He told police he was driving the boys around, letting them out to damage the mailboxes. He said he didn’t personally damage any of them. The 19-year old is now facing a vandalism charge, and was cited with malicious destruction of property under $200. The damage to each mailbox was set at $100, with 5 mailboxes believing to have been destroyed. (MK)

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    Charter Communications is closing down its customer walk-in office in Whitmore Lake. The company issued a notice to franchise officials, including Hamburg Township, that the customer walk-in office located at 7936 East M-36 will close effective December 28th. There are currently other Spectrum offices located in Fenton and Livonia for customers wanting to utilize a bricks-and-mortar store. The company says the local office is used infrequently by Charter customers, which it attributes to a number of payment options for customers and their ability to reach the company via 24-hour telephone customer service. The letter issued by Charter is attached. Photo: Google Street View. (JM)

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    The Livingston County United Way is holding a special fundraiser this Monday that will help residents make the most of their donation dollars. For those looking to give a little extra during the holiday season, Matching Money Monday is back, this Monday, December 10th. Matching Money Monday is one of the flagship fundraisers for the Livingston County United Way and helps funds several of their programs and initiatives that take place throughout the entire year. Because of generous donors and sponsors, all the money brought in for the event will be matched up to total funds available, doubling the amount of holiday cheer and help that can be doled out. Best of all, 100% of the money raised locally, stays local, for Livingston County residents. Campaign Co-Chair Barbara Walker said one of the programs benefitting from the fundraiser is the eviction diversion program. Through the program, the Livingston County United Way works with people who may be having a hard time paying rent or utilities to help keep them in their homes with lights and heat on. Funds raised also go to services like Meals on Wheels, the Summer Lunch Bunch, and programs that help young children prepare for school. Erin MacGregor also Co-Chairs the campaign, and being superintendent of Howell Public Schools, says he and other superintendents throughout the county have seen the positive effects of children getting a quality preschool experience. Donations can be made in person this Monday from 7am to 7pm at the Livingston County United Way’s office on Dorr Road in Genoa Township. They may also be made online, by phone at (810) 494-3000, or at several local businesses around the county. You’ll find more details www.lcunitedway.org. (MK)

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    If all goes as planned, a 199-unit luxury apartment complex on the banks of Brighton’s Mill Pond will be ready for occupancy by late summer of 2021. The Brighton City Council Thursday night unanimously approved the site plan for The Vista at Uptown, to be built on 4.1 acres fronting on North Second Street and in the rear, facing the Mill Pond. The development company for the $40 million project is DTN Development Group of Lansing. There were no objections voiced by the public to the development at the meeting. John Woods, Chief Investment Officer for DTN, said he wanted to put the apartment complex in Brighton because he lives in the area and thinks the city is an ideal location for such a development. Woods said Brighton is a bedroom community whose inhabitants in large measure commute to jobs in the Detroit area, Ann Arbor and Lansing, which makes it a “perfect fit” for the development. The 4-story development will include 199, 1-3 bedroom units plus a small number of studio apartments. Woods said that according to plans, 68% of the units will be one-bedroom units of 600 square feet costing the renter $1,200 per month. Rental of the 3-bedroom units will be $2,300 a month for 1,350 square feet. The development will be within walking distance of downtown, an estimated 900 feet. It will include a 7,000-8,000-square foot patio area, a pool, outdoor kitchen and grill area, fitness centers, conference rooms, fire pits, club rooms, and bocci ball courts. The development will also have a 3-story parking structure which –with ground-level parking – will give it 317 parking spaces. The company has also promised to work with the city in making improvements to the Mill Pond along the shoreline, such as planting native flowers. Construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2019. (TT)

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    An incoming local state representative has been named to a committee. 42nd District State Representative-elect Ann Bollin has been tapped by GOP House Speaker-elect Lee Chatfield to serve on the Policy Action Plan Committee. It’s described as a new, temporary committee to help determine policy priorities for the next legislative term. Bollin, a Brighton Township Republican, says it’s an honor to be among those chosen for the important committee and she welcomes the opportunity to get to know her fellow legislators and help align policy goals to serve the people of Michigan. Before being elected to the state House, Bollin served as Brighton Township’s longtime clerk. The Policy Action Plan Committee will consist of a 14-member panel of returning lawmakers and incoming Republican members of the House. In addition to developing policy ideas for the upcoming legislative term, it will construct an updated House Republican action plan. (JM)

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    As a result of donations from local organizations and private contributors, Mill Pond Park in downtown Brighton has bright, new holiday lights this year. The $18,000 project was the idea of Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pam McConeghy, who took it upon herself to spearhead the new holiday lighting display effort. The blue and white lights now adorn the many trees that line the perimeter of Mill Pond Park. McConeghy tells WHMI that the Downtown Development Authority, the Principal Shopping District and local businesses all chipped in to make sure Brighton had new holiday decorations at the Mill Pond. McConeghy says the chamber will continue to purchase more new holiday lights in the next couple of years so that the entire downtown, including Grand River, will have new holiday lighting. McConeghy says she has had many compliments on how beautiful the new lighting looks, adding that makes her proud for having been associated with the project. (TT)

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    A district-wide food drive led by Howell Public Schools will likely meet its goal and may even surpass it, as one elementary school is far exceeding the number of items they’ve collected in the past. Friday was the last day of the district’s food drive, which aimed to collect 30,000 cans to support Gleaner’s Food Bank. Meeting this year’s goal is a very real possibility, as Hutchings Elementary School alone had collected over 10,000 food items going into the last day of the drive. Jason DeLand, 5th grade teacher and Student Council Advisor at Hutchings Elementary School, contacted WHMI to share the generous spirit that is alive and well among the school’s students. He says the school usually does a great job, bringing in an average of 4,000 items in the past, but says this year they’ve gone above and beyond anything they’ve done before. As of Friday morning, DeLand believed the school would have collected nearly 12,000 items by the end of the day, making their contribution nearly half of the district’s set goal. Later in the day, he reported the school total ended up being 15,276 - of which the 5th grade donated 7,408. DeLand says he’s heard stories of kids going door-to-door seeking donations and parents putting out collection boxes at work, adding that the school’s community “really got into the spirit of helping others out this season.” Though the food drive is now over, the district’s impact on the community is just beginning, as over 14,000 residents of Livingston County face food insecurities. 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. (DK)

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    Brighton city officials say that due to unforeseen circumstances, North Second St. will not be completed until next spring. However, the street has been winterized, and is now open to through traffic. The street is being completely reconstructed from First St. to Cross St., at a cost of about $2 million, with new and larger sewer and water lines, new curb and gutter and new, wider sidewalks. Contractors for the city and the city DPW ran into a very rainy fall in September and October, and an early onset of winter in November, which put the project far behind schedule. As a result in the delay, DPW Director Marcel Goch asked council at its meeting Thursday night for an additional $89,500 to be transferred from the local streets fund to the general fund for engineering services by Tetra Tech - the city’s engineering consultants. Council members expressed their displeasure with the delay in the project, and particularly about the extra expenditure. The project got underway in June, and the original expectation was that it would be completed before winter weather arrived. City engineer Gary Markstrom told council that the nearly $90,000 is not for design work since that was completed earlier in the year. Rather, he said, it’s for on-site engineering and inspections that will be done beginning next May when the project resumes. It is hoped the paving can be completed in two months — by the end of June or early July. All of the other aspects of the project, including replacement of old sewer and water lines with new, larger capacity lines, have been completed. The Downtown Development Authority is paying for the entire $930,000 cost of the new street and sidewalks, while the city is paying $1.26 million for new sewer and water lines through the self-sustaining utility reserves fund. The street is being upgraded for three main reasons: the water and sewer lines were outdated and inadequate for the industrial and residential growth there, the pavement was old and in need of reconstruction, and the project was needed to pave the way for new developments, including the $40 million, 4-story, Vista at Uptown apartment project, on which site plan approval was granted at Thursday’s meeting. (TT)

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    The City of South Lyon has established a Board of Ethics that will look into a conflict between two City Council members. At South Lyon City Council’s November 26th meeting, Council Member Mary Parisien announced she was granted a Personal Protection Order, or PPO, against fellow Council member Carl Richards. Parisien said she was contacted by a local business in October and told that the 72-year-old Richards had been there bragging about looking into the windows of her home before describing the interior in detail. Parisien also claims Richards made comments about her person, her body, and the LGBTQ community. The Oakland County judge who granted the PPO indicated Richards must stay away from Parisien for a year, and is only allowed to be in the same room as council for business matters only. At the council meeting, Richards was seated in the far corner of the meeting room, away from Parisien and the rest of the council. When asked to resign last week by South Lyon Mayor Dan Pelchat, Richards refused. Thursday night, City Manager Paul Zelenack and City Attorney Tim Wilhelm oversaw the creation of the Board of Ethics, which will investigate this matter to determine if Richards is in violation of the City’s ethics ordinance. Zelenack said members were selected from residents in the community who wanted to get involved and assist City Council. Chairing the 3-member Board is Dan Beagle. Other Board of Ethics members are residents Sue Muscat and Angela Baker. Thursday’s inaugural meeting dealt largely with reviewing the ethics ordinance and discussing the Board’s role. The Board is in a bit of waiting period currently, as they are anticipating receiving the transcripts of the PPO hearing in the next 2 to 4 weeks. Once those are in their hands, they will schedule their next meeting to discuss, make a recommendation to Council, or advise that they need more time. That meeting will take place on a to-be-determined Tuesday in January. (MK)

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    A state land auction that begins tomorrow will include a Livingston County parcel, although there are limits on what can be done with it. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources winter auction of surplus land starts Tuesday and will accept sealed bids through January 9th, featuring 81 parcels that range in size from less than an acre up to 160 acres. While most of the parcels, especially the larger ones, are located in northern Michigan, a parcel in Livingston County fronts Silver Hill Road and Highland Lake and has a starting bid of $2,980. However, state officials say at just 0.16 acres in size, the Putnam Township lot likely is not large enough to meet building regulations. Meanwhile, in Oakland County, a 5-acre parcel of land with frontage on Waterbury Lake in Highland Township is up for sale with a minimum bid of $16,540. More information is available through the link below. (JK)

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    Matching Money Monday has arrived. The unique fundraiser is hosted by the Livingston County United Way and helps the non-profit organization strengthen the community. Thanks to generous donors, donations to the will be matched up to total funds available. All of the funds stay local to help provide great programs and services throughout the community. The funds help a variety of families in multiple ways including crucial programs like nutritious food in local pantries, utility and shelter assistance and an eviction diversion program. Campaign Co-Chair Barbara Walker of Hartland Insurance. Walker says Matching Money Monday is a time when the community comes together to fund the initiatives and programs the United Way has to offer, noting the spirit of giving on this day is wonderful. She says they take care of a lot of people on this day so they try to raise a lot of funds and be very helpful with initiatives and programs. Walker stressed all of the funds raised stay in Livingston County so that the money is here for the people who live here and need it. Howell Public Schools Superintendent and Campaign Co-Chair Erin MacGregor tells WHMI Matching Money Monday is a great way to get involved and create a community around one initiative. MacGregor says everybody knows somebody, either directly or indirectly, who has been impacted by a crisis or a situation, and he would ask the community to think about those people, give back and know the programs are truly supporting them to have that opportunity to move on with their lives. Those looking to make a donation today can do so in person at the Livingston County United Way office on Dorr Road in Genoa Township, which will be open from 7am to 7pm. The Brighton, Howell, and Hartland Area Chambers of Commerce will also be open during business hours along with many other businesses across the county. Giving can also be done online or by phone. More information and a complete list of locations can be found through the link. (JM)

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    Livingston County residents are being encouraged to weigh in on their travel behaviors. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments is launching a survey to better understand travel behaviors in Southeast Michigan and evaluate the region’s traffic safety education campaign titled “Walk.Bike.Drive.Safe”. With the increased interest in walking and biking across the region, officials say it is everyone’s responsibility to keep streets safe for all users, especially those most vulnerable. SEMCOG says while pedestrian and bicycle crashes make up approximately one percent of all traffic crashes, they account for almost 30% of all traffic fatalities in Southeast Michigan. SEMCOG Executive Director Kathleen Lomako says while engineering and enforcement are key aspects of enhancing traffic safety, education also plays an important role. She says that’s why they work with local governments and other partners to evaluate public understanding of safety issues and educate residents on important safety behaviors. Individuals throughout the SEMCOG region are asked to take the survey. Ten participants will be randomly selected to receive a $50 Visa gift card but must live in Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, or Wayne County to win. The survey link is posted on our website. Results from the survey will be used to enhance the Walk.Bike.Drive.Safe campaign. (AV)

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    Northfield Township officials are considering options when it it comes to new recreational marijuana laws. The Northfield Township Board of Trustees has asked the Planning Commission for direction and a recommendation for when it comes time to opt in or opt out of allowed recreational marijuana facilities. The township’s planning consultant, Paul Lippens provided the commission with models of recreational marijuana ordinances from Colorado and medical marijuana ordinances from communities that have opted in to those as examples. Currently, Northfield Township only allows home growing for caregivers with a medical marijuana license. They began discussing considering allowing more uses, though, to match wherever the recreational pot cards fall. Planning Commission Chairman Larry Roman said they’re still waiting on more information from the state and their regulation process. Commissioners also discussed a need to possibly set aside their feelings on the decriminalization of pot and listen to how Northfield Township residents voted. Decriminalization passed by a wide margin, there, with 68% approval in 2 of the 3 precincts. Trustee Janet Chick, who sits on the Planning Commission, said motions for temporary prohibition with a sunset clause that expires in 6 months were considered by the Board of Trustees, but no action has been taken. Roman said they will gather more information including maps with schools and parks marked out to help further consider what zones the uses will be allowed in, should they choose to opt in. Roman also said it’s important for people keep their emotions in check, because he knows they can run high on both sides of this matter. Their goal, he stated, was help prepare the township for the future that is coming. (MK)

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    A Livingston County woman who worked as a campaign treasurer for a lawmaker pushing for changes in the state’s campaign finance laws is being investigated for alleged embezzlement. Erika Farley of Fowlerville is the former treasurer for 14th District State Sen. Dave Robertson and according to her attorney is under criminal investigation by the Michigan State Police over allegations she embezzled money. The attorney, Alex Rusek of Okemos, told the Detroit Free Press that she denies the allegations, although he isn’t sure where they originated or if they involve Robertson's campaign fund. State Police say a complaint was received in August, but provided no further details. Robertson, a Grand Blanc Republican whose district covers a portion of Genesee County including the City of Fenton, is the lead sponsor of bills the Senate passed last week that strip responsibility for campaign finance enforcement from incoming Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. He has not commented on the investigation, but did mention Farley, who was also his former chief of staff, in his farewell speech last week on the Senate floor, thanking her for her efforts. "Erika Farley took (my) passions and turned them into Public Acts," Robertson told his colleagues. "I’ve tilted at a lot of windmills in my time — she bulldozed them for me. And I want to thank her for that." The Free Press says Farley resigned as Robertson's campaign treasurer in a Sept. 4 email to the state Bureau of Elections. She did not give a reason. But in a September 2017 interview for a story about Robertson, who chaired the Senate elections committee, being more than a month late in filing a required campaign finance report, Farley said the late reporting was the result of "a software issue." The paper says that Robertson's campaign finance reports, which have since been brought up to date, do not appear to report money missing from his campaign fund. Robertson wants campaign finance enforcement turned over to a commission with equal representation from Democrats and Republicans, a plan he says would require bi-partisan cooperation. Critics contend it will instead create gridlock and stall future enforcement actions. They also accuse Robertson of using it to “bury” his own campaign finance fines. His bill would also set a five-year statute of limitations for criminal cases involving the Campaign Finance Act. The full Senate on Thursday approved Robertson’s proposal in a 25-11 party-line vote. (JK)

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    National recognition has been bestowed on a local financial institution. In November, LOC Federal Credit Union was named the 2nd place winner of the Desjardins Award by the Credit Union National Association for its asset category. Officials say the award honors leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of youth and adult financial literacy and is named after Alphonse Desjardins, a credit union pioneer known for introducing youth savings clubs and in-school "banks.” In order to be considered for the national award, LOC first won at the state level in its asset category. This was the second consecutive year LOC received a first-place state award. LOC’s award entry this year highlighted several factor, including growth in its 21-branch student-run credit union program that saw a 36% increase in dollars saved and a 44% increase in new accounts compared to the previous year. LOC also held eight financial reality fairs over four school districts impacting 1,400 students (pictured is one from Howell High School in October) and partnered up with local libraries for financial education programming during summer recess. LOC will be formally recognized at the CUNA Government Affairs Conference in March. (JK)

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    A local credit union appears to have been robbed this afternoon. Police from multiple agencies have been on scene since around 2pm at the Lake Trust Credit Union on Grand River in Brighton. A suspect/suspects description is not available at this time. WHMI has placed requests for comment with Brighton City Police, who is handling the investigation, as well as Lake Trust officials. Further details will be released once available. A message posted on the Lake Trust Twitter account stated “Our Brighton branch will be closed for the remainder of the day. An incident occurred at the branch earlier this afternoon, however, our team members and members are safe. Thank you for your thoughts and concerns”. (JM)

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    Livingston County’s budget for the coming year has been adopted, while the county has also received recognition for last year’s budget document. The county’s Board of Commissioners met last week and first held a public hearing regarding adoption of the 2019 budget, though no community members spoke either for or against the item. County Administrator Ken Hinton then presented some the budget highlights, which includes the ability to maintain current service levels and leverage additional funds to increase public transportation services. Also among those highlights was the announcement that Livingston County has received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for their 2018 Operating Budget Document. The award reflects the county’s commitment to meet the highest principals of government budgeting by satisfying nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The county’s Operating Budget Document received outstanding ratings for strategic goals and strategies, unit goals and objectives, performance measures, and long-range financial plans. A few changes from last year’s budget were reflected in the 2019 budget, one example being appropriations for indigent defense as required by state law. There is also a budgeting change for the county’s court system, as it will soon eliminate one district court judgeship and add a circuit court judgeship; however Hinton says that budgeting change does not have a significant dollar impact. Several commissioners made a point to recognize the work that went into the budgeting process, which began in late June. The process begins with a base projection, before departments begin submitting their requests to the respective committee. The requests are then analyzed before Administration presents a recommendation to the Finance committee. Finally, the Finance committee makes its decision based on the department requests and Administration’s recommendation, adjusts the budget accordingly, and then moves the document to the Board of Commissioners for adoption. The board voted unanimously on December 3rd to adopt the budget for 2019. The budget has a general fund balance of a little more than $50 million. There are 12 categories that make up the county’s revenue sources. 2019 projections presented in June indicated that taxes account for the largest portion of the county’s revenue at 63%, with charges for services coming in 2nd place at 13%, followed by state sources at 12%. (DK)

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    The Brighton Board of Education Monday night approved a bond issue of $53 million to go on the ballot next November as proposed by administration. The board was hung up on the matter of whether certain items should be on it or not. Board Vice President Dave Chesney wanted the issue of a dome for practice by athletic teams taken off the list. Chesney said that a dome might be considered frivolous by the voters and could end up causing the bond issue to be defeated. Chesney – apparently fearing sticker shock on the part of voters, also had an issue with consolidating the storage area into one building, saying the cost was too high. However, Board Secretary Roger Myers said that Brighton was probably the only school district of its size in the entire state that does not have a centralized location for all of its supplies and items that need to be stored. Chesney said the board needed to better define for the voters what the proposed STEAM centers on each school campus would be used for. The board then voted on separate motions to A) remove the dome and the STEAM centers from the bond issue and B) go with the bond issue as proposed by administration. The first motion passed 5-2 with Chesney and Trustee Alicia Reid voting no, and the motion on the bond issue as a whole passed 6-1, with Chesney comprising the lone no vote. A major component of the bond issue will be a STEAM center for every school in the district. STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics – is an approach to learning that uses those five academic disciplines as access points for guiding student curiosity, dialogue, and critical thinking. Gray has said that increasing the bond amount by $8 million from the originally proposed $45 million will not result in an increase in the current district millage of 7.19 mills, but could result in adding one more year before the bond is paid off. (TT)

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    A local credit union was robbed Monday afternoon. Police from multiple agencies were on scene at the Lake Trust Credit Union on Grand River in Brighton. Police Chief Rob Bradford says at approximately 2pm, the credit union located at 8661 W. Grand River Ave was robbed. The lone suspect was described as a heavy set, black male standing under 6 feet tall and wearing all black. Bradford says the suspect walked into the bank, slid the teller a note and demanded money. A weapon was implied but never seen. The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of money without incident in an unknown direction on foot. Bradford says The multi-jurisdiction Investigative Resources Unit was called in to process the scene with the assistance of the FBI. A message posted on the Lake Trust Twitter account stated an incident occurred at the branch but that team members and members were safe, noting the Brighton branch would be closed for the remainder of the day. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Patton with the Brighton City Police Department at 810-844-5187. (JM)

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