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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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    White Lake Twp. Police are investigating the deaths of a mother and her grown son at the Cedarbrook Estates mobile home park, located on Le Grand, off M-59, in White Lake. Upon receiving a call Thursday night asking that a welfare check be performed on the two individuals, police responded to the mobile home park, where they found a 53-year-old woman and her 25-year-old son dead inside the residence. The victims had neither been seen nor heard from for several days. Police say there were no signs of forced entry or trauma to the bodies. Names of the deceased individuals are being withheld at this time. The case is under investigation by the White Lake Twp. Police Dept. detective bureau. (TT)

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    With the help of local residents, Livingston County Habitat for Humanity enjoyed a successful 2018. A partner family spent their first Christmas in a new house built by the organization. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore covered all of the affiliate’s expenses and provided enough money to cover the construction of the home. This allowed all of the organization’s donations and fundraising money to go directly to the community. Its Brush With Kindness program helped other families receive a new furnace, a handicap ramp, siding on a house, a handrail and new storm windows. For the first time ever, the non-profit is working towards building houses for multiple families. The first house would be built in the spring, and the second in the fall. Partner families will be selected from a pool of applicants based on need. Once selected, each adult family member must contribute 250 hours of sweat equity. To help raise funds for the two homes, three events have been organized. The third annual Home Is The Key fundraiser is scheduled for April 18th, the second annual Winning Women luncheon is set for October 17th and the first annual golf outing will take place on September 26th. For more information on each event or to make a donation, visit the link below.(AV)

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    A new director has been named to be in charge of marketing for a local dental clinic that helps low income and uninsured adults. Jim Gilmore has been named the Director of Development and Marking for the VINA Community Dental Center, off of Grand River Avenue in Brighton. Gilmore has strong ties to community and has served as both president of the Brighton Rotary Club and charter president of the Livingston County Sunrise Rotary Club. He is a graduate of Ohio University with a bachelor’s in Political Science, and has also earned an Executive Certificate in Non Profit Leadership and Management from Notre Dame. Gilmore says his goal is to help with marketing and visibility of the VINA Center. He believes that the clinic is not as well known to the underserved and other potential patients as it can be. He said there are a lot of people in Livingston County who can benefit from VINA’s services, but just don’t know that they are there. Once that starts rolling, he also wants to reach out to the donor community. Gilmore says he is happy for the opportunity to finish his working career by doing something meaningful for the Livingston County community. The VINA Community Dental Center was established in 2008 and has grown to serve over 2,000 residents. They accept 15 to 20 new patients each month, with professional volunteers providing half of their 150 to 200 hour long appointments in that time. VINA is supported through fundraising events, contributions from the community, and local grants. (MK)

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    Charges have been authorized against a Fenton man who allegedly fired a gun at another driver in Oakland County in an incident of road rage. 46-year-old Bruce Holder was arraigned on five felony counts December 21st in 47th District Court. Court records indicate he is charged with discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of felony firearms. The incident in which Holder is charged occurred Wednesday, December 19th, around 11:15am. Michigan State Police were alerted to a possible road rage shooting involving two male drivers on I-75 near Eight Mile Road. The driver that called 911 had allegedly cut off Holder, who then became enraged, pointed his gun at the vehicle and fired a single shot, but missed. MSP Spokesman Lt. Calvin Hart says no people or vehicles were hit. The victim got the shooter’s license plate number, and police were able to locate Holder at his home in Fenton where he was arrested without incident. Holder was wearing the same clothes the victim had described him in and police found the handgun they believe was used. Holder is also thought to be the suspect in a similar road rage incident that had occurred in Plymouth earlier that day. He returns to court January 2nd for a preliminary exam. (AV/DK)

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    A Facebook post that went viral helped a veteran find his missing money clip that he lost in Hartland Township on Christmas Day. Chuck Stoner of Holly was at the new Emagine Theatre in Hartland on Christmas Day when he found a money clip that had “United States Coast Guard” written on it. He wanted to return it to the Veteran who lost it. Stoner posted on Facebook that he kept the money clip in his pocket every day and couldn’t stop thinking about the person who lost it. He asked that the community help him out and share the post and picture of the money clip. The post went viral and as luck would have it, Stoner was able to locate the rightful owner - Scott Reynolds, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1975-1980. The Facebook post has had more than 34,000 shares. Stoner thanked everyone, saying it’s been a wild ride with the money clip and he was glad to return the money clip to its rightful owner. Facebook photos. (JM)

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    More than a decade after a historic Linden building burned down, a groundbreaking is planned for a new development. The Union Block in downtown Linden, which was built in the 1870’s, was destroyed by a fire roughly eleven years ago. Last May, the Linden Planning Commission approved a final site plan that will bring business and residents back to the parcel owned by Nicole Wax of Wax Orthodontics. Revised plans were later submitted and approved to address the Planning Commission’s conditions. Additional amendments making other changes were approved at a November meeting. It was noted that construction groundbreaking is expected in March. Those involved with the project are also working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to install a vapor mitigation system related to past issues from a neighboring gas station. As for the project, the two story building will host Wax’s practice and two other unnamed tenants. The mixed-use building will offer nearly 15,000 square feet of space over 2-stories, on the near half-acre plot. It will include a 23-space parking lot that be accessed by North Bridge Street. Sidewalk, utility and landscaping improvements will also be made and an ADA and loading ramp will tie into the sidewalk. (JM)

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    Legislation sponsored by two local lawmakers has been signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder, while a bill from a third was vetoed. HB 5810 was signed into law Friday. It was sponsored by Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township and replaces certain alternative mental health treatments with assisted outpatient treatment. HB 6491 was also signed into law. That enacts insurance data security model law and was sponsored by outgoing Republican State Representative Lana Theis, who was elected to the Senate in November. The bill establishes the Michigan Data Security Act, which holds insurance companies to a significantly higher standard regarding private consumer information, increases consumer protection requirements, and establishes new reporting requirements if a breach of consumer data occurs. Theis chaired the House Insurance Committe and says data security is perhaps one of the most important topics for the insurance industry today. She says in light of significant cybersecurity attacks throughout both the private and public sectors - insurance companies and agents must protect the highly sensitive consumer financial and health information collected as part of the underwriting and claims processes. The press release is attached. Meanwhile, Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed separate legislation that would remove the sunset cap on a cigar tax. SB 304 was sponsored by Republican Senator Joe Hune of the Fowlerville area, who is term limited. The bill would have removed the sunset on the current 50-cents per cigar cap on tax paid. In his veto letter, Governor Snyder wrote that it is appropriate to maintain the current expectation for expiration of the cap on October 1st, 2021 and return the tax to 32% of the wholesale price. The letter is attached. (JM)

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    Although the long-range forecast for this winter calls for above-average temperatures and less snow than normal, the Livingston County Road Commission is ready for whatever Mother Nature brings. According to Managing Director Mike Craine, they have plenty of road salt on hand to handle the most dicey wintertime weather situation. Craine says that while they used 1,700 tons of salt in November, they have not had to use any this month because of the mild weather. Normally the road commission keeps between 5,000 and 8,000 tons in its inventory just to make sure there’s plenty on hand for any possible emergency. Craine says they join each year with Genesee and Lapeer counties in a consortium in order to save money in the purchase of salt, reserving 20,000 tons a year. The current price is $52 a ton, about the same as last year – and that costs the road commission just over $1 million, making it a significant expense in their budget. Craine says although there is plenty of salt on hand in the salt storage building right now - and the forecast is for less snow than normal – it can be depleted quickly if any big storms come our way during the month of February and into March. Craine says the County Road Commission is only responsible for county roads, and not freeways such as I-96 and US-23, since the Michigan Dept. of Transportation handles those roadways from the MDOT Transportation Service Center in Brighton. The managing director admonishes drivers to take just a couple of minutes to clear their windows of snow and ice before they drive away, saying that can save both them, and snow plow operators, plenty of grief later on. (TT)

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    A community dinner event next month will help raise funds for a local food pantry that supports Livingston County residents in need. Bountiful Harvest’s “Dinner with a Heart” is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The 8th annual event will be held Friday, February 22nd, at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Genoa Township. The night will include a sit-down dinner, a photo-booth, silent auction, dancing and raffle drawings. Tickets can be purchased for $95 during the Early Bird Special, which lasts through January 31st. Bountiful Harvest is in the process of constructing their soon-to-be permanent home. The approximately 3,300-square-foot facility is being built on property donated by the First Presbyterian Church in Brighton, which is located directly behind the church’s parking lot. Project leaders previously told WHMI they expect the interior portion of the facility to be completed and functional by April 1st, 2019.

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    Hartland Township’s popular Winter Festival will take place again this February. Hartland’s winter festival will take place on Saturday, February 9th. The family-friendly event is free to all attendees, thanks to local area sponsors and community volunteers. The event takes place at Hartland Heritage Park, located on M-59 just west of Fenton Road. It’s said to be a “go” with or without snow. Thus, festival activities have been designed to appeal to all ages and weather conditions like ice skating, sledding, a bonfire, musical performances and fireworks. Officials say Winterfest 2019 will be the perfect excuse to experience Hartland’s outdoor living at its most friendly and join friends, family and the Hartland community for a spirit-warming day in the middle of cold Michigan winter. Sponsorships and volunteers are currently being sought. Details are available through the link provided. (JM)

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    A new partnership being launched in the New Year 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. 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 earlier 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. Root says the district would house and staff the lab at Milford High Schools so that career training opportunities would be available to all students for apprenticeship programs and internships in the skilled trades. She noted they have not yet developed the structure or curriculum and have been initially working to bring together business and manufacturers interested in having young people consider careers in all aspects of manufacturing. In early December, the district held an informational meeting at Milford High School targeting local manufacturers, business owners and community partners to learn about the program, tour the school and ask questions. Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Root at kim.root@hvs.org. (JM)

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    Meetings of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners will no longer be broadcast in 2019. A committee formed last fall was tasked with exploring the concept of broadcasting board meetings. Only board meetings are recorded, not committee meetings, and are made available on the county website. An initial trial agreement was worked out with SoundQue Multimedia to record meetings for a period of six months to establish proof of concept for the services. A separate agreement was authorized last April by the full board to extend the service through the end of the year. A full board vote to end the recordings is apparently not needed and on November 19th, the broadcast committee voted 2-1 to do so to essentially see if residents care to see them continue. The broadcast committee is comprised of Chairman Gary Childs and Commissioners Doug Helzerman and Dave Domas, who is now departed after not running for re-election in November. The motion to allow the proof of concept phase to expire and reconvene to review the matter again in 2019 for comparison was made by Helzerman. Childs was the lone opposing vote and told WHMI he wants keep the recordings and web postings to continue as a means of keeping people informed about what’s going on instead of just reading the minutes – adding a lot of people have work, families or other responsibilities that can prevent attendance. Childs says he just wants to make it as easy as possible for Livingston County residents to get a handle on what’s going on, instead of just reading the meeting minutes. Childs added the recordings grant viewers the ability to see the actual presentations delivered during board meetings, which he thinks is important. He noted that some feared continued videotaping of the meetings would make them go longer because of grandstanding and public comment but he maintains that is not the case and the meetings have not gotten any longer. There was also said to be a fear that tape recordings are often used politically. Childs says a lot of townships currently broadcast their meetings and in his personal opinion, doesn’t see why the county would not. The cost of broadcasting is approximately $250 per meeting. There has been discussion related to the budget and costs, and whether to continue with the service or to potentially move the operation in house. The broadcast committee meeting minutes are attached. (JM)

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    Area Democrats have banded together to put thousands of meals on the tables of local families-in-need this holiday season. Livingston County Democrats made a donation equivalent to 7,847 meals to Gleaner’s Community Food Bank in December. Party members showed their generosity through on-line monetary gifts, along with contributions of cash, checks, and non-perishable food brought to the Democrat’s holiday party on December 1st. This isn’t the first time they’ve helped out families struggling to put food on the table, either, as this food drive is part of a tradition of community involvement that goes back more than a quarter of a century. Chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party Judy Daubenmier said the party “really stepped up this year demonstrating compassion and empathy for those in the community who have less.” She told WHMI that there are “nothing like victories in November to help put Democrats in a giving mood in December.” The 7,800 meals collected this year are more than double what they brought in during the 2017 holiday season. (MK)

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    A presentation next week in South Lyon will help educate and update the public on the extent of PFAS contamination in the Huron River. Laura Rubin, Executive Director of the Huron River Watershed Council, will conduct the presentation at the South Lyon City Hall Auditorium on Wednesday, January 9th from 1:30 to 2:30pm. Entitled “What We Know And What We Need To Know,” Rubin will share the latest news and specific details about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that have been found in the Huron River. The seminar will end with the public having an opportunity to ask questions. PFAS are man-made chemicals found in a variety of common household products, construction materials, electronics and firefighting foam. Rubin shares some solutions that she and the Watershed Council are looking for and hoping to spread. She said, for one, they want to raise public awareness and teach residents what the greatest risk is. She says, “It’s not through canoeing or swimming. It’s consuming it.” The Huron River Watershed Council also is hoping the state develops a drinking water standard, as many communities aren’t sure what they should be regulating for, if anything. Rubin says that experts are beginning to understand the chemicals more and are getting a better handle on the problems they cause like thyroid problems, fertility problems, and threats to cancer. She says there are technologies that can take PFAS out of water systems pretty easily, but communities and residents often need guidance about whether it’s needed. Filters and testing can be expensive, Rubin says, and are sometimes unnecessary. (MK/JK)

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    A missing local teen has been found safe. The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department says 14-year-old Alayna Tiair Jackson from South Lyon has been located in Oakland County. Jackson was last seen leaving from a family member's home in Ypsilanti Township. According a bulletin from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, Jackson has ties to Ypsilanti Township. She was last seen wearing a black Easton hooded jacket, black leggings and black and white checkered Vans shoes. No details were provided regarding her disappearance or how or where Jackson was located. (JK)

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    The Brighton District Library is getting a makeover. Interior renovations are currently being planned for the spring and will give the library much needed updates. In a recent newsletter, Library Director Cindy Mack says the building’s interior will undergo changes over the next two years that will add more study rooms, create dynamic youth and teen areas and give the library a more user-friendly layout throughout the building. She added that she’s very thankful for the community’s support and donations from this year’s annual appeal. The library is developing a strategic plan to guide the organization for the next three years. A survey will be available online in the coming weeks on the library’s website. Mack says the public’s participation will go a long way in shaping the types of programs the organization can offer in 2019 and beyond. (AV)

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    The Howell City Council is hosting an upcoming budget work session in the New Year. The city’s fiscal forecast is described as "gloomy". 2018 was a tough year for the city, which is grappling with a structural deficit that officials attribute to a number of factors including a broken state fiscal model. Voters also turned down a proposed Headlee Override request in November that would have generated funds for roads, infrastructure and to maintain city services. Following that defeat, Council members have said some tough decisions lie ahead. Howell City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI they’re heading into the annual budget process with a work session this January. He says it’s an opportunity to get together as kind of follow-up to a November work session with potential reductions in the budget for the next fiscal year, as well as laying out a longer term plan to address projected deficits. The earlier consensus from Council was to develop potential cuts totaling $150, 000 to $250,000 but perhaps more. Council has also set some targets that future infrastructure projects should only be considered if the majority is grant funded. Council members have also expressed that they don’t want to take away city services but “the reality is something’s got to give.” The date for the budget work session is pending. It was initially set for January 21st but needs to be moved because that is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (JM)

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    Suspects were taken into custody New Year’s Day after fleeing from police and breaking into a home in Howell. The Livingston County Sheriff's Office says they were dispatched to the area of Burkhart Road and Grand River Avenue at about 11:40 a.m. to investigate a report of a suspicious vehicle. Deputies located the vehicle in the area, but it fled off the road, rammed a Sheriff's Office patrol car, and left the scene. Authorities say the vehicle drove recklessly into the City of Howell, where the occupants fled on foot and broke into an occupied residence. Multiple witnesses called 911 and directed responders to the location of the vehicle occupants, and they were taken into custody. Police gave no further information on the suspects, including how many were involved. Investigation shows that the vehicle had been reported stolen to the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Office and that the occupants were in possession of controlled substances. The Livingston County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the City of Howell Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and Livingston County Ambulance. The incident remains under investigation by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau. (JK)

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    A grassroots organization will gather at the Livingston County Courthouse later this week as part of a national day of action. Indivisible Livingston and other local political groups will rally at the courthouse at noon this Saturday, January 5th. The demonstration is part of the Indivisible movement’s “Whose House Our House” national day of action, which will actually take place on January 3rd for most groups across the country. Indivisible groups will be asking their representatives to demand that the measure be a progressive, comprehensive democracy package that includes reforms on voter empowerment and access, money in politics and corruption. Local event organizer Peggy Van Sickle says the event will take place Satruday because by then, Congress will have been sworn and gaveled in. To encourage participation, Van Sickle says Indivisible Livingston’s rally is being held on a Saturday in order to be more cohesive with work schedules. She tells WHMI the goal of the rally is for participants to speak out on what they’d like to see from Congress in the future. The group will be calling for 8th District Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin’s support of the democracy reform bill that Democrats are expected to introduce. To RSVP, contact Peggy Van Sickle at pvansickler59@gmail.com or 810-499-3749.

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    Two suspects who were taken into custody on New Year’s Day after fleeing from police and breaking into a home in Howell are awaiting arraignment. The Livingston County Sheriff's Office says the two suspects who were taken into custody are both from the Jackson area. Deputies were first dispatched to the area of Burkhart Road and Grand River around 11:40am on a report of a suspicious vehicle. Deputies located the vehicle in the area but it fled off the road, rammed a Sheriff's Office patrol car, and left the scene. Authorities say the vehicle the drove recklessly into the City of Howell, where the occupants fled on foot and broke into an occupied residence. Multiple witnesses called 911 and directed responders to the location of the vehicle occupants, and they were taken into custody. The Sheriff’s Office has since identified the suspects as a 30-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man, both from Jackson. The female suspect remains lodged in the Livingston County Jail while the male suspect is currently being treated at a local hospital for medical conditions that authorities say are not related to his arrest or attempts to escape. The incident remains under investigation by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau. Police from multiple agencies assisted and investigation showed that the vehicle had been reported stolen to the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Office and that the occupants were in possession of controlled substances. (JM)

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