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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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    Two Howell High School students have earned honors in the 31st annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Poster Contest. The graphic arts students, Kellen Walburn and Kirsten Smith, were recognized in the contest that drew more than 750 entries from over 55 Michigan schools. Walburn, a senior, won the Best Theme Award. Smith, a sophomore, claimed second place in the 10th Grade Award. Both Walburn and Smith received a $250 cash prize. Additionally, their poster designs will be displayed at the 2019 NAIAS and are posted on the NAIAS website. Walburn says he first came up with the idea to make an old vintage poster design with the rough torn edges, before his teacher suggested something like a stamp. Walburn says when the announcement recognizing his poster was made, his heart was pounding really hard, and then when his entry popped up, there was immediate relief and it was “exciting in a way”. Walburn used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create his poster design. Using Adobe Illustrator, Smith created her design by blending the letters of NAIAS into one image. She says she wanted to do something different that she had never seen before, adding that because geometric design is one of her favorite things, she knew she wanted to incorporate that into her design. Smith says she was “shocked and so happy” that she won. Both Walburn and Smith feel that the poster contest is a great way to get students involved in and excited about the auto industry. The NAIAS Poster Contest was established to engage the creative minds of Michigan’s Future artists. Photos courtesy of Thomas Gould. Picture 1: Kirsten Smith and Kellen Walburn. Picture 2: Kirsten Smith's poster. Picture 3: Kellen Walburn's poster.

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    Howell resident Dave Imber is both a veteran and a police officer, but is struggling to make ends meet after being diagnosed with Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer with no cure. Medical costs have put his wife and two daughters, who are ages four and 14, in a difficult place financially while Imber is unable to work. To help out, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser has been organized by the American Legion in Howell for January 23rd. The dinner will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Devereaux Post 141 on Grand River in Howell and a donation of $8 per plate is being asked. A silent auction is planned as well. Imber joined the army in 2005 at the age of 24. He spent the next six years serving his country, including a stint in Iraq. After marrying his wife Julie in 2010, he spent time as a corrections officer in Livingston County. In 2017, he joined the Lathrup Village Police Department in Oakland County. If you are interested in donating but cannot attend the fundraiser, a Go Fund Me page can be found at the link below. (AV)

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    A ceremony Friday welcomed returning legislators and Livingston County’s newest lawmaker to office. Joan Louise Larsen, a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, had the duty of swearing in three local officials at the ceremony, which was held at the John E. LaBelle Public Safety Complex in Howell Township. The first to be sworn in and take the oath was Hank Vaupel. This is his third and final term as the 47th District state representative. Vaupel promised those in attendance that he will work as hard as he can to represent constituents in a “good, ethical, honest and hardworking manner”. Ann Bollin was next to be sworn in, taking her oath as state representative for the 42nd District. Bollin is succeeding Theis as the 42nd district’s state representative, following Theis’ election to the state senate. Both women have served on Brighton Township’s Board of Trustees; Theis serving as Treasurer before being elected as state representative in 2014, and Bollin as Clerk. Bollin, who says she is humbled by the opportunity to serve the district, said it’s been a year of sadness, triumph and joy. She says she had to pinch herself when visiting the People's Office in Lansing. Bollin says "it's hard to describe", but shared the experience of sitting in the office on the 8th floor, looking at the Capitol building at sunset, and being in complete awe. She says it's been a year of sadness, triumph and joy. Lana Theis, who was elected in November as state senator for the 22nd district., was the last to be sworn in. After thanking her friends, family and supporters, she told the crowd she is looking forward to the opportunity to serve. Theis then spoke to the role lawmakers have saying, “…the term ‘elected’ is nice, but public servant is really what it’s all about”. (DK/JK)

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    A new coffeehouse has opened in Brighton, which isn’t so unusual. What is unusual is that it’s both a coffeehouse and a live The Brighton theater. It’s been a lifelong dream for Markus Goller. As a 25-year resident of Brighton, he, and his wife Amy, had long dreamed of opening a coffeehouse in the community. And, as an entrepreneur, Gollar has opened around 50 coffeehouses in several states around the country. But he says the grand opening one in Brighton has definitely been the biggest. The Brighton Coffeehouse and Theater, as it has been named, is located right next to the Mill Pond, in a building that formerly housed Beverly Rae’s clothing store and – for those with long memories - the Little Professor Book Store. The Gollers had extensive renovations done to the interior of the building, although the brick exterior remains pretty much the same. The result of a chic, upscale-looking coffeehouse with a movable stage and a baby grand piano and, in another section, a complete variety of coffee brews and food fare. That ranges from the usual assortment of cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos to unusual and unexpected caffeinated drinks. The Gollers also have fresh, made-to-order sandwiches – which, whimsically, have the names of Shakespearean characters. They also have soups and salads. In fact, they open early enough on weekdays – 6:30 a.m. – that commuters in the bedroom community of Brighton can pick up their favorite brew and their lunch to go before they take off for Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, or other locations. And the Gollers also plan to put on plays – using both professional and amateur actors - perhaps even a production as ambitious as My Fair Lady and possibly in the new Mill Pond Amphitheater, which is just a short walk from the coffeehouse. Also, Goller’s wife, Amy, plans to put on summer camps for area children with aspirations of becoming an actor. Markus Goller is not done with the renovation of the coffeehouse and theater building, saying he plans to have the rear of the structure – which fronts the Mill Pond – landscaped this spring with trees and shrubbery installed. The former tenant of the building, Beverly Rae’s women’s apparel store, has moved and is now located kitty-corner across the street, at 203 W. Main. (TT)

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    Local health officials are encouraging residents to test their homes this month for a potentially dangerous radioactive gas. January is National Radon Action Month and the Livingston County Health Department is offering free radon test kits to area residents. Radon is a tasteless, odorless gas and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and is a part of the air we breathe. It can enter buildings through openings in the foundation floors and walls like sump pump openings, crawlspaces, and cracks. Radon can become trapped in buildings and lead to elevated and harmful levels. The Health Department reports that 1 in 8 Michigan homes are likely to have an elevated level of radon. A study by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality showed elevated levels in 40% of homes within Livingston County. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter or more be fixed. If detected, qualified contractors can often fix the problem for a price that is comparable to many common home repairs. Free short-term test kits are available through January 31st. They can be picked up at the Environmental Health Division office located at 2300 East Grand River Avenue in Howell. They can also be purchased at hardware and home improvement centers, along with many supermarkets, but attention should be paid to their expiration dates. (MK)

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    A local library will be hosting a special celebration in honor of the Motown music sound. Originally founded in 1959 as Tamla Records, the Motown Record Corporation grew to be one the most influential music labels of the 20th century. The Salem-South Lyon District Library is celebrating Motown’s 60th anniversary with a live music event on Friday, January 25th. It will be held at the VFW Post 1224 located at 125 East McHattie Street in South Lyon from 7 to 9pm. Award winning author, professor, and musician M.L. Liebler will be performing with his band. Liebler will be playing several of the hits that have put Detroit on the music map worldwide that include not only the Motown sound, but also from the Jazz, Blues, Rock, Techno, and Hip Hop scenes. His book, Heaven Was Detroit: From Jazz to Hip-Hop and Beyond was the winner of the Michigan Notable Book Award in 2017 and a finalist for both the Forward Indie Book and Next Generation Book awards. During intermission, accomplished musician Drew Shultz will share stories about Motown and its rise to fame. Shultz has played with several Motown legends and currently works for the Motown Museum in Detroit. Shultz has called Motown the soundtrack of a generation and credits the label for helping break down racial barriers on and off the stage. This event is being co-sponsored by the VFW Post 1224 and is supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, which is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Further questions can be answered by visiting the Salem-South Lyon District Library, or by calling (248) 437-6431. (MK)

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    Participants are being sought for a free active intruder/shooter training. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office is inviting the first fifty interested persons to attend an Active Intruder/Shooter class that will teach methods of survival in such an event. The class will be held on Saturday, January 12th at the Livingston County Public Safety Complex, starting at 4pm and lasting approximately four hours. The class consists of two portions; the first half is didactic with a statistical foundation and the second is hands-on scenario based. The didactic portion will provide a history of past active intruder events which gives tactics on how to best survive from what has been learned from investigating previous events. The scenarios will give knowledge on how to physically and mentally prepare for an intruder. The class is free and taught by a certified instructor from the Sheriff’s Office. The instructor is certified in two different methods, A.L.I.C.E. and C.R.A.S.E. Those interested are being asked to contact Deputy Ray Marino at (517) 546-2440 ext 4351, or email at rmarino@livgov.com. (JM)

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    Livingston County’s voice in Congress says that the ingredients for a deal to end the partial government shutdown are in place, but that the White House needs to be willing to compromise. Speaking Sunday on Fox News, 8th District Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said a deal is possible now. "We have the basis of a deal, right? Both sides say they care about border security, they believe in national security. Start having a real negotiation about border security, border forces, more technology at the border, fencing if we need it in some areas. It doesn't just have to be a wall. That's the essence of a negotiation so I think we can start now if people really care about getting something done." Slotkin also said that while the “tenor and tone” that President Trump has set is “unbecoming of the country that I love,” if the Democratic Party remains solely focused on being anti-Trump and not legislating, (quote) “we’re not doing our job.” (JK)

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    An upcoming event aims to recognize those who serve and protect Livingston County. All are welcome to attend the event next Monday, January 14th that will recognize the tremendous effort that local law enforcement officials put forth on a daily basis. Frank Dame is among those organizing the event and explained that his motivation came about when he was driving on a very cold, snowy night last winter and listening to a report on the radio about another police shooting. Dame tells WHMI that’s when he simultaneously noticed flashers coming from a Livingston County Sheriff deputy’s patrol vehicle on D-19 near Coon Lake Road. Dame says it was miserable out but the deputy was helping an elderly man by shoveling and pushing out his car at the end of a driveway. Dame says between hearing the terrible story on the radio while witnessing a completely selfless act on the part of the deputy moved him to do something and recognize the men and women who are so selfless. Dame moved to Livingston County with his family about three years ago and always sees law enforcement officers at events like Balloonfest, Melonfest, parades or just out and about and they are always very warm, friendly and professional so he wanted to do something. Dame said his family initially made cookies and cards but then friends pestered him to “go big” so he approached the church to use their facility for an event and things took off from there. The event will take place from 2 to 3pm on January 14th in Livingston Christina School’s gymnasium, which is located in the Brighton Church of the Nazarene at 7669 Brighton Road in Genoa Township. Dame says the event will consist of opening remarks and speakers while students will play the Star Spangled Banner. He says each police agency in the county as well as Huron-Clinton Metroparks Police will have a representative in attendance to be presented with thank you cards, baked goods and certificates. Dame says it’s an excellent opportunity for the public to take some time to meet and thank the men and women who serve in a completely positive and thankful environment, as that doesn’t always happen in the law enforcement world. Dame says he hopes people are inspired to attend and plenty of seating is available. He says just having people just show up would be great but attendees are always welcome to bring baked goods or write cards if they choose and they’ll make sure it goes to the right department. If all goes well, he’s hoping this could become an annual event for the community. (JM)

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    November jobless rates were little changed in regional labor market areas, although Livingston County saw a small decline. November unemployment rates receded in nine of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas. Labor force levels and total employment rose over the month in the majority of regions according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Livingston County’s November jobless rate stood at 2.9% - an improvement from the October unemployment rate of 3.3%. Livingston currently ranks 10th among Michigan’s 83 counties. The state says payroll jobs in Michigan edged down slightly by 2,000 over the month. Seasonal job gains in trade, transportation and utilities were said to be offset by seasonal job losses in leisure and hospitality. Since November 2017, jobless rates fell in all regions. County jobless rates were mixed over the month but down over the year. Livingston County was the exception, which remained unchanged over the year. (JM)

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    A Livingston County judge won't face any additional criminal charges after being found to have concealed a relationship with a detective involved in a murder trial she presided over. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday declined a last-minute plea to charge Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan with crimes involving concealing the relationship. The decision comes after the attorney general's office filed charges last month against Brennan for allegations she committed perjury and destroyed evidence in her divorce case. Attorney Tom Kizer, who represented Brennan's husband in the divorce, had sent a letter to the attorney general pressing for action against Brennan for hiding her relationship with former Detective Sgt. Sean Furlong. Their relationship was brought to light during the divorce proceedings. The statute of limitations in the case expired Friday, exactly six years after Brennan denied a pre-trial motion to disqualify herself from handling the 2013 murder trial, Kizer said. Nessel's spokeswoman, Beth Nurenberg, said the attorney general didn't plan to file any new charges against Brennan or Furlong. (AP)

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    The subject of this month’s Good Morning Livingston event will be economic forecasting and will take place on January 15th in the Johnson Center at Cleary University. Dr. Robert A. Dye, who is the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Comerica Bank, will speak and share his knowledge of how to predict large scale economics. His talk will give attendees insight into where the economy is headed with information backed by research and analysis. The event runs from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and costs $20 for pre-registered Howell Chamber of Commerce members and staff, $25 at the door and $30 for non-member businesses and guests. The program includes a full hot breakfast, coffee, juice, materials and a raffle entry. To register, visit the link on below. (AV)

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    Counterfeit money is circulating in the Howell area. The Howell Police Department, in a Facebook post, said it recently received information about counterfeit $20 bills around Howell. The department says the information received was that someone purchased the bills online and they intend to try and use them mixed in with real bills. Police ask that the public take a close look at the pictures, notice the differences and look at each bill for the proper markings. The fake bills have what appear to be Asian markings in red ink. Police say the concern is that a young cashier being pressured to hurry through a transaction could miss the red markings. Officials say they only know of the $20 bills at this time, but that does not mean there aren’t other denominations out there. Anyone with information about the bills is asked to contact the Howell Police Department at 517-546-1330. (JM)

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    Athletic programs, comprised of students both with and without intellectual disabilities, have been launched at Howell High School. Two Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (UCS) athletic programs are now a part of the high school, with an inaugural game to be held this Wednesday. UCS is an inclusive athletic program that brings students with and without intellectual disabilities together to compete as a team. The high school’s two programs are a basketball team and a pompon squad. The basketball team will hold its first home game on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Howell High School Fieldhouse. There is no admission charge for the game. USC athletic programs provide opportunities for students to build character, develop leadership skills, promote inclusion and acceptance, and enhance the school community. The programs also help promote social skills and build lasting friendships. This is the first year that Howell High School is participating in the UCS program. Both of Howell’s middle schools currently participate in the middle school UCS program. Hartland High School and Brighton High School both have Unified basketball teams as well.

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    Genoa Township is working through changes and issues resulting from its latest switch to a new provider for refuse and recycling services. The township has been forced to change haulers several times in recent years for different reasons and is now three months into a new contract with Advanced Disposal. It was a big change-over so some transitional issues have resulted. Delivering 14,000 curb carts was said to be no small task and now, complaints related to missed pick-ups and other things have been very few. Some issues also resulted with the timing of scheduled pick-ups and recycling during recent holiday periods. The largest outstanding complaint is now related to every other week recycling, which the township board discussed during its meeting Monday night. It was ultimately agreed that staff proceed with getting solid numbers to determine how much it would cost for weekly recycling, which would result in some operational issues for the company. Supervisor Bill Rogers told WHMI there are always issues when you have a transition and there will be growing pains associated with switching to a new company. He says it takes time to figure out routes, spots that are tough for big trucks and different drop points, adding Manager Mike Archinal and staff have spent a lot of time working through these things and have been extremely diligent in trying to finds spots to adjust with Advanced Disposal. Rogers says the biggest change is probably going to every other week recycling. Although the township is still fielding questions and complaints, he feels most items will work themselves out. Treasurer Robin Hunt agreed there are improvements to be made but felt the company should be given time to correct the issues, noting the company has been working very well with the township and a representative is coming in weekly. There are 7,000 households in the township and it was noted a large amount do actually recycle, which officials feel is encouraging that people are taking advantage of it. Some households recycle a lot more than others and larger families naturally generate more trash, thus there are options to purchase additional carts for a fee. Rogers noted the contract went from an 18-gallon recycling container to 64-galloons, which the board and staff thought would accommodate going to the every other week. Despite many questions and complaints, only two residents attended the meeting. The first, who has a large family and puts forth a lot of effort into recycling, voiced concerns with missed pick-ups and lengthy times associated with the call center. The other resident told the board he was very happy with the new company and feels things are working well. He asked that the board not fuel the idea of mass consumerism and increased waste, saying you can sugarcoat recycling all you want but he feels most things end up in landfills anyway. Should the switch be made to weekly recycling, there would be some operational issues for the company and increased cost to the township. Recycled materials currently go to a facility in Chelsea that would not be able to handle the increased volume so trucks would need to be re-routed to Detroit. That would impact route timing and the company might need to add another truck, which would mean rates would need to be adjusted. It was also noted during the meeting that the township has notified residents about the changes, as well as what can and cannot be recycled, in every conceivable way possible so the amount of calls, complaints, emails and comments can be frustrating for staff. Items to be recycled cannot be put out in plastic bags, as plastic bags cannot be recycled period. All items, including cardboard, must also be put in the carts provided or they will not be picked up. (JM)

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    Two Jackson residents have been arraigned on charges related to an incident in which they allegedly fled from police and broke into a residence in Howell. 29-year-old Daniel Anthony Sinko and 30-year-old Chrystan June Medina were recently arraigned on various charges. Sinko faces charges include felonious assault, receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle, breaking and entering, reckless driving and fleeing a police officer. Medina is charged with one count of breaking and entering. The charges stem from the incident that occurred on New Year’s Day. Livingston County Sheriff’s 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 then 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, later identified as Sinko and Medina, and they were taken into custody. 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 Sinko and Medina were in possession of controlled substances. Court records indicate Sinko will return to court January 15th for a probable cause conference, while Medina is scheduled for a pretrial hearing February 4th. (JM/DK)

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    A well-known Livingston County Commissioner has announced a bid for the state house. Former Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte announced Monday that he will run for Michigan State Representative in the 47th District. The seat is now held by State Rep. Hank Vaupel, who is term-limited at the end of the current legislative term. Local legislators were just officially sworn in last Friday, meaning Bezotte’s announcement is two years ahead of schedule. Bezotte told WHMI the early announcement will give him extra time to fundraise. “I talked to a few consultants and the earlier you get in the better. It gives time for people to look at your issues and what you represent and stand for. It gives them time to make a decision on whether they want to vote for and support you. It’s quite a bit more money to run for state rep so it gives me time to raise money and have some fundraisers, so there are a few reasons.” Bezotte added that he looks forward to continuing to serve the residents of Livingston County, and says his two years as commissioner and twelve years as sheriff provided him with the experience needed to effectively represent the 47th District. Bezotte is a Vietnam Veteran who resides with his wife Sheila in Marion Township. If elected, Bezotte tells WHMI he intends to focus on roads, insurance reform, law enforcement improvement and veterans’ issues. “I love doing this stuff. I love representing the people and doing what I can for them. I think I can go to Lansing and have an impact full-time trying to deal with other issues. Part of my passion is representing law enforcement and being a veteran I want to do what I can for veterans. I’m looking forward to being on the veteran’s affairs committee and doing what I can from a local level.” (JM/AV)

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    A local lawmaker’s mental health legislation is now state law. State Rep. Hank Vaupel’s Bill 5810, now Public Act 593 of 2018, updates and improves Michigan’s Assisted Outpatient Treatment Law. Known as Kevin’s Law, it was named for U of M graduate student, Kevin Heisinger, who was murdered by a paranoid schizophrenic who stopped taking his medication. The assailant’s family tried for days to get him help, but had no legal way to do so. Kevin’s Law was intended to be a pre-emptive option for patients who need assistance, but had been underutilized. Vaupel’s legislation ensures mental illness is addressed earlier to prevent homelessness, dangerous behavior and incarceration. Vaupel, who chaired the House Health Policy Committee last term, said that, “Early intervention is not only better for individuals in crisis, it also reduces the state’s hospital and incarceration costs, saving Michigan taxpayer dollars.” Several other mental health bills were signed into law at the end of December as a result of the House C.A.R.E.S. Mental Health Task Force, which Vaupel co-chaired last term. They include laws allowing guardians to provide consent for mental health treatment and creating a statewide database of available inpatient psychiatric beds to ensure every person experiencing mental health crisis has a place to go when seeking treatment. Vaupel says he’s proud of what the task force and the Health Policy Committee were able to accomplish over the past two years, and is optimistic about the work they will continue to do throughout the 2019-2020 legislative term. (JK)

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    Yet another candidate has announced a bid for the 47th District State House seat. Mike Detmer of Howell announced his candidacy today for the 47th District, which encompasses eleven Livingston County townships, the City of Howell and Village of Fowlerville. The seat is currently held by Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township, who is term limited. Although the August primary election is two years away, Detmer is expected to face challenger Bob Bezotte, a current Livingston County Commissioner and former sheriff. Detmer’s experience includes 15 years in the automotive industry and over 10 years in the lending industry. He is also a licensed real estate agent. Detmer says he is not a politician and his experience is the same as most of the voters in his district – “you get up, work hard and do what you need to do to take care of your family”. Detmer says the vast majority of the people he knows are fed up with ineffective, career politicians and that’s why he’s running. (JM)

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    Livingston County officials will soon decide whether or not to join a statewide lawsuit to combat the opioid crisis. The General Government and Health and Human Services Committee, a subcommittee of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, listened to a lengthy presentation from attorneys Michael Behm and Mark Bernstein Monday night on the subject of litigation against opioid manufacturers and big pharmaceutical companies that sell opioids. The proposed lawsuit, which is made up of many counties and municipalities across the state, would seek damages related to opioid treatment, related deaths and law enforcement costs. Committee Chairman Bob Bezotte tells WHMI he’s in favor of the litigation and was pleased with the presentation. “As you saw tonight, the other five county commissioners that aren’t on this particular general government committee came in because they’re interested in asking the right questions. We had the two attorneys here and we all could ask them questions. Probably at the next board meeting we’ll talk about these issues and what direction we need to go to. From what I’ve found out so far, everybody is in favor of holding these people accountable.” He added that due to his years of experience in law enforcement, he understands how important this issue is and that addiction is impacting people of all ages, including minors. The committee is made up of commissioners Wes Nakagiri, William Green, Bob Bezotte and Gary Childs. The full board is expected to review materials and make a decision on the matter in the next month or two. (AV)

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