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Articles on this Page
- 08/16/18--10:53: _Howell Planning Com...
- 08/16/18--23:04: _Groundbreaking Cere...
- 08/17/18--01:34: _Man Charged With At...
- 08/17/18--02:17: _Lawmaker Seeks To O...
- 08/17/18--04:27: _Remains From 1997 C...
- 08/17/18--06:46: _Art At The Howell O...
- 08/17/18--07:42: _Argentine Township ...
- 08/17/18--08:40: _Traveling Vietnam M...
- 08/17/18--08:43: _Motorcyclist Seriou...
- 08/18/18--02:39: _Counselor Named As ...
- 08/18/18--04:41: _Local Nonprofit Ask...
- 08/18/18--05:00: _Condominium Project...
Howell Planning Commissioners, happy with the current mix of businesses, have shut down the idea of changing a downtown ordinance.
âIf it ainât brokeâ¦â began Chairman Paul Streng, who let the familiar idiom trail off before finishing it. That was opinion of most Howell Planning Commissioners when faced with question of potentially changing an ordinance that dealt with first floor uses in the downtown area. Community Development Director Tim Schmitt said this was part of the cityâs 2017 ordinance update that the planning commission didnât want to go through with last year. Schmitt recently had the planning firm Carlisle Wortman look through the downtown zoning and offer options that could successfully promote a healthy downtown, if the planning commission wanted to attack it at this time.
One of the goals is to create a walkable downtown that doesnât have too many businesses that are closed at night. The idea is to get a mix of retail and office, but if there are too many dentists, real estate offices, or the like that close at 5pm, that can kill foot traffic and change the dynamic of the area. One possible ordinance change would be to put future offices on the second floor, leaving the first open for retail. Many Commissioners felt they already have a good mix, and that opening this ordinance is unnecessary. Mayor Nick Proctor agreed, saying he didnât view the city as having a problem now, but cautioned that there may be a tipping point somewhere down the line. Unknowing how future Commissions may handle the change if it should come, he set the question of whether they should be proactive now or reactive later.
Pleased with the current mix, the Commission decided to do nothing on the matter until a time when they deem it more necessary. (MK)
A ceremony next week will mark the beginning of construction for the expansion of the Salem-South Lyon District Library.
Community members approved a millage increase of .49 mills in 2014, with the generated revenue supporting library repairs and additions. Library Director Donna Olson says the proposed $1.2 million project came with a promise to enhance library facilities and make timely capital improvements. Four years later, Olson says they are finally getting to fulfill that promise.
The libraryâs HVAC system has since been upgraded and public restrooms renovated, and work on the largest component of the project will soon begin. A survey of the community found that many residents wanted to see the library grow its childrenâs services. Olson tells WHMI the current childrenâs area will be renovated and will double in size by adding another 2,800 sq. ft. The childrenâs addition will allow for more room for materials, dedicated space for tweens, additional casual seating and a programming room. The project is expected to take about nine months, with a rough completion date in May of 2019.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the library, located on Pontiac Trail in South Lyon, and will take place this coming Tuesday, August 21st, at 6pm. Olson encourages residents to attend, saying that the ceremony is really about thanking the community for their support and involvement. Olson says it has truly taken a village to bring the project to fruition, but knows itâll be worth it as she feels the community will be very happy with the end result. (DK)
A Genoa Township man has been bound over for trial on charges connected to an incident involving gasoline and a gun.
50-year-old Michael Troy Mapes was bound over to Livingston County Circuit Court Wednesday, after District Court Judge Suzanne Geddis determined there was enough evidence to send the case to trial. Judge Geddis also denied a motion from Mapesâ attorney requesting to allow parenting time. Mapes is facing multiple felony charges including assault with intent to murder, attempted murder, arson-preparing to burn a building, and resisting/assaulting a police officer among others.
The charges stem from the April 10th incident that began with a call to the Livingston County Sheriff's Office around 8:45pm regarding a suicidal subject that was possibly armed at a residence off of Brighton Road in Genoa Township. The subject, later identified as Mapes, had already fled the area when a unit responded.
Early the next morning, the Sheriff's Office received a second call from the residence indicating Mapes had returned. The 41-year-old female caller indicated that she had awoke to Mapes pouring gasoline on her and around her bed. The caller explained she observed a lighter in his hand and that Mapes had a rifle slung over his shoulder. The victim and her two children ages 12 and 14 were able to flee the residence, and while doing so heard a gunshot and Mapes yelling. Deputies formed a perimeter and attempted to negotiate with Mapes for several hours. He eventually tried to leave the area in his vehicle, but was taken into custody after a short vehicle pursuit and physical altercation with deputies on scene.
If convicted, Mapes could be sentenced to life in prison. He is being held in the county jail on a $1 million bond and future court dates have not been set at this time. (DK)
A local lawmaker is taking steps to potentially impeach embattled 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan, who is accused of corruption in office and perjury.
State Representative Lana Theis says the investigation by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission began over 18 months ago but it wasnât up until roughly two months ago that Brennan finally had her caseload removed and re-assigned to a visiting judge. She says Brennan is now getting paid to sit at home and do nothing while taxpayers are now paying a visiting judge to hear all of her cases. Theis feels there have been extended delays of justice and says sheâs heard from numerous people wanting to know when action will be taken to hold Judge Brennan accountable.
Theis says there is another alternative should the JTC not act appropriately or timely in this case and the legislature has a constitutional authority to remove Brennan from office. Theis believes that authority exists for situations such as this, where justice in her opinion is not being served adequately through the JTC. She says rules require the JTC to be as expeditious as possible, which Theis feels is lacking for not only Brennan but others, and speed is not typically there when looking at a judge acting inappropriately.
The legislature will be back in session in September and in the meantime, Theis says she will be drafting a resolution with impeachment language to bring forward at that time. The JTC complaint stems from Brennanâs relationship with former Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who served as the chief prosecution witness during the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski. Brennan presided over the trial that resulted in Kowalskiâs conviction and life sentence. Brennan and Furlong maintain they had a friendship that morphed into an affair but claim it began after the trial. Testimony and documents from Brennanâs 2017 divorce indicate the relationship began long before Kowalskiâs trial.
Brennan just filed her response yesterday to the amended complaint filed by the JTC and a hearing will commence October 1st. The case will be heard at the 16th District Court in Livonia, a decision made to ensure there is no conflict of interest. A Michigan State Police criminal investigation also remains active. (JM)
Aircraft wreckage discovered in Michiganâs Upper Peninsula is confirmed to be that of a Livingston County couple missing since 1997.
Mackinac County Sheriff Scott Strait said Thursday the remains have been positively identified as those of missing couple Mark and Janet Davies. The single-engine Piper PA-28 that 45-year-old Mark Davies was piloting took off September 14th, 1997 from Drummond Island in Lake Huron and was headed to Howell. A four-day search at the time failed to find the remains of the couple or the plane. The NTSB at the time concluded the airplane was presumed to have been destroyed and the pilot and passenger were presumed to have sustained fatal injuries. It was a huge mystery to everyone in the local community, including Davies family and staff at Scranton Middle School in Brighton where Janet worked as an art teacher.
The wreckage was discovered on July 11th in the Hiawatha National Forest near St. Ignace in what was describe as a very remote and wooded area, which made it difficult for investigators to inspect the site. Strait says the National Transportation Safety Board has completed its on-site investigation. (JM)
A local art show is being presented this weekend at the Howell Opera House.
The Livingston Arts Council is inviting everyone to come and view the 13th annual Fine Arts Show being held through Sunday in conjunction with the Howell Melon Festival. Held on the first floor of the Opera House, there will be art for sale and showcased, including paintings, jewelry, digital prints, photography and more. Artists will be present to discuss their work and answer questions. There will also be a âmake and takeâ art table and two community murals for families to contribute to.
The show runs from 3 to 9pm today, Saturday 10am to 10pm, and Sunday 10am to 4pm. Admission is free and open to the public. (EO/JK)
If anyone lost their bag of pot, they can call a local police department and claim it.
The Argentine Township Police Department received a report Wednesday morning from a caller who spotted what they believed to be a bag of marijuana on McCaslin Lake Road. Police responded and confirmed that the bag was indeed full of marijuana. Police Chief Dan Allen said there were about 10 to 12 individual bags found inside a larger bag that weighed between 10 grams to 30 grams each.
According to Allen the total weight is 190 grams, and is worth about $2,600 on the street. The chief posted it on the police departments Facebook page and people were jokingly commenting on the post. Chief Allen hasnât received any calls from people claiming it as theirs. (EO/JK)
A scale model of a national memorial honoring veterans will be making a heroâs entrance as it makes its way into Howell for a four-day residency.
The Wall That Heals is a Â¾ scale replication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that stands in the nationâs capital. Stretching roughly a football fieldâs length, it is made from the same synthetic material, has the same reflective quality, carries all the names, and shares the same 120-degree angle as the original in Washington D.C. Visitors can even feel the names and take home rubbings if they please. The Wall is currently a on a 38-state tour and will be set up at the Livingston County Airport, in Howell from this coming Thursday the 23rd, through Sunday the 26th.
Tim Tetz, Director of Outreach for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund said that veterans and supporters should also target this Tuesday afternoon for a special event as it arrives into town. The last hour of the Wallâs journey to its next destination is traditionally done with a motorcycle escort. Tetz said he hopes they are joined by 100s of motorcycles that will take the 51-foot trailer transporting the Wall down the final stretch. Tetz said this escort parade is a way to give Vietnam Veterans the celebration experience they didnât get, that veterans from World Wars 1 and 2 received upon returning home. Heâs hoping that residents and supporters will line Grand River Avenue for the last stretch of the journey between Brighton and Howell. The Wallâs escort is estimated to be in Brighton around 2:45pm, and Howell at 3pm.
Once set up, the wall will be available for free public viewing 24 hours per day. Several events are scheduled to take place throughout the weekend. An Opening Day Ceremony will happen at 6:30pm on Thursday. On Friday the 24th, First Responders will be recognized at 6:30pm. Agent Orange awareness discussions will take place on Saturday the 25th at 10am and 2pm. On Sunday, beginning at 2pm, there will be a Women in the Military Tribute, followed by the closing ceremony.
The Mobile Education Center will also be set up. There will be display cases with artifacts from the Vietnam War and two 6-foot screens. One will show the names of all the Vietnam Veterans from Livingston County and 6 others surrounding it, the other will display the names of veterans from Michigan who returned from Vietnam, but later died of injuries from their time of service.
This event is being hosted locally by the Livingston County Chapter of Disabled Veterans 125. (MK)
A Handy Township crash Thursday seriously injured a motorcyclist.
The Livingston County Sheriffâs Office says deputies were dispatched around 7:20pm to the intersection of Grand River and Stow Road for a crash involving a motorcycle and Jeep Wrangler. The preliminary investigation indicates a 40-year-old resident of Sidney Township in Montcalm County was operating a 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle eastbound on Grand River when he rear ended a 2013 Jeep Wrangler pulling a trailer. The Jeep was operated by a 31 year old, also a Sidney Township resident, who was stopping for traffic in front of her.
Both were reportedly on their way to the Easy Rider Festival taking place this weekend at the Fowlerville Fairgrounds. The motorcycle operator suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to Sparrow Hospital by Livingston County EMS while the operator of the Jeep was not injured. Grand River was closed for approximately 3 hours during the investigation. The motorcycle operator was not wearing a helmet while speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash.
The crash remains under investigation by the Livingston County Sheriffâs Office Traffic Safety Division. Deputies were assisted at the scene by personnel from the Fowlerville Area Fire Department and Livingston County EMS. (JK)
At its meeting this week, the Brighton Board of Education voted to approve the promotion of BHS counselor Jennifer Sprys-Tellner to the position of grade-level principal at Brighton High School.
Her appointment marks the addition of one co-principal for a total of 4 starting this fall at the 2,100-student school. Sprys-Tellner will be a grade principal, but was elevated to her new position in part to help students with counseling needs and emotional issues. Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI that with her counseling expertise Sprys-Tellner will be a valuable addition to the high school administrative staff.
Sprys-Tellner has been employed by the Brighton Area Schools since 1991. She was an elementary teacher for 12 years and became a school guidance counselor in 2003. In 2014, she was also named executive board advisor, and most recently, she was named coordinator of counseling services at the high school. She has a bachelorâs degree from the University of Michigan and a masterâs degree in counseling from Eastern Michigan University. Her annual salary will be $101,665. (TT)
Community members can help an area nonprofit win a grant that will be used to continue their work for those with disabilities.
Special Ministries of Livingston County (SMLC) has been chosen to compete for a $25,000 grant from State Farm. 200 nonprofits were chosen nationally and only four from Michigan made the cut. The competition is based on online voting and the top 40 nonprofits with the most votes will each win $25,000.
SMLC is currently in 90th place and says they canât win without the communityâs help. Residents can vote several times by using multiple emails and designate all of their votes straight to the organization.
SMLC offers educational and recreational activities to those with disabilities. The organizationâs focus is to provide a sense of belonging and inclusion, as many children and adults with disabilities often experience high rates of isolation and lack community involvement. SMLC plans to use the grant to support the continued learning, social engagement, building relationships and independence for program participants.
Voting is open now through August 24th and the winners will be announced September 25th. The link to vote is posted below. (DK)
Some approvals have been granted for a future condominium project in the works in Genoa Township.
The Genoa Township Board met recently and approved a rezoning of 74.8 acres of land, located on the east side of Chilson Road, south of Brighton Road, along the southern township boundary with Hamburg Township. The rezoning was from agricultural to low density residential, which is consistent with the townshipâs master plan. The Chestnut Springs project is being proposed by Chestnut Development LLC and would feature 25 condo units, on 1-acre lots.
Preliminary site plans and an environmental impact assessment were also approved, with some stipulations.
Supervisor Bill Rogers says the project has been in the works for a while but is now starting to proceed, likely because of site conditions. He says they got it down to 25, 1-acre lots, which is the townshipâs low density standard and fits in with the master plan. Despite challenges with wetlands on the property, Rogers says the proposed subdivision should fit right in.
There is a fair amount of wetlands on the property, roughly 35 acres, which are regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. There was further board discussion at the meeting about an existing lawsuit that needs to be resolved before the project could officially proceed. Rogers said there is a court case out there and they want to make sure the site is cleaned up before any building takes place. The litigation is said to have involved the mining of sand before all of the necessary approvals were obtained and work is supposed to be done to land balance and put the property back to its previous state.
Rogers says the township wants to ensure compliance with any court settlement that gets reached. He says that will be a condition before the project can move forward or an arrangement will be worked out between attorneys and the township. Meanwhile, developers are expected to be back before the planning commission and township board for potential final approvals in September. (JM)