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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 lawmaker helped honor a Putnam Township veteran during the Michigan Senate’s yearly Memorial Day Service. The Senate held their 25th annual Memorial Day Service on Thursday, in Lansing. State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township welcomed American Legion National Vice Commander James Wallace to the event. Wallace is an Army veteran from the Vietnam era, and a member of Post 419 in Pinckney. He and wife reside in Putnam Township. With the American Legion, he has held several leadership roles, including being the Department of Michigan commander from 2014 to 2015. Wallace has also served on the National Security Committee, the Americanism council, and is a charter member of Post 419’s Legion Riders chapter. Also at the service was a tribute to Dwight “Mickey” Sachau; a Hartland World War II Navy veteran who passed away at the age of 95 last month. (MK)

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    Court action is being pursued to demolish an unsafe building in the City of Howell deemed in extreme disrepair and uninhabitable. The Howell City Council met Monday night and approved a motion for the city attorney to initiate court proceedings for the property at 511 East Sibley Street, across from Howell City Hall. In early April, a realtor approached staff and was looking to reestablish water service to the property. A memo states the City had previously had tagged the property in their computer system as needing a formal inspection prior to water service being turned on. The house did not have water service for multiple months and staff was already preparing to initiate dangerous building proceedings. The house was deemed in deplorable condition upon inspection and had been “junked out” after being foreclosed in March, meaning personal items were removed but tons of other items remained. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI 511 East Sibley is a house they’ve had their eyes on. He says the property just recently tuned over and was acquired by a mortgage company and they had received a call in regard to them trying to consider selling it. He says the inspection was conducted and they found the property to be seriously dilapidated and not salvageable at this point. Charles says they were already issuing the dangerous building proceedings and thinks all parties understand that the structure needs to be demolished so they are now proceeding through the courts to make sure it is eventually demolished. The City is proceeding with a condemnation order to continue the process before a potential sale of the property, so the attorney will file the lawsuit for demolition of the house. The litigation will require the current or future owner of the home to demolish the home, leaving a vacant lot. A memo states that staff expects to see a new home on the site in the near future, based on conversations had with potential buyers. (JM)

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    A local library’s expansion project will culminate with a celebration next weekend. On Sunday, June 2nd, the Salem-South Lyon District Library is officially opening its doors to the $1.2 expansion and renovation of the children’s area. A ribbon cutting will take place at 1pm with the celebration immediately following. The additional 2,800 square feet include a new tween area especially designed for children in grades 5 through 8. The room contains age appropriate materials, two booths for group study, comfy chairs and tables. The footprint also includes a new meeting room with its own entryway for library events, such as story times for babies through age 4, events geared for families, workshops, lectures and presentations for all ages. The event will include music, food, a petting farm, local history exhibits, summer reading sign-up, space games and more. Library Director Donna Olson says the expansion doubles the size of the original children’s area, adds a programming room, a designated area for kids who are too old to be with younger children, but not quite teens, a study area and more seating for children and grown-ups. She said they were all areas the community expressed interest in improving. (JK)

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    Marion Township officials aren’t interested in buying back residential equivalent units, or REUs, sold to the City of Howell, despite the efforts. An REU is that portion of a user's facility that has an impact on the water and wastewater system equivalent to a single family residence. In the late 1990’s Marion Township created special assessment districts for the Highland-Howell property for 575 sewer REUs and 514 water REUs. Before the assessment could be paid off, the property was first transferred to City of Howell jurisdiction in 2005, and then bought by the City in 2013, with roughly $884,000 remaining on the balance. The city wants to sell the property, but hook the owners up to their services, which means they have no use for REUs. A letter from Howell City Manager Shea Charles to Marion Township Supervisor Bob Hanvey expressed an interest in selling the REUs back to Marion Township. Hanvey said they have no need for those REUs. He said the treatment plant is in Marion Township and they are partners who get 25% of the water. This comes to somewhere between 3 and 4 millions of gallons of water each day, but they only use 150,000. Charles, in his letter, proposed 2 potential options for negotiating a deal. One is that the city would resell the REUs back at a discounted rate. The other was for the city to release a portion of the REUs in exchange for forgiveness of outstanding SAD payments, and then Marion Township purchase the remaining back over 10years at the City’s current rate. Charles’s letter stated that Marion Township stands to collect an additional $9-million from reselling the REUs. The Marion Township Board of Trustees wanted nothing to do with it. Hanvey and Treasurer Duane Stokes wondered why they should buy them back. Hanvey used an analogy, saying this was as if one party sold a second party a car, then the second party won the lottery and didn’t need that car, and asked the first party to buy the car back. Trustee Dan Lowe, with regards to the water REUs, said he sees no way in the world they would ever take those back, as far as he is concerned. Howell Director of Public Services Erv Suida was representing the city, and understanding of the Marion board’s point of view. He said he just hopes that they can keep friendly negotiations open, and that while they are in a time when a potential deal here is not needed, that might actually be the best time for both parties to strike one. Hanvey said he would entertain a motion to “respectfully decline” the city’s options, which he received and which was passed unanimously. (MK/JK)

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    Plans to renovate a vacant gas station in the City of Howell are moving forward. The Howell City Council met recently and canceled an unsafe building hearing for the owners of the property at 401 East Grand River, the former Citgo gas station at the corner of Barnard and Grand River. Plans to re-open a gas station on the site were actually approved by the City back in 2016 but nothing ever happened. The City has fielded countless questions and complaints about the property and issued various tickets for trash piling up and lack of maintenance, as well as broken windows. Staff noted the owner has waited until the last possible minute to address issues that were raised in an unsafe building notification last October. Then on April 30th, work was started on the site without permits and before an imposed deadline. Currently, an application and building plans have been submitted, the site plan has been finalized and the applicant fixed the front windows and removed boards from previously damaged windows. Staff is now preparing for construction on the site to bring the property back to a viable use. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI the property owners brought it into compliance, abating the dangerous building conditions, which was specific to broken windows and some other items. He says they have fixed those deficiencies and are now in the process of issuing final building permits and scheduling a pre-construction meeting. Staff noted during the meeting that it’s not a huge project so construction should take around 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the weather. Council has postponed various hearings along the way and Mayor Nick Proctor questioned if they should reschedule the unsafe building hearing again to keep the owner on track. Staff noted the dangerous building designation no longer applies, on the premise that the unsafe conditions have been rectified and it is now just a vacant building in the city. Proctor stressed that he has absolutely no confidence in the property owner and is getting highly annoyed, further noting all of the staff time spent dealing with issues. (JM)

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    Two different funds have been created to keep track of different donations made to two Livingston County departments. The Livingston County Board of Commissioners met recently and approved two separate resolutions authorizing the county treasurer to establish different donation funds. The first was for the Livingston County Animal Shelter and the other was for the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office as each routinely receives donations from citizens specifically restricted for their individual uses. Commissioner Dennis Dolan told WHMI the donation funds were recommended by the treasurer’s office and are a matter of keeping track of donated funds and so forth so that items can be appropriated properly. He says it’s pretty cut and dry in that regard but nevertheless a necessary situation to keep track of things and make sure everything is appropriate. For the Animal Shelter, funds had historically been receipted to a Trust and Agency Account to avoid unused funds from closing to a general use funds balance. However, that practice was not in keeping with accounting rules so hence the new donation fund was created and brings everything into compliance with requirements. For the Sheriff’s Office, donations for things such as the K-9 unit or mounted division had historically been receipted into the general fund. Again, requirements apply for the use of Special Revenue Funds to account for and report revenue sources that are restricted or committed for specified purposes. All expenditures of the Sheriff Donation Fund will follow the county’s accounts payable policy and procedures. (JM)

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    An ordinance regulating hunting and firearm use on Parshallville Lake is being repealed by Hartland Township officials. The ordinance prohibits hunting and the discharge of firearms on the lake; however township officials say the ordinance is not enforceable in its current state. The township’s Board of Trustees discussed the ordinance at a recent work session and agreed to repeal the ordinance for several reasons, including that the municipality does not have such an ordinance for the township’s 11 other lakes. Township Manager James Wickman says now is a good time for the repeal as officials are currently codifying other ordinances and are “trying to clean things up”. The township is required to notify the Department of Natural Resources of the repeal through a certified resolution. A motion to repeal the ordinance was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees at their Tuesday meeting. The Parshallville Lake ordinance was adopted in 2001. Its original language states that it aims to preserve, promote and protect the health, safety and general welfare of persons and property within the township. If a future ordinance is desired by nearby residents, they may petition the Board for further consideration. (DK)

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    Local lawmakers say a long overdue bi-partisan plan to overhaul Michigan’s auto insurance system has been reached. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican leaders reached a bipartisan agreement on legislation that they say will cut the state's high car insurance premiums. The House voted 94-15 in a rare Friday session to approve a 120-page bill that was said to be hastily drafted to enshrine a deal struck overnight. The Senate voted later in the day and the Governor is expected to sign the bill soon. The prospect of a ballot initiative on the issue was said to have played a role in moving along negotiations, because if successful it could have taken away the Governor’s veto power. The deal removes a unique Michigan feature of providing unlimited lifetime medical coverage to anyone seriously injured in an auto accident. It also bans insurance companies from using non-driving factors such as sex, marital status, zip code, credit score, home ownership, education level and occupation as factors in setting rates. Some Democrats criticized that the provisions included in the bill are not enough to protect residents in urban areas from high rates, as insurers can still use “territory” when setting rates. Others felt the deal was rushed so lawmakers could pat themselves on the back during an upcoming conference on Mackinac Island next week. All three Republican lawmakers from Livingston County voted for the deal. State Representative Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville says they worked hard on the bipartisan solution that gives Michigan drivers the choice they want and need for affordable car insurance. State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township said she was proud to play a part in delivering the reforms to drivers in Livingston County and across Michigan – adding the changes will lower costs, crack down on fraud and provide more coverage choice. Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township commented that she was pleased the governor has joined lawmakers in supporting long-overdue reforms to lower auto insurance costs for drivers. She says the plan will help ensure that drivers will be better able to afford the auto insurance they have and uninsured drivers will actually be able to afford to purchase auto insurance. (JM)

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    Memorial Day parades are planned Monday throughout Livingston County. In Brighton, the Memorial Day parade steps off at 10am at Brighton High School and moves down Main Street to the Mill Pond where a ceremony is planned at the Brighton Veterans Memorial. That will be followed by a ceremony at the Old Village Cemetery for a Civil War Veteran Headstone Rededication for Brighton’s Private Charles Pease. In Howell, the American Legion Deveraux Post 141 Memorial Day Parade will depart from the Howell Carnegie District Library, also at 10am. The parade will travel east on Grand River with stops at the Revolutionary Monument and the Veterans Monument at the historic Livingston County Courthouse for the laying of the wreaths. The parade will then proceed north on Barnard Street to the Lakeview Cemetery for the final wreath to be placed at the Civil War Monument. 10am parades are also set in Hamburg and Fowlerville. The county’s largest parade is in Hartland, which will kick off with a classic aircraft flyover at 11:30am. Then following a moment of silence at noon, the parade will head out from Ore Creek Middle School and proceed along Hartland Road before ending at Village Elementary School. Paul Scheidler, a veteran and Hartland High School Social Studies teacher, is the 2019 Grand Marshal. And then finally, Pinckney’s Memorial Day parade is set for 1pm. (JK)

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    A local student who missed out on prom because he was recovering from surgery still got the chance to dance, thanks to his classmates. Pinckney High School student Larry Prout Jr. loves to dance, so he was disheartened when he learned he wouldn’t be able to attend his school’s prom on May 10th. Larry was born with multiple severe birth defects that have required over 100 surgeries. He recently began having some new medical issues, which required him to have his kidneys biopsied on May 8th, just two days before the school dance. Post-surgery recovery required Larry to lie flat for three days and then not exert himself for two to three weeks, meaning prom was out of the question. When his friend and fellow Pinckney High classmate Alex Williams learned Larry wouldn’t be able to go, she reached out to his teammates on the varsity football team about throwing a prom of their own for their friend. The group gathered at the Brighton Mill Pond Friday night, dressed in their best; Larry donning a permanent smile and, quite the gentleman, bringing red roses for Williams. The students then posed for pictures before heading out for a fun night out on the town afterwards. Williams planned the gathering with varsity football player Joe Bona. Speaking about Larry, Williams tells WHMI, "The football team is his family and so I reached out to Joe...and immediately when I texted him he was like, 'yeah, I'm in, I'll get the boys'...ultimately it's just all about Larry. He's just such a great guy. You can't not love him." Also attending the smaller but no less fabulous prom was teammates Griffin Thompson, Sal Patierno, Hunter Wright, Cameron Gaden, Noah Bachmeier, and Jack Schingeck. Larry expressed how grateful he was for his friends saying, "I'm just really happy that they did this for me." He attended homecoming with Williams two years ago and, as for his teammates says, "I like my football guys." Bona says, "Larry's been with the program awhile now and he's just one of the strongest kids I know. He always comes to the weight room ...he's always smiling, he's always having a good time. We want to be there for him. It stinks that he missed prom so we just wanted to give him something that he would remember." Always the optimist, Larry says the biopsy went well and things are “looking good”. (DK)

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    The event will be held Saturday, August 17th, from 9am to 1pm, in the parking lot of the East Complex of the Livingston County Offices in Howell behind the Aldi’s grocery store. The TV, computers and electronics collection event provides a free and convenient opportunity for local residents and small businesses with less than ten employees to safely recycle electronic waste. Items that will be accepted include TV’s, computers, printers, monitors, and laptops. For computers and related items, residents should remove, wipe, erase or drill a hole through the hard drive. The collection is made possible through a grant from Chem-Trend Inc. in cooperation with the Livingston County Drain Commissioner-Solid Waste Program. A full list of acceptable items can be found at the link below.

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    A local organization that takes to the skies to assist in times of trouble will hold an upcoming open house. The Civil Air Patrol Livingston County Composite Squadron will hold the event Tuesday, June 4th, from 6 to 8:30pm at the Howell Armory. The event is open to ages 12 and up, and is geared towards those that may be interested in aviation, youth leadership, or serving the country. The Civil Air Patrol was formed during World War II and has spent more than 75 years as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. Event organizers remind that people interested in serving in the auxiliary can begin as young as 12 years old. During moments of crisis like natural disasters, or when family members or friends are missing, the CAP is often called on to do aerial reconnaissance and perform search and rescue operations. The organization supports communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space and cyber power.