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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 General Election forum in Hartland drew passionate responses from congressional candidates voicing their thoughts on various hot-button issues. The forum, held at the Hartland Educational Services Support Center, featured candidates for the 42nd District State House seat, 47th State House seat, 22nd State Senate and 44th Circuit Court judgeship. The evening wrapped up with the 8th Congressional District candidates; Republican incumbent Mike Bishop and his challengers; Democrat Elissa Slotkin and Libertarian Brian Ellison. The first question the candidates were asked was what three people or Political Action Committees (PACs) have contributed the most to your campaign and what do you think they expect for their money. For Ellison, that appeared to be an easy question to answer stating, “The three biggest PACs that have donated to me are nothing, nothing and nothing. The biggest contributor to my campaign is myself and what I think I offer myself is that I am the best representative to represent all of the people in this room. I don’t have any special interests that’s given me any money. There’s a reason for that and it’s because I’m not beholden to anybody and I refuse to be beholden to anybody.” Slotkin was next to answer, first noting that she believes one of the biggest differences between her and Bishop is accepting PAC contributions. She then shared examples of some of her smaller donation sources. Slotkin says, “The donations that I have come from people like Nick, who just wrote me a letter. He’s a retired cop in Rochester. It’s his first political donation because he believes in his bones that our politics right now are fundamentally unbecoming of the country he believes in. Or like Helen, who I think is here tonight from Howell, who gave me $15. That’s not the same as a special interest.” Bishop insisted he had nothing to hide when it came to campaign donations, and took aim at Slotkin’s own campaign finances saying, “I have been accused of taking money, contributions. I would just tell all of you if you’d like to go to the FEC report, it’s online. I’m open and transparent. Everything I’ve accepted is online.” Another question that drew heated responses was on the issue of Medicare for All, a legislative priority of Senator Bernie Sanders that would essentially create a single-payer health care system. Ellison said he was flat-out against such a system and reiterated his position for a free-market system. Slotkin was next to answer and took immediate aim at Bishop. "I do not believe in Medicare For All. Mr. Bishop has ads to the contrary. The Detroit Free Press and lots of other sources have called those claims false…There is a big, big seam between Mike Bishop and I and that is on protecting people with pre-existing conditions. And it’s important to review the bidding on this. In 2015, Mr. Bishop voted for a full repeal of the ACA. That means he wanted to make it fine and allowable for healthcare companies to prevent and say no to giving health insurance to one-third of the resident in his district…Fast forward two years later, it’s not so popular to say we’re going to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. So he changes and votes for a bill that says, sure you can have health insurance--but we’re not going to protect you against price gouging.” Bishop followed up with own attack on Slotkin's position. "I not only believe in protecting people with pre-exisiting conditions but I voted for it five times; three times when I was in the Michigan legislature before the ACA even came around…Since I’ve been in Congress I will admit I’ve done everything in my power to try to fix health care in this country. It is a mess…But now my opponent, Ms. Slotkin, wants to double down on government-provided health care. And I don’t care what you call it. It may not be government for all, but it’s a buy in, or whatever it is. It’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. It’s the same thing. It’s government-run health care.” One question that drew outcries from the audience following heated responses from the candidates was “If you could ensure the passage or repeal of one piece of legislation what would it be?” Slotkin, the first to answer, says she is part of a small group of candidates that got over 100 other candidates involved to write a letter to Democrat leaders, which speaks directly to what piece of legislation she seeks to change. Slotkin says, “If we flip the house, the first bill of the new Congress should be campaign finance reform because no matter what you’re working on, no matter what you care about, if our politicians are bought and sold, they’re not going to be advocating for the issues we care about.” After Slotkin discussed campaign finance, Bishop addressed legislation about finances within the government’s budget. Bishop says, “I think the most important thing that we can do right now as a country is pass a balanced budget amendment and require that our country live within its means and not run up a $21 trillion dollar debt.” Before answering, Ellison called out Slotkin and Bishop, saying Slotkin has received more money than anyone else on the stage yet wants campaign finance reform, and that Bishop voted for an increase in spending that contributed to the deficit, yet wants a balanced budget. For Ellison, he says the legislation he’d like to enact stems from a personal perspective. “We’ve been at war for 17 years…being a veteran myself and having spent a year in Iraq back in 2004/2005, and seeing the harm that we did while we were over there, the harm to the people there and the harm to our veterans…If I could pass one thing I would pass a bill that would bring our troops home. Enough is enough. We’re not accomplishing anything. We can pretend to be accomplishing things, we can pretend our troops are heroes which, as well-intentioned as they are, they’re not doing anything to protect our freedom.” The candidates also spoke to issues including immigration, climate change, Medicare and the state’s infrastructure. The various forums were live-streamed by the League of Women Voters and you'll find a link to that below. (DK)

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    Gypsies, palm readers, and soothsayers are set to take over downtown Howell this weekend. Gypsy Mama’s 8th Annual Halloween Psychic Fair is coming back, this Sunday, at the Howell Opera House. From 4 to 9pm attendees can visit 13 different psychic readers, 3 holistic healers, and browse the goods of 8 unique specialty merchants. There will be complimentary Halloween treats, witches brew, hourly raffles, and a swag bags for the first 50 people in the door. Those coming dressed as a witch or a fortune teller can take part in the costume contest for prizes. A spirit circle will take place at 8pm. Tickets are $5 at the door, or can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gypsy-mamas-halloween-psychic-fair-tickets-45032798312. This event has sold out in past years and is expected to again, this year. (MK)

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    An effort is underway in the Fowlerville community to raise money needed for the training of a new police dog. K-9 Niko of the Fowlerville Police Department retired in June 2018 after six years on the job. Fowlerville Community School District officials saw the importance of using the K-9 Program to keep drugs out of schools, and donated $4,500 toward the purchase and training of a new dog, about a third of the $14,000 cost. But using that seed money, Sgt. Jeff Soli contacted K-9 Working Dogs International, LLC and in July traveled to Kansas to pick up his new partner, K-9 Hank. After four weeks of training with Sgt. Soli, Hank became certified by National Association of Professional Canine Handlers in September in obedience, searches, tracking, narcotic detection and handler protection. In order to raise the remaining money, the Fowlerville Village Council has authorized the police department to contact local area businesses and community members to see if there would be any interest in donating to the purchase and training cost of Hank. Fowlerville Police Chief John Tyler says the district and community have benefited from the program for the last 14 years, helping to foster a positive relationship between police and students. With that in mind, they are reaching out to the community, whether businesses or individuals, to help contribute toward the costs. Anyone with questions is asked to contact Chief Tyler or Sgt. Jeff Soli at 517-223-8711.The checks for the donations can be made out to the Fowlerville Police Department and a receipt will be given to the donors. (JK)

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    Testing has revealed a very low detection of PFAS chemicals in water supplies at two schools in Pinckney, although officials say there is no cause for alarm. Another report related to PFAS contamination was delivered during this week’s Livingston County Board of Commissioners meeting. Director of Environmental Health Matt Bolang has been giving bi-weekly reports during meetings to keep the public apprised of the situation surrounding the chemicals. Per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS, are chemicals that have been used in firefighting foam, waterproofing, carpet and hundreds of products, such as those used for cleaning and personal care. The county is working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on testing and sampling. As of Monday, 74 of the 81 drinking water wells to be sampled had been completed, with the rest scheduled to be completed this week. Of the 62 results, Bolang reported all have been “non-detect” for the two main PFAS and PFOS chemicals. He stated some schools did testing for the chemicals and results revealed very low levels of non-regulated PFAS chemicals, noting there is no health advisory level set for them. One unspecified elementary school in Pinckney and Light of the World Academy, which are relatively close to one another, both had low levels of the chemical, which Bolang told the board has no regulatory health standards. Bolang stressed the results were very low and says they have communicated with both schools about next steps, directing both to communicate with those who use the water and then re-sample in the future. He said there is no imminent public health issue at this point, noting they see this with other chemicals in water and will re-sample in the future to make sure levels don’t increase. No action was deemed necessary from the Board of Commissioners and future reports from Bolang are expected. He encourages the public to visit the state website dedicated to PFAS response, which includes drinking water sampling and fish testing information. That link is provided. Meanwhile, it was recently reported that nearly half of about 300 Michigan fire departments said they have reserves of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals that has the potential to contaminate groundwater. Michigan Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer said that approximately 32,000 gallons of the foam has been identified across the state from a survey of nearly 700 fire departments. About 400 departments have not yet completed the survey. Sehlmeyer says the state is trying to find ways to dispose of the foam which primarily is used to suppress fires involving combustible liquids, like gasoline. Fire departments are being asked only to use the foam in emergencies and not during training. (JM)

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    The Brighton High School Unified Team has received a rare and prestigious award for their inclusionary efforts towards special needs students. A celebratory pep rally was capped off earlier this morning with the hanging of a banner from the ESPN Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program. The Brighton Unified teams play three sports: flag football, basketball, and bocce ball, with regular and special education students playing on the same squads. ESPN’s Michelle Steele was on hand to speak to the student body and present the banner that now hangs in the field house. While there are 6,000 Unified Champion schools in the country, Steele spoke to the exemplary nature of Brighton’s program. There are 6,000 are Unified Champion Schools in the country. Of those 6,000, only 221 have been recognized as banner school. Steele said, “The cool thing about Brighton is that they are in the top 5. They’re firing on all cylinders here and it’s absolutely energizing to be in a place where they have embraced this program, and embraced this movement.It just feels like a very inclusive high school, whether you’re in the field house, or in the pool, or the weight room, or in the hallway.” Before the assembly, a breakfast was held and several students, Unified Team members, and alumni spoke of what the program meant to them. Coach and teacher Jodie Renicker helped start the program 3 years ago. She said it’s had a profound effect on everyone who’s participated. Renicker said the program has helped change the school’s culture, and that you only have to come to one event and see it in action to become a believer. Unified coach Andy Doupe said the program has really blown up in popularity and that it is a testament to the school body and administration, both of which have backed the program up 100%. BHS Junior Chase Hildon participates in the program. He said being on the team has helped him learn a lot and get through a lot in his life. He encouraged others to get involved, saying he won’t forget the feeling of helping others feeling belonged and that they won’t forget it, either. During the assembly, Unified Team members ran a class-based competition and then played a 10 minute basketball scrimmage before the raucous student body crowd. Following that, Michigan Special Olympics President and CEO Tim Heilman spoke to the BHS student body and called the program a model for what schools in the world should look like. Following the banner unveiling, Congressman Mike Bishop presented the team with a congressional tribute certificate from the United States House of Representatives. Brighton High School is the first and only school in Michigan to receive this honor. The other four schools chosen as a national Unified Champion are located in California, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.(MK)

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    Motorists are being made aware of a street closure in downtown South Lyon scheduled to start Monday morning. The City of South Lyon will close Lake Street/10 Mile Road just west of Pontiac Trail/Lafayette Street in downtown South Lyon starting at 9am Monday morning. The closure is needed so crews can repair a sewer line under the road. The road will be closed until the sewer is repaired, which the city hopes will be by Tuesday evening. The detour route is posted on local streets. Once the repair is made and the road re-opened, one lane will remain closed until the concrete patch cures. (JM)

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    After lengthy detours all summer, the Wixom Road bridge has re-opened. The project to replace the Wixom Road bridge over the Huron River on the Milford Township and Commerce Township border got underway this summer and re-opened to traffic around 3:30pm Friday. A workzone camera was installed at the site that allowed viewers to watch the progress of the bridge replacement through a link on the Road Commission for Oakland County’s website. The $2.2 million bridge replacement project began July 29th. The project included demolition of the existing bridge, construction of a new single span bridge, guardrail installation and paving of the bridge approaches. Wixom Road was closed at the bridge for the duration of the project. That section of Wixom Road carries 9,750 vehicles daily. The Huron River closed during different periods of time throughout the project, although access was mostly maintained. The cost of the project was 95% funded through the State of Michigan’s Local Bridge Program, with the remaining 5% covered by the Road Commission. (JM)

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    The 22-acre property is located behind the MJR Brighton Towne Square Digital Cinema 20 movie theater off Challis Road. The city owns the land, acquiring it in January of 2017 from the state in a tax foreclosure. As a result of a default judgment, the city holds title to the land. The vacant parcel, which is zoned office research and light manufacturing, was recently assessed at $1,350,000 by the firm Frohm & Widmer of Farmington Hills. The bids were opened with a minimum bid of $1.2 million, but there were no takers. City officials say the nearly 300,000-square-foot Brighton Center for Specialty Care, which just opened nearby at Challis and Karl Greimel Drive, should increase the property’s marketability. On the negative side, there are deed restrictions on the land, one of which says that before any land sale is executed, it must be approved both by the Murphy family, which owns the adjacent land at Brighton Towne Square, and Target, which has a chain store at Nemco Way and Movie Drive in that same development. WHMI asked City Manager Nate Geinzer if he was confident of receiving bids this time around. The nearby, new University of Michigan medical facility has been the impetus for other recent developments in that part of Brighton, including three new hotels. If the city receives favorable bids, the matter will come back to council for possible action at one of the November meetings.(TT)

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    A Candlelight Vigil Commemoration in downtown Howell paid tribute to individuals who have lost their lives to addiction, while also reminding those affected by it that there is a supportive community ready to embrace them in Livingston County. Over 50 people attended Wednesday’s vigil at the Historic Howell Courthouse to remember loved ones they’ve lost, and to recognize those struggling with addiction and individuals who are in recovery. More than 65 names of victims who have lost their lives to the epidemic were read aloud while attendees placed white flowers and candles on the steps of the courthouse in their memory. One individual to join in the ceremony was the young son of Dennis Brewer, who is one of the candidates running for the 44th Circuit Court judgeship in next month’s election. Brewer says he brought his son to the event because he believes the conversation with young people about addiction needs to begin early. Brewer says educating children by talking about the issue with them at a young age is critical to making them aware of the dangers of drug abuse. Cheryl Towery attended the vigil with some of her family members to honor the memory of her daughter, Elaina Towery, who passed away last year after overdosing on heroin. Towery says she wants to be a voice for other parents who have experienced the same type of loss because when it happened to her, she felt she had no one that understood. Towery tells WHMI she is meant to raise awareness about the stigma attached to addiction because of its unbiased nature. Towery reminds addiction affects all different types of people including her daughter, who was a cheerleader and volleyball player. However Towery notes that when her daughter gave up her parental rights to her son, it fueled her addiction, bringing attention to its ability to cross any and all barriers in terms of demographics and socioeconomic status. Towery says especially here in Livingston County, where so many lives have been lost to addiction, there is a need for a wake-up call. That’s why she started the nonprofit, Heaven’s Hope, as a way to say, “there are people out there that truly care and want to help.” Francine Zysk, one of the event’s organizers, says not enough focus has been placed on those who have lost their lives to addiction as it highlights the very real consequences of the epidemic. In addition to remembrance, the vigil served as a place of comradery. Zysk says, “We are here for each other. Too many times people lose a loved one and feel like they’re all alone.” Zysk wants individuals affected by addiction, whether directly or indirectly, to know there is a supportive community in Livingston County that welcomes them with open arms. Various efforts in Livingston County have taken aim at addressing the addiction and opioid epidemic, including the creation of nonprofits, the establishment of a county committee and action toward developing additional recovery homes. (DK)

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    The man charged with causing a crash last year in Oceola Township that killed five people has been sentenced. 22-year-old Matthew Jordan Carrier of Fenton appeared Friday in Livingston County Circuit Court, where victim impact statements were read aloud by friends and family members that lost loved ones in the crash. Judge Michael P. Hatty then sentenced Carrier to 32 to 60 years in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he is at least 55 years old. In August, Carrier pleaded no contest to 19 counts, including five counts each of second-degree murder and operating while intoxicated causing death. The charges stemmed from a traffic crash at M-59 and Argentine Road on May 9th, 2017 that resulted in the deaths of five individuals and serious injury to two others. Investigators say Carrier ignored a stop sign as he traveled approximately 100 mph south on Argentine Road, smashing into a vehicle as it traveled eastbound on M-59. Two people in Carrier's car died; 18-year-old Justin Henderson and 24-year-old Preston Wetzel. A third passenger, 23-year-old Kyle Lixie, was seriously injured. Three people in the other vehicle died, including 35-year-old Candice Dunn, a probation agent who had been honored at a Corrections Department banquet earlier that night. Dunn’s mother, 69-year-old Linda Hurley, and Hurley’s boyfriend, 73-year-old Jerome Tortomasi, were the other two individuals killed. Dunn’s boyfriend, Albert Boswell, was the lone survivor in that vehicle, though he was seriously injured. Part of Carrier’s no contest plea related to his claims of a lack of memory from that night due to his intoxication. Authorities reported Carrier had a BAC of .15. Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt previously told WHMI his office did not offer any plea or sentencing agreement to Carrier in exchange for his plea. (DK)

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    The city of Brighton will start vacuuming leaves left at the edge of the curb beginning Monday. City Department of Public Work Director Marcel Goch says the city was originally planning to start the vacuuming work a week ago, but there weren’t enough fallen leaves to make it worth their while. However, he says the situation is far different now, with the chilly weather and windy conditions of the past few days. Goch tells WHMI that residents should go to the city’s website (www.brightoncity.org) to get a map which divides the city into leaf vacuuming area and provides the dates when the leaves on their particular street will be vacuumed (or cut-and-paste web address below): http://brightoncity.org/getattachment/Services-Departments/Trash,-Yard-Waste-and-Recycling-(1)/Leaf-Vacuuming-Areas-2018.jpg.aspx?width=599&height=776 Area #1 First Pass: Week of October 9 Second Pass: Week of November 6 Whitney, Walnut, State, Chestnut, North First through North Seventh, South First through South Seventh (South Third from Main to Brighton Lake Road), Main, Pierce, Franklin, Michigan, Livingston, Lakeside, Brighton, Madison, Washington, etc. Area #2 First Pass: Week of October 16 Second Pass: Week of November 13 St. Paul, Beaver, Liberty, Flint, Williamsen, Nelson, Hillcrest, School, Church, Leith, North, East, Spencer/Main, Dutcher, Hope Clark, Kissane, O’Doherty, Maurice, Carney, Becker, etc. Area #3 First Pass: Week of October 23 Second Pass: Week of November 20 Fairway Trails, South Third (from Brighton Lake Road to Fairway Trails), Alpine, Whispering Oaks, Woodlake (including all culde-sacs and courts), Heathertree, Northern Ridge, Long Leaf Court, Peppergrove, Baywood Circle, Brighton Lake Road (from South Third to Northern Ridge), Lincoln, etc. Area #4 First Pass: Week of October 30 Second Pass: Week of November 27 Devonshire, Robertson, Oak Ridge (including all cul-de sacs and courts), Glenwyth, Cobblestone Court, etc.

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    Careers in energy were featured at an event Thursday in Hartland Township attended by area high school students. Parents and students were able to explore career opportunities at Hartland High School on Thursday during an Energy Program Open House. It was open to all area high school students to learn more about high-demand and good-paying jobs available within the energy industry. Consumers Energy natural gas field employees shared their professional experience and were there to guide hands-on demonstrations of plastic pipe fusing for students. Students also learned how they can get involved in the Energy Industry Fundamental (EIF) curriculum so they are prepared to take different positions. The EIF curriculum was developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development Agency (CEWD). Available to Hartland High School students, it is a 120-hour, module-based course that covers the foundational knowledge of the energy industry. The instructor-led course comes with free curriculum and supplementary activities. Students who complete the course and pass the national EIF course online receive certification and digital credentials. The course can be offered as a stand-alone elective in high school or college, or can be embedded into an energy industry cluster at the high school CTE or college program level. The Michigan Workforce Development Agency estimates energy jobs will grow by 6% through 2026. Thursday’s event was one of several taking place across the state during Careers in Energy Week to bring awareness to the more than 108,000 energy-related jobs held by Michigan residents today. (JM)