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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 longtime volunteer has been recognized for her work within two local Metroparks. Huron-Clinton Metroparks announced that three of their regular volunteer groups were awarded mParks Volunteer Service Awards during a ceremony Wednesday night. Nominees and staff traveled to Lansing where mParks awarded Toni Spears, CRAMBA and Beyond the Seed Greenhouse & Gardens for their committed service to the Metroparks. Officials say Toni Spears has been a long-time volunteer for the Metroparks, contributing thousands of hours of service to the Natural Resources department removing invasive species since 2017. In 2018, Toni volunteered over 500 hours removing invasive species and helping with land management at both Hudson Mills Metropark and Dexter-Huron Metropark. Because of the strategic plant management and the countless hours of hands-on work Spears has done, officials say they proud to have the main woods area of Dexter-Huron Metropark filled with desirable and exciting wildflowers – adding it is exceedingly rare to have such a vast natural area virtually free of invasive species in southeast Michigan. Volunteers contribute upwards of 28,000 hours per year to the Metroparks and officials say there are a variety of opportunities for those interested to get involved, year-round. Details can be found through a link below. (JM)

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    At its meeting Thursday night, the Brighton City Council approved the first reading of a city ordinance that would ban both the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and possession of e-cigarettes or vaping products by minors. Under federal law, vaping is illegal for minors under the age of 18 under federal law. But Michigan is in a dubious class all by itself: it is the only state in the nation in which vaping by minors is not illegal. And federal law doesn’t bar the possession of vaping products by those under 18. The city of Brighton is poised to enact an ordinance that would make vaping illegal within the city limits. The city will have a public hearing and second reading on the proposed vaping ordinance at a May meeting. Brighton Police Chief Rob Bradford tells WHMI that under the proposed ordinance, vaping would be a civil, and not a criminal, infraction. And he says it would be up to the officer whether the individual is handed a citation or given a “diversion”. Bradford explains that a diversion, or alternate charge, can be given at the officer’s discretion and might involve something like writing a paper about why vaping or smoking marijuana is bad. Chief Bradford says that while city police won’t be able to enforce the ban on vaping in schools outside the city limits, such as Maltby Intermediate and Scranton Middle School, he is hopeful that bills banning vaping by minors under consideration in the state house and senate will soon be passed. (TT)

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    A Livingston County father and his business partner have created a tool they hope other parents can utilize to help keep better track of their younger kids when they go out to play. Chris Pagett of Oceola Township is one of the creators of the SafeSub app, along with Chris Ross of Texas, which they designed after experiencing a situation many parents find themselves in; when a child from their neighborhood that they don’t know has come over to play with their kids. Pagett says through the app, parents within a neighborhood can set up a public, or private, notification group that they can use to keep track both of where there kids are and which kids come over to their house. Pagett says the app is best suited for parents of kids who are old enough to go outside and play on their own, but not yet old enough to own a cell phone. In addition to basic notification, the free app also allows parents to list curfews and allergies as well as the ability to ask that their kids be sent home with a single click of a button. There’s also a "hangout" section to set up play dates, which Pagett hopes will keep kids away from electronics as much as possible. As for security concerns, he says kid's locations are only available to their parents and the parents that have "checked in" the child. The app also verifies users via a cell phone number or Facebook page and that anyone can be blocked if need be. Pagett says the app is completely free and available for both Android and iOS users. Additional details are on their website, a link for which is below. (JK)

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    A local nonprofit was the recipient of a donation from a county office’s collective generosity. Register of Deeds Brandon Denby attended the Genesis House Clubhouse Executive Board meeting on Thursday, April 18th. He attended the lunchtime meeting with a $100 donation, courtesy of his office staff. Genesis House is a clubhouse where members receiving mental health services are given an opportunity to transition to a more active role in the community and potentially reenter the workforce. Denby and his staff participated in an in office goal to pool their donations as a “payment “ for being allowed to dress casual on Fridays. The group decided to donate the entire amount to a different local charity whenever the amount reached one hundred dollars. In making the donation, Denby encouraged other offices and workplaces to also give locally and support their community. Pictured above is Register of Deeds Denby, Genesis House Executive Board, Staff and two general members of the clubhouse. (JK)

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    The Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority will once again man the City Park and boat launch during the summer months through a partnership with the city. At a recent meeting, the Howell City Council approved the 2019 management agreement with the Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority, or HAPRA. The agreement facilitates the operation of the Howell City Park guard booth, beach and boat launch at Thompson Lake. The partnership has worked out well over the years. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI the city contracts with the Authority to operate the city park and boat launch, handle staffing, provide beach supervision and schedule events for an annual fee of $45,000, which has been flat for the last several years. The Authority is again recognizing the contributions of the City of Howell, as well as Oceola, Marion, Howell and Genoa Townships and residents in each of the municipalities will again receive two free annual park passes. The Authority also recommended keeping annual sticker prices and daily boat launch fees the same as last year. (JM)

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    There are new time limits for a parking lot in downtown Howell. At a recent meeting, the Howell City Council approved a new traffic control order to increase the time limit from two to four hours in what’s known as parking lot #4, based on a lack of feedback when gauging surrounding businesses. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI they received a request from one of the businesses in the area to modify the time limit for the parking lot at the southeast corner of Walnut and West Clinton Streets, near Heart of Howell. It is currently two hours and they requested it be changed to four hours, which Charles says conforms to a lot of other parking lots that have four hour limits. He says they did reach out to other businesses in the area but did not get a lot of feedback on the change so it was presented to council for consideration and adopted. Staff worked with the Downtown Development Authority and Main Street staff to get the additional feedback from businesses that generally use the parking lot. An online survey was sent out and no additional feedback was received on the proposal. A memo states the reason for seeking the additional input was that over the years, the City has received conflicting complaints about the parking lot. The concerns raised were related to employees parking in the lot and taking it up for long periods of time. The concerns expressed were by businesses that generally have high turnover during the day. Photo: Google Street View. (JM)

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    Events continue as part of local observance of April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. LACASA, whose mission is to help victims of interpersonal violence, has special events planned next week to increase awareness about the myths and misconceptions surrounding sexual abuse. Among those is Denim Day, which is Wednesday, April 24th this year. This international event was created in 1999 after an Italian court overturned a rape conviction, stating that because the victim wore tight jeans, she must have helped her assailant remove them, implying she consented. LACASA officials say the message behind Denim Day is that it doesn’t matter what you are wearing, or your actions, there is no justification for sexual assault. Also this month, LACASA is putting on the 21st annual Clothesline Project, which displays t-shirts at all 6 Livingston County libraries made by abuse victims allowing them to share the story of how they’ve survived through the trauma of sexual assault. And then rounding out the activities will be a special screening of the documentary “Every Two Minutes” at the Historic Howell Theater, on Friday, April 26th. The film was produced by local resident, MSU student, and sexual assault survivor, Laura Swanson. It highlights the unspoken issue of sexual assault through interviews with survivors and advocates, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Following the screening, a panel discussion that includes, Swanson, other survivors, and a therapist will take place. Doors open at 7pm, with the film beginning at 7:30.The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to arrive early to secure seating. More information on these events and all that LACASA does can be found on their website, a link for which is posted below. (JK)

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    A state grant will help create a new park for a local township. The $1.4 million Michigan Natural Features Trust Fund grant was awarded to White Lake Township to fund the acquisition of the former Brendel Lake Campground. According to Giffels Webster, a consulting firm that helped secure the grant, the plan is to create a township park for the community to enjoy. The 57-acre property has more than 500 feet of lake frontage on Brendel Lake. Giffels Webster worked with White Lake Township to develop its current master plan and update their zoning ordinance with user-friendly, online codes that use colorful illustrations and provide searchable words and terms. MNRTF projects provide for natural resource protection and outdoor recreation. No more than 25 percent of the Trust Fund revenues available for appropriation each year can be used for development, therefore the majority of funding is allocated for acquisition projects. (JK)

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    The Brighton Area Fire Authority is hosting a “Girls on Fire” Camp focused on leadership, teamwork and inspiration. It’s open to future women of Livingston County, teenage girls age 14-18, who are invited to learn about what it takes to be a firefighter in the hands-on, three day camp. Participants will train with firefighters and learn CPR, self-defense tactics, leadership and firefighting skills – in addition to meeting women who are breaking down stereotypes in the historically male-dominated career. Brighton Fire Chief Mike O’Brian says the Authority employs quite a few females already and thinks they’re probably one of the bigger employers on the fire side with the number of females. He says they are really excited to offer the new day camp and have partnered with some of the other area fire departments. He says it’s designed to break down some of the barriers as it relates to the fire service, provide great leadership training and self-confidence and really dive in so participants can get a view of what the fire service is all about. O’Brian notes the Authority already has a cadet program that is always looking for young men and women as well as the Howell high School Fire Academy, which is open to any Livingston County student who is a junior or senior. He tells WHMI they’re always looking for different ways to plant the seed early that the fire service and EMS is a great opportunity. O’Brian says they hope the camp will help stimulate young minds and perhaps let them do something they never thought they would like using the Jaws of Life in a training, supervised atmosphere. He says spots are filling up fast so they encourage anyone interested to fill out an application. The camp will take place June 17th through the 19th from 8am to 3pm. More information and application details can be found through the provided link. (JM)

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    The Michigan Supreme Court has scheduled dates to hear arguments about whether Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan should be removed from office. The state’s highest court announced today it will hear oral arguments on a petition by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission June 19th at 9:30am. The Commission last week formally requested the state Supreme Court remove Brennan from the bench for misconduct. That conclusion was based on testimony and other evidence that emerged during a hearing last fall about Brennan’s conduct as a judge, centering on her failure to disclose a relationship with former State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who served as they chief prosecution in the 2013 murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, over which Brennan presided and resulted in a conviction and life sentence. That conviction has since been vacated and Kowalski is in the process of getting a new trial following the revelation that Brenna and Furlong were engaged in an affair before, during and after the trial. That’s despite Brennan’s insistence they were just friends when questioned under oath about the nature of their relationship just days before the trial began. The commission is also seeking the Supreme Court to assess costs, fees, and expenses in excess of $35,000 based on Brennan's "intentional misrepresentations and misleading statements made to the Commission." After hearing oral arguments, the Supreme Court can accept, modify or reject the commission's recommendations or send the case back for additional fact-finding. Other allegations made by the Commission against Brennan include her failure to immediately recuse herself from her own divorce case, tampering with evidence in that case, lying under oath and failing to disclose her friendship with an attorney who represented clients in her courtroom. Brennan, who was previously suspended with pay by the high court, is also charged criminally with several felonies, including perjury and tampering with evidence. A preliminary hearing on those charges is scheduled to continue April 25th in Livingston County. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison. (JK)

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    Public health officials are reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars. Heatstroke Prevention Awareness Day is this Monday, April 22nd. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Michigan Department of State are combining forces to raise awareness about heatstrokes and how to prevent tragedies. Heatstroke is leading cause of vehicular non-crash related deaths for children under 14. Last year, 51 kids nationwide died from being left in a car, a 19% increase from 2017. There have been 794 such deaths among children since 1998, with 10 of them occurring in Michigan. Parents and caregivers are being asked to A.C.T. together to keep children safe. A- Avoid heatstroke related injuries and death by never leaving children alone in a car, even for a few minutes. Lock door and trunks, and keep keys out of reach. C- Create reminders by placing something needed at the next stop, like a bag or cell phone, next to a car seat or booster. And T- Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 to talk to experienced emergency personnel who are trained to respond to such a situation. The National Heatstroke Prevention Campaign begins on May 27 and runs through August 11. More information and tips for preventing heatstroke can be found at https://www.safekids.org/take-action-prevent-heatstroke#care. (MK)

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    Livingston County residents will have an opportunity to check out a rare car collection this weekend to help support a good cause. The Lingenfelter Collection will be opening its doors to the public this Saturday, April 27th from 10am to 5pm. The Spring Open House will benefit The American Cancer Society by allowing community members to make donations of their choice at the door. The American Cancer Society works to fund and conduct research, share expert information, support patients, and spread the word about prevention. A donation to the American Cancer Society allows guests to view what is hailed as one of the best rare car collections in the world with more than 200 unique vehicles including corvettes, muscle cars and exotics. There will be activities throughout the day like poster signing by Ken Lingenfelter from 1:30 to 2pm and 3:30 to 4pm, and the start-up of the Enzo Ferrari at 3:15pm. The event will also host food vendors on site including Tony’s Dogs. The Lingenfelter Collection is located at 7819 Lochlin Drive in Brighton. You’ll find details at the link below.