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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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    The Salvation Army’s popular summer meal program is back in full swing and is in need of donations to help ensure no child goes hungry.The Summer Lunch Bunch serves area families who may need a little help with providing food for their children now that school is out. Over the next 10 weeks, the program will be running at 6 different sites on different days across Livingston County. There is no income requirement, fee, or waiting list. On top of a healthy meal being served, the kids will also be able to take part in special activities at each site. Last week, for example, Howell firefighters read to children in attendance. They also schedule special field trips to local farms throughout the summer. Last year, the Summer Lunch Bunch served over 36,000 meals to children; a 10,000 meal increase over the year prior. The Salvation Army expects the number served to be similar this year. As such, the Salvation Army of Livingston County is in need of monetary donations to support the program. Donations can be dropped off at their office at 503 Lake Street in Howell, or donated online at SalvationArmyLivingston.org. For a list of times and locations of events, check out the Salvation Army Summer Lunch Bunch on Facebook. More information and volunteer opportunities can be found by contacting Darlene Howard at (517) 546-4750 ext 347, or by emailing Darlene_Howard@Usc.SalvationArmy.org.(MK)

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    Officials say a power outage that affected thousands of Linden and Fenton Township residents was caused by a squirrel. Approximately 2,885 Consumers Energy customers were without electricity Wednesday, with the outage reaching from Owen Road near Linden, north to Lahring Road in Fenton Township. Consumers Energy Spokesperson Debra Dodd tells WHMI that outage was caused by a squirrel that had gotten into the substation at Mill and Main Streets in Linden, creating damage that caused a fuse to blow. Dodd reports repairs to the substation have since been made and power was restored around 1:20pm that afternoon. No information was available regarding the physical condition of the squirrel. (DK)

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    The Brighton Area Schools Board of Education is poised to adopt the 2018/2019 budget. The board will take action on an amended budget during Monday night’s board meeting. Superintendent Greg Gray says they’re putting more than $1 (m) million into fund equity, bringing it close to the $5 (m) million range. That’s a huge change from where the district was at nine years ago and one of the largest amount of fund equity the district has ever had. Gray tells WHMI the board will also take up the proposed budget for 2018/2019, which will further increase fund equity. He says they’re looking to add about another $1 (m) million to fund equity at the end of the 2018/2019 school year, while investing heavily into positions throughout the district from new science curriculum, coaches, elementary school counselors and other pieces that were not previously part of the budget. Gray says they’re pretty excited about the 2018/2019 budget as well as what was accomplished in the 2017/2018 budget but also really proud of how far the districts has come. He says it used to take eight months to do the budget and there was a lot of pain involved. He says the district was double digits in deficit 7, 8, 9 years ago so to switch around to a projected almost $6 (m) million in fund equity at the end of 2018/2019, is a pretty dramatic turnaround. Gray says they also received recognition from a company that looks at the fiscal health of a district. Brighton was previously rated the worst at “10” but this year finally received a “1”, which is the best. Gray says it’s been a long hard process and a lot of people have worked really hard, so they’re pretty proud of the fiscal health of the district. Gray says the district’s fund equity will end up close to $5.5 or $6 (m) million at the end of the 2018/2019 budget year. Gray says the biggest challenge currently is to dream up new programming and challenge themselves to increase already great test scores. He says they remain focused on work being done in the classrooms and making sure kids get what they need. The budget must be adopted by June 30th. The Board of Education meets Monday night at 7pm in the BECC building. (JM)

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    The approximately 17,000-square foot building is being built behind the existing fire station on Whitmore Lake Road, west of US-23. Green Oak Police Chief Jason Pless says he spoke with the Construction Manager earlier this week and he feels that the project is on target to be completed sometime late this fall. Pless says they are currently working towards getting the building somewhat “weather tight” so they can begin the rough finishes on the interior of the building. Preparation is also underway for asphalt paving and other site improvements that should occur sometime in July. Pless reports the main municipal water line has been brought to the site and is undergoing initial testing right now before it is tied into the building. Installation of the metal roof is expected to occur soon, which Pless says “will make the building easily identifiable as our Police Station”. Township officials have said the facility is a long time coming, as the current police station is “severely outdated”. The approximately $6 million dollar project is being funded through a combination of bonds and township general fund money. $1.5 million will come from the general fund, while $4.5 million will come from bonds that will be paid off over the next 20 years. (DK) Photos courtesy of Green Oak Police Department Facebook page.

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    A local student is the recipient of a large college scholarship earned through his dedication to robotics. Owen Poloski is a 2018 graduate of Charyl Stockwell Prepatory Academy in Brighton. Poloski, has been awarded a $25,000 FIRST Robotics Scholarship in addition to a merit scholarship from Kettering University in Flint. Poloski was a member of the CSPA Gems robotics teams all four years of high school. During that time he worked as an operator and driver of the robot, along with being the lead student for the mechanical and robot design team. On top of that, Poloski served as spokesperson for the team and as a mentor and drive coach for the CSPA middle school team. His plans now involve pursuing a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering. During his time in college, he expects to alternate his time between taking classes and interning at Bosch, where he will work on autonomous vehicles. (MK)

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    The City of Brighton is accepting applications for the Brighton Arts and Culture Commission. The commission is a five member team that is tasked with supporting fine arts, performing arts, crafts, and culture. The commission also maintains and promotes the city’s outdoor sculpture exhibits and conducts creative placement projects. Anyone interested must be a resident of the City of Brighton and currently have resided in the city for at least two years. The deadline to send letters of interest is by the close of business on Friday, July 20th. You can send your letter to skopekb@brightoncity.org and the subject line should specify BACC Application. (EO)

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    Whether a quick after work hike or a slow meander with family and friends, community members are encouraged to utilize a new trail at the Island Lake State Recreation Area. The Trillium Ridge Loop is a one mile trail that traverses the top and bottom of the ridge overlooking Kent Lake between the beach and the Hickory Shelter. It offers the combination of a mild hike along the top of the ridge, and a moderate hike as the trail follows the shore. Officials say the shoreline section can be narrow, wet, and is often slanted, making the hike a bit more challenging. The shoreline section is part of the original routing of the Hickory Ridge Trail, while the higher section is the new alternate route of that trail. A temporary sign went up Wednesday evening, with a permanent one to follow. Officials say uniquely colored trail markers will be up in a few weeks, but for now users should follow the white Hickory Ridge Trail markers. The top route has a few of the markers accented in green, while the lower section has blue accents. The trail was built by volunteers, with leadership from the Friends of Island Lake, the Crossroads Group Sierra Club, and the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program. (JM)

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    The Whitmore Lake community is gearing up for a bevy of 4th of July related festivities. The Red, White & Blue Color Run will kick things off on Saturday, June 30th at Whitmore Lake Middle School on Main Street, featuring a 5K and a 10K race. Registration can be done prior or on the day of the race. Proceeds will go toward scholarships for graduating seniors from Whitmore Lake High School. Music by the lake across from the post office will be provided from 7 to 10pm Saturday, to entertain crowds waiting for the fireworks to begin. A patriotic fireworks display will be set off from the center of the lake beginning at dusk. The show is solely funded through generous community donations and put on by the Whitmore Lake 4th of July Fireworks Committee. Then on Wednesday, July 4th, the annual Independence Day Parade sponsored by Kiwanis Club is planned along Main Street featuring a patriotic and festive display of fire trucks, floats and decorated bicycles. The parade will begin at 10am on Barker Road, proceed south onto Main Street and end at the Public Safety Building. Various family activities will follow the parade including a free root beer float social at noon at the Northfield Township Community Center, and a banana split eating contest at 3pm. The 4th of July festivities will wrap up with the Parade of Lights, a parade of lighted boats. Those wishing to enter are encouraged to decorate their boat with festive lights and line up at Mac's Marina at 9:30pm. Complete details about all of the 4th of July activities in Whitmore Lake are available through the provided link. (JM)

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    Four area municipalities will receive funding for various projects designed to add to Michigan’s regional trail system and improve walking, biking and safety while promoting connectivity. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments or SEMCOG awarded $13 (m) million in Transportation Alternatives Program or TAP funding and more than $900,000 in Planning Assistance Program funding, which is new this year. The projects selected for funding all require a 20% local match, as federal funds are involved. SEMCOG’s new Planning Assistance Program provides funding for three categories that include traffic safety, road asset management and multi-community planning. Under the latter, Highland Township and the City of Wixom will receive $50,000 each. Wixom will get funds to develop a plan to identify action-ready green infrastructure projects for the seven communities of the Norton Creek Watershed of the Huron River to address flooding and other issues. Highland Township is working with six neighboring communities to plan and coordinate demand-response bus service to serve the elderly as well as those with mental or physical disabilities. The City of Chelsea was awarded $40,000 for traffic safety planning to conduct a road safety audit at the busy intersection of Freer Road and Dexter-Chelsea Road. SEMCOG Plan Implementation Manager Kevin Vettraino tells WHMI there’s a lot of activity and different converging going on at the T-intersection, which is also part of the future Border to Border Trail extension. He says there’s a lot of bicyclists and pedestrians but also a railroad and school nearby so the community wants to get an assessment of what options are available to improve the safety of the intersection. The cities of Wixom and Dexter will receive Transportation Alternatives Program or TAP funding, which goes toward projects that aim to improve pedestrian safety and connectivity, as well as encourage students in grades K-8 to walk or bike to school. Wixom will be developing the MI Air Line Trail, which involves constructing a 5.5-mile 10-foot wide path for walkers and bicyclists along the Grand Trunk western railroad from roughly Haggerty Road to Wixom. That’s a larger project that M-DOT is also contributing another $1.6 (m) million toward. Vettraino says it’s exciting because when that’s done, it will connect two major trail systems through the City and serve as a connection between the West Bloomfield Trail and the Huron Valley Trail. It’s also part of the Great Lake to Lake Trail. In the City of Dexter, $313,693 will go toward a shared use path and boardwalk extension of the popular Mill Creek Trail. Vettraino says the trail will be extended one mile to the south and connect to Wylie Elementary and Mill Creek Middle School. The funds are being awarded to communities that really wouldn’t be able to fund the projects without the assistance. Vettraino says in many cases, especially on the planning end, projects aren’t done because of tight budgets. He says hopefully with the funding, some of the planning projects can lead into implementation projects. Vettraino says they were excited by the number of good applications that came in and it was a good opportunity to provide the funding, noting communities had some really good shovel ready projects while others had really given some thought to planning projects they want to undertake. (JM)

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    Livingston County’s jobless rate held mostly steady from April to May. 73 of Michigan’s 83 counties recorded seasonal unemployment rate drops in May, with a median decline of seven-tenths of a percentage point. Livingston County’s unemployment rate stood at 2.8%. The rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point from April to May, and Livingston County’s ranking improved to second among all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget says total employment rose in all areas over the month, while workforce levels increased in most regions. Officials say as is typical for May, the primary labor market changes occurred in the state’s northern lower Michigan regions as hiring for the tourism season escalated. A monthly survey of employers indicated seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs in the state rose by 65,000 or 1.5% in May. Most job gains were said to be seasonal and led by increases in leisure and hospitality services. (JM)

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    The League of Women Voters of Ann Arbor Area, Brighton/ Howell unit are encouraging voters in Livingston County to prepare for the August Primary. The League is recommending Livingston County voters visit www.vote411.org. Officials say the website has a number of tools to help voters read and understand the candidates, as well as their response to the relevant issues. It will also help voters find their polling place, check voting hours, learn about ballot measures, and read tips about voting in Michigan. The League says that some communities are only represented by one party, and usually the winners of the primary in August will win the election in November so they encourage local voters to not skip the primary. (EO)

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    The Brighton City Council has approved a special land use permit and the final site plan for a historic home at 142 Brighton Lake Road that will be converted for commercial use. At its meeting Thursday night, council was told by property owner Dan Oginsky that he plans to restore the former home of the late City Council member Ricci Bandkau to honor Bandkau’s memory. But, rather than being used as a residence, the house will be converted for light office use – specifically his wife’s “Healing Arts” business, for his own office, and with room for a few other offices – possibly for non-profits. Oginsky says his working name for the house was “Warm Hearted Home”, but he now has decided to give it the formal name of “Brighton Light House”. Oginsky and his wife Anna purchased the 1860’s-era home from Don Bandkau, the surviving husband of Ricci Bandkau, in 2016. In addition to restoring the home to a 1920’s look and building an addition, Oginsky plans to raze the existing garage and erect an ornate carriage house in its place. The entire project is expected to cost about $1 million. Oginsky is also president of the North Manitou Light Keepers, an organization with the goal of restoring the automated shoal lighthouse off North Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. (TT)