Wednesday, December 4, 2019

County commission to vote on sale of mills

Artist's rendering of plan for Wilcox Mill renovation.
Tony Roko and Richard Cox each had something special to be thankful for last week. During an overflowing public meeting of the Wayne County Commission Committee on Public Services Nov. 26, committee members voted unanimously to send both Roko and Cox' proposals to purchase the Wilcox Mill and Newburgh Mill, respectively, to the full commission for a vote. Roko's plan for the historic Wilcox mill, built by Henry Ford and designed by famed architect Albert Kahn, restores the abandoned building to public use as an art education facility and studio.

School district to request $275 million bond issue

Members of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education have approved a $275 million bond request for the March 10 ballot next year. 
Superintendent of Schools Monica Merritt stressed that the bond, if approved by voters, would not require any increase to the current district millage rate of 4.02 mills.
The bond proposal was approved following 12 months of research and input from district officials, members of the community and professional consultants and includes projects to be completed in all school buildings during the next 10 years.

Northville upgrades police body, patrol car cameras

Those interacting with police officers in Northville should be on their best behavior as they are now on camera.
The Northville City Police Department has upgraded patrol car vehicle cameras and each officer on patrol now wears a camera that records both audio and video of every encounter. While citizens are not expressly told they are being recorded on video during the encounter with officers, a red light goes on when the camera is active.
Members of the Northville City Council approved the purchase of six vehicle cameras and 13 body-worn cameras, along with an internal on-site server for video storage and high-tech software. The new equipment had been tested for several months prior to purchase and was initiated in October.

Romulus OK’s re-zoning for new trucking facility

Scott Spielman
Special Writer

Another trucking facility could come to a vacant parcel on Ecorse Road in Romulus. 
Members of the city council approved a request last week to rezone a 10-acre site between Inkster and Middle Belt roads from light industrial use to industrial transportation uses. Peter Zelos, an architect representing the potential buyer, said the sale would be contingent upon the rezoning.
The plan would be to establish a trucking facility on site, along with an 8,000-square-foot dispatch and truck repair facility. There would be space for about 30 trucks and or trailers to be parked on the site, he said.

Laurain to lead county police chiefs association

Public Safety Director
Gregory Laurain
Van Buren Township Public Safety Director Gregory M. Laurain will serve as the new president of the Wayne County Association of Chiefs of Police.
Laurain was sworn into his new leadership role by 34th District Court Judge David M. Parrott during a meeting of the executive board of the association at the Ted Scott Campus of Wayne County Community College District in Belleville.

At long last

Former Kmart building to be razed

Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise received a pleasant start to the holiday season last week when demolition permits were issued for the former Kmart site on Ann Arbor Road near Haggerty in the township.
Demolition at the longtime eyesore should begin, Heise said, in early December and the construction of a new $93 million Henry Ford Hospital outpatient and health care facility begin. The new facility is expected to be complete in 2021, Heise noted.

Historic Massey home sold to special needs care facility

The historic home of the late Don Massey has been sold to the Living and Learning Enrichment Center to be used as a new campus for services to teens and adults with autism and other special needs.
Mr. Massey, the car dealer known as the Cadillac king, owned a chain of automobile dealerships in Ohio and Michigan. He lived in the 6,000 square-foot home built in the 1920s until his death in 2011, just before his 83rd birthday.

Northville again wins report award

For the 14th consecutive year, the City of Northville has received a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from  the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). A Certification of Recognition for Budget Presentation for fiscal year 2019 was presented to Sandi Wiktorowski, finance director/treasurer for the city.

Can we talk?

Gift of Life launches minority education effort  

Terra Defoe, a liaison for Detroit Mayor
Mike Duggan's office, speaks to the audience
at a recent Let's Talk campaign of Gift of Life Michigan.
Jerome Espy was talking about the need for organ, tissue and eye donors at an event last year when heard a familiar phrase:
“Oh no, I'm not doing that. I'm taking my organs with me.”
Espy, who received a donated kidney about a year ago, said it was an important reminder of common thoughts and myths regarding organ and tissue donation and the subsequent need for the Let's Talk campaign initiated this year by Gift of Life Michigan and the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program foundation (MOTTEP).
“I know those kinds of attitudes exist in our community,” said Espy. “That's why 'Let's Talk' is important.”
The Let's Talk Campaign is the first Gift of Life Michigan multicultural campaign designed to increase awareness of the need for more donors in multicultural communities, dispel common misconceptions about organ, tissue and eye donation, and to help people make informed decisions about the process. Espy, along with Gift of Life ambassadors, community advocates and influencers, got together recently to talk about its successes and to discuss its future.

Canton Library to host annual ‘Snow Spree’ event

Whether you smile at the first sight of snow or are counting the days until spring, Canton Public Library has plenty of reasons to celebrate winter.
The library will host the annual Winter Snow Spree from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17. Outdoor activities include rides on the Canton Express train and pictures with a reindeer. To warm up, there will be hot chocolate and crafts inside.

Festival fallout

Blues, Brews and Barbeque funds
presented to local charities, groups

While thousands of people enjoyed Blues Brews and Barbeque in Westland this year, hundreds more will benefit from the event.
Recently, Mayor William R. Wild presented checks for more than $20,000 to 16 local community organizations, funded by the Blues, Brews and Barbeque festival. To date, the event has generated a total of nearly $250,000 for local charitable organizations during the nine years it has taken place in the community.

Close shave?

The faces of the Wayne Police Department have changed and will be changing again this month as several officers shave for the first time in several weeks. The department-wide facial hair was obvious evidence of the officers' participation in Movember, a campaign that urges men to grow mustaches, and beards, to raise awareness of men's health and part of the Movember Foundation. Last year, through pledges and donations, the Wayne Police Department raised $2,600 for the foundation and this year set a goal of $3,000 for the month-long campaign. At last report, the campaign had generated more than $2,000 but no final total was available at press time.

Legislator speaks to Rotary club

Julie Brown
Staff Writer

State Rep. Kevin Coleman, who represents both Wayne and Westland in the Michigan Legislature, said he is well aware that Michigan roads are in bad shape. Coleman, a freshman Democrat, told Westland Rotarians recently an “us vs. them” mentality between metropolitan Detroit and the rest of Michigan is part of the problem.
Rotarian John Albrecht pointed out how much better roads are in northern Michigan. Coleman, a former Westland City Council member and first-term state representative, noted a budget stalemate in Lansing, partly due to partisan differences.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Public safety director sues Canton Township

Joshua Meier
Public Safety Director Joshua Meier has filed a lawsuit against Canton Township claiming an error in the calculation of his pension amount.
Meier filed the lawsuit Nov. 7 and named as defendants Township Supervisor Pat Williams, Human Resources Manager Kerreen Conley, the members of the board of trustees and the township merit commission. Court filings indicate that Meier's pension formula multiplier was reduced by .3 percent, decreased from 2.8 to 2.5. The multiplier factor determines the size of the lifetime annuity a pensioner receives, usually a percentage of compensation multiplied by years of service.

Re-opening of Lilley Road bridge is celebrated

Canton Municipal Services Director Jade Smith, left, former 
Canton Supervisor Phil LaJoy, Wayne County Executive 
Chief of Staff  Assad TurfeWayne County Director of 
Public Services Beverly Watts, Wayne County Commissioner 
Melissa Daub, Canton Clerk Michael Siegrist, 
Canton Supervisor Pat Williams, Wayne County Executive 
Warren Evans,  Canton Trustee Anne Marie Graham-Hudak, 
Canton Treasurer Dian Slavens, Canton Trustee Sommer Foster, 
Canton Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Paden, 
and Canton Trustee Steve Sneideman celebrate 
the reopening of the long-closed bridge on Lilley Road.
It took more than 2 ½ years, but last week, officials celebrated the re-opening of the newly-reconstructed Lilley Road Bridge.
Among those on hand at an official ribbon cutting at the bridge were Canton Township Supervisor Pat Williams, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Wayne County Commissioner Melissa Daub, and Wayne County Director of Public Services Beverly Watts.

Local company signs $500 million Ford joint partnership

Rivian, the electric vehicle company located in Plymouth Township, and Ford Motor Co. have formed a strategic partnership worth more than $500 million. Together, the two automakers have agreed to jointly develop a new, all-electric Ford vehicle built on the Rivian “skateboard” platform.
Ford will not use the Rivian technology for the upcoming all-electric F-150 pickup truck. The automaker clarified that the Ford battery electric F-150 has been in internal development for quite some time and the company will not change those plans.

Wreaths Across America celebrated in Romulus

Again this year, Romulus Memorial Cemetery will participate in National Wreaths Across America event set for noon, Dec. 14.
Annually, in December, ceremonies take place across the country to “remember, honor and teach” including the event at Arlington National Cemetery as well as at more than 1,600 additional locations across the country.

Sumpter board revokes medical payments for officials

Beginning next month, Sumpter Township officials will no longer be reimbursed for medical benefit payments.
Members of the board of trustees voted unanimously at the Nov. 12 meeting to eliminate the benefit effective Dec. 1. Trustee Don Swinson was absent from the meeting.
There was no change to the basic compensation schedule for the officials despite a proposal for a base salary raise presented by Trustee Matthew Oddy which included the elimination of the medical benefit. Oddy said his proposal would have saved the township $10,104.57 annually.

Van Buren Schools audit of financial statement earns high marks

New Van Buren Public Schools Finance Director Sara Cortese received high marks on her first audit for the district.
During the Nov. 11 meeting of the members of the board of education, Laura Payne of Taylor & Morgan CPAs and Business Advisors, complimented the district on the audit noting that the audit received an unmodified audit opinion, the highest level of assurance possible for a financial statement. Payne made the comments by cell phone as the inclement weather prevented her from traveling to the meeting.
Payne noted that despite changes in the district business office, the staff prepared a clean audit.

City levies safety millage

Property owners in the City of Belleville will see a 2-mill increase on the winter tax bills set to be mailed next month.
Members of the Belleville City Council approved the levy of the 2-mill tax during the Nov. 18 meeting. The levy will be dedicated to funding the public safety department and will be due no later than Feb. 14, 2020. The city expects the millage to generate about $90,000 for funding public safety next year.

Sumpter branch of library to open

The Sumpter Township branch of the Belleville Area District Library will be officially opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.
Following the official ceremony, the new branch will be open to the public.

‘Cool’ gift

Foundation funds replacement
of museum climate equipment

The Plymouth Historical Museum will be a lot more comfortable for visitors following a grant from the Margaret Dunning Foundation .
The foundation awarded a $40,000 grant to the museum to replace three aging and failing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) roof top units with more modern and energy efficient units.   The museum currently has six rooftop units, and three of them were more than 28 years old.

Like old times

Former members of the three-time national champion and 26-time state champion Plymouth Canton Educational Park Marching Band reunited to perform during the Michigan/Michigan State Football game last weekend in Ann Arbor.  Noah Brenny, Nathan Rodwell, Alex Zygmunt, Christina Christenson, Catherine Christenson, Alaura VanNest, Lauren Wegrzyn, Katie Fedak, Jenna Craven, Marshall Rhea, Lindsey Adlhoch, Ethan FitzGerald, Jimmy Milleville, Allison Mattson, Ian McKimmy, Mike Leon and Alex Farell were on the field during half time.  The large group of former Plymouth Canton students gathered outside the Michigan stadium for an impromptu photo and reunion.  Photo by Kristan Rodwell

Landfill is ticketed again following odor complaints

Complaints from Northville Township residents resulted in a violation notice earlier this month to Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
The violation was issued Nov. 3 following inspectors' observations of the odors in response to multiple complaints, according to an official statement from the department.

Santa plans Maybury Farm visits

Santa will pay weekend visits to Maybury Farm this year from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Dec. 7, 8 and 14 and 15.
Visitors to the farm can enjoy the holiday decorations, visit with Santa in the barn, engage with the farm animals, roast a S'more over the bonfire while enjoying holiday music. 
Crafts will be on hand in the general store where hot beverages and treats will be available to purchase. No reservations are necessary and admission to the weekend events is $5 per person while children younger than 2 are admitted at no cost.

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting set for Wednesday

The official Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration in Canton Township is set to take place from 6-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4 at the Summit on the Park.
Santa Claus and his reindeer have scheduled a special stop in the township where there will be holiday carols accompanying his arrival just before the official countdown to the lighting of the tree. The tree lighting will take place outside the Summit Banquet Center entrance where additional outside activities include up-close and personal visits with real live reindeer, as well as ice sculpting demonstrations.  Area residents are encouraged to dress warmly and bring the family to the event.

28-year police veteran retires from force

Pat Sullivan
After a 28-year career with the Canton Public Safety Department, Police Lt. Patrick Sullivan has retired.
Sullivan began his law enforcement career with the department in 1991 as a patrolman. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2007 and lieutenant in 2013. While working as a road patrol officer, Sullivan held several special assignments including Field Training Officer, Evidence Technician, Range Instructor and Narcotics Investigator. He was also active member of the department Accident Investigation Team for 18 years, serving the last 10 years as team leader.

Former area priest is sentenced on assault charges

A former priest who served in both Canton Township and Westland will serve 45 days in jail and 12-months probation along with sex offender treatment.
Patrick Casey, 56, now of Bellaire, was originally charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in May following allegations of improper sexual contact with a young man who approached him for counseling. During his trial, Casey accepted a plea deal and entered a guilty plea to misdemeanor aggravated assault on Oct. 2.
He was sentenced in Third Circuit Court by Judge Wanda Evans.

Comcast promises $10 million investment in new area stores

Canton Township, Inkster and Westland are among the $10 million investment Comcast Corp. plans to invest to open 10 new Xfinity stores in southeast and mid-Michigan.
The Philadelphia-based telecommunications giant plans to open the stores by mid-2020 in Brighton, Canton Township, Fort Gratiot, Inkster, Lansing, Roseville, Southfield, Taylor, Westland and Pittsfield Township, according to a news release.

Westland Shop & Dine campaign is under way

There will be $10,000 in shopping sprees, multiple other prizes, bargain prices in stores and unusual and timely gifts during the annual City of Westland Shop & Dine campaign currently under way.
Westland officially began the 10th Annual Shop & Dine campaign last week and the special multi-faceted holiday event will continue for six weeks as an effort to promote the premier shopping district at the “Everything You Want. Everything You Need” area for holiday shopping. There have been multiple radio ads and billboards on major freeways promoting the campaign to bring holiday shoppers to the community.

Wayne celebrates Small Business Saturday this week

Saturday will be a big day for small business in downtown Wayne.
Officials from Wayne Main Street and the Wayne Downtown Development Authority are reminding shoppers that Saturday is Small Business Saturday in downtown Wayne, which will take place Nov. 30.
The day will begin with a kick-off event at Karma Coffee & Kitchen, 35634 W. Michigan Ave., from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Participants will be able to pick up a free Shop Small tote and other Small Business Saturday swag. Organizers will also be giving away $1,000 in gift cards from local businesses that attendees will have a chance to win.  The event is free to attend, and the first 100 people will receive a free small coffee from Karma Coffee. 

‘Deck the City Hall’ planned for Monday in Westland

The City of Westland will officially celebrate the holiday season when officials Deck the City Hall next week.
This year the celebration is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9 when residents can gather in front of city hall to sing Christmas carols and officially welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to the “All American City.”