Thursday, September 24, 2020

COVID safety complaint dismissed in Sumpter

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Allegations of hazardous COVID-19 conditions at Sumpter Township Hall have been dismissed as without basis and inaccurate by a state investigator.

The allegations, in a complaint filed by Treasurer Kenneth Bednark, claimed that township meetings were not in compliance with the executive orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and made inaccurate claims regarding the safety procedures implemented by township officials.  

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Safety Officer Jerry Zacharczuk interviewed Township Supervisor John Morgan and Deputy Supervisor Karen Armatis Sept. 16 regarding the allegations.

Scary stuff

Nearly 100 displays of  creativity by local businesses and families will soon be on display in Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth as the annual exhibit of unique scarecrows is completed. Sponsored this year by Community Financial, the entries include everything from a skeleton horse and rider to super heroes and a very busy bee. The annual display, organized by the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, has become a tradition in the community and the artistic efforts of the entrants escalates each year, drawing huge crowds to the park to admire the straw-based creations. The display will continue through the end of October and entries are currently being added daily.


Former council member charged in plot against city manager

Christopher Sanders
Former Wayne City Councilman Christopher Sanders has been arraigned on charges he paid a fellow defendant to plant a starter pistol and fake drugs in the car of City Manager Lisa Nocerini two years ago.

Sanders, 51, is accused of paying defendant Jimmie Lee Chandler, 28, of Van Buren Township, to break into Nocerini's car while it was parked in the city hall lot on Oct. 12, 2017 and place the starter pistol and fake drugs in the glove compartment. Prosecutors allege that Chandler then watched Nocerini leave in her vehicle and subsequently placed a 911 call to police identifying her vehicle and alleging she had been involved in a road rage incident.

New clerk/treasurer is hired in City of Belleville

Members of the Belleville City Council approved the hiring of Vera Chapman as the new city clerk/treasurer, just in time to manage the Nov. 3 general election.

Chapman, who is expected to begin her new job in Belleville in about a week, is currently employed in Birmingham. She will replace Sheri Scharf who resigned from the dual city position effective Sept. 1.  Scharf did stay on with the city through Sept. 4 in an effort to complete some of the work required by the upcoming election.

Chapman's hiring followed a report earlier this month from Interim City Manager Tracey Schultz Kobylarz who told council members that without Scharf the city was without staff to register voters, send absentee ballots or manage the upcoming election.

Next chapter

New director is welcomed at Leanna Hicks Public Library

Betty Adams took over Aug. 31 as
Leanna Hicks Public Library of Inkster director.
Julie Brown, Special Writer

Betty Adams is happy she made the decision to head the Leanna Hicks Public Library of Inkster.

“The whole building is new,” Inkster resident Adams said of the structure at 2500 Hamlin Blvd. in Inkster. The construction entailed a temporary relocation to an Inkster Road site, with the late March of this year grand reopening delayed by the pandemic.

“I'm a firm believer the sky's the limit. The only thing that's impossible is the thing you don't want to put time into,” she said.

Suspended district judge faces court hearing tomorrow

Former 34th District Court Judge David Parrott is scheduled to  appear for a pretrial hearing tomorrow, Sept. 25, in 35th District Court before Judge James A. Plakas.

Parrott, who was unsuccessful in his bid for reelection to the bench Aug. 4, is facing a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. He is accused of assaulting his live-in girlfriend Feb. 8 in the Van Buren Township condominium they shared.

Van Buren police were called to the residence on a disturbance call, according to police reports and arrested Parrott based on the evidence at the scene and the accounts of the victim.

Woman arrested twice on child pornography charges

Chelsea Nicole Dunbar
A 32-year-old Romulus woman is facing multiple felony charges for production and distribution of child sexually abusive material.

Chelsea Nicole Dunbar was arrested by the Michigan State Police (MSP) Computer Crimes Unit (CCU), Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and arraigned on multiple counts of production, distribution, and aggravated possession of child sexually abusive material, and criminal sexual conduct 1st degree.

According to police reports, the investigation began in June when law enforcement became aware of Dunbar possessing computer files of child pornography.  Police said that a further investigation revealed a child victim in the case and a search warrant was executed in Romulus where Dunbar was taken into custody. The child victim was accounted for at the time of arrest, according to police accounts.

Westland police launch new crime reporting system

The City of Westland has once again invested in cutting-edge technology to keep the community safe and promote police department accountability. 

Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik said the department has entered into a partnership with  Altovista Technology, a leader in law enforcement intelligence, to provide the Westland Police Department with a new intelligence risk management software program named Arx Alert.  

Arx Alert is designed to help prevent problems from occurring within a police agency. The program allows for two configurable user dashboards, Jedrusik said.

The first is an internal dashboard which will provide data directly to the chief of police to help analyze department risk on factors such as police pursuits, use of force, officers' productivity and officers' behavior patterns. 

Stepping up

Two officers in the Wayne Police department were recently promoted to new ranks and duties. Newly promoted were Lt. Terrance Springer who was formerly a sergeant on the day shift and Sgt. Nicholas Boruta, who was a detective in the investigations bureau with the department. Springer has been with the City of Wayne Police Department for 17 years, with seven of those years as a sergeant. He has served in various roles during his career, including School Resource Officer, Defensive Tactics / Taser Instructor, Field Training Program Coordinator, Peer Support Team Leader, and Use of Force Review Board.

Oils on glass exhibit at city hall art gallery ends Oct. 2

J. Susan Aitken
 J. Susan Aitken's oil paintings on glass will be showcased at the Westland City Hall in her exhibit, Fusion of Light & Color: A Stained Glass Inspiration, through Oct. 2.  Her entire collection of color infused stained glass paintings will be on display. Her work provides the illusion of stained glass on canvas, she said.

“During a wonderful journey I made with my children years ago, we experienced stained glass masterpieces in France and Italy that took my breath away. The light and the color were unforgettable,” Aitken said, prompting her current work.

Most of the exhibited paintings are inspired by Aitken's imagination or experiences rather than existing stained glass windows.  Instead of the reflective light of glass, there is a constant luminescent quality created through the painting technique which is not dependent on outside light. 

Canton clerk prepares for Nov. 3 General Election

Michael Siegrist
Canton Township Clerk Michael Siegrist, like other municipal clerks throughout the area, is prepared for a large turnout during the upcoming Nov. 3 presidential election.

“Canton is able to staff the precincts using the inspectors from August, along with additional recruits who have expressed interest after reading our call for help in the Canton Focus. Additionally, we increased the pay to $200 for Precinct Inspectors and $300 for Co-Chairs,” Siegrist said.

 Individuals interested in becoming Canton precinct inspectors can visit www.canton-mi.org/vote and click on the Inspector link. An individual can fill out an “Election Inspector Interest Form” indicating interest and availability, he advised.  Siegrist's office provides step-by-step instructions on the website about how to finish the process.

Local restaurant awards 2 culinary arts scholarships

Yelim Park
Sydney Smith
Two aspiring young chefs were recently helped along with their career goals by awards from the Karl's Culinary Scholarship.

This year, Sydney Smith and Yelim Park were each awarded the scholarships.

Smith is a second year student at Schoolcraft College and a second year recipient of the award. She is a 2019 graduate of the Plymouth Canton Education Park. Smith said she loves hospitality, loves food service and hope to someday become a food director at a resort.

Park graduated in 2020 from Plymouth Canton Educational Park and is in her first year at Schoolcraft College. She is currently employed at Rocky's of Northville and her career goal is to be an executive chef at her own restaurant.

On their own

Northville Art House is now independent

The official Dreams and Nightmares exhibit at the Northville Art House is set to close Sept. 26, while the title may aptly describe the ongoing efforts at the facility.

While the Art House has achieved the dream of independence from the city, the COVID 19 effects have added some nightmare elements to the evolution of the facility into an autonomous non-profit organization after operating under the wing of the City of Northville for more than 15 years.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Help wanted


Local clerks seeking poll workers for Nov. 3 election

Julie Brown, Staff Writer
Local municipal clerks are expecting a huge voter turnout for the Nov. 3 presidential election, with heavy voting both in-person at the polls and by absentee ballot.
That presents a special need, they agreed, for more and better trained poll workers this year.
“It is my opinion residents should consider working at least once to learn what it's like on the other side of the table. Personal involvement can be inspirational when one considers the overall process and how it comes together on Election Day,” said Westland City Clerk Richard LeBlanc.

Congresswomens’ visit prompts call to police

Debbie Dingell 
Rashida Tlaib
Two visitors invited to visit the Amazon fulfillment center in Romulus last week were surprised to be described as trespassers to local police.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said Friday that police were called while she and fellow Congresswoman Debbie Dingell attempted to visit the facility to observe working conditions.
Tlaib and Dingell called for a federal investigation into Amazon coronavirus mitigation protocols in May after receiving complaints from employees at the Romulus center. The visit Friday was, the elected officials said, at the request of workers and an invitation from Amazon officials.
Tlaib said that she and Dingell waited for an hour and a half at the Romulus warehouse but were admitted only after police were called.