Thursday, October 22, 2020

Communities explore water-purchasing consortium

The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being felt in every community and a group of local officials are looking at cutting costs wherever possible.

Four Wayne County municipalities; Livonia, Westland, Canton Township and Northville Township, are pursuing a study to determine the feasibility of buying water from the Great Lakes Water Authority in bulk in an effort to cut costs to residents.

Officials from the four communities have paid a total of $43,000 for a four-month study to determine the financial impact of buying water as a group and a means of storing the water purchased for distribution in their respective communities. The four communities would, in effect, form a consortium to buy the water in bulk, which should drive the costs down, officials said. The consortium would buy water at off-peak times when rates are lower and store it for distribution to residents, hopefully lowering current residential water rates.  

Safety concerns impact trick or treating plans throughout area

If wearing a mask will prevent the transfer of the coronavirus, local children are all set for Halloween trick or treating.

Not so fast. Like so many other beloved traditions, decisions about trick or treating this year are impacted by the threat of the COVID 19 pandemic as reported cases and deaths rise across the country. Parents throughout the area are weighing the safety aspect of the holiday activities against the danger of the highly infectious disease.

Several communities have established some guidelines for the event while others continue to debate cancelling trick or treating in light of the risk of contamination. 

Creativity is the name of the game this year, especially when it comes to figuring out how to celebrate this iconic American holiday during a pandemic. 

Coronavirus safety orders issued by county health officials

Residents throughout the state have expressed confusion regarding the current health regulations regarding the current pandemic, particularly in light of the increased number of reported cases of COVID 19 and the rising death toll in the state.

Wayne County officials issued a new emergency public health order last week to help slow the spread of COVID-19. A release states that the order echoes the orders first presented by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration.

“We are keeping the COVID-19 rules and regulations in place from before the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on the governor's authority to issue them,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said. “Wayne County's order is simple: keep wearing masks in public; no group events larger than 10 people or 20 percent attendance per 1,000 square-feet of space; and, employers must still provide health screenings for employees working in public areas or with the public. These are the rules we are accustomed to and they are the rules we are going to follow until there is clearer direction from the state.”

School board candidates cite need for communication

 Julie Brown, Special Writer

The issue of social media, as well as official communication channels, “has gotten some school districts in issues,” noted Susan Rowe of the League of Women Voters of Northwest Wayne County. 

She moderated a recent candidate forum for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education, which can be viewed on YouTube and at the website.

Three candidates are to be voted on for the six-year terms: Rob Baty, Lauren Christensen, Patrick Kehoe, John T. Lazarowicz (a current board trustee), Michael B. Lloyd, Jeannie Moody-Novak, Sheryl Picard, Gina Thibault, Christopher Vos, and Shawn H. Wilson.  Sebastien Osterag and Anupam Chugh Sidhu, the current board vice president, are vying for a partial Plymouth-Canton term ending Dec. 31, 2022.

Coffee break

Waltonwood Cherry Hill associates celebrated the fifth annual National Coffee With A Cop Day by serving freshly brewed coffee and house-made pastries to Canton Township Police officers on Wed., Oct. 7. Several patrol cars arrived on the scene to enjoy the treat, behind masks, of course with staff from Waltonwood Cherry Hill.

Clerk offering Saturday hours

Canton Township Clerk Michael Siegrist, along with several other clerks in the area, will have special office hours this month in anticipation of the large voter turnout for the Nov. 3 election.

The clerk's office will be open every Saturday this month to help meet voter needs. The Saturday hours are for election business only, and all other township departments will be closed to the public. The office will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Oct. 24 and from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct.31.

Westland OK's purchase of 2 new K-9 officers

Two new recruits will soon be welcomed to the Westland Police Department.

Members of the city council approved the purchase of two German Shepherds for the department, along with essential equipment for the new 'officers,' training and certifications for the police department.  The $25,200 expense for the new canines was funded in part by donations to the Westland Police Community Partnership Foundation, donations  from community organizations and Westland Police Drug Forfeiture Funds. Future training costs of $1700 annually will be funded through the police operating budget.

Champions of Wayne program attracts ‘star power’

The Champions of Wayne program is receiving some star power to help offset the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on fundraising efforts.

The innovative program at Wayne Memorial High School has repeatedly produced head-turning scholastic results and has caught the attention of educators across the country, according to Executive Director Deborah Vigliarolo.

In addition to educators, the program has become a cause for actors and Wayne graduates Antoine McKay and Gregory Jbara who will make special appearances Nov. 14 at the virtual VIP movie screening of “Unclaimed” in which McKay stars. Jbara is well known for his continuing role on the TV series Blue Bloods. with Tom Selleck.

Farmers’ Market reports strong seasonal sales

Officials from the Northville Chamber of Commerce and vendors at the Farmers’ Market in the community are heading into end of the season with a sense of accomplishment for managing a successful marketplace despite the challenges of working amid COVID-19 prevention measures.  

“The majority of our vendors are farmers/growers and probably did as well or better than in the past,” said Jody Humphries, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

The 27-week season (two weeks short of normal) began with an opening day thunderstorm on May 14 that subsided in the afternoon. The last market day this season will be Thursday, Oct. 29 - just two days before Halloween.. The hour from 8 until 9 a.m. is reserved for seniors older than 60 and people with health concerns. The market takes place at the corner of Center/Sheldon and West Seven Mile Road with overflow parking at Northville Downs. 

Senior Services adds 2 vans

Northville area seniors now have transportation to local shopping districts and Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi and nearby medical buildings through an expanded parks and recreation department program.

In addition to expanding the area of travel for seniors, two of the vehicles used in the Northville Senior Services program have been replaced with vans which seat eight passengers and have wheelchair lifts. A spokesperson noted that the new vehicles resemble mini-buses. 

New program set to light up Romulus streets

A new cooperative effort between the City of Romulus and DTE Energy may bring several areas of the community into the light.

Officials from the city and the utility company have agreed to a new streetlight project that will respond to citizen reports of broken or out-of-service lights in the city through the department of assessment.

The program was launched earlier this month as city officials asked every city department to promote and publicize the new effort on social media.

Library is awarded 3 grants to fund facility upgrades

The Romulus Public Library will be improving public safety and services utilizing funding from three successful grant applications.

The library was awarded the three grants through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services including $500 for PPE (personal protection equipment) to protect patrons and staff against COVID-19 as the library continues to open to the public.

New Inkster public library building is nearly complete

The Leanna Hicks Public Library in Inkster will soon move to a new building, according  to Library Director Betty Adams

Adams said that in addition to the upcoming Halloween events set at the library, she is putting the finishing touches on a new building on Hamlin Street which should be open to serve the public soon. 

“What I'd like to do is what the community wants,” said Adams, who started work in August.

There could be a book club, for example, said Adams, noting, “We are here and we are happy to help people.”

‘Gang shooting’ under investigation

The investigation into what police characterized as a “gang related” shooting last week in Inkster remains under investigation.

According to police reports, detectives from the Michigan State Police Special Investigation Section and Michigan State Police troopers were called to 29847 Steinhauer in Inkster at about 10 p.m. Oct. 9 following reports of a shooting.

Voters to choose Van Buren school board trustees

Voters in the City of Belleville and Sumpter and Van Buren townships will chose four members of the school board during the Nov. 3 election.

Five Van Buren Township residents are seeking the four open seats on the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education.

Voters will chose from incumbents Susan K. Featheringill, Kelly Owen and Simone Pinter who are being challenged by Nicole Falconer and Terrance C. Goff.

Incumbent Susan K. Featheringill, 63, is a retired assistant superintendent for business operations at the Taylor School District. 

She earned her Master of Arts degree in educational leadership at Eastern Michigan University and has a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Cleary College of Business.