Thursday, February 25, 2021

Wayne settles lawsuit filed by city manager

John Rhaesa           Lisa Nocerini           Chris Sanders
Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini will receive an estimated $25,000 to $50,000 as a settlement of her civil lawsuit against former City Councilman Christopher Sanders. The settlement amount will be paid by the city insurance carrier as the actions cited in her claim occurred during Sanders' tenure on city council.

The settlement amount, according to a representative of the insurance carrier, is an amount “less than or equal to” anticipated legal fees to defend the city against Nocerini's claim. The settlement, approved by members of the city council during a closed session last week, includes a non-disclosure clause preventing either side from discussing the particulars of the negotiation but, the insurance carrier attorney cautioned, is not an admission of guilt or fault by anyone involved.

Slippery slope

Township offering loan of sleds

An outdoor enthusiast takes advantage
of the fresh snow and the Summit on the Park
 Free Lending Sled Library.
Photos courtesy of Canton Leisure Services 
Talk about a slick idea. 

Residents can now enjoy the new Lending Sled Library at the Canton Township Summit on the Park. Residents can borrow a sled to slide down a small hill near the Summit and then return the sled when they are done enjoying the snow.

The 'Need a Sled - Use a Sled - Have Fun' feature is located at the east side of the Summit on the Park, located at 46000 Summit Parkway. A small sledding hill is adjacent that offers a quick little ride next to the stand.  

“We're excited to offer free access to these snow sleds, where anyone can walk by and use a sled to enjoy a few minutes playing in the snow,” said Canton Recreation Specialist Laura Mortier. “It's great to see little ones enjoying the sledding on the Summit's small snow-covered hill, while they learn the value of sharing when they have to return it and leave with just the memory of some great outdoor winter fun.” 

Nominations now accepted for annual city award

Ruth Huston-Whipple, first woman mayor of Plymouth 
Nominations for the annual Ruth Huston-Whipple Award for Civic Engagement will be accepted in Plymouth through April 30.

The award is named in honor of Ruth Huston-Whipple, the first woman elected as a city commissioner (1934-1949) and the first female mayor of Plymouth (1940-1942) and the first woman to serve on the Wayne County Board of Supervisors. 

Huston-Whipple was a graduate of Plymouth High School and worked as a teacher and debate coach at her alma mater. She fought against school policies that discriminated against married women and eventually left the district in protest. She remained a leader in the Plymouth community, championing the improvement of inhumane conditions at a local juvenile detention center and addressing environmental and beautification concerns in the city.

Library branch may feature new coffee shop

Those visiting the Sumpter Township annex of the Belleville Public Library might soon be able to enjoy a coffee or sandwich with their reading.

Deputy Treasurer Toni Clark presented a plan to the members of the board of trustees during a workshop session earlier this month which would allow food trucks at the library site in the township.

The trucks would provide a convenience for library visitors, she said, but would also provide a portion of the revenue generated at the library site to be used for outreach programs for seniors and children.  She said that she had also found available grants which could help the library fund programs in the community.

Romulus Athletic Center begins phase 2 opening

The Romulus Athletic Center (RAC) has moved into Phase Two of its reopening plan, adhering to health and safety guidelines set by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Wayne County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

“After careful consideration and closely following the safety recommendations of health experts, we are pleased to announce the Romulus Athletic Center has moved forward with its reopening plan,” said Romulus Athletic Center Manager Andy Mackay. “We know the athletic center plays a role in supporting the health and wellness of residents, so safely reopening and offering the services our members rely on has been a priority since the start of the pandemic.”

Moving up

Romulus Police Department Cpl. Ryan Miller is congratulated by Police Chief Robert Pfannes on his recent promotion to the rank of sergeant.  Miller has been a member of the Romulus department for more than 10 years and as a Field Training Officer has helped train many of the current officers on the force.

Winter Indoor Markets to open at Summit

The Canton Farmers Market will return with special Off-Season Markets in March and April at the Summit on the Park community recreation center, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The markets will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday,  March 21, and April 18, in the Banquet Center at the Summit on the Park, located on 46000 Summit Parkway.

A variety of local food growers and producers have signed on to participate in these Off-Season Farmers Markets, including: Pick Michigan - featuring produce, eggs, and tortillas; Kapnick Orchards - featuring apples, apple cider, and baked goods; Simply Gourmet Fresh - featuring salsa, chips, and gourmet butter;

Planning commission OKs changes to building

Changes in the business climate imposed by health concerns during the pandemic have impacted plans for a new retail shop in downtown Northville.

Members of the Northville Planning Commission reviewed new plans submitted by Dominic Maltese for changes to the construction at 345 Cady St. during their Feb. 2 meeting.

While a retail shop had originally been planned for the first floor of the three-story building, Maltese submitted new plans which would has a café or coffee shop on the street level of the building. The two upper floors are still designated as rental office space as originally approved by the commission.

Dirty job

Inspections of home recycling bins planned

It's a dirty job, but Canton Township will get it done.

In an effort to eliminate contamination in curbside recycling carts, township personnel will conduct a Quality Improvement Program beginning in April. 

Officials explained that contamination occurs when non-recyclables like food waste to plastic bags are placed with the recyclable material in the carts. Recycling loads with contamination are rejected from the recycling facility and sent to the landfill and when the landfill fills up, the waste will have to be hauled to a facility further away which will dramatically increase collection costs to residents. 

Canton wins finance report award

Canton Township has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 29th consecutive year by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.  “I'm really proud of the teamwork of our finance department to help ensure we have solid financial information available to our board and taxpayers,” said Wendy Trumbull, township director of finance and budget. Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak agreed.

“Canton's finance department proves year after year that our residents' hard-earned tax dollars are being allocated wisely,”  she said.

Area police warn of multiple phone scams

Plymouth police are warning area residents of several phone scams which have been reported recently.

Crime Prevention Bureau Ofc. Tony Angelosanto urged residents to use caution and common sense if they are contacted by telephone, computer or regular mail by someone claiming to need cash for a bail bond; notices of needed computer service or repairs; actions regarding unemployment benefits or even offers of filing tax returns. In a recent notice from the city, Angelosanto urged residents who might be contacted about one of these topics to always check with their family or friends who may be mentioned in the scam. 

Missing community center rental fees questioned

Alex Legion
Inkster police are investigating claims that the former parks and recreation director had been renting the city recreation complex through a private company in which he was a managing partner.

Alex Legion, who had been with the city for a short time, according to officials, was the managing partner and organizer of Signature Milestones LLC listed in state records. Officials said rental fees for the municipal buildings were paid to Signature Milestones in  amount totaling about $1,200. That money, according to Mayor Patrick Wimberly, was used to renovate and furnish Legion's city office.

Walk and Roll

Westland to establish pedestrian accessibility action committee

Westland officials are on a roll attempting to develop a bicycle and pedestrian action plan for the city.

The plan, called Walk and Roll Westland, is an effort to identify how to better connect residents with areas of high demand, including areas of commercial activity and city recreational amenities. 

As a part of the planning process, the city will establish a steering committee which will help to brainstorm ideas, gather input, review data and identify priority biking and walking routes. 

Thank you

Michigan State Representative Kevin Coleman, far left, presents Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa with a donation from AT&T in the amount of $2500 for the care and upkeep of the Wayne Veteran's Memorial. The funding will be used for annual maintenance at the site near Wayne City Hall dedicated to the memory of those who have served in the armed forces.

State responds to vaccine appointment difficulty

The family of an 81-year-old woman from Westland is hoping she will receive her first dose of the COVID vaccine this week. 

Dorothy Bigalow's family members were concerned about the difficulty in scheduling a vaccination for her. Her daughter, Sue Woody, said she and her three sisters have worked practically non-stop to try and schedule an appointment for the vaccine for their mother through Wayne County. 

They were finally successful in securing an appointment this week as Wayne County offered vaccination clinics in Canton/Plymouth, Inkster and Romulus for seniors. While appointments went quickly, and phone lines were overloaded with those seeking appointments, Bigalow was expected to receive her first innoculation.

2 new firefighters join Westland force

Westland welcomed two new firefighters to the department last month. Scott Petrievich is from Clinton Township and attended Oakland Community College where he earned state firefighter I and II certifications. He is currently pursuing certification as a licensed paramedic. Prior to joining the Westland department, Petrievich Scott worked for a private ambulance company operating out of the Detroit area. 

“I am extremely excited to be a part of the Westland Fire Department and look forward to serving here,” he said. 

It's official

Gino Criscenti was sworn in as an officer of the Wayne Police Department at the regular meeting of the city council recently. Criscenti recently graduated from the Wayne County Regional Police Academy and immediately began his departmental orientation process.  Criscenti will fill a vacant position already budgeted for the department, officials said.

Hello Hollywood

Wayne High School graduates planning local film festival

Michelle Guernsey-McKay                        Antoine McKay 
Who says you can't go home again?

Two alumni of Wayne Memorial High School are coming home and bringing a little TV star power with them.

Antoine McKay and his wife, Michelle Guernsey-McKay, are hosting a film festival this summer at the historic State Wayne Theater on Michigan Avenue.

The first Wayne International Independent TV and Film Festival will begin accepting entries in multiple categories and genres at the end of this month. The festival will take place Sept. 9-12.

McKay, who has been a professional actor for 20 years. After graduating from Wayne Memorial High School, he honed his skills at the Eastern Michigan University theatre arts program.  He began his professional career at Second City in both Detroit and Chicago and he has appeared in countless commercials.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

GM to invest $93 million in Romulus plant

The announcement last week that the GM will be investing $93 million in the Romulus Powertrain plant prompted sighs of relief from employees.

Employees had been concerned about job losses when GM CEO Mary Barra recently announced that the company would transition to the manufacture of 30 electric vehicle models by 2015 prompting workers’ concerns about job cuts or a closure at the Romulus plant.

The Romulus investment, however, will fund the addition of machining capabilities for production of electric vehicles and work on installation of the new equipment is expected to begin immediately, a company spokesperson said.

While no new jobs at the Romulus facility are expected to be immediately created with the transition, no employee reductions are anticipated, GM officials said. 

Playing it safe

Council members provide supplies to girls’ team

Members of the Romulus High School girls basketball team celebrate the donation
of masks, wipes and hand sanitizer received from Councilmember Tina Talley,
 left, and Councilmember Kathy Abdo, far right.

Members of the girls basketball teams at Romulus High School scored a few points against the COVID-19 virus recently.

The young athletes received a donation of personal protection supplies and equipment (PPE) from Councilwomen Tina Talley and Kathy Abdo which will allow them to practice and compete in games safety during the pandemic. Talley and Abdo personally donated enough masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to keep the players safe during the upcoming season.

Abdo, who retired from her 40-year teaching career at Romulus High School in 2017, said she was happy to be able to help the team.

“I stay involved with the school and volunteer whenever I can,” she said, “I help with the National Honor Society and whatever else I can do.”

Explosive ‘souvenir’ prompts warning

The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad was called to a Canton Township home last week when a box containing grenades was discovered.

According to police, the box of military souvenirs was discovered when a family was cleaning out the Canton home of a relative. They immediately called local police and when officers responding to the home determined the items were, in fact, grenades. They called the state police bomb squad. The grenades were found to be inert.

“This family in Canton Township did everything right,” state police said.  A spokesman said that it is not unusual for family members to find similar items among souvenirs or keepsakes of relatives. 

Planning commission expected to expand to 9

The Sumpter Township Planning Commission will be expanded from seven to nine members pending an official vote of the board of trustees.

During a workshop session recently, board members discussed expanding the number of members on the commission and setting exact terms of service for the volunteers appointed to the body.

The change was proposed during the Feb. 9 board workshop session by Trustee Don La Porte who said he was suggesting it in response to some discussion by Supervisor Tim Bowman and Trustee Matt Oddy. 

Bright idea

Romulus City Councilmember Kathleen Abdo, left, and Parks and Recreation Coordinator Tanya Cofield proudly display the 2012 Innovative Programming Award presented to the city in recognition of the Parking Lot Disco Daddy-Daughter Celebration by mParks and the mParks Professional Recognition Committee. The Parking Lot Disco Daddy-Daughter Celebration is just one of many ways Romulus has remained committed to providing activities and events during the pandemic, Cofield said. During the summer, the city transformed its annual "Movies in the Park" series into a drive-in event a part of the city commitment and creativity in hosting community event during the pandemic. 

Inside/Outside exhibit coming to Romulus

The cities of Romulus and Westland, along with the Wayne County Community College District will be among those participating in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) 2021 edition of Inside|Out program which brings high-quality reproductions of masterpieces to outdoor venues.

Inside|Out is a popular component of the DIA community engagement efforts, said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. 

During the past 11 years, the museum has partnered with more than 100 communities and engaged tens of thousands of residents, he added. 

Restaurant receipts can win diners $25 gift cards

City of Romulus employees have taken some exceptional steps to help local restaurants survive the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Employees have funded a new contest, organized by the Community Development Department which will reward local restaurant patrons for dining out.  Mayor LeRoy Burcroff recently explained that residents who spend $50 or more at any local restaurants will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card. Those cards have been funded by city employees, he said. 

“In Romulus, we are lucky to be home to a number of exceptional local restaurants. Many of their owners are neighbors and friends to us all. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every industry, but it has been especially difficult for many restaurants as work diligently to stay afloat.