Thursday, June 17, 2021

Planning commission denies plan for hotels

Plans for a Hilton Garden Inn and Residence Inn at the northwest corner of Lilley and Ford roads in Canton Township have been rejected by members of the planning commission.

The two hotels were proposed for a site behind a shopping center near at the intersection and would have provided 220 rooms between them. Members of the commission questioned the accuracy of the traffic studies and other information provided which was prepared using data prior to the shutdown last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioners commented that the studies and data were out of date and needed to be re-evaluated.

Natural wonders

Northville Garden Walk features floral perfection 

It's taken Dave and Pat Neil 31 years, but they finally have grass in their Northville back yard.

Of course, they also have a brick paver patio or two, a flagstone area, a stream trickling under a handmade blue bridge, a fireplace and grill along with two ponds connected by a waterfall and garden art.  Lots and lots of carefully installed and lovingly tended garden art and greenery designed over the years to somewhat camouflage the absence of grass in the back yard of their subdivision home.

Death of Sumpter Township Treasurer is mourned

James Clifton Clark, Jr., 
Sumpter Township Treasurer James Clifton Clark, Jr., 78, died June 7 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital after complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Mr. Clark, a long-time Sumpter Township resident, was born Sept. 24, 1942 in Detroit, the oldest of 10 children of James and Marion (Copening) Clark. Mr. Clark held a master's degree in engineering from Wayne State University and retired from Ford Motor Co. as a Quality Manager after 44 years of service.  

Mr. Clark was well-known throughout the community and served many years as the Sumpter Township Building Inspector and as a member of the  Planning Commission. He also served on the township Zoning Board of Appeals and he, along with his father, wrote the first ordinance for Sumpter Township.

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff delivered his eighth and final State of the City Address last week, highlighting the accomplishments of his administration since 2013 and the perseverance of the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burcroff, first elected mayor in 2013, after serving on the Romulus City Council, is a life-long resident of the city. A graduate of Romulus High School, he and his wife are the parents of three children.

In looking back at his tenure as mayor during his address last week, Burcroff focused on the accomplishments since 2014 when the city administration team, under his direction, began a visioning process prioritizing a culture of customer service, financial stability, public safety, economic development and community initiatives.

Housing commission celebrates reopening of EnVision

The EnVision Center in Inkster has been officially reopened to the public.

The Inkster facility, located at 4360 Hickory St. is a facility that serves as a centralized hub to provide individuals with resources and support needed to excel. Programs, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are focused around four objectives, economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership. Currently, there are 100 EnVision Centers in the United States.

"One of the goals of the Inkster Housing Commission is to provide programming to help our residents become self-sufficient," stated Aaron Cooper, executive director of Inkster Housing. "We are excited to reopen the center, and grateful to HUD for their assistance in making it happen."

Park concert set next week

The second concert in the Romulus Sound in Downtown series will take place from 7 until 9:30 p.m. June 25 at Romulus Historical Park.

The concert series is presented by the Romulus Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and will include family activities, vendors, concessions and refreshments. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic basket, a blanket or chairs to experience the live music.

The Ava James Band will perform rock and country favorites on June 25. 

Residents take trash complaints to trustees

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Sam Caramagno, of GFL (Green For Life) trash pickup, faced intensive questioning at the June 8 Canton Township Board of Trustees meeting. 

He was questioned both by residents, including Jasmine Lee, and by trustees over trash pickup problems in Canton Township. In addition, Canton residents complained that they haven't had their phone calls to GFL returned in a timely manner.

Caramagno said that Memorial Day and the Christmas season yield the largest amounts of trash to be collected each year.

 “We're working hard at getting back on track,” he said.

Resident Jasmine Lee outlined the issues she has experienced with GFL in a letter to township Treasurer Dian Slavens and to township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak.

Canton LIVE concert series begins tomorrow

The Thursday Night LIVE concert series in Canton begins tonight, July 17, with a performance by Lookin Back, a Bob Segar tribute band.

The free concert series, sponsored by Canton Community Financial, will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Thursday through Aug. 19 in the Heritage Park Amphitheater, located behind the Canton Administration Building at 1150 S. Canton Center Road.

There will be no concert July 1. Musicians are scheduled to perform on stage from 7 until 8:30 p.m.

Concert-goers can enjoy a weekly dose of fresh air with family and friends, as well as a variety of local restaurant vendors; a Beer and Wine Garden sponsored by Maraschino's Pub, with 100 percent of sales going to Second Chance At Life - a local non-profit group that helps Michigan families with medical transplant costs.

Junior Park Pro summer program is now under way

Area youngsters can become official Canton Junior Park Pros this summer with customized pins acknowledging their status.

“Canton parks are great places to explore and create great memories for all ages, but especially for children,” said Laura Mortier, Canton Recreation Specialist. “We developed this program to encourage families to tour all our local parks, including some that they may never have visited before, but especially to have fun and earn a special keepsake while doing it.” 

Participants are encouraged to explore neighborhood parks located in Canton, through Aug. 31, to earn a customized 2-inch pin for each of the following locations visited: Barchester Park, located at 43021 Barchester Road; Flodin Park, located at 43399 Saltz Road between Morton Taylor and Sheldon Roads; Freedom Park, located at 44705 Palmer Road on the southwest corner of Sheldon and Palmer; Griffin Park, located on Sheldon Road between Cherry Hill and Saltz Roads; Heritage Park, located on Heritage Park Drive, west of Canton Center and south of Cherry Hill; Independence Park, located at 1898 Denton Road on the southwest corner of Denton and Proctor; Kopper Park, located at 7648 Shaw Lane on the north side of Koppernick Road, east of Haggerty; Preservation Park, located at 500 N. Ridge Road; Summit on the Park, located at 46000 Summit Parkway and Victory Park, located at 46555 W. Michigan Ave. 

Fire at historic barn is ruled ‘accidental’

An effort by a pre-teen and a teen to produce a social media post resulted in the total destruction of the historic Cady-Boyer Barn in Canton Township.

Investigators from both the Canton Township Police and Fire Department have determined that the cause of the 5 p.m. May 30 fire which destroyed the structure and severely damaged the adjacent silo was caused by a combination of the careless use of ground fireworks, specifically colored smoke bombs, and the burning of paper as part of the creation of a social media post by the minors. 

In an update last Tuesday, officials said the social media post was supposed to capture images of burning cardboard and smoke bombs, but instead caused the destruction of the barn, originally built before the Civil War by David Cady, one of the first township supervisors. It was moved to the site at Preservation Park and reconstructed piece by piece by Amish craftsmen in 2006, funded by a donation from local businessman Bob Boyer.

Widow demands appointment to treasurer’s term

Sumpter Township Deputy Treasurer Toni Clark, the widow of recently deceased Treasurer James Clark, has demanded the board of trustees appoint her to the remainder of his elected term, claiming the seat is her “legal right.”

Clark sent an email to Township Supervisor Tim Bowman, the other members of township board of trustees and township attorney Rob Young on June 11, four days after her husband's death, demanding the appointment. James Clark died  June 7.

In her email, Clark stated that she hoped, “I still have a job with the township.” She claimed that she spoke with Young about her “options” and criticized him for not confirming her erroneous claim to the remainder of her deceased husband's term.

Belleville to host tri-community Lake Fest celebration

The first-ever Belleville Lake Fest is set for June 25, 26 and 27.

Following months of quarantining and social restrictions, the Belleville Lake communities of Belleville and Van Buren and Sumpter townships will celebrate summer with a festival on and around 8-mile long Belleville Lake. The festival, led by the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC), and in partnership with the Belleville Yacht Club and Service Group, will be an all-outdoor celebration heavily centered on downtown Belleville with events in Van Buren Township. The festival will feature a COVID-safe lineup of events, live music, quality vendors and other entertainment tailored for all ages, officials said. 

Belleville Lake was created by Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and is the largest recreational lake in all of Wayne County. The purpose of the Belleville Lake Fest is to call attention to the unique beauty and history of the lake, organizers said in a prepared statement. 

Westland OK’s $70 million balanced budget

Members of the Westland City Council last week approved a $70 million balanced budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22. The budget adds approximately $42,000 to the General Fund unassigned balance, preserving a “rainy day” fund balance at approximately $6.5 million. 

Highlights of proposed budget include an overall taxable value increase of 3.30 percent, a provision to continue the city match for 13 federally funded SAFER grant firefighters, funding for an additional police officer, an addition of a full-time diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) director as well as funding to research converting the vacant Marshall Middle School into a community recreation center. The budget also includes funding for the creation of the first dog park and Pickle Ball Courts in the city. 

Volunteer effort

The City of Wayne and the Wayne Parks and Trails Committee joined a large group of  volunteers who braved the high temperatures to help with the first of two Attwood Park clean-ups last week. Several of the group members stop to pose for a photo, above, while many were unable to stay for the entire day-long effort. Organizers thanked the volunteers and the workers from the Wayne Department of Public Works. A second clean-up at the park will be scheduled soon, organizers said, explaining that the youngsters in attendance were outstanding workers. “We should all help when our community needs us. You can count on me to be here whenever you need me. I can't wait to tell my friends about volunteering,” one of the youngest volunteers told organizers.

39 Steps presented by Inspire Theatre

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and the result will be The 39 Steps, a fast-paced farce packed with nonstop laughs, 150 characters, an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance.

Inspire Theatre is returning to in-person performances with an outdoor presentation of John Buchan's adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's film, All 29 scenes are played on a single-set stage and all of the characters are played by a four-plus person cast. Michael Whitcher of Westland plays the lead, Richard Hannay, while Sara Overwater of Livonia fills the parts of the three beautiful women - Anabella, Pamela, and Margaret.

Michigan Philharmonic plans outdoor concerts

The return of live music to the community is nearly here with the long-awaited return of the Michigan Philharmonic orchestra to the stage for a pair of outdoor summer performances.

The celebration of live music includes two family-oriented performances featuring a patriotic salute to America as well as a selection of both classical and pop favorites and several movie themes. The first show will take place beginning at 7 p.m. June 26 at Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth with a second performance planned for 7 p.m. Saturday, July 10 in Kensington Metropark.

The Plymouth show, “An American Salute,” features an array of patriotic-themed pieces including the “Star-Spangled Banner,” George Gershwin's “Strike Up the Band,” as well as a Duke Ellington arrangement, “Colonel Bogey March,” an armed forces, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” highlights from the movie “Rocky” and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

Downtown Northville hosting Arts and Acts festival

After a one-year hiatus, the 2021 Arts and Acts Festival, presented by the Northville Art House, will return this weekend with three art fairs--Art in the Sun, Maker's Mart and Young Artist Juried Art Fair---as well as live solo and international performances at the new location along West Cady Street in downtown Northville.

Visitors will enjoy fine art, crafts, entertainment, food, and family-friendly activities such as the annual Short on Words: A Poetry and Short Story Event and Northville Art House Chalk Festival. This year, dog owners can show off their pet's artistry in the all new Paws with Applause Northville Dog Show and Virtual Photo Contest. For festival information and updates, visit www.northvillearthouse.org/artsandacts/ and @ArtsAndActsFestival on Facebook.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Child care home license suspended by state

The license of the Macfarlane group child care home in Romulus has been suspended by the state following allegations of abuse and violence.

Misconduct at the home was alleged with the submission of a recording of the home care staff verbally and physically abusing children in their care. Staff members allegedly beat the children using a fly swatter and back scratcher. Staff members were also recorded using profanity, threatening violence against the children and using other, prohibited, forms of discipline.

The home, operated by Shelley Macfarlane, is located in the 9200 block of Washington near Wick and Wayne roads in Romulus. The facility has been licensed by the state to care for 12 children since 2000. 

Out of this world

Metroparks planning new space-themed playground

An artist rendering of plans for the new $1.3 million space
 themed playground at Lower Huron Metropark.
Lower Huron Metropark will join the 'space race' this year with the opening of a unique new $1.3 million playground. 

Huron-Clinton Metroparks is moving forward on plans to develop the space-themed playground at Lower Huron Metropark following multiple community surveys and stakeholder input. Officials said construction at the park, located on Huron River Drive in Belleville, is expected to begin this summer and wrap up with a grand opening by the end of the year. 

"The Metroparks always strive to meet community needs and provide area residents and visitors with first-rate outdoor recreation spaces and activities," said Metroparks Director Amy McMillan. "We couldn't be more appreciative of the feedback and ideas received, and are excited to launch this unique play experience to help spark imaginations and serve as a destination playground."

Mayoral candidate’s name removed from Westland ballot

               William Asper
Westland voters will have one less choice in the upcoming primary election for mayor as election commission officials have ordered the name of William Asper removed from the ballot based on his non-residency in the city.

Allegations regarding Asper's residency were raised by members of a Facebook group called Women Against William Asper for Mayor maintained by local resident Jessica Grevenstuk. The group shared screenshots of comments made on Asper's Facebook page in 2014 suggesting that a 7-year-old child belonged in special education classes and that the mother of the child could have intelligent offspring if he fathered them. Posts on the page also suggested that the child's good grades in school were based on her performing sexual favors for teachers. 

Asper, 37, who is currently on probation after being convicted of aggravated stalking, claims that entire charge was based on the complainant filing a false police report and that the inappropriate Facebook posts were not his, but that his account had been hacked. 

Jazmine Danci
The Greater Romulus Chamber of Commerce named Jazmine Danci as the new executive director of the organization.

Danci began her new position May 24. The chamber had previously been without an executive director since last summer.

“We have over 100 members to serve and a rigorous set of goals,” said Jeff Lowrey, chamber board president and owner of  Cabling and More, a local Romulus business. “Jazmine brings a wealth of experience in public relations and communication skills to this position. We are excited to see what we can achieve with her on board.”

Water main repairs could affect Inkster residents

Last week, a crew from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) ll performed water meter replacements near the intersections of Michigan Avenue (US -12), west of Inkster Road in Inkster. 

When  routine work, such as a meter replacement is done, the water utility crew opens and closes valves which may cause pressure changes or flow reversals in a water main near the areas specified. This may cause the dislodging or stirring up of rust debris that can build up over time and float freely during maintenance activities. 

When this happens, it may cause cold water to become discolored, rusty, yellow or cloudy. 

Village Theatre art exhibition features ‘growth’

A variety of paintings by artist Tiera Knaff
The Village Theater at Cherry Hill will display the works of painter Tiera Knaff through June 28. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Knaff's exhibit, entitled "How Does Your Garden Grow?" examines how that particular question could also relate to human life. Each work in the exhibit consists of elements of self-love, growth, the desire to create from surroundings in a positive light, and the exploration of colors, officials said. 

"My goal is to communicate with my audience that growth is limitless with consistency," said Knaff. "This show is to depict different ranges of growth and understanding of life. I want to create a more colorful and vivid setting that takes you away from reality, and showcases it in a more ‘artificial realism’".

New assistant city manager is named in Plymouth

Plymouth Municipal Services Director Chris Porman is a busy man.

Porman has taken on additional duties in his new dual role as assistant city manager/director of municipal services.

City Manager Paul Sincock appointed Porman to the new position as part of the succession plan which was listed as a priority in the formal 5-year strategic plan adopted by the members of the city commission. 

Porman has served as acting city manager on several occasions when Sincock has been out of town.

Arts and Acts returns to downtown next week

After a one-year hiatus, the 2021 Arts and Acts Festival, presented by the Northville Art House, will return June 18 - 20 with three art fairs-Art in the Sun, Maker's Mart and Young Artist Juried Art Fair-as well as live solo and international performances at the new location along West Cady Street.

Visitors will enjoy fine art, crafts, entertainment, food, and family-friendly activities such as the annual Short on Words: A Poetry and Short Story Event and Northville Art House Chalk Festival. This year, dog owners can show off their pet's artistry in the all new Paws with Applause Northville Dog Show and Virtual Photo Contest. For festival information and updates, visit www.northvilleart house.org/artsandacts/ and @ArtsAndActsFestival on Facebook.

Home vaccinations available

Any homebound Northville Township or City of Northville resident 18 and older who wants to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and cannot make it to one of the Wayne County Health Department vaccine clinics may schedule an in-home vaccination. A paramedic will come to the resident's home to administer the inoculation. Household members also may register for the home vaccinations. To book an appointment Northville Township residents should call (248) 662-1222 

City of Northville residents should call (248) 449-9902. 

 The manufacturer of the vaccine will be either Pfizer or Moderna, depending upon what the state of Michigan delivers to the Wayne County Health Department on your appointment day. The Wayne County Health Department will continue to follow CDC and FDA recommendations regarding the temporary pause of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. 

Sumpter OKs tri-community redistricting resolution

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to join with the City of Belleville and Van Buren Township in support of tri-community representation at the state level.

Township attorney Rob Young suggested the Sumpter Board of Trustees join the other two communities in approving a resolution to be forwarded to the state redistricting commission as state voting districts are re-evaluated. Young explained to the board that the new commission had been approved by voters and was now tasked with fairly and equitably establishing voting districts for both state senators and state representatives to eliminate gerrymandering that grants an advantage to whichever party may be in power when the districts are drawn.

Virtual meetings to continue

A recent outbreak of COVID-19 which shut down township hall for more than a week has prompted members of the Sumpter Board of Trustees to continue virtual meetings until July 1.

During the study session prior to the regular meeting May 25, Trustee Tim Rush asked the members of the board for their opinions regarding in-person or virtual meetings considering the recent outbreak at township hall. 

“I'm sitting on the fence,” he said. “The governor says everything is open, but I want to know how everybody feels about it. I've had both shots although I know you can still get the disease,” he said. 

Green thumbs

Last week, members of the Rotary Club of Belleville gathered at the Victory Park Gazebo to weed the beds and plant flowers for the summer season. The Rotary Club,  with funding from the Charles B. Cozadd Foundation, has recently updated and refurbished the gazebo with new steps, hand rails, roofing and more. Club President Debra Green, center, along with Rotarians and friends who helped with the planting, are all smiles after the planting and weeding session.

Students complete Operation Opportunity program

Eighteen first-generation college-bound students from John Glenn and Wayne Memorial High School just completed the Operation Opportunity program. Operation Opportunity is a partnership between Michigan Medicine, Wayne-Westland Community Schools (WWCS), and Eastern Michigan University Bright Futures. 

The youth mentorship program was virtual this year. However, students were still paired with mentors from Michigan Medical and learned about the variety of career paths available to them in the medical field. district officials said. 

Last week the district was able to host a celebration ceremony to culminate the completion of the program. Several students shared their experiences. 

District schools will return to in-person classes in August

Parents of students in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools received some welcome news from Superintendent of Schools John Dignan recently.

In a letter to parents, Dignan said that beginning with the fall semester of the 2021-2022 school year, the district will have in-person classes five days a week. The fall semester will begin in August this year and Dignan said there will be no hybrid programming for the upcoming scholastic year.

He said that families interested in a virtual learning option for students could contact the Wayne-Westland Virtual Academy where enrollment applications are currently being accepted.

Westland sets upcoming post pandemic schedule of events

Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the lifting of health restrictions on outdoor events which can now proceed at 100 percent capacity. Indoor events will now be able to proceed at  50 capacity as the state has surpassed 8 million does of the COVID-19 vaccine since it became available in March.

Whitmer said that by July 1, only a few targeted guidelines to keep vulnerable populations safe would remain in effect. 

“Michigan is emerging from the once-in-a-century pandemic and gearing up to jumpstart the economy. The hope that we feel today is thanks to the millions of Michiganders who have gotten vaccinated to keep themselves, their families, and communities safe,” the governor said.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Members of the Wayne County Commission have approved the sale of the Wilcox Mill in Plymouth, again.

The original buyer, artist Tony Roko, was forced to abandon his plans for an artists' workshop and housing for his art foundation due to the economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. During a meeting May 20, commissioners approved a plan to negotiate the sale of the historic property to Richard Cox, a developer already involved in the remodeling and repurposing of the other two mill sites owned by the county.

Cox, through Donofrio Wil Cox, LLC, has already purchased The Phoenix Mill at 14973 Northville Road in Plymouth Township and that building has been under development. Newburgh Mill at 37401 Hines Drive in Livonia is still owned by Wayne County although Cox is negotiating a modified agreement for that site. The sale of The Wilcox Mill, located at 230 Wilcox Road in Plymouth will now be negotiated with Cox' company, county officials confirmed. Cox was the second-highest bidder for the property prior to the sale agreement between Roko and the county for the property.

It takes a village

Local donations help Romulus High School seniors attend prom

2021 Senior Class Advisor Kyleen Zoltowski, from left, City Councilwoman
and sponsor Kathy Abdo, Class Advisor Wendy Pachota and co-sponsor
Sandy Tenny,  show off a mocked-up check for the donations collected to
fund tickets to the senior prom at Romulus High School.

Several Romulus High School students had an extra reason to celebrate at their prom last night.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had made the $75 tickets to the prom out of reach for several area families this year. When class advisors Wendy Pachota and Kyleen Zoltowski realized the number of students who could not attend the traditional senior high school event, they reached out to City Councilwoman Kathy Abdo, who taught at the high school for more that 40 years. Pachota and Zoltowski sought help from Abdo, who also spent decades as a class advisor at the school, wondering if she might know of any group or local business willing to donate enough to pay for one or two tickets for the students. 

Cady-Boyer Barn destroyed in fire


An investigation into the fire that completely destroyed the historic Cady-Boyer Barn last Sunday afternoon is under way, according to fire officials.

The barn served as a museum and community gathering venue and was the site of the Farmers Market every Sunday. Only last week, a new pavilion was opened at the site.

Former Township Supervisor Pat Williams said that the loss “breaks my heart.” 

The Cady-Boyer Barn was originally built before the Civil War by one of the first township supervisors, David Cady, and was then enlarged and remodeled in 1908 by Aruna Cady, one of the pioneer families in Canton.

Canton library returns to regular pre-pandemic hours

Regular hours of operation resumed at the Canton Public Library this week for the first time since March 13, 2020.

Library Director Eva Davis said that with the number of changes during the past year, “it feels great to return a little bit of normalcy to our patrons.”

“As vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 infection rates drop in our community, we've been slowly and carefully expanding our services and operations,” Davis said.

She noted that the recent hiring of new employees has brought the library closer to full staffing.

Traffic accident claims lives of 85-year-old couple

An 85-year-old man and wife from Canton Township were killed May 26 when a pickup truck crashed into the side of their car in Monroe County.

According to police reports, the incident occurred at 5:23 a.m. last Wednesday on North Dixie Highway in front of the Sterling State Park entrance.

Larimore Clifford McDougall, 85, was reportedly driving a 2017 Hyundai Sonata with his wife, Marilyn Ann McDougall, also 85, in the passenger seat when a 55-year-old Monroe woman driving a red, 2011 GMC Sierra pickup truck crashed into their vehicle.

According to police reports, McDougall was turning left onto Dixie Highway from the park exit when the vehicle was struck on the driver's side by the pickup truck which was traveling north on Dixie Highway.

Thanks, Friends


The work of volunteers who participated in the Garlic Mustard Removal Event May 15 at Coldwater Springs Nature Area improved the natural habitat for local plants and flora, officials said. The work was one part of the annual Rouge Rescue event which took place at locations throughout the Rouge Watershed. During the day-long event, volunteers collected 40 large bags and 808 pounds of the invasive, destructive weed from the nature area. Officials from The Friends of the Rouge, Northville Township and Northville Parks and Recreation Department issued a formal thanks to all those who participated in the event.

Northville is officially named as ‘Tree City’

It's now official.

Northville has been awarded an official Tree City designation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Arbor Day Foundation.

While the city has been widely recognized for the tree-lined streets that beautify neighborhoods and vast landmark trees that grace city parks, cemeteries and the Historic District, the official state designation only came last week.

"Tree City is an important goal for many communities and is one of the most visible indications of your community's commitment and achievement in the care of trees," said Kevin Sayers, urban and community forester for the Michigan DNR.

Local BP Gas station is accused of price gouging

Owners of a Plymouth Township gas station have until next Monday to explain the high cost of fuel during the recent gas shortage.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Plymouth Township resident, said that her office received reports that the BP Gas station at 38600 Ann Arbor Road, just east of Interstate 275, was charging prices nearly $1 more per gallon of fuel than other stations in the area.

Nessel said that an investigator from her office went to the station which was selling unleaded gas for $3.899 and premium for $4.899 per gallon, prices that were, in fact, about $1 more than other local stations. Nessel said that representatives at the gas station refused to offer any explanation for the prices to the investigator, prompting her office to issue a cease and desist order against the station  on May 27. 

Westland plans neighborhood police meetings

Westland police want to "take a meeting" with local residents as part of a new community policing initiative called the Westland Police Neighborhood Safety Program. 

"Our police department recognizes that every neighborhood has different concerns and public safety needs," said Mayor William R. Wild. "The goal of this program is to meet directly with the residents of specific neighborhoods to discuss their concerns." 

The program will set up meetings at various locations and in various neighborhoods in the city. The first meeting is set for 10 a.m. this Saturday, June 5, at Rotary Park in the city.

“Working in partnership with neighborhood residents, the Westland Police Department will identify and resolve specific quality of life problems or concerns in particular areas. In addition, this is a great opportunity for neighbors to meet each other while also meeting their city police officers,” Wild said. 

Investigations into multiple fatal shootings continue

Investigations into two separate shootings that killed three people in Inkster May 24 and May 25 are continuing, police said.

During an early-evening basketball game in the 27900 block of Rosewood Street on Monday night, May 25, four people were shot, two of them fatally.

All of the victims were transported to a local hospital with their injuries. One victim died the same night at the hospital while a second died early Tuesday.

Witnesses told Michigan State Police investigators that several suspects ran between houses and opened fire with multiple weapons on the four victims playing basketball. All the shooters fled the scene and police have not yet identified the suspects.

Economic development to be topic of survey, session

Westland officials want to know what residents think about the economic development in the city.

City administrators are in the process of formalizing a comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan. The goal is to identify initiatives and methods that will encourage diversity of the economic base in the city and tap opportunities for economic expansion in an effort to help to promote community wealth building. 

The process for building the plan includes significant analytic research coupled with input obtained from the business community, residents, non-profit organizations and other key community stakeholders. In order to obtain this input, city officials have developed a survey to gather insights and guide to plan formation. 

Wayne councilman resigns

Anthony Miller
Wayne Councilman Anthony Miller has announced his resignation from the municipal body. He said his last meeting will be this month and that he has sold his Wayne home and will be moving from the city to Florida.

Miller was first appointed to the city council Dec. 16, 2014 and took office in January of 2015. He won election to a full term on the council in November of 2016 and was selected as Mayor Pro Tem in January of 2017. He was reelected in November of 2018 and his current term will continue until Nov. 14, 2022. 

Miller said that he turned 62 this year and retired in March. A brief vacation trip to Florida following his new-found freedom turned into a month-long stay and “things just snowballed from there.” He said he found a new home in Florida and that selling his Wayne house was “financially a good move.”

Bittersweet day

 

Last Friday, members of the Romulus Police Department introduced their newest member, Ofc. Caitlin Dorsey, left, as they said goodbye to one of the longest serving officers in the department. Dorsey is a resident of the city and a graduate of Romulus High School. She is also a graduate of the Wayne County Regional Police Academy and is completing her degree at Wayne County Community College. The same day, officers helped Cpt. Josh Monte, right, one of the longest serving members of the Romulus Police Department, celebrate his retirement during his last day on the job. Fellow officers said that Monte was more than an officer or city employee, “he was a leader, a mentor, and true servant of the community.”

Wayne police install new electronic speed sign

Wayne police have received numerous reports of vehicles traveling at excessive speeds through Wayne neighborhoods.

To combat the problem, grant funds were recently used to purchase an electronic speed measurement sign for police use. The problem is serious, officials said, as speed is a factor in more than 25 percent of all fatal traffic crashes, according to national statistics.

Officers said that traditional traffic enforcement in neighborhoods would be continued, and that the electronic device would be used to remind drivers of the speed they were driving and the need to obey posted speed limits.

Ride ‘em cowboy

Midwest Rodeo is coming to Fairgrounds June 11-12

There will be steer wrestling, calf roping, relay races and bull riding, along with many other traditional rodeo events June 11 and 12 at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

The Midwest Invitational Rodeo - the top showcase of the Black cowboy/cowgirl story - will return for one weekend only and guests can experience the authentic African-American Rodeo and join in celebration of Juneteenth. Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans will participate as the Grand Marshall. 

With more than 50 years of rodeo production experience, Midwest Invitational Rodeo is a competitive traveling rodeo that showcases the top rodeo talents in the nation. 

The family-friendly event will feature activities for all ages. 

Rotary Club scholarships are awarded

Four local high school graduates were awarded scholarships from the Rotary Club of Belleville during ceremonies last week. 

Since the inception of the scholarship program, the Rotary Club of Belleville has awarded $587,000 to Belleville High School students. This year, during the 76th Annual Scholarship Program, four $5,000 scholarships were presented to local students. Three of those were academic awards presented to Joshua Jeng, Nicholas Rafferty and Kyler Warren. The Charles B. Cozaad Community Service Award was presented to Jessica Ley.

School administrators, parents, family members joined several Rotarians during the brief May 25 program at Belleville High School during which the awards were presented.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Memorial Day events return to local communities

Next Monday will be the national celebration of Memorial Day, a day of remembrance and honor for those who have died in service of our country.

While many celebrate the day, few are aware of the significance and history of the event which began as Decoration Day in the 1860s to honor soldiers who died in the Civil War. That war, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the first national cemeteries in the country.

Memorial Day was originally celebrated on May 30 but in 1968, Congress approved the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing the holiday would always fall on the last Monday in May. 

Veteran police officer retires after 25 years

Sgt. Dale Waltz
Canton Township Police Department Sgt. Dale Waltz will officially retire at the end of this month after a quarter of a century on the job.

Waltz began his 25-year career with the Canton department in 1996 as a Public Safety Service Officer (PSSO), performing the tasks of call taker, dispatcher and jail attendant. Two-years later, he took a leave of absence and put himself through the police academy and in 1999, he tested for and was promoted to the position of police officer. 

Department administrators took note of the organizational benefits of a PSSO transitioning to a sworn officer and soon after put a formal program into place, of which 18 full-time PSSOs have since participated and been promoted to either a police officer or firefighter within the township.