Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Whoa!

Township trustees reject plan for Northville racetrack

In a decisive series of events, members of the 

Plymouth Township Board of Trustees shut down negotiations with Northville Downs to relocate a horseracing gambling track into the township. During a meeting Jan.23, board 

member voted unanimously to rescind negotiations of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) of Northville Downs, followed by unanimous votes from the Planning Commission on the 29th to both rescind the PUD and to deny the contract’s extension. On Feb. 6, board members formally denied the Planned Unit Development (PUD) contract and 

development plan, according to a prepared statement from officials at the Economic Development Responsibility Alliance (EDRA).

Residents of Plymouth Township have been raising concerns regarding the gambling facility at town meetings regularly for nearly a year; more than 1,300 have signed a grassro
ots petition to “Stop the Racetrack”. 

During the initial Jan. 23 meeting, Township Supervisor Kurt Heise accused Northville Downs’ owners of operating in “bad faith”. Heise referred to the breakdown in negotiations over the community benefit agreement, in which he and the board sought to offset community opposition to the project with $5M in funding for community recreation. “We did some hard bargaining with them and we demanded a lot from them and they rejected it,” Heise reportedly said. 

Attorneys representing Northville Downs accused the township board members of making “illegal requests for extra money” in mid January.  Trustee John Stewart and Treasurer Bob Doroshewitz both acknowledged that the project wasn’t a good fit for the community.

  During the Jan. 23 meeting, residents expressed concern regarding the initial dealings with Northville Downs, and warned they would continue to be vigilant. During public comments, resident Mary Ann Adams admitted the experience had left her “saddled with pessimism…(about) how this 

development came to our community, pessimism about our local officials having residents’ best interests top of mind, and 

pessimism about acting in good faith with residents.”

Resident Rena Ban scolded the board members: “Opposition to the project has continually grown, and has been made known to you in many different ways, including letting you know at almost every meeting for almost a year. The mishandling of the project has broken community trust, and highlighted the very valid concerns about their board, and the desire and need to have transparency, and accountability…I hope this vote means you have been listening.”

Northville Downs’ attorney has stated publicly that they are considering their legal options, but no legal action has been taken to date. However, residents aren’t convinced the fight is over yet. Meijer sued Plymouth Township last August for denying a special land use to build a large retail store and gas station, and late last month, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian 

Sullivan ruled in favor of Meijer, allowing the development.

    “We have continued to state publicly that this gambling facility is not welcome in our community,” said Adams, “and we will continue to monitor legislative activity and to lobby for changes in the outdated laws which put any Michigan community at risk for this type of gambling facility.” 

As Northville Downs current location is now closed permanently, this may be the end of the harness horse racing gambling industry in Michigan.

“A dying, harmful business is not what the community wants for the future of their township, and I hope that you’ve heard that,” 

Ban told the b members.

“Live horse races account for less than 4 percent of wagers at this facility,” 

observed Adams, “ however it is still an industry with decades of decline and 

controversy. This gambling facility contravenes our master plan…Northville Downs holds accountability for thinking it was okay to force itself onto our community without assessing overall residential sentiment–frankly business 101.”


Romulus City Clerk explains cemetery

 

Romulus City Clerk Ellen Craig Bragg issued a statement last week regarding the early spring cleanup of the Romulus Memorial Cemetery.  Her statement, which was posted on social media and the city website, explained the situation which unfortunately resulted in the disposal of some mementos and items from some graves. 

At Craig-Bragg’s request, her letter to residents regarding the situation follows.

Last week, there was an unscheduled cleanup of wreaths and grave blankets in the Romulus Memorial Cemetery. In an attempt to take advantage of the nice weather, a few members of the Cemetery Board of Trustees cleaned the cemetery in preparation for the Spring 

season. Though their intentions were good-natured, they did not comply with the posted cemetery cleanup deadline of March 15. 

Unfortunately, the City Administration was unaware of the cleanup until after it was finished.

It is entirely understandable why many residents are concerned and upset. The City has forwarded those concerns to the Cemetery Board of Trustees Chairperson, who has expressed sincere remorse and takes full responsibility for any dismay they may have inadvertently caused.

On behalf of the Cemetery Board of Trustees, the City would like to apologize to the residents and families impacted by the cleanup. Please rest assured that this matter has not been taken lightly, and steps have been implemented to ensure this does not happen again.

It is important to note that the Cemetery Board of Trustees is a board comprised of residents who volunteer their time to attend to and beautify the cemetery in respect of the many loved ones buried therein. The City appreciates the board’s many years of hard work and attentiveness in maintaining the Romulus Memorial Cemetery.

The Cemetery Board of Trustees meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 4:30 pm in the Romulus City Hall Council Chambers. Due to the election on February 27, the next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 28.

If there are any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the City Clerk’s Office at (734) 942.7540.

 Ellen L. Craig-Bragg, City Clerk

Romulus Cemetery Sexton

Canton pilot crashes near South Lyon


A Canton Township pilot crashed his small plane 4 miles from the South Lyon airport last week.

The pilot, a resident of Canton, was traveling from Detroit to Saint Louis on a night cargo flight. The unnamed pilot informed the ATC that both engines failed. He was directed to the small airport. Because it was a night flight, he had no visual clues causing him to lose control, stalling and crashing just southwest of South Lyon, 4 miles from the airport. The Beachcraft C-45 Expediter, impacted trees before his destination at the private airstrip near Brighton Road and Eight Mile Road in Green Oak Township, Michigan. 

    
The pilot was not injured, however, the aircraft received substantial damage. The pilot reported to local police that he was coming in for a landing when a gust of wind caused the plane to roll to the left, where the wing clipped a tree branch forcing the plane into the trees. He was not injured and able to climb down from where the plane was “stuck” making it to the ground. 

He was the only person inside the plane. The seasoned aviator has over 5,000 flying hours, 3169 of them on the same style as the Beechcraft C-45 

Expeditor. The Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archives reported the probable causes were the following; Double engine failure in flight caused by fuel 

exhaustion, mismanagement of fuel, improper in-flight decisions, fuel exhaustion, improper level off, inadequate pre-flight preparation, complete engine failure, forced landing off airport, vectored to alternate airport due to low fuel, both engines failed before field in sight.

    The Aviation Safety Network concurred.

Federal recovery assistance available for flood damage


Home and business owners in nine Michigan counties are now eligible for federal assistance to help recover from damages caused by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that occurred on Aug. 24-26, 2023.

  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on Feb. 8, 2024, that President Joe Biden approved Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, and Wayne counties. The declaration now opens the application process for 60 days for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Individual Assistance (IA) for affected residents.

  This FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of these disasters. 

  “This federal assistance that is so greatly appreciated will certainly be put to good use helping those impacted by these devasting storms that not only affected residents and businesses in the Canton community but also touched so many lives in nine counties throughout the state,” said Anne Marie Graham-Hudak, Canton Township supervisor. “With so much damage in our community, Canton township staff and my office have worked tirelessly to ensure that affected individuals have access to all available resources to assist their recovery from these unprecedented storms.”

  On Aug. 23-24, 2023, residents and businesses in Wayne County and Canton Township, specifically, experienced storm-related damages from flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that caused significant financial losses, for which Graham-Hudak  applied for a State of Emergency with Canton  Emergency Manager William Hayes and the Michigan State Police.

“We know that a lot of property damage occurred as a result of these natural disasters and Canton officials look forward to working with our federal partners to see that affected individuals can receive any available assistance after experiencing the effects of these major storms,” stated Hayes..

  Federal officials now say that residents and business owners who sustained losses in these designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App, which is available to use and download for free for both Android and iOS systems and can be downloaded on Google Play and from the Apple App Store.

  Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service, or others, can give FEMA the number for that service.  The deadline to apply for federal assistance is April 7, 2024.

  Local Disaster Recovery Centers will be set up for applicants requiring in-person assistance from a FEMA representative and location information will be shared once details are finalized. For additional information, visit www.cantonmi.gov.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Voters to decide school millage renewal question I Feb. 27

The Non-Homestead millage renewal, covers operating 

revenue that impacts the Plymouth-Canton school district over the next 20 years. Last renewed in 2014, this is a request to continue funding what has been in place since 1994. The source of funding only impacts local 

businesses, second homes, commercial, industrial and non resident properties.  The proposal does not apply to private residences’ or raise taxes.

The millage represents the Plymouth-Canton Schools’ (P-CCS) general budget by $33.5 million dollars.  

Considered one of the best school districts in the State with 16,200 enrolled students, the funds are used for 

support staff, social workers, counselors, nurses, safety officers and teachers.  It is important to note that if the 

millage is not approved, the funds will not be covered by the State of Michigan.  

Local businesses will maintain the same rate as before.  The breakdown is that the district is able to levy 18 mills on Non-Homestead property through the 2023-24 school year.  

Renewed, the millage would stay at the same rate.   

Which means for a property value at $200,00 the tax cost would be  $3,600.  Superintendent of Plymouth-Canton 

Community Schools, (Recipient of the 2023 Superintendent of the Year Award), Dr. Monica Merritt, spoke at the 

Plymouth Rotary Luncheon on Friday Feb 9 to clarify any possible confusion concerning the millage.  “This is a renewal,

when I say renewal, it is not a tax increase or a new ask.  It is for businesses, commercial properties and second homes.”  She continued, “What does this support in Plymouth-Canton?  We always hear about our teachers who are a treasure trove of talent...we have over 1100 teachers in Plymouth/Canton and want to support our dynamic 

educators.”Voting in January, the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce, stated by letter, that the board of 

directors supports the millage renewal. The Chamber’s mission is to continue supporting economic growth to best serve the citizens of the Plymouth Community. For more information on the grant go to: PCCSK12.com

Northville Police Department awarded state re-accreditation

The professionalism of the Northville Township Police 

Department was recognized last week with the 

re-awarding of accredited status by the Michigan Law 

Enforcement Accreditation Commission (MLEAC). 

Accreditation verifies that the police department is 

dedicated to following the best practices of law 

enforcement, according to the commission website. By 

reviewing written documents, interviewing agency 

members and inspecting the township public safety 

headquarters, the MLEAC 

assessment team verified that the Northville Township Police complies with 108 standards applicable to the 

department.The assessment team is qualified to assess the performance of a department as it comprises law enforcement practitioners from similar Michigan police agencies. One member noted the low use-of- force rate. “This success is attributed to the efforts of our training staff putting together exceptional, relevant training; the efforts of dispatch controlling and directing a scene prior to patrol 

arrival; and then officers managing the scene and 

employing de-escalation whenever possible,” said Lt. Patrick Reinke.  Reinke also thanked the entire staff for participating in the rigorous process, including Public 

Safety Manager Lisa Harrison, who heads the 

accreditation team. “Accreditation makes our department stronger,” said Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Scott Hilden. “We have greater accountability, we reduce our risk and liability, and our operation runs efficiently as we tailor our responses to our community’s needs.” 

Northville Township Police Department first received 

MLEAC accreditation in February 2018. Reaccreditation occurs every three years making this the second 

reaccreditation for Northville Township. Northville Township was one of 10 agencies that renewed their accreditation. Twelve agencies received their initial accreditation, including the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s Criminal 

Investigations Division, the first state agency Policy to be accredited.

“Accreditation ensures that we’ve adopted best practice standards in law enforcement, which equips us to provide an exceptional level of customer service to our community,”  Hilden said. To learn more about the process, visit the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

Pedestrian Killed Crossing Ford Road

 Second Pedestrian Fatality This Year

Canton Township

 A 55-year old Canton man was killed walking near Ford Rd and Lilley Rd on Feb 6th at 9:22 pm.  The black Chevy Malibu was driven by a 23 year-year Ypsilanti man.  The police have not released the name of the 55-year-old 

Canton man who was killed in the crash,   Police do not believe that alcohol was the issue.

.

This is the second accident on a Canton Township road in 2024. Earlier this year on January 10th  at 10:38 pm, a 43-year-old Van Buren Township resident was walking near Interstate 275 and Michigan Avenue when killed by a hit and run.  Police found the man lying dead in the road. The vehicle that could have been involved may be a black 2010 or 2011 Toyota Camry.  The investigation is ongoing


According to Police, the driver did not stop.  No further details were released. 


Anyone who may have been a witness to the hit and run or have any information in regards to the crash can contact the Canton Police Department at 734-394-5400.

Doggone

Canton police K-9 officer and partner to retire from department



Canton Township Police Ofc. Bryan Szostak and his canine partner Ragnar will retire from the department.

Szostak began his 25-year career with the Canton in February 1999. 

Serving as a midnight shift patrol officer for his full career, Szostak 

responded to calls for service, provided traffic enforcement, conducted 

criminal investigations, and responded to emergency situations throughout the community, according to a department spokesman. In addition to his patrol duties, Szostak was involved with three special units for more than 20 years each. Szostak has been a member of the department  prestigious honor guard for the 24 years. As one of the founding members, and current leader, he has participated in Posting of the Colors for a multitude of ceremonial events throughout Canton and across the state.

Szostak is also one of the veteran advisors for the Explorer Unit, a program designed for teens interested in a career in law enforcement. Since 2000, he has dedicated countless hours to train and mentor students through instruction, scenario-based events, and the annual Governor’s Cup state competition.

The role Szostak is most notably associated with is that of Canton Township Police Canine Officer for two decades. Szostak’s passion for this unit has been unwavering and his love and commitment to his former canine  

partners Poncho and Hoss, and his current partner Ragnar, is evident to all who were around them. Szostak and his respective canine partner 

continuously trained in the tracking and apprehension of suspects, 

evidence, building, and missing person searches, crowd control, search warrants, and they 

participated in the ever-popular public demonstrations. Szostal and his 

canine partner were also required to certify bi-annually with the National 

Association of Professional Canine Handlers. Szostak has received 

numerous department awards and citations, as well as citizen recognitions for exceptional service, throughout his career. His knowledge, dedication and outgoing personality will be missed by his co-workers, police officials said.

“Today we honor Officer Szostak’s retirement, celebrating a remarkable career fueled by dedication and a profound commitment to policing,” said Police Chief Chad Baugh. “His transformative role with canine policing and training has set new standards of excellence and expectations within our force. Bryan’s dedication to community outreach, especially his work with children on the importance of police canines, has strengthened the bond between our citizens and police officers. As he embarks on retirement, we are confident that his 

legacy will continue to inspire and impact our community for many years,” Baugh added.

Closing of Northville Downs - A Bittersweet 80th Anniversary Celebration

 With more than 80 years of entertainment for horse racing enthusiasts, the oldest horse racing facility in Michigan, Northville Downs, held it’s final race on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.  A piece of history being lost, as Horse race betting is the oldest form of legal gambling in the state. Northville Downs opened in September 1944 offering the first night time harness racing in the United States.  From it’s inception it has been in operation.  The “Downs” has been open from noon until midnight every day offering simulcast races from across the country.  Located on Center St and 7 Mile Rd it replaced the Wayne Country Fair where Joe Louis trained in 1939 for the World Championship.  In Michigan, breeding, training and racing standards dates back to the 19th century.  At one point, Michigan was home to six harness racing tracks. In the last 15 years, three of the remaining four tracks — Jackson, Sports Creek and Hazel Park in Detroit — have all closed. That left Northville as the only track left. This has contributed to a mass exodus from the state by people who race horses for a living.

With a unanimous vote, Plymouth Township reversed the motion which had approved construction of a new track.  This would have been built on 128-acres owned by Northville Downs.   With recent developments, it has left a void for horse racing in Michigan with little 

preparation for horse owners and administrators time to react.  Increased shipping and travel expenses have left Racehorse owners with few options, since they will have to race in other States to stay in business.  

While searching for a new home, Owners may have limited options such as Historical Racing machines - similar to slot machines where betting can be waged on past horse races. 

Heritage Bakery 40 years of Baking

 New Owners - Celebrating Fat Tuesday Busiest Day of the Year


LIVONIA — Steeped in 40 years of tradition but with the eye on the future, Heritage Bakery, located at 37458 Five Mile Road, has been a popular go to location for baked goods.  Best known for their doughnuts, warm pretzels (baked throughout the day) and pasties, Owner, John Goci continues to expand and reinvent favorites while embracing the traditional.  Yesterday was Fat Tuesday and one of the busiest days of the year for the neighborhood bakery.  This year, they offered a variety of flavors along with the traditional paczki at $3.  This 

season the flavors included Chocolate, Custard, Bavarian Cream, Raspberry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Apple, Lemon, Cream Cheese, Apricot and Prune.  Deluxe Paczkis were also being offered.  They are sandwich shaped and hand piped with more filling - cost $4.00.  The Bakery offered daily orders making available whatever customers wanted for the following day. 

Speaking with Mr. Goci Wednesday afternoon he said, “Yesterday was the busiest day we’ve had since taking over the bakery.  The lines started at 4:00 in the morning and didn’t stop.  Even at closing time we were receiving more orders, making paczki after bakery hours”.  He continued, “This morning the calls are still coming in so we are baking to keep up, already selling out twice and it’s only 1:00 pm.  

Because of the demand we are going to offer paczki every Friday.”

Mr. Goci is proud of how they maintain the quality of their baked goods “Everything is still made by hand the old-fashioned way,” “It’s labor intensive.” “Many of our customers have been coming to the bakery since it opened in 1983”, then owned by Vic and Lidija 

Vangelov.  They still maintain a relationship with Mr. Goci and 

sometimes come by to help out.  The Bakery also sells bread, 

cookies and cannolis.  Plans to introduce gluten free is on the list of just some of the changes that Mr. Goci has planned.

The bakery’s hours are Tues through Friday 6 am to 5 pm, Sunday 7 am to 3 pm, Closed on Mondays.  The website is under construction.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Chilling Out

Kate Hart


Clear skies and bright sunshine was a great start to the Ice Festival.  
Though the warmer temperatures threatened to melt the many ice sculptures, they survived perfect weather for the festival. 


Plymouth is host of numerous festivals, but the Ice Festival is a favorite, with activities that cater to people of all ages.  Jake Villar, a 7th Grader at 

Plymouth Middle School, lives walking distance from Downtown.  “I can walk to Downtown from my house which is only five minutes away.  

I brought my dog Charlie to the Three Dog Bakery, bought a lemonade, and had our picture taken at one of the ice sculptures.  It’s so cool, that they allow dogs and I can walk there.  It’s my favorite festival”


EG Nicks, a popular restaurant in Plymouth, hosted a party for the event, which had an ice bar and a heated tent.  The ice bar is an annual favorite.  Indoors, a live band, Power Play Detroit, rocked the bar drawing a huge crowd.  Customers waited in line throughout the night to join the party inside.

Museum celebrates century of Rotary Club community service

 Kate Hart

 

The word “Rotary” conjures thoughts of dials on old 

telephones.  But for the citizens of Plymouth it reminds them of the Fall festival where hundreds of chicken dinners are roasting away in the outdoors. What many people don’t know is how much more there is to this philanthropic organization.  There are the many volunteers for fundraising while 

supporting local businesses, making the Rotary Club of 

Plymouth, one of the most charitable organizations in the city. 


The Plymouth Historical Museum is presenting a 100-year look on how the Rotary Club of Plymouth was founded.  The exhibit has documented history of the Rotary Club along with items of interest; gavels used by its past presidents, the 

original charter members bios, memorabilia from the past, 

the history of charitable events and even reveal how they make those delicious chicken dinners!


Not only can you visit the history of the Rotary Club but there is “A Century of Service,” where you can walk down Main Street experiencing Plymouth’s past. Or maybe a visit of the Lincoln Room, displaying many Lincoln memorabilia.  Finally, there is a walk of the Timeline, viewing items that bring back those nostalgic memories of the past.


Museum is located in Downtown Plymouth at 

155 S. Main Street.

Museum hours are 

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

1 – 4 PM.

Miracle on Ice


 Special needs children enjoyed unique festival ice exhibit

Ashley Willet


Each year, a local non-profit organization called Miracle League of Plymouth does a sensory-friendly event the night before the Plymouth Ice Festival for children and families with special needs. Deb Madonna founded Miracle League of Plymouth. She had a passion for encouraging the community to come out and play some baseball with some amazing special needs children. She served as president of the league for 10 years until she passed the “bat” to her son Mark Madonna. Deb Madonna still can be seen cheering at the games, sitting in the stands and giving high-fives to 

every player she meets. This event is an especially important event for Miracle League of Plymouth because not many children with special needs like large and loud crowds. 

The special ice festival event was held on Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. because children with special needs do not like major crowds and the festival draws huge crowds each year. This special event was low-key, quiet, sensory friendly and family oriented. There was ice sculptures visitors were be able to touch as a sensory experience and music, along with food trucks on site offering refreshments. Children were able to dance and enjoy the games offered which include special prizes and arts and crafts projects.

The special event took place at The Gathering across from Kellogg Park on Thursday, Feb.1.at 6:30 to 8:30p.m. in the heated pavilion, downtown Plymouth.