Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Residents question proposed Downs development

It's the traffic.
That was the consensus of concern expressed at a recent Northville Downtown Development Authority committee meeting regarding the proposed development of property at the Northville Downs site downtown.
Chris Alexander, senior development director for Watermark Residential, the company planning to construct luxury apartments and businesses on a 9.5 acre north section of the 50 acre racetrack site, attended the meeting in an effort to keep city officials and residents informed regarding the latest designs and plans for the area. He said he understood that the concern of residents and officials was the appropriate use of the property in the community.

Death of Ted Scott mourned in area

Ted Scott
The death of former Westland Fire Chief, Wayne County Safety Director and Wayne County Community College Trustee and Board Chairman Theodore (Ted)  Scott is being mourned throughout the area.
Mr. Scott, 84, died Dec. 27 at St. Mary Hospital in Livonia with his family surrounding him. He had suffered a cardiac incident while leaving a holiday party the previous week and was revived at the scene by another former Westland Fire Chief, Mark Neal, and other retired fire department and city employees. He was transported to the hospital, but he did not survive.

Ford Road ‘boulevard’ will take 2-3 years to complete

Drivers hoping for the much-needed traffic improvements along Ford Road in Canton Township will continue to wait as the start date for the project is now estimated as 2021 or 2022.
The 2.5 mile boulevard will separate east and westbound traffic on Ford Road and eliminate the current left-turn lane, a change designed to improve safety along the stretch of roadway that Township Supervisor Pat Williams has called “one of the most-dangerous roads in southeastern Michigan.”
Canton Township officials met with representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation, (MDOT) last month in an effort to determine the timeline for the project.

Read on

Little Free Libraries prove popular

with readers throughout community

Julie Brown, Staff Writer

Little Free Libraries are popular attractions
throughout the entire area, maintained
by Rotary clubs, the YMCA and churches. 
When Dick Schmidt of Plymouth became a Rotarian, he wanted to serve his community both locally and worldwide.
Schmidt, a sales representative, found the Rotary Club of Plymouth A.M.'s work inspiring. A Rotary focus is literacy, so club members researched the Little Free Library initiative.
“Supporting reading was a natural for us. The idea  behind the Little Free Libraries is to put books close to residents and make it easy and free to get a book and read.”

Meter replacement under way in City of Northville

The New Year will bring some changes to homes throughout the City of Northville.
Workers recently began a city-wide water meter replacement program to install new water meters and replace second water meters used exclusively for outdoor use, such as for in-ground lawn sprinkler systems.
“The majority of water meters in the city are 20 years old or older and have reached the end of their projected life cycle,” said DPW Director Loyd Cureton. “Our department personnel will manage and work with the contractor and residents to ensure the work is done properly and efficiently. These new water meters meet the State of Michigan 'no lead' requirements and are guaranteed accurate for 20 years.”

Plymouth Ice Festival will feature 20-block sculpture this year

The huge 20-block Michigan First Credit Union
sponsored sculpture at the 2019 Plymouth Ice Festival
was also carved by champion Tajana Raukar of
Ice Dreams and drew crowds last year. 
Again this year, Tajana Raukar will be a big deal at the Plymouth Ice Festival.
Raukar, the owner of Ice Dreams Sculptures, will carve the largest ice sculpture in Kellogg Park sponsored by Michigan First Credit Union.
Raukar, a world champion, will carve 20 blocks of ice, each about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide into the large work of art-exactly what she will be carving remained a secret at press time, but rumors indicated it would certainly have something to do with the Red Wings.
Raukar is used to working in subzero temperatures and keeps her studio in Plymouth at about 9 degrees so she can maintain the integrity of the ice while she works.
Professional carvers from Ice Dreams will be creating many of the sculptures seen in front of businesses and in the park during the festival this year.

Hockey classes set to begin

Registration for the next Learn to Play Hockey sessions at the Plymouth Cultural Center is now under way. The classes, which are an introduction to hockey programs intended for players 4 to 9 years of age, will begin Jan. 4. 
The program includes seven skating sessions and will continue through Feb. 23. The cost per student is $85.

Holiday surprise

When officers from the Romulus Police Department learned Dec. 21 that Detroit Thermal Local UAW 845 had more than 20 Christmas dinners available to donate to local families, and that another local business had donated 60 brand new toys to the city, they wasted no time in finding families to help.
City officials immediately contacted Romulus Community Schools elementary principals who, although they were on break, quickly located families in need of meals and toys to brighten their holidays.
On Monday, Dec. 23, off-duty Romulus police officers, including Sgt. Rodger Salwa, Sgt. Matthew Kroll, Sgt. Eric Harris, Sgt. Nicole Harris and Linsey Green from the records bureau along with city staff members banded together to deliver meals and toys to local families who were overjoyed to receive the surprise gifts.

Library director receives raise, standing ovation

Belleville District Library Director Mary Jo Suchy received an early Christmas surprise that will continue all year.
During the Dec. 10 meeting of the library board, Suchy received top marks on her annual evaluation along with a 3.7 percent raise and a standing ovation.
Board members were asked to evaluate Suchy's performance during the year on a scale of one through six. Her scores, according to Linda Priest, chair of the board personnel committee, were above average in all categories as rated by all board members.

‘Porch pirate’ is arrested

Chase Alan Basham
One porch pirate in Van Buren Township is facing criminal charges following his arrest last week.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Chase Alan Basham, 36,of Belleville, in connection with multiple thefts that occurred between 1 and 2 p.m. Dec. 18. It is alleged that Basham stole personal property from porches of several private residences in Van Buren Township.
He has been charged with: one count of larceny - $200-$1000, seven  counts of larceny under $200, and eight counts of package theft, all misdemeanors.
Basham was arraigned  Dec. 20 in 34th District Court in Romulus and received $10,000 or 10 percent bond. His pre-trial date was scheduled for today, Jan. 2.


Annual charity raffle provides
Holiday food, toys for families

State Rep. Jewell Jones and Fred Smiley,
 founder and president of the Legends of Basketball
 join in the shopping for toys for 300 children
funded by the annual holiday raffle this year.
More than 100 families and 300 children were able to celebrate the Christmas holiday this year with food and toys provided by the annual Inkster Legends of Basketball Holiday Raffle.
According to founder and Director Fred Smiley, the event again this year at the Booker T. Dozier Recreation Center was “a smashing success.”
Smiley repeatedly thanked all the donors and sponsors, along with the volunteers, who made the event possible again this year.

On the job

Wayne welcomed a new officer to the police force last month when Charles Woody was officially sworn in during the Dec. 17 meeting of the Wayne City Council members. Woody graduated from the Wayne County Regional Police Academy in November and earned his bachelor of science degree from Central Michigan University. Woody will undergo the required training period under the supervision of an experienced officer, according to Police Chief Ryan Strong. Woody's family and friends were on hand to witness his oath of office.

Seasonal celebration

The Christmas Concert by music students from the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park has become an annual tradition with the Plymouth Noon Rotary Club and this year was no exception. The students filled the Cultural Center just before the holidays and the Festival Singers presented choral selections under the direction of Jennifer Neumann while the Symphony Strings performed holiday and traditional instrumental favorites under the direction of Catherine DePentu. The singers were accompanied by Carole DeHart on the piano. Photo by Sean Rhaesa

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Local pharmacies tied to drug fraud charges

Five pharmacies in the City of Westland and two located in Canton Township are among 26 implicated in a $46 million criminal scheme to submit insurance claims for medications that were not prescribed.
Ten individuals are facing multiple felony charges as a result of the investigation which authorities claim began in July of 2014.
Court records charge that the 10 defendants conspired to defraud co-pay programs by submitting claims for fraudulent prescriptions from January 2014 through November of this year. They submitted requests for reimbursements from pharmaceutical manufacturers for medications that were not prescribed by physicians or dispensed at the involved pharmacies, according to court records.

Special premiere

Ice Festival to open with 
sensory awareness event

The Miracle League of Plymouth and the Plymouth District Library have joined forces to offer a special sensory friendly evening at the Plymouth Ice Festival for special needs families.
The evening will offer an early look at the 2020 Ice Festival events from 6-8 p.m. Jan 9 at the library. Called “A Sensory Friendly Plymouth Ice Festival Evening” the event will feature live ice carving the entrance to the library, sensory friendly entertainment inside the library and interactive sensory ice blocks.

$776 million upgrade set at Michigan Assembly plant

Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne
The Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne will see $766.5 million in renovations and retooling for the production of the resurrected Ford Bronco sport utility vehicle, according to a formal announcement from the Michigan Strategic Fund which awarded Ford Motor Co. $35.3 million in new tax incentives last week.
The automaker plans a combined $1.5 billion in capital investment at the Wayne and Dearborn assembly plants.
Ford employs 2,745 workers at Michigan Assembly and 6,203 at the Dearborn Truck Plant.

Northville Township names new managers

Marina Neumaier 

Todd Mutchler has been named Northville Township Manager effective Dec. 14.
He will succeed Debbie Wilhelm who served in an interim capacity following the retirement of long-time Township Manager Chip Snyder in October.
Mutchler  joined the Charter Township of Northville in May of 2016 and has served as both deputy director of police services and director of public safety. An official statement from the township noted that Mutchler, “brings extensive experience and will add the necessary leadership to cohesively manage the changes currently happening in the organization and the community.”

Teens charged with car theft, vehicle break-ins

Vantae Pitts
Michael Tolbert
A pair of 17-year-olds from Detroit have been charged with vehicle theft and larceny from parked cars in Northville Township.
As part of an increased holiday shopping patrol effort, a Northville Township officer was driving through the parking lot at the Meijer store at Eight Mile and Haggerty Road at about 5:45 p.m. Dec. 7 when he was approached by a shopper who claimed that their car had been broken into and items stolen while they had been in the store.

Plymouth murder-suicide investigation continues

Plymouth Township police continue to investigate an apparent murder-suicide which occurred Dec. 17.
Evidence at the scene in the 14000 block of C Drive in the township indicate that 46-year-old James Salamay shot and killed his estranged wife, Christina, 37, before turning the weapon on himself.

Canton prohibits smoking at all parks, recreation facilities

Visitors to any Canton Township park or Leisure Services property will have to 'butt out' starting with the New Year.
Canton trustees approved a ban on smoking in all Canton parks and on Leisure Services facility properties in November with the adoption of revisions to the Canton Parks and Recreation Ordinance which now prohibit smoking of tobacco and other substances, as well as the use of vaping products on Leisure Services properties and parks, with the exception of designated smoking areas for adults at the two township golf courses.

Accused arsonist arrested, charged in Canton house fire

A Waterford man is facing felony charges in connection with a house fire that took place in Canton Township in February.
Jason Michael Wilkinson, 38, was arraigned Dec. 10 in 35th District Court on two charges related to a residential structure fire that occurred on Crestmont Drive.

Van Buren Township files suit against Visteon

Van Buren Township has filed a lawsuit against Visteon claiming the company has failed to honor an agreement regarding $28 million in bonds the township issued to help fund the automotive supplier world headquarters. Again.
The township claims that Visteon agreed to cover any shortfall in tax revenue as payments are due on the bonds issued by the township in 2003. Visteon denies any such agreement and asserts that the company does not owe the township any money.
The township first filed suit against Visteon in 2015 noting the anticipated shortfall. That suit was dismissed by the court which said the township could not sue claiming a shortfall that had not yet occurred. Both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court agreed with that decision.

Romulus mayor working to promote new city development

As officials in the City of Romulus look forward to another year, they find themselves in an enviable position: a lot of land to work from
The city, which was recognized by the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) as the largest area of growth in Wayne County during the past two years, is looking at ways to bring development to the vacant land near Metro Airport to capitalize on the nearby freeways and other transportation hubs.

Inkster sets citizens’ meeting

The first meeting of the mayor's policy working groups in Inkster is set for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Dozier Recreation Center.
According to Dennis Black, a senior advisor in the mayor's office, the meeting is part of the mayor's policy working effort to ensure transparency and public involvement in city government.

$16.5 million Regency nursing care facility celebrates grand opening

It took several years but the new $16.5 million Regency of Westland officially opened last week and Mayor William R. Wild has high hopes for the facility.
Wild said that while he was well aware of the difficulties which faced the construction of the new nursing facility, he was excited that the construction was complete.
Wild said that he hopes the development at the former Moody's Landscape yard will prompt more development in the area.

Drawing a crowd

Wayne-Westland Community School students were asked to make a poster with the theme “What an All American Winter Holiday Looks Like to Me”. All the entries were displayed inside of Westland City Hall and the winners chosen by votes from hundreds of residents attending the annual Deck the City Hall event. First Place winner was Gionna Catchingss from Edison Elementary School who received congratulations from Mayor William R. Wild. Second place was awarded to Kristina Panchava Marinova from Edison Elementary School while third place went to Amber Joy Cummings from Walker-Winter Elementary School. Each winner received gift cards to the MJR Cinemas.

Candidates for Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne Westland sought

The Distinguished Young Women of Wayne-Westland scholarship program is offering something more this year with the inclusion of candidates from throughout Wayne County.
This year, the program will take place March 6 at Wayne Memorial High School and will name the Distinguished Young Women of Wayne-Westland and Wayne County as part of a national program which awards scholarships for young women's achievements. Young women who are in the graduation class of 2021 and involved in school and/or community activities can enter the competition which also requires candidates to be outstanding in academics, leadership, athletics or the arts.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Canton offers diversion program for youth crimes

Sometimes the key to crime prevention is intervention rather than imprisonment.
A new program in Canton Township in conjunction with Growth Works and the office of the Wayne County Prosecutor offers an alternative intervention system for juvenile offenders. The program works to improve patterns of juvenile behavior through alternatives outside the criminal justice system, while maintaining the community standards and expectations of the involved victims or complaining parties.
The Canton Police Department implemented the one-year pilot program last October, and already has 27 young offenders participating in the Juvenile Diversion Program. The Canton Juvenile Diversion Program was developed around the State of Michigan Act 13 of 1988. Juveniles who commit one of a specified list of misdemeanor offenses can be referred to the program. Offenses such as possession of marijuana, alcohol, tobacco or vape materials; simple assault, disorderly conduct, communicating threats, trespassing, undisciplined juveniles who are habitual runaways or have truancy or curfew violations, larceny or damage to property offenses can be sent into the program as an alternative to more severe punishments. All juvenile offenders in Canton are now considered for the diversion program, which refers them to Growth Works, a counseling service,  where staff members establish a customized 12-week course of action for the offender.

Mattress employees ‘stuff’ the Toys for Tots bins

Employees and the owner from the Serta Mattress
bedding factory in Romulus donated more than
$3,000 in gifts to Toys for Tots this year, topping
the $1,000 they gave to the holiday charity organization
last year. Photo by Tracy Bostwick.
The spirit of giving is alive and well at the Serta Mattress facility in Romulus.
To date, employees have donated more than $3,000 to help Toys for Tots this year, topping their contribution of more than $1,000 last year.
The bedding manufacturing plant was founded by Harry Kraft in 1913 and is currently owned by his great-grandson, Larry Kraft, now the CEO, who has joined the employees in generously contributing to the holiday effort. 

Republic Waste awarded 5-year contract extension in Belleville

Republic Waste will continue as the waste hauler in Belleville for another five years, following a unanimous vote to continue with the company which has served the city for 15 years.
Four bids for the service which includes hauling away refuse, recycling and yard-waste for about 1,100 stops in the city were received and reviewed by Belleville DPW Director Rick Rutherford and City Manager Diana Kollmeyer who recommended that council approve continuing with Republic during the meeting last week.

Loving tribute

Parents honor deceased son’s wish 

Julie Brown - Staff Writer

Trevor Blumberg
Terry and Jan Blumberg are honoring the final wishes of their son, Trevor, who was killed in action Sept. 14, 2003.
Growing up in Canton Township meant a great deal to the U.S. Army sergeant who was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, his parents said and they are honoring his wish to establish a retreat center in northern Michigan with the help of volunteers and veterans organizations.
The couple stays in touch with members of their son's Army unit through email and Facebook, although Jan Blumberg noted that some veterans remain distant as memories are too painful.
Veterans also face post-traumatic stress disorder, she added, and visiting the retreat named Blum's Landing helps them. Trevor's unit members have visited the retreat near Lake Huron beaches. The veteran and his or her most immediate family stay at the home which serves as a free bed and breakfast retreat.

Metroparks welcomes first new canine police officer

Officer Parks, assisted by his handler Ofc. Tom Green,
poses for his official portrait after being sworn
into office as a member of the Huron-Clinton
Metroparks Police Department last week.
The Huron-Clinton Metro-parks Police Department congratulated the newest officer on the force last week when he was awarded his training diploma and officially sworn into the department.
Officer Parks, a Labrador Retriever, joined the force in February and recently successfully completed all his necessary training and was awarded his diploma during the December meeting of the Metroparks Board of Commissioners meeting earlier this month.

Superintendent receives high marks, raise

Superintendent Pete Kudlak
Van Buren Public Schools Superintendent Pete Kudlak went to the top of the class with the high marks he received on his evaluation from the members of the board of education.
Members of the board rated Kudlak's performance during the past year as “highly effective” the highest rating possible. They also approved a year-long contract extension and an increase in salary to $154,000 annually. 

Seasonal celebration

Families gathered at the Romulus Senior Center from 10:30 until noon Dec. 8 to get an early start on celebrating the holidays during the annual Brunch with Santa event, hosted by the Romulus Recreation Department. Guests enjoyed breakfast, arts and crafts and a special story time with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Metro Detroit Airport wins highest customer rating

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) ranks number one for overall traveler satisfaction among 17 other mega airports in North America, according to J.D. Power's 14th annual North American Airport Satisfaction Study for 2019.
The 2019 North America Airport Satisfaction Study measures overall traveler satisfaction with mega, large and medium North American airports by examining six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport accessibility; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.

New recruit

Wayne police now have full-time therapy dog at station

The latest member of the Wayne Police Department offers a unique service to officers and victims alike: tail wags and pats and once in awhile, even a sloppy kiss or two.
Zeke, the official therapy dog of the department, has successfully completed 24 weeks of obedience training and is certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.  The international therapy dog organization provides testing and certification for therapy dog teams and requires obedience testing, veterinarian certification and observation from trained examiners in various settings.

Meeting of Distinguished Young Women hopefuls set

An orientation meeting for Distinguished Young Women of Wayne-Westland candidates will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26 at 32807 Manor Park in Garden City.
This year, the pageant will also include candidates for Distinguished Young Women of Wayne County.

Northville honors ‘Firefighter of the Year’

Lt Northville City Firefighter of the
Year Lt. Matt Samhat is congratulated
by his wife, Annie.
Lt. Matt Samhat was honored as the 2019 Northville City Fire Department firefighter of the Year at the annual holiday dinner on Dec. 6.
 Assigned to Station 1 in downtown Northville,  Samhat combines his responsibilities as an on-call firefighter and EMT with a young family and his own construction and property management business, according to officials. He comes from an entrepreneurial family - his father has his own law firm and his grandfather was a builder.

Canton trustees OK staff wage hikes, decline raises

Julie Brown - Staff Writer

While the members of the Canton Township Board of Trustees approved pay raises for township employees, they declined any raises for themselves at their Dec. 10 meeting.
Board members approved the labor pact for the International Union of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees which calls for raises of 2.5 percent, each, in years 2020 and 2021, with 2 percent raises for AFSCME employees in years 2022 and 2023.

Art entries being accepted

Area artists have only until Dec. 27 to enter the Three Cities Art Club Martin Luther King and Black History Month Exhibit at the Gallery at Westland City Hall.
The exhibit will continue from Jan. 10 through Feb. 28 and feature original drawings, painting sand photography. First prize winner will be awarded $200, second prize is $100 and third prize winner will be awarded $50. In addition the winner of Mayor William R. Wild's Wild About Art Award will take home a $100 award.

Local tattoo artist facing sexual misconduct charges

Alex Boyko
An area tattoo artist has been arrested on charges of criminal sexual conduct for acts that allegedly took place in the City of Plymouth in 2015.
Alex Boyko, 26, was arraigned Dec. 12 in 35th District Court before Judge Michael Gerou on three counts of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct. The charges are misdemeanors carrying a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment. Gerou ordered a $50,000, or 10 percent bond, no travel outside Michigan, and no tattooing of women without adult supervision in addition to wearing an electronic tether. Boyko was also ordered not to have contact with the victim in the allegations.

Inkster sets holiday hours

Like other municipal offices throughout the area, the Inkster city administration buildings will have special hours during the holiday season.
City offices will close from 1 until 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20. The offices will also be closed from noon until 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23.

Arts complex awarded $40,000 state grant

The Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex (PARC) has received a grant of $40,000 from the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs (MCACA) to help fund major repairs and renovations to the parking lot behind the building.
Following approval of the state budget, MCACA officials announced that the council would be able to move forward with the funding process and grant awards.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Recycling millage may be on Westland ballot

Voters may have the opportunity to reactivate the popular curbside recycling program in Westland. 
Members of the city council have been discussing the possibility of placing a 1-mill tax question to fund the recycling program on the March ballot. If voters approve the question at the ballot box, the city could then levy $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value to fund the program.

Hometown heroes

As has become a holiday tradition, the Noon Rotary Club of Plymouth honored the Officers of the Year at their luncheon meeting last Friday at the Community Center. The recipients of the Public Safety Awards are selected for the honors based on their year-long outstanding performance of public service, demonstrating exemplary dedication to helping those in crisis. Chosen for the honors this year were, seated from left: Lt. Peter Bukis of the Plymouth Township Fire Department; Ofc. Jeff Jones of the Plymouth City Police Department; Dave Westendorf a Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) community paramedic; Lt. Tim Cataiano of the Northville/Plymouth Fire Department and Ofc. Christopher Wilder of the Plymouth Township Police Department. Proudly standing the first-responders are their respective department leaders, from left, Plymouth Township Fire Chief Dan Phillips; City Public Safety Director Al Cox; Huron Valley Ambulance Vice President Andy Savage; Northville Fire Chief Stephen Ott and Plymouth Township Police Chief Tom Tiderington. Each of the honorees will have their name engraved on the perpetual plaques displayed at their respective stations, an individual plaque and a $50 gift card from the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Dave Willett.)

Sale of historic mills OK'd by county commissioners

Artist's rendering of plan
for Wilcox Mill renovation.
Members of the Wayne County Commission voted last week to approve Purchase and Development Agreements for the Wilcox Mill, located in the City of Plymouth, and Newburgh Mill, located in Livonia, properties adjacent to Hines Park. Commissioners voted 11-3 in favor of the sales and also approved an agreement to acquire 16.73 acres in Westland from the Wayne County Land Bank at the former site of the Hawthorne Valley Golf Course.
As part of the purchase and development agreements for both the Wilcox and Newburgh mills, Wayne County retains first right of refusal to repurchase the property should the new owners decide to sell them in the future. The sale price for 4.3-acre Wilcox site was reported at $360,000 and $405,000 for the 1.8-acre Newburgh site. Revenue from the sales will be reinvested into Wayne County Parks, according to an official statement from the county.

Warm welcome

A crowd of more than 2,000 reportedly attended the arrival of a very special visitor in Wayne last Saturday when Santa made his official appearance. The event, hosted by the Wayne Historical Society included musical entertainment, a Christmas Market and the official tree lighting ceremony. There was also a petting farm and free cookies and hot chocolate at the First Methodist Church. Every child in attendance received a gift from Hill Crest Bible Church. Sponsors of the city event this year included Mark Chevrolet; Demmer Ford; Diary Queen; Wayneland Eagle Riders; Hill Crest Bible Church; First Congregational Church; Village Dental; First Methodist United Church; Kurt's Caps; Scotty's Potty's; Sedalia Designs; Wayne DDA; Wayne Rotary Club;

Annual Legends Holiday Raffle event next week

The Annual Christmas Giveaway in Inkster is set for next Wednesday and ticket holders have high hopes for winning one of more than 25 prizes.
Every year, the giveaway provides groceries, clothes, food and toys to 100 Inkster families in need for the holiday funded by the sale of raffle tickets for numerous prizes. The event, organized annually by the Inkster Legends of Basketball, will offer three grand prizes, including a family package to see the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters along with a $50 dinner card; a family package for two nights at the luxurious Mackinac Island Bayshore Resort along with a $50 gas card and four tickets to see the Detroit Pistons play the Milwaukee bucks Feb. 20, 2020, which also include a $50 dinner card.

Splash Park wins state design award

The new Van Buren Township Quirk Park
Splash Pad & Playground will be awarded the
 2020 Park Design Award from the
Michigan Recreation & Park Association.
The new Van Buren Township Quirk Park Splash Pad & Playground will be awarded the 2020 Park Design Award from the Michigan Recreation & Park Association (mParks).
The award honors exemplary park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates and is presented to mParks agency members in honor of outstanding landscape design, facility or architectural design and park design. The mParks awards program encompasses five award categories - Design, Organization, Marketing, Individual and Therapeutic Recreation. 

14-year veteran police officer is promoted to lieutenant

Lt. Labrit Jackson
It's now 'lieutenant' when addressing Labrit Jackson of the Romulus Police Department.
Jackson, a 14-year veteran of the department, was officially named to his new rank on Nov. 25 and congratulated by Mayor LeRoy Burcroff and members of the city council during their regular meeting.

Teen facing charges in thefts from parked cars

Kevin William Chenevare-Lowery, Jr.
A 19-year-old Ypsilanti man is facing multiple criminal charges in connection with thefts from parked vehicles in Canton Township.
Kevin William Chenevare-Lowery, Jr. was arraigned on one felony and two misdemeanor charges in 35th District Court Dec. 6 following his arrest by Canton Township Police Dec. 5. Officers had been investigating a recent increase of thefts from vehicles in the Geddes and Beck road area and were contacted last Thursday by a local resident who observed suspicious behavior recorded on  exterior home security cameras.

Spotlight Players present It's a Wonderful Worldful

Cast members of”It's A Wonderful Worldful Of Christmas,”
 presented By Spotlight On Youth, perform
 in the Biltmore Studio at the Village Theater. 
Spotlight on Youth will present “It's A Wonderful Worldful of Christmas,” in the Biltmore Studio of The Village Theater at Cherry Hill.
Performances are planned for 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 13, and 14 and 2 p.m. matinees scheduled Dec. 14 and 15.

Downtown flood plain area may be re-mapped

The flood plain in the City of Northville could be reduced in light of recent engineering studies.
City Manager Pat Sullivan responded to an inquiry from resident Jim Koster of St. Lawrence Boulevard during the recent meeting of city council members. Koster asked why the flood plain is being re-examined during the public comments portion of the meeting agenda.

Twice as nice

City, Parkside Credit Union raffling off 
2 Westland Center $5,000 shopping sprees

Jay Towers of WNIC radio Jay Towers in the Morning 
Jay Towers of the WNIC radio show, Jay Towers in the Morning, will feel a little like Santa this Saturday.
Westland has partnered with the radio station and Parkside Credit Union for a shopping spree giveaway event, part of the Westland Shop and Dine campaign and this year will raffle off two $5,000 shopping sprees Saturday at Westland Center.

City commission OK’s design phase for road repairs

Following approval of a 10-year bond by voters last month, members of the Plymouth City Commission authorized the design phase for the 2020 Street Improvement Project.
The commissioners approved the measure at a regular meeting last month.

Almost home

Work is moving at a fast pace on the latest “building trades” home being constructed as a cooperative effort among the City of Westland, Wayne - Westland Community Schools District and the Construction Technology Department of William D. Ford Career-Technical Center. The project began last fall as the groups marked 10 years of partnership with the “wall raising” of the house at 615 S. Schuman, the 10th home constructed under the agreement. The future home serves as the classroom from wall raising to total completion in the vocational on the job experience for the students.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

County commission to vote on sale of mills

Artist's rendering of plan for Wilcox Mill renovation.
Tony Roko and Richard Cox each had something special to be thankful for last week. During an overflowing public meeting of the Wayne County Commission Committee on Public Services Nov. 26, committee members voted unanimously to send both Roko and Cox' proposals to purchase the Wilcox Mill and Newburgh Mill, respectively, to the full commission for a vote. Roko's plan for the historic Wilcox mill, built by Henry Ford and designed by famed architect Albert Kahn, restores the abandoned building to public use as an art education facility and studio.

School district to request $275 million bond issue

Members of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education have approved a $275 million bond request for the March 10 ballot next year. 
Superintendent of Schools Monica Merritt stressed that the bond, if approved by voters, would not require any increase to the current district millage rate of 4.02 mills.
The bond proposal was approved following 12 months of research and input from district officials, members of the community and professional consultants and includes projects to be completed in all school buildings during the next 10 years.

Northville upgrades police body, patrol car cameras

Those interacting with police officers in Northville should be on their best behavior as they are now on camera.
The Northville City Police Department has upgraded patrol car vehicle cameras and each officer on patrol now wears a camera that records both audio and video of every encounter. While citizens are not expressly told they are being recorded on video during the encounter with officers, a red light goes on when the camera is active.
Members of the Northville City Council approved the purchase of six vehicle cameras and 13 body-worn cameras, along with an internal on-site server for video storage and high-tech software. The new equipment had been tested for several months prior to purchase and was initiated in October.

Romulus OK’s re-zoning for new trucking facility

Scott Spielman
Special Writer

Another trucking facility could come to a vacant parcel on Ecorse Road in Romulus. 
Members of the city council approved a request last week to rezone a 10-acre site between Inkster and Middle Belt roads from light industrial use to industrial transportation uses. Peter Zelos, an architect representing the potential buyer, said the sale would be contingent upon the rezoning.
The plan would be to establish a trucking facility on site, along with an 8,000-square-foot dispatch and truck repair facility. There would be space for about 30 trucks and or trailers to be parked on the site, he said.

Laurain to lead county police chiefs association

Public Safety Director
Gregory Laurain
Van Buren Township Public Safety Director Gregory M. Laurain will serve as the new president of the Wayne County Association of Chiefs of Police.
Laurain was sworn into his new leadership role by 34th District Court Judge David M. Parrott during a meeting of the executive board of the association at the Ted Scott Campus of Wayne County Community College District in Belleville.

At long last

Former Kmart building to be razed

Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise received a pleasant start to the holiday season last week when demolition permits were issued for the former Kmart site on Ann Arbor Road near Haggerty in the township.
Demolition at the longtime eyesore should begin, Heise said, in early December and the construction of a new $93 million Henry Ford Hospital outpatient and health care facility begin. The new facility is expected to be complete in 2021, Heise noted.

Historic Massey home sold to special needs care facility

The historic home of the late Don Massey has been sold to the Living and Learning Enrichment Center to be used as a new campus for services to teens and adults with autism and other special needs.
Mr. Massey, the car dealer known as the Cadillac king, owned a chain of automobile dealerships in Ohio and Michigan. He lived in the 6,000 square-foot home built in the 1920s until his death in 2011, just before his 83rd birthday.

Northville again wins report award

For the 14th consecutive year, the City of Northville has received a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from  the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). A Certification of Recognition for Budget Presentation for fiscal year 2019 was presented to Sandi Wiktorowski, finance director/treasurer for the city.

Can we talk?

Gift of Life launches minority education effort  

Terra Defoe, a liaison for Detroit Mayor
Mike Duggan's office, speaks to the audience
at a recent Let's Talk campaign of Gift of Life Michigan.
Jerome Espy was talking about the need for organ, tissue and eye donors at an event last year when heard a familiar phrase:
“Oh no, I'm not doing that. I'm taking my organs with me.”
Espy, who received a donated kidney about a year ago, said it was an important reminder of common thoughts and myths regarding organ and tissue donation and the subsequent need for the Let's Talk campaign initiated this year by Gift of Life Michigan and the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program foundation (MOTTEP).
“I know those kinds of attitudes exist in our community,” said Espy. “That's why 'Let's Talk' is important.”
The Let's Talk Campaign is the first Gift of Life Michigan multicultural campaign designed to increase awareness of the need for more donors in multicultural communities, dispel common misconceptions about organ, tissue and eye donation, and to help people make informed decisions about the process. Espy, along with Gift of Life ambassadors, community advocates and influencers, got together recently to talk about its successes and to discuss its future.

Canton Library to host annual ‘Snow Spree’ event

Whether you smile at the first sight of snow or are counting the days until spring, Canton Public Library has plenty of reasons to celebrate winter.
The library will host the annual Winter Snow Spree from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17. Outdoor activities include rides on the Canton Express train and pictures with a reindeer. To warm up, there will be hot chocolate and crafts inside.

Festival fallout

Blues, Brews and Barbeque funds
presented to local charities, groups

While thousands of people enjoyed Blues Brews and Barbeque in Westland this year, hundreds more will benefit from the event.
Recently, Mayor William R. Wild presented checks for more than $20,000 to 16 local community organizations, funded by the Blues, Brews and Barbeque festival. To date, the event has generated a total of nearly $250,000 for local charitable organizations during the nine years it has taken place in the community.

Close shave?

The faces of the Wayne Police Department have changed and will be changing again this month as several officers shave for the first time in several weeks. The department-wide facial hair was obvious evidence of the officers' participation in Movember, a campaign that urges men to grow mustaches, and beards, to raise awareness of men's health and part of the Movember Foundation. Last year, through pledges and donations, the Wayne Police Department raised $2,600 for the foundation and this year set a goal of $3,000 for the month-long campaign. At last report, the campaign had generated more than $2,000 but no final total was available at press time.

Legislator speaks to Rotary club

Julie Brown
Staff Writer

State Rep. Kevin Coleman, who represents both Wayne and Westland in the Michigan Legislature, said he is well aware that Michigan roads are in bad shape. Coleman, a freshman Democrat, told Westland Rotarians recently an “us vs. them” mentality between metropolitan Detroit and the rest of Michigan is part of the problem.
Rotarian John Albrecht pointed out how much better roads are in northern Michigan. Coleman, a former Westland City Council member and first-term state representative, noted a budget stalemate in Lansing, partly due to partisan differences.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Public safety director sues Canton Township

Joshua Meier
Public Safety Director Joshua Meier has filed a lawsuit against Canton Township claiming an error in the calculation of his pension amount.
Meier filed the lawsuit Nov. 7 and named as defendants Township Supervisor Pat Williams, Human Resources Manager Kerreen Conley, the members of the board of trustees and the township merit commission. Court filings indicate that Meier's pension formula multiplier was reduced by .3 percent, decreased from 2.8 to 2.5. The multiplier factor determines the size of the lifetime annuity a pensioner receives, usually a percentage of compensation multiplied by years of service.

Re-opening of Lilley Road bridge is celebrated

Canton Municipal Services Director Jade Smith, left, former 
Canton Supervisor Phil LaJoy, Wayne County Executive 
Chief of Staff  Assad TurfeWayne County Director of 
Public Services Beverly Watts, Wayne County Commissioner 
Melissa Daub, Canton Clerk Michael Siegrist, 
Canton Supervisor Pat Williams, Wayne County Executive 
Warren Evans,  Canton Trustee Anne Marie Graham-Hudak, 
Canton Treasurer Dian Slavens, Canton Trustee Sommer Foster, 
Canton Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Paden, 
and Canton Trustee Steve Sneideman celebrate 
the reopening of the long-closed bridge on Lilley Road.
It took more than 2 ½ years, but last week, officials celebrated the re-opening of the newly-reconstructed Lilley Road Bridge.
Among those on hand at an official ribbon cutting at the bridge were Canton Township Supervisor Pat Williams, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Wayne County Commissioner Melissa Daub, and Wayne County Director of Public Services Beverly Watts.

Local company signs $500 million Ford joint partnership

Rivian, the electric vehicle company located in Plymouth Township, and Ford Motor Co. have formed a strategic partnership worth more than $500 million. Together, the two automakers have agreed to jointly develop a new, all-electric Ford vehicle built on the Rivian “skateboard” platform.
Ford will not use the Rivian technology for the upcoming all-electric F-150 pickup truck. The automaker clarified that the Ford battery electric F-150 has been in internal development for quite some time and the company will not change those plans.

Wreaths Across America celebrated in Romulus

Again this year, Romulus Memorial Cemetery will participate in National Wreaths Across America event set for noon, Dec. 14.
Annually, in December, ceremonies take place across the country to “remember, honor and teach” including the event at Arlington National Cemetery as well as at more than 1,600 additional locations across the country.

Sumpter board revokes medical payments for officials

Beginning next month, Sumpter Township officials will no longer be reimbursed for medical benefit payments.
Members of the board of trustees voted unanimously at the Nov. 12 meeting to eliminate the benefit effective Dec. 1. Trustee Don Swinson was absent from the meeting.
There was no change to the basic compensation schedule for the officials despite a proposal for a base salary raise presented by Trustee Matthew Oddy which included the elimination of the medical benefit. Oddy said his proposal would have saved the township $10,104.57 annually.