Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Judge criticizes court consolidation effort

An effort to explore the consolidation of the local 29th District Court with another municipality by members of the Wayne City Council has drawn harsh criticism from retiring Judge Laura Mack.
A resolution directing the city administration to “engage with other local communities regarding the potential for court consolidation as soon as practicable” was adopted at the Feb. 4 meeting with Councilman Anthony Miller casting the only dissenting vote. The resolution also directs the administration to determine, with the assistance of Plante Moran, the fiscal impact of the consolidation on the city general fund budget.
The results of the study are to be reported to the council and the public as soon as “practicable.”

Westland receives unmodified audit report

Westland city officials received the highest available “unmodified opinion” of the annual financial report last week presented by Plante Moran auditors. The audit states that the June 30, 2019 financial statements are fairly presented and accurately reflect the financial position of the city.
Westland increased the general fund rainy day fund balance by approximately $200,000, according to the report and the city also complied with the requirements issued by the State of Michigan and received $1.4 million through the state revenue sharing program.

School renovations are planned

An artist's rendering of the planned digital
monument signage planned at Romulus High School
Romulus Community School District officials have revealed plans for upgrades and repairs to four district buildings, funded by the millage approved by voters last August.
Renovations will take place during the next two years, officials said.
Voters approved a sinking millage to fund the repairs by 2,525 to 2,074 votes last August.
According to Dawn Jamison, the chief communications officer for the district, the renovations and improvements are necessary to provide adequate educational experiences for the students in buildings that are about 50-years-old.
“We have several renovation projects in store for our schools,” she said. “We recognize that our buildings are aging and these slated projects and improvements will breathe new life into our district.”

Northville Downs development plan falters at gate

Racing will continue at Northville Downs through 2024 it was announced last week when racetrack Operations Manager Mike Carlo confirmed the signing of a long-term lease. Carlo is quoted as saying he had signed a long-term land lease option with the owners of the property to continue races at the downtown Northville site after a $200 million development project apparently faltered.
“We're just excited to be staying here longer and working harder and harder to keep horse racing alive in Michigan,” Carlo said. Carlo owns the race track parking lot but the track is owned by an investment group, Northville Driving Club Corp.

Northville City Clerk prepares for elections

A closed Presidential Primary is planned in Michigan for Tuesday, March 10, and City of Northville Clerk Dianne Massa is getting prepared.
While there is no political party registration requirement in Michigan election law, in this specific election, registered voters will need to make their ballot selection in writing before being issued a ballot (whether voting at the polls or by Absent Voter Ballot).
The March ballot selection does not affect voting in the Aug. 4 primary, which is an open primary. At that election, voters will be issued ballots containing all political parties and their candidates, and will select one of the parties in the privacy of the voting station, according to an advisory from the City of Northville.

Grant will fund restorations at Fish Hatchery Park

Fish Hatchery Park in the City of Northville will see construction along the banks of Johnson Creek this spring funded by a state grant.
During the regular meeting of the city council members Feb. 3, Mark Gasche, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, reported that the Alliance of Rouge Communities (ARC) has received a grant for $855,915 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore the banks of the Johnson Creek at Fish Hatchery Park.

Double Your Donation drive now under way at PARC

A Double Your Donation gift matching program is under way until the end of this month at the Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex (PARC).
The program was introduced last year as an opportunity for supporters to make a donation and have the financial contribution matched. The donations and the increased benefit from the matching funds will be instrumental in the ability of the complex to continue the mission of enriching the lives of everyone in the community by providing a destination in Plymouth for quality arts, education and recreation programs.

Former editor accepts Washington job

Ray Day
Long-time area resident Ray Day has been named as vice chair of the marketing and communications agencies of Stagwell Group based in the D.C. area.
Day, a former editor at Associated Newspapers, has more than three decades of experience as a chief communications as a chief communications officer leading global communications teams, brands and agencies, including at Ford Motor Co. and IBM.  He is well-known for expertise in reputation building, content creation, data and analytics, crisis readiness and recovery, and communications team development.
“Communications and PR are changing at warp speed, and the successful companies, brands and leaders will be the ones that quickly shift their focus to the future of communications. 

Judge is arrested

Judge David Parrott
Judge David Parrott of the 34th District Court has been arrested and charged with an alleged domestic assault.
According to the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Parrott, 59, was arrested by Van Buren Township Police at about 7:10 p.m. last Saturday, Feb. 8 in his Van Buren home. 
When police arrived, the 55-year old victim alleged that Parrott had assaulted her causing a bump on her head, a laceration on her right hand, and pain to her tailbone, according to reports. After an investigation at the scene, officers arrested Parrott who spent the weekend in the Canton Township lock up.
Parrott was arraigned on a charge of domestic assault before Judge James Plakas Monday at 35th District Court. He was given a $2500 personal bond; ordered to wear an alcohol tether; have no contact with the complainant; cannot return to the condo they share and cannot possess any firearms.

Prehistoric Aquarium adventure comes to Canton

Erth's Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure cast in action. 
Witness the underwater world come to life at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, when Erth's “Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure” appears on the Main Stage at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton.
Erth have built an Australian-wide and increasingly international reputation, based on exceptional work and a distinctive visual aesthetic.
Erth's Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure is an immersive experience that invites audience members to jump in and explore unknown ocean depths where prehistoric marine reptiles lived eons ago - and maybe live still today.  Erth shows are at the forefront of family entertainment, using actors, technology, puppets, science and imagination to create an amazing visual experience that connects young audiences to the real science of paleontology.

College chancellor is named to Metro Airport board

Chancellor Dr. Curtis L. Ivery
Wayne County Community College District Chancellor Dr. Curtis L. Ivery has been appointed chairperson of the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) Board. Ivery was appointed to the seven-member independent board by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.
The WCAA is tasked with the strategic operation and management of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Willow Run Airport.
Detroit Metro Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, and last year ranked first in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates.

Romulus High School alumni being sought to join new group

Graduates of Romulus High School of all decades are being invited to participate in a newly-organized alumni group.
Romulus High School administrators Floretta McNeil-Marino and Nicole Crockett have launched a campaign to alumni to become more active in events at the school. Their first event is the Alumni/Business Social and Basketball Game set to begin with a networking event at 5 p.m. Feb. 20 in the high school cafeteria.

Grief recovery support group set to begin tonight at 5 Points Church

A grief-recovery seminar and support group will meet at 5 Points Church in Romulus at 6 p.m. each Thursday starting today, Feb.13. The church is located at 37300 Goddard at Huron River Dr.
GriefShare offers help and encouragement after the death of a family member or friend, according to organizers. Participants will find it to be a warm, caring environment and will come to see the group as an “oasis” on the long journey through grief, she added.

Westland police promotions are announced

Newly promoted Westland police officers include
Sgt. Eric Rodriguez, left, Lt. Robert Wilkie,
Lt. Jon Torolski and Sgt. Bryan Jachym.
The Westland Police Department marked several changes during official ceremonies last week when four veteran officers were promoted, a new officer sworn in and a new police academy recruit welcomed.
New Ofc. Timothy Sumpter has joined the Westland Police Department from the Detroit police force.  Sumpter grew up in Canton Township and, during his high school years, became interested in law enforcement.  He joined the Westland Police Explorers for a firsthand look into the job and attended Schoolcraft College for Criminal Justice. In 2009 he was hired by Detroit Police where he served in the uniformed division, special operations, fugitive apprehension, and surveillance.  In 2016, Sumpter was awarded the highest department decoration in the Detroit Police Department, the Medal of Valor, for actions above and beyond the call of duty and exhibiting exceptional courage when he came under attack during an ambushed shooting.

Real good fellows

City of Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa presented the Wayne Goodfellows with a certificate of thanks for their service to families in the Wayne community on behalf of the members of the city council during the regular meeting Feb. 4. Beverly Campbell, left, Jennifer Geitzen,  Rhaesa, Susan Schaaf and William Schaaf are all smiles after the presentation which honored the contribution of the Goodfellows during the holiday season.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Plymouth-Canton school millage on March ballot

Voters in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools district will be asked to approve a bond proposal during the March 10 election.
The bond funding will be used for facility and site improvements at several buildings, enhance safety and security features throughout the district, to purchase furniture and playground upgrades, purchase school buses and address infrastructure and technology needs at most school facilities.
Approval of the $275 million bond issue will mean no increase in the current tax rate paid by property owners, district officials have stressed. Currently, the school debt levy in the district is 4.02 mills.

Yellow Brick Road

The Munchkins (from left) Shirley Zaetta,
Ann Marie McCarthy, Erica Marcos, Dawn Parker,
and Marie Mack, are thrilled that
the Wicked Witch of the East is dead.  
University women present

Wizard of Oz this weekend 

Julie Brown, Staff Writer
Members of the Plymouth-Canton Branch, American Association of University Women, know a thing or two about children's theater.
Since 1959, the branch members have presented an annual children's play, with proceeds supporting scholarships. This year, “The Wizard of Oz” will be performed Feb. 6-8 at the auditorium of Garden City High School, on Middlebelt north of Ford Road in Garden City.
Kay Paupore of Canton Township, play co-director, noted the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland was among early films showcasing female lead characters. “The rest of the productions had focused on male” actors, said Paupore. “This fits with our mission, empowering women. That's what we're all about.”
Showtimes are: 7 tonight,  Feb. 6; 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7; and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. The evening Feb. 6 and morning Feb. 8 shows will also have, 45 minutes prior to the show, a Girl Scout/Boy Scout session teaching about theater with a participation badge given.
Jason William Dean
A teacher at Northville High School was arrested last week and now faces five charges of sexual misconduct with a middle school student at his former job in Springfield Township.
The alleged misconduct took place in 2010 at Cedar Crest Academy in Springfield where Jason William Dean, 36, of Livonia, also coached soccer and basketball. He also formerly worked as a girls' soccer coach for the Michigan Hawks, and at both Wayne Memorial and Garden City high schools.
According to Oakland County Sheriff's reports, the student was14-years-old at the time of the sexual relationship. She came forward in January and reported the conduct and deputies were able to corroborate her allegations. She said the sexual assaults took place on the school grounds, at after-school events and in other locations including her home in White Lake Township, in a van parked outside a dance, in the school classroom, at a hotel, on an airplane and at the teacher's apartment.  Dean was her eighth-grade teacher, according to authorities, when he became fixated on the student.

Romulus State of the City outlines goals and progress

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff delivered his seventh State of the City Address last week and stressed both the accomplishments of the year and the goals for the upcoming months.
His presentation was augmented by moving video testimonials about the city from Chad Newton, CEO, Wayne County Airport Authority; Anthony Minghine, deputy director, Michigan Municipal League; Neal MacLean, industrial developer; the Rev. Hiram McBurrows Jr., pastor at Romulus Community Baptist Church; Jordyn Selleck, executive Director at Conference of Western Wayne and David Glaab, supervisor in Huron Township. Each spoke of a different element of progress and growth in the City of Romulus.

Featured speaker

State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) was the featured speaker at the NAACP 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon in Kentucky. The event takes place each year as a way of honoring the legacy and work of the civil rights activist. "As the economic and social landscape of our country continues to shift, we must continue to fight to have a seat at the table to influence positive change, and continue the work that Dr. King started so many years ago," said Jones. "If it were not for leaders like Dr. King, I would not be in the position I am in today, and I was honored to be able to honor him by speaking at this important event." The luncheon was one of several events in Paducah, KY in celebration of MLK Day.

Citizens Police Academy set to begin in Canton

Canton Township residents can get a first-hand look at law enforcement procedures during the popular Citizens Police Academy.
The Canton Public Safety Department will be accepting applications for the eight-week program during the month of February. This year, the program will take place from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, beginning April 23.
The program is designed for residents interested in acquiring insight and knowledge about how the police department works to serve the Canton community. Individuals attending the academy will be educated on the policies and operational procedures of the department through presentations, demonstrations and hands-on activities.

Blossom

Motivational speaker to visit the library

Mikhaella Norwood
Blossom. That's what an upcoming speaker at Canton Public Library wants her audiences to do. While growing, take the limits off of dreams and simply blossom.
Mikhaella Norwood, founder and CEO of Freelife Productions, will be at the Canton Public Library at 7 p.m.  Tuesday, Feb. 18. Her company “aims to inspire people to live the life that they have always wanted,” a similar message to the Canton Public Library  strategic goal to help patrons live their best lives.

City clerk sending absentee ballot requests next week

The City of Plymouth will be mailing absentee ballots to voters next week, according to a statement from the office of the city clerk. Anyone who submitted a request to receive an absentee ballot for the March 10 Presidential Primary should receive a ballot soon, according to the statement.
Those on the Plymouth city permanent absent voter ballot application list who have not yet received an application for a ballot should contact the office of the clerk for a replacement. Anyone who was on the list prior to Dec. 13 was mailed an application on that date. Requests for applications after that date have all been mailed, the statement claimed.

City of Northville seeking election poll workers

The City of Northville needs poll workers for the 2020 election cycle, which includes the March 10 - Presidential Primary; the May 5 - potential election date; the Aug. 4 - Primary and the Nov. 3 - General Election.
Poll workers will complete duties including opening the polling location, checking in voters, issuing ballots, monitoring the voting equipment and closing the polling location. Hours are from 6 a.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m. on election days and poll workers are paid $175 per election worked, with dinner provided.

Belleville DPW director is named as interim city manager

The scheduled public meeting of candidates to become the new Belleville city manager last week was cancelled as there were no candidates to meet.
Interviews for four potential candidates by the city council members were also cancelled and officials named Department of Public Works Director Rick Rutherford to serve in an interim capacity while the search continues.

Fire department upgrades OK’d

Members of the Northville City Council approved the second phase of upgrades to equipment for the fire department during their regular meeting earlier this month.
The department will purchase turn-out gear including 60 helmets with the fire department shield painted on them and 80 pairs of gloves. The items are being purchased for a total cost of $22,307 from Dinges Fire Co. The expense for the helmets was $14,037, Detroit Shields will be paid $30 each for painted metal helmet shields and Phoenix Safety Outfitters will charge $74 per pair of gloves.

Wild named Municipal League vice president

Mayor William R. Wild
Westland Mayor William R. Wild has been named as vice president of the Michigan Municipal League (MML).
Wild was named vice president by the 18-member board last Friday during the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees meeting in Lansing. He will help lead the organization with Board President Brenda F. Moore, Saginaw mayor pro tem. As vice president, Wild is in line to become league president in 2020-21.
The MML is dedicated to making Michigan communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan's greatest centers of potential: its communities, according to the website. The league advocates on behalf of member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through league programs and services, an official said.

Wayne to be site of state meeting on needs of aging

The Senior Alliance in Wayne will be the site of one of the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging and the Aging & Adult Services Agency public conversations to discuss the needs of older adult residents.
Every three years the Aging & Adult Services Agency, which is part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, develops a state plan and seeks input regarding the needs and gaps in programs and services.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Condominiums OK’d at site of historic school

Developers presented an artist's rendering of the proposed
condominiums at the former site of the one-room Perrinville School.
Members of the Westland City Council approved the rezoning of the former site of the Perrinville schoolhouse last week, along with a preliminary plan and final site plan for the land.
Planned for the 5-acre site at Farmington Road between Joy and Ann Arbor Trail is a six building, 28-unit condominium development. Construction on the new condominiums, which will back up to Edward Hines Drive, is expected to begin this summer, according to the developers.

Stepping out

The student showcase at Dance New York in Plymouth earlier this month featured nearly 40 dancers of all ages from throughout the area showing off their technique with a wide variety of performances. 
Kermit the Frog made a special appearance waltzing with Miss Piggy (Janice Stanton) and the Ladies Formation Team including Andrea Bzura, Nicole DeBrincat, Lynn Diedrich, Cheryl Fabian-McCoy, Linda Hodges, Sabrina Hubbard, Rebecca Jacobsen, Joyce Jenereaux, Dorrie Milan, Jean Polyachenko, Natalie Scruggs, Emily Solecki and Susan Walsh performed a Charleston for the show finale. Instructors Clive (Kermit) and Suzanne Phillips, Jonathan Welly, Tiffany Sullivan and Ashleigh DeWeese performed with their students during the showcase presentation.

29th district judge to retire in March

Judge Laura Mack
Court will be adjourned for Judge Laura Mack who has announced her retirement effective March 1.
Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed Mack to the judicial post at the 29th District Court in Wayne on Jan. 12, 2004 to replace Judge Carolyn Archbold, who retired at the end of 2003, leaving three years on her elected term. In a mandated election in 2004, Mack was affirmed by the voters to serve out the remainder of Archbold's term that ended in 2006.  In 2006, Mack was again elected, this time to a full 6-year term and she was re-elected in 2012 and 2018.
As Mack is in the middle of her six-year term, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will appoint her replacement.

‘Stranger Danger’ prompts police, Ring alliance

Inkster police now have a new “eyewitness” available to help them locate those suspected of crimes in the city.
According to Inkster police, a local homeowner captured video of the vehicle involved in a ‘Stranger Danger’ incident earlier this month.
According to a letter sent to parents in the Wayne Westland school district, the incident took place Jan. 13 as the student was walking home from Stevenson Middle School. The student was approached by a man in an SUV near Birchwood and Division streets just off Middlebelt Road in Inkster.

Northville clerk prepares for March primary

A closed Presidential Primary is planned in Michigan for Tuesday, March 10, and City of Northville Clerk Dianne Massa is getting prepared.
While there is no political party registration requirement in Michigan election law, in this specific election, registered voters will need to make their ballot selection in writing before being issued a ballot (whether voting at the polls or by absent voter ballot).

Suspects sought in Michigan Avenue shootout

The search continues for individuals involved in a two-car shoot-out in Inkster last week.
According to police reports, a shootout began last Wednesday night in the parking lot of the Citgo gas station at Middlebelt Road and Michigan Avenue West.
Police said that surveillance video shows that as a blue car drove out of the parking lot, a shooter in the vehicle fired on a white SUV parked at one of the gas pumps.

Senior tax assistance available

AARP Foundation Volunteer Tax Aides will offer free tax preparation services at the Northville Community Center again this year. Tax preparation is by appointment only and is offered  from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. each Thursday at the Northville Community Center.  First appointments will begin on Thursday, Feb. 6 and the last day will be Thursday, April 9.  This service is provided to taxpayers with low/middle income with special preference for appointments will be given to those 60 and older.

Northville police to serve coffee

Northville Township officers will serve Coffee With A Cop at Cassel's Family Restaurant 43003 W. Seven Mile Road  from 10 a.m. until noon Feb. 10.
Coffee with a Cop brings police officers and the community members they serve together-over coffee-to discuss issues and learn more about each other. Residents are urged to stop by for a complimentary coffee and have a conversation with an officer from the Northville Township Police Department.

Customer returns cash canister to credit union

Surveillance cameras caught the image of
George Condash returning the cash canister to the credit union. 
George Condash seems to define the term “honest man”
Last week, Condash, a Westland resident, noticed a plastic container in the drive through lane near the Wayne Westland Credit Union on Wayne Road.
He said he thought that the rectangular, dark-colored box was probably trash and that somebody should pick it up so that everyone using the ATM or drive through wouldn't have to swerve around it. He stopped his car, got out and picked up the plastic cassette, only to discover that it was full of cash.

Owner of storage project offers site to city for $1

Metro Storage owner Tim Judge has offered to sell the East Michigan Avenue property where a $3 million project was planned to the City of Wayne for $1.
Wayne Economic Development Director Lori Gouin presented a project update and Judge's offer to members of the city council at their regular meeting last week.
Gouin explained that she had several conversations with Judge and had reviewed his financial records of the plan to construct a 95,000-square-foot project on the 2.3 acre parcel. Judge purchased the land from the city in 2016 for $1, although Gouin explained that his cost was actually $10,001.

City council chooses president pro-tem

While the upcoming presidential election in Washington D.C. remains an issue in the headlines, the balloting for a city council president pro tem in Westland is complete.
Mike Londeau, elected to his second term on the council in the November, 2019 election, garnered enough support among his fellow council members for election to the post.

Valentines for Veterans effort under way

As Valentine's Day approaches, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) invites local students to participate in the “Valentines for Veterans” project by making handmade Valentine cards for local veterans. Since 2015, students across the region created hundreds of cards to show veterans how much they are loved and appreciated. This is the sixth year that Dingell has organized the “Valentines for Veterans” project.

Donations to fund new run at animal shelter

While members of the Romulus City Council recently approved the installation of a $13,000 dog run at the Romulus Animal Shelter, the cost will not be paid by taxpayers.
The cost for the new amenity described as “needed” at the facility “is not an expense being put on taxpayers” commented Mayor LeRoy Burcroff during the Jan. 13 regular council meeting.

Van Buren school board members elect officers

Members of the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education unanimously selected Amy Pearce to serve as the president of the group during their regular meeting earlier this month.
Voters chose Pearce to serve in her first elected office on the board about a year ago.
She was nominated for the leadership position by former board president Keith Johnston who declined to seek reelection to the post saying it was time for new leadership.

Rotary scholarships available

The Rotary Club of Belleville and the Charles B. Cozaad Foundation are, once again, offering scholarship awards for Belleville area students. The scholarships are typically one-time $5000 awards.
For more information, visit  www.bellevillerotary.org. where the criteria for the specific awards and the application forms are available for download.

Public invited to meet with candidates for city manager

Candidates to become the new Belleville City Manager are expected to attend a public meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3 at the Moving the Mitten office, 337 Main St. in Belleville.
The meeting has been scheduled to introduce the potential city leaders to the public during a 'meet and greet' session.

Township clerk seeking election poll workers

Plymouth Township Clerk Jerry Vorva is already making preparations for what clerk's anticipate will be huge voter turnouts the 2020 elections.
Vorva said his office also anticipates a much larger absentee voter turnout due to the new changes in the law which allow for “no reason” absentee voting.
Workers for the election are currently being recruited to meet the increased voter turnout. Vorva said the team is looking for individuals with leadership and/or computer skills and a desire to be a part of the 2020 election process. The pay is set at $18 to $25 per hour depending on the assignment. For further information, contact Vorva at (734) 354-3224, or Paula Jefferson at (734) 354-3229.

‘Life is a Cabaret’ show will benefit Relay for Life


Participants in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of
Canton and Plymouth community event pose for a photo at
The Village Theater at Cherry Hill.  Photo courtesy of Denise Staffeld 
Those who love the music of  Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Doris Day, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole can take a trip to the nightclub scene where every musical era is represented during a special musical performance set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5.
“Life is a Cabaret - LIVE from the Starlight Lounge” is a special musical fundraiser for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Canton and Plymouth.

Canton property ordered demolished

Julie Brown, Staff Writer

Members of the Canton Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously Jan. 14 to give the owner of the property at 870 Lotz Road 28 days to demolish the structure.
Two neighboring properties also owned by Jeanne and Willie Wyatt of Detroit in Canton Township will come before the Canton Board of Trustees in coming months for action, officials said.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Romulus receives ‘tremendous’ financial audit

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
City of Romulus officials received some good news and high praise with the annual financial audit report last week.
Stacy Reeves of Plante Moran explained the details of the audit findings to the members of the city council during a special session just prior to the regular meeting last week. During the regular meeting, Reeves told the assembled audience that the city had a “tremendous result” on the audit “as a result of several years of sustained efforts to rebuild the fund balance lost during the economic downturn.”
Reeves said that the pro-active approach that Romulus officials took to find new sources of revenue without sacrificing city services had increased the fund balance in the city to $4.9 million, the state financial model of 25 percent.

Savings in store

Presbyterian Thrift Shop funds Christian missions

Julie Brown, Staff Writer

Husband and wife Ted and Lynne Porter of Plymouth
Township enjoy overseeing the Presbyterian Thrift
Shop. The shop is marking its 70th anniversary
and supports a plethora of missions.
Items from the Presbyterian Thrift Shop of Plymouth have been known to travel a bit.
“Our suits found their way to the White House”  explained volunteer Ted Porter who, along with his wife, Lynne, manages the shop at 331 North Main St.
The two suits were purchased by a visitor to the shop who bought them for his son explaining the young man got an internship. He wore the suits to his new job in the White House, Porter said.
“We got in a handmade Elvis quilt,” recalled Porter. A raffle of the “King's” quilt was arranged as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society through the owner of Richard's restaurant, located a few miles down Plymouth Road. 
The couple, Plymouth Township residents, have managed the shop, run via the First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth, since 2007, helped by fellow church member Linda Luke and others.
Volunteers don't come exclusively from that church, noted Lynne Porter, although church members make many donations. The shop, which is turning 70 this year, boasts 10,000 square feet. 
It's open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and from March through December 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.
On the main floor, glassware, jewelry, decorative plates and more are shown. The front of that floor houses a lot of clothing on racks, the quality of which Lynne Porter displayed. A Coach scarf had just come in, and some donations still carry their original tags.
Clothing and knickknacks sell well, Ted Porter said, and the upstairs Game Room shelves with board games draw children in as parents shop.
Proceeds support missions, overseas as well as closer to home, including First Step and Northville Civic Concern. Rising profits from sales, some 17 percent a year recently, cover rent and utilities, meaning missions work gets more help.
Ted Porter worked in purchasing at Ford Motor Co. while his wife was employed at the TRW automotive supplier, and Linda Luke worked in food service at the former Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital.
The 75 some volunteers have varied backgrounds, and include National Honor Society students seeking service hours as well as court-mandated volunteers.
“They're very dedicated and hardworking, and they care about their customers,” Porter said of the volunteers. 
“This is our entrance into Holiday Heaven,” said Porter of holiday collectibles and linens. “The stuff just flies out of here starting in September.”
In addition to Christmas, some St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day items sell. Books and artwork are nearby, as well as electronics.
“Vinyl records are coming back. They're very popular,” explained Lynne Porter. Store volunteers, some of whom work limited hours, may adopt a section, such as purses and shoes.
The donated display cases as well as store cabinets came from Montgomery Ward, noted Lynne Porter, although she said that was not documented.  Store volunteers give items like pet supplies to appropriate organizations, and keep an area for weekly pickup from the Disabled American Veterans.
“I really like displaying things. I enjoy meeting people,” she said. 
Her husband does too, and both note the socializing of regular visitors is also a mission.
Plans are being discussed for the 70th anniversary observance, which will be in addition to the annual tool sale in May. 

Canton Township honors college shooting heroine

Julie Brown, Staff Writer

Tabitha Hardy receives Canton Department of Public
Safety recognition at the Jan. 14 Board of Trustees meeting.
Praising her heroism is township Trustee John Anthony.
Canton Township officials lauded a real hero during the Jan. 14 board of trustees meeting.
Officials praised the actions of Tabitha Hardy who was honored with special recognition from the Canton Township Department of Public Safety..
Hardy, who was in class at a technical college in Canton in January of 2019, heard a classmate threaten actions that could have caused great harm or death to himself and other students and instructors. Hardy spoke to her classmate urging him to return home and collect his thoughts and calming him. She also called 9-1-1 to report the threat and Canton police responded to the scene.

Westland man is now charged with murder

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Anthony Kesteloot, 25, with murder in the death of Olivia Rossi, 23, of Westland.
Rossi's body was found Aug. 23, 2019 in a creek at Hines Park after officers were directed to the site by Kesteloot. The defendant was reportedly the last person to see Rossi, having picked her up in his truck at her home at about 10 p.m. Aug. 18, 2019.

Welcome back

Members of Eta Iota Omega Chapter from Inkster hosted the Second annual Pick Carpet Affair Aug. 26 at Daly Elementary School in Inkster and celebrated the first day of school by greeting 200 students with a round of applause and high fives. The students received educational materials about historically Black colleges and universities and Black Greek letter organizations.  Healthy snacks were donated to each classroom and the staff members received care packages as tokens of appreciation from the sorority members.

Wayne seeking donations for city Veterans’ Memorial

Donations to the Wayne Veterans Memorial project in Wayne are still being accepted.
The memorial will specifically honor veterans and will be installed on the south side of Wayne City Hall as part of the UAW Local 845 relocation to the city.
While $26,000 in donations was collected by the city last year for repairs to the Peace Memorial located in the Michigan Avenue median near the city library, donors sought a project specific to honoring veterans who served in the military. When the UAW opted to relocate to the Wayne Road building, union officials sought a location to relocate the veterans memorial currently at their Canton Township union offices.

Well wishes

Canton begins year-long health and wellness programs at Summit facility

Canton Township will present Live Well Canton 2020, a year-long fitness program to help area residents live longer, more active lives.
Canton Leisure Services will present a year filled with mini-fitness challenges, opportunities to walk and swim at the Summit on the Park, educational programs, winter walking and hiking tips, and much more.
Recognizing the challenges of the sedentary lifestyle that so many Americans often fall victim to, especially during the darker, colder months, January 2020 featured activities will focus on increasing physical activity for all ages. 

Student’s safety video is awarded $1,500 2nd prize

Janet Sutherland, Plymouth-Canton Community
Schools video production teacher left,
 Jillian Plant, the student/2nd prize winner
accept their awards from Dan Fuoco, of The
Suburban Collection.Jillian Plant knew her 35-second
 video regarding distracted driving had been chosen
as one of the winners in The Suburban Collection
Focus On The Road video contest.
It wasn't until the official ceremony at Plymouth High School Jan. 10,  however,  that she learned she had been awarded second place and was presented with a check for $1,500 by Dan Fuoco, social media manager for The Suburban Collection.
Plant is a student in the Plymouth High School video class taught by Janet Sutherland although she is a student at Canton High School.

“Most of the submissions we see show the end result (of distracted driving),” noted Fuoco, who served as one of the contest judges. “A lot of students create videos with death or the extreme circumstances that often result from distracted driving.
“The thing about Jillian's video was that, along with it being thoughtfully prepared, was that everything in the video happens before the car was theoretically put into drive. We thought that was a great message.”

Romulus council votes to accept 2% salary hike

Despite the strong objections of the longest serving city council member, elected officials in Romulus will receive a 2-percent pay raise.
During the Jan. 6 regular meeting, Councilman William Wadsworth asked to speak regarding the recommendation of the Romulus Compensation Board, which is a volunteer group that meets every two years to recommend salary changes for elected officials. Wadsworth said that he was concerned to learn that other members of the council had requested a meeting with the compensation board to suggest a $1,000 bonus in addition to the 2-percent increase for the council members.

Neighbors oppose plan for Van Buren senior living facility

Members of the Van Buren Township Planning Commission postponed any decision on a special land use request for a proposed senior living project until more information was provided.
The proposed 64,000-square-foot Hampton Manor development was discussed at a Jan. 8 meeting of the commission members, The senior living complex is proposed for construction on the southeast corner of Tyler and Morton Taylor roads and will include 80 units, with 24 designated for memory care and 36 dedicated for assisted living for seniors. The developer listed with the township is Zohaib Syed of Van Buren Investors Land Holdings LLC.  Construction of the two sections of the planned facility would be on six parcels of land totaling 7.11 acres which is zoned for local business.

Animal abuse charges dismissed, then immediately refiled

Javon Pherras Stacks
The animal abandonment and cruelty charges against Javon Stacks were dismissed and refilled by prosecutors within 24 hours last week. 
Javon Pherras Stacks, 36, owner of Exotic Zoo, a business that brings exotic animals to school and organization events, was originally charged with one felony count of abandoning/cruelty of animals and two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals on Nov. 5. Romulus police, following what was described as an anonymous tip, discovered about 500 animals in an  Ecorse Road storefront last August. The animals, including exotic reptiles, hundreds of hedgehogs, iguanas, a peacock, a tortoise and a 16-foot python, were seized by police and the criminal charges filed by the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

School district plans millage informational meetings

Property owners in the Northville Public Schools district will be asked to approve a new Sinking Fund millage on the March 10 ballot.
Voters will be asked to extend the current .9519-mill levy from 2021 to 2025 and provide for broader uses of the proceeds, including instructional technology and security equipment.
The current levy expires Dec. 31, 2020.
The .9519-mill, five-year request is a replacement of the existing sinking fund millage and would not result in an increase over the current millage rate, school officials stressed in a press release regarding the issue.

Free tax preparation service available for Northville senior residents

The Michigan Philharmonic has received a grant of $65,000 from the Margaret Dunning Foundation to support technology and data system upgrades for the organization as well as support for the orchestra educational programming in the Plymouth Canton Community Schools.
The Michigan Philharmonic serves audiences including students and numerous multi-cultural groups, throughout Southeast Michigan with programs that are innovative and educational, according to Beth Stewart, executive director of the group. The Michigan Philharmonic contributes to the quality of life in the region by serving as a cultural anchor in the community, employing numerous professional musicians and providing programming to a wide range of audiences from children to adults, she said.

Annual student radio station record show and sale is set

The annual 88.1 record show will bring thousands of vinyl records, CDs, import only releases, t-shirts, posters and other collectibles to the Salem High School Cafeteria.
The record show is set for 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 and proceeds will benefit the nationally-recognized student radio station operated by the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Residents question water rates in Northville

Northville residents are somewhat concerned about the high cost of water in the city.
During the regular meeting of the Northville City Council members Jan. 6, Robert (Bob) Breslin who lives on Whitegate Drive took advantage of the citizens' comments portion of the agenda to ask about the high cost of water.
Breslin said that he received two water bills, one for $633.90 on Oct. 23 and another for $1,106.30 on Dec. 21 and asked if council could explain why the cost was so high. He said that a city employee drew up a $200 per month payment plan for the first bill, which he had paid in full by December. He said that the payments made in October and November were not reflected on his December bill. He also said that he had corrected a leak that contributed to the October bill but wondered why the water cost was even higher on his December bill.

March of remembrance

Celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy planned

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Celebrations of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are scheduled throughout the area next Monday, Jan. 20.
Dr. King, a revered Civil Rights icon, was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in Dr. King's honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
Most federal and local governmental offices will be closed in remembrance of Dr. King and his efforts to change the attitudes about race in the country. Marches, celebrations and special events are planned throughout the area to honor his memory.

Westland council fails to elect president pro-tem

The Westland City Council welcomed two new members and chose a new council president during the first meeting of the new year but were unable to agree on a new president pro-tem of the body.
Following the official swearing in ceremonies of two new council members, Andrea Rutkowski and Mike McDermott, members immediately began to conduct the business of electing officers of the council.
Jim Hart, who has served on the city council since his election in 2018, was chosen by his fellow members to serve as council president. He replaces former council president Jim Godbout who declined to serve another term in the position he has filled since 2008. Godbout has served on the city council since 2001, and is, according to Mayor William R. Wild, the longest serving council president in city history.

Inkster AME church welcomes new pastor

The Rev. Katrese Kirk
The Rev. Katrese Kirk, formerly of Chicago, IL has been named at the new pastor at  Smith Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Inkster.
Kirk's appointment, made by Bishop John F. White of the Fourth Episcopal District, came at the dawn of the 96th year of service of Smith Chapel AME to the Inkster community.
Kirk was previously senior pastor of Coleman Chapel AME Church in Kenosha, WI.  She said that she is passionate about millennial ministry, having served as Youth Pastor at historic Quinn Chapel AME Church, Chicago.  She has developed national programs geared toward young people, including a workshop to help churches attract and retain young adults entitled, Bring Back Our Millennials: Why Young Adults Are Done With Church.  She is a motivational speaker who is committed to helping others unlock their purpose, and live the abundant life that God has purposed for them, according to an official statement from the church.

Northville police arrest 2 in thefts from vehicles

Marwin Lee Chambers
Two men face charges of identity theft, stealing/retaining a financial transaction device and as habitual offenders following their arrest last month by Northville Township Police.
The suspects, Marwin Lee Chambers, Jr., 21, from Pontiac. and Ethan Edwin Thompson, 22, from Waterford, were charged by the office of the Wayne County Prosecutor and were arraigned at the 35th District Court. Chambers, arraigned Dec. 13 before Judge Ron Lowe, was given a $5,000 bond. Thompson was arraigned before Judge Michael Gerou and received a $10,000 bond. Thompson waived his preliminary examination on the charges and will face trial. Chambers' preliminary examination was set for Jan. 17.

Country Garden Club members to meet

Members of the Country Garden Club of Northville will meet at 11 a.m. Feb. 5 at Ward Church, 40000 Six Mile Road in Northville.
The speaker for the meeting will be Sue Grubba who will discuss the Healthy Soil and Wise Fertilizing. Light snacks will be served.
For more information, call (248) 202-1518.

Van Buren official named to SEMCOG post

Lisa Lothringer
Leaders of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) have named Van Buren Township Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Assistant Director Lisa Lothringer to the Planning and Economic Development Task Force.
SEMCOG is a regional planning partner with local member governments within the Southeast Michigan region (Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties).
Lothringer has been with the Van Buren Township DDA for more than 5 years and is responsible for public relations and marketing, working to promote the DDA business district and Van Buren Township as a whole. Most recently, she was the project manager for the $1.15 million Quirk Park Splash Pad and Playground project, which was recently recognized as the 2019/2020 Michigan Recreation and Park Association (mParks) Design Award recipient.

New director takes helm at the Detroit Region Aerotropolis

Christopher Girdwood
Christopher Girdwood has been named as the new executive director of the Detroit Region Aerotropolis.
Detroit Aerotropolis is a four-community, two-county public-private economic development partnership focused on driving corporate expansion and new investments around two Wayne County Airport Authority airports, Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run. The aerotropolis region is located in the City of Romulus and the townships of Van Buren and Huron along with the City of Taylor.
“Christopher brings a wealth of national experience and tremendous enthusiasm to the role,” said David Glaab, chair of the Detroit Region Aerotropolis Board of Directors. “Under his leadership, I believe Aerotropolis will continue to attract quality jobs and business investment to the region.”

Belleville seeking to hire new city manager and new police chief

City of Belleville officials are attempting to fill two top jobs in the community. Belleville Police Chief Hal Berriman has submitted his resignation effective Jan. 31 and City Manager Diana Kollmeyer will leave Feb. 2.  Members of the city council met last week to review 10 finalists from the nearly 400 applications received for Kollmeyer's full-time position.
The four finalists for the position will be sent questionnaires and may be called for 90-minute personal interviews with city council members Jan. 25. Finalists will also be invited to attend a public meeting Feb. 3 just prior to the final decision expected on Feb. 4.

Historic calendars are now on sale

The Belleville Area Museum and Historical Society now has the 2020 Historical Calendar, featuring historical photographs of tri-community bridges, roads, and waterways, on sale for $5.
Calendars are available for purchase at the museum, from 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and from noon until 4 p.m. Thursday and Saturday. 

Students plan annual Peace Summit at school

Julie Brown, Staff Writer

Students at the Rotary Club-built schools in Gao, Ghana
depend on the support of local groups like the high school
Interact Club for school supplies and materials. 
Ninth- through 12th-grade students from Plymouth-Canton will learn about peace and conflict resolution at a Saturday, Jan. 18, forum in the cafeteria of Salem High School, 46181 Joy Road in Canton.
The annual Peace Summit will be presented from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 18 for students through Interact, the high school arm of Rotary International.
“The purpose is to educate our young adults as to the needs of world service,” said Chuck Lang of Canton, an adviser to the Plymouth-Canton Interact and member of the Rotary Noon Club of Plymouth.

Police search for motive in murder-suicide of couple

Don Howard, Staff Writer

New details have surfaced during the investigation of a recent murder-suicide in Plymouth Township.
Last month, responding to reports of shots fired, police officers found 37-year-old Christina Salamay dead from a single gunshot wound to the head, sitting in the driver's seat of a minivan parked in front of the family home. Shortly thereafter, officers found the body of her husband inside the residence also dead from a bullet wound to the head. Police say 46-year-old James Salamay killed his estranged wife with a recently purchased rifle before turning the weapon on himself. 

2 facing charge in break-in, thefts at Canton nail salon

Benjamin James Timmer
Two suspects are facing felony charges in thefts from a Canton Township nail salon.
Benjamin James Timmer, 49 of Westland, and Katelyn Marie Howard, 22, of Inkster, have been charges in connection with a breaking and entering at Tina's Nail Salon on Ford Road which took place sometime Wednesday, Dec. 8. Police officers discovered the glass front door of the nail salon shattered. When the business owner was called to the scene, items were discovered missing from inside the business.
Katelyn Marie Howard
Officers identified Timmer and Howard as possible suspects and an ensuing investigation led to the charges issued by the Wayne County Prosecutor's office. Timmer is charged with breaking and entering a building, a 10-year felony, possession of burglary tools, a 10-year felony as as a habitual offender, fourth offense. Howard was also charged with breaking and entering a building.
The suspects were arraigned Jan. 9 before Judge Ron Lowe at the 35th District Court. Timmer's bond was set at $10,000 or 10 percent and he must wear an electronic tether if released from police custody.
Howard's bond was set at $5,000 or 10 percent.
They are scheduled for another court appearance this month.

Annual record show will fund 88.1 student radio station

The annual 88.1 record show will bring thousands of vinyl records, CDs, import only releases, t-shirts, posters and other collectables to the Salem High School Cafeteria.
The record show is set for 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 and proceeds will benefit the nationally-recognized student radio station operated by the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.

Small Business Saturday success celebrated in Wayne

Rhonda McElroy, left, Helium Studio employee,
and  Wayne Main Street Board President
Juan Bradford present Leslie Herber with her gift certificate
 to Helium Studio as part of Small Business Saturday
in Wayne last November. 
Small Business Saturday was a success in Wayne according to officials from Wayne Main Street, organizers of the event.
Small Business Saturday is a national effort to promote shopping locally from small, independent merchants and took place Nov. 30 last year. Businesses throughout the downtown Wayne district welcomed customers, the spokesman noted. The kick off event took place at Karma Coffee & Kitchen where more than 100 shoppers received free coffee and tote bags as well as a random gift card from a local business in each bag.

Westland reappoints 2 city department directors

Mohamed Ayoub
Members of the Westland City Council unanimously approved the re-appointments of two department directors during the Jan. 6 meeting.
Mohamed Ayoub was reappointed to serve as city planning director and Kyle Mulligan will continue to lead the parks and recreation department.
Ayoub, originally appointed by Mayor William R. Wild in March of 2019, was appointed to a new term ending Dec. 31 of 2021.
“I'm very humbled by the experience and pleased that Mayor Wild and the city council re-appointed me for another year of service in the All American City,” commented Ayoub. 
Kyle Mulligan
“Every day I'm learning more and more about the City of Westland which allows me to improve the work I do for our community. The mayor and city council put together a very strong foundation for the future of planning before I was hired and while I know there is a lot more to be done, I look forward to working with the mayor, council, and the community to advance the city's vision,” he added.

Mulligan, first appointed by Wild in May of 2019, will serve as the parks and recreation director for a term effective through Dec. 31, 2021.

State police continue investigation into shooting death

Michigan State Police continue to investigate a deadly shooting which took place in Inkster Jan. 2.
Troopers responded to a report of shots fired in the area of New York Street and Princess Street around 7:15 p.m. on Thursday. As the officers canvassed the area, they discovered the body of a 23-year-old man from Inkster in a nearby garage.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Click below to view flip version of this weeks edition


View the official guide to the 38th Annual Ice Festival


38th Annual Ice Festival opens in Plymouth

The 38th Annual Plymouth Ice Festival may not officially open until the cutting of the ice ribbon by city officials tomorrow evening, but there will be a very special preview for some guests this evening.
The Miracle League of Plymouth and the Plymouth District Library have joined with festival producer James Geitzen of JAG Entertainment to provide an opportunity for special needs' families to enjoy a sneak peek of the festival this evening.
“This is something new for us and I am very excited about it,” Geitzen, who has produced the festival for six years, said. “It's a great way to allow more people to enjoy the ice and the event and it is just a great idea,” he added.
Geitzen is also looking forward to several other events at the 2020 celebration of all things winter this year but his favorite attraction has not changed through the years.
“It's the dueling chainsaws,” Geitzen said. “These guys have a chainsaw, a block of ice and 15 minutes and they produce art, every year. It is just a really exciting event,” he said.
That doesn't distract from his other favorites, which are, of course, the ice carvings themselves and the products of the college teams competing for honors and prizes. Then there are the sponsored carvings like the 20-block sculpture sponsored by Michigan First again this year.