Thursday, July 9, 2020

Westland awards $280,000 in business grants

More than 45 Westland businesses will be awarded a total of $280,000 in grants under the Westland CARES Small Business Relief Program.  The average grant award totaled $5,000.  Funds will be dispersed in the upcoming weeks upon execution of grant agreements between the City of Westland and the grantees.  A list of businesses who receive funds will be available upon completion of the agreements. There is no obligation for businesses to repay funds unless information provided through the application process is deemed to be fraudulent. 

Former fire chief mourned

After a private service last Thursday for former Plymouth
Township Fire Chief Larry Groth, the funeral procession
passes by Township Fire Station 1 on Haggerty Road.
A restored 1936 Seagrave Safety Sedan fire wagon
owned by the Detroit Fire Department led the procession.
The antique vehicle reserved for fallen firefighter
comrades and other dignitaries was retired in
1967 and later converted for use as a hearse.
Former Plymouth Township Fire Chief Larry F. Groth, Sr. was conveyed to his final resting place in Mount Hope Memorial Gardens last week in a 1936 fire wagon reserved for  fire department dignitaries.
Chief Groth, 78, died on June 27, 2020. He moved to Plymouth with his family in 1950 and graduated from Plymouth High School in 1960 and immediately joined the City of Plymouth Fire Department. In 1965, he joined the Plymouth Township Fire Department where he was steadily promoted, becoming chief in 1979. He served as Plymouth Township Fire Chief until his retirement in 2003.

League of Women Voters is offering election information

The League of Women Voters of Dearborn-Dearborn Heights is urging voters to prepare for the upcoming Aug. 4 primary election and the Nov. 3 general election by visiting VOTE411.org.
The website, which the national League of Women Voters launched in 2006, serves as a “one-stop-shop” for nonpartisan election related information and responses to relevant questions for federal and state races and ballot proposals.

Work set to begin at Fish Hatchery Park in Northville

The strip of land shows the close proximity of the
pond to Johnson Creek. File photo by Liz Cezat. 
Work is expected to begin within the next few weeks on the rebuilding of the Johnson Creek riverbank and pond at Fish Hatchery Park in Northville.
The work has been in planning stages for several years and is an effort to improve the park area and the Rouge watershed, officials said.
Anglin Civil, LLC, of Livonia, was awarded a contract in the amount of $963,090 to perform the earth-moving and restoration work. The project will bring to life a design created last year by Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) of Ann Arbor, with engineering support from Soil Materials and Engineers (SME). SME designed the wall replacement that keeps the pond separate from the creek.

Happy Fourth of July

Inkster veteran’s military 
service rewarded with new roof

Lloyd G. Lockett, a U.S. Army veteran, had a very special Fourth of July last week.
Inkster Mayor Patrick Wimberly and representatives from Habitat for Humanity visited his Sylvia Street home to help him celebrate a brand new roof being installed as part of the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project. Owens Corning donated the roofing material which was installed by Tittle Brothers Construction, a local family owned business which donated the labor for the installation.

Inkster sailor completes 7-month carrier deployment

A 2011 Inkster High School graduate returned home June 16, marking the end of a seven-month deployment aboard USS Harry S. Truman. Since departing its homeport of Norfolk, VA in November 2019, the aircraft carrier sailed in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Lorenzo H. Bonner is a personnel specialist aboard the carrier. As a personnel specialist, Bonner is responsible for supporting overall command readiness.
“My job on many occasions consist of emergency travel,” said Bonner. “Whether a member is injured or a loved one is hurt or worst case, passes away, I love the fact that I know the job well enough to confidently accomplish my job to get my fellow sailors back home.”

On the job

Police chief retires, signs 
contract to remain with city

Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik has announced his retirement but he isn't going anywhere soon and will continue to serve the community.
In an employment strategy that is expected to save the city about $280,000 during the 5-year contract Jedrusik signed with the city, he will retire and collect some of the benefits he has accrued during his 25 years with the Westland Police Department while continuing to work as the police chief under the terms of the new employment contract.

Police seeking identification of trailer theft suspects



Westland police are attempting to identify two persons of interest in a theft of a black dual axle “PJ” trailer.
Two men were seen at the site of the new Cleavers Meat/Deli, which is not yet open, located at 28762 Warren Road at about 10 p.m. June 22, police said.  The subjects were seen at the location and shortly thereafter one of the men leaves the location with the stolen trailer.
One man is described as white, in his late 20s or early 30s. He is about 5-feet, 6-inches to 5-feet, 8-inches tall and has an average build.

Village Arts Factory project awarded honor by state preservation network

What is now known as the Village Arts Factory 
started as a dilapidated industrial warehouse.
The Partnership for Arts & Humanities in Canton Township recently received the 2020 Government/Institution Award from the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.
The award was granted for the work of the group on the rehabilitation and revitalization of the Cherry Hill Ford Factory complex, located in Cherry Hill Village.
The Partnership for the Arts & Humanities is a small nonprofit that took on a very big challenge in the Cherry Hill Village. What is now known as the Village Arts Factory started as a dilapidated industrial warehouse.
The ramshackle building was once the site of Henry Ford's final, most unique and least publicized industry. Unlike other village-based industries Ford operated, he dedicated this one to providing employment and residence opportunities to disabled veterans of World War II.

One more time

Belleville resident wins 2nd
Lottery Powerball jackpot 

Thomas McIntyre of Belleville won his second Powerball
prize in April, the day before his birthday and the
day before he planned to retire. 
Luck struck a second time for a Belleville man who won $250,000 from the Michigan Lottery playing Powerball online.
Thomas McIntyre, 65, matched four of the white balls and the Powerball - 01-33-35-40-69 and PB: 24 - in the April 22 drawing to win a $50,000 prize. Thanks to the Powerplay, his prize was multiplied by five for a $250,000 prize. He bought his winning ticket online at MichiganLottery.com.
The is McIntyre's second big Powerball win. In October 2019, McIntyre won a $100,000 prize playing Powerball online.
“You never really expect to win a huge Lottery prize, winning for a second time is truly unbelievable,” said McIntyre. “Just like when I won in October, the first person I shared the news with was my mom.

County confirms 13 cases of COVID-19 in Romulus businesses

Thirteen cases of COVID-19 in two Romulus businesses have been confirmed by the Wayne County Public Health Division.
The department announced Sunday that 12 cases of the virus are connected to the Playhouse Club employees or patrons and another positive case is an employee of Checkers restaurant in Romulus.
The Wayne County communicable disease team recently completed a case investigation and tracing for the confirmed cases in Romulus. Those testing positive have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days and until their next COVID-19 test shows no sign of the disease.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Wayne police chief’s performance commended by council

Members of the Wayne City Council unanimously agreed to a letter of commendation for Police Chief Ryan Strong during their meeting last month.
The request for the commendation was presented to the council members by City Manger Lisa Nocerini who said she had received the letter recommending the honor from police Lt. Finley Carter.
“I could not agree more,” Nocerini said of the praise Carter directed at Strong's leadership and decision making particularly during the pandemic in the City of Wayne.
“I strongly support these accolades.”

Wayne Public Library Plaza Pickup service is now available

The new Plaza Pickup program at the library is
available at the Veteran's Plaza doorway to the facility.
Wayne Public Library Director Jody Wolak had some good news for city officials and residents recently.
Wolak told members of the Wayne City Council that the library would begin opening again for public use in phases, ensuring the safety of users and staff members with each service returned for public use.
“We're going to follow all safety recommendations,” Wolak  told members of the Wayne City Council at their June 16 virtual meeting.

Schools of Choice enrollment now open in Plymouth-Canton

Members of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education recently approved new deadlines for Schools of Choice applications.
The Schools of Choice program allows students from outside the school district to attend Plymouth Canton schools. The new resolution will allow a maximum enrollment of 200 students in kindergarten through 10th grade for the 2020-21 school year, according to a prepared statement from the district.

Help wanted









Jo Ann Gardner, above,  is looking for some volunteers to help install the Butterfly Garden that is being added at Banatoi Park/Sherwood Pond in Sumpter Township this week. Today and tomorrow, July 9 and 10, volunteers are need to spread soil to start a pathway around the garden area. On Saturday, July 11, various foliage and plants will be put in the ground and donations of plantings are welcome.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Local communities limit use of consumer fireworks

There will be plenty of reason to celebrate on Independence Day this Saturday, but residents are advised to remember there are new restrictions in many communities regarding the use of consumer fireworks.
“Consumer fireworks are now readily available for purchase and have become a popular way to celebrate holidays, but use of them should not be taken lightly,” said Canton Township Deputy Police Chief Craig Wilsher. “Consumers need to stay vigilant in strictly adhering to safety precaution recommendations, protecting themselves and those observing nearby,” he added. Unlawful use of fireworks in Canton can be reported to the Public Safety Department non-emergency line at (734) 394-5400, at the auto attendant dial 2, then 1. Emergency situations should be called in to 911. Violators are subject to a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of $1,000, Wilsher said.

Northville adopts new Ford Field rental rules

The City of Northville has a new policy for the rental of Ford Field.
Members of the city council approved the new fee system which will allow rental of the field for “high impact” events for one weekend in June, July and August, respectively.
Each of those three weekends, the field will be available to rent without the usual closure fee to make up for lost revenue at Mill Race Village. The new plan was the product of three months of meetings regarding fees to rent the area which is one block north of downtown. The high impact rental events are those which attract large crowds to the city along with increased consumer spending at local restaurants and retail stores.

Spirit of Independence

Special drive-by flag display set for Saturday in Canton

A special Fourth of July drive-by community celebration is set for Saturday in Canton Township. A patriotic flag display will be erected in Heritage Park, allowing participants to drive by and show their Independence Day spirit any time from 10 a.m. to noon on Veterans Way, located directly behind the Canton Administration Building at 1150 S. Canton Center Road.
Participants are encouraged to proudly display their patriotism by decorating their cars and wearing red, white, and blue as they drive along Veterans Way through Heritage Park.  Area residents are encouraged to just drive by and honk their horns to show community pride, even if their vehicles are not decorated.
The Canton July 4th display, which will take place held weather permitting, will include a large U.S. flag and several public safety vehicles positioned along Veterans Way, while recorded patriotic music plays.  Car parade participants are asked to enter on Heritage Park Drive, off of Canton Center Road, and remain in their cars as they drive by the flag display.
 “We would love to be able to physically come together for a July 4th community celebration but this year, as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we've been forced to come up with a unique way to celebrate,” said Greg Hohenberger, CPRP, Canton Leisure Services director.  “In lieu of a traditional parade, we've switched things up and will have participants in their cars become temporary parade floats in this drive-by parade. Instead of folks gathering to watch on the sidelines, they have a chance to become the parade.”
For additional information on the Canton July 4th Drive-By Flag Display community celebration, visit www.canton fun.org .

Council considers appointment to zoning board

Adding a member of the city council to the Zoning Board of Appeals in Romulus isn't as simple as it might seem.
During the electronic regular meeting of the council last week, several elected officials were in favor of adding Councilwoman Kathy Abdo to the five-member board, but after a great deal of discussion, settled for taking the action when the next regular term on the board expires. That date will be reported to the council at their next meeting, according to City Clerk Ellen Craig-Bragg who explained to the council members that she did not have that exact date readily at hand.
Abdo explained at the meeting that she had brought this issue up eight months ago and there has still been no action regarding her request to have a council member be appointed to the board. She told the board members repeatedly that someone from the elected body should be on the Zoning Board of Appeals which regulates zoning within the Romulus boundaries and has the power to authorize exceptions to the zoning regulations by a majority vote.
“I realize it is not required by the charter,” Abdo said, “but it is necessary to have a member of the council on the ZBA for transparency.”  She noted that while the charter “does not speak to it, it is not prohibited. We need someone from the council,” she said.
Councilwoman Eva Webb was strongly in favor of taking the action and placing Abdo on the board and encouraged her colleagues to make the appointment despite the caution from city attorney Steve Hitchcock who reminded the council that the charter provides for five voting members of the Zoning Board of Appeals and while it does not prohibit the appointment of a councilperson, it does not allow for six voting members.
Webb suggested that Abdo be appointed to the board as a non-voting member, but Abdo explained that a non-voting member “sitting and observing and not voting isn't going to be effective in representing the people of Romulus.”

Weed cutting regulations in effect in Romulus

Now that summer has apparently arrived, property owners and occupants in Romulus had until June 21 to ensure that any weeds, grass or underbrush at the site was cut to required heights.
Romulus is one of many local communities with a Noxious Weed Ordinance that requires the trimming of weeds, brush or underbrush by owners of land. The ordinance was designed, officials said, to ensure that the weeds and growth did not become a detriment to public health.

Police investigation continues

A shooting that took place in Romulus June 6 remains under investigation.
According to police reports, officers were called to the 2800 block of Zellmer Street at about 9 a.m. Saturday, June 6.  When officers arrived they found two male subjects suffering apparent gunshot wounds. The men were transported by emergency responders to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Police officer fired following brutality probe

A Westland police officer has been fired following an internal department investigation including the review of body camera video of the violent arrest of an autistic man last January.
Officer Kristopher Landis was terminated by Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik when allegations of the beating of a man with developmental disabilities were validated by the body camera video. According to reports, Landis struck the man about the head multiple times with his retractable baton. The video shows the man with his face covered in blood during the altercation which took place Jan. 16 near the Woodcrest Apartment complex. The man reportedly suffered a severe injury to his eye during the arrest.

Primary election will reduce field of candidates

Several communities will vote for local municipal officials on the upcoming Aug. 4 ballot.
In Van Buren Township, filing for seats on the township board of trustees by the April 21 deadline were incumbent Supervisor Kevin McNamara; incumbent clerk Leon Wright, and incumbent treasurer Sharry Budd, all Democrats, seeking four-year terms.
Filing nominating petitions for the office of township trustee were incumbents Sherry Frazier, Kevin Martin, Reggie Miller and Paul White. Also filing for election to a trustee term were Don Boynton, Jr. and Walter Rochowiak.

Furloughed city employees are returning to work this week

All furloughed employees were called back to work at the City of Westland last Tuesday, June 30.
In response to the pandemic and associated closures, Westland officials placed two thirds of non-public safety employees on temporary furlough.  After reopening city hall and other municipal buildings on June 1, the administration has been phasing employees back from furlough as demand for city services has increased.

Westland curbside recycling program is available

Curbside recycling officially began yesterday in the City of Westland.
Members of the city council approved a 2-year contract with Republic Services to process recyclables in the city during their regular June 1 meeting.
Westland suspended curbside recycling program in 2019 due to rising costs associated with a change in the global recycling market, according to officials.  In March, Westland voters approved a sanitation millage to help fund the popular program that serves 25,000 single-family homes in the city. 

City council approves easing of permits for outside dining

Members of the Westland City Council have increased the seating for al fresco dining in the city.
During the June 15 meeting, council members approved a resolution to allow temporary waivers for outdoor dining establishments.  The resolution will exempt temporary outdoor dining areas from the temporary use requirements and procedures governed by city ordinances. 

Library offering curb service

While the Plymouth District Library prepares for a safe reopening in phases, there is a new curbside service available to library patrons set to begin next Monday.
The library will provide the opportunity to go online, check the library catalog for available items, request them and then schedule a curbside pick-up time.
Those who had items on hold in March should  check their records and if the items are no longer wanted, delete them, library officials said.  Those who still want the items can leave them on their respective records and a library staff member will schedule a pick up time.

Wheel station

Bicycle riders who find their wheels in need of repair can always stop at the Plymouth District Library where there is a public Bike Fix-It Station.  All the necessary tools for repair and maintenance are available next to the bike racks near the front entrance of the facility. The library Bike Fix-It Station was made possible by members of the Plymouth Lions Club and Serene Landscape Group. Ride solo or stay 6-feet from other riders, and wear protective gear to avoid injury, library officials said, “but get out there and enjoy these beautiful days on your bike.”

Future of proposed township park dependant on county funding

A wedge-shaped plot of township-owned property could soon be a recreation facility in Plymouth. Or not.
Members of the township board of trustees heard a plan to transform the 9-acre site east of Beck Road and north of Ann Arbor Trail into an area with a walking path, places for public art and a small parking lot next to the one that serves Hilltop Golf Course. The Golfview Park plan was devised with the input of McKenna Associates, and was discussed by members of the board at a June 9 meeting.  Township planner Laura Haw explained that the proposed Golview Park would be a passive rather than an active park.

Development plan for former Saxton’s property is approved

Members of the Plymouth City Commission approved the first reading of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) agreement with the Jewell Maple development team during their online Zoom meeting June 15.
The planned development is set for the area commonly known as the Saxton's property. Commissioners also approved a month-to-month lease agreement with the Jewell Maple development team on the Jewell Blaich building located on the property at Ann Arbor Trail across from Kellogg Park.

Inside/Outside

Art Institute program comes to Inkster 

Annucitory Angel by Fra Angelico will be on display
in Inkster as part of the Detriot Institute
of Arts Inside/Outside program.
Inkster residents and visitors can enjoy some very special sights next month as the  Detroit Institute of Arts' popular program Inside/Out visits the city through October.
The 10th year of the Inside Out program will include eight reproductions of artworks installed in the city. Inside/Out is a component of the DIA community engagement efforts. During the past decade, the museum has partnered with more than 100 communities and engaged tens of thousands of residents with art in places where they live, work and play.
A reproduction of Savoy Ballroom by Reginald Marsh will be on display at Inkster City Hall, 2621 Trowbridge and a Portrait of a Collagist by Benny Andrews will be featured at the Booker T. Dozier Recreation Center, 2025 Middlebelt Road.

Beaumont Wayne hospital reduces patient capacity

While all clinical services have been reinstated at Beaumont Hospital, Wayne, patient beds have been reduced by 32, limiting capacity to 99 patients at the facility.
According to a prepared statement from the health care provider, “Beaumont regularly evaluates operations and licensed beds at all hospital campuses and reports compliance with Certificate of Need (CON) guidelines to the State of Michigan. For the past six years, on average, more than half of the licensed beds at Beaumont, Wayne have not been utilized.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Area-wide ‘Listening Tour’ unites communities

Westland Mayor William R. Wild spoke to the Conference
of Western Wayne members during a meeting announcing
 the Listening Tours designed to promote
racial equality which took place last week. 
The 18 Conference of Western Wayne (CWW) mayors and supervisors, Western Wayne County police  chiefs and Western Wayne County NAACP officials today announced the “Partnerships for Progress Listening Tour”, a new collaborative effort to bring open conversation and active listening to the Western Wayne County region in light of ongoing protests around S.E. Michigan seeking new discussions and reform in our communities.
The group met June 16 in Westland City Hall to announce planned listening meetings in the CWW region.

Hiking, biking trails now officially open in Northville

Nature enthusiasts have a whole new area to explore following the official opening last week of new biking and hiking trails in Northville Township.
Township officials officially dedicated the new trails, located at the end of the Seven Mile property in the township last Friday and area residents will now be able to enjoy acres of wooded property.
Township officials agreed to partner with Motor City Mountain Biking Association (MCMBA) members who created the several miles of biking trails and a mile-long hiking trail during the past year.

Chaos continues in Sumpter treasurer's office

The dispute between Sumpter Township Treasurer Kenneth Bednark and the members of the board of trustees continued last week when Bednark announced he was closing the treasurer's office on Mondays and Fridays.
On Tuesday, he rescinded that directive and agreed to allow the deputy supervisor access to his office to help process the backlog of checks received in payment for water bills and or taxes that he had refused to open or process.

Canton police rated for national re-accreditation

The Canton Township Police Department welcomed some special 'virtual' visitors this week as the team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) began an examination into all aspects of the Canton department policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services.
As part of their assessment, members of the community and agency personnel participated in a virtual public information webinar last Tuesday. Members of the public who could not join the virtual webinar were offered the opportunity to provide comments to the assessment team by phone.

Township planning to refund or pro-rate program fees

As a result of Canton Township facility closures to combat the spread of COVID-19, Canton Leisure Service managers have established  processes to issue refunds and credits to those who paid for memberships and programs.
All Summit on the Park memberships, including Kids' Corner memberships, will be extended for the duration of the closure, and all monthly membership payments will be credited upon the facility reopening. Should Summit members have any questions during this closure, they can  email the Membership Services Team at summitmemberservices@canton-mi.org.

Rally for peace

Demonstrations take place 
downtown and at Ford Field

The Black Lives Matter rally at Ford Field featured many
young speakers who spoke out against racism
and shared their personal experiences. Photo by Liz Cezat. 
The City of Northville was the site of two peaceful demonstrations last week to call attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, protest police brutality across the nation, and rally against racism in the United States. 
The Black Lives Matter rally took place Friday, June 12, at Ford Field. It was organized by Northville High School graduate Natalie Turner, who now attends Northwestern University. An estimated 1,000 - 1,200 people attended, according to police estimates.

Day of Joy

Caregivers surprise senior clients
with flowers in celebration event 
Comfort Keepers client Mike Yockey was surprised
with the gift of flowers from caregiver Lee St Clair
during the Day of Joy celebration. 
Photo by Jill Young
The National Day of Joy was celebrated in Plymouth yesterday when 65 individuals were surprised with flowers from their caretakers.
Comfort Keepers founded the National Day of Joy to help individuals find joy in everyday moments. Too often, officials said, the pursuit of joy is relegated to the background of people's lives as they tackle their day-to-day responsibilities, said Joanne Darga, community liaison at Comfort Keepers in Plymouth.

Township claims former employee’s candidacy violates agreement

Don Howard, Staff Writer
Plymouth Township officials claim that a former deputy township clerk is breaching the contract she signed as a condition of her severance.
Sandra Groth is a candidate for township clerk and her name will appear on the Aug. 4 Primary Election ballot. Groth, formerly a township employee, filed her petition to replace current Clerk Jerry Vorva this past January. After a years-long absence, Groth was appointed by Vorva to the deputy clerk position in 2017 and she served in that capacity for 2-1/2 years.
Vorva and Township Supervisor Kurt Heise said when Groth's candidacy became public, they asked township labor attorney John Clark to render a legal opinion regarding the status of the severance agreement.

Commission OK’s plan for development at former Saxton’s location

Members of the Plymouth City Commission approved the first reading of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) agreement with the Jewell Maple development team during their online Zoom meeting June 15.
The planned development is set for the area commonly known as the Saxton's property. Commissioners also approved a month-to-month lease agreement with the Jewell Maple development team on the Jewell Blaich building located on the property at Ann Arbor Trail across from Kellogg Park.

Wayne celebrates Veterans’ Memorial groundbreaking

Years of planning took one more step toward project completion last week as the City of Wayne officially broke ground for the Veterans' Memorial in the city.
The monument will be installed on the south side of Wayne City Hall on Wayne Road and officials said the city will document the entire project from the groundbreaking to the final dedication as part of the city archives.
Numerous donations made the monument possible, including nearly $30,000 from military service veterans, members of the UAW Local 900 and Ford Motor Co.  While the original plan was to renovate and repair the Peach Memorial near the downtown parking structure and library, donors suggested a memorial specifically dedicated to honoring veterans, a suggestion the city quickly adopted.

Westland to ‘clean up’ language in massage parlor city ordinance

Massage parlors in Westland will soon face much stricter regulations and requirements according to revisions proposed for licensing in the city.
Members of the Westland City Council approved several amendments related to the regulation of massage parlors during the June 15 meeting. The changes follow a moratorium prohibiting any new massage parlors and other new massage type activities from opening in the city. Council members are expected to review a request to rescind the moratorium at the July 6 meeting.

Police caution residents about restrictions on use of fireworks

As Independence Day celebrations approach, Westland officials are reminding residents of the restrictions on fireworks in the city.
The city ordinance that governs the use of fireworks was changed by members of the council in June, 2019 to align with the Michigan State Firework Safety Act of 2018. The state rules now allow more municipal control of fireworks.
Officials said that the issue generated a significant number of complaints from residents each year, particularly during the warmer months.

Outdoor dining rules eased

Members of the Westland City Council have increased the seating for al fresco dining in the city.
During the June 15 meeting, council members approved a resolution to allow temporary waivers for outdoor dining establishments.  The resolution will exempt temporary outdoor dining areas from the temporary use requirements and procedures governed by city ordinances. 

Romulus financial report may show huge gain

Members of the Romulus City Council heard some good news and a word of caution  during their virtual meeting last week.
Auditor Brian Quinn explained that the coronavirus pandemic had a serious effect on financial markets and the results of that effect were coinciding with the quarterly financial report for the city.
He explained that during times of financial stress in the stock markets, securities become more and more desirable to investors who tend to pull their funds from riskier investments.

Barrage of gunfire leaves 1 dead, another injured

A 27-year-old man was killed by gunfire and another man wounded last Wednesday morning on the 28000 block of Glenwood Street in Inkster.
According to reports from the Michigan State Police, troopers were called about 1:20 a.m. to the area near Cherry Hill and Glenwood after reports of a shooting. Inkster police had received reports of the incident at about 1 a.m., officials said.
When Inkster police officers arrived on the scene found a white Chevrolet Traverse parked on the north side of Glenwood Street facing westbound, riddled with bullet holds, according to Michigan State Police reports.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Sumpter trustees OK lawsuit against treasurer

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved the preparation of legal action against current Treasurer Kenneth Bednark at a special meeting last week.
The lawsuit requires Bednark, or the township deputy treasurer, to immediately process and deposit payments made to the township for water and sewer services or for tax bills. The payments have been accumulating for several weeks without action trustees explained during the meeting and residents have called asking why their checks have not yet been cashed.  Bednark and his deputy have refused to open the mail, any envelopes dropped in the box in front of township hall or any payments hand delivered to township hall for months, according to members of the board.

Sidewalk repair plan is delayed

There was no lack of participation in recent discussion of the sidewalk repair plan in Plymouth Township.
Dozens of township residents participated in a recent four-hour public hearing with the members of the board of trustees to express their opposition to the sidewalk plan that requires residents to pay for repairs to sidewalks determined to be hazardous.

Welcome back

Restaurants, shops begin to revive in area

Restaurant patrons were eager to enjoy the first days of the relaxed quarantine orders at newly-established expanded outdoor seating last week in downtown Northville and Plymouth.
In Northville, members of the city council unanimously approved the “Reopening Downtown Special Event” at a special online meeting June 5 to help jump-start sales for restaurants and retailers. The businesses had been operating at reduced capacity or closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canton residents urge venue reopenings

Canton Township officials heard from supporters of baseball, softball, LaCrosse and soccer along with the director of aspiring young thespians during a special meeting last week.
Several members of the community made their displeasure regarding the continued closure of the Canton Sports Center and the Village Theater known to members of the township board during the meeting.

Canton equality marches continue to be peaceful

Peaceful equality marches continue in Canton Township.
Photo by Brea Crawford
Several hundred marchers of all ages and ethnicity have joined in the ongoing marches throughout Canton Township in protest of racial injustice.
The marches to date have been peaceful and there have been no instances requiring police intervention, according to officials. In one recent march through Sunflower Subdivision, police officers joined the marchers to demonstrate their support for the cause of racial harmony.
Another march last week drew one of the largest crowds of participants so far and began at Heritage Park and continued down Heritage Way turning south onto Canton Center Road.

COVID-19 testing available

Walmart has opened a new COVID-19 testing location in Canton Township.
Testing will be offered from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Any adult who meets CDC and state/local guidelines on who should be tested is eligible, including first responders, health care providers and others with symptoms of COVID-19.
Test results are expected within an average of two days.

Big deal

New fire truck is delivered to Sumpter Township

Sumpter Township Fire Chief Joseph Januszyk welcomed
the delivery of the new 1,000 gallon, Class A engine
fire truck last week.  Photo by Doug Willett
Sometimes, you just get lucky.
That was the reaction of Sumpter Township Fire Chief Joseph Januszyk when he received a phone call this spring, just before business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Januszyk was shopping for a new fire truck for the township, which had budgeted for the expense, but when the pandemic closed down manufacturing plants, including those building fire engines across the country, he expected the township might continue to wait for the purchase.
“I got a phone call from the manufacturer's representative who told me that he had the last chassis to roll off the line available,” Januszyk said. “I said yes and I ran down there real quick.”

Van Buren receives grant to fund food banks

Van Buren Township has received a $5,000 grant from Enbridge, as part of the corporation emergency response fund.
Officials said the grant will ensure the supply and distribution of nutritional food to three local food banks; Belleville First United Methodist Church- Emergency Food Closet, Trinity Episcopal Church-Friday Fill-Up! and Van Buren Public School-Owen Community Closet and Food Pantry. 
“I'm grateful we received another grant to feed our community. This time, I choose to divide the funds up to help the largest amount of people as soon as possible,” said township Trustee Reggie Miller May 27. “It's about partnering with our community organizations to help meet their demands while helping as many people as we can. I want to thank Candice Braddock from Enbridge for offering us this opportunity.”

Romulus Public Library prepares to open to public

Inkster officials have urged residents to take advantage of the upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection set for Aug. 8 this year.
As the social distancing and precautions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have kept residents at home, many have been occupied cleaning and sorting. To that end, those hazardous waste products need disposal, prompting Wayne County to set up the area wide collection from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Westland Shopping Center parking lot, behind the JCPenney store.
Only household generated products from Wayne County residents will be accepted. Items that will not be accepted include commercial waste, industrial waste, radioactive material, explosives, ammunition, 55-gallon drums, household trash, refrigerators, microwaves or other appliances, tires, yard waste, roofing shingles and concrete.

Nominations for senior service award now being accepted

Active seniors in the area are due for some honors from AARP (American Association of Retired People) Michigan.
The group is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Michigan Andrus Award for Community Service, which honors 50-and-older Michiganders who are sharing their experience, talent, and skills to enrich the lives of their community members.
“AARP Michigan is excited to shine a light on volunteers who are using what they've learned in life to make a difference in the lives around them,” said AARP Michigan State Director Paula D. Cunningham.

3 arrested, charged in fatal shooting of teen

Duan Markeith Jones
Three teens have been arrested and charged in the shooting of a Novi man riding a bicycle in Westland June 7.
According to Westland police, officers were called to the area of Grand Traverse and Missaukee Court at about 8:55 p.m. Sunday, June 7. When they arrived at the corner, officers discovered 17-year-old Robert Edward Bigham of Novi who had apparently suffered gunshot wounds. Despite officers efforts to revive the teen, he died at the scene, according to police reports.
Following an intensive investigation, Westland police located and arrested 18-year-old Duan Markeith Jones of Westland on Monday, June 8. 
Jones was arraigned in 18th District Court in front of Judge Sandra Cicirelli on charges of homicide - murder first degree - premeditated;  weapons - discharge from a vehicle causing death;  tampering with evidence - criminal case punishable by more than 10 years, and three counts of felony firearm.

Westland OK’s marijuana license application procedure

Those wishing to sell marijuana in Westland have until July 16 to submit a business application to the city.
Members of the Westland City Council approved the marijuana business application during a meeting last month along with the consideration policy and selection criteria.
The policy, which officials said was written in compliance with the Westland Uniform Marijuana Business Ordinance approved by city council members in November, sets the window for applications from June 1 through July 16. Complete applications must be submitted along with a $5,000 fee if they are to be considered.  The policy also details the way in which applications will be processed and scored.

Kiwanis Club sponsoring holiday decorating contest

Plymouth residents who display red, white and blue, patriotic bunting,  and the American flag to celebrate Independence Day this year could reap a hefty reward for their decorating efforts.
Plymouth Kiwanis Club members are sponsoring an Independence Day House Decorating Contest and are offering a $1,000 downtown Plymouth gift card to the first-place winner. Second place will receive a $500 card and third place honors will include a $250 card. The gift cards are redeemable at more than 150 locations in the city.
Only homes located in Plymouth and Plymouth Township are eligible for the competition.

Condominiums, retail space proposed for Center Street

A developer has proposed a new $3.35 million three-story building along North Center Street in downtown Northville.
The building, as proposed, would be a three-story construction at 156 North Center including a first-floor restaurant and seven condominium units along with a one-story addition to the building which currently houses the Tuscan Café at the corner of Dunlap. Plans for the new building were presented by architect Robert Miller to the members of the Northville Planning Commission earlier this month during an online meeting. Miller was representing the applicant and developer of the project, R. Kurdjian.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Canton officials stress bias training of police

Canton Township Supervisor Pat Williams recently responded to a communication from a resident who had questions about policies and police procedures in the township.
Brandt Bowling wrote to Williams asking if the Canton Police Department had stringent background checks to vet new police officers and ensure they are not members of various hate groups.
Chad Baugh
Brandt asked Williams what procedures are in place to ensure accountability in the police department performance.
Brandt said he was prompted to write by the current racial injustices which have been taking place in the country. 
Williams responded very promptly to Brandt, expressing his personal sadness at the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers and assuring him of the pride, professionalism and dedication of the Canton Police Department.
“I can say with absolute confidence that the Canton Police Department works hard every day to faithfully serve our entire community.

Parking spaces

Precautions required as local parks open

Members of the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees 
along with township resident Tim Doyle cut the ribbon 
on the new Kay Arnold Picnic Shelter at the Miller Family 
Park on Ann Arbor Trail. The shelter is dedicated to longtime
 Township Trustee Kay Arnold who passed away in 2015. 
The shelter was paid for by a donation from Doyle, 
Arnold's husband, and county park funds. The Kay Arnold 
Picnic Shelter will be a welcome addition to the Miller 
Family Park, providing a welcoming place for families and 
a wonderful tribute to a dedicated public servant, officials said. 
Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the end of the Michigan  'stay at home’ order and began easing restrictions for various sectors and public spaces, including outdoor parks and recreation facilities. Now, outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted, but social distancing guidelines must still be followed.
In response, several communities began opening park facilities which proved immediately popular with residents who had been in home isolation for nearly eight weeks.

CANTON TOWNSHIP  
All Canton Township parks and trails remain open although the playgrounds, including splash playgrounds, are closed.  Canton Leisure Services leaders urge all park users to follow proper CDC protocol and recommended social distancing guidelines. 

Absentee ballot requests mailed to Romulus voters

Romulus City Clerk Ellen Craig-Bragg reminded members of the city council and the public that requests for absentee ballots for the Aug. 4 ballot have been mailed.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mailed requests to all registered voters and Criag-Bragg's office also mailed the request forms to all those in the city who have registered on the permanent absentee ballot request list.
“If you didn't receive your request, please call us or if you have questions, contact us at elections@romulusgov.com,” she said.

City begins new CARES grant programs

Westland CARES, a series of three grant programs designed to provide relief to those impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic, began accepting applications last week. Funding for these programs was provided through special CDBG-CV funding authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The Department of Community Development will manage two grant funds, established by the program:
Westland Rent/Mortgage Relief Fund - a program to assist low to moderate income families whose income has been negatively affected by COVID-19.

Westland curbside recycling service set to restart in July

Recycling will return to Westland July 1.
Members of the city council approved a 2-year contract with Republic Services to process city recyclables effective July 1 through June 30, 2022. The city will pay $120 per ton to process recyclable material this year and $125 per ton for the service next year, according to the contract.
Republic Services was the only bidder for the service.
Westland suspended the curbside recycling program in 2019 due to rising costs associated with a change in the global recycling market.

Former police sergeant disputes firing in lawsuit

A fired Westland police sergeant has filed a lawsuit claiming that his former coworkers and supervisors conspired to blame him for the death of a prisoner in custody at the jail.
Ronald Buckley, 55, claims in his suit filed in federal court last month, that Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik, other police command officers and other officers involved in the 2017 arrest and incarceration of William Marshall maliciously conspired against him, ending his 24-year police career.  Marshall, 35, was arrested Dec. 10, 2017 during a traffic stop when drugs were found by officers in his possession.

March on


About a thousand people attended a rally last Wednesday in Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth. Participants in the two-hour event Wednesday walked around downtown several times and eventually blocked northbound Main Street for a short period without incident. A second rally from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday drew about the same number of predominantly young individuals to the park who chanted anddisplayed signs protesting the inequitable treatment of African Americans. The protest participants were loud, but orderly, and police reported no incidents requiring response during either of the demonstrations. Photos by Dave Willett  







Rivian in Plymouth Township lays off 40 workers

Rivian, a electronic-vehicle manufacturer in Plymouth Township, has laid off about 40 full-time employees.
The layoffs included engineers, recruiters and other employees at the engineering and design center near Plymouth Road in the township. In addition, the company has reportedly replaced the chief operating officers and made several new executive hires.
Breeda K. O'Leary
Breeda K. O'Leary officially became the judge at the 29th District Court in Wayne on Monday when she took the bench for the first time.
O'Leary, a Wayne native, was named to the position by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week. She was an attorney with Fausone Bohn, LLP and is the fourth attorney from that firm to be named to a judicial post.
In her law practice, she served as a city attorney for the City of Wayne, assistant city attorney for the City of Westland, and as a prosecutor in the 29th and 18th District Courts. O'Leary's practice also included civil matters and probate and estate planning.

Inkster to receive grant funds for COVID-19 supplies

The City of Inkster will be among the communities benefiting from an additional $4,960,787 in grant funding administered by the Wayne County Commission.
The commissioners unanimously approved a modification to the county grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that will make the $4,960,787 in additional Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money available to help county residents. The money will primarily be used in cities and by county-based social service agencies. In Inkster, funding will be provided for sanitizer and building cleaning.

Recreational marijuana licenses considered in Wayne

Recreational marijuana licenses may soon be available in the City of Wayne.
Officials instructed the city attorney to research the particulars of drafting an ordinance allowing the eight medicinal marijuana license holders in the city to apply for licenses to also sell the drug for recreational uses.
The council voted to explore the possible sale by a 5-2 vote following a report by city Planning Director Lori Gouin who said the city could realize extra revenue by allowing the recreational sales.

Van Buren Township Hall set to reopen to public

Van Buren Township Hall will reopen to residents on Monday, June 15, although officials are encouraging residents to continue to do business remotely and by appointment.
“If at all possible we're encouraging residents to limit coming into the building. However, we will be glad to see and serve those who have to come in,” said Treasurer Sharry Budd.
New procedures have been put in place when entering township hall to ensure the safety of both the staff and residents.

Romulus library continues to offer on-line services


Patty Braden
While the Romulus Public Library is preparing to open soon, Director Patty Braden reminded residents that the facility offers several online services.
Braden said that she and the leadership team are working together on a comprehensive reopening plan to keep visitors safe and healthy when services resume. “This will mean changes to how we offer library services and access to the building. Our plan is to take it one step at a time using a controlled, phased-in approach to reopening. We will ease restrictions as we are able, following state and local guidelines, recommendations from public safety officials, and advice from our colleagues at other libraries across the state,” Braden said in a recent email to city residents.
Safety of library patrons and staff is our top priority, she said.

Sumpter trustees OK new Concast internet contract

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees agreed last week to an upgrade to the current Comcast system at township hall and in other township buildings.
The new agreement, unanimously approved by the board members in attendance, will cost the township $1,400 per month for 60 months. Township Finance Director Michelle Cole told the board members that the new system will allow the township to have fiber optics which, she said, is “the way to go.”

Township programs canceled

Members of the Canton Township Board of Trustees, who continue to meet electronically, recently determined which programs, events and facility closures will remain in effect in the community.
The Canton Sports Center will remain closed through at least Aug. 1, including adult softball leagues, all tournaments, and Canton Township facilitated programs at this location. 
The Summit on the Park, including Canton Club 55+ will remain closed to members and the general public through at least Oct. 1.  All current and active memberships will be automatically extended. Those wishing to be refunded may contact the Summit at (734) 394-5460 or by emailing leisure@canton-mi.org.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Romulus adds revenue to city budget

Members of the Romulus City Council accepted two additions to the city budget last week.
The first was a $50,000 one-time lease payment from American Towers, LLC as an incentive to extend the current lease of a cell tower at 6900 Wayne Road through 2054. The tower, originally leased by the company from the city in 2011, has a current lease which will expire in 2034, according to city officials. The company wanted to extend the lease to ensure access to the cell tower. American Towers, LLC rents service on the tower to various other cell phone service providers.

School district building renovations under way

Interim Superintendent Jill Simmons, left, Board of Education 
President David Cox and William D. Ford Career-Technical 
Center Principal Jennifer LaDuke broke ground on the  
construction project at the William D. Ford Vocational 
Technical Center recently. 
One of the first projects funded by the $158 million bond approved by voters last November officially got under way May 11 at the William D. Ford Career-Technical Center. Construction of a new front entrance that includes a main office addition with a secure entry, an expansion of the culinary arts area including the total remodeling of the kitchen and banquet center and upgrades throughout the entire building is expected to continue through late November or early December, officials said.
The bond issue will fund improvements at each district school and will address safety, security, health, energy efficiency, accessibility, and technology issues, officials said.
Every room in the Marquette Road technical center will be improved with paint, flooring, lighting, heating and other improvements.

Sumpter police arrest suspect in tire-iron assault

Norman Johnson
A Willis man is facing several felony charges in connection with an assault on a Sumpter Township victim in his home last month.
According to police reports, Norman Johnson, 31, of Willis, was arraigned on a four-count felony warrant stemming from an incident at a residence in the 23000 block of Elwell Road on Saturday, May 16. He is charged with assault with intent to murder; home invasion, first degree; assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Lawsuit claims evictions were illegal

A non-profit addiction recovery organization has filed a lawsuit against a Canton Township apartment complex claiming the management committed both fair housing and civil rights violations in evicting program clients. 
Joseph Paliwoda, CEO of Personalized Nursing LIGHT House, Inc. filed the federal lawsuit last week against the owners of Crossings at Canton. Co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are LIGHT House and the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit.

New rules may help restaurants’ reopenings

Members of the Plymouth City Commission approved a Social District Designation last week that will allow the expansion of outdoor restaurant patios on public areas June 8 when the state Stay at Home orders expire and restaurants are allowed to serve dine-in customers. The designation would allow restaurants to use the additional public space until Nov. 1.
The city will be designating parking spaces in front of restaurants for use by the establishments to increase seating capacity and allow for social distancing next week.

Masks donated to Plymouth Township workers

As a marine who served overseas, John Lacny said he has a lot of respect for public safety and those fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.  That prompted his recent donation of 150 KN95 equivalent masks for the Plymouth Township Police and Fire departments, he said.
 “It is an honor to be able to help the men and women that work every day to keep up us safe and healthy,” said Lacny, who is currently seeking office as state representative from Plymouth Township, the city of Plymouth, Northville Township, the City of Northville, and part of Canton Township.

Belleville Rotary Club awards annual scholarships

The 75th Annual Scholarship Program of the Rotary Club of Belleville took a step into the future with an electronic presentation recently.
The Zoom presentation of three $5,000 scholarships May 19 was necessitated by the current coronoavirus pandemic stay at home executive order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Belleville area resident graduates Collin Patrick Attard and Haley Raw Bellingham were each awarded an academic scholarship and Joseph Randall Budd received the community service scholarship from the Rotary Club members.

2 men face charges in fatal gas station shooting

Two men have been arrested in the shooting death of a third at a Romulus gas station.
According to police reports, officers were called to the Shell station in the 27000 block of Eureka Road near Inkster Road at about 8:35 p.m. May 19 in response to a 911 call that a man had been shot at the location.

Special tribute

The Romulus VFW Post 9568 Honor Guard hosted a Memorial Day ceremony last week at the Romulus Memorial Cemetery. The VFW members and the public honored fallen soldiers with tributes and by placing American flags at veterans' graves. Mayor LeRoy Burcroff delivered a brief speech recognizing the sacrifice and service of local heroes. 

Westland readies for return of city hall workers

Westland officials began a phased Return to Business Plan Monday  which reopened Westland City Hall and the Jefferson Barns Community Vitality Center in limited capacities. The Assessing, Building, City Clerk, Economic Development, Finance, Planning, Public Service and Water/Sewer Departments will all resume normal operations, officials said. 
In response to the pandemic and associated closures, the city placed 2/3 of non-public safety employees on temporary furlough.  With the implementation of phase 1 of the return to business plan, employees will be brought back from furlough as demand increases.  The city has also installed glass barriers around employee work stations and at the front counter to ensure staff can work and service residents safely. 

State Wayne owners plan for ‘clean’ reopening

Owners of the State Wayne Theatre are hoping for a re-opening July 1.
A spokesman from Phoenix Theatres, which has owned the historic Michigan Avenue theater since 2000, said the past two decades have had difficult challenges typical of operating a small business, but “none of these problems have been as serious as the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This challenge was completely unexpected, and affects literally everyone in the world,” explained Cory Jacobson, owner of Phoenix Theatres. “We have faith in the human need to interact with one another and the art we present at the movies. It is unique to our American experience, as movies are one of our greatest cultural contributions to the world. Our business is both local and very social by nature and uniquely disadvantaged in a pandemic crisis.”

Special celebration

Couple beats near fatal COVID-19 disease

David and Charlunda Thompson of Inkster will have a lot to celebrate next month when they mark their 21st wedding anniversary.
The most important aspect of the event will be that they are both alive and together.
The couple was separated for 45 days earlier this year while fighting the coronavirus. Charlunda spent 29 days in Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn where the couple went to be evaluated for the disease in March. She was admitted immediately and spent 16 days on a ventilator, while David was initially sent home, but later rushed as an emergency to Beaumont Hospital Wayne where doctors determined that his body was shutting down.

Mother sent for competency hearing in stabbing

An Inkster mother has been ordered to undergo a competency examination by the court in connection with the stabbing death of her 3-year-old son.
Atiya Nina Muhammed, 26, is facing charges of  first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, first degree child abuse and torture. Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of life in prison upon conviction.
No bail is allowed in first-degree murder charges and Muhammed remains in custody at the Wayne County Jail.

Wide field of candidates fills Northville primary ballot

Don Howard, Staff Writer

In Northville Township, the slate of candidates seeking election Aug. 4 includes 12 Republicans and a lone Democrat.
Filing for reelection to the position of township supervisor were incumbent Supervisor Robert R. Nix, III and Mark J. Abbo, who served as supervisor from 2000 until 2012.
Nix said he's looking forward to another term and praised his board members and their commitment.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Westland police win 4th national accreditation

© 2020 Google
The Westland Police Department received national accreditation for the fourth consecutive year last month from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
The Westland department was first accredited in 2016.
 Following a multi-year self-assessment phase and a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagement, policy, procedures, equipment and facilities by CALEA assessors, Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik and his Accreditation Team were reviewed by the CALEA 21-member board of commissioners which reviews all findings and determines the agency accreditation status.