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.


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.