Thursday, March 26, 2020

Health concerns cause closures

Cities, townships continue public safety and 
other services while limiting contact with public

In alignment with, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State Emergency Declaration, Canton Township has closed public facilities through April 5  in an effort to reduce the spread of exposure to COVID-19:
Closed are the Canton Township Administration Building; Summit on the Park; The Village Theater at Cherry Hill; Canton Sports Center; The B.L.O.C.K. Youth & Teen Center;  Pheasant Run Golf Club and  Fellows Creek Golf Club
All critical and emergency services will continue to operate with full staffing, according to a prepared statement from township officials.


As in other communities, Northville Township has responded to the orders of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and closed municipal offices.
In a prepared statement, officials said “based on the available information from various local, state and federal resources, we have decided it is in the best interest of Northville Township to close our Township buildings to the public and suspend our parks, recreation, senior and youth network programs, events and activities.”
Supervisor Robert Nix II said that efforts are focused on ensuring that all essential services, including public safety, utilities and township operations will continue “through the unknown challenges we face moving forward.” 
Entrances to all township buildings will be closed to the public. 


Mayor LeRoy D. Burcroff has officially declared a State of Emergency in the City of Romulus in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease.
Due to the unique location of the city with multiple forms of transportation and transient populations, declaring a State of Emergency allows the city access to additional funding and resources to respond to the increased risk to the virus.
The city encourages all residents to continue to follow the preventative measures that have been shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). COVID-19 symptoms include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Residents with questions regarding COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the State of Michigan Coronavirus hotline at (888) 535-6136. If residents experience any symptoms, they are encouraged to contact a physician for counsel on treatment options and to stay home to protect others.


As a result of the COVID-19 virus, Sumpter Township Hall will remain closed to the public until further notice.
“At this time, based on the available information from various county, state and federal resources, we have decided it is in the best interest of Sumpter Township to take this step,” explained Township Supervisor John Morgan.
“The health and safety of our staff, residents, and community as a whole is our highest priority,” he said in a written statement.

Belleville, Van Buren limit local services

As with all other municipal buildings in the area, Belleville city officials have closed all municipal offices through March 30.
Only essential city services like police, fire protection, trash service, and sewer services will be provided during this closure.
The Belleville Public Library is also closed. Parks and recreation events are also canceled through March 30, according to an official statement.
Events at parks with 50 people or more will be canceled until May 11. All inspections conducted by the Health, Housing and Building Department will be scheduled on a case-by-case basis until further notice, the statement concluded.

Restaurants offer carry-out, delivery options

Several restaurants in Belleville and Sumpter Township have responded to the new health and safety rules imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and remain open for carry-out service to serve the community. Several of the listed restaurants are also offering delivery service.

SMART buses offering free fares for all service

SMART will offer free fares on all SMART services, to eliminate the need for passengers to interact with  fareboxes and maintain greater distance from our drivers.  Free services include Fixed Route, FAST, Connector, Shuttles, Dial-A-Ride and ADA until further notice. 
SMART is continuing to operate full service until further notice.  However, fixed route bus service reductions will begin soon due to declining ridership. The reduced bus service is designed to maintain the existing geographic route coverage and similar hours of service with reduced frequency.  SMART will provide ample public notice prior to the reduction of service. 

Plymouth City Hall offers limited public access

In the regular monthly email city bulletin, the Plymouth Pulse, city officials announced new procedures in light of precautions necessitated by the coronavirus Covid-19.
“We've taken a number of steps to help maintain social distancing, while staying connected with our residents,” the email stated.
All Plymouth city forms, applications and information statements are available online at Just click the Forms and Documents button on the left side of the home page.
In addition, a self-serve kiosk has been installed in the Church Street vestibule at Plymouth City Hall. There, visitors can find everything from Freedom of Information request forms to block party applications. Forms for each department are in color-coded files to make them easier to find. A drop box has also been provided for completed forms, payments and any other correspondence.

Area mourns death of former township official

The death of well-known former Plymouth Township official Abe Munfakh was mourned by members of the community last week.
Mr. Munfakh, 79, died March 13 of heart failure.
Mr. Munfakh, a 42-year resident of  Plymouth Township, formerly served on the township board of trustees and was a member of the township planning commission. He also served as chairman of the Great Lakes Water Authority and the Arab America Chaldean Chamber of Commerce. He also served with the Schoolcraft College Foundation and was a long-time member of the Plymouth Rotary Club.

Local businesses respond to state closure orders

While many downtown businesses in Plymouth have been forced to close during the imposed social distancing, others remain open with limited hours. Several restaurants in the area remain open offering carry-out and often delivery service of meals.
The Plymouth Downtown Development Authority has offered a list of businesses open in the community and issues an updated bulletin on a daily basis which can be found at This is the latest information sent last week.

Open in Plymouth are
Stella's Black Dog Tavern will stay open for carryout orders from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. seven days a week.  Stella's Trackside will be closed.
Hermann's Olde Time Grille is now open for carry out from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Online ordering is available at or order by phone at (734) 451-1213.  Carryout beer is also available.

John Daly street reconstruction project continues

The reconstruction of John Daly Street in Inkster will continue this year, following the current coronavirus crisis.
Members of the Inkster City Council allocated budget funds for the reconstruction of one-third of a mile of the well-traveled street from Michigan Avenue to the Rouge River.
The funding includes the construction of water mains, sanitary and storm sewers, curb/gutter, concrete sidewalks including ADA ramps, material quality control testing, and concrete street reconstruction.
Phase one of the project included work from Rouge River to Inkster Park was completed in 2019.

Westland district court enacts new procedures

Due to the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak and the declared State of Emergency, the 18th District Court has adopted an emergency policy regarding continuation of services. The new policies will remain in effect through Friday, May 1, and are subject to extension, revision, or cancellation at any point without advance notice.
The court will be open during normal posted hours and all cashiers will be open and available for in-person payments. This includes civil infractions, probation payments, payment plans and warrants.
Court officials are encouraging the use of online-payments during this crisis. Payments can be made at

City buildings closed, community events postponed, canceled

In Westland, Mayor William Wild has closed the Westland administrative offices to the public in an effort to comply with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's orders to implement social distancing and  close non-essential businesses.
In a prepared statement, Wild said that several city buildings would be closed and community events postponed or canceled. He stressed that all the closings and postponements would be revaluated and updated and the current coronavirus pandemic conditions progress.
The Westland Friendship Senior Center will be closed and AARP will suspend tax services at the site.

Wayne restaurants offer carry-out, delivery

In Wayne, several businesses and restaurants are remaining open during the crisis, many with limited hours. Restaurants are offering carry out and some delivery service.

Avenue Downtown Wayne
Order online for pick up.
Delivery options coming soon (734) 895-7300
Bill's Shawarma
10 a.m. 9-9p.m.
(734) 326-3800
Dairy Queen
Carry out, Door Dash, and Uber Eats.
Happy's Pizza
(734) 595-1111
Jet's Pizza 
(734) 728-5387

Robbery is investigated

Romulus police are continuing the investigation of a robbery and assault reported at about 4:15 a.m. March 10.
Romulus officers responded to a 911 call from the Amoco Station at 9099 Middlebelt Road where the female clerk reported being struck with piece of firewood and a hammer in an attempted robbery. The clerk told the emergency dispatcher she managed to lock herself in the gas station lavatory and she was being held hostage.

Artist exhibition entries still being accepted

The Village Theater at Cherry Hill Gallery@VT hosts
monthly exhibitions with solo or group shows
 featuring emerging or establishes artists representing
 a variety of media. Photo courtesy of
The Village Theater at Cherry Hill staff.
Local artists have an opportunity to present their works at the Village Theater at Cherry Hill, one of the premiere performance art centers in southeast Michigan.
Proposals for solo or group exhibitions for the 2021 exhibition season in the Gallery@VT will be accepted through April 8. Both local and regional artists are encouraged to apply and all mediums will be considered, officials said.
The Village Theater showcases established, as well as emerging, artists, in a venue visited by about 5,000 patrons each month.
To apply for a solo or group exhibition, artists must submit an entry package, which can be obtained online at

Secret Samaritan

Northville area residents are smiling and wondering about the identity of the mystery donor who stocked the Little Free Library outside St. Paul's church and school on Elm Street with canned goods for those in need. Last week, as social distancing continued, neighbors noticed the donated food which replaced  the usual ‘food for thought’ in the Little Library.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Voters approve school millage requests

Plymouth-Canton schools 
Voters in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools District approved the $275 million bond proposal on the March 10 ballot by 26,017 yes to 11,997 no votes.
According to school officials, the bond funding will be used for facility and site improvements at several buildings, to 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 buildings.
Officials stressed that the approval of the $275 million bond issue will mean no increase in the current tax rate paid by property owners. Currently, the school debt levy in the district is 4.02 mills.
District officials said the funding will be used to construct a third outdoor athletic stadium at the Plymouth-Canton Education-al park and a total renovation of the performing arts center at Salem High School.

Gift of Life

Kidney recipient becomes organ donor advocate

Deacon Lawrence J. Bailey considers his kidney transplant a
blessing as he does his family, wife, Imagene, now in long-term
care and children, Patrick and Jessica, in the family portrait. 
Deacon Lawrence J. Bailey considers his donated kidney a blessing, one that helped him find his purpose in life.
Bailey, 65, a Canton Township resident, received a donated kidney in 2013 and has since dedicated himself to spreading his ‘blessing’ by educating the African American community about the need for organ donors and dispelling the most common misconceptions about donation.
“I didn't really find my purpose in life until after my transplant. After my transplant, I was thrust into an arena to educate people,” he said. “I realized, really, what I was created for. The reason I know that is because of the joy I get out of doing what I do now. I get joy in explaining to people why it's important to be an organ donor. That's why I give it my all.”

Recycling program to return to City of Westland

Westland voters approved a Sanitation Millage Ballot Proposal on the ballot March 10 by a large margin 11,738 yes to 6,773 no votes
The millage, a proposed 1 mill to be levied on all taxable property in the city for a 10-year period will be used to fund recycling and garbage services in the city. The millage, expected to general approximately $1.75 million the first year, will be used for recycling, bulk pickup disposal, yard waste collection, composting and trash/pickup disposal.
“I want to thank the residents of Westland for understanding the importance of, and overwhelmingly supporting the Sanitation Millage,” noted Mayor William R. Wild on the city Facebook page.

Suspect facing 22 criminal charges

Chad Alexander Smith
The man who engaged in a shoot-out with Romulus Police and took a 7-year-old boy hostage for several hours is now facing more than 20 criminal charges.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Chad Alexander Smith, 33, with two counts of assault with intent to murder; kidnapping; carjacking; home invasion first degree; two counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm; as a felon in possession of a firearm; the killing/torturing of an animal; two counts of assaulting/resisting/obstructing police and 11 counts of felony firearm violations.
Smith does not have a home city of residence on record with authorities.
The charges stem from an incident that began with an attempted carjacking on the 9370 block of Lisa Street in Romulus last August.

Seized kangaroo died during transport to Detroit Zoo

The kangaroo seized in a raid of a storefront by Romulus police last August died while being transported to the Detroit Zoo.
Javon Stacks, who is facing three animal abuse and cruelty charges, appeared in court earlier this month week where he learned that one of the kangaroos seized by police died as the animal was being transported by zoo workers Aug. 15.  Police seized more than 500 animals during the raid.
“During the necropsy we determined that her (the kangaroo) second vertebra, the cervical vertebra, was fractured,” said Dr. Ann Duncan, chief veterinarian at the Detroit Zoo, during a recent hearing in 34th District Court.
According to Romulus police, the raid occurred Aug. 15 after they received a tip about the exotic animals, described as abandoned, being kept at a strip mall location in the city.

Voters OK Westwood millage

Voters in the Westwood Community School District which includes a portion of the City of Inkster approved a 3-mill Sinking Fund Millage proposal on the ballot last week.
Voters cast 1,810 yes votes for the millage and 944 no votes on the question.
The request appeared only on Inkster ballots for voters in precincts where students attend the Westwood Community Schools.
The proposal asked voters to approve the levy of up to but not to exceed 3 mills for 10 years on all property in the city.

Canton Fire Department wins national accreditation

Joshua Meier, director of public safety, left,  Steve Dongworth,
CFAI commission chairperson, Chris Stoecklein, deputy director
of fire safety and Jamie Strassner, deputy fire chief celebrate the
prestigious full-accreditation awarded the Canton Fire Department.  
The Canton Fire Department has joined a prestigious group of public safety personnel across the state.
The Canton department was recently awarded full accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). The accreditation is an international recognition of achievement, demonstrating to the community that the department is performing to industry best practices and is holding itself accountable through an external peer review.
Officials from the department appeared before a 10-person CFAI panel at the Center for Public Safety Excellence annual conference this month for the final phase of  accreditation approval.
Canton Fire Department became a CFAI registered agency in 2013, beginning the extensive task of fulfilling the requirements and self-assessment needed to comply with the 242 standards required for full accreditation. Last December, a four-person assessment team from CFAI was on-site in Canton for one week, conducting a comprehensive review of department policies and proofs submitted to demonstrate compliance.

Sumpter Township voters favor Biden as presidential candidate

About 25 percent of the 7,527 registered voters in Sumpter Township cast ballots in the Primary Election March 10 according to reports prepared by the township clerk's office.
Voters agreed to the request of the Detroit Institute of Arts for an extension of the 1-mill levy to support the art museum, which includes free admission to the facility for all Wayne County residents along with numerous outreach art efforts throughout area communities.

Tickets for Belleville/Romulus Mayors' Ball now on sale

Tickets for the 7th Annual Mayors' Ball benefiting the Romulus and Donahey Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan are now on sale.
Tickets, priced at $100 per couple, include the cocktail hour from 6-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing from 8:30 until 11 p.m.
There will be silent and live auctions during the evening at the Belleville Yacht Club, 831 E. Huron River Dr. in Belleville.
Formal attire is encouraged for the event. To purchase tickets or more information, call Julie Wojtylke at (734) 320-3834 or the Romulus Club at (734) 641-3382.

Northville Public Schools are named ‘Best in State’

The Northville Public School District received top marks from, a rating system that determined the top 100 schools in the state.
Northville was rated as the best school district in the state, the district consistently has a graduation rate of more than 96 percent and students outperform the national averages of both the ACT and SAT tests on a regular basis.
Northville was closely followed by Lake Orion Community Schools in second place and Hudsonville Public Schools in third while the Novi Community School District was placed at fourth among Michigan public school districts.

Plymouth commissioners OK plan for Kellogg Park Fountain

Members of the Plymouth City Commission authorized the agreement for funding of the new fountain in Kellogg Park at their March 2 meeting.
The grant agreement between the city and the Wilcox Foundation is for the amount of $1,170,449.10 for the construction and installation of the new fountain. Commissioners also authorized the expense of an additional $30,000 for the fountain project. This newly approved funding is in addition to the previous authorization of $20,000 in funding from the Downtown Development Authority bringing the city contribution for the fountain to $50,000.
Construction on the new fountain is expected to begin in late June of this year, officials said.

Cost of repairs to MainCentre parking lot are discussed

There is no dispute that improvements to the lower level of the two-story parking deck at Center and Cady streets in downtown Northville are needed, but who funds the repairs is a matter of opinion.
According to a report from City Manager Pat Sullivan, the repairs are the responsibility of Singh, the company that owns and operates MainCentre. Singh attorney Lawrence Kilgore, however, maintains that the responsibility for the repairs rests with the city as part of the original contract between Singh and the City of Northville. Kilgore told members of the city council that Singh bought parking credits of just under $1 million to be able to use the lower level of the parking deck and add gates so it could be used exclusively by residents of MainCentre.

Conference of Western Wayne board officers are selected

Belleville Mayor Kerreen Conley will serve as the chair of the Conference of Western Wayne association for 2020.
Canton Township Supervisor Pat Williams will serve as vice-chairperson; Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa will serve as treasurer; David Glaab, supervisor of Huron Township will act as secretary of the association and Robert Nix II will be chair emeritus of the group.
The Conference of Western Wayne comprises 18 member communities and is a bi-partisan group representing nearly 700,000 residents in the region.

Here she is…

Distinguished Young Women
for 2021 title winners are chosen

Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne Westland
Morgan Butler, center, and first runner up,
Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne County
Emma Elinski, at right, and second runner up,
Distinguished Young Woman of Westland Arleth
Gonzalez, left, were awarded multiple scholarships during
the pageant earlier this month.
Morgan Butler, a student at Wayne Memorial High School was named as the Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne-Westland for 2021 during ceremonies March 6.
Nine contestants from Wayne, Westland and Inkster competed for thousands of dollars in college scholarships and the chance to represent local communities at local events and at the state finals in July 2020. The scholarship program is based on academic scholastics, leadership, physical fitness and talent.
Butler received a total of $2,200 in scholarships including several category scholarships during the event.
Emma Elinski, a student at John Glenn High School in Westland, was named as the Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne County for 2021 during the event and was awarded $850 in scholarships.

Voters agree to 3 changes to Wayne City Charter

Voters in the City of Wayne approved all three amendments to the city charter on the March 10 ballot.
City officials asked voters to amend the city charter to permit them to extend the current 1-mill tax dedicated to funding police and fire services for another six years. The current mill expires this year and the extension will keep the current property tax in the city at the same level. Voters agreed with 2,432 yes to 829 no votes on the question.
The yes votes will increase the tax rate by 1-mill or $1 for every thousand dollars of assessed property valuation which is usually about half the market value of the property.

Westland appoints 4 to volunteer city commissions

Members of the Westland City Council approved appointments to boards and commissions during their regular meeting March 2.

Don Nicholson has been appointed to serve on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council.  Nicholson has lived in Westland for 45 years and is the owner of Don Nicholson Enterprises, LLC.  which has provided services to the Wayne-Westland community for more than 25 years. 
Nicholson recently served as chairperson of the Disability Concerns Committee and was the City of Westland 2015 Business Person of the Year.  He is the chairperson for the Westland Chamber of Commerce, president of Friends of Nankin Mills, winner of the Governor's Award for Tourism Partnership 2016 and each year organizes Cruisin' Hines, the Wayne Road Cruise.
His term will expire on Dec. 31, 2021.                   

Ruby Richards has been appointed to a three-year term on the Planning Commission.  She has been a Westland resident for more than 10 years and is an active member of the community.
Richards graduated from Macomb County Community College with a degree in Auto Body Design.  She has been working at AM General for 30 years in design on various military vehicles and is experienced in reading drawings and blueprints. 
Her term will expire on March 2, 2023.                           

Deanna Adams-Stachow has been appointed to a three-year term on the Planning Commission.  Adams-Stachow is an active member of the community and has lived in Westland for four years.
She has had experience with bidding contracts and reading and tracking changes on blueprints as an employee of the Detroit Public Schools. 
She has also worked with facility repairs with the opening, closing and demolition of buildings. She is active in Westland by volunteering and fundraising for people in the community.
Her term will also expire on March 2, 2023.

Gretchen Heinicke has been appointed to a partial term on the Economic Development Corporation (EDC)/Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
Heinicke is a life-long Westland resident and graduated from John Glenn High School.  She is currently the President/ CEO of the Westland Chamber of Commerce.
Heinicke supervises different events in Westland and is an advocate for the Westland Business Community in promoting growth and success.  She was a college admissions officer during which time she recruited high school seniors to attend college.
Heinicke's term will expire on Feb. 5, 2022.
“Don, Deanna, Ruby and Gretchen bring diverse skill sets, life experiences and enthusiasm to their newly-appointed positions and I look forward to working with them throughout their upcoming terms,” commented Mayor William R. Wild. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

City of Romulus names interim police chief

Robert Pfannes is sworn into his new position as
interim chief of police by Romulus City Clerk Ellen Craig-Bragg.
The City of Romulus has sworn in Robert J. Pfannes as interim chief of the Romulus Police Department. Pfannes will lead the department while Police Chief Jadie Settles is on medical leave.
Pfannes, who worked in law enforcement for more than 32 years, recently retired as chief of police for the City of Ann Arbor Police Department after also having served with the Garden City Police Department. During his career in law enforcement, Pfannes has been a road patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, SWAT team leader, undercover narcotics officer, and lieutenant and Special Threats Incident Commander for the City of Ann Arbor.

Community mourning death of Melissa McLaughlin

Shirley Melissa McLaughlin
American flags in Canton Township were lowered to half mast last Thursday as a tribute to former township Treasurer Melissa McLaughlin, a long-time resident and well-known public figure who died March 4 following a year-long battle with cancer.
Shirley Melissa McLaugh-lin, was born June 3, 1957 and earned her bachelor of science degree in education from Eastern Michigan University in 1978. During her career in public service, she served as the Canton Township treasurer from 2008 through 2016 and under her direction the township earned a AAA rating by Fitch and an AA rating by Standard & Poor.. She was also proud of her work with then state legislator Kurt Heise, now the Plymouth Township supervisor, on several legislative efforts including work on Public Acts 223, 224 and 225 which improved property owners' abilities to evict squatters from their homes. She implemented advanced tax software in the treasurer's office and reduced billing costs by $50,000 annually.

Probe into coach’s auto crash is reopened by sheriff

The Feb. 8 rollover car crash involving a Wayne Memorial High School wrestling coach is being investigated by the Livingston County Sheriff's Department following reports that there were passengers in the vehicle not previously identified to investigators.
Reports indicate that there were three members of the wrestling team in the vehicle driven by the coach which crashed near the Howell exit from I-96. Initial reports indicated that the driver lost control of the vehicle on the exit curve at about 8:18 a.m. traveling at more than 70 m.p.h. and the roadway was snow covered. The vehicle entered the area between the highway and the exit ramp and rolled over, trapping the three teens inside, according to reports from witnesses.
The students were subsequently picked up from the wreck and taken to the wrestling conference tournament and competed in their matches without any medical examination or treatment. Reportedly, the teens were cautioned not to speak to anyone about the accident.

Make A Wish

Benefit gala set to fund charity

Julie Brown, Staff Writer
Kelly Miller of Farmington Hills, Suzy Hoover of Livonia,
and Deb Mulka of Livonia are the musical Whatabouts
who will perform at a May 15 benefit for the
Make A Wish Foundation in Westland. 
The Whatabouts musical group is planning a Glamour Ball this spring for Make A Wish Foundation.
The Make A Wish nonprofit group helps ailing children and their families with treks to favorite destinations. Kelly Miller's three-person Whatabouts musical ensemble will perform Friday, May 15, at the charity benefit at Joy Manor banquet hall.
Joy Manor is at 28999 Joy Road in Westland (south side of Joy). The Glamour Ball of “Vintage Glam or Fashion Today” gives folks a chance to help sick children as well as dance, eat dinner, and enjoy an open bar.
The May 15 event costs $50 per person and will continue from 6-11 p.m. Miller, a Farmington Hills resident, formerly of Garden City, has ticket information at (734) 377- 1745.

Westland reappoints 2 to city commission terms

Debra Fowlkes
Sharon Scott
Two long-serving Westland residents were re-appointed to city entities last month.
Members of the city council confirmed the re-appointment of Debra Fowlkes to the Westland Planning Commission and the re-appointment of Sharon Scott to the Downtown Development Authority during their regular meeting Feb. 18.
Fowlkes' new three-year term will expire Feb. 18, 2023 and Scott's four-year appointment will conclude Feb. 18, 2023.
Fowlkes, a long-time resident of Westland, has served on the planning commission since May 2015.  She previously served on the police and fire Civil Service Commission.
Fowlkes also served on the Wayne-Westland Community Schools Board of Education and was president of the board.

At last

Avery Hall, an Army veteran who left Wayne Memorial High School when he was 17, before graduation, to serve in the Korean War was awarded his high school diploma during a special ceremony Feb. 28 at Taft-Galloway Elementary School. Hall's military career included service in Vietnam, Germany, Alaska and Fort Sill.  Now 84, he currently resides in a veteran's home in Oklahoma. 

Treasurer, auditor squabble about bank fees

The responsibility for nearly $10,000 in accounting charges sparked a heated exchange at the Feb.11 Sumpter Township Board of Trustees meeting.
Township Treasurer Kenneth Bednark heatedly addressed an agenda item which requested the board authorize payment of $3,062 to the township accounting firm of Post Smythe Lutz and Ziel. The fees were charges for the correction of errors that occurred during the change of township banking from PNC to Comerica by Bednark. Bednark called the fees a political ploy by  Deputy Supervisor Karen Armatis and then claimed the errors were created by Cari Ford and Ron Traskos with Post Smythe Lutz and Ziel and were not the responsibility of his office.

Living history lesson

Students at Wick Elementary School in Romulus presented a black history program called “Great Black Leaders: Past and Present” last month and kindergarten through fifth grade students took part in the living history lesson. , dancing, African drummers, and even a mock talk show as part of the presentation. The dance team performed and the boy's mentoring program (Dream Kings) also performed. There also was a brief Greek Life acknowledgement and history by Principal Kimberly Calloway, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
The event was under the direction of Carrie Hurn and students presented lessons on Kings and Queens of Africa; Distinguished Slaves; Jim Crow Era /Freedom Fighters; Civil Rights Leaders and Current Day Leaders. The students included singing

Sumpter trustees consider reassessment of property

Sumpter Township residents could be receiving some special visitors during the near future, if trustees agree to a plan to reassess property in the municipality.
WCA, a professional assessment firm, has proposed a reinspection and reassessment of all property in the township in an effort to update and correct outdated tax records, some of which are 30 to 40 years out of date. Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees are expected to consider the $114,540 expense to fund the reinspection and reassessment of township property at their March 24 meeting.
WCA assessor Aaron Powers said the reassessment is necessary to correct outdated records and ensure the township is in compliance with state tax commission recommendations.

Owner’s lawsuit delays house demolition deadline

The owner of the mold-filled home at 870 Lotz Road in Canton Township has until April 11 to either cure the problem or demolish the structure unless the Circuit Court grants her petition and takes control of the situation.
Should the owner, Jeanne Wyatt, fail to demolish the house, and the court fail to grant her petition, the township will order the work done and charge Wyatt for the removal of the home
Members of the township board of trustees agreed to extend the original deadline set Feb. 25 for demolishing the home during a closed session Feb. 11. The board members ordered the demolition following reports from building officials who cited dangerous mold growing inside the house.

All aboard

History buffs publish book about railroads  

Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens
Two local history buffs in Plymouth have published a book about the impact of railroads throughout the area.
Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, the executive director of the Plymouth Historical Museum, and Ellen Elliott, a local historian and lecturer, combined their research sources and talent to produce the new volume which shows the importance and impact the railroads had in the area.
Kerstens, who is also a retired U.S. Marine major, has published three previous works. Elliott serves as the executive director of Friends of the Penn and is the manager of the Penn Theatre in downtown Plymouth.

Michigan Philharmonic plans ‘March Mahler Madness’

The Michigan Philharmonic orchestra will celebrate March Madness right along with the rest of the country - only with a twist.
“Mahler Madness” set for 2 p.m. March 15 features the orchestra in an afternoon of eclectic music with classics from Mahler and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, mingled with new music from local star, Jessica Hunt.
Music from this concert is threaded together with themes about childhood and childlike remembrances. Visiting composer Hunt's music is a nod to her childhood memories of her grandparents' home in the Northwest while Mahler's music shares musical images of a child's view of heaven.

Board OK’s air quality device on school land

Members of the Northville Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan to allow Advanced Disposal Systems to install an air quality monitoring system on Ridge Wood Elementary School property.
The system will be constructed and paid for by Advanced Disposal Systems (ADS) and is in response to an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency demanding the testing system for air quality near the ADS-owned Arbor Hills landfill.
The school is within a mile of the landfill which was cited by state officials for air-quality offenses several times last year. The impact on air quality near the waste site has been discussed at several meetings of the Northville City Council members and numerous complaint letters have been sent to ADS. An air quality monitoring system at the landfill site was ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall.

Construction sight

Volunteers turned out in droves last week during the Habitat for Humanity International Women Build Week at a home site in Inkster. Among the volunteers was 12th District Wayne County Commissioner Glenn Anderson who noted that twice as many volunteers as in the photo worked at the day-long event. The week took place March 1 through 8, the week leading up to International Women's Day. The event calls on women across the globe to raise a hammer to spotlight the need for safe and affordable housing and provides the tools for women to empower and educate themselves about skills used when repairing and restoring homes. This year, approximately 6,000 women volunteers in more than 235 communities in the United States, India and Canada participated with the goal to build and improve 540 homes while raising awareness of housing issues facing women and their families.

History of Maybury Sanatorium to be lecture topic

William H. Maybury 
Maybury Sanitorium: Fresh Air Care will be the topic of two presentations in Northville in April.
Both presentations will begin at 7 p.m. The April 6 presentation will take place at the Northville District Library in downtown Northville and the April 7 presentation will take place at Northville Township Hall, 44405 Six Mile Road, Northville.
The moderator of the programs will be Joe Oldenburg, a local historian, who is a member of the Northville Township Historic District Fund. Oldenburg will discuss the history  surrounding the facility.
Construction began 100 years ago this month at the site of what is now Maybury State Park for the purpose of treating tuberculosis. The presentations are free but due to the popularity of the programs, reservations are highly recommended and can be made at (248) 349-3020.

Tenors to perform

Scott Ciscon, Jem Sharples, and Paul Martin of Tenors Unlimited.
Photo courtesy of Tenors Unlimited
The number-one selling classical vocal trio, 'Tenors Unlimited,' will perform their new show "That's Amore" beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill.
 Known as the 'Rat Pack of Opera,' Tenors Unlimited have performed alongside such notables as Sting, Lionel Richie, Beyoncé, Hayley Westenra, Simply Red and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra among others.
For more than 15 years, Tenors Unlimited has been entertaining audiences worldwide using talents honed in their previous solo careers in opera and theatre.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Municipal clerks throughout the area are preparing for the upcoming presidential primary election next Tuesday, March 10.
Several local communities also have issues on the ballot. There is no political party registration requirement and any Michigan registered voter can participate in the presidential primary. At the polling place and on the absentee ballot application, voters will be asked to select a presidential primary ballot for either the Democratic or Republican parties that also may contain local election items. Voters who do not wish to participate in the presidential primary may request a ballot that contains only the local items in their community.

Sumpter commission delays paintball field permit

Public opposition to a planned low-impact, pneumatic paintball field on Judd Road prompted members of the Sumpter Township Planning Commission to postpone any action on rezoning the land.
More than 20 residents spoke in opposition to the proposed plan which, residents said, would threaten their enjoyment of the rural lifestyle.
Commissioners opted to postpone the special land use exception for the 58-acre parcel during the Feb. 13 meeting. The meeting drew a large crowd who opposed the plan to use the land on the north side of Judd Road between Sumpter and Martinsville roads as a paintball field.  Earl Mott and his son, Alex Mott, who have a paintball store in Livonia are interested in buying the site from the family of Ron Rounsifer, who died last year.
The township planning consultant Chris Atkin said the large crowd and opposition to the plan was unexpected.

Northville school district seeking millage OK

Voters in the Northville Public Schools District will be asked to replace the current sinking fund millage on property tax by extending the 0.9519 rate through 2025.
According to district officials, approval of the proposal would not increase the current tax paid in district. If voters approve the question, the tax will generate about $3 million annually which is earmarked for building and site repairs, instructional technology and safety and security upgrades throughout the district.
According to the school district website, “Since NPS (Northville Public Schools) wants to utilize future sinking fund dollars for instructional technology and security equipment, the millage language cannot say renewal because in fact the district will replace the existing sinking fund millage with the new millage so that those dollars can be used to fund the expanded uses,.

Public meetings set to discuss revisions of city master plan

The Northville Planning Commission members have scheduled several special sessions to provide up-to-date information from experts on core topics of redevelopment in the city, in preparation for revisions to the Master Plan.
The  first public information session Feb. 24 addressed the planning, zoning and financial aspects of the Master Plan with a presentation by Doug Lewan, planning consultant and executive vice president at Carlisle Wortman Associates (CWA). Sally Elmiger, city planner, also of CWA, moderated the session, which drew approximately 90 people to the Northville Community Center.

MainCentre parking deck repairs discussed by city council

Northville City Manager Pat Sullivan provided a report regarding the condition of the MainCentre Parking deck to members of the city council at their regular meeting last month.
Sullivan's report outlined needed capital improvements required to upgrade the parking deck across from MainCentre shopping area downtown. Based on a detailed review from WGI, the township engineering firm, improvements to the 26-year-old structure would cost an estimated $452,200 during a three-year period, Sullivan said.

Romulus council OK's court consolidation discussion

Members of the Romulus City Council approved a resolution at their meeting last week to “participate in a discussion of the potential consolidation of the 29th District Court into the 34th District Court.”
Mayor LeRoy Burcroff, who presented the resolution to the council members, made the purpose of the measure clear repeatedly, noting that any action toward consolidation of the court would be under the authority of the state chief court administrator and that this action authorized “discussion only.”
“They reached out and I referred them to the host agreement we already have with the court. There has been no discussion. This is for fact finding,” Burcroff said. “I will bring any proposal back to the council. This is fact finding only.”

Belleville council member criticizes poor conditions at city hall

Belleville City Council member Tom Fielder is tired of waiting.
During the council meeting last week, Fielder expressed his frustration with repair expenses to Belleville City Hall. Fielder said that the city hall building has appeared on the city council follow-up list since Dec. 15 of 2014 when an evaluation and appraisal was completed.
Fielder said that since that 2014 action, there has been nothing done at the building. He suggested the city sell the property the municipality owns at Five Points to a developer for a commercial venture and move city hall to a new location.

Cities, townships have no local issues on ballot next Tuesday

In the cities of Belleville and Romulus and in Sumpter and Van Buren townships, there are no local issues, candidates or questions on the ballot. Voters will be asked only to choose the presidential candidate on the Democratic, Republican or Independent ballots and vote on the DIA millage..
Voter registrations and absentee ballot requests are being processed under the new state rules at local city clerk's offices in the individual city and township halls.

Wayne voters asked to amend city charter

Voters in the City of Wayne are going to be asked to approve three amendments to the city charter on the upcoming March 10 ballot.
City officials are asking voters to amend the city charter to permit them to extend the current 1-mill tax dedicated to funding police and fire services for another six years. The current mill expires this year and the extension will keep the current property tax in the city at the same level.
Should voters defeat the millage, the tax rate could be lowered by 1-mill or $1 for every thousand dollars of assessed property valuation which is usually about half the market value of the property.
Officials have said that the millage is necessary to continue to provide adequate police and fire services in the city and that cuts in funding would have an impact on the public safety services.
Voters will also be asked to further amend the Wayne City Charter to extend the term of the mayor from two years to four years, beginning with the mayoral election set for Nov. 3, 2020.

It's on…

Wild Wings face Red Wings Alumni

Mayor William R. Wild, along with his team of Westland Wild Wings, are once again getting ready to lace up their skates to challenge the Detroit Red Wing Alumni in the 11th Annual Hockey Night in Westland charity event.
The event, being presented by North Brothers Ford, will take to the ice at 7 p.m. Friday, March 20 at the Mike Modano Ice Arena located at 6210 N. Wildwood St. in Westland. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.  At 6 p.m. the Westland Hockey Association Mini-Mites and Mites will take the ice to show off their skills. The Red Wing Alumni and the Westland Wild Wings charity game will follow at 7 p.m.
This event has evolved into one of the most anticipated events in the community. Tickets for the event are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. Children 5 and younger are admitted at no cost with an adult.

Inkster voters to decide Westwood school millage

The Primary Election ballot in the City of Inkster will include a request from the Westwood Community School District for a 3 mill Sinking Fund Millage.
The request will appear only on ballots for voters in precincts where students attend the Westwood Community Schools.
The proposal asks voters to approve the levy of up to but not to exceed 3 mills for 10 years on all property in the city. That would be a cost of $3 for every thousand dollars of assessed property value, usually half of the retail value of property.

State of the City address is set

Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa will present the State of the City address beginning at noon Wednesday, March 25 at Wayne Tree Manor.
The address and luncheon is sponsored by the Wayne Chamber of Commerce and Rhaesa will administer the oath of office for the new Wayne Chamber of Commerce board members.
Rhaesa will present a community update on the state of the City of Wayne and review the 2020 municipal achievements and discuss current and future issues and projects.
Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. and the cost for the luncheon is $20. Reservations are now being accepted at (734) 721-0100 or email Reservation deadline is Friday, March 20 and walk-in attendance is limited.
Wayne Tree Manor is located 35100 Van Born Road in Wayne.

Millage to fund recycling in Westland is ballot request

Westland voters will be asked to approve a Sanitation Millage Ballot Proposal next Tuesday.
The millage, a proposed 1 mill to be levied on all taxable property in the city for a 10-year period, would be used to fund recycling and garbage services in the city. The millage could be used for recycling, bulk pickup disposal, yard waste collection, composting and trash/pickup disposal.

Plymouth Canton district seeking millage request

Voters in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools District will be asked to approve a bond proposal on the March 10 ballot.
According to school officials, if approved by voters, 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 buildings.

Fire destroys home

Canton Fire Department personnel reported no injuries in a house fire in Cherry Hill Village Sunday, Feb. 20. According to official reports, homeowners on Federal Boulevard off Ridge Road called 9-1-1 at 6:36 p.m. after returning home to find their residence engulfed in flames. Deputy Fire Director Chris Stoecklein said the department had a full complement of 22 firefighters on the scene within 6 minutes, at 6:42 p.m. Stoecklein said they called the Westland Fire Department for mutual aid in order to utilize their aerial ladder truck along with the department aerial apparatus. Stoecklein said it took almost 4 hours to bring the blaze under control because the floors had been compromised by the fire. He said fire fighters had to retreat from the interior of home for safety reasons and take positions outside to fight the blaze. An investigation is currently under way to establish the cause of the fire. Stoecklein said it appears it was accidental and started in the basement. "It's too early to tellit could be the furnace, hot water heater or electrical in nature-we just don't know yet." The family dog perished in the blaze. Photo by Matt Zmuda

Designs for new Kellogg Park sculpture and fountain are OK’d

Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth will be the site of two new installations this year.
A sculpture design from the Plymouth Community Arts Council and the Detroit Institute of Arts was selected by members of the city commission for installation in Kellogg Park this summer while a new fountain design was also approved.
Members of the Downtown Development Authority approved $20,000 for the new fountain during their Feb. 10 meeting and recommended that the members of the city commission enter into an agreement with the Wilcox Foundation to fund the project,
According to city officials, the Wilcox Foundation has pledged $1,021,449 for a new fountain in the park.