Thursday, October 29, 2020

Super scary stuff

A display of Halloween spirit is evident at a home on Winifred Street, upper left, in Wayne where owners have decorated the front yard with all manner of spooky figures and colored lights, all for the entertainment of neighbors and visitors. Several more decorations have been added as the holiday approaches on Saturday. Also in the spirit of Halloween are Brooke Wess and her daughters whose entry, above right, was chosen as the Facebook Favorite of the Scarecrow display in downtown Wayne. Wess participates in the event every year and her entries are always favorites of the crowd. Not to be outdone, left, is a home on Pierce Street in Wayne where three Halloween skeletons enjoy the warmth of a campfire while awaiting any brave trick or treaters willing to walk past them Saturday evening to celebrate the holiday. Wayne photo by Sean Rhaesa

State files pollution lawsuit against landfill

Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise, left, Northville
 Township Supervisor Robert Nix, Northville Mayor Brian 
Turnbull and State Attorney General Dana Nessel
discuss the lawsuit against Arbor Hills Landfill
 filed last week. Photo by Don Howard
Attorney General Dana Nessel, on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), filed a civil lawsuit last Friday claiming the operator of the Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township is failing to comply with state and federal regulations and endangering the public health, safety and welfare.

Nessel and EGLE are seeking injunctive relief in Ingham County 30th Circuit Court to require Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill Inc. to operate the landfill in compliance with state and federal law for air quality and solid waste management.

“The operator of the Arbor Hills Landfill has continually demonstrated a blatant disregard for the serious concerns raised by community members and the state,” Nessel said. “This site has been a nuisance for years and the potential threat to the health of nearby residents is significant. At this juncture, legal action is clearly a necessity and my office will support EGLE's enforcement efforts so that our residents' health and our natural resources are not subjected to the hazardous pollution created by this landfill.” 

The suit alleges that Advanced Disposal Services has consistently failed to install an adequate collection and control system to capture gas generated from both active and non-active areas of the landfill and failed to address leachate issues at its landfill. The operator indicated it would fix these problems but has failed to act. 

Leachate is the liquid that gathers along the bottom double-liner of a landfill and can include liquid from the waste itself, rainwater and other outside sources. If not properly managed and removed, it can build up and potentially contaminate groundwater and other water resources.

“Our goal is to ensure Arbor Hills Landfill is not a nuisance to neighbors, and that the facility operates safely in compliance with state and federal laws for air quality and waste management,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark.

Northville Township Supervisor Robert Nix was gratified, he said, by the legal action. 

“For over five years, Northville Township residents have been exposed to noxious and offensive odors from the Arbor Hills landfill. This lawsuit is the most effective way to eliminate the odor nuisance caused by the landfill. A special thanks to our coalition partners; The Conservancy Initiative, the City of Northville, Northville School Board, Plymouth Township, Sen. Dayna Polehanki and State Rep. Matt Koleszar for their continued support in our battle with the landfill and our ongoing effort to stop the expansion of this landfill. I also want to thank and recognize the hours and hours that our township team of Clerk Marjorie Banner, Treasurer Fred Shadko, Trustee Symantha Heath and Trustee Christopher Roosen have spent working on this issue with me,” Nix said. 

“There were 30 violations issued by EGLE to Advance over the last five years. In December of 2018 I requested the EGLE commence enforcement actions. After EGLE's enforcement actions failed and was not able to negotiate a consent order with ADS I said it was time to take action. As a result, Northville Township was joined by Brian Turnbull, mayor of the City of Northville and Kurt Heise, supervisor of Plymouth Township in requesting Attorney General Nessel to file an enforcement lawsuit against ADS.”

Koleszar and Polehanki, whose districts include the Arbor Hills Landfill, have also been fielding resident calls about the site.

“This progress is due to the tireless work of advocates in our community,” said Koleszar. “Our friends and neighbors stood up to say corporate polluters who willingly contaminate Michigan's air, water and land for the sake of profit must be held accountable - and I stand with you. I want to thank the Attorney General for joining us in this fight to protect our home.”

Koleszar was critical of those he characterized as attempting to use the situation as a political gambit.

“Sadly, a lot of people in Western Wayne County are taking credit for yesterday's lawsuit; ironically, it's the very same people who ignored the residents of Northville when they could have acted. That's politics as usual,” Koleszar said. “I want you to remember that the real heroes of the week are the parents and citizens of Northville who organized and kept up the hope, despite being ignored by their electeds for years.”

“Northville Township residents have suffered far too long due to the negligence of the operators of the Arbor Hills Landfill,” said Polehanki. “Their blatant disregard for air quality has been a nuisance to our community for years without meaningful improvement. Our community members and leaders persistently sounded the alarm about the landfill's continuous violations, and I am grateful for their fierce advocacy

Following investigations by EGLE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fugitive emissions were found to be the primary source of the odors. The state department issued multiple violation notices to the operator for its failures to properly operate the landfill and the gas collection and control system. 

However, Advanced Disposal Services' failure to address the concerns has resulted in the state filing this lawsuit.

Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise was also supportive of the legal action.  

“The negative impact of this landfill is one of the most important quality of life issues in Western Wayne County. We must be unified in controlling this hazard and make sure it never expands,” he said.

Mark Abbo, candidate for Northville Township Supervisor, issued an immediate press release following the announcement.

“I have relentlessly called for a lawsuit to address these concerns, and have focused attention on the continuing problems with the landfill as a top issue in Northville Township,” Abbo stated. “It is gratifying that the AG's office is finally responding to this demand and the will of our long-suffering residents,” Abbo explained.

“This lawsuit provides our residents with the most effective vehicle for obtaining corrective actions to eliminate the odor nuisance,” Nix said.

General Motors to invest $17 million in Romulus

The General Motors plant in Romulus will see $17 million in renovations as the automaker begins plans to “move production to the next level.”

General Motors officials said the company will invest more than $100 million in several Michigan plants along with the transition of the Spring Hill TN plant to electric-vehicle manufacturing of the Cadillac LYRIQ.

In the Romulus propulsion plant, the investment will fund enhance automation and increased capacity of the 10-speed truck transmissions produced there.

Canton plans traditional holiday gift market

Participating vendors in the 2019 Holiday Artisan Market pose
for photos at their booths. Photo courtesy of Canton Leisure Services.
Area residents can get started on holiday shopping this Sunday in Canton Township.

Unique gift and holiday items will be featured at The Third Annual Holiday Artisan Market set for noon until 4 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Summit on the Park Banquet Center.

Presented by the Canton Farmers Market, the special market will feature handmade gifts created by some of the top artisans and crafters in the area. Participating vendors include: Boblin Honey - Honey; Cathy V - Knitted Toys, Baby Booties, Knitted Rattles; Candle Heaven - Candles & Wax Melts; Designs by Della - Christmas Pillows/Blankets, Travel Accessories, Masks; Golden Wheat - French Bread & Pastries;

Historical Society board seeking new volunteers

The Canton Historical Society, a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of local historical information and resources in the township, is currently accepting letters of interest to fill three board member positions.   

The Canton Historical Society offers valuable opportunities for individuals interested in helping keep the history of Canton alive, organizers said. Once appointed, these volunteer board members will begin a three-year term starting in 2021.  

Combined bond sales to save township $130,000

Two bond sales for Canton Township were combined, and received a favorable 1.7 percent interest rate earlier this month.

The township Capital Improvement budget will save some $130,000 a year each year, over the life of that bond, officials said during a recent meeting.

“So it's basically free money,” said township Supervisor Pat Williams, following an Oct. 6 township board of trustees approval vote. Trustee Sommer Foster was absent.

At that meeting, Williams said the revote was “on an issue that we voted on previously,” a bond authorizing resolution. The vote means $16 million for the Capital Improvement plan for 2019  through 2023.

Fire department awarded $300,000 in grant funding

The Canton Township Fire Department was awarded a $300,000 federal Assistance to Firefighter Grant recently. 

The grant was part of a regional application submitted earlier this year by several neighboring communities. The Canton portion of the grant award will require a 10 percent match from the township for the purchase of 10 ECK monitors, officials said.  

Inkster High alumni wins prestigious award

Calvin Stevens
A 1965 graduate of Inkster High School has been awarded the highest honor of the Blacks in Government Association (BIG).

During the National Delegates Assembly of the organization earlier this year, Calvin Stevens, a former Inkster resident, was awarded the Distinguished Service Hall of Fame Award. He is one of only 43 members worldwide to have achieved the honor and is now referred to as “the honorable” in his title. Stevens, who has worked with the organization since joining in 1996, is  the Region IV Council president, and has worked at the local, regional and national levels. He is a resident of South DeKalb, GA.

When he joined BIG, he was working with the U.S. General Services Administration but retired in 2009 as Supervisor Marketing Specialist.

City officials offer traffic detour advice to voters

As construction continues on Wick Road, the City of Romulus is working to provide information to voters, particularly as it relates to traffic flow on Election Day. The Wick Middle School polling location will remain accessible to the three precincts it serves via alternate routes that are available.

Construction is currently in the process to replace water mains underneath 3.5 miles of pavement on Wick Road. The project began in April 2020 and is expected to be completed in August 2021, with most of the road open to vehicles by the end of November 2020. As a result of the construction project, the City of Romulus will receive 3.5 miles of new pavement estimated at $7 million in value-at no additional cost to the city or taxpayers-for a road that was in poor condition and in need of repairs.

“We want to ensure all residents have the information they need to avoid the construction areas and have a seamless Election Day experience,” said Roberto Scappaticci, director of the Public Works Department. “We are thankful for residents' continued patience as work is under way to complete this construction project, which will secure miles of brand-new pavement at no cost to taxpayers.”

New industrial development is officially open

Jaimey Roth, left, of Hillside Development, Plymouth Township
 Supervisor Kurt Heise, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans 
and Northville Township Supervisor Robert Nix cut 
the ribbon at Ridge 5 Corporate Park. 
Local and county officials gathered at the former site of the Detroit House of Corrections prison, (DeHoCo) last week for the official opening of the new Ridge 5 Corporate Park in Plymouth Township.. 

The 60-acre Michigan International Technology Center, (MITC) celebrated the completion of the critical infrastructure at Ridge 5 Corporate Park in Plymouth Township. The project is being prepared for high-tech and research and development companies as part of a development collaborative. The park, a 60-acre industrial subdivision within 800 acres, is developed and managed by Hillside Investments.

Volunteers needed for 3 new city task forces

Northville residents interested in serving on any of three newly approved task forces in the city have until Nov. 10 to submit a letter of interest to city officials.

The three task forces were approved by members of the city council at their regular meeting earlier this month. The purpose, officials said, is to bring people in the community together to work toward the betterment of Ford Field, the Farmers' Market and Rouge River Restoration. The task forces need volunteers to help make that vision a reality, they added. 

Members of the new Ford Field Task Force will be charged with creating a plan to re-establish Ford Field as a central gathering space. Roles of the volunteers will include gaining input from community stakeholders, establishing a vision for Ford Field as a central park, producing a needs assessment and management plan, and identifying funding opportunities such as grants and partnerships. 

Carl’s Golfland donation will aid Vietnam veterans

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to a segment of the population that is owed a debt of gratitude.

As Veterans' Day approaches, those who have already fought for their country are among those most susceptible to the devastating effects of the virus. One Plymouth Township business recently donated $625,000 to the Vietnam Veterans of America organization to help the fight against the coronavirus. 

Carl's Golfland, with locations in Bloomfield Township and Plymouth, distributed the final contribution last week, raised from the sale of  #ShankThisVirus t-shirts, personal donations and a $100,000 donation from owner Carl Rose Jr. 

Kiwanis Park home development is approved

The grass and play structures at Kiwanis Park on John Street in Wayne will soon be replaced with 22 new homes.

Members of the Wayne City Council approved the plan of Infinity Homes to build the homes on the property which is near Annapolis and Howe Road.   

 “This will actually be our first project in the City of Wayne,” noted Infinity Homes owner Rino Soave at the Oct. 6 meeting of the council. “We do a fair amount of work right across the road in Romulus - we've probably built well over 350 homes in Romulus in the last seven or eight years.”

New interim library director is named in Westland

Jennifer Roth
Jennifer Roth has been appointed as the interim director of the William P. Faust Public Library of Westland.

Members of the Westland Library Board unanimously appointed Roth to fill the position which became open when Library Director Ishwar Laxminarayan resigned last month. Laximinarayan had served as the library director from June 2018 until his resignation in September. Roth's appointment became effective Oct. 5. 

Prior to her appointment, Roth served for three years as the head of Information Services for the Westland Public Library. She has more than 17 years experience in the field of library services, having formerly worked in libraries in Flint and Hartland. Roth graduated from Wayne State University with a masters degree in Library Information Science (MILS) in 2003 and is a member of the American Library Association as well as the Michigan Library Association, where she serves on the planning committee. 

$40,000 recycling educational expense is approved by council

Westland residents are about to get an education.

Members of the city council have agreed to spend $40,000 for material to educate residents about the newly-reinstated curbside recycling program. The funding will come from the Sanitation Fund of the city. 

The city was forced to suspend the recycling program due to increased costs at recycling plants but was able to reinstitute the popular program in July after an additional sanitation millage was approved by Westland voters. Early results on participation have been very favorable, officials said at the Oct. 19 meeting, as the city recycling tonnage is quickly returning to the previous weight.  However, officials noted,  the required methods of recycling are not being adhered to by all residents and the results have produced many contaminated loads,  “which unfortunately dramatically increases costs to the city.”

Trustee suggests adding local bike trails

While the political campaign and the effects of the coronavirus continue to affect all local communities, Sumpter Township Trustee Don LaPorte wants to get back to community improvements.

During a meeting of the members of the township board of trustees earlier this month, LaPorte noted that the township administration and the trustees have been embroiled in political rhetoric and unfounded allegations, taking time and funding from community projects. 

“We need to start doing more for the community,” LaPorte said, following his report regarding a conversation with Wayne County Commissioner Al Haidous regarding progress at the Huron River Drive bridge. Haidous made inquiries with the county departments involved, LaPorte said, and Haidous said that the bridge project was on schedule and is expected to be complete Nov. 15. While that was the purpose of the conversation, LaPorte said, the two ventured into a conversation about other amenities for the township, including the possibility of adding bike trails in the community.

Letters: Trustees receive praise

Dear Sumpter Residents,

November 3rd is a critical election for our country, but, also locally in our community.  The choices you make in our local election will have lasting effects for years to come.

I attend board meetings on a regular basis and the current board has done a fantastic job maintaining the stability of our public issues over the last four years and have kept our community safe during these trying times while maintaining financial accountability.

Attend a meeting and see this for yourself, watch a meeting on the township web page or even read the community newsletter.  A summary of the accomplishments of this board can be found on page 6 of the Spring 2020 edition of the newsletter.  This board has proven its effectiveness by its actions and not political rhetoric.  

My vote is with the current board:  John Morgan (Supervisor), Esther Hurst (Clerk), Matt Oddy (Trustee), Don Laporte (Trustee), Tim Rush (Trustee).  Please also consider Vincent Warren as a write-in candidate for treasurer.  Please consider giving your vote to these candidates.

Antoinette Oddy

Sumpter Township

Letters: Incumbents are supported

Dear Sumpter Township Neighbors and Friends,

I have lived in Sumpter Township for close to 40 years and have witnessed many elected official come go, some good and some bad.    

I firmly believe that the performance of the incumbents John Morgan (Supervisor), Esther Hurst (Clerk), Matt Oddy (Trustee), Don Laporte (Trustee), and Tim Rush (Trustee) over the last 4 years has been excellent.  Based on the township meetings I attend and watch, these incumbents have proven to me that they are honest and that they provide transparency and always make sound decisions which support the residents of Sumpter.

The current board has increased the General Fund $2.7 million dollars, has reduced pension debt by $160,000, secured over $400,000 in Block and Grant funds, upgraded our street lighting which saves the residents thousands each year and is responsible for our township being the first township to be Storm Ready.  There are many other accomplishments the board has achieved which have benefited us which I have not included.   

Please take your vote seriously and review the candidates and their backgrounds as I have done.  Don't fall for the political rhetoric and accusations presently being made by disruptive groups we have in Sumpter.  I'm voting for these honest, "for the people" incumbents and I urge all the voters in our township to join me in supporting them.  

Dick Harrison

Sumpter Township 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Communities explore water-purchasing consortium

The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being felt in every community and a group of local officials are looking at cutting costs wherever possible.

Four Wayne County municipalities; Livonia, Westland, Canton Township and Northville Township, are pursuing a study to determine the feasibility of buying water from the Great Lakes Water Authority in bulk in an effort to cut costs to residents.

Officials from the four communities have paid a total of $43,000 for a four-month study to determine the financial impact of buying water as a group and a means of storing the water purchased for distribution in their respective communities. The four communities would, in effect, form a consortium to buy the water in bulk, which should drive the costs down, officials said. The consortium would buy water at off-peak times when rates are lower and store it for distribution to residents, hopefully lowering current residential water rates.  

Safety concerns impact trick or treating plans throughout area

If wearing a mask will prevent the transfer of the coronavirus, local children are all set for Halloween trick or treating.

Not so fast. Like so many other beloved traditions, decisions about trick or treating this year are impacted by the threat of the COVID 19 pandemic as reported cases and deaths rise across the country. Parents throughout the area are weighing the safety aspect of the holiday activities against the danger of the highly infectious disease.

Several communities have established some guidelines for the event while others continue to debate cancelling trick or treating in light of the risk of contamination. 

Creativity is the name of the game this year, especially when it comes to figuring out how to celebrate this iconic American holiday during a pandemic. 

Coronavirus safety orders issued by county health officials

Residents throughout the state have expressed confusion regarding the current health regulations regarding the current pandemic, particularly in light of the increased number of reported cases of COVID 19 and the rising death toll in the state.

Wayne County officials issued a new emergency public health order last week to help slow the spread of COVID-19. A release states that the order echoes the orders first presented by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration.

“We are keeping the COVID-19 rules and regulations in place from before the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on the governor's authority to issue them,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said. “Wayne County's order is simple: keep wearing masks in public; no group events larger than 10 people or 20 percent attendance per 1,000 square-feet of space; and, employers must still provide health screenings for employees working in public areas or with the public. These are the rules we are accustomed to and they are the rules we are going to follow until there is clearer direction from the state.”

School board candidates cite need for communication

 Julie Brown, Special Writer

The issue of social media, as well as official communication channels, “has gotten some school districts in issues,” noted Susan Rowe of the League of Women Voters of Northwest Wayne County. 

She moderated a recent candidate forum for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education, which can be viewed on YouTube and at the website.

Three candidates are to be voted on for the six-year terms: Rob Baty, Lauren Christensen, Patrick Kehoe, John T. Lazarowicz (a current board trustee), Michael B. Lloyd, Jeannie Moody-Novak, Sheryl Picard, Gina Thibault, Christopher Vos, and Shawn H. Wilson.  Sebastien Osterag and Anupam Chugh Sidhu, the current board vice president, are vying for a partial Plymouth-Canton term ending Dec. 31, 2022.

Coffee break

Waltonwood Cherry Hill associates celebrated the fifth annual National Coffee With A Cop Day by serving freshly brewed coffee and house-made pastries to Canton Township Police officers on Wed., Oct. 7. Several patrol cars arrived on the scene to enjoy the treat, behind masks, of course with staff from Waltonwood Cherry Hill.

Clerk offering Saturday hours

Canton Township Clerk Michael Siegrist, along with several other clerks in the area, will have special office hours this month in anticipation of the large voter turnout for the Nov. 3 election.

The clerk's office will be open every Saturday this month to help meet voter needs. The Saturday hours are for election business only, and all other township departments will be closed to the public. The office will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Oct. 24 and from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct.31.

Westland OK's purchase of 2 new K-9 officers

Two new recruits will soon be welcomed to the Westland Police Department.

Members of the city council approved the purchase of two German Shepherds for the department, along with essential equipment for the new 'officers,' training and certifications for the police department.  The $25,200 expense for the new canines was funded in part by donations to the Westland Police Community Partnership Foundation, donations  from community organizations and Westland Police Drug Forfeiture Funds. Future training costs of $1700 annually will be funded through the police operating budget.

Champions of Wayne program attracts ‘star power’

The Champions of Wayne program is receiving some star power to help offset the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on fundraising efforts.

The innovative program at Wayne Memorial High School has repeatedly produced head-turning scholastic results and has caught the attention of educators across the country, according to Executive Director Deborah Vigliarolo.

In addition to educators, the program has become a cause for actors and Wayne graduates Antoine McKay and Gregory Jbara who will make special appearances Nov. 14 at the virtual VIP movie screening of “Unclaimed” in which McKay stars. Jbara is well known for his continuing role on the TV series Blue Bloods. with Tom Selleck.

Farmers’ Market reports strong seasonal sales

Officials from the Northville Chamber of Commerce and vendors at the Farmers’ Market in the community are heading into end of the season with a sense of accomplishment for managing a successful marketplace despite the challenges of working amid COVID-19 prevention measures.  

“The majority of our vendors are farmers/growers and probably did as well or better than in the past,” said Jody Humphries, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

The 27-week season (two weeks short of normal) began with an opening day thunderstorm on May 14 that subsided in the afternoon. The last market day this season will be Thursday, Oct. 29 - just two days before Halloween.. The hour from 8 until 9 a.m. is reserved for seniors older than 60 and people with health concerns. The market takes place at the corner of Center/Sheldon and West Seven Mile Road with overflow parking at Northville Downs. 

Senior Services adds 2 vans

Northville area seniors now have transportation to local shopping districts and Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi and nearby medical buildings through an expanded parks and recreation department program.

In addition to expanding the area of travel for seniors, two of the vehicles used in the Northville Senior Services program have been replaced with vans which seat eight passengers and have wheelchair lifts. A spokesperson noted that the new vehicles resemble mini-buses. 

New program set to light up Romulus streets

A new cooperative effort between the City of Romulus and DTE Energy may bring several areas of the community into the light.

Officials from the city and the utility company have agreed to a new streetlight project that will respond to citizen reports of broken or out-of-service lights in the city through the department of assessment.

The program was launched earlier this month as city officials asked every city department to promote and publicize the new effort on social media.

Library is awarded 3 grants to fund facility upgrades

The Romulus Public Library will be improving public safety and services utilizing funding from three successful grant applications.

The library was awarded the three grants through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services including $500 for PPE (personal protection equipment) to protect patrons and staff against COVID-19 as the library continues to open to the public.

New Inkster public library building is nearly complete

The Leanna Hicks Public Library in Inkster will soon move to a new building, according  to Library Director Betty Adams

Adams said that in addition to the upcoming Halloween events set at the library, she is putting the finishing touches on a new building on Hamlin Street which should be open to serve the public soon. 

“What I'd like to do is what the community wants,” said Adams, who started work in August.

There could be a book club, for example, said Adams, noting, “We are here and we are happy to help people.”

‘Gang shooting’ under investigation

The investigation into what police characterized as a “gang related” shooting last week in Inkster remains under investigation.

According to police reports, detectives from the Michigan State Police Special Investigation Section and Michigan State Police troopers were called to 29847 Steinhauer in Inkster at about 10 p.m. Oct. 9 following reports of a shooting.

Voters to choose Van Buren school board trustees

Voters in the City of Belleville and Sumpter and Van Buren townships will chose four members of the school board during the Nov. 3 election.

Five Van Buren Township residents are seeking the four open seats on the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education.

Voters will chose from incumbents Susan K. Featheringill, Kelly Owen and Simone Pinter who are being challenged by Nicole Falconer and Terrance C. Goff.

Incumbent Susan K. Featheringill, 63, is a retired assistant superintendent for business operations at the Taylor School District. 

She earned her Master of Arts degree in educational leadership at Eastern Michigan University and has a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Cleary College of Business.

Bottled up

Members of the Belleville Rotary Club and the Rotary Passport to Service Club are coordinating a water bottle drive for children attending Van Buren Public Schools in kindergarten through sixth grade. The bottles are needed as water fountains in the school buildings are not available.  Rotary Club President Debra Green, left, delivers bottles to district administrative assistant Debbie McWilliams and Superintendent of Schools Pete Kudlak Oct. 15. The effort will continue through October and clean, new or used bottles can be donated at the Belleville Library.The club also purchased more than 50 sets of school supplies donated to local elementary schools.The Belleville Rotary Club members meet at 6 p.m. Wednesdays at Wayne County Community College,  9555 Haggerty Road in Belleville.  Photo by Brian Pearcy

Trustee and write-in candidate blast claims of primary winner

Trustee Tim Rush 
While the primary election may have appeared to limit voters' choice for Sumpter Township treasurer to a single Democratic candidate, township voters will, in fact, have another choice with write-in candidate Vincent Warren.

Warren, who was defeated by Jim Clark in the primary election by 140 votes, said he was prompted to launch a write-in campaign following the controversy regarding election procedures in which Clark and his wife, Toni Clark, were involved. Toni Clark falsely accused Sumpter Township Trustee Tim Rush of inappropriately pulling a tally tape from a voting machine and called township police to report the incident. Her claims, supported by her husband, were proven false by surveillance tapes of the voting process which completely dispelled her unfounded allegations.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

City clerk offering special hours to aid area voters

Romulus City Clerk Ellen Craig Bragg is among the local clerks extending hours this month to accommodate the strong voter turnout expected for the Nov. 3 election.

In Romulus, the clerk's office will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Fridays through Oct. 30. The office will also be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, Craig-Bragg said. 

The last day to request an Absentee Ballot to be sent through the mail is Friday, Oct. 30, she reminded voters and the last day to request an absent voter ballot at the clerk's office is Monday, Nov. 2.  Voters will not be able to take that ballot home with them and will be required to vote at the clerk's office. 

2 local men charged in militia kidnap plot

Brandon Caserta
Shawn Fix
Two local men are facing federal and state criminal charges in connection with a plot to kidnap and possibly kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer before the Nov. 3 election.

The two are among 13 men arrested by agents of the FBI and Michigan State Police last week. The men are reportedly all members of self-described militia groups in the state and hatched the plot in protest of the governor's orders regarding health precautions during the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. Some of the men charged attended a protest on the Capitol steps earlier this year and were photographed carrying assault weapons among protestors brandishing signs critical of the governor. 

Westland man arrested in Northville hit-and-run

Gustavo Godinez, Jr.
Northville Township Police have arrested a Westland teen in the hit-and-run death of a local man earlier this month.

Gustavo Godinez, Jr., 19, was arrested Friday and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of charges that he was driving the vehicle that struck and killed 20-year-old Dominic Duhn of Northville.

The incident took place at about 11:30 p.m. Sept. 3 when Duhn, a student at Michigan State University, was skateboarding with some friends along Sheldon Road near Six Mile in the township. Duhn died at the scene, according to police reports, and witnesses told officers that the driver of the vehicle, driving southbound toward Five Mile Road, sped from the scene without stopping. They described the car as either a white or silver sedan that would have sustained damage from the impact.

Local mayor elected to lead Michigan Municipal League

William R. Wild
Westland Mayor William R. Wild has been named as the 2020-21 president of the Michigan Municipal League.

Wild was selected to the office by the 18-member Michigan Municipal League (MML) Board of Trustees during the virtual convention of the organization which took place last month.  Board members also named Pontiac Mayor Dr. Deirdre Waterman as vice president. 

“It's very exciting to be the League's president, and it's something I'm very proud of,” Wild said. “To say the least, it's an exciting, yet challenging time for local governments. We're trying to redefine our communities to remain relevant, while also tackling some of the biggest challenges we've ever faced.”

Voters to choose new judge at 34th court

Alexandria Taylor
Lisa Martin
Sumpter Township, Belleville, Van Buren Township, Huron Township and Romulus voters will decide on a new judge at the 34th District Court which serves all the communities.

Lisa Martin and Alexandria Taylor were the top vote getters seeking the six-year term during the August primary election and will now appear on the General Election ballot Nov. 3. 

One of them will replace incumbent Judge David Parrott, who placed third in the primary and was eliminated from the ballot. Parrott was embattled in controversy after a drunken driving incident, as well as a suspension with pay following a domestic violence assault and battery charge.

Romulus library begins phase 3 of reopening

The Romulus Library is now in phase three of reopening to the public and service now include computer use by appointment and quick business tasks like faxing, copying and printing. Visitors can renew their library cards, apply for new cards and pick up items on hold inside the facility, noted Assistant Director Youth Services Librarian Jessica Wilhoite. 

Curbside services are still available for those who prefer them, she said.

Browsing the collection, study tables, seating, and the meeting room are not available. The children's area will remain closed at this time. 

Veterans group offering annual scholarships

Members of the Plymouth-Canton VFW Post 6695 and Auxiliary are sponsoring their annual scholarship program for any student in grades 6 through 12.  There are no special qualifications, for the award, according to a prepared statement from the group.  

Students in grades 6-8 can compete in the Patriot's Pen writing contest with a top prize of $5,000 from the group. Students enrolled at any private, public, or parochial school and home schooled students may compete for the prize. The theme this year is "What Is Patriotism to Me?"  Essays are to be 300-400 typewritten words (within a five-word margin) and must be entirely written by the student.  Typewritten entries and a completed entry form must be delivered to VFW Post 6695 by 8 p.m. Oct. 31.

Sign of the times

Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise was among the local officials and residents who unveiled the first State of Michigan Historic Marker in front of township hall earlier this month. The installation was made possible in part by a donation from the Michael Cameron Dempsey Fund through Township Trustee Jack Dempsey and the research and advocacy of members of the Historic District Commission.

Library seeking veterans’ photos for annual display

Plymouth family members can remembers those who served in the armed forces during the annual Honoring Our Veterans exhibit planned for the entire month of November at the Plymouth District Library.

The community tradition includes a large photo display of veterans and active military personnel provided by local family members and friends. While photos of all military personnel will be included, the focus of the 2020 display will be Women in the Military.  A military uniform from the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAC), memorabilia, and documentation from Detroit-area women who served will be featured.  

Aquatic center to remain closed for renovations

Located in Canton, Michigan, the Summit on the Park Aquatic
Center is expected to reopen in early 2021 after major renovations.
The Aquatic Center at the Summit on the Park is expected to reopen early next year, following completion of $1.5 million in major renovations. 

The project will include replacement of the copper roof over the indoor Aquatic Center, as well as the iconic spire, located on the roof of the Summit on the Park. Additional enhancements include replacement of skylights, updated tile in locker rooms and sauna, as well as significant tile replacement in all pools, as well as on pool decks.  

Clerk’s office is open Saturdays

Canton Township Clerk Michael Siegrist, along with several other clerks in the area, will have special office hours this month in anticipation of the large voter turnout for the Nov. 3 election.

The clerk's office will be open every Saturday this month to help meet voter needs. The Saturday hours are for election business only, and all other township departments will be closed to the public. The office will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Oct. 17, Oct 24 and from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct.31.

Canton bond sale is successful

Canton Township experienced a “very favorable” bond sale last month, officials said.

According to Wendy Trumbull, township finance and budget director, there were six bidders on the municipal bonds, which were ultimately awarded to UBS. While the interest rate on the bonds ranges between 3-5 percent, the Canton bonds were sold at a premium, meaning that Canton received $2.3 million in cash. 

This essentially lowers the net interest rate to 1.17 percent per year, Trumbull explained. 

Spooky spirits of the season


Annual Halloween skeleton display 

in Northville attracts crowds of admirers

While the Halloween spirit and some activities are in question due to the Coronavirus safety precautions, the skeletons in downtown Northville are on full display.

The skeleton vignettes, which have become a tradition in the city and an attraction to visitors from throughout the area, is sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority and local merchants and will continue though Oct. 31.  

Some of the most popular skeleton spoofs have returned this year, including the arm wrestlers at Main and Center streets, the suitor proposing marriage to his sweetie at Orin Jewelers and the witch walking her dog at Loria's.

State Wayne Theatre is now open for business

The State Wayne Theater was scheduled to reopen last week the first time since closing in response to COVID 19 health concerns. 

“To take the challenge away from implementing social distancing, Phoenix Theatres installed a new reserved seating program in the computer system that allows guests to select their seat in advance either on the theater web site or newly-developed mobile app. The computer will automatically remove two seats between each pair sold, creating a checkerboard style pattern. With the extra wide spacing that is a result of the wide reclining seats, there will easily be 6 feet of separation between guests to safely social distance while watching a film,” explained  Cory Jacobson, owner of Phoenix Theatres.

Autistic man may be retried in Westland armed robbery

An autistic man who suffered a serious injury as a result of a blow from a Westland police officer wielding a baton may once again face armed robbery charges. 

Judge Sandra Cicirelli of the 18th District Court dismissed armed robbery charges against Nicholas Deshawn Blair, 24, during a hearing June 11. Her decision was based on a forensic report which evaluated him as incapable of cooperating in his own defense and having “no likelihood of competency.”

Cicirelli dismissed the charges without prejudice which allows the charges to be refiled and prosecutors have entered a court motion to set aside that dismissal and have Blair undergo another competency evaluation.  

Shooting suspects still sought

Inkster police are continuing to search for two suspects in a shooting incident last week which took place during a large gathering at a party.

The shooting took place at about 12:25 a.m. Oct. 7, according to police reports at a home on the 30000 block of Carlysle in the city, where a large party was under way. Troopers were dispatched to the location following a report of a shooting. Witnesses told the responding officers that two unknown men approached the large crowd and fired multiple times, wounding three people.  Individuals in the crowd fired back at the shooters, witnesses said.

One of the victims was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his non-life threatening wound by local first responders.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Kroger to build $95 million facility in Romulus

Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff is hoping the latest announcement of a $95 million Kroger customer fulfillment center in the city adds to the city reputation as a state delivery site hub. 

Kroger announced last week that the new center would be located on a 22-acre site at 15675 Wahrman Road, part of the Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Corp. which includes four communities around Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run Airports, Taylor, Romulus, Van Buren Township and Huron Township.

The new facility is expected to be a 135,000 square-foot, high-tech center designed to help meet the growing online shopping customer base, company managers said, and create 250 jobs. It is one of three Kroger has planned across the country, according to a prepared news release from the food retailer.

Clerks mail record number of absentee ballots to area voters

Nearly 12,500 Northville Township General Election absentee ballots 
were mailed last Wednesday, Sept. 23 - two days early - by Township 
Clerk Marjorie Banner (left), Deputy Clerk Katie Anderson and their 
staff members. This is the largest absentee ballot mailing in the 
history of the township, officials said. Banner reminded absentee voters
 to sign the envelope when returning the ballot and because of previously 
reported mail issues regarding ballots, voters may prefer to return them 
using the Drop Box at any time of the day, use the drive-thru window at
 township hall between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or wear a mask and use the box
 in the lobby or the second floor clerk's office inside township hall.

Blue and white envelopes containing absentee ballots began arriving in mailboxes throughout the area last week and local municipal clerks are bracing for a huge response from voters.  The monumental increase in requests for absentee or mail-in ballots may indicate an unprecedented turn out at the polls Nov. 3, they agree.

In Canton Township, Clerk Michael A. Siegrist and his staff have mailed 32,703 absentee ballots. That is more than double the 14,220 requested for the 2016 Presidential Election, he noted. 

Siegrist said he is anticipating a 79 percent turnout of the 72,000 registered voters in Canton for the November election. 

In memoriam

Wayne dedicates tribute to veterans of armed services

A large crowd gathered last Wednesday to celebrate the official dedication of the new veterans' memorial located adjacent to Wayne City Hall. 

The memorial, a volunteer project funded by citizen donations, members of UAW Local 900 and a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., began as a grassroots effort in 2016 when veterans in the community suggested the project. 

Members of the UAW Local 845 were moving the union headquarters and suggested moving the monument from the former site to Wayne. 

Westland names new technology deputy director

Phineas Cody
Phineas Cody began his new job as Ciy of  Westland Deputy Director of the Department of Innovation and Technology on Sept. 15.

Cody started his career with the CIty of Detroit as a Helpdesk Technician.  After serving Detroit for 22 years, he moved on to serve for nearly 2 years in the City of Westland and then the City of Inkster for 2 years in areas of Information Technology (IT)  business operations and IT project management. Cody has a bachelors of science degree and a masters degree in Business Administration in Information Technology and Project Management from Colorado Technical University. Cody also earned various IT certifications that include Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation Service Strategy, CompTIA Network+, and Microsoft Certified Professional and is a member of the Project Management Institution.

Guiding hand

League of Women Voters Election

Guides delivered to local libraries

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Paula Bowman displays the voter guides of the League 
of Women Voters of Northwest Wayne County now available 
in local libraries.
Gathering as volunteers isn't new for the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Northwest Wayne County, but last Friday was especially busy. Members gathered in a garage of one volunteer to assemble Voter Guides.

“It's been a lot of work but it's satisfying to know people use them. There's no spin on them,” noted Paula Bowman, a Plymouth Township resident and LWV of Northwest Wayne County president.

She and other League volunteers delivered print Voter Guides through Monday to area libraries for distribution. 

Canton educator is honored by state lottery

Canton High School Nutrition Services Supervisor 
Colleen Berry recently accepted an Excellence in Education 
award from the Michigan Lottery and was featured on 
WXYZ TV in an interview. 
A Plymouth-Canton Community School District educator known for bringing hot healthy meals to students every day has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery. 

Award winner Colleen Berry is the nutrition services supervisor for Canton High School.  She received a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant for her school. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize. 

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year. 

Newest township park to be dedicated next week

The newest neighborhood park in Canton Township will officially open with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony next week.

Kopper Park, located on the north side of Koppernick Road, east of Haggerty Road, will be dedicated by Canton Township Supervisor Pat Williams and members of the board of trustees at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, weather permitting. 

Kopper Park features traditional playground equipment in an unconventional space, officials noted. The new play area includes: swings, slides, a play structure with climbing apparatus, play panels, spinning wheel, shade sail, and a bouncing grasshopper, as well as benches that will enchance the area, officials said. Future additions will include the installation of synthetic turf to create rolling hills, which will be added later this year. 

Woman threatened following church outreach efforts

An 22-year-old man has pleaded guilty to intentionally threatening an Inkster woman with physical harm to obstruct her free exercise of religion, which is a federal offense.

The incident began last July, according to official accounts of the case, when Teresa Patton received the threatening message from the Facebook page of an 83-year-old man. Patton is an attorney and her husband is in law enforcement. She said that she first interpreted the threatening message as a joke. 

Romulus receives more than $800,000 in grant funds

The City of Romulus has received more than $800,000 in various federal and statewide grants, coming at a critical time as the city works to lessen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. 

In light of the increased need of funding due to the pandemic and the grant opportunities offered at the federal, state and county levels, Mayor LeRoy Burcroff recently created an Operational Sustainability & Community Enhancement Committee. The committee members, including city department leaders, work together to streamline the grant process by providing each department the resources and information they need to easily complete applications. The new committee has played a key role in Romulus' ability to coordinate and receive grants during the pandemic, Burcroff said.

Sumpter Township auditor praises board’s performance

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees accepted and approved an independent financial audit prepared by auditors from Post, Smythe, Lutz & Ziel.

The positive audit was presented to the board members during the Sept. 22 meeting and included the financial transactions and management of the fiscal year ending March 31.

Familiar names to appear as write-in candidates

Robert Nix, who was defeated in his bid for reelection as Northville Township Supervisor by only 39 votes in August, will be a write-in candidate for the job on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Nix will be joined as write-in candidates by defeated Township Clerk Marjorie Banner and Township Treasurer Fred Shadko. All have registered their write-in candidacy with the office of the Wayne County Clerk.

Nix was defeated in the Republican primary election by former Twnship Supervisor Mark Abbo who served in the job for more than a decade, from 2000 until 2012. Banner lost her bid to Roger Lundberg and Shadko was outvoted by Jason Rhines in the primary election.   

Nix said the small number of votes separating him from Abbo was a factor in his decision to register as a write-in candidate.


Local woman performs in college a cappella competition

Medha Sripada
Candidates for office aren't the only ones looking for voters' support this month.

Medha Sripada is also hoping that voters in her home town of Northville will cast a vote for her and her University of Michigan a cappella group Amazin' Blue which was recently selected to compete in UpStagedAid: One world, Every Student Voice, the largest international college a cappella championship in history and the first ever virtual college championship of the kind. 

Sripada, 19, is a sophomore at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and joined the Amazin' Blue group there after graduating from Northville High School where she also sang with an a cappella group. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Grant to fund COVID pay for public safety

Public safety workers in both Van Buren Township and the City of Wayne will be awarded payroll reimbursements funded through the federal Cornoavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In the City of Wayne, officials said that each of the 37 police and fire personnel who worked during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic would receive a maximum of $1,000.

Whitmer signed Public Act 123 of 2020 in July, which appropriated $200 million for the Public Safety and Public Health Payroll Reimburse-ment Program.

Canton Summit on the Park to open next week

Canton Township residents will be able to take some steps back to pre-coronavirus physical workouts beginning Oct. 5 with the planned reopening of the Summit on the Park.

According to a prepared statement, the facility will reopen while following safety procedures including social distancing, limiting of guests and mask wearing. The aquatic center will remain closed and hours at the popular township activity center will be curtailed and all local, state and federal health guidelines will be in place.

The center has been closed to the public for seven months and staff members were laid off, according to officials. Those who were laid off will be reinstated and will complete training about the implementation safety protocols.  Outdoor fitness classes currently under way will be moved inside the Summit and members will have access to the walking track and strength and fitness equipment. 

Probe finds no ‘missing money’ in Sumpter Township

Allegations of missing funds from the treasurer's office in Sumpter Township made by the successful Democratic candidate for office remain unsubstantiated, despite an independent investigation by township attorney Rob Young.

During a recent meeting of the board of trustees, Young detailed his efforts to find an basis for the claim made during the recent campaign by James Clark, the winner of the Democratic primary election for the treasurer's post.

Young told the trustees that he had undertaken the investigation at the request of Township Supervisor John W. Morgan who was concerned about the erroneous allegation. Young said that as part of his detailed probe, he sent letters of inquiry to each and every board members and staff members at township hall, asking if they were aware of, or knew of, any missing funds from township accounts or offices.

Van Buren Township to pay postage on ballots

In an effort to ensure that all absentee ballots in the township are returned, Van Buren Township officials have paid all 2020 General Election Absentee ballot postage fees.

According to Township Clerk Leon Wright, "We want to make voting accessible for all residents. Our goal is to make voting as easy as possible for all voters in Van Buren Township.

“If you decide to mail your ballot, you don't need to put a stamp on it, however, we encourage voters to utilize the drop box in the front of the building. We want to make voting accessible for all residents,” said Wright. 

Canton board members address leaky roof, internet access

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Canton Township first responders have seen no significant increase in calls for service during the pandemic, according to Christopher Stoecklein, who heads up fire services for the municipality. He told members of the board of trustees during the Sept. 22 online regular meeting that there had been no significant increase in runs recently associated with COVID-19. 

“There is no huge jump in numbers of coronavirus patients here,” commented Township Supervisor Pat Williams who added that he had recently learned from Wayne County Commissioner Melissa Daub that a long-term testing site was being considered, quite likely in Canton or Plymouth.

“Wayne County Health will be defining the what and who,” said Williams of a question about the number of cases from Trustee Anne Marie Graham-Hudak.

City honors 2020 Officer of the Year

Ofc. Melissa Vernon receives the Officer of the Year award
from Northville Police Chief Alan Maciag, who presented
it to her at city hall recently. 
Melissa Vernon was chosen as the City of Northville Police Officer of the Year for 2019, a recognition that presented at the city council meeting  Sept. 21. While the meeting was online, Police Chief Alan Maciag presented a plaque to Vernon in person at city council chambers. 

The award recipient is chosen annually by fellow officers. Vernon stood out for her work in bringing two Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training sessions to the city and instructing women in self-defense along with fellow officer Matt Duggins. She is also the taser training officer for the department.

Training officer

Kristen Romac has accepted the newly-created role of Professional Standards and Training Officer for the Northville Township Police Department. This position is dedicated to supporting state and national accreditation programs, evaluating department processes and developing training aligned with best practice standards. Romac joined the Northville Township Police Department in 2004 and since that time, has been dedicated to supporting the agencies continuous improvement, a  spokesman noted. She serves as a departmental instructor in the disciplines of firearms, defensive tactics, conductive energy weapons, R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) and as a field training officer. Romac was named Northville Township Police Officer of the Year in 2016 for her contributions to establish best practice policies and training related to use of force. She is also a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association.