Thursday, April 15, 2021

$27 million awarded to Detroit Metro Airport

Detroit Metro Airport, located in Romulus, will receive $27,639,316 in federal funding to pay for infrastructure improvements.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters said that the U.S. Department of Transportation will be awarding the funding, along with $116,859 to Willow Run Airport, to be used toward costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services, and combating the spread of pathogens at the airports.

Oh, ‘Deer’

Fishermen rescue doe stranded in freezing river

Don Howard, Staff Writer

Plymouth Township resident Mike Kafila with the
doe he and Steve Rauser saved from drowning.
Plymouth Township resident Mike Kafila and his long-time friend and fishing buddy Steve Rauser experienced a real spiritual uplifting Easter weekend. 

While Walleye fishing in the Detroit River they encountered what they at first thought was a log. As Kafila motored their boat closer it became apparent that the “log with two eyes” was a yearling doe struggling for her life in the frigid 39-degree waters off  Horse Island.

Horse Island is a small peninsular island in the downriver area of the Detroit River, south of Gibraltar, a mile west of the southern tip of Grosse Ile.

After starting their day at sun-up, Kalila and Rauser, who love to fish for Walleye at what they claim is one of the best spots for miles around, had finished lunch and were ready to turn back in their 17-foot rig at about noon when they spotted the deer.

Canton man pleads guilty to child sexual abuse charges

Shailesh Patel
The Canton Township man facing both federal and state charges of sexual abuse of minors entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court last week. He has previously entered a guilty plea in Wayne County Circuit Court to charges of sexual abuse of minors.

Shailesh Patel, 53, is accused of abusing children from the ages of 5 through 12, who were known to him, according to court pleadings, from the temple they all attended. Two female victims, now both in their 20s, described the abuse during interviews with agents of the FBI and local police during the investigation of the allegations.

Patel owned a Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins franchise and would drive children from the temple to the businesses to buy them treats.

Mayor submits $70 million balanced budget to council

Westland Mayor William R. Wild presented a $70 million balanced budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22 to members of the city council last week for approval.

The proposed budget adds approximately $157,000 to the General Fund unassigned balance, preserving a “rainy day” fund balance at approximately $6.6 million. 

Highlights of proposed budget include an overall taxable value increase of 3.30 percent; a provision to continue the city match for 13 federally-funded SAFER grant firefighters; an addition of a full-time Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) director as well as funding to research converting the vacant Marshall Middle School into a community recreation center. Funds are also allocated to create the first dog park and Pickle Ball courts in the city. 

Doggone it

City K-9 officers don donated vests

Westland Ofc. Odin
Two Westland police officers will be a lot safer following the donation of customized body armor, designed to protect them in emergency situations.

Canine officers Odin and Rio of the Westland Police Department K9 unit will receive bullet and stab protective vests funded by a donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

The vests for the German shepherd officers are being funded by Sharon Peters of Grosse Pointe Shores, and will be embroidered with the sentiment "In memory of Det. Lt. Richard J. Scott." Delivery of the safety equipment is expected within 6 to 8 weeks, officials said.

Birthday wishes

Also celebrating in Westland last week was Bella the certified fire dog who marked her fifth birthday with a canine-pleasing cake. Bella's handler, Capt. Jeff Stobbe, was on hand to help the Labrador Retriever mark the occasion.

Bella, who came to Westland fully trained from Texas, is a certified arson detection canine and the first arson dog in Western Wayne County. For more than three years, she and Stobbe have helped area fire investigators locate trace evidence that reduces the time and duration of fire investigations and minimizes the potential for oversights.

Bella received multiple good wishes on the Facebook post celebrating her special day.

City wide clean-up is now under way

A joint effort of the Westland Public Service and Neighborhood Services Department has been launched with Operation: Clean Sweep program to address the trash which has accumulated in the city during the winter months.

Mayor William R. Wild said the city would be divided into five sections and employees from both departments will pick up trash along the major and local roads, city parks and any vacant commercial properties.

Canton Indoor Farmers’ Market set for Sunday

The Canton Farmers Market will return with a special off-season market at the Summit on the Park community recreation center this Sunday.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the market which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 18, in the banquet center.

A variety of local food growers and producers have signed on to participate in the market including: Pick Michigan - featuring produce, eggs, and tortillas; Kapnick Orchards - featuring apples, apple cider, and baked goods; Simply Gourmet Fresh - featuring salsa, chips, and gourmet butter; The Cheese People of Grand Rapids - featuring cheese; Boblin Honey- featuring honey;

Special guest

State Rep. Matt Koleszar, vice-chair of the House Elections and Ethics Committee, right, visited the office of Northville Township Clerk Roger Lundberg last week to discuss the election process with Lundberg and Deputy Clerk Katie Anderson.

Teen B.L.O.C.K. program receives $5,000 donation

The Transpire Nights program at the B.L.O.C.K. Youth and Teen Center in Canton recently received a $5,000 donation from the Masco Corp.

Transpire Nights, which takes place monthly at the center, provides support, education, and advocacy for area LBGTQ+ and ally students, and provide them with a place to engage in discussions, plan activities, and build community with their peers. Funds donated by Masco will be used to provide certified therapists as discussion leaders for upcoming sessions. 

Reappointment is announced

Canton Township Director of Police Services Chadwick Baugh has been reappointed to the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Baugh's reappointment is for a term expiring March 1, 2023. He will represent the interests of law enforcement and his nomination was submitted by the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

Area legislator arrested following vehicle crash

Jewell Jones
State Rep. Jewell Jones has been released from the Livingston County Jail following his arrest last week following a traffic accident.

He was arrested by Michigan State Police last Tuesday, April 6, and released on Wednesday afternoon, officials said, “pending further investigation” while lab tests are completed, they said.

Jones represents the 11th District which includes Garden City and Inkster, and portions of Dearborn Heights, Livonia and Westland.

According to Michigan State Police, a 25-year-old Inkster man was arrested following a crash on I-96 late Tuesday night in Livingston County. While state police did not identify Jones, a video recording of a Chevrolet Tahoe driving on the shoulder of I-96 and then erratically swerving while traveling at about 50 to 55 mph was submitted by a witness to police.

Sumpter Township board OKs $55,000 ADP contract

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees agreed to enter into a contract for Human Resources and Payroll Services through ADP during their regular meeting earlier this month.

The $55,000 annual services contract is expected to save the township about $68,000 annually, according to estimates from officials. In addition to the $55,000 fee, the township will pay a one-time implementation fee to Foster Thomas, a contractor used by ADP to help install and set up the computerized system.

City of Wayne seeking police force applicants

Those looking for a career in law enforcement have an opportunity with the City of Wayne where applications to join the police department are now being accepted.

The department has posted a job opening and distributed flyers seeking candidates to join the 21 sworn officers, 10 police service aides and six support staff department.

"Our police department has earned a reputation of excellence among the law enforcement community and the respect of the city we serve. All of our officers are highly trained professionals that are committed to the core values of integrity, fairness, respect, honesty, courage and compassion," said Chief Ryan Strong on the official Wayne Police Department web page.

Lost 1985 time capsule sought by class of 2020

When a group of Romulus Middle School students buried a time capsule back in 1995, they did a really good job.

So good, in fact, that as the same Romulus High School Class of 2000 class members get ready to celebrate their delayed 20th class reunion, they can't find it. 

Romulus Councilwoman Kathy Abdo asked the members of the council during a recent meeting to use their personal resources to see if they might know of anyone who might remember where the time capsule was buried.

Wise move

Romulus will save $16,000 in cost to move court equipment

Equipment and furniture will be moved into
the new 34th District Court building in Romulus.
City of Romulus officials are among the few who have found a silver lining amidst the current health concerns of the COVID-19 health restrictions.

That silver lining is going to save the city about $16,000 in costs to relocate the 34th District Court equipment from the former building into the new courthouse, located in the city hall and library complex. 

During a recent Zoom meeting, Mayor LeRoy Burcroff asked members of the council to approve the waiving of the bidding process and award a contract in the amount of $15,964 for the moving of furniture, files and other items from one court building to the other.

Rosie’s Reply

Yankee Air Museum names restored B-25 bomber plane

The historic B-25 Bomber at Yankee Air Museum has officially been christened Rosie's Reply and the new name is now painted on the nose of the refurbished World War II fighter plane.

Officials from the museum said the new name is part of the continuing mission to inspire America through honoring the accomplishments of the women collectively known as Rosie the Riveter. The World War II B-25, formerly known as Yankee Warrior, was repainted in December courtesy of Kalitta Air to the exact color specifications it wore flying eight combat missions from Corsica in 1944.

“After the attack on Pearl Harbor, American men left industry in huge numbers to enter the military, creating a severe labor shortage,” said Museum President Kevin Walsh. “To answer this aggression and arm the military, manufacturing in all sectors had to increase. A call for workers went out and women answered that call.”   

Plymouth District Library reopens 3rd floor to public

All three floors of the Plymouth District Library are now open for browsing, including the youth floor. The area was opened last week to coincide with the first day of National Library Week.  The theme of the week-long celebration this year “Welcome to Your Library” celebrates both the ways in which libraries extend far beyond the walls of the building and that all are welcome to use their services.  

“The Plymouth District Library is proud of the ways we continued to serve our community during the recent lockdown, and we are so happy to be welcoming back our youngest patrons to the unique pleasure of browsing,” said Library Director Carol Souchock.

City compost pick-up is under way

Compost/yard waste curbside pickup began April 5 in the City of Plymouth.

Compost must be placed in a brown Kraft lawn refuse bag or a can marked for compost, officials said.  Compost can may be marked with an “X” or identified with a “compost” sticker available at the Municipal Services office, located at 1231 Goldsmith. Compost includes grass clippings, leaves, branches, and yard debris but does not include sod, dirt, rocks, dog excrement, or potted plants. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Sumpter adopts new Community Risk Reduction Program

A Community Risk Reduction Program was unanimously approved by members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees during their meeting March 23.

In addition to offering free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, along with assistance in installing the devices for all residents, the program is designed to prepare and educate both public safety first responders and families with special needs members in advance of an emergency situation. 

The program, a product of research Fire Department Lt. Jaime Goode completed during his classes at Fire Staff and Command School, has received widespread attention and acclaim for being pro-active with special needs families in the community. It is being adopted in multiple communities throughout the state and at the federal level.

Marijuana licensing system prompts multiple lawsuits

The awarding last month of the first marijuana licenses in Westland has already been challenged in court by several business owners who were not granted the conditional licenses.

One of the lawsuits, filed by attorney Anthony Bologna representing MHS Westland, resulted in the issuance of a temporary restraining order by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John Gilllis, preventing the licensing process from proceeding. Bologna also filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of another client seeking a marijuana license in the city,  Harper Ventures, LLC.

The 5-2 vote of council members took place during the March 15 meeting and granted licenses to seven retail marijuana operations in the city. Council members determined which applicants would receive permission to proceed using a scoring system which awarded points for various aspects of the proposed businesses, including the remediation and or clean up of sites in disrepair in the city.

Boogie Nights

Dads and daughters got their “boogie” on in Romulus recently and didn't let the pandemic interfere with the annual Daddy-Daughter dance in the area. Recreation planners in the city moved the event to the city parking lot where the couples could show off their dance moves during the Daddy-Daughter Parking Lot Disco event.

‘Shamrock’ hunt proves successful

Members of the Noon Rotary Club in Plymouth demonstrated their commitment to the well being of the community recently with a donation of up to $10,000 to help local businesses survive during the ongoing pandemic.

The club, in partnership with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), sponsored the successful Shamrock on the Shelf scavenger hunt through downtown Plymouth last month. The Rotary club bought $25 gift cards from participating businesses that posted the colorful Shamrocks for the scavenger hunt.  With more than 350 participants, the result was the purchase of $300 in gift cards purchased directly from 30 participating businesses that were given away.

Wayne Main Street faces funding crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening yet another entity in the City of Wayne.

Wayne Main Street, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization which works to improve the retail and environment of the downtown area, is feeling the impact of the lack of donations during the past year.

“All of our operating costs, including the required salary of our director, are raised through donations from the public, corporate sponsorships and fundraising events,” noted Juan Bradford, president of Wayne Main Street in a recent communication to members and the general public. 

Area mourns death of attorney Don Morgan

Donald Morgan
Well-known Plymouth attorney Donald “Don” Crane Morgan, 80, passed away peacefully at Angela Hospice on March 26, 2021. A long-time resident of Plymouth, he was a pillar of his church and community for more than 55 years. 

Mr. Morgan was born in Detroit to Nancy Crane Morgan on Sept. 17, 1940.  He attended Lakewood High School, and after becoming president of the senior class, finally got a date with Judy Munro, his wife of 58 years. 

Like his mother, Mr. Morgan attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where he joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), and made many lifelong friends. After graduating in 1962, he often returned there with his wife,  most recently for his 55th graduating class reunion. 

Hop on board

The Easter Bunny Express recently traveled to St. Thomas a'Becket Church and two other neighborhoods as Canton Leisure Services and the Canton Public Safety Department helped residents celebrate Easter and spring cheer. About 150 residents were able to have their photo taken with the Easter Bunny and enjoy Easter candy.  In addition, participants were able to choose from donated items collected by St. Thomas a'Becket Church, including: reusable bags, raincoats, rain boots, hats, gloves, sports equipment, arts and crafts kits, toys, as well as personal care items such as shampoo, toothpaste, bath gels and more. “These types of special events help strengthen our community while providing a fun and supportive experience for the participating families,” said Laura Mortier, Canton recreation specialist. “Canton Leisure Services and Canton Public Safety's partnership with St. Thomas a'Becket is an indispensable part of the equation which helps us meet a critical community need that would be difficult to fulfill without their support.”

Westland sidewalk renewal program wins national honor

Another Westland project has been honored as an outstanding civic improvement.

Last week, the Shuman Sidewalk project in the city was named as the winner of the American Public Works Association (APWA) 2020 Michigan Project of the Year Award in the category of “Quality of Life Projects less than $1 Million.” Construction for the project was completed in August 2020 at a cost of $208,000. Funding for the project was provided by a SEMCOG grant through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which aims to support intermodal forms of transportation, according to City of Westland officials. 

City-wide clean-up day is set

Wayne Main Street is partnering with members of the Rotary Club of Wayne and the Friends of the Rouge to conduct a city-wide cleanup of the roads and paths bordering the Rouge River.

The clean up event, Community and Rouge Rive Clean-Up Day, is planned for 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, April 24. 

Public safety director’s contract is renewed

Chief Eric Luke 
A 3-year employment contract for Sumpter Township Public Safety Director/Police Chief Eric Luke was approved by members of the township board of trustees by a 5-2 vote last month.

The dissenting votes were cast by Trustee Peggy Morgan and Treasurer James Clark. Morgan had expressed her concerns about the contract during the study session which preceded the March 23 meeting.

“I do not feel the police chief should oversee the fire department nor the fire department oversee the police,” she said during the discussion of the contract.

Trustee Matt Oddy responded that he had seen only positive reaction to the current structure in the public safety department and had not heard any negative comments regarding the situation.

Romulus city council extends state of emergency

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
Members of the Romulus City Council voted unanimously in a special meeting last week to extend the state of emergency in the city and continue the COVID-19 health precautions currently in place.

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said that the meeting was recommended by city attorney Steve Hitchcock to allow the city to conduct meetings electronically through June 30. Hitchcock explained that Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state department of Health and Human Services recently suggested that due to the increase in the number of daily cases of COVID-19 in the state, health precautions be continued through April 29. Hitchcock said that Hertel had also cited the number of hospitalizations that were increasing throughout the state and that she had recommended keeping the 25-person limit on public gatherings in place.

“Well obviously, we can't have a public meeting limited to 25 people. We have no idea how many people might want to attend,” Hitchcock said.

School district will not request millage on upcoming ballot

Members of the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education have decided against placing a Sinking Fund millage on the Nov. 2 ballot. Despite a previous request from Superintendent of Schools Pete Kudlack, the issue did not come to a vote of board members following a discussion of the proposal.

The current Sinking Fund millage, set at .4917 of a mill, generates about $873,000 in tax revenue annually which can only be used for site improvements and building renovations. It will expire in 2022. 

While the district currently has building repair and improvement plans for the next three years, the anticipated Sinking Fund millage revenue will fall short of the funding needed for the third year, explained Rob Kakoczki of Plante Moran CRESA during the meeting of the board members last month.

Northville man faces charges in restaurant break-ins

Mark Tulik
A Northville man is facing nine charges following his arrest for breaking into restaurants in Livonia and Redford Township, all on March 15.

Mark Tulik, 49, was arraigned in 16th District Court last week on charges related to the March 15 break-in of a Livonia restaurant, according to court records. He was charged with breaking and entering a building with intent to commit a crime, two counts of fleeing and eluding police, two counts of resisting arrest and a count of possessing a burglar's tools. 

He is also facing charges in 17th District Court in relation to break-ins at two Redford Township restaurants, including two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of fleeing police, two counts of resisting arrest and count of possessing a burglar's tools.

Spring cleaning

Inkster officials detail rules for pick-up of residential trash, compost

As residents throughout the area begin traditional spring cleaning, the Inkster Department of Public Service has a few cautions for those preparing to dispose of debris accumulated during the winter months. 

Trash pick-up will continue on the regular weekly schedule, officials said, although specific holidays usually delay pick-up by one day. Those changes are clearly marked on the city calendar, available of the City of Inkster website.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Social worker embedded with Canton police

Hegira Health, Inc. is placing an embedded social worker with the Canton Police Department, a one-year pilot program. 

Members of the township board of trustees discussed the program during their March 23 meeting, with Canton Township Director of Public Safety Chad Baugh who explained that many calls to police involve mental health issues, including substance abuse.

“I see it more navigating this world we live in,” Baugh said in response to a question from Trustee Sommer Foster.

Proposals came from Hegira Health, Growth Works, and Services to Enhance Potential. Baugh noted his department doesn't have a relationship with the latter, but has worked for years with Growth Works on the youth diversion program.

3 facing murder charges in 2017 shooting death

Timothy Eugene Moore       Shandon Ray Groom       Shane Lamar Evans
Three men will face trial on multiple charges in the death of 27-year-old Egypt Covington who was killed in her Van Buren Township home on June 22, 2017.

Timothy Eugene Moore, 34, of Toledo, OH, Shandon Ray Groom, 28, also of Toledo, OH, and Shane Lamar Evans, 31, of Sumpter Township were bound over for trial last Thursday by 34th District Court Judge Tina Brooks Green.

Moore is charged with one count each of first degree murder, felony murder, home invasion first degree, and four counts of felony firearm. Groom was bound over on one count each of first degree murder, felony murder, home invasion first degree, and three counts of felony firearm. 

Ex-councilman rejects plea deal; city manager settles

Christopher Sanders
Criminal charges against former Wayne City Councilman Christopher Sanders will be decided in a jury trial following his rejection of a plea deal from the Wayne County prosecutor.

Sanders is charged with filing a false report of a felony, conspiracy to commit false report of a felony and attempted false report of a felony in connection wtih a 911 call concerning a road rage incident on Oct. 17 of 2017. Through his attorney, John Cahalan, Sanders  rejected both proposed plea deals which offered him two years of probation, no jail time, and no personal or third-party contact with Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini, the alleged victim in the incident. 

The rejected plea deals required Sanders, 52, to plead guilty to conspiring in a false felony report or pleading guilty to attempting a false felony report along with one count of false report of a misdemeanor. 

Schools to seek non-homestead millage renewal

Voters in the City of Northville and Northville Township will be asked to renew a non-homestead operating millage for the Northville Public Schools on a May 4 ballot.

The ballot question would renew the current millage rate of 19.2383 mills on all non-homestead property for five years, from 2022 to 2026. This millage applies only to non-homestead property such as businesses, rental properties, and second homes. Even though owners of primary residences are not affected, state law requires a district-wide election to approve the operating millage, district officials said.

Northville Art House exhibits work of local students

The Northville Art House is celebrating the spirit of creativity in Northville Public Schools through two exhibitions, the Northville High School International Baccalaureate (IB) Art Exhibition and the Northville Public Schools Virtual Art Exhibition, on view until April 14.

The Northville High School IB Art Exhibition is a culmination of the annual International Baccalaureate Art program at Northville High School. In the program, students explore skills, techniques, processes, and vocabulary which they use to pursue an in-depth investigation of art and this self-curated group exhibition, an art house spokesman said. In the exhibition, 19 students are displaying their best work along with a written rationale at the Northville Art House.

Garden Club meeting is planned

Members of the Country Garden Club of Northville will be meeting via Zoom at 11 a.m. April 7.

The speaker will be Rachel Hagen from the Living and Learning Enrichment Center.

For information on participating in the meeting or the club, call (734) 751-1156 or e-mail

Hot idea

Romulus Fire Department teams up 

with high school, college for training

Aspiring fire fighters can expect some hands-on training while still in high school at the Schoolcraft College Fire Training Institute where the Romulus Fire Department is a partner in their professional education.

Romulus Fire Chief Kevin Krause said the city and the department recognized the need for more firefighters and alternative trade options for high school students some time ago. The Romulus Fire Department  partnered with the college and local high schools to dual enroll students in the college Fire Training Institute. 

In Michigan, individuals under 18 can only start firefighter training if they are sponsored as a cadet by a fire department. Krause and the Romulus Fire Department stepped up to bring students on board.

School board president resigns, applicants sought

Edward Martell, who served as a Romulus Community Schools Board of Education Trustee since 2018, announced his immediate resignation due to a change of residency, effective Monday, March 22.

Superintendent of Romulus Community Schools Dr. Benjamin P. Edmondson said that Martell, who served as president of the school board, was “the epitome of what our board president needed to be” since taking over six months ago. 

“He shielded us from nonsense at the board table; he emphasized order; he worked collaboratively with me and the board members; he led with efficiency and not once micromanaged.” 

Federal grant will help fund local health clinic

Western Wayne Family Health Centers located in Inkster was recently awarded federal funding to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Inkster center, located on Hamlin Boulevard, will share in the $3,109,250 grant announced by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow  and Gary Peters. The funding can be used by health centers for staffing, personal protective equipment, screening, testing, or other needs for fighting the coronavirus pandemic. This funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was included in the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law on March 11, according to a prepared statement from the congress members. 

Station identification

Last week Canton Township firefighters began operating from the new Fire Station No. 2, located on Warren Road, just west of Haggerty Road. The new $6.5 million building replaces the original Station No. 2 built in the early 1970s, and will continue to serve the northeast section of Canton. The new, larger facility is expected to improve service levels in the area with the capability of housing two additional firefighters who will staff a second ambulance providing service from the new location, officials said.  Other features of the new station include a decontamination area for firefighters to wash up before entering the station after potentially harmful exposures;

Police chief may become Belleville city manager

One candidate to become the new city manager in Belleville stood out above the other 20 hopefuls who applied for the job.

Police Chief Dave Robinson who assumed the city manager role as an interim position when Tracey Schultz-Kobylarz left the job about a month ago, is expected to be offered the job while continuing to lead the police department. 

Schultz-Kobylarz was hired when former long-time City Manager Diana Kollmeyer retired in February of 2020. During a Zoom meeting earlier this month, members of the city council agreed to establish a committee to explore the possibility of having Robinson, also hired in February of 2020, continue in the city manager position while continuing his current responsibilities as police chief.

Going green

Employees at the Materials Recovery Facility sorted truckloads of refuse dumped into recycling bins in Canton Township and delivered to the facility. Multiple contaminants were found, officials said, including wall paneling, food, plastic bags, construction materials and metal tools. Officials cautioned that these items should not be placed in recycling carts and recyclable materials include: cardboard, paperboard, junk mail, office paper, plastics #1-8, steel cans, tin cans, aluminum cans, pots and pans, clear glass, phone books, plastic bags, newspapers, magazines, and catalogs. A recycling bin can be purchased from the Canton Township Clerk's office for $10. 

Hope Not Handcuffs

Drug counseling program now available through Wayne police

The Wayne Police Department will soon offer the Hope Not Handcuffs program to those who struggle with a substance use disorder and want to find recovery.

Members of Families Against Narcotics (FAN), a nonprofit organization founded in 2007, are teaming up with the Wayne and Garden City police departments to offer the  Hope Not Handcuffs” program, which has compassionately assisted nearly 5,400 people statewide since its launch in February of 2017,

Hope Not Handcuffs-which has more than 100 participating police departments statewide-brings law enforcement and community organizations together in an effort to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce their dependency on prescription medications, heroin, alcohol, and other drugs. 

New library director named

Jennifer Roth
The William P. Faust Public Library in Westland has a permanent new director.

Members of the Westland Library Board approved the appointment of Jennifer Roth to the position at their March 17 meeting.

Roth had been serving as the interim library director since September of last year and was named as the new director following an interview with the board members March 16. Her new, permanent title, became effective immediately.

Prior to her appointment, Roth served for three years as the head of information services for the Westland library. She has more than 17 years of experience in 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. She is a member of the American Library Association as well as the Michigan Library Association, where she serves on the planning committee. 

Her Honor

During Women's History Month which ended yesterday,  the City of Westland celebrated the achievements of the only individual in the history of the city to lead all three branches of the governing bodies in the community; legislative, executive, and judicial. Current 18th District Judge Sandra Ference Cicirelli was first elected to the Westland City Council in 1990, where she served as council president for 6 years. She was elected mayor of Westland in 2002 and then elected as 18th District Judge in 2007, where she currently continues to serve the community. Called "a true trailblazer," Cicirelli has served the community for four decades including participation with the Westland Youth Assistance Program, the Westland Chamber of Commerce, the Westland Jaycees, the Westland Goodfellows and several other local community groups. Cicirelli is the mother of two and grandmother of two.  

New parking plan under way

Beginning today, April 1, there will be specific 15-minute parking spaces in downtown Plymouth to accommodate local businesses.

Tony Bruscato, director of the Plymouth Downtown Development Authority (DDA) said that during the past year, city officials and the DDA have “worked together to creatively assist the business community.”

He said that the city has allowed expanding sidewalk patios onto the street using parking spaces as an example of the efforts to help downtown businesses. He said that will continue this year. In addition, he said, city officials approved the striping of Fleet Street to allow for 15-minute parking and both food serving and retail establishments were given the opportunity to request 15-minute on-street parking for curbside takeout service during their hours of operation. Many businesses took advantage of these opportunities when the State of Michigan limited building capacity to 25 percent, he said. 

Board names new school trustee

Members of the Plymouth Canton Community Schools Board of Education selected LaRonda Chastang to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Trustee Leonardo Savage last month.

Chastang was among 14 local residents interviewed for the school board position and one of three who were selected for a second interview based on a scoring system completed by current board members.

The mother of three and grandmother of three, Chastang is employed as the vice president of diversity and inclusion for Trinity Health systems based in Livonia. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Communities to share in federal stimulus funding

Like area taxpayers watching their bank balances for the promised $1,400 stimulus checks, many local communities are anticipating the arrival of a share of the $4.4 billion in federal fiscal recovery aid allocated to Michigan. 

Federal reports released last week listed a total of $130.2 billion earmarked for distribution to local municipalities, in addition to the payments to individual taxpayers. Payments of more than $1.78 billion will be distributed to municipalities including Wayne County and local cities and townships directly from the U.S. Treasury.

Local arts groups awarded state economic impact grants

Local arts groups are celebrating the announcement last week of grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

In Westland, Inspire Theatre was awarded $39,009 while the Michigan Philharmonic in Plymouth was awarded $14,628 in funding to help relieve the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts groups. Tipping Point Theatre in Northville was awarded the highest amount of grant funding allowed at $40,000, according to the state.

The three venues were among 101 independent operators receiving $3.4 million from the state as part of the Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program. 

Northville schools pledge full return to classrooms this fall

Northville Public Schools will return to full, in-person classroom instruction in all programs this fall.

Members of the Northville district board of education unanimously adopted a resolution during the March 9 meeting to return to the full, in-person instruction beginning with the first day of school this fall.

“As a district, we want our community to be clear that we are actively planning for a full return in 2021-22. While no one can accurately forecast precisely what the circumstances will be in September, we are committed to getting our students back to in-person school 5 days per week with the necessary protocols in place,” noted a prepared statement from the school district.

City council to consider revisions to 5 ordinances

Five ordinances were presented to the Northville City Council last week by members of the city planning commission. Each of the ordinance revisions were presented for first readings by council members. The second reading, and pending official adoption, of each of the ordinances will be scheduled and take place at a future meeting of the council. No dates for the second readings or formal adoptions of the changes to city ordinances was announced. 

Among those presented was a revision to the  open front space regulations. The proposed language brings all residential areas into compliance with an ordinance that requires homeowners to keep a certain percentage of open space in the front of their home and not have disproportionate circular driveways or paved concrete areas that are too large for the space.

Haunted history

Meet and greet some of the characters from history during the Plymouth Historical Museum “Ghosts of Plymouth” walk, set for Saturday, April 24. Walkers will hear the tales of early Plymouth from the characters themselves. The walks begin at 5 p.m. and leave every 15 minutes, circling Old Village and lasting up to 90 minutes.

Police seeking suspects in Lake Pointe car burglaries

Plymouth Township Police say video doorbells and outside security cameras may be the key to identifying auto theft suspects caught on camera last week in Lake Pointe. 

Police detectives reported four vehicles were ransacked between 3 and 4 a.m. March 10. The vehicles were parked in front of homes on both Farmbrook Drive and Crabtree Lane in the subdivision.

Police Sgt. Mark Hoffman said the investigation continues as officers review security camera footage supplied by homeowners to identify the suspects. According to Hoffman, the suspects went about prowling and searching for valuables in the early morning hours - finding unlocked and unattended vehicles in the subdivision driveways.

Garden club meeting planned

Members of the Country Garden Club of Northville will be via Zoom at 11 a.m. April 7.

The speaker will be Rachel Hagen from the Living and Learning Enrichment Center. For information on participating in the meeting or the club, call (734)751-1156 or e-mail .

Reconstruction of dangerous intersection planned

Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff is not a man who gives up.

It has taken Burcroff nearly seven years, but his persistent attempts to have the traffic intersection at Northline and Hannan roads reconstructed have finally paid off. Construction at the intersection, a cooperative effort between the city and Wayne County, is expected to begin April 15 and continue until Sept. 17, dependent on weather.  The reconstruction, officials said, is a continued effort to improve road safety and reduce vehicle crashes.

For decades, the site has been an area of concern for Romulus residents, who have often cited the high accident rate in the area. When Burcroff became mayor in 2014, he began to meet with Wayne County officials to bring attention to hazardous road conditions at the intersection.

Special delivery

Members of the Sumpter Township Police Department received a large envelope in the mail last week filled with thank you letters from the fourth-grade class at Keystone Academy in Belleville. Students hand-wrote the notes of support and admiration for the local police officers and thanked them for all they do in the community. Officers posted the notes on the official Facebook page with a note of thanks to the students and said it “was a great way to start the day.”

Township Hall remains closed

Van Buren Township Hall will remain open by appointment only through March 31, according to officials. 

Appointment hours are from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and some same day appointments are available.

“We're encouraging residents to use the dropbox in front of township hall or in the police lobby, to pay bills online or do business over the phone,” said township Supervisor Kevin McNamara.

Easter celebration set Saturday

The annual Easter celebration in Romulus is set for 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. this Saturday, March 27 at the Romulus City Hall Complex parking lot.

This year, the traditional holiday event will include strolling social distancing stations, a safe photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny, story tellers, goodie bags with special eggs that may contain giveaway item, stuffed animals and coloring sheets, while supplies last. 

Plymouth community mourns loss of Steve Harper

Stephen Harper
The Plymouth District Library and Plymouth community lost a champion earlier this month when library board member Stephen Harper passed away.  Mr. Harper was a dedicated and passionate volunteer and served the Plymouth community through his leadership in several organizations.  

“The Plymouth District Library has become an anchor institution in the Plymouth community greatly due to Steve's impact,” recalled Library Director Carol Souchock.

She said that a few years ago, Mr. Harper reflected on his role in the creation of the Plymouth District Library.

Indoor Farmers’ Market is planned

The Canton Farmers Market will return with a special off-season market at the Summit on the Park community recreation center next month.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the market which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 18, in the Banquet Center.

A variety of local food growers and producers have signed on to participate in the market including: Pick Michigan - featuring produce, eggs, and tortillas; Kapnick Orchards - featuring apples, apple cider, and baked goods; Simply Gourmet Fresh - featuring salsa, chips, and gourmet butter;

Warm welcome

Canton Township officials took part in a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new Fire Station #2, located on Warren Road, west of Haggerty Road. The new $6.5 million station is expected to be fully operational by the end of the month and fire officials are hoping to be able to host an open house for the public later this year.

A matter of balance

Canton Club 55+ sponsors virtual senior workshop

The Canton Club 55+ will sponsor A Matter of Balance workshop from 1 until 3 p.m. for eight Fridays. An information session about the workshop is set for 1 until 2 p.m. Friday April 9. 

The National Institutes of Health say that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in people 65 and older. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) is hosting the workshops online to help older adults reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of those who have concerns about falls.

Swing season

Dust off those golf clubs.  Pheasant Run Golf Club in Canton Township is now open for the 2021 golf season. The first tee time was set for 8:30 a.m. last Monday. In addition, the Pro Shop will be open at 8 a.m. If Mother Nature allows, the township course will remain open on a day-to-day basis. Masks must be worn inside the facility. To book a tee time, visit at! #GolfPRGC #GolfCantonMI #PheasantRunCantonMI.

First lady

During March, designated as Women's History Month set aside to honor women's contributions in American history, the City of Westland paid tribute to Justine Barns, a trailblazer who rose from a school activist to become a State Representative. “Justine Barns was a remarkable State Representative, councilwoman, philanthropist, leader and friend. Our community is a better place because of her countless contributions,” said Mayor William R. Wild. The late Mrs. Barns served on the original Westland Charter Committee when Nankin Township was converted to the City of Westland. She dedicated many years to the city before going on to serve in the House of Representatives. After spending 12- years at the Capitol, she served another four years on Westland City Council before retiring. “With a large list of firsts, Westland is proud to call her our “First” Westland Councilmember on the “First' City Council as well as the “First” woman president to serve the council, Wild added.

Wayne Main Street plans annual clean-up effort

Wayne Main Street is partnering with members of the Rotary Club of Wayne and the Friends of the Rouge to conduct a city-wide cleanup of the roads and paths bordering the Rouge River.

The clean up event, Community and Rouge River Clean-Up Day, is planned for 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, April 24. 

Volunteers can as much or as little as time and energy permit. Help is needed to pick up trash along the roads or trails or many other general clean-up tasks. The project is an effort to make the city more walkable and beautiful, a Wayne Main Street spokesman said.

Inkster man faces murder charge in fatal shooting of brother

Roderick Phillips, 50, of Inkster was due in court yesterday for a probable cause conference on charges he shot and killed his 57-year-old brother during an argument.

Prosecutors allege that Roderick Phillips fatally shot Michael Phillips, also of Inkster, during a disagreement just before 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 13.

Police dispatchers sent officers and an ambulance to a home in the 2600 block of Ross Street after receiving the emergency 911 call at 11:47 p.m.

Police seek identity of suspect in phone store robbery

Inkster Police Det. Andrea Lebo is hoping a member of the public will give her a call with information about the person who robbed a Cricket Wireless store last week.

According to police reports, the clerk at the store was held at gunpoint and robbed by a man at about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 16 at the store located at 27360 Michigan Ave. in Inkster.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

5 departments respond to raging brush fire

Last week, members of the Romulus Fire Department, along with  firefighters from four other area departments, fought a significant wind-driven field  brush fire. According to reports, the fire stretched about a half a mile by about 75 yards wide, challenging firefighters to control the blaze.  Some minor property damage was reported but there were no injuries or life loss, according to reports.

Communities mourn death of Sam Messina, 80

Salvatore “Sam” Messina
The death of Salvatore Antonio “Sam” Messina, the former long-time owner of The Courthouse Grill restaurant in Plymouth, is being mourned throughout the community.

Mr. Messina, 80, of Northville, died March 5, 2021 following a stroke.

He was born in Detroit on Feb. 21, 1941, to parents Antonino and Carrie (Yannello) Messina

Mr. Messina was renown throughout the area for his gentle charm and hospitality at The Courthouse Grille, formerly known as Ernesto's, where for more than 30 years he delighted in welcoming patrons to enjoy a fine meal and celebrate the special occasions in their lives. Concurrent to his proprietorship and until his retirement in 2001, Mr. Messina served as director of investor relations for Chrysler Corp. and Daimler Chrysler.

Westland joins national water conservation challenge

Mayor William R. Wild
Westland Mayor William R. Wild is not a man to back away from a challenge and he enthusiastically joined a national effort last week.

Wild officially agreed to join other mayors and communities across the nation in asking residents to make a long-term commitment to manage water resources more wisely. Municipal leaders were asked to urge their residents to take part in the annual Wyland National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation. 

This annual challenge takes place from April 1 through April 30 and is a non-profit national community service campaign that encourages leaders to inspire their residents to make a series of simple pledges at Pledges include commitments to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution and save energy. 

Residents oppose township sidewalk program

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Homeowners in Canton Township are calling the upcoming sidewalk repair/maintenance program set to begin April 1 a cruel joke.

Despite complaints from 10 or 11 residents during a March 9 public hearing which took place using Zoom, members of the board of trustees approved the project.

“Many homeowners are barely hanging on. This project needs to be suspended,” wrote one in comments read aloud that evening by township Clerk Michael Siegrist.

Summit to be site of 2 spring Indoor Farmers’ Markets

The Canton Farmers Market will return with special Off-Season Markets in March and April at the Summit on the Park community recreation center, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The markets will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 21, and April 18, in the Banquet Center at the Summit on the Park, located on 46000 Summit Parkway.

A variety of local food growers and producers have signed on to participate in these Off-Season Farmers Markets, including: Pick Michigan - featuring produce, eggs, and tortillas; Kapnick Orchards - featuring apples, apple cider, and baked goods; Simply Gourmet Fresh - featuring salsa, chips, and gourmet butter;

School trustee resigns post

Leonardo Savage has resigned his position with the Plymouth-Canton Schools Board of Education due to "continuing health challenges."

The resignation was announced by board president Patti McCoin during the March 9 meeting of the board members. 

"We thank him for his service to the school community and send our best wishes to Mr. Savage and his family," she said.

Northville Public Library welcomes new director

Maria Williams has been named as assistant director at the Northville District Library. In her new role, Williams will help to continue the mission of the library to providing a welcoming, user-friendly space, exceptional customer service, and innovative programming for patrons of all ages.

Williams previously worked at Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham  where she was the head of Adult Services, a job she held since 2014.  During her eight years at Baldwin, she significantly increased adult and teen program engagement and attendance, led the adult services department through a multi-million dollar renovation project, launched one of the best library makerspaces in the state, facilitated staff training through a catalog system migration, and - together with the administration - guided the library safely through the first year of the COVID-19. 

A little horse play

Maybury Farm in Northville is opening on weekends from noon until 5 p.m. While the Maple Syrup making tours are already sold out, the animals are  ready for guests. Masks and social distancing is required. Lavatory facilities are not open yet due to the weather, but there are portable facilities available. 

Shamrock on the Shelf is hiding in Plymouth

Visitors to Plymouth are hoping for the luck of the Irish this month as they participate in the Shamrock on the Shelf scavenger hunt. 

The Rotary Club of Plymouth and the Plymouth Downtown Development Authority scavenger hunt began last week and will continue through March 28.  Participants can use the time frame to complete one, or up to four, routes through downtown Plymouth to receive a $25 gift card from participating merchants.  The clues also have information about the Rotary Club of Plymouth and Rotary International.

Northville buildings are reopened

Township Hall and the Northville Community Center reopened March 15. The move is consistent with the lifting of restrictions through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, township officials explained. 

Township Hall hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and the Community Center doors will be open from 9 a.m. until noon Monday-Friday for walk-in traffic. Public safety headquarters will remain closed to the public except by appointment only.

‘Grab and Go’

Plymouth Library offers limited access

The Plymouth District Library re-opened to limited foot traffic on Monday, as part of the phase four of returning to public access.

The library is now featuring Grab and Go from noon until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The public will be allowed visits of one hour or less. Also available will be computer use by appointment, copying, faxing and staff assistance.  

“Limited building access means that we will be opening the floors in stages, beginning with the main floor.  The upper floor and then the lower floor will follow as soon as safe staffing allows.  Staff is available and eager to bring materials for patrons from floors that are not yet accessible,” explained Library Director Carol Souchock.  

Unfunded pension liability reduced in Westland

Despite additional challenges for municipalities working through the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Westland has continued to find solutions to tackle some of the biggest city issues, including the unfunded pension liability. 

The City of Westland has issued $82,470,000 in bonds to pay for a majority of the costs of the unfunded pension liability for the defined benefit pension plan for government employees administered by the Michigan Employees Retirement System of Michigan (MERS), according to Mayor William R. Wild. 

Wayne chamber presents annual business awards

New Wayne Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Zachery Burskey welcomed the 2021 board of directors for the organization recently and presented the annual awards to local businesses.

Burskey, who has been with the chamber since December, said his goals were to provide benefit opportunities like health care options, business discounts and other digital events for the 80 or so chamber members.

HYPE Recreation Center and Wayne Main Street were each recognized by the chamber for non-profit work in the community. 

Sunshine Week prompts launch of new dashboard

The City of Westland has launched a new financial and community performance dashboard available at 

The new dashboard, powered by Michigan-based Munetrix, provides an insider's look at the financial health of the city by providing a convenient and easy-to-navigate portal for multi-year data regarding where city money comes from and where it is spent. Also included on the dashboard are other relevant financial reports and community data insights, according to a city spokesman. 

School trustees consider sinking fund millage

Members of the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education are expected to decide next Monday whether to place a sinking fund millage on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The current sinking fund millage, set at .4917 of a mill, generates about $873,000 in tax revenue annually which can only be used for site improvements and building renovations. It will expire in 2022. 

While the district currently has building repair and improvement plans for the next three years, the anticipated sinking fund millage will fall short of the funding needed for the third year, explained Rob Kakoczki of Plante Moran CRESA during the meeting of the board members last week. He added that there is currently no funding balance for any emergency repairs included in those plans. The board members have approved a plan which includes projects costing $356,000 this year, $1,321,500 in 2022, and $2,020,000 in 2023.

Sumpter fire officials warn against outside burning

Sumpter Township fire officials have cautioned residents that outside burning of any kind is a serious risk in present weather conditions.

“Due to dry ground conditions across Southeast Michigan, the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) has upgraded the wildfire risk for our area to ‘Very High.’ Avoid outside burning of any kind,” is a message posted on the official police department Facebook page.

Van Buren Township now has new website

Van Buren Township has a new government website which members of the board of trustees hope will better serve the residents and employees of Van Buren Township. 

“This has been a long collaborative process involving every department and includes outside studies,” said Supervisor Kevin McNamara. 

“Every department has been working with the communications team to build a user-friendly searchable website. I am very proud of the spirit of shared intelligence and community that was put into building out this website.” 

‘COPE’ing skills

Inkster police offer mental health emergency service 

The Inkster Police Department has another new partner in responding to calls involving mental health incidents. 

In addition to the partnership with Growth Works, a non-profit organization in Plymouth serving youth and families, Inkster police also work in partnership with Hegira Programs, Inc. for assistance in calls that involve psychiatric emergencies. 

While the Growth Works partnership is designed to work with those experiencing opioid abuse, the new partnership with Hegira Programs, Inc. called C.O.P.E. (Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies) is designed to help those experiencing a mental-health incident. COPE has a “hotline” available to officers who respond to calls at Adult Foster Care (AFC) and private homes in the city where mental health crises may be involved.

Oscar Hamilton, Sr. remembered, mourned in Romulus

Members of the Romulus City Council acknowledged the contributions of the late Oscar Curtis Hamilton Sr. during their regular meeting March 8.

They also offered condolences and sympathy to his family members who were involved in a serious automobile accident while mourning their loved one. During the meeting, Councilwoman Eva Webb explained that while Mr. Curtis was being mourned at the funeral home, members of his family were involved in an auto accident and one of his granddaughters seriously injured.

Mr. Hamilton, 94, died March 1, 2021.  A long-time Romulus resident, he was recently honored with a formal resolution acknowledging his contributions to the community by the city. Webb noted that the loss of Mr. Hamilton would be felt throughout the city due to his continued contributions and service.

Cemetery clean-up under way

Romulus City Clerk Ellen Craig-Bragg reminded residents during the meeting of the city council members last week that clean up of the Romulus Cemetery is under way.

“We are conducting the annual cemetery cleaning,” she said, “and I want to remind residents that floral arrangements, including wreaths and grave blankets and other items must be removed.”

Craig-Bragg said that flowers placed on graves at the cemetery must be in unbreakable vases and that cemetery officials are hoping to have the grounds cleaned and “looking nice for Palm Sunday.”