Thursday, December 30, 2021

Romulus superintendent sues school district

Dr. Benjamin Edmondson
Members of the Romulus Community Schools Board of Education have been named in a lawsuit claiming discrimination and harassment by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Benjamin Edmondson. Three members of the school board are also facing a recall effort based on the suspension of Edmondson during an investigation into district business office financial practices.

In his lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan, Edmondson claims he was placed on indefinite leave and replaced with a less-qualified person and has endured a “sustained campaign of harassment” since he was named to the position in August of 2020.  During a Sept. 27 meeting of the board of education, the board members voted 4-3 to suspend Edmondson during the financial investigation.


3 named to Canton Hall of Fame, 3 others are honored

Newly inducted members of the Canton Hall of Fame are,
from left, Eva Davis, Tammy Haggerty and Dr. Syed Taj.
The three were honored during private ceremonies earlier
this month celebrating their contributions to the community.
Six individuals were recently honored for their extraordinary contributions to the Canton Township community. 

This year, the Canton Hall of Fame recognized three individuals based on their long-time and long-lasting contribution to the Canton community. The Community Achiever award recognizes those individuals who brought attention to Canton as a result of a special or outstanding achievement in the past year, and the Community Supporter Award recognizes those individuals or groups who continue to make a regular contribution to the community. This year, the inductees into the Hall of Fame are Dr. Syed Taj, Eva Davis and Tammy Haggerty. The three were recently honored at a private ceremony at the Summit on the Park Community Center. 

Drunk driving enforcement program now under way

During the New Year's holidays, law enforcement officials throughout Michigan will be participating in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. To protect lives, there will be increased patrols on the roads through Jan.1, 2022, with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired, according to a statement from the Michigan State Police.

Throughout 2020, there were 9,078 alcohol-involved crashes in Michigan with 326 alcohol-involved fatalities statewide, according to data provided by the state agency.


Veterans honored during national wreath program

Members of the Romulus VFW and Mayor Bob McCraight
participate in the national Wreaths Across America program
at Romulus cemetery.
Romulus Memorial Cemetery was one of more than 3,136 sites to honor veterans with memorial flags during the holiday season.

Members of the Romulus Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) 9568 marked the graves of fallen servicemen and women on Saturday, Dec. 18 as part of the national Wreaths Across America. Volunteers and spectators laid wreaths on the graves of fallen heroes.

National Wreaths Across America Day remembered national heroes as each veteran's name was said aloud and more than 525 truckloads of wreaths were delivered across the country. More than 2 million volunteers, a third of whom were children, helped placed more than 2.4 million veterans' wreaths on headstones across the country. 


Pregnant woman lives through COVID to deliver healthy son

Jared Heard and Nakia Hubbard Heard celebrate the birth
of son, Saint, threatened by COVID-19 during her pregnancy.
Nakia Hubbard Heard of Inkster lost a week of her life and nearly the life of her unborn son to COVID-19 this year.

Heard, 46, was 23 weeks pregnant when she tested positive at Beaumont Hospital, Wayne, with COVID-19 this past March and was immediately placed on a ventilator to facilitate her breathing. While Heard said she has no memory of the situation, the threat to her life and her baby's life, required an airlift transfer to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak two days later.

Heard's doctors approached her husband, Janard, with a terrifying question: What should they do if it came down to saving his wife or their baby.

Concerned kids

Members of the Northville Township Police Department celebrated the success of the recent food drive in the community. Officers reported that more than 300 pounds of food and goods were donated and transported to Northville Civic Concern for distribution in the community. Police said the students from Ridge Wood Elementary, Silver Springs Elementary and Winchester Elementary schools were enthusiastic participants in the effort and helped make the drive a success. "Hunger impacts every community, including ours, so thank you to all involved for your generosity," officers said.

Shop With A Hero

Members of the Westland Police Department and Westland Fire Department in conjunction with Wayne-Westland Community Schools Bright Futures program selected children to each be able to spend $110 at the Meijer of Westland during the annual Shop with a Hero effort. Each child was paired with our own police and fire heroes to go shop for themselves and their family to make sure they have an extra special holiday season this year. The effort, funded by donations, is an annual event in the "Compassionate City."

Garden Club meetings are set

Members of the Country Garden Club of Northville will resume meetings at 11 a.m. Jan. 5 at Plymouth First United Methodist Church. Speakers begin at 11:30 a.m. following a short business meeting and refreshments.

The January speaker will be Laurie Medrea who will discuss Winter in the Garden. The next meeting is set for Jan. 5 with speaker Celia Ryker whose topic will be Trail Stories of a Hiking Gardener. The March 2 speaker will be Carolyn Paten who will discuss Dow Gardens.

Canton Municipal Services receives re-accreditation

The Canton Township Municipal Services Department recently received full accreditation by the American Public Works Association (APWA) for the second time. This accreditation formally verifies and recognizes that the agency is in full compliance with the recommended management practices set forth in the APWA Public Works Management Practices Manual.  

The purpose of accreditation is to promote excellence in the operation and management of a public works agency, its programs and employees, according to a spokesman. Accreditation is designed to assist the agency in continuous improvement of operations and management, and in providing a valid and objective evaluation of agency programs as a service to the public and the profession.

25 and out

Wayne Fire Department Captain Andrew Stager marked his last day on the job last week, retiring after 25 years of service to the community. In a prepared statement, department officials praised Stager's work ethic and performance.

Local students awarded nominations to military colleges

Congresswoman Haley Stevens has nominated 22 Michigan students for placement at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO and the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.  Nominations included students from Canton, Northville and Plymouth.

“I am excited to nominate these 22 incredible students for appointment to our nation's service academies,” said Congresswoman Stevens. “Serving our country is the most honorable act that Americans can commit; I am so inspired by these students' desire to serve, and I am so proud to be their representative in Congress. I'm rooting for them throughout the rest of the application process!”

Rush is named as Sumpter deputy supervisor

Tim Rush
Sumpter Township Trustee Tim Rush has been appointed as interim deputy township supervisor by a 5-1 vote of the board members.

Casting the only no vote on the proposal by Supervisor Tim Bowman was Trustee Peggy Morgan. Rush abstained from the vote approving the new position which will pay $8,804 annually. His appointment will continue only until April 30, 2022. In response to the proposal by Bowman during the workshop preceding the Dec. 14 electronic meeting, Morgan burst out in raucous laughter and briefly left the meeting to compose herself. 

Upon her return, Rush criticized her behavior noting, “The man (Bowman) is asking for help. This is temporary. For you to disgrace the board the way you just did is despicable,” he said.

Disposal vouchers are available

The City of Plymouth Department of Municipal Services has a limited number of vouchers for free hazardous waste disposal at the Environmental Recycling Group located at 13040 Merriman Road in Livonia.

Wayne County Household Hazardous Waste Collections accept: household paints, pharmaceutical waste, fertilizer, lawn chemicals, motor oil, gasoline, batteries, fire extinguishers, mercury thermometers, computer CPUs, monitors, televisions, cell phones and more.

City of Plymouth residents can obtain a voucher at the Municipal Services yard at 1231 Goldsmith or call (734) 453-7737 for more information. 

Supervisor thanks area donors

Sumpter Township Supervisor Tim Bowman recently expressed his “heartfelt gratitude to all our sponsors that donated this year to the township, enabling us to obtain gift cards for the children in our community, in lieu of our annual Children's Christmas party.”

Bowman said it was particularly overwhelming that during these turbulent times the township effort continues to receive the support from loyal patrons.  He said the generosity of the donors allowed the township to continue to provide a holiday treat for Sumpter children.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

‘Civil’ war

Good-natured holiday battle between service clubs continues

Volunteers June Kirchgatter, left, and Mary Lou
Stone are among the volunteers manning the
Red Kettles at Kroger in Plymouth, hoping to "ring up"
donation totals for the Rotary Club and beat local
Kiwanis Club members in total collections for charity.
It's one of the traditional sounds of the season, and holiday shopping trips would not be complete without the familiar "ding, ding, ding" of a Salvation Army volunteer ringing a bell and collecting money in a hanging "Red Kettle".

But behind those smiling faces throughout the area, there is a good-natured and long-standing rivalry between two venerable service clubs. Each year, members of the Plymouth Kiwanis and the Plymouth Rotary clubs attempt to best each other by bringing in more donations to "do the most good" for the Salvation Army and those in need in the local community.

That rivalry has even touched the new officers at the Plymouth Salvation headquarters where Majors Kris and Mary Ann Wood are responsible for the pastoral ministry, programming, operations and social services in Plymouth, Canton Township, Belleville and Northville. While Kris Wood is a Kiwanis Club member, his wife, Mary Ann Wood, is a Rotarian. Last week, during the noon Rotary Club meeting, Wood chose her words carefully, and with humor, describing the impact of the ongoing club rivalry on the couple, while urging her fellow Rotarians to volunteer to ring the bell. The Woods have been officers in The Salvation Army for 27 years and are Canton Township residents.

Holiday decorating contest continues in city

This isn't going to be easy.

Members of the Department of Neighborhood Services team in Westland will be traveling through neighborhoods until Dec. 24 seeking the best holiday home decorations as part of The All American Holiday Decorating Contest which began last week.

Residents can visit the city website to nominate themselves or a friend in one or all of three categories: Best Traditional Display, Most Creative Display and Over the Top Display. Nominees will be asked to enter a picture along with their submission. 

Sweet celebration

Sumpter Township Police Captain Patrick Gannon was honored last month for his 30 years of service to the department and the community. A township resident since 1992, Gannon has been steadily promoted throughout his three decades with the Sumpter Police Department where he began his police career. His promotions have each included high praise for his work ethic and performance of his duties and service to the community. Gannon is a 1990 graduate of Western Michigan University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. He is also a 2014 graduate of the prestigious advanced training course of Eastern Michigan School of Police Staff and Command Executive Leadership Program. Sumpter Township Director of Public Safety/Police Chief Eric Luke and fellow officers celebrated Gannon's anniversary with congratulations, and chocolate cake. 

False DTE repairman reported

Westland residents are being cautioned to demand identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a utility worker into their homes.

DTE recently posted an advisory warning residents in Westland and Canton Township that company officials had received reports of an individual driving a white truck with a DTE Energy logo going door-to-door in Westland and Canton neighborhoods attempting to gain access into residents' homes under the guise of a repair. 

Township welcomes new officers to department

Members of the Northville Township Police Department officially welcomed two new police officers last week.

Officer Derrek Jennings and Ofc. Justin Clenney were sworn in by Deputy Clerk Katie Anderson in front of their family members and township staff last Monday. 

Jennings previously worked for the Davison City Police Department, the same community where he grew up. He was a police officer there from March 2016-December 2021, serving as a firearms instructor and a field training officer.

Planning commissioners OK parking allocation request

Members of the Northville Planning Commission approved a reduction in the number of required parking spaces for “the Hanger” at 455 E. Cady during their meeting Dec. 7.

The Hangar, a co-working rental space, will transition to a new usage with two new office tenants, according to documents submitted to the commissioners.  The number of parking spaces currently provided was deemed sufficient for the existing uses, to accommodate the vacant portions of the building, and will allow the current tenants to grow at this site, officials said.


The Northville Township Firefighters Charity Fund, a group of Northville Township Firefighters who spend their off days working, collaborating and fundraising for the Northville community, recently received the 2021 mParks Community Service Award. The honor was presented to the group members at the regular meeting of the Northville Township Board of Trustees earlier this month.

Walking on air

Business donates hoverboards 

to township after-school program

A Canton Youth Connection program participant
is all smiles after receiving a very special holiday
gift that was generously donated by Maraschinos Pub of Canton.
Photo courtesy of The B.L.O.C.K. Youth and Teen Center. 
There are 30 Canton Township youngsters walking on air this holiday season.

The young people, participants in the B.L.O.C. K. Youth and Teen Center Youth Connection program, each received an electric hoverboard to lift their holiday spirits. The hoverboards were donated by Maraschinos Pub in Canton along with a pizza dinner for the entire group.

Maraschinos is a year-long supporter of Canton Leisure Services programs including Hot Meal Mondays, the after school program at the B.L.O.C.K. and several other activities. Each participant in the youth connection program took home one of the hoverboards, officials noted.

“Thanks to the generosity of Maraschinos Pub in Canton, every student in the Canton Youth Connection program received an electric hoverboard as a way to both celebrate and brighten the holiday season,” stated Laura Mortier, recreation supervisor.

Holidays in Heritage Park display continues

Heritage Park in Canton Township is even more inviting during the holiday season with light displays and decorations around the large pond.

The displays will continue through Dec. 31 and  will be open for pedestrian strolls from 5-8 p.m. Featured light displays include reindeer, snowflakes, elves, and other seasonal attractions. The display is free.

Holiday help

Throughout this holiday season, there will be an increase in police officer presence around many Canton Township shopping centers and areas, according to a statement from public safety officials. 

The good guys

Members of the Romulus Police Department helped 13 local children shop for Christmas gifts at the Belleville Walmart last week. The annual Shop With A Cop campaign this year was funded by some “generous corporate sponsors” officers said.

Home at last

Plymouth museum adopts archives 

of Pere Marquette Historical Society

The scattered archives of the Pere Marquette Historical Society have found a home in Plymouth.

An agreement to bring the archive which details the history of the Pere Marquette Railroad to the Plymouth Historical Museum was signed by officials of the two groups earlier this year.. 

“As someone who has been a member of the society since the very beginning and was fortunate enough to know several of the founders of the society who have since died, it's wonderful to know that we finally have a home for all the material they worked so hard to preserve,” said Pere Marquette History Society President Thomas J. Gaffney.

Legislator will face trial on felony offenses

State Rep. Jewell Jones
Despite his efforts to have the charges dismissed, State Rep. Jewell Jones, D-Inkster will face trial on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges following a court hearing last week.

Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty disagreed with arguments from Jones' attorney, former Inkster Mayor Byron Nolen, and found the charges from an April 6 arrest valid. Jones is being charged for resisting and obstructing a police officer, operating a motor vehicle with a high blood alcohol content, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, possession of a weapon while under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving. 

Jones and a female companion were found outside a vehicle in a ditch on that date by Michigan State Troopers called to the scene by multiple drivers who complained of the black Tahoe being driven erratically on Interstate 96 near Fowlerville. 

Strong student

The Wayne Police Department officially welcomed new Ofc. Scott Bouchie who took his official oath of office during the regular meeting of the city council last week. Bouchie will fill a vacant and previously budgeted position, officials said.

Donors needed during critical blood shortage

In response to a predicted spike in flu cases this year, The American Red Cross has issued a plea for those who are eligible to donate blood or platelets. Officials from the Red Cross have confirmed that there is an ongoing emergency blood shortage, and donors are urged to give now to combat the lowest blood supply levels at this time of year in more than a decade.

According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), flu cases reached an all-time low last year due to masking, physical distancing and shutdowns across the country. When seasonal illness increases, the number of healthy blood donors tends to decrease, health officials said. Paired with the oncoming winter weather, busy holiday schedules and COVID-19 concerns, the already-struggling blood supply could be further impacted throughout winter.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Schools go to virtual classes following lockdown

High school students in the Plymouth Canton Community Schools District won't return to in-classroom learning until next year.

Following an unconfirmed report of a student seen with a gun at one of the high schools last Thursday, the schools were placed on lockdown while a massive police presence investigated the possibility of an armed student. Tensions were high in light of the fatal shootings at Oxford High School only a week before and police and school administrators exercised extreme caution in efforts to protect students. Dismissal was delayed for more than two hours while police thoroughly searched the building. No firearm was found, and police determined there was no threat to students.

Northville Township officially welcomes new chief

Northville Township has a new police chief following Chief Paul Tennies' announcement last month that he planned to retire Dec. 17.

Northville Township Manager and Director of Public Safety Todd Mutchler named Scott Hilden to the top police post in the community and Hilden was officially sworn into his new position during a ceremony at township hall Dec. 6.

Hilden previously served as chief of public safety and emergency manager at Washtenaw Community College. He served in that capacity for five years and oversaw a department of seven sworn officers, 34 non-sworn officers and staff. As chief of public safety at the college, he oversaw the entire campus community of 21,000 students enrolled in credit classes. 

Seating arrangements are changed at Romulus City Council

Virginia Williams
Romulus officials got to the bottom of an issue during their regular meeting Dec. 6 and approved a change of seating in an effort to put a complaint of one city council member behind them.

Councilwoman Virginia Williams, who as the second-highest vote total in the November election, was named as vice-chairman of the council, had vigorously requested the move. During the first meeting following the election, she demanded that as vice chairman she should sit next to Council President John Barden, a seat occupied by Councilwoman Tina Talley, the former vice chairman of the council. The vice chairman of the council is authorized to chair the meetings in the absence of the chairman and act in that capacity should the chairman be unable to fulfill the responsibilities of the office.

A special welcome

Holiday cheer is in the air in Romulus especially now that Santa has officially arrived. Last week, the city welcomed Santa during the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Residents gathered to enjoy a fun-filled, family friendly event with food, hot cocoa and festive lights. Mayor Robert McCraight, with help from his grandchildren, presented Santa with the key to the city. Residents were also encouraged to bring nonperishable food donations for the “Stuff the Bus” charity drive in support of Romulus Helping Hand. Several city council members and their families were in attendance to help the city officially begin the holiday season.

Van Buren teachers ratify new union contract

Members of the Van Buren Education Association have ratified a new union contract with the school district.

The new agreement, effective in January, will provide a $6,000 annual salary raise to teachers and allow each educator to move one advancement step on the pay scale and each pay scale category will be increased by $1,000. Beginning in 2023, each of the union members will move ahead two levels. 

The contract also includes an increase in longevity pay and an hourly rate of $33.50 for homebound teaching.

Library renovations are ‘on budget’ and ‘on schedule’

Renovations at the Romulus Public Library are well under way, according to Library Director Patty Braden. Members of the Library Board approved a major capital improvement at the facility and based on feedback from the residents, three areas of the library are being remodeled. The meeting room will undergo an expansion and renovation of the entire space with upgraded technology and new furnishings.

Canton native now serves aboard Navy ship

A Canton Township native is serving aboard USS Essex, a U.S. Navy Wasp class amphibious assault ship.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Paolo Salanga is a 2007 Plymouth High School graduate and 2019 graduate of Brandman University. Today, Salanga serves as a Navy culinary specialist. 

“I am a chef that puts my heart and soul into every product I make,” said Salanga. “These products boost the morale of a crew of 2500.”

Tickets for New Years Eve circus available

The circus will return to Canton Township to welcome the new year.

The Village Theater at Cherry Hill will welcome back The Detroit Circus to celebrate New Year's Eve beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 31. 

This talented troupe will amaze audience members with high-flying aerial antics on fabric and trapeze, fire dancing, stilt walking, acrobatics, and many other feats. The jaw-dropping performances are sure to thrill fans of all ages, organizers said. This is an animal-free circus.

Police repeat warning of cell service interruption

The Canton Public Safety Department recently issued a caution to area residents regarding upcoming service on cell phones.

According to a notice from the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA), older phones may cease operating in early 2022 due to the retirement of 3G networks and support for phones using 3G service. This may include other devices that use 3G connectivity, such as some medical alert devices, tablets, smart watches, home security systems, and other devices.

“It is vitally important that the public be aware that national 3G networks will no longer work sometime early next year. These networks support older phones and devices that won't work after the 3G network goes away” said Harriet Rennie-Brown, executive director of NASNA.

Shop With A Cop

Inkster program helps 12 local families celebrate Christmas holiday

This year, the annual Shop With A Cop program in Inkster took place Dec. 11 as officers loaded up 38 local children for a holiday shopping trip to Meijer where they carefully chose Christmas gifts for members of their family. This year, the annual effort, funded completely by donations and help from local businesses, was the largest ever, helping 12 Inkster families. Following the shopping trip, the youngsters were treated to pizza by officers as a special reward for their careful shopping.

Welcome to Wayne

Members of the Wayne City Council officially welcomed new police officers Andrew Marra and James Serman to the department during a regular meeting earlier this month. The two new officers were officially sworn into office and received a warm welcome from officials and Police Chief Ryan Strong, who introduced them to the council members. The department was operating with 21 sworn officers, 10 police service aides and six support staff, according to the website. Ryan said the department approach to police work could be summed up in one word, proactive. “Our department strives to be a dynamic organization that is devoted to making our city a safe place. The officers at the Wayne Police Department actively pursue crime, enforce traffic laws and address quality of life issues,” his statement noted. 

Long-time police officer mourned

Members of the Wayne Police Department and the community mourned the death last week of retired Wayne Police Ofc. Daniel Sanford. Sanford served the City of Wayne Police Department from 1974 to 2000. 

Wayne Police Chief Ryan Strong said Sanford was an officer he respected and admired.

“Officer Sanford was one of the first officers I met when I started at the Wayne Police Department. Officer Sanford treated me and everyone else with respect. He was a good man and will be greatly missed,” Strong said.

Westland welcomes newest police officer

When Westland Police Ofc. Cole Rice took his official oath of office joining the department last week, it was like coming home.

Rice, who was officially sworn in as an officer on Dec. 6, formerly served as a Westland Police Explorer for four years and then as a Westland Police Service Aide for two years.  His exemplary service and ability led to his promotion to a trainer and he was then granted the unique “Chief's Exemption” and allowed to test for a police officer position. Rice, who grew up in Garden City and graduated from Garden City High School, obtained his associates degree in criminal justice from Schoolcraft College and then graduated from the Wayne County Regional Police Academy. 

Mayor reappoints residents to volunteer positions

Mel Tockstein and Dennis Weese have each been reappointed to the City of Westland Board of Review.

The appointments, made by Mayor William R. Wild, were approved by members of the city council during the regular Dec. 6 meeting. 

Tockstein is a longtime Westland resident and has served on the board of review since February 2010 and the commission on aging since 2005. His new three-year term will expire on Dec. 13, 2024. 

New employee joins staff at Plymouth City Hall

Plymouth City Clerk Maureen Brodie,  officially swore in Shontae Williams as the new assistant finance director and deputy treasurer. Williams formerly served as the deputy comptroller at Dearborn Heights. She joined the staff in Plymouth last month. Williams earned her bachelor's degree in accounting from Wayne State University, and is working on her MBA, also at Wayne State. “I'm looking forward to a long career with the City of Plymouth,” she said. 

Township awards first responders’ performance

Northville Township 2020 Firefighter of the
Year Christopher Wiggins, left, is congratulated
by Fire Chief Matthew Samhat.
Wiggins is Firefighter of Year

Northville Township Fire Department officials have named Christopher Wiggins as Firefighter of the Year for 2020. The 2020 awards were postponed because of COVID-19.

Wiggins, a firefighter/paramedic, was described as “the epitome of integrity, trust and respect. His ‘whatever it takes’ attitude is contagious to all who work with him. He is always quick to jump in and lead in training or on a call,” said department officials.

“He found creative ways during the pandemic for the firefighters on his shift to bond. With 16 years in the fire service, he has developed a great ability to demonstrate kindness and empathy to all of his patients while on emergency incidents,” officials added in a prepared statement. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Schools react to concerns for students’ safety

As the community reeled from the school shooting in Oxford last week, local administrators took steps to cope with the collateral impact on students and parents.

As area high schools were dismissed early on Thursday and closed on Friday following the shooting incident, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged seven juvenile respondents with alleged threats of violence against a school, one of whom is a student at Belleville High School. That 13-year-old boy was released on a $1,000 bond and is due back in court next week to face charges, according to a report from Worthy's office.

“There is a stranglehold on Southeastern Michigan now. School threats naturally put everyone on edge. Today my office processed and charged six juveniles for threats and one for having a weapon in the wake of the tragedy at Oxford High School,” said Worthy. “Thankfully, these matters were all thwarted and no one was harmed.

First responders honored

Annual Rotary Club program celebrates public service

Proudly showing off the awards presented during the annual Plymouth Noon Rotary Club ceremony last week are, seated, from left, City of Plymouth Officer of the Year James Baber, City of Plymouth Firefighter of the Year Alan Prieur; Paramedic of the Year Aaron Grant, Plymouth Township Officer of the Year Police Chief Tom Tiderington. Township Firefighter of the Year Andrew (Drew) Louden was unable to be at the presentation. Congratulating the winners are, standing from left, City of Plymouth Police Chief Al Cox, Fire Chief Michael Samhat, Huron Valley Ambulance executive Karl Rock Plymouth Township Assistant Police Chief Jon Brother; Township Road Control Commander Dan Kudras and Plymouth Township Fire Chief Dan Phillips. 

The Plymouth Rotary Club celebrated the vital contributions of first responders during the annual presentation last Friday at the Plymouth Community Center.

Honored this year as the Paramedic of the Year was Huron Valley Ambulance Senior Paramedic Aaron Grant. Karl Rock of Huron Valley Ambulance presented the honor to Grant during the event which has been an annual Rotary Club tradition in the city for more than two decades.

City of Plymouth Police Chief Al Cox presented the Officer of the Year award to Ofc. James Baber while City of Plymouth Fire Chief Michael Samhat announced Firefighter/EMT Alan Prieur as the honoree this year.

Michelle Cole
Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees “regretfully” accepted the resignation of Township Administrator Michelle Cole during a special meeting Nov. 30.

Cole, who dated her resignation letter Nov. 22, said her last day with the township would be Nov. 29, providing the board with the week-long notice required in her employment contract. Cole was named as township administrator in August at an annual salary of $94,000. She joined the township as finance director in 2019 and was named deputy supervisor in 2020. She was promoted to township administrator by the board of trustees in August this year. She has reportedly accepted a new job with the City of Howell.

Effort to recall school board members continues in Romulus

Romulus resident Rita L. Hampton is not a woman to give up easily.

Hampton said that while two petitions to recall Romulus Community Schools Board of Education President Debi Pyles have been rejected by the Wayne County Election Commission, she will submit a third petition this week. Hampton said the petitions were rejected by the three-member panel due to “a lack of clarity.”

Petition language for the recall of school board Secretary Debbie Evitts was approved on Dec. 2 while the language to recall president Pyles, and Judy Kennard, the school board vice-president, were considered “unclear in language.”

Annual holiday concert set

The Belleville Community Chorus members will present their 15th annual holiday concert titled Swing into Christmas at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 at Belleville United Methodist Church, 417 Charles St. in Belleville. 

Under the leadership of director Rachel Parr, accompanied by Judith Weed, the award-winning chorus will perform songs of the season. As always, the concert is free, though donations supporting the tri-community chorus are encouraged.

Those interested in knowing more about or being part of the Belleville Community Chorus, should contact Claudia Roullier at (734) 697-8235 or for more information.

Future goals mark annual State of the City address

While the State of the City address traditionally focuses on the accomplishments of the past year in most communities, Westland Mayor William R. Wild stressed the progressive future of the city during his presentation last week.

While acknowledging the unprecedented success in several areas of the city last year, Wild told the large crowd that Westland had received $26 million as part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan and had earlier this year received the first payment of $13 million and will see a second payment of $13 million early in 2022. 

Annual Holiday Home Decorating contest is now under way

This isn't going to be easy.

Members of the Department of Neighborhood Services team in Westland will be traveling through neighborhoods until Dec. 24 seeking the best holiday home decorations as part of The All American Holiday Decorating Contest which began last week.

Residents can visit the city website to nominate themselves or a friend in one or all of three categories: Best Traditional Display, Most Creative Display and Over the Top Display. Nominees will be asked to enter a picture along with their submission. 

Vegas magician returns to Canton for one show

Award-winning magician Aaron Radatz.
Photo provided by Aaron Radatz.              
With 50 states, 53 countries, and six continents stamped on his passport, Michigan native Aaron Radatz will return home to Canton Township for one show only at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 10. 

This year's show proves to be a special one for Radatz and his choreographer/singing/dancing wife and co-producer April Radatz as the performance will benefit the Detroit Police Officers annual giving campaign aptly named Sergeant Santa. Sergeant Santa will deliver stuffed toys to children handpicked by officers that need extra Christmas joy this season. A new stuffed toy of any sort is requested to be donated in person by all those attending the Radatz holiday magic show the Canton Village Theater, located at 50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton, MI 48187. 

It’s official

The Plymouth City Commission includes three new members, sworn into office early last month by Judge James Plakas of the 35th District Court. Linda Filipczak was elected to a two-year term on the commission while Jennifer Kehoe, Nick Moroz and Alanna Maguire will serve four-year terms. The newly elected-commissioners joined serving members Suzi Deal, Kelly O'Donnell and Tony Sebastian. The officials voted to elect Moroz as mayor and Sebastian as mayor pro tem. "Thank you so much to the residents of the City of Plymouth for re-electing me to a four-year term as city commissioner and thank you to my teammates on this commission," Moroz said. "I pledge to be a dedicated servant leader for the group with a commitment to open communication and responsive action." 

Circus helps celebrate New Year

The circus will return to Canton Township to welcome the new year.

The Village Theater at Cherry Hill will welcome back The Detroit Circus to celebrate New Year's Eve beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 31. 

This talented troupe will amaze audience members with high-flying aerial antics on fabric and trapeze, fire dancing, stilt walking, acrobatics, and many other feats. The jaw-dropping performances are sure to thrill fans of all ages, organizers said. This is an animal-free circus.

Driver of vehicle is shot by passenger

Detectives from the Michigan State Police Special Investigation Unit continue to seek information regarding a shooting in Inkster last week.

According to police reports, a man called police at about 11:30 p.m. Nov. 30 to report being shot by a passenger in his car. The 24-year-old victim told police that passengers in the Chevrolet Impala he was driving pointed guns at him while he was driving near Middlebelt Road and Carlysle Street. He told police he was shot by one of the passengers in the vehicle.

Hazardous waste disposal vouchers now available

The City of Wayne Department of Public Works has been provided with 100 vouchers for residents seeking to dispose of certain hazardous waste material. 

Vouchers are available at the Wayne Department of Public Works located at 35200 Forest Ave. Wayne from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. while supplies last. 

Only one voucher per household will be provided.

Warm welcome


The City of Wayne officially welcomed Santa last weekend and celebrated the holiday with ice carvings, caroling, jugglers and lots of family-friendly entertainment. Santa took a ride in a fire truck and Zeke, the police department mascot, was on hand for lots of head pats and ear scratches.

Community mourns death of Lisa Barry, 62

Lisa Barry
Northville residents will miss the traditional good humored commentary of Lisa Barry during the annual community Fourth of July parade next year.

Ms. Barry, who for several years joined local dentist Dr. William Demray in hosting the popular downtown event, died unexpectedly Nov. 30 due to complications from a heart condition, according to a statement from WEMU, where she was a well-known radio personality. Ms. Barry was the local host of National Public Radio "All Things Considered." She presented local and national news on the station at 4 and 7 p.m. every day.

"She just wanted to be a positive force," said Molly Motherwell, WEMU station general manager in a statement. "In the news business that can't always happen, but whenever she had the opportunity she would do stories and interviews and anything she could just about positivity and hope and inspiration."

School superintendent announces retirement

Mary Kay Gallagher
Superintendent of the Northville Public Schools Mary Kay Gallagher will retire at the end of the 2021 school year.

Gallagher publicly announced her plans to leave the district where she has been an educator and administrator for 37 years in a letter to parents posted last week. Gallagher, who has been the superintendent of the district for a decade, is credited with successfully leading Northville schools through the effects of the COVID pandemic and the approval of a $104.85 million bon proposal.  

"It is with mixed emotion and a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to learn, lead and grow with this tremendous school community that I notify you of my intent to retire," Gallagher's letter read. 

Country Garden Club sets meeting

Members of the Country Garden Club of Northville will resume meetings at 11 a.m. Jan. 5 at Plymouth First United Methodist Church. Speakers begin at 11:30 a.m. following a short business meeting and refreshments.

The January speaker will be Laurie Medrea who will discuss Winter in the Garden. The next meeting is set for Jan. 5 with speaker Celia Ryker whose topic will be Trail Stories of a Hiking Gardener. The March 2 speaker will be Carolyn Paten who will discuss Dow Gardens.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Playing it safe

Happiest time of the year is also the most dangerous

It's is the most wonderful time of the year, and also the most dangerous, according to national safety experts who have issued warnings to shoppers, decorators and everyone else about taking safety precautions during the holiday season.

Safety is an issue that burns as brightly as the most extravagantly decorated tree during  the holidays, experts said, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes. While the holidays looked a lot different last year due to the pandemic, and the news of a recently-discovered, more virulent variant was announced this week, caution should be the norm, they advised, and there are many dangers associated with the season.

Residents continue to protest school superintendent’s leave

The return of Romulus Superintendent of Schools Dr. Benjamin Edmondson continues to foment turmoil among the divided members of the board of education.

The issue has become so contentious that a regular meeting of the board members Nov. 22 was suspended after less than 15 minutes when the trustees could not agree on accepting the agenda for the evening proceedings. A motion by Trustee Ursula Wester to add the reinstatement of Edmondson and the 10-day notice of termination to interim Superintendent Sean McNatt to the agenda failed on a 3-3 vote with Trustee Nichole German absent from the meeting.

Wester made the same motion before the evening proceedings began and it failed by the same 3-3 vote.

Toys for Tots applications due by Dec. 8.

Inkster residents are being urged to register for the annual Toys for Tots holiday gift program. The deadline to register for help is Dec. 8 and all applications must be mailed to Post Office Box 0884, Inkster MI 48141.

In Inkster, more information and instructions of downloading an application are available from  Wakii Adams at (734) 258-2083.

The local Toys for Tots also provides holiday toy donations to residents in Belleville,  Wayne, Romulus, Westland, Sumpter Township, and Van Buren Township, in addition to Inkster.

Tickets for holiday Taste Fest now available

Tickets for the Westland Holiday Taste Fest are now on sale but are limited.

The annual charity event will take place from 6 until 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Hellenic Cultural Center.

The $25 admission ticket includes food from area restaurants and culinary artists featuring special treats and holiday displays. The traditional auction and raffles will also take place featuring prizes in the live auction, the You Pick raffle, a 50/50 drawing and Bucket of Cheer raffles.

Live music will be provided by the Marsha Gayle Band and emcees for the event will be Ralph and Kim Cabildo.

Veterans meal program helps 300 local families

Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa, Westland Mayor Bill Wild
and Wayne Ford Civic League President Vic Barra celebrate
the success of the meal program for veterans this year.
The 8th annual free holiday meals for Wayne-Westland veterans, surviving spouses, and families of active-duty service members distributed more than 300 full Thanksgiving meals to local families.

Westland Mayor William R. Wild, Wayne Mayor John P. Rhaesa, Wayne-Ford Civic League President Vic Barra, elected officials and nearly a hundred volunteers expressed their gratitude and thanked the men, women and families who have served in the military as they distributed the boxed groceries. 

The groceries and supplies for a full-family meal were packaged and loaded into cars and trucks along with a huge turkey for the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Westland man charged in death of elderly client

A Westland man is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of an elderly man for whom he served as a caretaker.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Nassim Moustapha Messelmani, 30, of Westland, in connection with the fatal shooting of Edward McClendon, 72, of Detroit. Messelmani was the in-home caregiver for McClendon.

Messelmani was charged after Detroit police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 19710 block of Robson Street at about 11:30 a.m. Nov. 18 after reports of a shooting. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered the victim face down on the kitchen floor with a gunshot wound to his head and stab wounds to his stomach and chest. 

Resident seeks more accessible area restrooms

The lack of public comfort conveniences brought one resident to the most recent meeting of the Romulus City Council.

Keilani Hadden spoke to the members of the city council to ask their help in accommodating the public with “clean, open restrooms in restaurants” in local businesses, particularly gas stations and restaurants. While Hadden said that Romulus usually does have provisions for the comfort of the public, the lack of such facilities is a real problem in rural areas, particularly those serving Black communities. 

Romulus council OK’s purchase of 2 CPR machines

The Romulus Fire Department will soon have some extra help when patients in distress need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Members of the city council approved the purchase of two new automated CPR devices for the fire department use in emergency situations after seeing a demonstration of the device. 

“This is basically an extra set of hands for firefighters when we are on one of our most intensive calls,” explained Fire Chief Ken Krause during the meeting. During a presentation of the device by a representative of the manufacturer, Stryker, council members saw the plastic disc provide motorized compressions to a mannequin torso, Stryker representative Jamie Smith explained that the device is designed to provide consistent compressions to keep blood flow to the brain during medical emergency treatment by EMTs in the field.

Sumpter trustees approve police equipment purchase

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved two equipment purchases for the police department during their meeting Nov. 9.

Trustees authorized the expenditure of $5,779 for two radar speed signs for the township at the request of Director of Public Safety/Police Chief Eric Luke. In obtaining prices for the signs, Luke told the board, quotes from another vendor proved to be $1,000 higher in price and included a $550 annual fee, prompting his recommendation to purchase the signs from Evolis.

The board also approved the purchase of three BolaWrap passive restraint devices in the amount of $4,068. Luke explained that these resistance units fire a Kevlar wrap around the legs of a suspect, disabling them. 

Santa arrives Saturday during winter parade

Santa will officially arrive in the Belleville area on Saturday, Dec. 4 following the Winter Fest parade.

The parade theme this year is  A Christmas Carol, Christmas Past, Present and Future and prizes will be awarded to floats judged to be the best in each to those three categories along with a prize for the Overall Best Float. Following the parade, there will be fireworks from the Denton Road bridge. 

Teen arrested, charged in bathroom sex assault

A 15-year-old boy will face kidnapping and assault with intent to commit sexual penetration charges in an attack on a woman in a public restroom in downtown Plymouth.

The attack took place during the evening of Oct. 30, according to police. Video surveillance cameras recorded the teen entering the Comfort Station on Penniman Avenue, adjacent to The Gathering at about 6:34 p.m.  At about 7 p.m., according to prosecutor's reports, a 29-year-old woman is seen entering the public restroom.

Meet the champs

Members of the Northville Township Board of Trustees congratulated the Northville High School Girls Golf Team on their fourth consecutive Division 1 State Girls Golf Championship. The team's two-day total of 615 is a State Finals record. The golfers are the only program in Northville High School history to ever win four state titles in their history, let alone consecutively. A resolution honoring the team was presented during the meeting of the trustees earlier this month. "On behalf of our entire community, we are extremely proud of you. You have represented yourselves, your teammates, your school and your community incredibly well and we thank you for bringing tremendous honor to the entire community," trustees said. 

Meeting to discuss new township skatepark scheduled

Members of the Northville community will be asked for their opinions regarding a proposed skateboard park in the township next Thursday.

Members of the board of trustees have scheduled a special study session at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at township hall to consider a new skatepark along with a request for $150,000 in financial support for the facility.

Northville Garden Club to meet

Members of the Country Garden Club of Northville will resume meetings at 11 a.m. Jan. 5 at Plymouth First United Methodist Church. Speakers begin at 11:30 following a short business meeting and refreshments.

The January speaker will be Laurie Medrea who will discuss Winter in the Garden. The next meeting is set for Jan. 5 with speaker Celia Ryker whose topic will be Trail Stories of a Hiking Gardener. The March 2 speaker will be Carolyn Paten who will discuss Dow Gardens.

The church is located at 45201 N. Territorial Road in Plymouth.

Canton to host Christmas With The Celts next week

Christmas with the Celts on stage (photo courtesy of Nashville
Christmas with the Celts touring company). 
The Village Theater at Cherry Hill will feature Christmas with the Celts beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, when the national touring company will take the stage for a special holiday celebration featuring world-class musicians and the always crowd-pleasing Irish step dancers. This festive concert will also feature a special performance by the East Middle School Show Choir.

The original national PBS show, Christmas with The Celts, aired on more than 200 PBS stations across the U.S., Canada, and on the BBC in Ireland over the past several years. This successful TV show was the initial spark, which created a huge demand for the production to head out on the road every year, taking them on a national tour to perform live at theaters and performing arts centers.

Making it official

The newly-elected Canton Board of Trustees was sworn in by 35th District Court Judge Mark Slavens (center)  on Friday, Nov. 20. The three full-time elected officials are Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak, Treasurer Dian Slavens, and Clerk Michael Siegrist. Board of trustees members include Kate Borninski and Tania Ganguly, as well as returning Trustees Sommer N. Foster and Steve Sneideman.