Thursday, July 22, 2021

Councilwoman criticizes campaign conduct

A complaint regarding a Facebook post prompted members of the Romulus City Council to call for more civility in political campaigns.

Byron Butler, a 59-year resident of the community, spoke to the council members during the public comment portion of the regular meeting July 12. Butler explained that he was “very upset” regarding a Facebook post which he characterized as an attack on himself and his wife. He said that the post was on a site managed by Mayor LeRoy Burcroff's wife and that the mayor had also made a comment on the post which he found offensive to himself and to his wife.

“My wife and I have never posted anything about the Burcroffs, negative or otherwise,” he said. “Who I support or vote for is my business.” He said that he could not understand how anyone could attack his wife whom he described as “the most positive, kindhearted person who likes everyone.” 

In remembrance

Library bench honors memory of beloved Sumpter resident

Members of the Belleville Rotary Club, Sumpter Township officials and community residents are all smiles at the dedication of the Peter Quenet memorial bench at the Belleville Library Satellite Media Center. 

Area residents crowded the Belleville Satellite Library Media Center last week to remember a beloved member of the community.

A bench outside the facility, tied with a huge red bow, was officially dedicated to the memory of Peter Quenet, a long time resident of Belleville who died in 2017. The tribute to Mr. Quenet was instigated by members of the Belleville Rotary Club where he had 40 years of perfect attendance.

Belleville Library Director Mary Jo Suchy welcomed the public to the official dedication and urged residents to use the media center where several computer stations are available for use. The bench is outside the front door of the facility, which is located at 23465 Sumpter Road, directly across the street from Sumpter Township Hall, and includes a small brass plaque. Members of Mr. Quenet's family, including his wife of 21 years, Debbie Juchartz, were present for the dedication.

Court decision stalls Salem Springs development plan

It may not be the end, but a years-in-the-planning development which abuts Plymouth Township has hit another snag in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

In a rural area on the northeast edge of Washtenaw County in an area of Salem Township known as the Urban Service District (USD), a battle continues about the need for sewer lines crucial to a proposed planned community. 

Lawsuits and controversy continue to surround the project dubbed Salem Springs, the brainchild of Livonia-based developer Schostek Brothers and Company, Inc. and  plans to begin construction of Salem Springs South - a retail and residential development in a 200-acre triangle of mostly vacant land bordered by M-14, Gotfredson, North Territorial and Napier roads. According to those knowledgeable about the details, the 588-unit high-density development reportedly will include townhouses, detached condominiums and single-family homes. To the south of M-14 will be Salem Springs North, a mixed-use development that will include retail, residential and possible big box stores.

Organization assessment is considered by trustees

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Recommendations of a recent study of Canton Township government which included focus groups and employee interviews, were presented to the members of the township board of trustees last week.

Details of the study prompted officials to request another meeting this week for more discussion of the organizational assessment. 

The study results were presented by Michelle Ferguson and Mark Olson of the Novak Consulting Group during a regular meeting of the trustees on July 13.  The $47,125 study was funded through the general fund of the township budget.

Official dedication of newest park pavilion is planned

The new open-air pavilion at Preservation Park in Canton Township will officially open during a ribbon cutting set for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 3.

Township officials including Supervisor Ann Marie Graham-Hudak will attend the event along with members of the board of trustees and area elected officials.

The Preservation Park pavilion features a large under-roof seating capacity, electrical service, a concession service window, and three individual restrooms. The 70-feet by 32-feet structure was designed to provide much-needed shade and seating in the park, as well as a covered lunch area for the Canton Farmers Market visitors, officials said.  

Marijuana proposal ‘flames out’ in Sumpter

After much discussion and comment from audience members, a meeting agenda item to opt in and allow medical and/or recreational marijuana facilities in Sumpter Township failed when none of the trustees made a formal motion on the question.

The item was placed on the agenda by Trustee Peggy Morgan who then failed to make a formal motion for approval after hearing comments from members of the public during the July 12 meeting of the board of trustees. The previous board of trustees voted against opting into allowing marijuana facilities three years ago and that status quo was praised by Richard Harrison, who spoke during the public comment portion of teh agenda. He told the trustees that he was concerned that the administrative expenses for allowing the facilities exceeded or matched any revenue the township might realize. He also expressed his concern about crime that might ensue at the facilities and the increased cost to the police department.

Staffing shortages stalling Romulus trash pick-ups

Members of the Romulus City Council addressed the numerous complaints regarding residential trash pick up during their July 12 meeting.

Romulus Department of Public Works Director Roberto Scappaticci spoke to the council members and acknowledged the high volume of complaints regarding late or missed trash pick up in the city. He explained that the city trash hauler, Republic Waste Management, was experiencing a labor shortage and was impacted by the amount of rubbish and trash taken to curbs for pickup as a result of the recent flooding throughout the area.

Scappaticci introduced Republic Management official Keith Pine to the council members for a more comprehensive explanation of the difficulties residents have been experiencing.

Northville, Plymouth projects receive federal funding

Northville and Plymouth were among the communities awarded a portion of nearly $18 million in federal funding Rep. Haley Stevens secured for areas in the 11th Congressional District.

“I am thrilled to announce that so many community projects ranging from infrastructure, to funding for police departments to the construction of new public spaces for seniors and families to use in Michigan's 11th District will now be fully funded,” said Stevens in a prepared statement. “My staff and I have been working for months with mayors, township supervisors, local and statewide elected officials from both parties to determine the greatest needs in our communities. Every community project that was identified and submitted to the House Appropriations Committee was funded. When we invest in our communities, they thrive, and this funding will impact countless lives throughout our district.” 

Police officers’ service honored with department awards

Prior to the Independence Day Parade in Northville July 5, the Northville Police Department congratulated 15 police personnel, both current and former, with a total of 31 awards for their service during 2020, which occurred during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Thomas Barber received the highest honor with the Police Officer of the Year Award.

The new award of COVID-19 Pandemic Service was presented to Chief Alan Maciag, Cpt. Gregory Hannewald, Sgt. Ken DeLano, Sgt. Andrew Kirby, Det. Brian Dognowski, Officers Peter Davis, Matt Duggins, Scott Groff, Tomas Barber, Melissa Vernon, Erin Larkin, Francis Cerulla and Michael Petri, retired Cpt. Dustin Krueger, and Records Clerk Nichole Hunt.

Hello, Tokyo

Anavia Battle, a native of Inkster and 2017 graduate of Wayne Memorial High School, has qualified for the U.S. Olympic team after running a personal best 21.95 in the 200m qualifying meet June 26. Battle, 22, is a senior at Ohio State University majoring in human development and family sciences. Battle lettered all four years in track and field in high school under the direction of Jamal Jonson and amassed 21 state titles before enrolling at Ohio.  She is the daughter of Antoinette Booze-Battle of Inkster and has three siblings, Mintoria, Antoine, and Monte. While she hopes to become a professional athlete following her Olympic appearance, she said her favorite hobbies are watching movies. She finished third in the Olympic trials Eugene, Oregon and is expected to excel during her first Olympic performance.

Community Block Grant to fund trail light installation

Funds from a federal Community Development Block Grant will be used for improvements along Mill Trail in the City of Wayne.

The 1-mile trail, which travels along the edge of the Rouge River parallel to Michigan Avenue, is accessed from Second Street between Glenwrood Road and Sims Street. 

Improvements on the pathwill continue up to Dynamite Park in the city, officials said.

Walkers along the path can view the river although the area is in need of repair, officials said. Grant funds totaling $76,677.13 will be used to install new lights, trash receptacles and even some benches along the popular walking trail.

Financial help is available for flood damaged homes, property

Area residents affected by the heavy storms and recent flooding on June 25 and 26 have some resources to help mitigate damages the severe weather caused. Wayne County has been granted a Major Disaster Declaration as a result of the mass flooding and assistance for individuals and households is available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Residents who experienced losses due to the rainstorm can apply for the federal assistance by going to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585).  The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week, officials said.

This federal assistance could include grants for home repairs, low interest loans, and programs for home and business owners, according to an announcement from federal authorities. Residents who may have already filed claims for losses with their local community should also file a claim for federal assistance, officials said, as city claims are separate from the federal relief being offered. 

City hosts open house at Marshall school building

It's sort of an early back to school event for Westland residents.

City officials are hoping the public will visit Marshall Upper Elementary School from 9 a.m. until noon this Saturday, July 24, to take a look at what may become a new community recreation center.

The 120,000 square-foot building, now owned by the Wayne Westland Community Schools district, was closed last year and is slated for demolition, officials said. In February, however, members of the city council approved an agreement with the school district for a potential purchase of the site, following due diligence. Since then, the city has been exploring a potential partnership with the Detroit Metro YMCA to provide services at the building, if it is determined to be suitable.

Community-wide garage sale rescheduled for July 31--Aug. 1.

The Community Wide Garage Sale in Westland has been rescheduled for July 31 and Aug. 1.

Officials said that the recent major storm event which caused property damage and power outages in the city made the postponement of the annual garage sale necessary. The sale was originally scheduled for July 10 and 11 and residents can now register their sale for free on the city website. 

As an added incentive to participate, the city will help promote individual residential locations for free on the city website. Individuals will be able to view an interactive map to locate all of the garage sales in the area as well as search for particular items of interest. Visit www.cityofwestland.com to register a sale or to search for garage sales near you. 

Family business

It was the passing of the baton last week as veteran police Sgt. Robert Kenyon marked his retirement from the force as he watched his son, Trevor Kenyon, take the official oath of office as he joined the Westland Police Department. The department also celebrated the promotion of officers Jennifer Schurig and Thomas Rogers to the rank of sergeant and welcomed new officers as Sebastian Iavasile, James Serman, Joseph Taylor and Kenyon were officially sworn into office by  City Clerk Richard LeBlanc. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

New businesses bring 2,000 jobs to Romulus

Four new logistics businesses bringing nearly $440,000 in tax revenue to Romulus celebrated official ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Ecorse Commons Industrial Park last week. LaserShip, Pitney Bowes, Hearn Industrial Services and DHL were welcomed to the city by Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff, Assistant Wayne County Executive Khalil Rahal and Chief Marketing Officer of Northpoint Development Brent Miles. 

“We're thrilled to welcome LaserShip, Pitney Bowes, Hearn Industrial services and DHL to the Ecorse Commons Industrial Park and we look forward to continuing to see the positive impact these new businesses have already had on our community's local economy and workforce,” said Burcroff. “We strive to be a business-friendly community because we know developments such as the ones announced today will not only have a tremendous impact on Romulus' economy, but on the region and state's economy as well.”

Graduation day

Participants mark completion of 29th District Court program

Nobody said it would be easy, but for more than 30 participants in the Western Wayne County Regional Behavioral Treatment Court (RBTC), graduating was worth the effort.

Judge Breeda O'Leary of the 29th District Court in Wayne presided at a virtual graduation ceremony last month honoring the graduates of the program.  

The students completed the program started by former 29th District Court Judge Laura Mack and many were excited to attend and share their thoughts about life after successfully graduating. One graduate, Lance Kennard, explained that he had been involved with the court system previously, but that this program was different, mainly because he was treated as an equal and with respect; he said he truly felt that the RBTC programs team members were his support system and cared deeply about his success.

Cities of Northville, Plymouth name new fire chief

Matt Samhat
Matt Samhat has been named as the new chief of the Northville City Fire Department (NCFD).

The Northville Department also provides all emergency fire services to the City of Plymouth and operates from two stations, one at Plymouth City Hall and one in Old Village. 

Samhat has risen through the ranks of the Northville department after joining the force in 2012 as a firefighter and later becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT). He then advanced to serve sequentially as lieutenant, captain, and fire marshal in 2020. He fills the post that opened with the retirement of former Fire Chief Steven Ott July 2.

The Northville City Fire Department provides fire suppression, basic life support, EMS, fire prevention and inspection services and public education for the cities of Northville and Plymouth.

7th Annual Rally on Ridge Road set July 24

A long line of food trucks is expected along Ridge Road July 24 during the Seventh Annual Rally on Ridge in Canton Township.

The event is a benefit to help support the Canton Farmers Market and will include live entertainment in addition to the food trucks lined along Ridge Road between Uptown Avenue and Cherry Hill Road from 4 until 9 p.m. 

Cherry Hill School, located at 50440 Cherry Hill Road, will play host to the food trucks featuring gourmet menus, as well as live music from local artists. Event-goers who plan to stay for the music are encouraged to bring along a lawn chair or picnic blanket, organizers said.

Promoted

Rick Brown was named as Sumpter Township Fire Chief by members of the Township Board of Trustees during a meeting last month. Brown, a 36-year veteran of the department, was unanimously appointed to the top job in the department. Brown served as deputy fire chief in the township for many years and served as interim fire chief for two months prior to accepting the promotion. He will be the first-ever, full-time fire chief in the history of the township noted Public Safety Director/Police Chief Eric Luke in congratulating Brown on the promotion. 

Museum exhibit traces history of Canton farms

Ever wonder “Whose Farm Do You Live On?”

The history of Canton Township, dating back to the 1800s, shows that land many now call home was once farmland for crops and cattle. Local residents can discover the history of the land on which their home sits at a new exhibit which will continue through the month of September.

The exhibit details the history of the thriving farming community from the 1800s and well into the 1900s before the transformation by land developers began during the 1930s.  Visitors can discover who originally purchased the land and the names of families who lived there. Historic maps of the township are on display to show what current property looked like during various eras along with tools used by these families for farming, personal care, cooking, play, and education. 

MADD man

Canton Township Police Ofc. Joseph Doll has been nominated for the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Michigan Lifesavers award. Doll, with the department since 2016, made 32 operating under the influence of alcohol/drug arrests in Canton during the 2020 calendar year. The MADD Lifesavers Awards are presented annually and highlight officers and law enforcement agencies who embrace the mission to eliminate drunk driving, support victims, and prevent underage drinking. Individuals and organizations can be nominated by their peers, commanding officers, or community members. 

New councilwoman is named

Deborah Wass
Members of the Wayne City Council officially appointed Deborah Wass to the vacant Ward 4 council term during the June 29 meeting.

She will complete the term of former Councilman Anthony Miller who retired and moved out of state in early June.

Wass, 52, is a lifelong Wayne resident and has previously served on the city planning commission and the board of review.

She and her husband, Curt, whom she met while both were members of the Wayne Memorial High School Marching Band, have been married since 1992 and are the parents of two adult daughters.

Meet the champions

Champions of Wayne, the educational incentive program at Wayne Memorial High School, presented 38 students with $200 checks and gift cards for dinner at a local Wayne restaurant. Each of the student “champions” successfully achieved their academic goals for the semester in the midst of a very challenging year, school officials noted.

Concours d’Elegance to leave Plymouth St. John’s

Don Howard, Staff Writer

When the anticipated crowd of nearly 15,000 arrives at St. John’s Golf Course in Plymouth on Sunday, July 23, to view millions of dollars worth of classic automobiles from around the world, they may not realize this is the final Concours d'Elegance of America in this venue.  

Big changes are in store for the ultimate classic car show that is considered to be one of the most prestigious automotive displays in the world when next year it moves to the inner city of Detroit.

Inkster youth is charged in drive-by shooting of 13-year-old

A 16-year-old Inkster youth has been adult-designated and charged in the non-fatal wounding of a 13-year-old boy in a drive-by shooting during which the accused allegedly sprayed gunfire at five other youths.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said that the teen has not been charged as an adult, but if convicted, the judge has the option to sentence him as an adult or a juvenile, or even order a blended sentence if it is determined that the teen has not been rehabilitated. 

The charges stem from an incident reported to Inkster police at about 9:23 p.m. June 18. The young victim was reportedly in the front yard of a home in the 250 block of Brentwood, standing next to a parked SUV.

Former firefighter charged with Plymouth home arson

Patrick Michael Nolan
A former Northville firefighter is facing up to life in prison and multiple fines if convicted of arson in a 2019 Plymouth Township house fire.

Patrick Michael Nolan, 40, faces one count of arson of an insured dwelling and one count of second-degree arson in the burning of a home he owned on the 50000 block of Sheffield Court in Plymouth Township on Jan. 1, 2019.  The home was insured for $1 million due to fire losses, according to court documents. Michigan State Police investigators determined the fire started in the master bedroom, a basement storage room and a common hall at the top of the basement stairs. The investigators determined that an accelerant was used in all three separate areas and that the fire was caused by an individual.

Digging in

Members of the Northville Rotary Club spent part of the hot and humid July 4th weekend spreading new mulch, weeding, and planting at Rotary Well Park. Rotary volunteers expressed their gratitude to Gerry Burke and Scott Warren for hauling the loaded wheelbarrow back and forth and to favorite club guest Vicky Bardsley for her hard work. Northville Beautification Commission member Diane Pittaway helped guide the project while the Northville DPW provided the mulch and use of the wheelbarrow. Not pictured is volunteer David Jerome.

Good neighbors

Westland police department slates series of community meetings

The Westland Police Department has developed a new community policing initiative called the Westland Police Neighborhood Safety Program.  

Working in partnership with neighborhood residents, the Westland Police Department will identify and resolve specific quality of life problems or concerns, police officials said.

“Our police department kicked off the Neighborhood Safety Program in June at Stottlemyer Park and we had a lot of great discussion and engagement from residents in the surrounding area,” commented Mayor William R. Wild. “Recognizing that every neighborhood has different concerns and public safety needs, we now move to tackle the concerns in other areas of the community.” 

Romulus reinstates delinquent water shut-off penalties

Those with late water bills in Romulus could be subject to a shut off of service, city officials cautioned.

The delinquent water policy in the city, deferred during the COVID pandemic, was reinstated effective July 2 and includes the former provisions which include water shut off for delinquencies of $300 or more.

There is also a 10-percent penalty fee assessed to water bills beginning in July. The 10-percent only applies to the current charges if the balance is not paid in full by the due date, officials said. 

Candidate appeals removal from mayoral primary ballot

Whether William Asper's name appears on the Aug. 3 primary election ballot in Westland will be determined by Michigan Secretary of State.

Asper's name was removed from the list of viable mayoral candidates by Westland City Clerk Richard LeBlanc following a meeting of the city election commission where it was determined that Asper is actually a Canton Township resident. 

Mayor William R. Wild and City Council President Jim Hart serve on the commission and made the unanimous decision to remove Asper's name from the ballot based on his residency status.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Police sergeant sues City of Wayne officials

Abraham Hughes
A City of Wayne police officer has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $75,000 for alleged breach of duty by Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini.

The suit also names Mayor John Rhaesa, members of the Wayne City Council and Personnel Director Alyse Leslie as defendants in depriving Hughes of his rights under the 14th Constitutional Amendment. 

In his lawsuit, Police Sgt. Abraham Hughes, who joined the Wayne department in February of 2002, alleges that Nocerini interfered with and corrupted the process conducted in the hiring a replacement for retiring Police Chief Alan Maciag who retired in December of 2018.

Hughes claims that Nocerini changed the scoring criteria for the job after he attained the highest marks on testing performed by EMPCO, an independent consulting agency hired to test applicants for the chief's job.

Art In The Park returns to downtown Plymouth

A 40-year tradition will return to the downtown streets of Plymouth tomorrow as Art In The Park, the second largest art fair in the state, welcomes visitors to downtown Plymouth. This year, the massive art sale will take place beginning Friday, July 9 and continue through Sunday, July 11.

The staple of Plymouth Art in the Park remains the 400 plus artists from around the United States and Canada. Thousands of pieces of original artwork will be available for purchase including; paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, photography, and folk art, according to organizers. Young visitors can participate in the painting of the children's mural and young artists will have booths around Kellogg Park selling their artwork. 

Romulus Fire Department wins ALS designation

City of Romulus Fire Department officials were proud to announce to members of the City Council recently that the prestigious and coveted Advanced Life Support (ALS) certification has been awarded to the department.

Chief Kevin Krause, director of Fire Services and Emergency Management said that the new designation is part of a continued effort to enhance the city public service model and ensure the safety and well being of residents. The nearly two-year process included Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training for staff, a shift in recruitment and hiring policies and a rigorous inspection carried out by the State of Michigan and Health Emergency Medical Services, or HEMS, the local medical control board.  

Officials urge residents to document flood damage

While most of the water from the torrential storms which took place last week has receded, the damage inflicted by Mother Nature remains.

Piles of damaged furniture and belongings remain piled in front of homes throughout the area as residents attempt to cope with the loss of property and damage the monumental rains inflicted.

Inkster residents, like those in neighboring communities, have been urged by city officials to document any damage suffered during the flooding last week.

In a letter to residents, officials said that the focus is the “protection of the health and well-being of our residents, workers, and visitors.”

Happy 50th

Community events continue in park Community events continue in park

While the official celebration of the 50th birthday of the City of Romulus was delayed due to the pandemic, city officials have announced a variety of upcoming free summer community events to help celebrate the half-century mark.

The events, all scheduled to take place in Historical Park, include a performance by Mob Opera from 7 until 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, July 9. Raya and the Last Dragon will be the Movie in the Park planned for July 16. The outdoor movie will begin at dusk. 

On July 23, Infinity & Beyond will perform from 7 until 9:30 p.m.

Romulus library returns to full hours, renovations are planned

The Romulus Public Library has moved to full service and is now open to the public. 

Study tables are available for use and time limits in the building have been lifted, and masks are no longer required, library officials said.

Members of the Library Board have approved a major capital improvement project for the facility, Library Director Patty Braden explained.  Based on feedback from the residents as part of the strategic plan for the library, three areas of the building will be renovated beginning this summer. 

Taking the oath

The new members of the Rotary Club of Belleville Board of Directors were officially sworn into office last week by 2022-2023 Rotary District 6400 District Governor Elect Traci Sincock, far right.  New officers for the 2021-2022 year include, right to left, returning President Debra Green, Mary Jo Suchy, Brian Pearcy, Rachel Kozlowski, Keith Bruder, Corrine Flynn and Patti Monroe. 

Northville police now wearing body cameras

Northville Township Police officers are now equipped with body cameras that record interactions with the public and increase transparency.

The technology protects both residents and officers by providing a new means of accountability, police officials said.

“Digital evidence is a priority in policing in this social media-savvy world,” Police Chief Paul Tennies said. “Our employees asked for this and our residents did, too. It's another way we are working for a safer community.” 

Northville Township officials planned to add these cameras in 2023, but after use of force incidents across the country received nationwide attention in 2020, members of the Northville Township Board of Trustees approved the accelerated purchase at a cost of $300,000 using drug forfeiture funds and grant money.

Van Buren hosts park concerts

Back by popular demand, the Van Buren Township Parks and Recreation department will be hosting concerts in the park. In partnership with Wayne County Community College (WCCC) Ted Scott Campus, all events will take place from 7 until 8:30 p.m. outdoors on Wednesdays and are free to the public, rain or shine.

“This is one of my favorite events,” commented Van Buren Township Treasurer Sharry Budd. “I remember picking up dinner and heading to the park with my husband. I'm so glad we've continued the tradition for our residents.”

The summer concert series line up and locations include: July 14 - Concert at Quirk Park: Your Generation In Concert behind Township Hall at 46425 Tyler Road. 

Cleaning up

Local communities continue to battle effects of major storms

Westland DPS crews continued picking up storm related trash
 from curbs throughout the holiday weekend. The damaged
 items are being taken to the city DPS facility, bottom two
photos, and the Hawthorne Valley transfer site for removal.
Officials said that DPS personnel have been working 12-hour shifts
since the storm struck last Saturday morning. Several areas of
 Wayne continued to report power outages this week. 
During an emergency meeting last Friday, members of the Westland City Council agreed to allocate up to $1 million in funding to clean up damage caused by recent storms.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared Wayne County a disaster area due to the property damage experienced in the area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.

Many residents throughout the area experienced severe basement flooding following the heavy rainfall which was estimated at 6-inches in the area. Residents in Wayne and Inkster are also facing severe damage and loss of property ruined in the flooding.

Westland councilman Peter Herzberg and mayoral candidate Tasha Green cast the only dissenting votes on the relief funding. Herzberg complained that the meeting was not scheduled earlier in the week while Green said the $1 million was too much to immediately dedicate to the effort. That amount was proposed by city Finance Director Steve Smith. 

First Bites for the Barn event set for next week

Local chefs and food trucks will be offering Bites for the Barn at Preservation Park in Canton this summer.

During these special outdoor events, participants will be able to gather around the table with friends and neighbors to enjoy small plate servings prepared by local chefs and food trucks. There will be beer and wine options available for purchase and entertainment by various performers.

“All of us are still saddened that we won't be able to host Canton's newest outdoor community dinners at the Cady-Boyer Barn, which burned down over Memorial Day weekend,” stated Laura Mortier, Canton recreation specialist.  “Instead of hosting Bites at the Barn, we're now holding Bites for the Barn, which will make special events even more memorable.”  

Canton students win gold medals

Two Canton Township students were among the winners in the recent 2021 SkillsUSA Championships, held virtually from June 14-24. More than 3,700 students competed at the national showcase of career and technical education. The SkillsUSA Championships is the largest skill competition in the world. 

Audrey G. Hall, a student at Plymouth Canton Educational Park, was awarded the high school gold medal in restaurants and Mitchell Zmikly, also a student at Plymouth Canton Education Park, was awarded the high school gold medal in job skill demonstration A.

Happy birthdays

Plymouth seniors celebrate centennials

Independence Village residents and their families
enjoy the centennial birthday celebration.
It was quite a party last month when six Plymouth residents celebrated more than 600 years of life experience.

The six were the guests of honor at a birthday party at Independence Village in Plymouth celebrating the centennial birthdays of five and the 103rd birthday of another.

The event included a visit from Plymouth Mayor Oliver Wolcott who presented official city proclamations to each of the guests of honor who also enjoyed lunch, birthday cake and live music during the afternoon. 

Among those celebrating was Jalileh Mansour who was born Aug. 15, 1921 in Ramallah, Palestine.

Mansour, who has five brothers and four sisters, remained single and dedicated her life to education and world exploration.  She started her studies in Lebanon in math and science, before traveling to places like Jordan, Paris, and South America. Mansour decided to finish her bachelor's degree in 1956 in Alabama before a career teaching middle school.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

A quiet celebration

U.S. veterans could experience trauma during holiday fireworks displays

Everyone doesn't enjoy the traditional fireworks displays that usually accompany Fourth of July celebrations throughout the area.

As Americans prepare for barbecues and fireworks on Sunday, it's also important to remember that some veterans might be uncomfortable in large crowds or have a difficult time around loud noises, especially the explosive sounds that accompany blasting fireworks. 

Representatives from Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit organization nationally recognized for decades of experience and leadership in building comprehensive programs and resources for low-income, homeless, and at-risk veterans, reminded everyone to be supportive of veterans during Fourth of July activities.

Traditional Northville Parade set for July 5

The Northville Independence Day Parade may be a little short on marchers this year, but it is sure to be long on enthusiasm.

The annual event, a tradition in the community, was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. A smaller, scaled-down version of one of the largest and most popular parades in the state is planned to step off at 10 a.m. July 5 from the parking lot at Northville Downs. As usual, the parade will include floats, appearances from various club and sports mascots, antique cars and many other traditional entries.

The theme this year is America the Beautiful and organizers have limited participation to only 50 entries.

Pet experts suggest special holiday precautions

Veterans are not the only family members who may not enjoy traditional Fourth of July fireworks.

More dogs run away or are lost on the 4th than any other day of the year and veterinarians report adverse reactions to fireworks are not uncommon following the celebration.

Animal experts advise owners to think ahead about the holiday activities, develop a plan, and act early.

“Do not take your pet to a fireworks show, but walk them earlier in the day,” they advised and then have a safe space indoors for your pet during fireworks. Outdoor pets are likely to take extreme measures to try to escape the loud noise, and may attempt to flee from the perceived danger. Owners are encouraged to have pets microchipped and should ensure that information on the registry is up to date. 

Canton Township receives ‘strong’ financial audit

Canton Township received a good financial report from auditors Plante Moran for 2020. 

The strong financial report from auditors was presented to the members of the board of trustees at the June 22 meeting.  

Alisha Watkins from Plante Moran, joined by colleague Keith Szymanski, noted township recreation funds were down in the 2020 fiscal year, the second year for which Plante Moran worked virtually on the audit. Much of the budget is earmarked for projects and for legacy costs, pensions and retiree health care costs, she said.

“They're not all going to come due in one year,” said Watkins. She noted that audits without significant findings during the past several years are a positive sign for the township.

Master Plan will determine future recreational amenities

The opinions and input of Canton Township residents will be used to help guide decisions for future planning of programs, services and amenities in the community. 

Canton Leisure Services is currently seeking community input as a key part of the strategic process of updating its Master Plan.

McKenna, a community planning, design, and building services firm, will host a series of Open Houses as a key part of updating Canton Leisure Services Five Year Master Plan, which was previously adopted in 2016. 

Pride OUTside

First-ever Canton LGBTQ event set at amphitheater July 9

Canton Pride OUTside will take place from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 9, at the Heritage Park Amphitheater, located behind the Canton Administration Building at 1150 S. Canton Center Road.

The community event is open to all area residents, hosted by Canton Township and organized by the Leisure Services Department, to support and celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning community at large. Sponsors of the event include Sweetwater Coffee and Tea and The Red Head Salon. 

“We are excited to host this special event, where Canton will join with its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community members, to applaud their strength, courage, and perseverance,” stated Laura Mortier, Canton recreation specialist. “This special event will celebrate the impact LGBTQ+ people have made not only in our community but also regionally and globally.” 

Movie Camp Out will be July 16

 Continuing a popular annual Canton Township summer tradition, Independence Park will be transformed into a campground during the Canton Leisure Services Annual Family Movie Camp Out, which is planned for Friday, July 16. 

Area residents can celebrate the great outdoors and 'camp out' during the summer event and enjoy fun activities as well as the featured animated movie “The Croods: A New Age” (Rated PG), under the stars in Independence Park, located at 1898 Denton Road in Canton.  

Activities or the entire family are planned beginning at 6 p.m. including family games. Dinner options and concession items will also be available on-site for a nominal fee.  

Changes to Plymouth Township tree ordinance proposed

Supervisor Kurt Heise
A new tree ordinance in Plymouth Township may have roots in the City of Plymouth, but will need to be pruned to accommodate the needs of township residents, according to Supervisor Kurt Heise.

Heise, who brought the ordinance provisions before the township board of trustees during a May 25 study session, repeatedly stressed that the ordinance was under discussion and that provisions would be tailored to the needs of the township. The current 74-year-old tree ordinance needs revamping, Heise said, and suggested that township attorney Kevin Bennett could use the City of Plymouth ordinance as a starting point for updating the township rules.

Heise said, during the meeting, that the city ordinance was only a starting point and that it was one of the “most restrictive-depending on your point of view”and detailed ordinances from a comparable community. He added that the city ordinance had already been thoroughly vetted, allowing Bennett to alter and edit the ordinance as township officials found necessary. He added that using the city ordinance would also save the township time and money. “It's a starting point,” he told the board of trustees.

Art In The Park set to return to Plymouth next weekend

Next week, a 40 year tradition will return to the downtown streets of Plymouth with Art In The Park, the second largest art fair in the state. This year, the massive art sale will take place beginning Friday, July 9 through Sunday, July 11.

The staple of Plymouth Art in the Park remains the 400 plus artists from around the United States and Canada. Thousands of pieces of original artwork will be available for purchase including; paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, photography, and folk art. Young visitors can participate in the painting of the children's mural and young artists will have booths around Kellogg Park displaying their artwork for sale. There will be musical entertanment and performers all weekend.

Autistic man wins $2.5 million settlement from city

While a 24-year-old autistic man injured during a police chase and arrest will receive a $2.5 million settlement from the City of Westland, no criminal charges will be filed against former Westland Police Ofc. Kristopher Landis accused of causing the injuries that resulted in Blair losing his eye.

The settlement with Blair was approved by members of the city council during a regular meeting in May. Blair sued the city citing injuries he sustained Jan. 16, 2020 when he was identified by several witnesses as the man who had robbed the Wayne Road Arby's at about 7:20 p.m. A restaurant employee told police that Blair grabbed cash from the drawer after telling him, “I'm gonna need all that.” Blair kept his hand in his jacket pocket but raised his covered arm implying he had a weapon, the employee told police. Two men in the restaurant witnessed Blair taking the money from the cash drawer and the restaurant manager observed the incident and called 911.

Legislator accused of violating criminal bond provisions

 Jewell Jones
State Rep. Jewell Jones, D-Inkster, currently awaiting trial on drunk driving and gun possession charges, narrowly avoided jail time last week as he was accused of contempt of court for violating his bond provisions.

Jones was accused by Livingston County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christina Richards of contempt of court, alleging that he had provided less than honest information to the court to avoid required random drug and alcohol testing. The court-ordered testing was a condition of Jones' bond as he awaits a court date on charges of drunk driving, resisting police, possession of a weapon while under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving stemming from his April 6 arrest. 

Jones, 26, had obtained permission to forgo testing during June 12-26 claiming he would be at National Guard training and required to be at Camp Grayling during that time.

High grass deemed safety hazard by Sumpter trustees

A solution to the safety hazard posed by high weeds and grass interfering with traffic intersection visibility and obscuring fire hydrants was discussed by members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees during their most recent study session.

Trustees agreed that the situation is a “safety issue” in the township. 

Trustee Tim Rush noted that the township was receiving no help from Wayne County in cutting the growth as county departments are currently understaffed.

Trustee Don LaPorte reminded the members of the board that there are currently 1,300 fire hydrants in the city and that the fire department needs to know exactly where each of them is located. He said that Van Buren Township was having the same situation according to Supervisor Kevin McNamara and there was little or no prospect of any shared services with Van Buren. 

Local dentist will exhibit photos at Northville Art House

The Tri-Motor with Aviator Taylor B. McNeill
(Aviation World Record Holder)
An exhibit of photographs by local dentist and world traveler William S. Demray will be on display at the Northville Art House from July 9 through 24.

The exhibit is the premiere exhibition in the Hometown Artist

Series showcasing artists from Northville and neighboring communities. Demray, a family dentist who has lived and worked in downtown Northville for more than 40 years, will share 50 photographs taken on his journeys around the world. 

Demray, a general family dentist at Preservation Dental in downtown Northville, received his bachelor of science degree from Wayne State University and his doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Detroit. His support for nonprofit organizations, including Northville Art House and the Northville Historical Society, has been recognized throughout the community as well as featured on an episode of a PBS series.

Performance of police, fire department earns praise

Residents, neighboring community officials and city council members took the opportunity to commend both the Romulus Fire Department and Police Department at a meeting earlier this month.

During the public comment portion of the meeting June 14, a resident of Gloria Street in the city addressed members of the city council regarding a fire which took place near her home. She explained that because of a serious crash on I-94 at the same time that day, when two small children were seriously injured, only a single firefighter was available to respond to the scene.

She said he arrived by himself and fought the blaze alone while awaiting aide from the Metro Airport and Westland fire departments. 

Special events

Free concerts mark city birthday

While the official celebration of the 50th birthday of the city of Romulus was delayed one year due to the pandemic, city officials have announced a variety of upcoming free summer community events to help celebrate the half-century mark.

The events, all scheduled to take place in Historical Park include Juggler Tim from 5 until 8 p.m. tomorrow, July 2.

From 5 until 8 and on July 9, Mob Opera will entertain from 7 until 9:30 p.m.. Raya and the Last Dragon will be the Movie in the Park planned for July 16. The outdoor movie will begin at dusk. 

Fond farewell

Sgt. Brent Cahill retired from the Wayne Police Department last month and was honored with a small ceremony at police headquarters. Cahill was a highly respected member of the Wayne Police Department who, in addition to his rank as sergeant, served  as a field training sergeant, evidence technician, background investigator, and detective during his 12-year career with the department. Police Chief Ryan Strong praised Cahill's professionalism and dedication noting, "I've worked with Brent in several capacities over my career, and I have always been deeply impressed with his strong work ethic, insistence on doing the right thing every time, and deep respect for his co-workers and the community he serves."


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Reconstruction of I-275 set to begin next month

As July 4th approaches and COVID 19 pandemic restrictions are eased, many area residents are planning family gatherings and celebrations which may involve local travel.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), however,  also has plans for the area and the two may not be compatible. The state will begin the much publicized and long-scheduled major reconstruction of Interstate 275 beginning in July. The roadwork will continue, according to state officials, for four years and cost an estimated $257 million.

The 24-mile reconstruction will include all lanes of the interstate located in Plymouth, Canton Township and Northville, along with Livonia. Construction is planned from Will Carlton Road to Six Mile Road, according to state officials and will begin next month between Will Carlton and Northville roads. 

Rain gardens at Plymouth complex will help area environment 

Plymouth Morning Rotary Club member Beth Stewart, 
center, receives a bit of help planting in the club rain garden
from her grandchildren, Jack Tuscan, 3, and Ava Tuscan, 6,
 under the watchful eye of Rain Garden Coordinator
 Matt Bertrand, left, and Morning Rotary Club 
President-elect Chris Kelly, far right. Photo by David Willett
Mother Nature was the guest of honor last week when state and local officials along with area volunteers and members of Friends of the Rouge welcomed the new rain gardens at the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex (PARC) in downtown Plymouth.

The former parking lot at the facility has been transformed into 20,000 square feet of individual rain gardens expected to absorb as much as 5,000 gallons of water each rainstorm helping to reduce flooding for neighbors and ease the load on storm sewers, officials said.  The garden plantings will also provide native habitats for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. 

Sumpter trustees appoint new township treasurer

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees have appointed Vincent Warren to complete the remainder of the vacant treasurer's position.

Warren was sworn into office June 17 and will complete the term of James Clark, who died June 7. Warren sought the treasurer's office on the primary ballot in the township last year and garnered 547 votes while Mr. Clark received 695.

Warren's appointment was not without conflict at the brief special meeting of the township board of trustees June 16 when he was named to the office. Trustee Peggy Morgan insisted that making the appointment during a special meeting was “really disrespectful to the Clark family” and asked Supervisor Tim Bowman why the appointment couldn't be put off until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board.

Veteran Canton police officer killed by son

Ofc. Edward Jagst
A Canton Township Police officer was shot and killed by his 18-year-old son in the family home Monday morning.

According to police reports, Canton Township Police Ofc. Edward Jagst, 48, was killed in his Brighton home at about 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 21. Brighton police were called to the home on the 300 block of Woodlawn Drive by another family member in the home who told the 911 dispatcher that the victim had been shot by his son.

According to Brighton Police Chief Rob Bradford, the teen was located by officers turned himself into police and remained in custody at press time.

“It's just a horrible situation- anybody who looks at what happened here is devastated,” Bradford said.

Hive mind


There were some unexpected visitors at the Canton Department of Public Works storage building last week when a  large colony of bees was discovered building a hive on yellow traffic safety pole outside of equipment storage garage. While employees admitted it was a terrifying sight, they said they were well aware that honey bees are very docile and a vital part of the ecosystem. Employees called  Bob Bobilin, at right and left, from Bobilin Honey who came out and safely relocated all bees to a new hive. Carefully. Very, very carefully.



Tri-community Lake Fest set to begin tomorrow

The first-ever Belleville Lake Fest will begin tomorrow and continue through Sunday.

Following months of quarantining and social restrictions, the Belleville Lake communities of Belleville, Van Buren and Sumpter townships will celebrate summer with a festival on and around 8-mile long Belleville Lake. The festival, led by the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC), and in partnership with the Belleville Yacht Club and Servis Group, will be an all-outdoor celebration heavily centered on downtown Belleville with events in Van Buren Township. The festival will feature a COVID-safe lineup of events, live music, quality vendors and other entertainment tailored for all ages, officials said. 

Senior Alliance offers waiver program help

The Senior Alliance (TSA) is promoting a little-known waiver program that provides free medical and daily needs services to aging and disabled adults within their own homes.

The MI Choice Waiver ensures that eligible adults receive Medicaid-covered services - such as those provided by nursing homes - at their home, a licensed facility or assisted living community.

"Adults historically had no other option than nursing homes or relying on loved ones as they aged," TSA CEO Tamera Kiger said. "Freedom and independence matter. The MI Choice Waiver is an incredible alternative for the times in which we currently live."

Construction zones

Wayne officials noted that two developments in the city are currently under construction. Michigan Meats, top photo, under construction of Cogswell Road in an industrial park will be a 14,000 square foot meat processing and butchering plant and will also offer retail sales.

Inspire presents ‘39 Steps’

Outdoor performances of  The 39 Steps, a fast-paced farce packed with nonstop laughs, 150 characters, an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance will continue at Inspire Theatre in Westland.

The performance is based on  John Buchan's adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's film. All 29 scenes are played on a single-set stage and all of the characters are played by a four-plus person cast. Michael Whitcher of Westland plays the lead, Richard Hannay, while Sara Overwater of Livonia fills the parts of the three beautiful women - Anabella, Pamela, and Margaret. The other two cast members, John Thiede of Romulus and Dave Zolotarchuk of Ypsilanti, are affectionately known as "the clowns".

Mayor appoints volunteers to various positions

Mayor William R. Wild announced several appointments various Westland commissions and committees last week and the appointments were confirmed by members of the Westland City Council at the June 7 meeting.. Confirmations were by unanimous vote.  


Board of Review

Karri Beebe has been appointed as an alternate member for a three-year term on the Westland Board of Review expiring June 7, 2024.  Beebe currently works as a staff accountant for Walnut Services, Inc. 

Established by the City of Westland Charter, Section (13.7), and Michigan General Property Tax Law, the Board reviews the annual assessment roll and hears appeals of real and personal property assessments.

Police issue reminder about fireworks laws in Westland

Westland police recently issued a reminder to residents regarding local ordinances surrounding the use of fireworks in an effort to ensure that July 4 celebrations are legal, responsible and safe.

Consumer fireworks can be ignited, discharged or used only on each of the following days during the following hours:

Between 11 a.m.  Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. Jan. 1;  On the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Memorial Day between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. on each of those days; On June 29 to July 4 between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. on each of those days; On July 5 between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m., but only if that date is a Friday or Saturday and on the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. on each of those days.

Heroes

Township officers are honored

While the usual public recognition ceremony celebrating the performance of officers of the Sumpter Police Department was cancelled due to public safety restrictions, Sumpter Township Director of Public Safety/Police Chief Eric Luke recently presented the awards to officers and posted the 2020 award recipients online. 


Ofc. Joseph Hogan.

OFFICER OF THE YEAR 

Selection is based upon the member's significant contribution to the mission of the Sumpter Township Police Department and was awarded to Ofc. Joseph Hogan.

Luke said that during the course of the year, Hogan exemplified what a Sumpter Township Police officer should be. 

“Despite personal risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogan continued to be proactive in the community, particularly in the Rawsonville Woods Mobile Home Park, in response to several violent crimes. Through his exceptional police skills, Ofc. Hogan conducted self-initiated activity and apprehended drug dealers within the community,” Luke said.  Luke added that Hogan's keen sense in narcotics enforcement led to the discovery of numerous Ecstasy tablets and illegal prescription pills intended to be distributed within the community, following a vehicle pursuit and foot chase. His skills also came to light in the apprehension of a suspected heroin dealer and parole absconder at a known drug house,” Luke said.

Council agrees to re-schedule street naming ceremony

A plan to rename four streets in Romulus to honor local residents met with a detour when a family member questioned the logistics of the plan.

During the regular meeting of the councilmembers June 7, Linda Coleman explained that her family was honored and thrilled to learn that her 93-year-old mother, Ella Coleman, was to be honored with a street dedication. She explained that while the family was grateful for the recognition for her mother, a 60-year resident of the city, the June 11 date set for the ceremony was disappointing. She explained that the scheduling which provided the family only a one-week notice of the ceremony, and limited the renaming event to 30 minutes “doesn't feel like an honor.”

She explained that her family could not plan and schedule to attend the honor for her mother on such short notice and that many family members needed to plan ahead and make arrangements to attend. She was also critical of the amount of time allotted for the honor, noting that five ceremonies had been set for the same day at 30-minute increments.

It's showtime


June movie night at the Inkster Police Department was a huge success with residents. Police auxiliary officers volunteered their time to help at the event and distribute treats. The free event was funded by bake sales organized by the Inkster Commission on Aging with all the money raised used for the movie event.

Northville Fire Chief to retire July 2

Steve Ott
Putting out fires was Steve Ott's job in both his professional careers, first as an attorney and then as City of Northville Fire Chief.

He will officially retire as fire chief July 2.

A partner at the Miller Canfield law firm, Ott joined the Northville Fire Department as an on-call firefighter and emergency medical technician in 1985 when he and his family initially moved to Northville. He became “of counsel” or part-time at the law firm when he became chief in Northville in 2014.

He recalled his rather inauspicious beginnings with the department which started when he happened to walk past the fire station. He said he noticed a crew training through the open bay doors and was intrigued.

New director named at Plymouth District Library

Shauna Anderson
Shauna Anderson has been named as the new director at the Plymouth District Library.

Anderson was selected from a broad field of candidates following an extensive search by the Plymouth District Library Board of Trustees, with assistance from Mortimore Consulting.  Final interviews were conducted at a special public meeting of members of the library board on June 6 and Anderson chosen to fill the position left vacant with the retirement earlier this month of former library Director Carol Souchock.  

Anderson most recently served as the Assistant Director of Taylor Community Library where she set the vision for public services and experiences to enrich the community. As the former Supervisor of Young Adult Services at Skokie Public Library in Skokie, IL, Anderson spearheaded the use of restorative practices in public libraries, built out the framework for an all-ages experiential learning lab, and re-imagined services that vastly increased library participation for young people, library officials said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Shred Day is Aug. 21

The Canton Township Downtown Development Authority will host a Shredding Day from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 21 in the Super Bowl parking lot, located at 45100 Ford Road. This event is open to Canton residents only and ID will be required. 

Canton residents can bring up to two boxes or bags of paper to shred. There is no limit to the size of the boxes/bags but residents  must be able to lift them out of their vehicles unassisted. 

The two box/bag limit will be strictly enforced. All documents will be shredded on site and participants should be prepared for long lines as this is expected to be a high-volume event.

For questions about the event, call (734) 394-5184.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Planning commission denies plan for hotels

Plans for a Hilton Garden Inn and Residence Inn at the northwest corner of Lilley and Ford roads in Canton Township have been rejected by members of the planning commission.

The two hotels were proposed for a site behind a shopping center near at the intersection and would have provided 220 rooms between them. Members of the commission questioned the accuracy of the traffic studies and other information provided which was prepared using data prior to the shutdown last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioners commented that the studies and data were out of date and needed to be re-evaluated.

Natural wonders

Northville Garden Walk features floral perfection 

It's taken Dave and Pat Neil 31 years, but they finally have grass in their Northville back yard.

Of course, they also have a brick paver patio or two, a flagstone area, a stream trickling under a handmade blue bridge, a fireplace and grill along with two ponds connected by a waterfall and garden art.  Lots and lots of carefully installed and lovingly tended garden art and greenery designed over the years to somewhat camouflage the absence of grass in the back yard of their subdivision home.

Death of Sumpter Township Treasurer is mourned

James Clifton Clark, Jr., 
Sumpter Township Treasurer James Clifton Clark, Jr., 78, died June 7 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital after complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Mr. Clark, a long-time Sumpter Township resident, was born Sept. 24, 1942 in Detroit, the oldest of 10 children of James and Marion (Copening) Clark. Mr. Clark held a master's degree in engineering from Wayne State University and retired from Ford Motor Co. as a Quality Manager after 44 years of service.  

Mr. Clark was well-known throughout the community and served many years as the Sumpter Township Building Inspector and as a member of the  Planning Commission. He also served on the township Zoning Board of Appeals and he, along with his father, wrote the first ordinance for Sumpter Township.

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff delivered his eighth and final State of the City Address last week, highlighting the accomplishments of his administration since 2013 and the perseverance of the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burcroff, first elected mayor in 2013, after serving on the Romulus City Council, is a life-long resident of the city. A graduate of Romulus High School, he and his wife are the parents of three children.

In looking back at his tenure as mayor during his address last week, Burcroff focused on the accomplishments since 2014 when the city administration team, under his direction, began a visioning process prioritizing a culture of customer service, financial stability, public safety, economic development and community initiatives.

Housing commission celebrates reopening of EnVision

The EnVision Center in Inkster has been officially reopened to the public.

The Inkster facility, located at 4360 Hickory St. is a facility that serves as a centralized hub to provide individuals with resources and support needed to excel. Programs, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are focused around four objectives, economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership. Currently, there are 100 EnVision Centers in the United States.

"One of the goals of the Inkster Housing Commission is to provide programming to help our residents become self-sufficient," stated Aaron Cooper, executive director of Inkster Housing. "We are excited to reopen the center, and grateful to HUD for their assistance in making it happen."

Park concert set next week

The second concert in the Romulus Sound in Downtown series will take place from 7 until 9:30 p.m. June 25 at Romulus Historical Park.

The concert series is presented by the Romulus Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and will include family activities, vendors, concessions and refreshments. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic basket, a blanket or chairs to experience the live music.

The Ava James Band will perform rock and country favorites on June 25. 

Residents take trash complaints to trustees

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Sam Caramagno, of GFL (Green For Life) trash pickup, faced intensive questioning at the June 8 Canton Township Board of Trustees meeting. 

He was questioned both by residents, including Jasmine Lee, and by trustees over trash pickup problems in Canton Township. In addition, Canton residents complained that they haven't had their phone calls to GFL returned in a timely manner.

Caramagno said that Memorial Day and the Christmas season yield the largest amounts of trash to be collected each year.

 “We're working hard at getting back on track,” he said.

Resident Jasmine Lee outlined the issues she has experienced with GFL in a letter to township Treasurer Dian Slavens and to township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak.

Canton LIVE concert series begins tomorrow

The Thursday Night LIVE concert series in Canton begins tonight, July 17, with a performance by Lookin Back, a Bob Segar tribute band.

The free concert series, sponsored by Canton Community Financial, will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Thursday through Aug. 19 in the Heritage Park Amphitheater, located behind the Canton Administration Building at 1150 S. Canton Center Road.

There will be no concert July 1. Musicians are scheduled to perform on stage from 7 until 8:30 p.m.

Concert-goers can enjoy a weekly dose of fresh air with family and friends, as well as a variety of local restaurant vendors; a Beer and Wine Garden sponsored by Maraschino's Pub, with 100 percent of sales going to Second Chance At Life - a local non-profit group that helps Michigan families with medical transplant costs.

Junior Park Pro summer program is now under way

Area youngsters can become official Canton Junior Park Pros this summer with customized pins acknowledging their status.

“Canton parks are great places to explore and create great memories for all ages, but especially for children,” said Laura Mortier, Canton Recreation Specialist. “We developed this program to encourage families to tour all our local parks, including some that they may never have visited before, but especially to have fun and earn a special keepsake while doing it.” 

Participants are encouraged to explore neighborhood parks located in Canton, through Aug. 31, to earn a customized 2-inch pin for each of the following locations visited: Barchester Park, located at 43021 Barchester Road; Flodin Park, located at 43399 Saltz Road between Morton Taylor and Sheldon Roads; Freedom Park, located at 44705 Palmer Road on the southwest corner of Sheldon and Palmer; Griffin Park, located on Sheldon Road between Cherry Hill and Saltz Roads; Heritage Park, located on Heritage Park Drive, west of Canton Center and south of Cherry Hill; Independence Park, located at 1898 Denton Road on the southwest corner of Denton and Proctor; Kopper Park, located at 7648 Shaw Lane on the north side of Koppernick Road, east of Haggerty; Preservation Park, located at 500 N. Ridge Road; Summit on the Park, located at 46000 Summit Parkway and Victory Park, located at 46555 W. Michigan Ave. 

Fire at historic barn is ruled ‘accidental’

An effort by a pre-teen and a teen to produce a social media post resulted in the total destruction of the historic Cady-Boyer Barn in Canton Township.

Investigators from both the Canton Township Police and Fire Department have determined that the cause of the 5 p.m. May 30 fire which destroyed the structure and severely damaged the adjacent silo was caused by a combination of the careless use of ground fireworks, specifically colored smoke bombs, and the burning of paper as part of the creation of a social media post by the minors. 

In an update last Tuesday, officials said the social media post was supposed to capture images of burning cardboard and smoke bombs, but instead caused the destruction of the barn, originally built before the Civil War by David Cady, one of the first township supervisors. It was moved to the site at Preservation Park and reconstructed piece by piece by Amish craftsmen in 2006, funded by a donation from local businessman Bob Boyer.

Widow demands appointment to treasurer’s term

Sumpter Township Deputy Treasurer Toni Clark, the widow of recently deceased Treasurer James Clark, has demanded the board of trustees appoint her to the remainder of his elected term, claiming the seat is her “legal right.”

Clark sent an email to Township Supervisor Tim Bowman, the other members of township board of trustees and township attorney Rob Young on June 11, four days after her husband's death, demanding the appointment. James Clark died  June 7.

In her email, Clark stated that she hoped, “I still have a job with the township.” She claimed that she spoke with Young about her “options” and criticized him for not confirming her erroneous claim to the remainder of her deceased husband's term.

Belleville to host tri-community Lake Fest celebration

The first-ever Belleville Lake Fest is set for June 25, 26 and 27.

Following months of quarantining and social restrictions, the Belleville Lake communities of Belleville and Van Buren and Sumpter townships will celebrate summer with a festival on and around 8-mile long Belleville Lake. The festival, led by the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC), and in partnership with the Belleville Yacht Club and Service Group, will be an all-outdoor celebration heavily centered on downtown Belleville with events in Van Buren Township. The festival will feature a COVID-safe lineup of events, live music, quality vendors and other entertainment tailored for all ages, officials said. 

Belleville Lake was created by Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and is the largest recreational lake in all of Wayne County. The purpose of the Belleville Lake Fest is to call attention to the unique beauty and history of the lake, organizers said in a prepared statement. 

Westland OK’s $70 million balanced budget

Members of the Westland City Council last week approved a $70 million balanced budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22. The budget adds approximately $42,000 to the General Fund unassigned balance, preserving a “rainy day” fund balance at approximately $6.5 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, funding for an additional police officer, 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. The budget also includes funding for the creation of the first dog park and Pickle Ball Courts in the city. 

Volunteer effort

The City of Wayne and the Wayne Parks and Trails Committee joined a large group of  volunteers who braved the high temperatures to help with the first of two Attwood Park clean-ups last week. Several of the group members stop to pose for a photo, above, while many were unable to stay for the entire day-long effort. Organizers thanked the volunteers and the workers from the Wayne Department of Public Works. A second clean-up at the park will be scheduled soon, organizers said, explaining that the youngsters in attendance were outstanding workers. “We should all help when our community needs us. You can count on me to be here whenever you need me. I can't wait to tell my friends about volunteering,” one of the youngest volunteers told organizers.

39 Steps presented by Inspire Theatre

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and the result will be The 39 Steps, a fast-paced farce packed with nonstop laughs, 150 characters, an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance.

Inspire Theatre is returning to in-person performances with an outdoor presentation of John Buchan's adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's film, All 29 scenes are played on a single-set stage and all of the characters are played by a four-plus person cast. Michael Whitcher of Westland plays the lead, Richard Hannay, while Sara Overwater of Livonia fills the parts of the three beautiful women - Anabella, Pamela, and Margaret.