Thursday, January 28, 2021

National Guard to aid vaccinations

More than 300 additional Michigan National Guard soldiers are being assigned across the state to expand COVID vaccination and testing efforts, according to state officials.

The deployment is in response to the detection of the variant B.1.1.7. COVID strain found in a Wayne County man and among several people associated with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The deployment of the additional guard members which began Monday is an effort to assist the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments. The guard members will augment local health departments, as requested, in administering the vaccination in clinics in their respective areas, officials said. 

B.1.1.7 spreads more easily between people, but there has been no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been circulating across the United States for months, explained Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDDHHS). 

High lead levels found in Inkster water

Eight homes in Inkster have higher levels of lead and copper in their water than is considered safe by the Michigan Department of the Environment.

 During the last six months, Inkster personnel collected water samples at 62 homes as part of the lead and copper level compliance with the state Safe Drinking Water Act. Test results for eight of the 62 homes reported lead levels higher than the Action Level of 15 ppb (parts per billion) as outlined by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). 

Since 2019, the City of Inkster has been working to reduce lead levels in drinking water by educating customers, providing customers with water filters, replacing known lead service lines, and identifying the service line material for those that are unknown, according to an official report prepared by the city. The action level for lead is 15 ppb and the eight homes in Inkster registered 18 ppb.

Restaurants can offer inside dining Monday

Area restaurant owner heaved a giant sigh of relief and began efforts to accommodate the state requirements that will allow them to reopen for inside dining next Monday.

Officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an order last week which will allow restaurants to open for indoor dining with certain requirements; concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums; personal services requiring mask removal; and non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households. The new order will last three weeks, until Sunday, Feb. 21.   

“The pause has worked. The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting Feb. 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan continues to be a national leader in fighting this virus, and we must continue working to keep it that way. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it's available to you. And as always, mask up and maintain 6-feet of social distancing. We will end this pandemic together.” 

Post loses liquor license

A second Plymouth business has been cited for violations of state health coronavirus restrictions.

All liquor licenses and other permits at The Post Local Bistro, 844 Penniman Ave., were suspended Jan. 14 by state inspectors. According to documents presented to the licensing board, The Post allowed about 100 people in an outdoor service area on at least one occasion in January, a violation of current state restrictions. The documents claim that an accredited state investigator found the establishment parking lot full of vehicles during a January inspection and found “nearly every available seat occupied” in an outdoor service area along with several people standing near tables.”

Memorial honors 92 COVID victims

Canton Township officials and residents memorialized the lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic recently in the shadow of a new testing facility in Heritage Park.

The Canton Police and Fire Department Honor Guard presented the flag while Devyn Mitchell sang the National Anthem at the ceremony. Township religious participated in the service memorializing the 92 Canton Township residents who had died of the disease to that date. Offering prayers and invocations were Geneva Presbyterian Church Pastor Bryan Smith, Tahini Peracha (Muslin Community of the Western Suburbs), TejKiran Singh (Singh Sabha of Michigan, Sikh community) and Chandru Acharya, president of South-Asian American Voices of Impact, who represented the Hindu community.

Foundation presents innovation grants to teachers

Ashleigh Apostolovski, a math teacher at Northville High
School, receives a Northville Educational Foundation grant
 for her project, Desmos Digital Classroom, presented
 by Northville High School Principal Tony Koski.
Teachers in the Northville School District were awarded more than $35,000 in innovated teaching grants during the past two months.

Grants were presented to 28 projects and 42 teachers across the district, according to officials from the Northville Educational Foundation (NEF) officials. More than 30 applications were received requesting about $48,000 in funding. The applications were reviewed by a committee comprising of NEF board members as well as retired Northville teachers.

Romulus student donates prize check to charity

Callie Hale
Callie Hale, of Romulus, understands the importance of food insecurity, and how dealing with adversity at a young age can dramatically influence the development of a child.Hale, a senior at Alma College, chose the Kids Coalition Against Hunger, a nonprofit organization based in Michigan, as the beneficiary of a $500 prize she won as part of the Sodexo Spread the Joy sweepstakes.

Sodexo, the dining partner of Alma College, chose Hale as one of 30 winners from colleges and universities nationwide, to make a donation in their name to their campus food pantry or a local hunger-related charity.

“My studies at Alma have brought me to an interest in child advocacy,” said Hale, who is double-majoring in psychology and sociology. “The Kids Coalition Against Hunger is an organization that aims to help reduce the number of hungry children in the U.S., but also reaches out worldwide to address the issue of child hunger. I was particularly drawn to their efforts and mission statement when I was considering what charity I wanted to help support.”

Friday Fill Up honored

Rotary District 6400 has recognized two leaders of Trinity Episcopal Church - Friday Fill Up for their work in providing food and other support each week to families in food insecure households.  Both Martha Hanoian, receiving the award certificate from Rotary Club of  Belleville President Debra Green, right,  and Gabby Burton were honored with the district Peace Chain Award for their efforts to help local families in need and in "helping make our community healthier, safer and more stable." The club donated $500 to Friday Fill Up in December and has supported Friday Fill Up with sorting, organizing and delivery in recent years. 

Inkster driver involved in fatal vehicle accident

An Inkster driver struck and killed a 62-year-old wheelchair-bound woman from Ypsilanti Township last Saturday.

Washtenaw County Sheriff deputies were called to the scene at Michigan Avenue near Harvey Place in Ypsilanti at about 9 p.m. Jan. 23 when the 36-year-old Inkster woman called to report that she had struck a pedestrian. The driver had four children with her in her vehicle at the time of the incident, according to police reports, although there were no injuries to anyone in the vehicle reported.

Appointments only at township hall

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

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

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

Westland financial audit earns top rating

Westland city officials received a positive audit report during a council study session Jan. 19. 

Auditors from Plante Moran issued an “unmodified opinion”, the highest rating available, stating that the June 30, 2020 financial statements of the city are fairly presented and accurately reflect the financial position of Westland. 

The city General Fund rainy day balance showed a slight increase to more than $6.1 million while complying with all requirements issued by the State of Michigan. City COVID-19 cost containment efforts proved helpful, with nearly all departments coming in under budget for the year, auditors noted, while the report also showed a decrease in total outstanding bond debt of approximately $2.7 million.

It's official

Gino Criscenti was sworn in as an officer of the Wayne Police Department at the regular meeting of the city council last week. Criscenti recently graduated from the Wayne County Regional Police Academy and immediately began his departmental orientation process. Criscenti will fill a vacant position already budgeted for the department, officials said.

Winning shoppers are named

Wayne Main Street, which was selected as the 2020 Non-Profit of the Year by members of the Wayne Chamber of Commerce, recently celebrated the winners of the Small Business Saturday event in the community.

The event took place virtually this year due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and included a "Shopathon" which invited local residents to shop small and submit their receipts for a chance to win$250. Entrants were also asked to post a photo of themselves shopping in downtown Wayne or their purchase .

Bus fire does not slow down SMART service

Fire damage to six SMART buses last week is not expected to interrupt service throughout the area, officials said.

The fire, apparently the result of an electrical issue, damaged the buses Jan. 18 outside the Nankin Transit parking area on Dorsey Street in Westland.   Officials said the buses were plugged into a block heater which apparently caused the fire.

Nankin Transit Director Jim Ridener sid six of the seven SMART buses outside were damaged and five of those six were entirely wrecked, said Kelly Eggers, Westland fire  marshal.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Wayne County distributes 3.5 million free masks

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is distributing 3.5 million free masks as part of the state Mask Up, Mask Right campaign. 

Free KN95 masks provided by MDHHS will be distributed by community organizations, including local MDHSS offices, health departments and Area Agency on Aging offices.

“We are urging Michiganders to Mask Up and Mask Right to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities from COVID-19,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “Wearing the right kind of mask is important. Distribution of effective masks will help more Michiganders limit the spread of COVID to save lives and get back to normal sooner.”

Sweet surprise

Ice Festival set to return Feb. 12-14

The Plymouth Ice Festival this year will
 not feature the large sculptures in Kellogg Park.
Better late than never is the attitude in the City of Plymouth as plans for a scaled-down ice festival set for Feb. 12 through 14 were presented to the city commission for approval this week.

James Gietzen, owner of JAG Entertainment, which produces the annual event, said the event would be markedly different this year, but still an attraction sure to draw crowds into the city. Gietzen said the 39th annual event would include smaller ice sculptures set in front of local businesses and throughout downtown while the larger ice carvings usually installed in Kellogg Park would be absent this year. Gietzen said the changes were necessary due to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Plymouth Canton in-class learning may return March 1

After nearly a year of online and virtual learning, students in the Plymouth Canton Community Schools are expected to return to classrooms by March 1.

District officials presented a plan during a meeting last week which would return students to school buildings while maintaining strict COVID-19 safety practices including the wearing of masks and social distancing. The plan was announced by Superintendent of Schools Monica Merritt during a regular meeting of the members of the board of education.  

"We know that distance learning does not work for all of our kids,"  Merritt said. “There truly are students who are struggling to thrive during this pandemic while learning remotely. We've been working on agreed-upon ways to get them back into the schools as safely as possible.”

Staff wage increases receive OK from board of trustees

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Part-time, variable, and seasonal Canton Township employees have gained step pay hikes, effective Jan. 1 of this year, following a unanimous vote Jan. 12 of the Canton Township Board of Trustees.

The seasonal employees will receive step raises when and if they return to work in 2021, noted Township Clerk Michael Siegrist. Some eligibility will be based on total hours worked in 2020. The pay hike is 50 cents per hour for the employees.

Members of the Canton Board of Trustees also unanimously approved on Dec. 7 a 2.5 percent pay raise for merit non-union full-time employees, along with elected township officials.

Father is charged in boy’s shooting death

Nicholas A. Bennett
A Canton Township father has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his 8-year-old son.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Nicholas A. Bennett, 33, in connection with the fatal shooting of his son at their Canton mobile home on Dec. 15.  

Police were called to the home located in the 41020 block of Old Michigan Avenue at about 3:54 p.m. Dec. 15. According to police reports, Bennett was working on or cleaning a rifle when one round discharged and struck and killed his son who was with him in the room.

Forgotten harvest provides free food to area families

Van Buren Township and Forgotten Harvest (FH) will continue to host free pop-up food pantries every Tuesday from 2- 4:30 p.m., or while supplies last.

 Anyone in need can drive up to the distribution area outside of the Community Services entrance at Township Hall, 46425 Tyler Road. Volunteers will load fresh groceries into the vehicle of anyone in need.

 “We're really excited to be continuing the free food distribution partnership with Forgotten Harvest,” said Township Supervisor Kevin McNamara. “We know many of our residents and neighboring residents are in need of food and we hope this helps them during these challenging times.”

Amazon to refurbish former Spartan warehouse

The long-vacant Spartan warehouse and distribution center in Plymouth Township will soon become an Amazon facility.

The on-line retailer will convert the former grocery facility, located on Haggerty Road, across from the former Kmart center, into a sorting center. Amazon officials said there are plans to open five new such facilities in metro Detroit this year. The Plymouth Township center will sort and categorize smaller packages and is expected to begin operations this summer.

Remembering Dr. King

The Romulus Ministerial Alliance celebrated a community-wide march and vehicle procession on Monday to celebrate and remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The march began at Romulus Community Baptist Church and concluded at Pentecostal Baptist Church. Walkers remained at a  safe distance from others, while others remained in cars to help commemorate the accomplishments of Dr. King.

Northville officials mark School Board Recognition Month

Northville Public Schools is joining 544 local and 57 intermediate school districts across Michigan to celebrate January as School Board Recognition Month.  

“In a year full of challenges for public education not seen in recent history, our school board members persevered through the adversity of 2020, and have grappled with providing the best possible education for our students given the ongoing challenges of a global health crisis,” noted Superintendent of Northville Schools Mary Kay Gallagher in a prepared statement. “Celebrating School Board Recognition Month is one of the ways in which we can express appreciation for these dedicated public servants, who continue to devote hours of time to our district, students, families, staff and community, and who serve without monetary compensation,” she added.

30 township firefighters receive COVID-19 vaccinations

Thirty Northville Township firefighters received the first vaccination for COVID-19 in an effort expected to help control the disease and protect local residents. The firefighters are scheduled to receive the second dose this week, according to the township Facebook page.

The firefighters are in the Phase 1A designation of the vaccine rollout, set forth by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Phase 1A includes inoculating people serving in healthcare who have contact or indirect exposure to patients, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.

Special assignment

The Northville Township Police Department collaborated with Meijer, Northville Civic Concern and Northville Public Schools during the Hope for the Holidays initiative last month. The community donated more than $4,000 in gift cards to brighten the lives of those in need, according to a statement from the Northville Police Department. Officers delivered the gift cards, along with donations of food, hats and other winter items, to residents in need throughout the community to help brighten the holidays.

Garden Club members to meet

The Country Garden Club of Northville is offering free virtual attendance at upcoming monthly meetings in both February and March.

The business meeting will begin at 11 a.m. and the speakers are scheduled for 12:15. 

The Feb. 3 speaker is Chris Lapinski who will discuss “Mason Bees and Plants They are Attracted To”. Roy Prentice will speak on the “History and Gardening at Tollgate Farm” at the March 3 meeting.

Interested parties can attend these free virtual online presentations by contacting (734) 751-1156 or e-mail at

Chick-fil-a opens next week

The highly anticipated opening of the new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Northville Township is set for Jan. 28, according to the company Principal Development Leader Justin Lurk.

The new location for the country-wide franchise is located at 20135 Haggerty Road according to comments from Lurk at a recent Livonia City Council Zoom meeting.

City now accepting applications for police force

The City of Westland is now accepting applications to join the police department.

The department recently exhausted the eligibility list from which new officers are hired. Department officials anticipate starting a new process this month to establish the next eligibility list and as part of the process, applicants will be required to take the written portion of their testing through EMPCO ( 

Since testing dates could be limited due to the current health restrictions, officials are urging qualified candidates to take advantage of early registration to complete the testing in time to ensure a spot on the eligibility list. Officials urged potential candidates to meet all the requirements before paying for and taking the written test.  Applicants must be a citizen of the United States, not less than 21 years of age with a high school diploma or GED. Candidates must have a valid driver's license and be a graduate of a police academy and MCOLES certified (or certifiable at time of hire). Students at a law enforcement academy at time of application will be accepted. 

Wayne lieutenant celebrates graduation

Lt. Finley Carter
Wayne Police Lt. Finley Carter graduated from the 15th Michigan State University School of Staff and Command last week.

The MSU School of Staff and Command is a prestigious 10-week school for police executives that focuses on leadership, problem-based learning, and building partnerships with the community to respond to crime, according to the college website.  Being accepted into the program and successfully completing the rigorous course work is a significant accomplishment, police officials noted. In addition to successfully completing the program, Carter was selected by a vote of his peers to serve as president of the class. Carter addressed his classmates at graduation, encouraging them to tackle some of the tough issues facing policing today.

Teen could serve 15 years in prison for fatal shooting

The Wayne teen who shot and killed a youth last July has been sentenced to 2.5 to 15 years in prison following his guilty plea.

Robert Shoats, 19, told Third Circuit Court Judge Margaret Van Houten that he apologized for shooting “close friend”  Kaleb Parish and said that he prayed for the family every night. 

He entered a guilty plea in November to a single charge of manslaughter and a weapons charge. Four other homicide and weapons charges were dismissed.

Flying high

Blue Angels plane now

at Yankee Air Museum

The Blue Angels plane is delivered to the Yankee Air
Museum and unloaded from two heavy-duty trailers last week.
Last week, Yankee Air Museum officials welcomed a Blue Angel F/A-18C Hornet as the latest addition to the extensive historic aircraft collection at the museum. This particular jet was the lead aircraft for the Blue Angels in a performance at the Detroit 2017 Thunder Over Michigan air show  

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have retired all of their F/A 18Cs and are now flying F/A-18E Super Hornets.  Yankee Air Museum is the last museum to receive a Blue Angel Legacy Hornet and it will be on static display indefinitely. 

Van Buren to mail masks to all township residents

Van Buren Township will spend $270,000 in hazard pay to reward the essential employees who worked the front-lines during the Corona virus pandemic.

In addition, the township will send protective face masks to every township resident in an effort to help curtail the spread of the virus which is at an all-time high across the country.

The decisions were made at the Dec. 15 meeting of the township board of trustees. 

COVID-19 vaccinations are urged for African Americans

N. Charles Anderson, president/CEO of the Detroit Urban League recently issued a statement regarding the concerns of many in the African American community regarding the Corona virus vaccine.

“When the corona virus first attacked us, African Americans were unwittingly at the front of the line of those disproportionately affected and more likely to be hospitalized and die as a result of complications. A focus on making testing available for the more affected populations and the consistent promotion of safety measures started making a dent in the disproportionate impacts being felt by people of color and saved many lives,” he said. 

“Now that there's a vaccine, questions are arising as to who's first in line and who is really going to take it. Clearly, health care workers are at the front of the line as they are hard at work providing care for those hospitalized as a result of complications from COVID-19. However, after that where will the other front-line workers appear on the list for vaccinations? Then the real question is how will the African American community respond to their opportunity to get the vaccine? 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Highway in the Sky plans start in Romulus

City of Romulus officials are among those crafting the future of an air-traffic route for drones as plans for the first highway for autonomous aircraft in the nation near completion.

The corridor, which could include sky taxis sometime in the future, will begin with a route between Ann Arbor and Detroit, is a concern of Aerotropolis Corporation leaders and aviation officials, along with Romulus Director of Fire Services and Emergency Management Chief Kevin Krause. While autonomous aircraft carrying passengers as well as freight may be in the future, the need for regulations, permissions and traffic management is being crafted now.

League of Women Voters condemns violence

Paula Bowman
Paula Bowman, president of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Northwest Wayne County, is proud of the efforts or the organization to educate voters. Those include a print voter guide distributed last fall for the Nov. 3 general election along with the online site.

The Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol prompted the national League of Women voters to issue a statement specifically naming Donald Trump, an unusual move:

“Today the League of Women Voters of the United States president Dr. Deborah Turner, CEO Virginia Kase, and the full board of directors issued the following statement in response to the violent demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol:

“This is a dark day in the history of the United States of America. Today's activity on Capitol Hill should have been a procedural exercise to finalize the 2020 election. Instead, our nation's Capitol was attacked by domestic terrorists seeking to invalidate the will of the people.

City of Inkster and police sued for $160 million

The City of Inkster and two former Inkster Police Department detectives have been sued for $160 million by two men who were incarcerated for more than 20 years before being cleared of murder charges by a special unit of the Wayne County prosecutor' office. 

Attorney Wolf Mueller filed the federal civil rights lawsuit last week on behalf of Kevin Harrington and George Clark claiming their constitutional rights were violated by the misconduct two former Inkster detectives investigating a fatal shooting in 2002. Both men had steadfastly insisted on their innocence during their incarceration and in the lawsuit claim that they were “seized without probable cause, charged with crimes they did not commit, wrongfully convicted and deprived of their liberty.” They are each seeking $80 million in compensatory damages in the suit in addition to the state award of $850,000 or $50,000 for each month they spent in prison.

City wins 3rd consecutive development award

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
The City of Romulus has again been recognized for dedication to entrepreneurial growth and economic development through the annual eCities study conducted by researchers at iLabs, the University of Michigan-Dearborn Center for Innovation Research. This marks the third consecutive year that Romulus has received five stars, the highest possible ranking.

“Receiving a five-star rating in the eCities report during a year of unforeseen challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to our city's resiliency and continued dedication to making Romulus a home of opportunity,” said Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff. “The future is bright in Romulus and we are looking forward to another successful year of economic and business growth in 2021.” 

Special salute

The first recipient of the Romulus Police Department Officer of the Quarter Award is Ofc. C. Reyna.  Reyna is a long- time resident of Romulus and has taken giving back to the next level, officials said in announcing his selection for the honor on the Romulus Police Facebook page.  In addition to his tenacity in protecting the citizens, he is equally involved in mentoring the youth of Romulus, one of his attributes which contributed to his selection for the honor, officials said.

Murder investigation continues

Alyssa Powell
The family of a murdered woman is appealing to the public for help in finding the person who took her life.

Alyssa Powell, 20, was found slumped over the wheel of her car the evening of Dec. 23 as it was parked near Beech and Manning in Inkster. She was killed by a gunshot wound to her head, according to Michigan State Police officials. 

Inkster police and Michigan State Police detectives say the investigation is in "early stages and have no motive for the killing. Powell was a resident of Redford but had a great many friends in Inkster, according to her family. A GoFundMe account has been established for the family to help defray the cost of retrieving her body from the Wayne County Morgue. 

Canton library continues to provide services

The Canton Public Library is open to the public from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. The facility is open from 1 until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The library is offering 60-minute computer and equipment-use sessions, 30-minute browsing and reference help sessions. Patrons are required to wear a mask and practice social distances in the building. Services have been adapted to offer online ordering and library users can then come into the library to pick up items from the hold shelf or make an appointment to pick up the ordered materials in the library lobby. Users will need to make an appointment and library staffers will have the ordered items waiting at the lobby desk, already checked out on individual library cards. 

Museum awarded grant funds

The Plymouth Historical Society received a $28,000 grant from the Margaret Dunning Foundation which will be used to fund the completion of the restoration of the CSX caboose on the museum site. The grant was presented given in memory of Betty Barbour, a long-time volunteer at the Plymouth Historical Museum.

The project includes several aspects of restoring the caboose, delivered to the museum grounds in 2019. Plans include finishing the exterior and interior of the railroad car for visitors to be able to safely enjoy the caboose.  Electric power will be installed at the porches on each end of the caboose, to ensure a well-lit stairwell and doorways for the safety of visitors and security cameras will be installed to ensure the security of the railway car.

Door locks to be changed at Sumpter Township Hall

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees agreed by a 4-3 vote during a virtual meeting last month to change the locks on township hall doors.

Casting no votes on the proposal were Supervisor Tim Bowman, Treasurer James Clark and Trustee Peggy Morgan. 

The change was apparently prompted by a request for an audit of keys to the building and concern regarding a key being provided to an employee by the supervisor. 

Morgan said she felt changing the three locks was a “waste of money” as the supervisor had issued the key that had apparently prompted the proposed change. Morgan said that the police chief was aware that the individual in question had a key and the entrance code. Morgan said the change was “ridiculous” as the employee's access to the building could easily be tracked.

City of Wayne Police Department honors officers

The Wayne Police Department honored several officers for exemplary performance during 2019 recently in presentations delayed by the pandemic.

The police awards committee, which includes Chief of Police Ryan Strong and several patrol and command officers, met and reviewed incidents from throughout the year in making the selection for the honors.  The members of the committee met early in 2020 to honor officers' performance in 2019, hoping to have the traditional in-person ceremony to celebrate the awards. As the pandemic prevented the usual ceremony, as it has in most area police departments, Strong recognized all the award recipients on their individual shifts during the past few weeks, according to a department spokesman. 

Mayor names 5 residents to Ethics Commission terms

Mayor William R. Wild has named five residents to complete the City of Westland Ethics Board and has made changes to the city Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Commission.

 The Ethics Board consists of five members who serve three-year terms. The members are charged with issuing written opinions regarding ethical questions and are expected to engage in activities to promote ethical behavior in the city.

Named to the board were Lori Wilson, a longtime Westland resident who has served on the city planning commission for more than 20 years. Wilson is a retiree of AM General LLC where she worked for 45 years as the configuration and data manager, working under military contract in support of the Tactical Wheeled Vehicle STS Engineering Department. 

Virtual celebration set for Martin Luther King Day

The celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day in Westland will take place virtually this year to protect the public from the threat of COVID-19.

The event is set for 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18 and will be a pre-recorded retrospective of previous celebrations in the city. Highlights will include excerpts from notable keynote speakers such as Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Andrew Humphrey of WDIV, Huel Perkins of Fox 2, Honorable Judge Cynthia Stephens, journalist and talk show hostess Mildred Gaddis and Wayne County Community College Chancellor Dr. Curtis Ivery and others. The event will also showcase past years of musical performances and the City Freedom Walks, which were conducted to honor all of those who marched with Dr. King more than 50 years ago. 

No place like ‘gnome’

Special scavenger hunt begins

throughout downtown area

There's no place like gnome.

The Northville Downtown Development Authority and Northville Art House have partnered to cultivate the Gnome Around Northville event throughout downtown Northville. The creatures have invaded the community and the hunt for them can be very rewarding, officials said.

The goal is to find all 23 gnomes during the free, public event designed for all ages.

The starting clue reads “Start this Scavenger Hunt with a Gnome in the CENTER of it all, at a business in the STATE that helps people personalize their insurance plans. She is not a “FARM”er or from BOSTON but is a long time Michigander.”

School board installs winner of tie-vote random drawing

James Mazurek has been officially sworn into office as a member of the Northville Schools Board of Education.

His election was not without controversy as the Nov. 3 vote resulted in a tie vote of 7,856 votes each for Mazurek and candidate Kimberly Campbell-Voytal. A tie-vote random draw, supervised by the Wayne County Board of County Canvassers on Nov. 25, selected Mazurek although Campbell-Voytal requested a recount by the county board the same day.

A three-day hand recount of the ballots again resulted in a tie vote total between the two candidates. Members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted 2-2 on Dec. 22 not to initiate a second random-draw process which had been requested by Campbell-Voytal. Under Michigan law, the Board of County Canvassers is in charge of canvassing votes and certifying the winner in a school board election, according to district officials. Mazurek presented the secretary of the Northville Schools Board of Education with a certificate of election issued by the Wayne County Clerk.

Contract agreements with 2 police unions are ratified

The City of Northville and two police unions have ratified a new union agreement.

Members of the Northville City Council approved the tentative agreement with the Command Officers Association of Michigan and the Patrol Officers Association of Michigan. The four-year contract will become effective Jan. 1, 2021. 

Area schools plan for in-person classes

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's announcements last week indicated her goal of returning students to in-person classes in March was met with appreciation by most parents in the area. 

The governor's goal is consistent with the plans of some district officials in the area while others have already begun in-person classes for some grade levels.

Most districts have plans to utilize a combination of in-person and online instruction for both elementary and secondary educational classes. Students will be expected to wear masks at all times while in school buildings and they will most likely experience changes to prevent any crowd contact. Students can expect to eat lunch at their desks or in their individual classrooms rather than the school gym or cafeteria in an effort to slow the spread of the Cornoavirus which is currently at an all-time high across the country.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Traffic troubles plague Wayne County Lightfest

Area residents took a dim view of traffic problems at the Wayne County Lightfest in Hines Park this year. The 4.5 mile attraction, which featured more than 47 giant animated displays and more than one million lights, prompted an armed road rage confrontation along with multiple complaints about traffic back ups and road blockages.

Members of the Westland Police Department were dispateched to the entrance of the attraction on Merriman Road Dec. 13, to try to alleviate some of the traffic snarls between Ann Arbor Trail and Warren Avenue.

3rd suspect charged in death of Van Buren woman

 Egypt Covington
Four suspects have been arrested and three men charged in the 2017 death of Egypt Covington, 27, who was found bound with Christmas lights and slain in her home in Van Buren Township.

Following pressure from the victim's family who grew frustrated with the lack of progress by Van Buren Township police, Michigan State Police began an investigation in Covington's death. As a result of that investigation, Timothy Moore, 34, of Toledo Ohio, and Shane Evans 31, of Sumpter Township were arrested and arraigned in November and December.  Moore is charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, first-degree home invasion, possessing a firearm as a felon and four counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.  Evans is charged with felony murder and first-degree home invasion.

Community college offering reduced spring tuition

Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) will reduce tuition by 50 percent across all academic and career programs for students who register before Jan. 19 for the spring semester. The tuition relief is a part of a give-back initiative called “New Day, New Way”.

The tuition relief is now under way and will continue until Jan. 19. WCCCD students who registered for the spring 2021 semester prior to Jan.1, will receive 50-percent off tuition for either the summer or fall 2021 semester. 

Interested individuals can visit the WCCCD website at to explore programs, and to start the application and registration process.  

Well hot dog...

Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ set to open

Canton Township location this year

Those 'craving' a sausage treat will welcome New York vendor Crave Hot Dogs and BBQ, based in New York City, which is set to open a Canton Township location this spring. While no location for the new store has been revealed, company representatives have confirmed the plans for the Canton location.

Darrell Old and Brad Fuch will open the Canton location of the franchise famous for their all-beef hot dogs and wide array of toppings.

B.L.O.C.K. offers teen programs for Canton youth

Online interactive activities are now available for ages 11-17 through The B.L.O.C.K. Youth and Teen Center virtual afterschool program called The B.L.O.C.K. and Beyond. 

Participants can choose from a number of classes including: art lessons, cooking classes, science experiments, tutoring, social hours, and others. Parents can purchase a membership that provides unlimited access to session classes or just pay a drop-in fee. The next session is scheduled for Jan. 4 through March 31. Visit for program schedules and times. 

Making holidays happier

Westland Mayor William R. Wild welcomed the generous donation of more than 100 turkeys from the American House Westland. Bob Gillette, American House owner and Barbra Barrel, senior vice president of operations, contacted Brig. General Carol Ann Fausone (USAF Retired) and husband James Fausone, Westland city attorney, looking for a way in which they could support veterans and underserved residents in Westland. Wild dispatched the city Community Police Officers to coordinate timely delivery of donated turkeys to families in the historic Norwayne district. “This donation is greatly appreciated during these trying times. Providing much needed assistance to those struggling during these challenging times will surely brighten many families' holidays,” Wild said.

Liquor license suspended for COVID-19 violations

Plymouth ROC remained closed last week as plans to conform to required state heath department regulations continued at the Ann Arbor Road restaurant and bar.

The Class C liquor license at the bar and restaurant was suspended Dec. 23 due to non-compliance with current state health department restrictions regarding indoor dining.

Following a hearing last Wednesday, Administrative Law Judge Michael St. John ruled the suspended liquor license at the vendor could be reinstated when the facility was fully compliant with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services restrictions on indoor dining.

Recycling bins now available

All single-family and multiple-family residences that utilize solid waste services in Plymouth Township should have a  65 gallon recycling cart. 

Any resident who does not have a cart should call the Solid Waste Department at (734) 414-1452, to enable them to participate in the year-round recycling program offered by the township.

To locate a list of acceptable items, access to and search the word "recycling".

Special thanks

Members of the Wayne Police Department, along with service dog Zeke, expressed their gratitude recently for the new Motorola APX6000 portable radios purchased with a grant from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. The $11,523 grant funded the purchase of the new radios which  allow officers to communicate with dispatch and each other while in the field. The department offered their thanks for the newly-arrived communication devices on the police Facebook page recently.

Development on track in city despite pandemic

Tony Antone has a lot of good things to say about the city of Romulus.

The developer, who works with the 50-year-old Kojaian Management Development Co., credits the ability of Romulus officials to work through the worst health crisis to strike the country and keep a major development on track and on schedule.

Vistar, a provider of cold storage food products, is expected to be operational in the city this spring in a new facility located on Smith Road just east of Vining Road in the city. Plans to build the 165,000 square foot facility in the city were under way just before the health threat of COVID-19 closed down many businesses in the state.

Sumpter trustees revise deputy supervisor position

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved several employment positions and salaries while revising another during a recent Zoom meeting Dec. 15.

Many of the employment specifics were not without controversy or opposition by one or more members of the board. 

Ken Bednark, the previous township treasurer, was named as deputy supervisor, a position limited by the board members to less than 20-hours per week at an annual salary of $8,406, without benefits. Bednark, while treasurer, missed more than a year of meetings while continuing to collect his $19,000 annual salary.

Suspect charged in shooting during attempted break-in

Dajon Donte Lewis, 18, of Sumpter Township has been arraigned on multiple charges in connection with a home invasion Dec. 14.

According to police accounts, the charges result from the home invasion which took place on Edgewood Drive in the Rawsonville Woods Mobile Home Community. Police said that during the break-in, the defendant produced a handgun and during an ensuing struggle, the 22-year-old resident of the home was shot through the leg.

Police said the incident was not random and that the victim and the alleged perpetrator are acquainted.

3 suspects are at large after gunfight

Three suspects remain at large following an exchange of gunfire and a chase by police from several departments recently.

According to Michigan State Police officials, troopers were asked by the Inkster Police Department to assist with a breaking and entering incident with shots fired at a local apartment complex.

 When officers arrived at the scene at about 5:30 p.m. Dec. 27, Inkster officers had confronted three people fleeing from the apartment complex on Hamlin Drive and gunfire had been exchanged. Police recovered a handgun at the scene, according to reports.

State legislator joins ‘Silent Cry’ prison demonstration

State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) joined with Silent Cry to host a demonstration at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian earlier this month to advocate for measures that would provide adequate medical care and protect incarcerated individuals from COVID-19. He was joined by fellow state Reps. LaTanya Garrett (D-Highland Park), Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), and Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods).

“The people behind bars in this state belong to families that we represent,” said Jones. “Sure, some made mistakes and others find themselves incarcerated wrongfully, but they are people too. They are us. We must do much better in the areas of care and consideration as it relates to our overcrowded populations - people are dying.”

Township honors local citizen, police ‘heroes’

Northville Township police officials recently recognized police officers and civilian employees with the 2020 departmental awards.

Lifesaving awards, which are presented to city employees actively responsible for the saving of human life, were presented to: Sgt. Dan Jones, Sgt. Josh Pike, Ofc. James Beamish, Ofc, Tony Dang (twice), Ofc. Adam Micek, Ofc. Andy Domzalski, Ofc. Zack Lewis, Ofc. Justin Norlock, Ofc. Shaun Urbano, Ofc. Justin Clenney, PSO Mike Galunas (three times), PSO Carrie Hollingshed, and PSO Connie Burrnett. 

City seeking public input into development plans

Members of the Northville Planning Commission have invited all residents to participate in a comprehensive survey for the Master Plan update of the Cady Street, racetrack and S. Center Street. subareas. This second survey is designed to consolidate public input for a shared vision for redevelopment with benefits for the entire community, officials said. The subarea update to the Master Plan will allow city officials to communicate a desired vision to developers for this part of town, they added. 

Survey responses will help members of the planning commission solidify concepts prior to drafting the language for the Master Plan subareas. The link to the survey is open until Jan. 31. Those who cannot complete the survey online can  contact the city manager's office for a paper copy. 

Air borne

Renovations to historic World

War II plane nearly completed

The new paint job on the Yankee Air Museum B-25 aircraft was recently completed at the Kalitta Air Hangar in Oscoda, above, while below, officials and volunteers watch as the work progesses. 
A bit of history has been revisited at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville.

The treasured B-25 is fully repainted to the original colors it wore when it emerged from a North American Aviation assembly plant in Kansas City 77 years ago.  The plane now reflects the role the aircraft played in American in history as a combat veteran flying out of Corsica in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.  The re-paint project, courtesy of Kalitta Air, begun in December is now complete, museum officials said.

“It looks fantastic,” said Kevin Walsh, president and CEO of Yankee Air Museum. “I am very anxious to see it outdoors, in natural light.  The Kalitta Air team has delivered a remarkable, authentic paint job.”

Volunteers are thanked

The B-25 repainting project could not have been accomplished without a crew of volunteers who travelled to Oscoda, spent a few overnights, and took time away from their families this holiday season, said Kevin Walsh, president and CEO of Yankee Air Museum. 

“Like many non-profit organizations, Yankee Air Museum could not fulfill its mission without the time, skills and labor donated to it by volunteers.  With heartfelt appreciation, these B-25 project members are recognized:  Paul Hakala, chief of maintenance; Angel Estrada, B-25 crew chief; and volunteers:  Grant Schwartz, Darrel Bazman, Brian Gawronski, Rich Koski, Nick Consiglio, Tim Wedig, Eric Esckelson, Luke Noble, Bob Bailey, Joe Provost, Gene Wedekemper, Justin Walsh and Patrick Trevas.  The B-25 pilots for this mission, flying without heat in the cockpit, were Mike Vetter and Delane Buttacavoli,” he added.