Thursday, February 25, 2021

Wayne settles lawsuit filed by city manager

John Rhaesa           Lisa Nocerini           Chris Sanders
Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini will receive an estimated $25,000 to $50,000 as a settlement of her civil lawsuit against former City Councilman Christopher Sanders. The settlement amount will be paid by the city insurance carrier as the actions cited in her claim occurred during Sanders' tenure on city council.

The settlement amount, according to a representative of the insurance carrier, is an amount “less than or equal to” anticipated legal fees to defend the city against Nocerini's claim. The settlement, approved by members of the city council during a closed session last week, includes a non-disclosure clause preventing either side from discussing the particulars of the negotiation but, the insurance carrier attorney cautioned, is not an admission of guilt or fault by anyone involved.

Slippery slope

Township offering loan of sleds

An outdoor enthusiast takes advantage
of the fresh snow and the Summit on the Park
 Free Lending Sled Library.
Photos courtesy of Canton Leisure Services 
Talk about a slick idea. 

Residents can now enjoy the new Lending Sled Library at the Canton Township Summit on the Park. Residents can borrow a sled to slide down a small hill near the Summit and then return the sled when they are done enjoying the snow.

The 'Need a Sled - Use a Sled - Have Fun' feature is located at the east side of the Summit on the Park, located at 46000 Summit Parkway. A small sledding hill is adjacent that offers a quick little ride next to the stand.  

“We're excited to offer free access to these snow sleds, where anyone can walk by and use a sled to enjoy a few minutes playing in the snow,” said Canton Recreation Specialist Laura Mortier. “It's great to see little ones enjoying the sledding on the Summit's small snow-covered hill, while they learn the value of sharing when they have to return it and leave with just the memory of some great outdoor winter fun.” 

Nominations now accepted for annual city award

Ruth Huston-Whipple, first woman mayor of Plymouth 
Nominations for the annual Ruth Huston-Whipple Award for Civic Engagement will be accepted in Plymouth through April 30.

The award is named in honor of Ruth Huston-Whipple, the first woman elected as a city commissioner (1934-1949) and the first female mayor of Plymouth (1940-1942) and the first woman to serve on the Wayne County Board of Supervisors. 

Huston-Whipple was a graduate of Plymouth High School and worked as a teacher and debate coach at her alma mater. She fought against school policies that discriminated against married women and eventually left the district in protest. She remained a leader in the Plymouth community, championing the improvement of inhumane conditions at a local juvenile detention center and addressing environmental and beautification concerns in the city.

Library branch may feature new coffee shop

Those visiting the Sumpter Township annex of the Belleville Public Library might soon be able to enjoy a coffee or sandwich with their reading.

Deputy Treasurer Toni Clark presented a plan to the members of the board of trustees during a workshop session earlier this month which would allow food trucks at the library site in the township.

The trucks would provide a convenience for library visitors, she said, but would also provide a portion of the revenue generated at the library site to be used for outreach programs for seniors and children.  She said that she had also found available grants which could help the library fund programs in the community.

Romulus Athletic Center begins phase 2 opening

The Romulus Athletic Center (RAC) has moved into Phase Two of its reopening plan, adhering to health and safety guidelines set by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Wayne County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

“After careful consideration and closely following the safety recommendations of health experts, we are pleased to announce the Romulus Athletic Center has moved forward with its reopening plan,” said Romulus Athletic Center Manager Andy Mackay. “We know the athletic center plays a role in supporting the health and wellness of residents, so safely reopening and offering the services our members rely on has been a priority since the start of the pandemic.”

Moving up

Romulus Police Department Cpl. Ryan Miller is congratulated by Police Chief Robert Pfannes on his recent promotion to the rank of sergeant.  Miller has been a member of the Romulus department for more than 10 years and as a Field Training Officer has helped train many of the current officers on the force.

Winter Indoor Markets to open at Summit

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

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

Planning commission OKs changes to building

Changes in the business climate imposed by health concerns during the pandemic have impacted plans for a new retail shop in downtown Northville.

Members of the Northville Planning Commission reviewed new plans submitted by Dominic Maltese for changes to the construction at 345 Cady St. during their Feb. 2 meeting.

While a retail shop had originally been planned for the first floor of the three-story building, Maltese submitted new plans which would has a café or coffee shop on the street level of the building. The two upper floors are still designated as rental office space as originally approved by the commission.

Dirty job

Inspections of home recycling bins planned

It's a dirty job, but Canton Township will get it done.

In an effort to eliminate contamination in curbside recycling carts, township personnel will conduct a Quality Improvement Program beginning in April. 

Officials explained that contamination occurs when non-recyclables like food waste to plastic bags are placed with the recyclable material in the carts. Recycling loads with contamination are rejected from the recycling facility and sent to the landfill and when the landfill fills up, the waste will have to be hauled to a facility further away which will dramatically increase collection costs to residents. 

Canton wins finance report award

Canton Township has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 29th consecutive year by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.  “I'm really proud of the teamwork of our finance department to help ensure we have solid financial information available to our board and taxpayers,” said Wendy Trumbull, township director of finance and budget. Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak agreed.

“Canton's finance department proves year after year that our residents' hard-earned tax dollars are being allocated wisely,”  she said.

Area police warn of multiple phone scams

Plymouth police are warning area residents of several phone scams which have been reported recently.

Crime Prevention Bureau Ofc. Tony Angelosanto urged residents to use caution and common sense if they are contacted by telephone, computer or regular mail by someone claiming to need cash for a bail bond; notices of needed computer service or repairs; actions regarding unemployment benefits or even offers of filing tax returns. In a recent notice from the city, Angelosanto urged residents who might be contacted about one of these topics to always check with their family or friends who may be mentioned in the scam. 

Missing community center rental fees questioned

Alex Legion
Inkster police are investigating claims that the former parks and recreation director had been renting the city recreation complex through a private company in which he was a managing partner.

Alex Legion, who had been with the city for a short time, according to officials, was the managing partner and organizer of Signature Milestones LLC listed in state records. Officials said rental fees for the municipal buildings were paid to Signature Milestones in  amount totaling about $1,200. That money, according to Mayor Patrick Wimberly, was used to renovate and furnish Legion's city office.

Walk and Roll

Westland to establish pedestrian accessibility action committee

Westland officials are on a roll attempting to develop a bicycle and pedestrian action plan for the city.

The plan, called Walk and Roll Westland, is an effort to identify how to better connect residents with areas of high demand, including areas of commercial activity and city recreational amenities. 

As a part of the planning process, the city will establish a steering committee which will help to brainstorm ideas, gather input, review data and identify priority biking and walking routes. 

Thank you

Michigan State Representative Kevin Coleman, far left, presents Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa with a donation from AT&T in the amount of $2500 for the care and upkeep of the Wayne Veteran's Memorial. The funding will be used for annual maintenance at the site near Wayne City Hall dedicated to the memory of those who have served in the armed forces.

State responds to vaccine appointment difficulty

The family of an 81-year-old woman from Westland is hoping she will receive her first dose of the COVID vaccine this week. 

Dorothy Bigalow's family members were concerned about the difficulty in scheduling a vaccination for her. Her daughter, Sue Woody, said she and her three sisters have worked practically non-stop to try and schedule an appointment for the vaccine for their mother through Wayne County. 

They were finally successful in securing an appointment this week as Wayne County offered vaccination clinics in Canton/Plymouth, Inkster and Romulus for seniors. While appointments went quickly, and phone lines were overloaded with those seeking appointments, Bigalow was expected to receive her first innoculation.

2 new firefighters join Westland force

Westland welcomed two new firefighters to the department last month. Scott Petrievich is from Clinton Township and attended Oakland Community College where he earned state firefighter I and II certifications. He is currently pursuing certification as a licensed paramedic. Prior to joining the Westland department, Petrievich Scott worked for a private ambulance company operating out of the Detroit area. 

“I am extremely excited to be a part of the Westland Fire Department and look forward to serving here,” he said. 

It's official

Gino Criscenti was sworn in as an officer of the Wayne Police Department at the regular meeting of the city council recently. 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.

Hello Hollywood

Wayne High School graduates planning local film festival

Michelle Guernsey-McKay                        Antoine McKay 
Who says you can't go home again?

Two alumni of Wayne Memorial High School are coming home and bringing a little TV star power with them.

Antoine McKay and his wife, Michelle Guernsey-McKay, are hosting a film festival this summer at the historic State Wayne Theater on Michigan Avenue.

The first Wayne International Independent TV and Film Festival will begin accepting entries in multiple categories and genres at the end of this month. The festival will take place Sept. 9-12.

McKay, who has been a professional actor for 20 years. After graduating from Wayne Memorial High School, he honed his skills at the Eastern Michigan University theatre arts program.  He began his professional career at Second City in both Detroit and Chicago and he has appeared in countless commercials.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

GM to invest $93 million in Romulus plant

The announcement last week that the GM will be investing $93 million in the Romulus Powertrain plant prompted sighs of relief from employees.

Employees had been concerned about job losses when GM CEO Mary Barra recently announced that the company would transition to the manufacture of 30 electric vehicle models by 2015 prompting workers’ concerns about job cuts or a closure at the Romulus plant.

The Romulus investment, however, will fund the addition of machining capabilities for production of electric vehicles and work on installation of the new equipment is expected to begin immediately, a company spokesperson said.

While no new jobs at the Romulus facility are expected to be immediately created with the transition, no employee reductions are anticipated, GM officials said. 

Playing it safe

Council members provide supplies to girls’ team

Members of the Romulus High School girls basketball team celebrate the donation
of masks, wipes and hand sanitizer received from Councilmember Tina Talley,
 left, and Councilmember Kathy Abdo, far right.

Members of the girls basketball teams at Romulus High School scored a few points against the COVID-19 virus recently.

The young athletes received a donation of personal protection supplies and equipment (PPE) from Councilwomen Tina Talley and Kathy Abdo which will allow them to practice and compete in games safety during the pandemic. Talley and Abdo personally donated enough masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to keep the players safe during the upcoming season.

Abdo, who retired from her 40-year teaching career at Romulus High School in 2017, said she was happy to be able to help the team.

“I stay involved with the school and volunteer whenever I can,” she said, “I help with the National Honor Society and whatever else I can do.”

Explosive ‘souvenir’ prompts warning

The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad was called to a Canton Township home last week when a box containing grenades was discovered.

According to police, the box of military souvenirs was discovered when a family was cleaning out the Canton home of a relative. They immediately called local police and when officers responding to the home determined the items were, in fact, grenades. They called the state police bomb squad. The grenades were found to be inert.

“This family in Canton Township did everything right,” state police said.  A spokesman said that it is not unusual for family members to find similar items among souvenirs or keepsakes of relatives. 

Planning commission expected to expand to 9

The Sumpter Township Planning Commission will be expanded from seven to nine members pending an official vote of the board of trustees.

During a workshop session recently, board members discussed expanding the number of members on the commission and setting exact terms of service for the volunteers appointed to the body.

The change was proposed during the Feb. 9 board workshop session by Trustee Don La Porte who said he was suggesting it in response to some discussion by Supervisor Tim Bowman and Trustee Matt Oddy. 

Bright idea

Romulus City Councilmember Kathleen Abdo, left, and Parks and Recreation Coordinator Tanya Cofield proudly display the 2012 Innovative Programming Award presented to the city in recognition of the Parking Lot Disco Daddy-Daughter Celebration by mParks and the mParks Professional Recognition Committee. The Parking Lot Disco Daddy-Daughter Celebration is just one of many ways Romulus has remained committed to providing activities and events during the pandemic, Cofield said. During the summer, the city transformed its annual "Movies in the Park" series into a drive-in event a part of the city commitment and creativity in hosting community event during the pandemic. 

Inside/Outside exhibit coming to Romulus

The cities of Romulus and Westland, along with the Wayne County Community College District will be among those participating in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) 2021 edition of Inside|Out program which brings high-quality reproductions of masterpieces to outdoor venues.

Inside|Out is a popular component of the DIA community engagement efforts, said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. 

During the past 11 years, the museum has partnered with more than 100 communities and engaged tens of thousands of residents, he added. 

Restaurant receipts can win diners $25 gift cards

City of Romulus employees have taken some exceptional steps to help local restaurants survive the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Employees have funded a new contest, organized by the Community Development Department which will reward local restaurant patrons for dining out.  Mayor LeRoy Burcroff recently explained that residents who spend $50 or more at any local restaurants will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card. Those cards have been funded by city employees, he said. 

“In Romulus, we are lucky to be home to a number of exceptional local restaurants. Many of their owners are neighbors and friends to us all. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every industry, but it has been especially difficult for many restaurants as work diligently to stay afloat.

Suicide suspected in roadside death

The death of a 73-year-old Belleville man has been ruled an apparent suicide.

The man's body was discovered by Michigan State Troopers who responded to a 911 car from a motorist traveling on I-275 near Eureka Road at about 8:08 p.m. Tuesday, Feb 9. The driver told officers he saw the man's body on the shoulder of the road.

His body was found near a black Chevrolet Impala.

According to Michigan State Police First Lt. Jennifer Johnson, the investigation thus far indicates the man died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. While no further information was being released by police, evidence at the scene indicated the man took his own life, Johnson said.  

Trustees OK payment for off-site equipment

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Canton Township employees will get a one-time $125 payment for technology needed in order to work remotely. Following a Feb. 9 unanimous vote by members of the board of trustees, all full-time and continuing part-time staffers are eligible.

“Some people have bought monitors. We don't want to get 200 monitors back,” said Wendy Trumbull, finance and budget director. Other employees have purchased headsets in order to get their work done, she said.

Treasurer Dian Slavens, citing one staffer who needed a new chair, said, “I think it's a great idea.” The total cost adds up to some $50,000 with overall budget adjustments likely not needed, said Trumbull.

Boredom Buster Bags are delivered to area seniors

Canton Club 55+ preps a Boredom Buster Bag for area
seniors containing puzzles, toiletries, snacks, and
 other items. Photo provided by Canton Leisure Services.
Canton Club 55+ was able to lift the spirits of several area seniors by delivering Boredom Buster Bags filled with puzzles, toiletries, snacks, and other items to help keep them active, entertained, and engaged through the winter. 

Canton Club 55+ was able to prepare and deliver the activity bags to local seniors thanks to a donation from the Ahmed Family Fund, in memory of Mohammed Basheer Ahmed.  The contribution funded the creation of 90 activity packs that were distributed to area Meals on Wheels and Focus Hope participants. 

"The pandemic has really changed older adults' usual routine of keeping active, visiting family and friends, and socializing," said Stephanie Diago Berkeley, adult services specialist.

Rotary speaker addresses vast effects of virus

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Opening K-12 schools in Michigan - proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for March 1  - is complex, says Dr. Debra Pinals, M.D. as are many effects of the current pandemic facing the entire country. 

Pinals is a psychiatrist and serves as the medical director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs.

“It's really obviously complicated. There are no simple answers. Sometimes it's hard to know what is the right balance,” she said, of returning students to classrooms.

Pinals, speaking Feb. 9 via Zoom to members of the Wayne Rotary Club, suggested parents talk to the principal at their child's school about the situation. She noted the emotional connections K-12 students have in school.

Former resident sues Westland and police over arrest

James Herrera
A former Westland resident has filed a civil suit seeking unspecified damages from the City of Westland, Westland Police Department, Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik and Police Det. Kameron Sleep, alleging that they violated his constitutional rights and caused him physical, mental and emotional harm.

James Herrera, 36, is also seeking compensation for his claim of police misconduct and deficient training and supervision, which he claims, led to his arrest last July. Herrera claims in his lawsuit that he was arrested without probable cause and that police singled him out because he refused to cooperate with another investigation. He claims there was a conspiracy by police for his refusal to cooperate.

In his court filings, Herrera claims the police engaged in “reckless, wanton, intentional and outrageous conduct, which was done with an evil motive and a callous indifference to the fundamental rights of (the) plaintiff.”

Safety concerns delay back-to-school plans

The new guidelines for the return to face-to-face learning in classrooms issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) last week won't move the anticipated return date in Plymouth-Canton schools.

Administrators said last week that more planning time is necessary to ensure the safety of students and teachers. Superintendent of Schools Monica Merritt told parents and members of the board of education during a meeting last week that stringent social-distancing protocols along with other safety measures will be implemented when students return to classrooms.

The necessary planning for those safety measures and procedures will take more time than originally scheduled and slow the Safe Start learning timeline the district had initially proposed. 


Cold temperatures didn't deter crowds from flocking to Plymouth last weekend to view the 75 or so ice sculptures installed along downtown sidewalks. The 39th annual event was downsized this year from the usual huge sculptures in the Kellogg Park. Other family activities and professional and collegiate ice carving competitions were canceled due to safety precautions. The smaller, single block creations, however, attracted viewers and families on both Saturday and Sunday and was "pretty successful" according to JAF Entertainment President James Gietzen, who produced the event with the help of local sponsors who funded the ice carvings this year. Photos by Dave Willett 

Fine ‘Friends’

Group continues effort to build new entrance to Maybury Park

Members of the Friends of Maybury have raised more than $12,500 to fund an engineering study that will provide groundwork for a new pedestrian/bicycle entrance to the state park off Seven Mile near Ridge Road. A new southern entrance for the 944-acre park was identified by area residents and stakeholders as a top priority in the 2019 General Management Plan.  

The first step toward making the new entrance a reality is to conduct the engineering study that will establish a route, conduct core samples, and generate design/engineering drawings. This study is expected to cost about $18,000.

There are currently two drive-in entrances to the park - the entrance to the horse-riding stables on Beck Road and the main entrance on Eight Mile Road.

Library seeking ‘Kings and Queens’

The Leanna Hicks Public Library of Inkster is offering a “Be a King or Queen - Ancient African Kings and Queens” Black History Month Challenge, through Feb. 21. It starts with an African King and Queen scavenger hunt featuring interesting facts on Kings and Queens of the past. 

The next step is to create a masterpiece based on what has been learned about a royal. Collaboration is welcome. Call the library at (313) 563-2822 or visit for complete rules or how to register. There will be prizes for first, second and third place.

Entries can be: writing (poetry, essay, story); music (song, dance from that time); or artwork (mask, sculpture, painting, drawing, diorama, costume design).

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ford Road boulevard project plans revealed

Conceptual drawing of new boulevard on Ford Road.
The first phase of the long-awaited Ford Road boulevard project is scheduled to begin next year according to Michigan Department of Transportation Project Manager Adam Penzenstadler. The state official spoke via Zoom to the members of the Canton Township Board of Trustees last week during their regular meeting.  He said work on the project, which will replace the center passing lane on Ford Road from Lotz to Sheldon roads, will actually begin on Haggerty Road next year with work expected on Ford Road in 2023. He cited traffic studies which concluded that boulevards on five-lane roads significantly reduce vehicle crashes which are regular incidents on Ford Road. Penzenstadler said the high volume of traffic on Haggerty Road near the Ford Road intersection has necessitated a boulevard installation at that location, too.

So ‘N’ice

Annual festival returns to Plymouth this weekend

One of the coolest events in the area will take place this week as carvers install about 65 ice sculptures throughout downtown Plymouth placed strategically to promote social distancing. 

This will be the 39th year for the event which will return to the basic concept for the festival which originated four decades ago. It was started in 1982 by a small group of local businessmen and community leaders who hoped to attract crowds to downtown Plymouth to help bolster business during the usually lackluster sales time. The event grew to include massive ice sculptures in Kellogg Park, live entertainment, collegiate and professional ice carving contests and the famous dueling chain-saw ice carving competition. The  festival earned an international reputation among professional carvers who competed at the event which drew nearly 500,000 people to the city during the three-day weekend.

Community college accreditation extended 10 years

The Higher Learning Commission has extended the accredited status of Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) for another decade.

The accreditation followed a comprehensive evaluation by peer reviewers from the commission last spring. Those reviews are among six regional institutional accreditors in the United States with authority to rate post-secondary educational institutions in 19 states. The peer reviewers particularly lauded the fiscal responsibility and commitment to local communities during the pandemic demonstrated by WCCCD. 

All in favor

Commissioners OK agreements for Kellogg Park fountain replacement

Artist's rendering of the new fountain planned for Kellogg Park.
Demolition and replacement of the Kellogg Park fountain in downtown Plymouth is scheduled to begin this spring.

The replacement of the fountain, in the planning and design stages for nearly 5 years, will cost about $1.7 million. The city will pay $30,000, the Downtown Development Authority $20,000 and the bulk of the expense paid by a grant of $1.2 million from the Wilcox Foundation.

Last week, members of the Plymouth City Commission approved the contract for demolition and construction of the new fountain with Outside The Lines, a California design company. Commissioners also adopted the grant agreement with the Wilcox Foundation for funding and adopted a distribution agreement between the foundation  and the appointed escrow agent. 

Museum to host virtual Flapper Murder Mystery

A "Flapper Murder Mystery” will be hosted Feb. 20 by members of the Plymouth Historical Museum and Society. The event will take place via Zoom, due to coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings explained Rennae Green, marketing director.

“We typically host up to 100 guests in person for our murder mystery events. This particular murder mystery we chose for this year was a play on the 1920s/2020s correlation.”

Green added, “We have hosted a variety of themes in the past. There are no geographic restrictions and people can participate by buying tickets to the event via our Eventbrite page, through our website, or by calling the museum.”

COVID testing now available

Rapid drive-thru COVID-19 testing will now be available at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.

RapidBio, a molecular diagnostics laboratory, is partnering with the arena and Wayne Health to provide drive-through collection and rapid test results for COVID-19. The company said it is using the sensitive qPCR assay combined with “highly automated equipment” to provide the potential to process 5,000 COVID-19 tests per day and the ability to expand further, with results delivered in 24 hours or less.

Downtown street closures extended by city

The social district in downtown Northville will remain open for another year.

Members of the city council approved a proposal by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA)to extend closures of portions of Main and North Center streets through April 30, 2022. 

The approval came at the regular Feb. 1 meeting of council members who had discussed results of a survey about the project during the Jan. 27 meeting. The survey garnered 2,600 responses and showed strong support for continuing the downtown street closures.

Canton photo contest offers $100 gift cards

Take your best shot in Canton Township and win a $100 gift card.

The Downtown Development Authority is sponsoring a ShopLocalShopCanton photo contest throughout February.

To enter, post photos on Facebook with tag #ShopLocalShopCanton giving ShopCanton permission to repost and possibly publish in print. Entrants should be sure to make posts public and tag with the correct hashtag to enter, officials said.

Township man accused in kidnapping incident

Charges are pending against a Canton Township man accused of kidnapping a woman and two children on Jan. 27.

According to police reports, a woman called 911 at about 2:15 p.m. last Wednesday to report that she and her two children were being held against their will in a vehicle traveling on I-96. The police dispatcher was able to get a description of the vehicle before the call dropped. Troopers from the Michigan State Police located the car and attempted a traffic stop on eastbound I-96 near Grand River in Detroit, but the driver ignored police and refused to stop the vehicle.

Garden Club hosts meeting

The Country Garden Club of Northville is offering free virtual attendance at upcoming monthly meeting in March.

The business meeting will begin at 11 a.m. and the March 3 speaker will begin at 12:15. The March speaker is Roy Prentice who will discuss the “History and Gardening at Tollgate Farm.”

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

Hometown Heroes honored

Romulus pays tribute to local volunteers

Outstanding Citizen Jeff Pyles, center with flowers,
entire family was on hand and in on
the surprise visit from Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
presenting him with the award.
While the usual celebration had to be cancelled, the gratitude and recognition of Romulus  Hometown Heroes remained undeterred.

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff and a team of organizers made surprise visits to the lawns of the honorees this year to demonstrate the appreciation of the entire community for their efforts.

Jessica Mills-Rais was named as the Outstanding Educator in the city while Jeff Pyles was chosen as the Outstanding Citizen in the community for 2020.

The two were chosen from a host of nominations from city residents who suggested friends, family members peers and community members for the awards. Those nominations went to a committee appointed by the members of the police, fire and safety commission who reviewed them and selected the honorees based on their outstanding community contributions.

Witness to road rage shooting suffers gunshot to knee

Police continue to investigate what may have been a road rage incident last Friday that left a witness with a gunshot wound to the knee.

The investigation into the incident is continuing and police have asked anyone with any information about the identities of those involved to contact them at (734) 287-5000.

The incident began, according to police accounts, at around 2:50 p.m. Feb. 5 on eastbound I-94 and Vining Road when Michigan State Troopers responded to a phone report of a shooting in the area. When troopers arrived on the scene, they discovered a vehicle struck by several rounds of ammunition and an individual suffering a gunshot wound to the knee.

Inkster sorority member is honored at dedication

Members of the Eta Iota Omega Chapter of Inkster along with members of the Neighborhood Service Organization were on hand to congratulate sorority member Sheila Clay at the opening of the Clay Center in Detroit recently.

 A portrait of Clay, painted by world-renowned artist and Neighborhood Service Organization Board Member Hubert Massey was unveiled at the dedication. Clay is a former president and CEO of Neighborhood Service Organization.  

Helping hand

Doctor starts GoFundMe page for cancer patient

Dr. Mark Roby
Ted Kaschuk of Wayne knows a little bit about bad days. 

Last year, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, suffered a stroke and was injured in a home accident. All of which added up to a huge pile of medical bills, in the midst of a world-wide pandemic.

Now, he is not only battling for his life, but to keep his apartment and his car.

“Ted's story is one that's close to home for me,” said Dr. Mark Roby, an integrative physician who works in Novi. “As a cancer survivor myself, I know all too well the challenges that come with fighting this battle. I suffered near bankruptcy just to pay the medical bills, and I never would have made it through if it weren't for the help of friends. Now, I want to help Ted.” 

Roby has launched a fundraiser on GoFundMe to help Kaschuk.  

Freezing temperatures prompt opening of warming centers

In response to the dangerously cold temperatures this week, Warming Centers have been opened in Westland.

Westland City Hall at 36300 will offer a safe place for residents to escape the cold conditions and will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Jefferson Barns Community Vitality Center at 32150 Dorsey will also offer warming conditions from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Fridays.

Clearing up

The Public Awareness Committee at the Westland Fire Department recently reminded residents of the need to keep fire hydrants accessible during snow storms. Keeping the hydrants clear of snow and ice will assure the safety of the community, officials said, and ensure that firefighters can access them quickly during an emergency. They suggest clearing away any snow and ice 3-feet from all sides of the hydrant with a path to the street to allow firefighters to work quickly.

Public opinion sought about new Van Buren community center

Township officials in Van Buren Township want to know what residents would like to see in the design for a new community center to be located at township hall.

 “Last year we sent residents a feasibility study. The study showed that 76 percent of the residents wanted some type of community center that could include an indoor track and bigger workout facilities,” said Supervisor Kevin McNamara. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

City manager sues former council member

Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini has filed a civil suit demanding damages in excess of $25,000 as compensation for alleged actions of Christopher Sanders during his tenure on the Wayne City Council.
The suit alleges the damages were incurred during Sanders' term on the council from November 2015 until a recall election in May 2018. That designation could, according to attorneys representing Sanders, place financial responsibility for defending the claim and the obligation for any financial damages which could be awarded, on the cash-strapped city. 

Sumpter trustees approve settlement of pay rate dispute

Supervisor Tim Bowman
Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to a one-time $500 payment to Deputy Treasurer Kenneth Bednark along with a month of a back wages at a higher hourly amount.
The unanimous vote came after a protracted discussion of the situation at the Jan. 26 meeting. The topic was prompted by Trustee Peggy Morgan who also raised the issue at the Jan. 12 meeting, suggesting Bednark be compensated at the higher rate paid to the previous deputy supervisor.  At that time, the question of authority to set township employee wages  was referred to township attorney Rob Young for research.
Young presented his preliminary findings but told the board members last week that his research left him needing direction from the board as to their intent when they voted on the issue Dec. 15. At that meeting, the board reduced Bednark’s position to part time without benefits at a reduced hourly rate.

Northville community mourns death of Chip Snider

Marvin “Chip” Snider
Flags throughout Northville Township were lowered to half staff last week as an official tribute to former longtime Northville Township Manager Marvin “Chip” Snider, Ph.D., who died Jan. 27.

Mr. Snider, 70, who forever changed the Northville community, is being mourned throughout the area as one of the most influential leaders in the township. He retired in October, 2019 after serving the community for more than 29 years, 19 of those as the chief administrative officer of the township.  

“He was a great colleague, a great leader and a great friend,” said Northville Township Supervisor Mark J. Abbo.

Mr. Snider led the township through a decade of unprecedented growth, officials said. During his tenure, the township population increased from 17,000 in 1990 to 28,500 in 2010, a situation which called for careful management and planning, which Mr. Snider successfully achieved as he prepared the community for continued growth. 

Union leader questions district student return plan

While teachers in the Plymouth-Canton Schools are eager to return to their classrooms for in-person learning, they are concerned about their safety and the safety of students in light of the current coronavirus pandemic.

Plymouth-Canton Education Association President Heather Fitchpatrick sent a statement to members of the board of education earlier this month, noting that the 1,100 members of the teachers' union feared that the district might be rushing to a full return “without specific details that keep our teachers and students safe.”

Fitchpatrick's statement was read to the board members and audience during the virtual meeting by board member Lauren Christenson. Currently, the district plans to return to full-time, in-person learning by March 1.

Trustees OK township sidewalk repair projects

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Sidewalk repairs are on tap in Canton Township this year for Glengarry North Estate, Glengarry Village 1-6, and Glengarry Woods subdivisions.

“We were in there with an extensive water main program,” noted Bill Serchak of the township engineering department at a Jan. 26 Canton Board of Trustees meeting. He said work in that area is planned to avoid conflicts with roadwork in 2021.

The subdivsions are near Cherry Hill and Canton Center roads.

Warm welcome

Three new firefighter/paramedics were officially sworn in as members of the Canton Township Public Safety Department Jan. 26. Canton Fire Chief Chris Stoecklein, left welcomed Martin Smith, Jeremy Martzolff and Colin Murphy. Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak congratulated the new first responders .

Plymouth reminds residents clearing roads is county job

Plymouth Township officials recently issued a reminder to residents regarding snow emergencies in the township.

Officials noted that the township can probably expect several heavy snow days this winter like those earlier this week which can make both driving and walking a challenge. Plymouth Township is not responsible for the plowing or clearing of streets, officials said, that work is the responsibility of Wayne County Roads or the local homeowner's association usually through a private contractor. 

Deputy supervisor resigns following public squabble

A heated exchange at the Jan. 26 meeting of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees has apparently prompted the resignation of Deputy Supervisor Kenneth Bednark.

During a study session of the board members just prior to their regular meeting, Trustee Peggy Morgan criticized the failure of Police Chief Eric Luke to return a phone call from Bednark. The call was, according to Morgan, an effort to discuss Luke's upcoming contract renewal. She asked why there was this “lack of communication.”

Luke, in attendance at the Zoom meeting, responded that the “phone call” was a voice message he had received late in the afternoon the day before and that scheduled meetings on Tuesday, along with some unexpected personnel issues, kept him from returning the voice mail from Bednark.

One Mind

Northville police officers complete mental health crisis training programs

Police departments in both Northville Township and the City of Northville have taken steps to ensure the most effective response to crisis situations involving substance abuse or mental health issues.

Northville Township Police Chief Paul Tennies said mental illness has become a common focus for law enforcement, with some departments estimating that as many as 20 percent of calls for service are related to mental health incidents. Northville Township responds to several hundred behavioral health incidents a year, Tennies said. 

In Northville Township, police department personnel completed the requirements for the One Mind Campaign, an initiative by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), which improves the department response to calls involving those suffering from mental illness in the community. 

City Holiday Taste Fest plans already under way

Julie Brown, Special Writer

The 2021 Westland Holiday Taste Fest is being planned for 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the Hellenic Cultural Center, 36375 Joy Road in Westland. 

While the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic, the event this December will be even more special, organizers said. Sponsorships are available at the Platinum ($1,000), Gold ($500) and Silver ($250) levels, with information available from the Westland Chamber of Commerce.

“We're trying to bring back the annual tradition of the Holiday Taste Fest,” said Gretchen Heinicke, Westland Chamber of Commerce president. “We know that it's a ways away. It's something for people to look forward to as we go through 2021.”

Westland council approves reappointments to city boards

Gayle Nicholson
 Delano Hornbuckle
Members of the Westland City Council confirmed the reappointment of two city board members during a Jan. 19 meeting.

Westland Mayor William R. Wild reappointed long-time city resident Gayle Nicholson to the Library Board. 

Her appointment was for a five-year term expiring Feb. 6, 2026. Nicholson is an active community volunteer with an extensive background in customer service and marketing. 

The five-member Library Board is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by city council. The board oversees the library director and the operations of the William P. Faust Public Library. 

Inkster woman is charged with birthday party stabbing

A Westland woman is facing two felony charges in the stabbing of her uncle at a family gathering in Riverview.

Ariel Purifoy, 20, has been charged with one count of felonious assault, a four-year felony and one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, a 10-year felony in the stabbing of her 27-year-old uncle Jan. 9. 

According to police reports, officers were called to a house in the 15000 block of Golfview at about 7 p.m. Jan. 9 in response to a report of a man stabbed. When officers arrived, they discovered the Riverview man with a non-life threatening stab wound to his left shoulder. Initial witness interviews indicated that a dispute arose among several people including the victim and his niece during a birthday party.

Romulus church to host 13-week grief seminars

Community members who have experienced the death of a family member or friend can now register for a 13-week seminar/support group GriefShare at 5 Points Church. The church, located at 37300 Goddard Road at Huron River Drive in Romulus, has been offering this program since 2005. . 

“Many grieving people find they are only beginning the work of healing when friends or family have returned to their daily life routines. Past participant have related how helpful the information and follow-up discussions were to them,” organizers said. 

The bereavement experience may be recent or current and participants will find “find encouragement, comfort, and help in grieving the death of a loved one no matter what the cause of death. This is an opportunity to be around people who understand what you are feeling,” they added. 

Inkster church plans brick memorial for COVID deaths

An Inkster church is planning a permanent memorial to those lives lost due to the coronavirus.

The Prevailing Church in Inkster, under the leadership of the Rev. Rick Sykes, is constructing a memorial brick walkway along the side of the church and each brick will be inscribed with the name of a person lost to the COVID-19 virus.

Sykes said the church currently has about 2,000 bricks. 

“I myself know about 50 to 60 people who have passed away. My wife was actually sick in March and she recovered. Loved ones, people I knew, also recovered but there are those who passed away from COVID-19,” he said.

Wayne HYPE center offers cost-free virus testing

Testing for COVID-19 is now available to the public in both Wayne and Westland.

The cities have cooperated with Wayne County to provide the testing sites in an effort to reach the goal of 8,000 tests each day.

In Wayne, the cost-free testing with reportedly shorter waiting times is open at the HYPE Recreation Center from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The athletic center is located at 4635 Howe Road in Wayne.

In Westland, testing will take place in the parking lot at the Westland Friendship Center, located at 1119 Newburgh Road. Residents will have no out of pocket expenses for testing. However, if insurance information is available, it will be collected for the laboratory testing fees.