Thursday, May 27, 2021

Memorial Day events return to local communities

Next Monday will be the national celebration of Memorial Day, a day of remembrance and honor for those who have died in service of our country.

While many celebrate the day, few are aware of the significance and history of the event which began as Decoration Day in the 1860s to honor soldiers who died in the Civil War. That war, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the first national cemeteries in the country.

Memorial Day was originally celebrated on May 30 but in 1968, Congress approved the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing the holiday would always fall on the last Monday in May. 

Veteran police officer retires after 25 years

Sgt. Dale Waltz
Canton Township Police Department Sgt. Dale Waltz will officially retire at the end of this month after a quarter of a century on the job.

Waltz began his 25-year career with the Canton department in 1996 as a Public Safety Service Officer (PSSO), performing the tasks of call taker, dispatcher and jail attendant. Two-years later, he took a leave of absence and put himself through the police academy and in 1999, he tested for and was promoted to the position of police officer. 

Department administrators took note of the organizational benefits of a PSSO transitioning to a sworn officer and soon after put a formal program into place, of which 18 full-time PSSOs have since participated and been promoted to either a police officer or firefighter within the township. 

Father who shot son will serve probation

Nicholas Bennett
The man who accidently killed his 8-year-old son while cleaning a rifle will serve three years probation.

Nicholas Bennett pleaded guilty to carelessly discharging a firearm causing injury or death, a lesser charge than the involuntary manslaughter crime prosecutors originally filed against him. Bennett, 34, was also ordered by Third Circuit Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne to pay nearly $1,500 in fines and court costs. As part of his probation, as ordered by the court, Bennett cannot possess any firearms and he cannot be in the company of anyone possessing firearms. 

The boy’s death took place the afternoon of Dec. 15 as Bennett was working on a rifle in the family home on Old Michigan Avenue in Canton Township. The gun discharged, striking and killing the 8-year-old who was in the same room. The child was transported by Canton emergency responders to a nearby hospital.

Art contest is now under way in Canton

How do you spell CANTON?

Members of the Canton Commission for Culture, Arts, and Heritage are welcoming unique interpretations of the name using photos of objects in the community to spell out the township name. The letter art photography will continue to accept original artwork entries through Sept. 6.

Canton residents or groups with at least one Canton resident are asked to take pictures in the Canton community to create a unique sign spelling out C.A.N.T.O.N. for a chance to win a gift basket featuring a variety of gift cards valued at more than $100.  

Flying high

Yankee Air Museum offers World War II plane rides

Yankee Air Museum will be flying its UH-1 Huey Greyhound helicopter on Saturday, May 29 and Hairless Joe, the C-47 troop transport on Sunday, May 30 in celebration of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“We are encouraging everyone to take a ride on the adventurous side this holiday weekend,” exclaimed Kevin Walsh, president and CEO of  Yankee Air Museum.  “Our World War II era C-47 and Vietnam era UH-1 Huey are each the venerable workhorse of the conflict in which they flew.  People flying on these aircraft pay homage to the men and women who sacrificed so much for us.  Their support keeps us flying.”

Romulus Hometown Heroes nominations are sought

Romulus residents have only until tomorrow to submit nominations for the annual Home Town Heroes awards for 2021.

Nominations for educational services professionals who are dedicated, inspiring, and making a difference in schools; citizens who consistently demonstrate excellent community leadership and have made a significant contribution to the community and individuals who exemplify courage, kindness, and unselfish character through their acts of heroism in or out of the community are now being sought.

Industrial Park is fully leased

Kansas City-based developer NorthPoint Development has nearly completed a two-building industrial park, Ecorse Commons, in Romulus.

The buildings total 654,000 square feet of industrial space and NorthPoint Development officials say the development is already fully leased. NorthPoint partnered with local brokerage firm CBRE, Lauren Scarpace and Eugene Agnone III to  lease the development in just 12 months. Tenants scheduled to occupy the buildings include retail logistics, warehouse distribution and supply chain solutions, according to a NorthPoint representative.

Volunteers are named to city commissions

Mayor William R. Wild has named several volunteers to city commissions and committees, including appointments to the Commission on Aging, Disability Concerns Committee, Downtown Development Authority, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commission, Economic Development Corporations/ Tax Increment Finance Authority/ Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Westland Historical Commission, Local Development Finance Authority, Municipal Services Bureau, Parks & Recreation Advisory Council and Youth Assistance Advisory Council. 

Commission on Aging

Desmond Jackson has been reappointed to a two-year term expiring April 2023. Jackson has served on the Commission on Aging since October 2018 and has brought innovative programs to the Friendship Center and is very involved in the community, Wild said. 

Mel Tockstein has been reappointed to a four-year term expiring February 2025. Tockstein has served on the Commission on Aging since September 2005 and is the chairperson of the Commission on Aging. 

Bond sale will help fund city retiree pension debt

Westland has found a way to pay the majority of the city unfunded pension liability for former city employees.

Mayor William R. Wild said that a successful debt refinancing completed in March will result in significant savings to the city. Westland issued $82,470,000 in bonds to pay for a majority of the costs of the unfunded pension liability for the defined benefit pension plan for government employees administered by the Michigan Employees Retirement System of Michigan (MERS).

Marching on

Fife and Drum Corps reunion is planned 

The Plymouth Fife and Drum Corps (PFDC) is conducting a nationwide search for alumni to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of the group

All former members, parents and instructors are being sought to join in marking the half-century of the founding of the non-profit group dedicated to preserving the ancient arts of color guard, fifing and drumming. The students, ages 12-18, perform all year at parades, historical and patriotic celebrations, concerts, cultural affairs and other civic events.  The music spans the 17th to 20th centuries with an emphasis on music played during the Revolutionary War.

$6 million cannabis processing plant breaks ground

It has taken more than four years to cultivate, but a new $6 million Black-owned marijuana growing and processing facility is scheduled to open in Inkster this fall.

Members of the Inkster City Council first approved the city-ordinances allowing the facility in October of 2019.  Groundbreaking at the huge, 25,500-square-foot building took place last Friday. The cannabis growing and distribution facility is being built by Michigan Agricultural Services. 

Mark Stockdale, the founder and CEO of the business said that financing and capital investment were hurdles the company had to overcome during the planning of the facility. 

Free air purification kits are now available in Inkster

Free air filtration kits are now available to Inkster businesses and residents.

The kits are funded by the City of Inkster, Wayne County Economic Development, and Ford Motor Co. who have partnered to distribute and deliver the air filtration kits. 

The target useage for the kits are schools, small businesses, and nonprofits, officials said. “These are great for restaurants, hair salons/barbers, and any other small space.

Click it or Ticket program is now under way

While families are celebrating the Memorial Day holiday this weekend, local law enforcement officers will be out trying to save lives.

Officers from local police departments, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department and Michigan State Police will all be on patrol conducting seat belt enforcement across the state during the Click It or Ticket campaign that will continue until June 6.

“So often, critical injuries and the loss of life on our roadways could have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “Wearing a seat belt is the easiest and most effective thing you can do to reduce injuries and save lives. Buckle up every trip, every time.”  

Former teacher to serve 9-30 years for sexual assaults

Jason Dean 
A former teacher at both Wayne Memorial and Northville high schools will serve nine to 30 years in prison after being convicted of five counts of first-degree sexual conduct with a student at Cedar Crest Academy.

Jason Dean, 37, of Livonia, who was sentenced to prison May 20, also served as a coach with the area-wide Michigan Hawks girls' soccer team.

The victim, now an adult, was in the eighth grade at the time of the original sexual incidents. She went to police with her complaints last year, explaining that Dean had begun the campaign of sexual abuse in 2010 when he was associated with Cedar Crest Academy in Springfield Township. When he was arrested in 2020, Dean was teaching at Northville High School. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Canton to reopen Summit Aquatic Center June 1

The patience of Canton Township residents during the COVID-19 pandemic could be rewarded as soon as June 1.

Officials tentatively plan to reopen the Aquatic Center at the Summit on the Park June 1. While the scheduled date is contingent on a number of factors and is subject to change, officials said they are reasonably confident that they are on track to open the pool as planned with COVID-19 safety protocols and limited capacities in place. 

Order in the court

Communities celebrate ribbon cutting at new 34th District Courthouse

Court is now in session, sort of.

Officials from the area celebrated the official dedication of the new 50,000 square foot 34th District Court in Romulus last Monday, although many court procedures are still being handled electronically due to pandemic restrictions.

The court serves the host city of Romulus, as well as the City of Belleville, Van Buren and Sumpter townships and Detroit Metro Airport. The court also handles week-end arraignments for Wayne County and some 149,000 people visit the facility each year.

Trustees seek more information on lawn contract

Canton Township officials opted to seek more information before awarding the annual contract for lawn moving services in the municipality.

The vote on the $44,000 contract was planned for the May 11 meeting of the board of trustees, but was delayed when officials requested more information regarding the scoring used in the bidding process and vendor qualifications.  

“Can I honestly say this is the right vendor?” asked township Clerk Michael Siegrist during the meeting. Trustees Kate Borninski and Tania Ganguly also expressed concern that they were being asked to vote on the contract May 11 with incomplete information.

Annual Mother-Son Dance returns to Canton Saturday

Moms, aunts, and grandmothers can treat the special young men in their lives to an afternoon of fun and dancing at Canton Leisure Services Annual Mother/Son Dance on Saturday, May 22.  

Spots are still available for the 1-3 p.m. dance, which will take place at the new Preservation Park outdoor pavilion and the Cady-Boyer Barn, located at 500 N. Ridge Road.  The 4:30-6:30 p.m. dance timeslot is currently filled to capacity. 

“We are so happy to be able to offer this annual tradition that helps create special memories between young boys and the special women in their lives,” said Laura Mortier, Canton recreation specialist. “Plus, participants will be able to have a good time outside under our new Preservation Park Pavilion, especially with our Beach Party theme.”

Family tradition

Assistant Canton Township Clerk Anthony Essmaker administered the oath of office for new township firefighter Zachary Sprys-Tellner, prior to his badge pinning performed by his father, Greg Sprys-Tellner. The elder Sprys-Tellner is a retired deputy chief of the Canton Fire Department, making the event even more special, the pair agreed.

Forgotten Harvest coming to Sumpter Township

Despite concerns expressed by Trustee Peggy Morgan, Forgotten Harvest will be coming to Sumpter Township to provide services to residents.

Morgan first suggested allowing Forgotten Harvest to use township facilities to distribute food and other items to residents at a meeting of the board members earlier this year. At a subsequent meeting, however, she claimed that the group had adamantly refused to utilize the township facilities due to the conduct and “attitude” of a township employee when Forgotten Harvest leaders visited the township.  Morgan told the board members that the unnamed employee displayed an uncooperative attitude during the visit which prompted the group to abandon plans to come to the township. 

Promotion of 2 veteran police officers approved by trustees

Capt. Patrick Gannon

The promotions of two members of the Sumpter Police Department were unanimously and enthusiastically approved by members of the township board of trustees during a meeting last month.

Public Safety Director Eric Luke requested approval for the promotion of Lt. Patrick Gannon, a 29-year veteran of the force to the rank of captain. Gannon has been a lieutenant with the department for the past six years. He continues as the second-in-command in the department, Luke said.

Church celebrates partnership with Salvation Army

Two mainstays in the Plymouth community are celebrating a decade of cooperation this year.

A relationship between The Salvation Army and NorthRidge Church in Plymouth made perfect sense when it began more than 10 years ago - and is even stronger toda, a spokesman said. NorthRidge consistently donates food to the pantry at The Salvation Army Plymouth Corps Community Center and to the Bed & Bread program.

GoFundMe site set up for fire department Explorers’ program

The Explorer Program of the Northville Fire Department is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Northville Fire Department has hosted an in-house youth Explorer Program for 27 years, providing a safe environment for boys and girls ages 14-20 to learn basic skills and training that help them launch careers in the fire and Emergency Medical Service. Explorer Post 1717 is funded almost entirely by private donations and fundraising events and effort which usually take place all year in an effort to pay for the program safety gear and equipment. 

Local Farmers’ Market is now open in Northville every Thursday

The Northville Chamber of Commerce Farmers' Market  is open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Thursday, featuring local growers and food vendors. 

“Opening day was great. Everyone and everything cooperated - the vendors, the customers and the weather,” said Jody Humphries, executive director of the chamber.  

The Farmers' Market has local seasonal offerings by Michigan growers and vendors. Crafters will return once the COVID safeguards are eased, Humprhries said. There are plenty of flowers, produce, honey, baked goods and more, depending on the season, she added. 

‘Clean Sweep’ set for Saturday in Romulus

Romulus officials have taken spring cleaning seriously.

May has been declared “Romulus Spring Cleaning” in a continued effort to create a sustainable local environment and beautify the community, they said. To encourage residents to do their part in keeping the community clean, city departments have launched several free events and activities, including: Free Dumping Days: Romulus residents with large quantities of bulk items can dump those items for free at the Romulus DPW South Lot on 12600 Wayne Road. Free dumping is available from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. today, May 20 and tomorrow, Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22. For more information, call (734) 942-7579.

Council OK’s lease of new rescue ambulance

Members of the Romulus City Council unanimously approved the lease of a new ambulance for use by the fire department.

The lease, for a total cost of $209,902 during four years, will include a power lift load system, officials said, which will reduce risks to firefighters when loading patients into the ambulance, and a stretcher.

“With the power lift load system, the firefighters don't have to lift patients, the lift connects to the stretcher,” a fire department officials explained.

Home vaccinations available

Inkster residents unable to travel to one of the local clinics for a COVID-19 vaccination have help as near as their phone.

Wayne County is providing home-vaccinations for the elderly, home-bound or those who lack transportation. The home-bound program is part of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans' ongoing effort to increase inoculations for COVID for those residents who want to be protected from the illness.

Transfer of teachers prompts protest march

State legislators Jewell Jones and Kevin Coleman
join the teachers' protest march.
Teachers from the Wayne Westland Community Schools and members of the Michigan Education Association joined in a protest march May 14 outside  both Edison and Elliot schools. 

Union activists are claiming unfair labor practices by the district administration and the protesters claim that teachers are being “strong armed” at  Edison and Elliot into switching  grade levels with little to no preparation and no union conversations.

 State Reps. Kevin Coleman and Jewell Jones both briefly joined the protest demonstration during the afternoon. Coleman said the turnout among teachers was strong and that horns were honking in support from area residents and added, “They made a statement that the administration needs to work with the teachers and not against them.”  

Repairs to Newburgh Road are approved by city council

Area motorists will have a much smoother trip down Newburgh Road this fall.

Members of the Westland City Council unanimously approved a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) May 3 for improvements to the road which will include the area from Cherry Hill Road to approximately 400 feet north of Ford Road.

The project will include the milling of existing asphalt pavement, repairing concrete base, resurfacing with 2 inches of new asphalt including curb repairs and Americans with Disabilities Act compliant ramps and all other necessary related work. 

The total cost of the project is $1,477,175 with an estimated $268,108 to be paid by Westland. 

Life savers

Members of the Westland Public Safety Department responded to an unusual, but frantic, call for rescue last week when a resident noticed that a mother duck had lost her entire brood to the holes in a sewer grate. Trying to waddle across, the grate had swallowed the tiny ducklings who were frantically quacking for help. Officers arrived on the scene and took meticulous care to bring all 12 of the newly-hatched ducklings to ground level for a reunion with their ever-patient and grateful mother. 

Memorial Day parade is planned

There will be a Memorial Day parade in Westland to celebrate and remember veterans of all armed services.

According to Vic Barra who is organizing the event, the parade is a tribute to "the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, while we continue to honor the many veterans who have courageously served our country. We gather to support and applaud their service to our nation and community," he said.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Water quality concerns communities

Canton Township hires firm to perform cross connection system testing 

Canton Township residents may see some unexpected visitors to their property during the next few weeks as part of an inspection of the municipal water system.

Township officials have agreed to a contract with Hydrocorp to perform residential cross connection control inspections throughout Canton. The inspection is required by the Safe Drinking Water Act and administered by the state Great Lakes and Energy department which has instituted rules to protect drinking water and to prevent cross connections that may contaminate public drinking water systems. State law requires all communities to implement a program for removal of all existing cross connections and the prevention of all future cross connections.

Westland officials ask public for help in locating potential pipe problems

Westland Mayor William R. Wild wants his city to be the first in the state in total compliance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

To accomplish that goal, the city may need help from those most seriously affected by any faulty or non-compliant connections or pipes. While the city is launching a comprehensive lead service line replacement program in order to ensure that residents have safe and clean drinking water, identifying needed hazards where replacements are needed requires help from homeowners. 

The 2018 amended Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act requires that public water systems maintain an inventory of service line materials in their distribution systems by Jan. 1, 2025 and replacement of any lead service lines by 2040. 

Westland employees have begun the process of identifying service line materials (copper, galvanized steel, lead, plastic) throughout the water distribution system in order to comply with the regulations.

Annual River Day is Saturday at Flodin and Riverside parks

River Day will take place from 9 a.m. until noon this Saturday, May 15, at Flodin Park in Canton Township and Riverside Park in Plymouth.

The popular annual event will take place rain or shine and activities this year include bee house building, nature walks along the Flodin Trail, invasive species education, a kid friendly scavenger hunt and a presentation from the Southeast Michigan Bee Keepers Association on the importance of saving honeybees. A recycling education booth will also be set-up so residents can ask questions about the township curbside program. 

Romulus voters approve non-homestead tax renewal

The operating renewal millage question for Romulus Community Schools was approved by 55.22 percent of voters during the May 4 balloting. 

According to unofficial results, 1,101 voters were in favor of the proposal while 893 or 44.78 percent were against the proposal. There were 1,994 votes cast according to the unofficial result tallies.

Inkster is the only precinct outside the city of Romulus that voted on the proposal. In that community, 47 voters were in favor of the renewal and 38 voted against the millage.

Museum art

Wayne Historical Society members are hosting a stained glass mosaic class as a fundraiser beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 9. The class will be taught by Michelle Pieces and everyone gets to make an 8 by10-inch stained glass work of their own design. To reserve your spot for $45, at the Arting At The Museum website or call (734)748-3410. The event will be outside on the side lawn, and spaced accordingly. The museum is located at 35655 Park St. in Wayne.

Local animal rescue group receives Petco grant funds

Dog's best friend may very well be the Petco Love foundation which recently donated $7,500 to the Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue (FMAR) facility.

Petco Love, formerly the Petco Foundation, has donated nearly $300 million in pet adoption and other animal lifesaving efforts since it was founded in 1999, according to a prepared statement from the organization. 

The grant to FMAR will be used to continue  the work of the nonprofit organization  which works with local animal control facilities to save as many pet lives as possible in the Belleville and surrounding area with a treat and release program, and stray dog partnership with Sumpter Township. The non profit  facility takes in more than 400 dogs and cats a year with the goal of making them healthy and giving them a fresh new start.

Sidewalk is program under way

Residents will soon be able to take a more comfortable stroll in Van Buren Township.

More than 225 linear feet of concrete curb and gutter will soon be replaced as more than 8,000 square foot of existing concretes sidewalk is removed and replaced.

The Van Buren Township Downtown Development Authority with the assistance of Wade Trim and Merlo Construction will begin the work this week within the boundaries of the Downtown Development Authority district, along Belleville Road, Tyler Road, Ecorse Road and the I-94 Service Roads.  

Canton, Inkster awarded law enforcement grants

Canton Township and the City of Inkster were among the five communities who will share $200,000 in grant funding from the Community Policing Innovations Initiative.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan awarded the grants to local police departments “to work with their communities to address issues in police practices, systems and services,” according to a prepared statement. The funding will be awarded to both the  Canton Township Police Department and the Canton Coalition for Inclusive Communities; the Detroit Police Department; East Downtown Dearborn Development Authority and Black Legacy Advancement Coalition; the Inkster Police Department and Beloved Community Initiative and First AME Church of Farmington Hills.

Canton Farmers’ Market is now open every Sunday

The Canton Farmers Market will be open this Sunday, May 16, at Preservation Park, located at 500 N. Ridge Road, with COVID-19 safety guidelines in place to provide a safe and stress-free environment, where shoppers can take advantage of fresh food and local merchandise this market season. 

The Canton Farmers Market will take place rain or shine from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. each Sunday through Oct. 17, with the exception of July 4 and Sept. 5. This open-air market will feature a variety of local produce and goods for sale, live entertainment, and cooking demonstrations. Canton Farmers Market vendors line-up may include the following, but is subject to change without notice: 

Westland officials plan recycling center upgrade

Westland officials help break ground
for updates to the city recycling center. 
Earth Day in Westland included the announcement from Mayor William R. Wild for planned updates to at the city Recycling Center, located at 37137 Marquette. 

Last October, Westland was awarded a $50,000 grant from The Environmental Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) to improve the city Recycling Center site. That funding will be used for site grading and resurfacing at the facility, making it easier for residents to drop off materials at the center. Also included in the project are new directional signs, lighting and landscaping. Work is slated to begin in late spring.

Memorial Day parade planned

There will be a Memorial Day parade in Westland to celebrate and remember veterans of all armed services.

According to Vic Barra who is organizing the event, the parade is a tribute to “the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, while we continue to honor the many veterans who have courageously served our country. We gather to support and applaud their service to our nation and community,” he said.

Library to seek millage vote

In addition to winnowing candidates for both mayor and city council seats, Westland voters will be asked to approve a millage request from the William P. Faust Public Library on the Aug. 3 primary ballot. 

Officials have approved language for the ballot which asks voters for .85 of a mill for the next 10 years to fund the operation of the facility. If approved, the millage would generate about $1.4 million the first year. That funding will offset the expiration this year of the current .975 millage. 

Dog vaccination day is Saturday

Westland will host a Dog Vaccination Day set for 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Wayne Ford Civic League. 

The event is being organized by the Westland Department of Neighborhood Services and is limited to Westland residents only. Low-cost vaccinations, microchips and licenses will be available. The vaccinations and some other services are free for veterans. Licenses will be issued on site by the office of the city clerk. Sponsors include Tail Waggers 1990, the Wayne Ford Civic League and Westland Car Care Automotive Group. The civic league building is located at 1661 North Wayne Road in Westland. 

Northville non-homestead tax renewal is OK’d

Unofficial results of the May 4 millage vote requested by the Northville Public Schools indicate that the non-homestead operating millage renewal was soundly approved by voters with 78.64 percent in favor of the renewal. 

According to district records, 5,142 voters were in favor of the millage renewal while 1,397 voted against the question.

Approval of the ballot proposal renews Northville Public Schools current operating millage rate of 19.2383 mills for five years, 2022 until 2026, and permits the school district to continue to levy the maximum 18 operating mills on only non-homestead property each year.

Getting his goat

Since Northville Township Police Ofc. Adam Micek is a triplet, it seemed only appropriate last week for him to meet one of the newest additions to the family at Maybury Farm, also a triplet. While responding to a call from the farm last weekend, Micek was introduced to Violet, a Nigerian Dwarf goat, who gave birth to a buck and two does on Saturday. The buck has been named for Micek in recognition of the multiple birth they share. Micek is a graduate of Salem High School and celebrated his 28th birthday, along with his two siblings, on May 2. Maybury Farm has welcomed 22 new baby lambs and goats this birthing season, including baby buck Adam. The farm is located at Maybury Farm at 50165 Eight Mile Road in Northville. For hours and information, call (248) 916-3033.

Daylighting of river is proposed

Plans to “daylight” a section of the Rouge River have been puzzling some Northville residents for months. The plans, part of a revitalization project in the City of Northville, have left some residents questioning exactly what the term means.

Engineers plan to unearth the section of the river that was covered with a tunnel during the 1920s to create land for the Northville Downs race track. Experts say the section of the Middle Rouge was vibrant when covered almost a century ago, but has now deteriorated to a home for insects, fungi and bacteria. The once-thriving waterway has become a trickle but if “daylighted” as planned, it could again become a community attraction and development plans at the racetrack site have even suggested a “riverwalk” along the area.

Resident named new undersheriff

Northville Township resident Mike Jaafar has been appointed Undersheriff of Wayne County, making him second in command in the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, under current Sheriff Raphael “Ray” Washington.

Jaafar, 46, is the father of five and has a long history in law enforcement, having become an officer with the Detroit Police Department in 1994.

Dogs must ‘stay’ on leashes in Plymouth Township park

A small portion of a Plymouth Township park is going to the dogs.

A triangular section of Plymouth Township Park near the intersection of Ann Arbor Trail and Beck Road will be named Golfview Neighborhood Park and will now allow leashed dogs into the area, a direct conflict with a long-standing agreement that has allowed free-range dogs in the park under the watchful eyes of “best friends.” The new designation will make the park eligible to apply for state and federal grants to help fund upgrades, officials said. The new designation could also protect the park section from residential or commercial development, officials added.

New Kellogg Park fountain construction is under way

Don Howard, Staff Writer

Construction is currently under way behind fabric fencing in Kellogg Park where a new fountain is being installed, replacing the iconic structure that has been a city symbol for half a century.

The installation of the new fountain was mutually delayed by City of Plymouth officials and administrators at the Wilcox Foundation for a year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) revealed initial plans and designs in April 2016. It was the hope of the DDA to have major upgrades to both the park and the fountain in time for the 150th anniversary of the city. After public input and study, the design by Russell Designs of Northville and WESCO Fountains of Florida was selected.

New phone app offers location of train delays at city crossings

The frequent and long delays due to trains blocking roadways in Plymouth can now be avoided by technology.

City of Plymouth officials and Integrated Traffic Systems LLC have collaborated to help motorists locate and predict train delays.

The new Plymouth Trains app allows users to receive a notification and an estimated waiting time when a train is blocking a roadway in the community.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Canton establishes police oversight subcommittee

Julie Brown, Special Writer

A newly formed group will oversee the Canton Police Department. 

“How do you essentially police the police? It comes down to legitimacy. You need public trust,” said Chad Baugh, Canton director of police services during the regular meeting of the board of trustees last week.

To that end, he said, the Canton Police Department in collaboration with the Canton Coalition for Inclusive Communities (CCIC) has developed a new initiative called the Police Transparency and Guidance Subcommittee. This group will operate as a subcommittee out of the CCIC, and be tasked with examining police misconduct investigations, with an emphasis on complaints regarding use of force, false arrest and complaints alleging racial profiling or bias-based policing.

Sumpter Township Fire Chief contract terminated by trustees

Chief Joe Januszyk
Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees terminated the contract of Fire Chief Joe Januszyk during the April 27 meeting.

Township Supervisor Tim Bowman made the motion for the termination based on concerns regarding Januszyk's job performance during the past 14 months and comments the chief made during a hearing two weeks ago concerning the performance of fire department employee Colleen Armatis. Januszyk, like Armatis, opted for a public hearing regarding any disciplinary action. The board voted to terminate Januszyk with Trustee Peggy Morgan and Treasurer Jim Clark casting the two no votes. The termination was specified as “without cause” allowing Januszyk seven days notice and then 30 days full pay.

4 electric vehicle charging stations planned in Westland

Drivers can now get a charge in Westland.

Four level 2 electric vehicle charging stations will be installed on city-owned property for public use following approval of a contract with Greenspot by members of the city council during the April 5 meeting.

Greenspot, an award-winning leader in electric vehicle charging station development, installation and management, based out of Jersey City, NJ.  has been developing e-Mobility Hubs in cities and private developments throughout the United States and Internationally since 2014, according to the company website.

Supervisor suggests need for new Sumpter Township Hall

Members of the Sumpter Board of Trustees are facing a $3 million decision after being told it could cost $27,500 to replace the doors at township hall.

During a study session of the trustees last week, board members were told that the replacement of the front and rear doors at township hall would cost nearly $30,000 due to the corrosion and wear on the parts, prompting Trustee Don LaPorte to question the wisdom of spending that amount of money. LaPorte suggested exploring the possibility of repairing the current doors and suggested that the expertise of Supervisor Tim Bowman might help determine if repair rather than replacement would be possible.

Van Buren officials seeking public input about ‘Sumpter Corridor’

Plans for the Sumpter Road Corridor between Van Buren Township and the City of Belleville began last week with a webinar hosted by members of the township planning commission.

Township officials are now seeking input from residents, business owners, community leaders and other stakeholders about what they would like to see in the area. Township officials said that following completion of a full update to the master plan in 2020 they recognized more work needed to be done in several key areas. 

One of the most important areas of concern is the south side, including the Sumpter Road Corridor, they said. This part of the township was planned in depth in 2007 through the South Side Master Plan. 

Good clean fun

More than 130 volunteers participated in the April 24 Clean Up Day in Wayne. Rotary Club members who helped organized the event sent a special note of gratitude to those who helped collect trash from around the city. Officials said a special thanks was due to  Lori Morrow, Juan Bradford, Mathew Mulholland, Nancy and Matt Wojeski, Ed Queen, all the volunteers from Wayne Main Street and  photographer Stan Shelton.

School buses are ‘out of gas’

Student transportation in the Wayne Westland Community Schools District is going green by swapping the older school buses for newer and more eco-friendly transportation, officials said.

Westland Mayor William Wild awarded the school district with a #MissionGreen Eco Award in celebration of Earth Day in response to the district efforts in reducing gas emissions and keeping students and the community safe and breathing clean air.

Westland police partner with First Step facility

Westland Mayor William Wild, left, and Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik, right, officially
welcomed new Community Response Survivor Advocate Alexis Reed to the
city recently. Reed is in the department to facilitate immediate assistance
 to those impacted by domestic and sexual violence. 
Westland police have a new partner in efforts to help victims of domestic violence. 

Earlier this year, the Westland Police Department formalized a partnership with First Step, in an effort to provide stronger, more immediate resources to victims of domestic violence, officials said.

As a result of this strengthened partnership, the Westland Police Department has named Alexis Reed as the Community Response Survivor Advocate. She is present in the department to facilitate more immediate assistance to those impacted by domestic and sexual violence. Reed graduated with a masters degree in victimology and criminal justice, with a special interest in trauma response. She has worked with survivors of domestic and sexual violence for three years.

‘Walk and Roll’ public meeting is planned in city

They are on a roll in Westland as officials continue progress on the Wildwood Road Bikeway Plan which includes the creation of bicycle lanes on 3.5 miles of Wildwood Road,

In addition, officials are developing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Plan called Walk and Roll Westland to help connect residents with areas of high demand. A public meeting to share information about the plan is set for 5.30 p.m. May 11 and those interested can join the virtual meeting by phone at 1 (312)626-6799 meeting ID: 943 9827 6599; password: 228589. Officials are hoping to gain insight from the public about the future of walking and biking within the community. The meeting can also be joined by computer: Join by Computer:

Man faces murder charge in shooting of father

Devon Hackney
The man who posted a Snapchat video of his dead father's corpse and called 911 in Romulus to report the fatal shooting has been released from jail on bond.

Devon Hackney, 19, is charged with one count of open murder and one count of felony firearm in connection with the fatal shooting of his father, Alex Hackney of Romulus. Police were called to the elder Hackney's residence in the 14100 block of Conover Place in Romulus at about 2:02 p.m. April 21 in response to a 911 call from the accused who admitted he had shot his father. Responding officers discovered the elder Hackney unresponsive and  suffering from three gunshot wounds to the chest lying in the driveway of the home. Officers called medics to the scene and the victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police report lawmaker ‘was hostile’ during arrest

Jewell Jones
 following arrest.
New reports indicate that Michigan State Representative Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) and a woman passenger in his vehicle were both partially undressed when police approached the scene of his crashed SUV three weeks ago.

Published information indicates that Jones, 26, was holding up a woman near the passenger side door of the vehicle when state police approached. A paramedic responding to the scene of the accident observed that the woman's pants were down and Jones' pants were partially down according to official accounts of the scene from the Michigan Information & Research Service. 

The woman passenger in Jones' vehicle during the crash in Livingston County remains unidentified. 

Residents may have unclaimed assets

Romulus Treasurer Stacy Paigesaid she was surprised to recognize several local names when she recently accessed the unclaimed property website, part of the state department of treasury.

Paige told members of the city council that a resident had contacted the office of Mayor LeRoy Burcroff with information that the city was listed as the owner of unclaimed property on the site. When Paige began the process of reclaiming the city items, she said “lots of names came up.”

B.L.O.C.K. marks 20th year of service in Canton

The B.L.O.C.K. Youth & Teen Center, the Canton Township center for tweens and teens ages 11 to 17, is celebrating the 20th anniversary this year, as the thousands of youngsters who have come through the doors since 2001 are remembered. 

In an ongoing effort to shine the spotlight on what the B.L.O.C.K. has meant to past participants and staff, testimonials will be collected throughout the year and posted online at YouthTeenCenter. 

Northville welcomes new city council member

Judge James Plakas, center, officiated at the swearing in of new Northville
City Councilman Andrew Krenz, second from left, as he joins Mayor
 Pro tem Marilyn Price, far left, Councilmember Barbara Moroski-Browne
and Mayor Brian Turnbull, far right. 
Andrew Krenz has officially joined the Northville City Council.

Krenz was sworn into office April 27 in council chambers at city hall by 35th District Judge James Plakas in front of his family and city officials.

Officials said that five highly-qualified city residents volunteered to fill the council seat of former member Sam Ekong who resigned last month. The five, James C. Allen, Joseph Corriveau, Philip Goodman, Krenz and Ryan McKindles,  were interviewed by council members at a special meeting April 22. 

More than 3,000 vaccinated at Plymouth clinics

More than 3,000 individuals received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Plymouth Cultural Center in March and April, according to city records.

Rite Aid approached Plymouth officials in early March, when there were 100 extra COVID vaccines that had to be used before the expiration date.  City officials immediately arranged for the vaccines to be taken to Tonquish Creek Manor, which houses seniors.

Rite Aid leaders called on the city again in March with an extra 30 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which were distributed to those who were available on the same day that second doses were given to the initial group at Tonquish Manor.

Signing in

The Northville Township Police Department welcomed new Ofc. Edin Livadic with his official swearing in on April 12 before Township Clerk Roger Lundberg. Livadic joins Northville after serving for three years as a police officer for the Redford Township Police Department. He previously worked as a dispatcher for the Hamtramck Police Department while pursuing his associates' degree in criminal justice from Macomb Community College. He is a graduate of the Macomb Police Academy. Livadic is multilingual and speaks Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. He was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and immigrated with his parents to the United States when he was a child. 

Speaking up

Friends of the Plymouth District Library will welcome former U.S. Attorney and current University of Michigan Law professor Barbara L. McQuade who will share her thoughts on "Liberty, Safety and the Rule of Law" during a Zoom presentation at 1 p.m.  Wednesday, May 11. 

McQuade served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017. Appointed by President Barack Obama, she was the first woman to serve in her position.

For information on viewing McQuade’s presentation, call the library at (734) 453-0750.