Thursday, October 14, 2021

Canton theater awarded 2nd federal grant

The Village Theater at Cherry Hill was recently awarded a second grant in the amount of $93,756 from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, which provides emergency assistance for eligible cultural institutions and organizations affected by COVID-19.

The grant was awarded by the U.S Small Business Administration to enable recipients to recoup expenses and recover from the period when they were unable to earn revenue. Funds must be expensed by June 30, 2022, to repay eligible expenses, including but not limited to payroll, utilities, maintenance, and repairs, as well as contracted performances. 

“The Village Theater at Cherry Hill is so grateful for these additional funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which will help mitigate the impact of lost revenue due to the pandemic,” said Ben Frick, Canton performing arts coordinator. 

It's Scary Season

Scarecrows and skeletons help celebrate Halloween holiday

Where but downtown Northville can a skeleton be seen proposing to his lady-love, playing his guitar or skateboarding down the sidewalk? In downtown Plymouth or Wayne, visitors can view scarecrows fixing broken sinks, riding skeleton horses and training puppies among the straw-based creations on display. These annual displays of creativity draw crowds to the communities to admire, and maybe shiver a little, at the imaginations and artistry of their neighbors and local businesses.

In the pink

Canton Township firefighters have donned pink shirts under their turn-out gear this month to draw attention to October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Members of the Canton Fire Department have traded their uniform shirts for the pink t-shirts they will wear for the entire month of October, part of a nationwide effort to raise breast cancer support and awareness.

Farmers’ Market hosts Chili Cook Off Saturday

Area residents can spice up the weekend with samples from the Chili Cook-Off set for 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 17.

Visitors can taste several creations and then cast a vote for Canton's Best Chili at this special fundraiser set to take place during the final Canton Farmers Market of the season.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the Canton Cares Fund, a 501(c)(3) that supports the Canton community by providing financial assistance to disaster relief, therapeutic recreation, youth and senior programs, employee recognition, and scholarships. The Canton Cares Fund, part of the Canton Community Foundation has distributed thousands of dollars to those in need since it was started in 2018. Funds are raised exclusively from individuals and business donations. 

Diwali Festival of Lights to be celebrated next week

Canton Township will light up during a special celebration next week. 

The Canton Diwali Festival of Lights Community Celebration will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 at the Heritage Park Amphitheater, located behind the Canton Administration Building. The special event is planned in the festive tradition of India that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. 

Canton Leisure Services is partnering with several community groups to host the event, which is an Indian cultural celebration of lights that symbolizes the “victory of light over darkness.”  This event, primarily sponsored by miindia.com, is free and open to all community members to learn and celebrate together. 

Proposed property sale prompts residents’ protest

The proposed sale of two parcels of township-owned property prompted objections from neighboring residents during the Sept. 28 meeting of the Sumpter board of trustees.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Corey Blue told the board members that he lives next door to one of the properties being sold. He said that he agrees the township shouldn't be in the business of owning property but having his house next door to one of the sites would seem to indicate that the area should not be zoned as commercial. Blue said he objected to the property being sold to a developer rumored to be planning a 24-hour self-storage rental facility at the site.

He told the board members that he believed the township motto “Country Living at its Finest” which was a motivating factor in choosing to move to Sumpter. He said he would “jump at the chance” to purchase the neighboring property but has been told that it was not for sale three times.

‘Saddle’ to Iron Belle Trail now open in Van Buren

Van Buren Township officials have “saddled up.”

A new road and walking path, known as the saddle was constructed in the township this summer and officially opened last week. The path provides easier accessibility to the  portion of the Iron Belle Trail which runs through Van Buren along with 48 other counties in the state.

“We're excited to have the Iron Belle Trail go right through Van Buren Township,” stated Public Services Director Matthew Best. “We've been working on this project for six years and couldn't have completed it without the support of Wayne County.

Township officials opened the new path during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

Board approves re-keying parks and recreation building

Accessing the Sumpter Township Parks and Recreation Building will be limited to those who have new keys to the structure.

Members of the township board of trustees agreed unanimously at the Sept. 28 meeting to have new locks installed at the building and keys distributed by Township Clerk Esther Hurst's office.

The proposal for the new security measure came from Trustee Tim Rush who is also the board representative on the Parks and Recreation Commission in the township. He said that the locks had not been changed for several years and that the commission members and the township officials no longer have an accurate record of who is in possession of keys to the building where equipment is stored.

Van Buren hosts Candy Loop

The Van Buren Township Parks & Recreation Department annual Candy Loop event is back by popular demand. This family-friendly trick-or-treating experience will be take place from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 at Quirk Park.

Costumed children can take a stroll around the Candy Loop and stop at different Halloween-themed stations providing treats from local businesses and organizations. This event is free and open to the public, but participants need to register for a specific timeslot at vanburen-mi.org/parks. No pets will be allowed with the exception of service animals.

Harvey Street reconstruction work continues

The reconstruction of a portion of Harvey Street in downtown Plymouth is expected to meet the initial November completion deadline, according to city officials.

Recent and predicted rain should not delay the work, officials noted in a prepared statement, and it should be complete and the heavily traveled intersection of Harvey and Penniman be reopened to traffic next month.

The intersection of Penniman and Harvey is the biggest challenge of the project, officials said, due to the vast number of underground utilities as well as the difficulty in detouring traffic from the intersection. Officials said the crews were making every effort to allow limited access to traffic and pedestrians while making safety for both the motorists and the crews a priority. They suggested alternate routes to help ensure safety and avoid long delays at the intersection. 

Good partners

Northville Township Community Services Ofc. Andrew Domzalski, left, Public Safety Ofc. Jacqui Whitthoff, Hegira Health Clinical Director Jaime White and Lt. Chris Rowley celebrate the Outstanding Community Partner Award presented to the Northville Township Police Department recently during the Hegira Health, Inc. 40 Years in Crisis Services Celebration. Hegira Health officials recognized the Northville Township Police Department mental health wellness partnership and the efforts the department made to support behavioral health needs in the community and the region. “This has required efforts from every member of our agency and an outward focus on how we serve,” said Northville Township Police Chief Paul Tennies. “This growth has come from the team's commitment to adaptive change without concern for individual success.”

Fountain dedication is Saturday

After years of planning, considerable community input and approval by both members of the Historic District Commission and the City Commission, the new fountain at Kellogg Park has become a reality. 

The $1 million fountain, funded by the Wilcox Foundation, is crafted of granite and cobblestone and has extensive new underground plumbing.  

The official dedication ceremony is scheduled 11 a.m. this Saturday, Oct. 16. Entries in  the Plymouth Community Arts Council 2D fountain art contest for children will be on display and one of the young artists will win the opportunity to help turn on the new fountain at the ceremony.

Rolling right along

Romulus Huron River Pathway officially opens to public

Eager bikers were on hand to be among the first to travel
along the new Huron River Pathway officially
opened in Romulus last week.   
Things are rolling along in the City of Romulus with the opening of the Huron River Pathway.

Last week, the new pathway was officially opened to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by city officials and the public. The path allows bike or foot travel from the I-275 Metro Trail into downtown Romulus. The Huron River Drive Pathway was constructed in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation with support from a $297,600 federal grant. The Romulus Downtown Development Authority provided another $100,000 toward funding of the project. 

Fall Family Fun Festival set for tomorrow

While the Halloween contests continue throughout the City of Romulus, the Fall Family Fun Festival is set for 5 until 8 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 15.

The free event will include downtown hayrides, the scarecrow contest voting, stories, tours and treats from members of the Romulus Historical Society.

Walking tacos, hot dogs and other concessions will be available for purchase.

There will be face painting and costumes are encouraged. Visitors should bring their own bag for treats.

Fatal shooting suspect sought

A 21-year-old Detroit man died after being shot by unknown suspects in Inkster Oct. 2, according to reports from the Michigan State Police.

Inkster police officers responded to a shots fired report at 11:50 p.m., Oct. 2 in the area of Hazelwood Street and Center Drive, said Michigan State Police Metro Detroit Post Troopers in a statement.

Upon arrival, officers discovered the Detroit man on the ground near a black Jeep Cherokee, which was running. The victim had suffered obvious bullet wounds, officers reported. Inkster paramedics transported the man to a local hospital, police said, where he died from his injuries.

District judge to oversee truancy hearings

Judge Breeda O'Leary
Students in Wayne can go to class or go to court.

In response to a rise in chronic absenteeism among local students, Judge Breeda O'Leary of the 29th District Court has agreed to oversee informal truancy hearings in her courtroom. 

The effort to keep students in school is a partnership with the court, Wayne Memorial High School and Wayne Youth Assistance.

The truancy hearings, designed to be troubleshooting sessions with at-risk students will include the student's parents, school officials and Wayne Youth Services personnel. The student's record of attendance and academic performance will be reviewed, along with any disciplinary history. Explanations for chronic absenteeism vary widely and include such issues as lack of transportation, homelessness, substance abuse, untreated mental health problems and lack of medical insurance. Community agencies will be utilized to provide support services to families as needed, O'Leary noted in a prepared statement.

Festival funds 16 civic groups

It was a good day for 16 Westland organizations last week when Mayor William R. Wild presented checks to representatives of the various civic groups. 

Wild distributed $10,750 in funding to the local community organizations generated at the 2021 Blues, Brews and BBQ event. 

The annual event has distributed more than $250,000 to local civic groups during the 10-year history of the community festival. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Romulus school superintendent is suspended

Romulus Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Edmonson has been placed on paid administrative leave by members of the board of education.

School board members voted 4-3 to place Edmonson on leave during a contentious public meeting last week while financial improprieties reported by an independent consultant are being investigated. Much of the meeting, including many comments from board members and the public, remained confusing and unintelligible due to some technical issues and the outspoken disapproval of many audience members.

Following a lengthy and detailed report, off camera, by Mike Dixon, a management consultant hired by the board members, the motion to suspend Edmonson, with pay, pending an investigation was approved. Some board members appeared surprised by the motion which was added to the agenda by the district finance committee. 

Centennial and counting

Canton resident marks 106th birthday with family and friends

Virginia Bett

Staying social and engaging with others, having a support system and passion for life - plus some good genes might be key to living to be 106 for Virginia Bett of Canton Township who celebrated her birthday recently at Waltonwood Cherry Hill Senior Living.

Dressed in her favorite color - red - and with red velvet cupcakes, rose gold balloons and with friends and members of her family, the entire day was a celebration for Bett. The 106-year-old mother of two, who is also an avid painter, credits great care and her love for art as part of her positive attitude for living a happy life. 

“And perhaps a bit of wine at dinner while we were growing up,” her son Bruce Bett added with a smile. Bett was there to celebrate his mom's landmark celebration - while her other son living in the U.P. will visit later this month.

Sumpter receives highest possible financial audit rating

Sumpter Township received the highest possible rating on the recent financial audit of the municipal finances and practices.

Rana Emmons, from outside accounting firm Post, Smythe, Lutz and Zeal, told the board members during the Sept. 28 meeting that the “clean” audit found no exceptions or disclosures by the financial professionals.

She said that while state shared revenue was flat and there was a decrease in income from building permits, the township managed to increase the fund balance by $419,000. There was, she said, a 2-percent overall increase in property values in the township which added to revenue received without any millage rate increase.  

Emmons also noted that the township was able to pay $500,000 in water bond debt with $2.5 million remaining on those bonds. 

2 veteran police officers to retire this month

Two veteran officers of the Canton Township Police Department will retire this month.

Police Ofc. James Marinelli who began his career with the department on Sept. 16,1996 will leave the department. 

Marinelli was assigned as a road patrol officer responding to calls for service, initiating contact with individuals and participating in the community policing practices of the department. During his career, in addition to his patrol duties, Marinelli was active on numerous special units including Evidence Technician, Range Officer, Field Training Officer, Fire Investigation Unit, Special Enforcement Unit, and as an investigator in the Canton Detective Bureau and on a multi-jurisdictional Narcotics Interdiction Team. 

Monster Mash will return Oct. 16

There will be ghosts, vampires and probably a celebrity or two at the 3rd annual Cherry Hill Village Monster Mash in Canton.

The event, strictly for the 21 and older crowd will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill.

The adult Halloween party will feature favorite top 40 hits and Halloween covers by Atomic Radio. Guests can also participate in a costume contest and enjoy a cash bar. In addition, participants will be treated to a unique experience as the main focus of the event will be a dance party on stage where there will be a bar and tables for seating in between dancing.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring back our Monster Mash this year, since community members are eager for this type of adult event, featuring costumes and cocktails, as well as great dance music,” said Ben Frick, Canton performing arts coordinator.

Police chief corrects erroneous response report

It did not take Sumpter Police officers 2 ½ hours to respond to a traffic accident last week, despite published reports.

Sumpter Township Director of Public Safety Eric Luke corrected the erroneous information during the Sept. 28 meeting of the trustees. He said that a local newspaper had printed an account of a Sept. 12 traffic accident on Judd Road claiming that police did not respond until 11 p.m. to an 8:30 p.m. accident.

Luke said that the dispatcher received a report of the vehicle crash and was informed there were no injured parties at the scene.

“At that time, we were responding to two higher priority calls,” Luke said. “One was a suicidal juvenile and the other was a drunk driving arrest.”

Trustees approve employment contract for fire chief

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved the employment contract for Fire Chief Rick Brown during the Sept. 28 meeting.

The approval came following a request from Township Clerk Esther Hurst who requested a change in the contract language. Hurst requested a change that would give the township director of public safety the authority to suspend rather than terminate the fire chief pending approval of the township board.

“My thought is that the board hires and the board fires. That is my reason for suggesting the change,” she said.

Trustee Peggy Morgan said that “nobody should have the power to dictate to the fire chief.” 

Skill set

Seniors show off talents at expo

Residents at Independence Village of Plymouth were offered a unique look at the skill and artistry of their neighbors recently during a Resident Expo. Residents, with decades of experience and proven talent, set up displays in the lobby of the residence and invited their neighbors to view their craftsmanship and artistry. Displays included quilting, woodworking, musical instruments, and baskets. One resident shared stories of her travel experiences around the world while Joanne Schwendenmann offered samples of her culinary skill with cookies and other treats.

Northville Art House to host ‘Halloween Art Crawl’

In keeping with the season, the Northville Art House will host the  Live @ 5 Halloween Art Crawl from 5 until 8 p.m.  Saturday, Oct. 23  in downtown Northville. While costumes are optional at the event, guests can meet and mingle with artists, listen to live music, enjoy refreshments, participate in creative art experiences, win prizes and purchase works of art by Metro Detroit artists. 

Northville Art House Executive Director Erin Maten said she is looking forward to the event.

“The art crawl brings together local artists, businesses, and nonprofits to celebrate and support creativity, collaboration, and commerce in the community,” she said. 

Halloween costumes are not mandatory, but guests are encouraged to get into the holiday spirit as they begin their art crawl at one of the following venues and go from there, she added.

Lawsuits target conduct of Wayne city manager

Lisa Nocerini
The conduct of Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini is the basis of two separate lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court seeking monetary damages from the city and city officials.

Attorneys for the city last week filed responses to both lawsuits denying all the assertions of the plaintiffs who each single out Nocerini's conduct as the basis for the award of monetary compensation.

Criminal charges filed against Wayne resident Mark Blackwell are central to the lawsuits filed by both Blackwell and Wayne Police Sgt. Abraham Hughes.

Blackwell is seeking damages for the harm and violation of his civil rights when misdemeanor charges of stalking and disturbing the peace were filed against him. He contends that Nocerini influenced those charges against him in retribution for his criticisms of her job performance at public meetings.

High school Homecoming ‘royalty’ to be crowned Friday

There will be no Homecoming King or Queen at Wayne Memorial or John Glenn High School this year.

There will, however, be royalty and some crowns bestowed. Both high schools decided to do away with the gender-specific titles and announce the victors as homecoming “royalty” instead, which can be students of any gender.

Last school year, Wayne Memorial High School brought the idea to change the homecoming gender-specific titles to the attention of the student council. The leadership students at John Glenn High School learned of the concept this summer and the concept was presented to students at both schools. Students agreed and the change in the conventional terminology was adopted. The change is also an effort to be more inclusive for those who do not conform to traditional gender identities and to ensure all students have the opportunity to feel included, a spokesman for the district said in a prepared statement.

Council members OK Romulus Trade Center project

Members of the Romulus City Council approved the plan for the171-acre multi-million dollar Romulus Trade Center by a 6-1 vote last week.

Councilwoman Virginia Williams cast the lone vote and repeatedly voiced her opposition and objections to the project. Williams began her criticisms of the Trade Center, expected to bring 1,180 jobs to the city and $55 million in real property tax revenue to the school district, during a motion to rezone the property to conform to the needs of the developer, NorthPoint Development.

Williams questioned the procedures of the rezoning and the unanimous recommendation of the city property disposition committee to sell two parcels of land owned by the city to the developer.  She also said she was opposed to the plan for a Royal Farms facility in the project. 

Flood assistance is still available

Federal assistance for area homeowners and survivors of the June 25 - 26 severe storms and flooding is still available. Residents who suffered damage can still register with FEMA for individual disaster assistance. The deadline for assistance has been extended to Friday, Nov. 12, and applies to survivors living in Wayne County. 

The $5.5 million flood assistance program is available to assist homeowners recovering from the historic rainfall that resulted in flood and sewer damages to thousands of households.  Eligible residents can receive grants to help cover the cost of replacing goods, labor, and insurance deductibles related to flood damage, but not covered by FEMA or property insurance.

Michigan State Police seek suspect in shooting of woman

Michigan State Police are asking for information regarding a shooting Sept. 24 which left an Inkster woman hospitalized.

According to police reports, very little is known about the incident when a 22-year-old woman was shot several times when she answered her door.  Police were called to the Lovett Avenue residence when the shooting was reported at about 10 p.m. that Friday.