Thursday, May 19, 2022

Former mayor is charged with wire fraud

LeRoy Burcroff
Former Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff is expected to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud filed against him by federal prosecutors last week. The charges follow a 10-month investigation into Burcroff's use of campaign funds and were filed in a criminal information, which indicates he will plead guilty, legal experts said. 

Burcroff, 58, is accused of using campaign donations to fund his daughter's wedding. Prosecutors allege that he wired a payment of $2,400 to the Belleville Yacht Club in November of 2017 from a checking account owned by the “Committee to Elect LeRoy D. Burcroff.” Deposits into the account were contributions from individuals toward the effort to have Burcroff reelected, prosecutors alleged in the formal court filings. 

Farm Fest

Popular event returns to Maybury Farm this year

Blacksmithing, wool spinning, games, music and farm animals are but a few of the attractions at Farm Fest returning to Maybury Farm this year.

The event, postponed for two years due to the pandemic, will return to the working Northville farm from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4. The rain date is Sunday, June 5.  

Farm Fest has historically been the largest summer event at Maybury Farm. There will be children's games and activities, live music by Bridge County Bluegrass Band from noon until 3 p.m., farm-life demonstrations, food trucks and barbeque, wagon rides, farm animals, and more, organizers said.

Witnesses refuse prosecution in racist video post

The student who posted a racially derogatory video on social media will not face criminal prosecution.

According to a statement from the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, witnesses who received the threats which included “hanging, stomping and shooting Blacks,” refused to cooperate with the prosecution of the charges.

Trustees move forward with property auction

The list of Sumpter Township owned properties going up for auction will get another close look before being sold to the highest bidder.

Township officials, including Supervisor Tim Bowman and Trustee Matt Oddy, will review the list and descriptions of the various properties to ensure that they meet the building requirements currently in effect in the community prior to being sold.

Oddy addressed the issue during a recent meeting of the trustees noting that some of the properties were 80-feet wide and current building restrictions in the township require a larger frontage.

Police chief corrects township newsletter content

Director of Public Safety Eric Luke 
The safety tips included in the recent edition of the Sumpter Township Newsletter prompted a quick response from Sumpter Township Director of Public Safety and Police Chief Eric Luke.

Luke told the members of the township board of trustees during their recent meeting that an article in the newsletter which included the safety advice was not written by him.

“It was not written by me. I never saw it and I would never present such information,” he said.

He said that the information was something a township employee found on a computer originally printed in 2007. “It was a lazy copy of a 1997 web page.”

College chancellor is honored

Dr. Curtis L. Ivery
The American Association of Community Colleges celebrated Wayne County Community College (WCCCD) Chancellor Dr. Curtis L. Ivery recently during the Awards of Excellence gala.  Ivery received the first ever CEO of the Year award from the association, which recognized his national leadership in issues of educational equity and creating opportunity for students through higher education.  Ivery has served as chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District in Michigan since 1995. In his acceptance of the award, Ivery noted how over the past few years during COVID he has reflected on the work of the college to strengthen student success and equity, and the challenges ahead - but said he's “especially happy to see students returning to the college.” The Ted Scott Campus of the college is located at 9555 Haggerty Road in Belleville. 

Guests of honor

Members of the Romulus City Council and city officials gather around the Romulus High School boys' basketball team members who won both the Conference and District championships this year. Coach Herb Buckley introduced members of the team including team Captain Caleb Wilson who thanked the council for allowing the team to represent Romulus. Buckley noted that six seniors were leaving the team this year and thanked the council members for their support during the year. Photo by Roger Kadau.  

School activist brings concerns to city council

Romulus resident Rita Hampton took her concerns about the Romulus Community School District to the members of the city council this month.

Hampton, who led the drive for a recall of three current school board members, addressed the city council members during the audience portion of the meeting earlier this month.

“How can the city prosper when the school district is in free fall and subject to public embarrassment. Clearly you know but remain paralyzed,” she said. Hampton demanded to know “where have you been, I ask. We all ask.”

Police, firemen to play basketball for charity

First responders from the Romulus Police and Fire departments will show their hoops skill during a charity basketball game set for 1 p.m. this Sunday, May 22, at Romulus High School.

The officers and firefighters will face a team from Royalty Empowerment, a group of young people on a First Responders Tour. The tour is an effort to bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth in urban and undeserved communities.

Smoke testing of sewer system continues

Smoke testing of the Inkster sewer system is expected to continue through Friday, May 27, according to officials from the Department of Public Works.

The smoke test is performed to locate breaks and defects in the city sewer system are being performed by work crews from Alfred Benesch & Co., engineers for the city. The crews are using a high-capacity blower on manholes and smoke is blown through the sewer system to detect potential entry points for stormwater to enter the city system.

The smoke, officials stressed, is not toxic, is harmless and has no odor. The smoke does not create a fire hazard.

Hegira Health partners with Westland police

Westland city and police officials welcome representatives
of Hegira Health to the community as the new mental
health initiative takes effect in the city. Hegira
will have a licensed master's level social worker on
call at the police station to handle police calls with a
mental-health component. 
Credentials of the newest staff member at the Westland Police Department differ from those of most of the other officers.

The Westland department has partnered with Hegira Health to launch a mental health initiative led by a full-time licensed master's level social worker operating from police headquarters. Officials said this initiative will allow officers to help residents with mental health challenges receive help from a well-trained and licensed behavioral health professional. The new resource will also allow officers more time on the street rather than dealing with usually time-consuming mental health situations requiring professional intervention. 

Ten-hut

City of Wayne Police Chief Ryan Strong recently announced the promotion of Ofc. Matthew Whalen to the rank of sergeant, effective May 11. The new sergeant is a veteran member of the department and has served in several capacities including as a Field Training Officer, defensive tactics Instructor, mobile field force consortium member, and as a taser instructor. Whalen is also a the recipient of a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) award in which he was recognized for his outstanding commitment to enforcing drunk driving laws. 

Varied opinions offered in street survey

Restaurants expanded into the street
with street closures. Photo by DDA.
Shawn Riley is accustomed to appearing before crowds in his role as a singer and musician, but the audience during the recent Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Northville City Council public forum was somewhat different.

The May 9 meeting, chaired by Riley, a DDA member, was an effort to garner public sentiment regarding street closures in downtown Northville.  Currently closed to traffic in the city are East Main Street from North Center to Hutton and North Center from East Main to Dunlap. Authorization for those closures will expire Nov. 1.

5 arrested in building fires

Five suspects were arrested by Northville Township Police following a fire at Legacy Park May 11.

Police and fire departments responded to a report of black smoke in the air at the Seven Mile Road location. 

When they arrived at the scene, first responders discovered two buildings on the former site of the state psychiatric hospital fully engulfed in flames, according to police reports of the incident.

On the money

Township reporting honored

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Northville Township. This is the ninth consecutive year the township finance office has been honored with the distinction.

The township financial report was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate the financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Township names trustee as new treasurer

Robert Doroshewitz
The new Plymouth Township Treasurer is a familiar face to most residents.

Trustee Rob Doroshewitz was named to the full-time position on April 26 following the resignation of Mark Clinton citing health issues. Doroshewitz will serve the remainder of Clinton's term which expires at the end of 2024. Doroshewitz has served on the board of trustees since 2004. 

Clinton was elected to the treasurer's position in 2016 and suffered an undisclosed medical emergency about six months ago, impacting his ability to attend meetings and continue his employment, culminating in his resignation.

Doroshewitz was named to the position with an annual salary of $105,505 one week after Clinton submitted his official letter of resignation, which prompted questions from Trustee Chuck Curmi.

Sound investment

Annual auction at student operated radio station set for May 21 

Plymouth Canton students present one of the multiple radio programs available at 88.1
The Park Radio, a station owned by the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools
The annual fundraiser for a program that his impacted the lives of hundreds of students and served the Plymouth-Canton community for a half century is set for May 21 this year.

There will be autographed sports memorabilia, restaurant gift cards and goods and services from businesses throughout the Plymouth Canton area during the 33rd Annual 88.1 The Park Radio Auction. Students at the Plymouth Canton Educational Park radio station are preparing for the largest fundraising event of the year and hoping to surpass the $25,000 record funding generated during the event last year.  During the day-long event, which continues from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., listeners can bid on items donated by local businesses. A dream board with more unique items will be available for bidding throughout the event, organizers said.

Plymouth community mourns death of Tony Bruscato

Anthony “Tony” L. Bruscato
The Plymouth community is mourning the death of Anthony “Tony” L. Bruscato who died May 6.. For nearly 13 years, Mr. Bruscato led the Plymouth Downtown Development Authority, playing instrumental roles in the new fountain construction in Kellogg Park, organizing the Friday night concerts in Kellogg Park, the Downtown Master Plan, infrastructure improvement and maintenance, festivals and events, marketing, and much more. Friends and coworkers said his imprint on Plymouth will last for decades to come . 

Before his tenure with the DDA, he was a reporter for the Observer and Eccentric Newspapers covering Plymouth and Canton Township. Mr. Bruscato was also well-known as the voice of morning traffic reports on WJR and WWJ radio for many years and most recently heard on WRCJ.

Sound the Alarm

City, Red Cross to offer free smoke detectors

Free smoke alarms will be available to Romulus residents during a special event at Metro Commons May 24 as part of the Red Cross Sound the Alarm effort.

Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight said that during the event, volunteers will be going door to door in the city to install smoke alarms at no cost to residents. For more information, he suggested visiting the Red Cross website. 

Cleaning up

Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight urged all residents to participate in the annual Clean Sweep of the city set for 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. this Saturday. Volunteers will meet at Historical Park pavilion, 11147 Hunt St., to start the effort. McCraight said the city "needed to do some housekeeping" and this would be the perfect time for residents to join the effort.

Financial workshop set

Messiah Center for Hope in Belleville will present Show Me The Money Day on May 14.

The free event will feature affordable financial products, community resources, financial workshops regarding financial literacy and budgeting. Presenters will also connect community members with free tax assistance services and discuss important tax credits, according to organizers. 

The event will take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 42200 Tyler Road in Belleville, 48111.

Vendor Market set in Sumpter

Sumpter Township Community Center will be the site of a Vendor Market this month.

Various vendors will be offering gift items, crafts, quilts, jewelry, crochet items and other crafts under the pavilion. The event will take place rain or shine, according to organizers. Vendor tables are still available for a $10 rental fee by calling (734) 461-9373.

The sale will take place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21. The Community Center Pavilion is located at 23501 Sumpter Road. 

Township to offer Youth Academy this summer

Teens in Canton Township can attend a unique “summer school” program this year.

The Canton Police and Fire Departments will once again offer the Youth Academy for teens 13 to 17 years old. The academy will take place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday, June 27 through Thursday, June 30.

Participants will be provided with lunch and will participate in light physical activity every day, providing an interactive learning experience designed to Teach students about the daily operations of the police and fire departments, including the philosophy of teamwork. The program also works to promote a greater understanding between youth in the community and Canton police officers and firefighters, officials said.

Mom Prom

Moms donate to developmental program

Moms always know best and those who attended the recent Mom Prom in Canton Township proved it with a large donation to the Canton Therapeutic Recreation Program.

The program provides adaptive recreation experiences to a wide range of participants with disabilities from ages 8 to adult, welcomed the $4,400 donation generated at the Mom Prom, a charity event in which women don their old prom gowns or bridesmaids dresses and dance the night away for a worthy cause.

New trash bins displayed

Despite appearances, the two large trash bins inside Northville City Hall are not for rubbish collection.

The bins have been installed in the lobby at city hall in an effort to help Northville residents become familiar with the new trash and recycling containers which will be used by GFL Environmental USA, Inc., officials said. Officials said residents will find the large wheels make the bins easy to move in and out of garages and other storage areas. 

Smoke testing set for entire city sewer system

Inkster residents do not need to be alarmed should they see white smoke curling up from area drains or sewers this month.

City officials have authorized smoke tests of the sanitary sewer in the community in an effort to locate breaks and defects in the system. Smoke testing is a technique utilized to identify sections of sewer which may exhibit inflow during heavy rainfall. Smoke testing is considered by experts as the best method to detect inflow sources such as roof leaders, cellar, yard and area drains, foundation drains, abandoned building sewers, faulty connections, illegal connections and storm water drainage system cross connections. The test can also detect structural damages and leaking joints in sewer pipes and overflow points in sewer systems, city officials said.

Northville honored as 5-star business community

Todd Mutchler
Northville Township successfully contributes to Michigan's entrepreneurial growth and economic development, according to the annual eCities study conducted by researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn Center for Innovation Research. Northville Township was recently honored as a five-star community along with 97 other communities across the state.

“Our core purpose is to connect, engage and serve the community and that includes our healthy business community,” said Township Manager and Director of Public Safety Todd Mutchler. “We are grateful for the businesses that chose to locate in Northville Township and we are here to help their companies and their employees thrive.” 

Council OK’s use of federal recovery funding

Members of the Westland City Council unanimously approved the proposed spending of funds received as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The councilmembers voted to accept the plan of Mayor William R. Wild  during the April 18 council meeting. The first allocation of $13 million has already been awarded to the city and a second allocation of $13 million is expected this month. 

Veteran Wayne officer retires

Kevin Schmidtke 
Wayne Police Lt. Kevin Schmidtke has retired from the department following a 21-year career in law enforcement. Schmidtke, 42, received a 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police for his investigative work on a cold case which was solved 18 years after the crime was reported and resulted in the imprisonment of a serial rapist. In a social media post, his fellow officers wished him well and said they were honored to have had him in the department.

2021 Officer of Year is named

Jordan Arndt
Jordan Arndt has been named as the 2021 Officer of the Year by the Wayne Police Department.

Arndt had previously won commendations for his actions from the department. He attended Eastern Michigan University where he received his bachelors degree in criminal justice. Arndt served one deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 while serving in the National Guard. Arndt also served as the School Resource Officer at Wayne Memorial High School.

Man facing murder charges in wife’s stabbing death

A Westland man is facing murder and torture charges in the stabbing death of his wife last week.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged William Scott Grant, 49, with three felonies in connection with the May 3 death of his wife, Sarah Grant, 45. 

Westland police were dispatched to the Grant home in the 32620 block of Judy Drive at about 9 p.m. May 3 following a report of a possible homicide, according to a report from Worthy's office. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the body of Sarah Grant in the garage. The victim had obvious multiple lacerations across her body, according to police reports. William Grant fled from the home before police arrived, police said, but following an investigation, he was arrested later the same day.

Plymouth police adopt new body cameras

The Plymouth Police Department has gone LIVE with body cameras and a new in-car video system from Bodyworn by Utility.

 A new video system has been installed in each patrol vehicle and each officer has been issued a body camera, officials said. Training on the use and operation of the system began last week and is continuing.

 The body cameras and the in-car video system will all interact with the Dispatch Center to automatically activate under certain conditions allowing the officer to focus on tactics and techniques that will keep them safe, according to a prepared statement from city officials.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Racial posters found at Plymouth Canton campus

Two racially-based incidents recently reported in the Plymouth-Canton schools did not surprise some students or parents in the district.

During a meeting of the members of the board of education last month, Black Student Union President Jacob Jackson said the recent posting of a racially threatening video on social media was not a surprise to him or other Black students. He told the school board members that there is a climate of racial taunts prevalent in the schools that is often experienced by Black students.

Fixing the damn roads…

Governor pays visit to I-75 construction site in Canton Township

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks with workers at the
I-75 road construction site in Canton Township.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined staff from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to tour a road construction project in Canton Township last week, following an announcement that the proposed Ford Road reconstruction in the township will not begin until 2024. The project, originally scheduled to be complete in 2020 by Michigan Department of Transportation officials during a community Forum April 26 at the Summit on the Park.

The governor visited the active construction site where US 12 meets I-275 in Wayne County, which is a heavily traveled corridor that provides access to Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.

Westland mourns death of Henry ‘Hank’ Johnson

Henry “Hank” Johnson
The Westland community is mourning the death of Henry “Hank” Johnson, a Norwayne community activist awarded numerous honors for his dedication to the area.

Mr. Johnson, 70,  died in Ann Arbor May 1.

He was born Aug. 10, 1951 in Detroit, the son of Henry O. and Rose A. Johnson, who preceded him death. The family moved to the home on Ogemaw Court in Norwayne in 1952 and the family has owned the property for 70 years.

Mr. Johnson's involvement in the Norwayne community during his life has been the catalyst for compassion and stabilization efforts. In 1969, Westland Mayor Eugene McKinney appointed Mr. Johnson as co-chair of the Mayor's Task Force on Norwayne tasked with working to improve the development of the community. 

On tap

Trustees delay resolution supporting water protest

Great Lakes Water Authority plant in Detroit.
Sumpter Township Trustees agreed to delay a resolution supporting the Conference of Western Wayne action protesting a water assessment and increase from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA).

Deputy Supervisor and township Trustee Tim Rush said while there are currently 18, “soon to be 19” communities supporting the protest of the recent water fees, there was an issue regarding determining the exact amount the township should demand be refunded.

The controversy was sparked in March when communities discovered that the proposed 3.7 percent water and 2.4 percent sewer rate increases were due to the non-payment by Highland Park of $54 million in water service.

Board members approve police millage language

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved the language to place two  renewals of current police millages on the Aug. 3 primary election ballot.

Trustees said the millages are needed to continue to fund the police department and provide the level of service residents have experienced during the past years. Both the 2-mill levy and the 1-mill request will remain in effect for 4 years if approved by voters.

Rest in peace

Cemetery board members plan clean-up of holiday mementos

The history of a community lives in cemeteries as Romulus Memorial Cemetery Board member Jan Lemon reminded city officials during the April 25 regular council meeting.

“The Romulus Memorial Cemetery has more history than any community around us,” she told the members of the council. “In the 13 years of the cemetery board, our cemetery is immaculate and that couldn't be done without the cooperation of the council.”

Lemon told the council members that she was deeply concerned when she read a disturbing article in a local newspaper about the desperate condition of Hillside Cemetery in Belleville where, Lemon said, city officials there “even suggested sending a letter to the loved ones and survivors asking them to pay fees to operate the cemetery” which is in a deficit financial condition.

City to lease a portion of former court building

Romulus residents will soon see a new neighbor, one that will provide a multitude of services to the community.

Members of the Romulus City Council agreed to lease 10,000 square feet of the former 34th District Court building to the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency beginning May 21. Mayor Robert McCraight made the request for approval of the one-year lease of the court building at 11131 South Wayne Road during the April 25 regular meeting of the council members. 

McCraight told the council members that he felt the lease would be a good fit for the community and would make multiple community services available to Romulus residents.

Top of the charts

The Plymouth Canton student radio station, 88.1 the Park, has been named the 2022 Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation High School Station of the Year. This is the fifth consecutive year the station has been honored with the award. The student-operated station received 12 individual awards in nine categories. The student award winners were: Current Events Story second place - Daniel Schoenherr, honorable mention - Ben Vertin; Daily Newscast/News Feature first place - Daniel Schoenherr, Caroline Rummel and Andy McLaren, second place - Mady Bajorek and Ben Vertin; On-Air Personality or Team honorable mention - Anuya Shetty and Avneet Pandher; Promotional Announcement first place Daniel Schoenherr and Lily Mahnken, honorable mention - Emma Johnston; Sports Announcing Team second place Ben Vertin and Andy McLaren; Talk Show honorable mention - Daniel Schoenherr; Multimedia Presentation first place - Emma Johnston, Evie Cadotte and Mady Bajorek; Sports Public Service Announcement first place - Ben Vertin and second place - Daniel Schoenherr, Ariel Ooms and Lilly Betts.

Canton clerk’s office wins national honor

The efforts of the Canton Township Clerk's office to improve accessibility for voters with disabilities were recently honored by a national group.

The clerk's office was awarded an honorable mention from the Clearing House Awards for a proposed plan to improve accessibility for voters with special needs. 

The Clearinghouse Awards, also known as the “Clearie” awards, are presented annually across the U.S. for best practices in election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), the EAC is charged with serving as a clearinghouse for election administration information.

Probationer charged in Plymouth gym peeping

An offender on probation for similar offenses has been arraigned on charges that he placed a camera in a Plymouth gym to view women using the tanning bed.

Brian Michael Maciborski, 40, is charged with placing the camera Feb. 23 at Planet Fitness on Main Street in Plymouth to record a 24-year-old Westland woman.   

Maciborski, of Shelby Township, is accused of violating his probation sentence issued last August in a similar incident. That matter is scheduled for a May 18 hearing in Macomb County Circuit Court. In that incident, Maciborski was charged with hiding cameras at a Shelby Township tanning salon.

Applications sought for school board vacancy

Suzanne Lynn
Northville Board of Education member Suzanne Lynn announced her resignation, effective immediately, at the regular meeting of the board members Tuesday, April 26. Lynn has served on the board since January 2019. 

“I have served this community proudly and with integrity during one of the most challenging periods of our history. It has been a true honor to represent the Northville community and I am deeply grateful for your trust and belief in me and the wonderful relationships and friendships I've developed. While I had hoped to remain on the school board for the entirety of my term, I can no longer ignore the fact that I need to be geographically closer to my mother who is struggling with a debilitating health condition,” Lynn said.

City seeking volunteers for boards, commissions

Volunteers willing to serve on several Northville city commissions are being sought by city officials. 

Applications from qualified volunteers interested in being considered to serve on the Beautification Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Northville Youth Network, and Planning Commission are being accepted. The application is available on the city website. To be considered, applications must be submitted by May 13.   

Following the deadline for applications, the city clerk will contact applicants to schedule interviews with the Board and Commission Selection Committee, comprising Mayor Brian Turnbull and Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Moroski-Browne. All applications will be kept on file for future consideration. 

Spring cleaning

A crowd of volunteers helped make Clean-up Day in the City of Wayne a successful and popular event last week. Shown are only a few of the crowd of volunteers including State Rep. Kevin Coleman, City Councilman Phillip Wagner, Councilwoman Kelly Skiff, and 29th District Court Judge Breeda O'Leary. The event was sponsored this year by the Rotary Club of Wayne, which sent multiple volunteers to the event, Harry J. Will Funeral Home, O'Leary, Pat Rice Re/Max, and Professional Insurance.  City of Wayne Department of Public Works employees also helped the volunteers with the removal of trash and debris getting the city ready for spring.

City OK’s new medical care facility for elderly

They are picking up the PACE in Westland where a site plan for 35 attached ranch homes and a facility which includes a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) was recently approved by members of the city council.

The site plan includes property between the 23-acre site of the Presbyterian Village buildings on Cherry Hill Road and the city-owned Mack Mayfield golf course where the ranch homes will be constructed. 

The proposed PACE facility will be constructed at a former TCF Bank building east of the new homes. Developers said the ranch homes will be designed for those who can still live on their own, without specialized care.

Inkster candidates’ names to appear on primary ballot

Inkster is among the area communities which will changes in voting districts for the state House and Senate boundaries.

A portion of the City of Westland, along with a part of Inkster, Garden City and Romulus now falls into District 26. Democrats Steven Chisholm of Inkster, Stephen Patterson, also of Inkster, Dylan Wegela of Garden City and Allen Wilson of Romulus all filed for election seeking the term in the newly drawn 26th District.