Thursday, August 31, 2023

State of emergency declared in Canton Township

Canton Township Supervisor Anne Marie
Graham-Hudak, below  at podium, declared
a state of emergency last week in response
to the severe weather damage following a
confirmed tornado in the community. During a
press conference the next day, Wayne County
Executive Warren Evans, at podium above,
said he planned to declare all of
Wayne County as a disaster area.
The severe weather last week collapsed three park pavilions, felled nearly 50 trees and damaged the recently reopened splash pad at Heritage Park in Canton Township. In response to the emergency conditions, Canton Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak declared a state of emergency on Thursday, Aug. 24. Graham-Hudak also called on the governor to declare an emergency situation and petition federal authorities for assistance, so that state and federal resources might be made available to the Canton community.

The tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service to have touched down at just after 10 p.m. last week northwest of Pheasant Run Golf course. The twister traveled across Summit Parkway and Canton Center Road, dropping a tree onto a house near Sheldon Road. The tornado winds in Canton were estimated at 80 mph. At 10:23, another tornado struck Belleville, uprooting trees and damaging Mobile Manor Trail Park. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued the emergency disaster declaration for both Wayne and Monroe counties on Saturday. 

Opportunity Park is officially dedicated in Romulus

Romulus city officials and recreation commission members proudly
cut the ribbon opening the new Opportunity Park on Northline Road
in the community. The park is located next to the Romulus Athletic Center.
It was an 'opportunity' Romulus officials couldn't pass up.

Recently, the city celebrated the grand opening of Opportunity Park on Northline Road. The park was created from an underutilized piece of land established during construction of the Romulus Athletic Center (RAC). While a walking path was installed during the construction, the park was relatively secluded, nearly hidden by an abundance of trees and overgrown brush, bushes and weeds, a spokesman explained.

During the celebratory ribbon cutting officially opening the park, members of the Romulus Rotary Club were on hand to provide their famous grilled hot dogs and refreshments to the audience.

Recreation commission seeking event volunteers

Community events require community participation.

In Sumpter Township, the current lack of volunteers to help with community events like the recent Family Fun Day and upcoming other activities is a concern of Parks and Recreation Commission member Sharon Pokerwinski and members of the township board of trustees.  During a meeting earlier this month, Pokerwinski addressed the board members with her concerns about the lack of volunteers participation.

“It's getting difficult at parks and rec,” she said, noting that many former volunteers have not returned while others may want to come back to help, but simply have not done so as yet.

Township trustees consider outsourcing water billings

A move to a third-party service for preparation of water bills has been proposed in Sumpter Township.

Township Manager Anthony Burdick said that his research found that the lowest cost for the service would be with the company that currently prepares the township tax billings. He said the cost of the service would be about $8,000 for quarterly billings of 3,200 hundred service addresses in the community.

Deceased man’s identity sought

Police are continuing to investigate the death of a 28-year-old Westland man found on the shoulder of I-275 in Canton Township earlier this month.

Police received a 911 call at about 10:10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14 reporting a man lying on the side of the freeway on northbound I-275 near Koppernick Road. 

Michigan State Police Troopers responded and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Troopers said red parts from a vehicle were found near the deceased and a rental car in his name was parked nearby.  Police have asked anyone with any information to call 855-MICH-TIP, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP to remain anonymous.

Wayne city manager abruptly tenders resignation

Lisa Nocerini
The sudden resignation of Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini was an apparent surprise to several members of the city council last week.

Nocerini, currently a key figure in multiple city lawsuits, submitted her resignation in an email to Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa, Mayor Pro-tem Alfred Brock and city attorneys on Sunday, Aug. 20. The entire council was only informed of her resignation during a special meeting called for Thursday, Aug. 24. During that meeting, council members voted to accept the resignation effective today, Aug. 31. 

Nocerini, who has been with the city for 8 years, has reportedly been hired as the city manager in Douglas, a community near Saugatuck. Wayne Police Chief Ryan Strong will serve as acting city manager until a replacement can be recruited and hired.

Investigation into shooting of Inkster teen continues

The investigation into the shooting of an Inkster youth Aug 6 is continuing, according to  police.  

Police were called to the  HYPE Athletic Center parking lot on Howe Road Wayne at 10:27 p.m. Aug. 4. in response to a report of a shooting victim.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a juvenile resident of Inkster suffering non-life-threatening injuries. The victim was transported to Corewell Hospital Dearborn for treatment.  Witnesses told police the shooting suspects fled the scene on foot following the incident. 


A construction crane fell onto the roof at Franklin Middle School on Annapolis Street in Wayne during the installation of an air conditioning unit at the building. During the Aug 17 incident, one side of the crane lifted off the ground causing the boom to strike the corner of the building roof. No further information regarding the cause of the incident or an estimate of the damage to the school was available.The large crane reportedly was repositioned without any reported injuries to workers. 

Water danger continues in Wayne

Water from residential taps in the City of Wayne remains contaminated with high levels of lead, according to inspectors from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Wayne residents should continue to put lead filters on home water faucets and consider having children tested for lead in their blood following levels of the neurotoxin found in city water supplies.

According to a posting on the city website last month, nine of 60 homes tested in Wayne had excessive levels of lead. 

67th Plymouth Fall Festival will begin next weekend

One of the most unique events in the area will begin next Thursday afternoon when trucks hauling the components of huge amusement rides start to arrive in downtown Plymouth. 

And the next afternoon, the Plymouth Fall Festival will open to the public with games, booths, entertainment and the traditional Rotary Chicken Barbeque on Sunday. Fall Festival President Andrea Gerber said she and the committee which organizes the civic event expect to see large crowds again this year as this event offers the public a chance to help give back to the community.

Batter up

The Battle of the Badges softball game last Sunday in Jaycee Park in Westland saw the game trophy go the Westland Fire and Rescue team which won the Homerun Derby and the game with a score of 10-5, defeating the Westland Police Department players. The real winners were the young athletes of the Westland Youth Athletic Association(WYAA) baseball who received all the profits for the organization.

See you later…

Alligator pays surprise visit to local homeowner’s patio

An unwelcome guest was forcibly removed from a Romulus homeowner's property by police last week.

Following a 911 call to the police department, officers were dispatched to the home where a 2 ½ foot alligator was lounging in front on the patio. Their arrival followed a conversation with an officer on duty who had some doubts about the accuracy of the caller's description.

According to a posting on the Romulus Police Facebook page, the recorded call began: 

Homeowner: “Yes, uhm... (faint laughter in the background) I live over at ********, and there is a crocodile or an alligator on my back patio.”

Romulus man facing charges in pedestrian death

Jacob Thomas Mraulak
Jacob Thomas Mraulak, 28, of Romulus, is facing criminal charges in connection to the death of a pedestrian and serious injury of another as he drove onto the sidewalk in Detroit.

According to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, at about 5:28 p.m. Aug. 18, the defendant was intoxicated, driving against traffic on East Lafayette Street near St. Aubin Street when he drove onto the sidewalk, striking and killing Vivian Carmody, 68, and seriously injuring her husband, Dan Carmody, also 68, both of Detroit.

According to court documents, medics arrived on the scene and transported both victims and the defendant to a local hospital for treatment. Vivian Carmody succumbed to her injuries later the same day and was pronounced dead. Her husband, who remains in serious condition, is the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Market.

On the job

Police internship program provides law enforcement experience

Mya Proctor
Members of the Northville Township Police Department hosted a pair of college-bound interns who were interested in better understanding law enforcement this summer. 

Mya Proctor, 18, of Northville, and Brianna Kowalchik, 19, of Dexter, worked side-by-side with officers this summer. They assisted with investigations, reviewed cold case files and went for ride-alongs. In one case, Kowalchik acted as a translator at a construction site where an injured employee only spoke Spanish. 

“I'm not fluent in Spanish by any means, but I knew some words that actually helped the situation, so I was able to assist the police department that day,” Kowalchik said. 

Changes to historic building win commission approval

A storm management plan and a revised landscape design convinced members of the City of Northville Planning Commission to approve plans for conversion of a historic home at the gateway to the city.

Commissioners approved the amended Final Site Plan for 342 E. Main, conditioned upon items in the Carlisle Wortman Associates (CWA) review letter dated July 24, 2023.

Revised plans submitted by owner Dennis Engerer to convert the gateway property, which housed the historic Yarnell Gold Cure Institute, into renovated office space met with the approval of the commission under specific conditions.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Meijer files lawsuit against Plymouth Township

Meijer, the Grand Rapids-based retailer known for its supercenters across the Midwest and Southfiled-based developer Redico Holdings LLC have filed a lawsuit against Plymouth Township seeking to overturn a decision of the township planning commission.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 9 in in Wayne County Circuit Court, claims that the plans for a new super-center and gas station at Five Mile Road west of Beck Road in the township is permitted by special land use, “subject to meeting standards set by the township zoning ordinance and is consistent with the Township's 2015 Master Plan and Future Land Use Map.”

Members of the planning commission denied the special land use request from Meijer by a 5-1 vote at their meeting June 21. Plans included a 159,000 square foot Meijer, a nature center, gas station and convenience store on a 21-acre parcel at Five Mile Road, west of Beck Road.

Miguel Santiago
Police from Canton Township, Northville Township, Novi, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield and Oakland County arrested seven people last Tuesday in connection with the theft of 16 new Ford Bronco Raptors valued at a combined $1,760,000. from a factory lot in Canton Township and locations in Dearborn and Woodhaven. 

Officers from the Canton Township Police Department Special Operations Group began the investigation in October 2022, following reports of the thefts from a Ford lot in the township. During the investigation, officers discovered related Bronco thefts from locations in Dearborn and Woodhaven.  

Judge rules lawsuit against city will move on to trial

A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against the City of Wayne, Police Chief Ryan Strong, Police Lt. Finley Carter and City Manager Lisa Nocerini.

In the ruling issued Aug 16, Judge Shalina D. Kumar found merit in the charges of Wayne resident Mark Blackwell who claims police were instrumental in having him falsely charged with misdemeanor offenses of stalking and disturbing the peace.  He was subsequently cleared of all charges in district court. His attorney alleges that Blackwell was charged with the crimes as retaliation for his public criticism of Nocerini and that both his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the defendants.  

The latest court ruling denies the city request for a summary judgment. In the ruling, the judge noted that as Blackwell had already agreed to drop two of his claims, she would automatically grant the motion to dismiss those charges. The claim of First Amendment retaliatory persecution and municipal liability against the city, however, were granted. Those allegations will now move forward through the court system to trial. 

Cruising the river

The first canoe trip on the Westland/Inkster section of the Lower Rouge River Water Trail included several amateur paddlers. The Summer Magic Paddle Trip was organized by MetroParks and the rescheduled Friends of the Rouge Outdoor Afro Paddle Trip was the maiden voyage on the Canton stretch of the water trail. Help in the effort was provided by  Huron-Clinton Metroparks, the Inkster Task Force, Simple Adventures, National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, the City of Inkster  and Wayne County Parks.  Outdoor Afro, Motor City Canoe Rental Rouge River Outpost and Canton Township also provided help to ensure the water trip was a success. Friends of the Rouge members were also on hand to make sure all the paddlers were safe.

Trustees seeking solutions to township recycling

There was a lot of trash talk at the Aug.8 meeting of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees.

The discussion followed a proposal of Township Manager Anthony Burdick to designate $35,000 of expected American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds to a possible recycling outlet in the township. Trustee Don LaPorte was not in favor of the proposal and suggested that it was time to ask residents if they wanted to participate in a curbside recycling program.

“We have people moving into the township,” he said, “so it may be time to ask again.”

Burdick said the cost of curbside recycling was about $12 to $13 per household based on research he had done.

Response to stalking complaint leads to weapons charges

Loaded weapons and nearly 300 rounds of ammunition
were discovered during the arrest of a
stalking suspect in Romulus last week.
The report of a suspicious vehicle resulted in the arrest of a 28-year-old man and the confiscation of loaded weapons and nearly 300 rounds of ammunition by Romulus police officers last week.

Officers were dispatched to the area of Harrison and Eureka Road in the city following the report of the vehicle which was parked near the home of a stalking victim. Police said the victim feared the man had violated the current personal protection order issued against him. 

When Romulus officers arrived on the scene which was a short distance from the stalking victim's home, the man jumped from the vehicle and refused to obey officers' commands. He physically resisted officers at the scene before being subdued and arrested, according to police reports.

Canton Township resident wins $30,000 scholarship

Jacob Weber
Jacob Weber, 19, a Canton Township resident, has been named as the recipient of the 2023 Disabled American Veterans (DAV) top $30,000 scholarship. 

Weber was recognized during the 2023 DAV and Auxiliary National Convention in Atlantic City Aug. 5. The DAV scholarships honor 10 students each year for their volunteer support of veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Program and through the DAV Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP). 

Weber is a 2022 graduate of Salem High School in Canton and recently finished his freshman year at Michigan State University. Five years ago, he started Treats for Troops, distributing candy to veterans at the VA medical center in Ann Arbor. That project led him to start, among other volunteer initiatives, Stockings for Soldiers and Cards That Care, distributing care packages and letters to veterans at the VA medical center. He recruited classmates to help and mentored others to continue the projects in his absence. 

Capital work

Staff members from the Westland Department of Public Service (DPS) are still working on the  city Capital Improvement Program to improve neighborhood streets. Last week, work was completed on Palmer Road between Hambleton and Schuman with the milling of existing deteriorated pavement and resurfacing with new asphalt. To date, crews have resurfaced the deteriorating areas of Hanlon, Sheridan, Rosslyn and Barton avenues along with work on Marie, North Hampton and Monmouth. DPS officials thanked local residents for their patience in dealing with the "short-term inconvenience for much-needed, long-term improvements" to neighborhood streets.

Tax debt imperils fate of beloved Penn Theatre

The final curtain could fall at the iconic Penn Theatre in downtown Plymouth without some relief from current property taxes.

Ellen Elliott, executive director of the Friends of the Penn, told an assembled crowd last week that the theater is in jeopardy without tax relief from the city. The application for a tax exemption for the iconic theater was denied by the Plymouth assessor and there has been no response to an appeal filed with the city board of review. The application for tax exemption has now been filed with the Michigan Tax Tribunal, Elliott said, but she has been informed that decision could take up to three years. The Penn simply does not have that long, she said.

Rotary barbeque inspires young author

Young author Scarlett Powers, 8, and her mother, Candace,
are looking forward to the Rotary Chicken Barbeque
in Plymouth set for Sunday, Sept. 10.
Even adults are impressed with the effort it takes to cook 10,000 chicken dinners in one afternoon, but the Plymouth Fall Festival Rotary Chicken Barbeque left one 7-year-old awestruck last year. 

Scarlett Powers, now 8, went to the barbeque for the first time last year with her mother, Candace, a Plymouth Noon Rotary Club member who was volunteering at the event.  After seeing her mother and the hundreds of other volunteers in action, Scarlett knew she had found the topic for a homework assignment at her second-grade class at Farrand Elementary School. 

On a roll

The first community bike ride in Northville Township drew a large crowd to Maybury State Park last week, officials said. Four participants won new bikes during the event which also provided helmet fittings, giveaways, safety and bike demonstrations and other attractions. The ride was a cooperative effort of the Northville Township Police Bike Patrol, Northville Township Fire and EMS, Trinity Health, Maybury State Park, and the Friends of Maybury State Park. Organizers said the ride next year will be during May, which is National Bike Safety Month.

Gateway project at Northville Ford Field approved by council

Ford Field in Northville may soon become far more accessible, following approval of a gateway project by members of the city council.

Council members approved the proposal by OHM Advisors for engineering services related to a conceptual and preliminary design of the Ford Field Gateway Project during a regular meeting last month.  The cost of the preliminary work is $87,500 which will be funded by a state appropriation. 

The Ford Field Gateway Project includes the construction of a barrier-free entrance into Ford Field Park from Hutton Street along with a pedestrian gateway from the Northville business district located west of the park.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Commissioners reject raise in patio rent fees

The much-publicized proposal to increase fees paid by restaurant owners for use of city sidewalks in Plymouth came to a quiet resolution last week. 

Members of the Plymouth City Commission rejected the rate increase proposal with Mayor Nick Moroz casting the only vote in favor of a much smaller increase than originally proposed.

During a commission meeting in Caster Park Aug. 7, the commissioners rejected the plan to increase the per square foot rental fee from $1.50 to $15, a 900 percent increase, which had been suggested. Moroz suggested a 33 percent increase to $2 per square foot which was defeated. Moroz reminded the commissioners that there had been no change or increase in the rental rate for more than a decade, despite the increase in operating costs to the city for maintaining the areas. Mayor Pro Tem Suzi Deal noted that the current rate and use of the city property might not be fair to taxpayers who fund repairs and maintenance. “It's all of our taxes paying for this property,” Deal said.

Village festival

3rd annual event features art, music, farmer’s market

The Third Annual Cherry Hill Village Festival Aug. 26 and 27
will include artisan vendors; the annual Agent Orange Awareness
5K run, live music on the Canton LIVE Stage and Rally on Ridge food trucks.
Photos courtesy of Canton Township.
The Third Annual Cherry Hill Village Festival will return to Canton Township Aug. 26 and 27.

The event will include art, food, music, and other entertainment at the crossroads of Ridge and Cherry Hill roads, as well as at the Village Arts Factory.

The outdoor art festival will feature Village Arts Factory resident studio artists, food trucks, live entertainment on two stages, face painting, kids' activities and games, the 9th Annual Rally on Ridge Food Truck event, the Canton Farmers Market, a Sunday community brunch, and more than 40 local vendors selling artwork, crafts, concessions, and home goods. Presented by the Village Arts Factory, Canton Leisure Services, and the Canton Chamber of Commerce, the event is sponsored by American 1 Credit Union, Canton Preparatory High School, and Jacob Matthew Jewelers.  

Here to help

The city of Romulus Police Department recently welcomed Anesha Williams, a mental health professional from Hegira Health to the staff. Romulus, Wayne and Van Buren Township police departments have partnered and will share Williams' services to help local families in need of mental health services. As a professional clinician, Williams will provide help in locating local providers and offer other help to those in need of professional providers in the three communities. Officials said Williams brings "a wealth of knowledge and experience" to the job.

Mayor updates public on intersection work

Despite some unforeseen delays, Wayne County Road Commission officials hope to have the reconstruction of the Wayne and Ecorse Road intersection in Romulus completed by the end of the year.

Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight recently provided an update regarding the status of the reconstruction at the intersection.

“There has been a lot of discussion lately about the reconstruction of the Wayne and Ecorse road intersection so I thought I would provide an update on the current status,” McCraight said. 

He explained that currently, the entire road surface has been removed and the crews are working on updating the below grade utilities in the area.

35 and counting

During the regular meeting of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees last week, township attorney Rob Young  was recognized by the officials as he marked 35 years serving the township. Current and former members of the board along with residents in attendance, expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the integrity, friendship, devotion, and professionalism Young has demonstrated during the past 35 years. Congratulating Young, from left, are Township Treasurer Bart Patterson, Trustee Don LaPorte, Young, Trustee Matt Oddy, Clerk Esther Hurst (seated), Trustee Tim Rush and Supervisor Timothy Bowman.

On the green

Romulus Community Schools went straight to the green during the Birdies 4 Eagles golf fundraising event last week at Gateway Golf Club. Before players teed off, State Sen. Darrin Camilleri presented Superintendent of Schools Dr. Benjamin P. Edmondson with a check for $1.6 million to be used to reinvigorate and reinvest in career and technical training programs at Romulus High School. Camilleri was instrumental in securing the funding for the schools as the chair of the Michigan Education Committee which authorized the grant funds. On hand to congratulate the schools were Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight and several school and city officials. Photo by rober Kadau.

Development at Courthouse Grill wins state funds

Long awaited plans for the Plymouth Road property which formerly housed the Courthouse Grille will move forward, officials said, following a grant and loan from the State of Michigan Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) department. 

Developers plan to construct two buildings containing 103 apartment units on the site. Currently, the site is contaminated with metals and petroleum compounds along with inground debris deposited when the property was used as a landfill in the 1930s. 

Lead levels in Wayne water continue to post health hazard

Water from residential taps in the City of Wayne remains contaminated with high levels of lead, according to inspectors from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Wayne residents should continue to put lead filters on home water faucets and consider having children tested for lead in their blood following levels of the neurotoxin found in city water supplies.

According to a posting on the city website earlier this month, nine of 60 homes tested in Wayne had excessive levels of lead, the highest tested at 31 ppb, according to Lynn Sutfin, a spokesperson from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Water samples with more than 15 parts per billion (ppb) of lead require a community to take action, according to state and federal guidelines. 

Planning commissioner honored with state award

Donna Tinberg, taken
from a group photo
of the Planning Commission.
Photo by Liz Cezat

Northville resident and volunteer Planning Commissioner Donna Tinberg is the recipient of the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) Helen S. Willis Outstanding Commissioner Award. The annual award honors an individual who advanced or promoted the cause of planning in the public arena. An awards presentation is planned for Oct. 4 in Traverse City as part of the annual association meeting. 

Tinberg was nominated for the award by City Planner Sally Elmiger, of Carlisle Wortman Associates, with letters of support from city administration and elected officials. Tinberg was appointed to the Northville Planning Commission in 2017 and became the commission liaison to the Board of Zoning Appeals in 2018. She has served as chair of the planning commission since 2021 and has attended more than 110 planning commission meetings, reviewed and acted on 40 development proposals, 30 ordinance amendments, and two master plan updates. As the liaison to the zoning appeals board, she has reviewed and acted on 47 cases and attended 33 meetings. 

Northville to share funding of school resource police officer

The City of Northville will share the cost of a police school liaison officer with the Northville Public School District. Members of the city council approved a three-year agreement between the city and school district to share the cost of an officer to be based at Hillside Middle School. The officer will also provide services at both Amerman Elementary and Cooke School. The total first-year cost of up to $135,000 will be paid by the Northville School District. The city will assume 50 percent of the cost of the officer in years two and three, up to the maximum amount ranging between $54,000 to $70,000.

Graduation celebration

Max, the Northville Township Police therapy dog, recently completed the Alliance of Therapy Dogs examination with high marks, according to his partner and handler Community Service Ofc. Andrew Domzalski. Max, a goldendoodle, joined the department last September. He is now certified as part of the Pet Therapy Team. "Max's comforting presence has and will continue to make a positive impact in our community," officials said. 

$2.4 million renovation closes Summit Aqua Center

Members of the Canton Township Board of Trustees tour the renovation
work at the Canton Aquatic Center currently under way. 
The Summit on the Park Aquatic Center in Canton Township is currently undergoing significant renovation, which is expected to be complete by mid-December.

Canton officials said the $2.4 million construction project, led by Canton Facilities Maintenance staff, will include tile replacement in all pools, including the lap pool and family pool, as well as on the pool decks.  In addition, tile will also be replaced in the spa and sauna, as well as in the men's, women's, and family locker rooms.  Further enhancements include the addition of a water feature, replacement of the Marcite plaster in the Lazy River, as well as painting of the pool deck roof, they added.

Great night out

The National Night Out celebration in Canton Township recently drew a large crowd of residents and several community groups to Heritage Park to support neighborhood spirit and united effort to take a stand against crime. The event offered an opportunity for residents to meet and interact with police and fire personnel and well as strengthen the importance of keeping the community safe and tolerant, according to officials. The event was organized by the Canton Police and Fire departments, the Canton Public Library, Canton Coalition for Inclusive Communities, Community Financial Credit Union and Canton Leisure Services. 

Londeau, Coleman winners in primary mayoral race

Mayor Michael P. Londeau              Rep.Kevin Coleman 
Interim Westland Mayor Michael P. Londeau and State Rep. Kevin Coleman were the top choices of voters during the primary election last week.

The Aug. 6 election reduced the field of candidates seeking the top job in the city from six to only Londeau and Coleman. The two will face off in the general election set for Nov. 7 and the winner will become the first newly elected mayor in Westland in nearly 20 years.

The mayor's job became vacant when four-term Mayor William Wild resigned mid-term to join the private sector. Members of the city council in January chose Londeau to serve as interim mayor until the next election in the city.  

Touring the town

Visitors from as far away as Alabama, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Minnesota traveled to Inkster last week to participate in the Inktown Tour. One of the popular stops on the Inskter tour was the Malcolm X house currently being renovated into a museum. The tours are scheduled annually during the summer months and registration information will be available when the next dates are available, organizers said.

Catholic church to close

Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church
 on Palmer Road will close Oct. 1.
Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church in Westland will celebrate mass for the last time Oct. 1 after 60 years in the community.

In a message to parishioners last week, Sally Sztrecska of the church finance council sent a message to parishoners.

“Because of our financial struggles and dwindling attendance, it is with heartfelt sorrow that the parish and finance councils have begun the process to close the parish," the message read. "Please know that we are planning activities to celebrate our years of love, laughter, and worship that we have shared. We welcome ideas and help. As we leave our building, help us to walk in the peace of God. "

Several members of the congregation said the closing seemed inevitable as parishioners are aging and new members are not joining the church. Currently, only about 100 people attend Saturday and Sunday masses at the church on Palmer Road.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Northville, state police enforcing hand-held phone law

Members of the Northville Township Police Department will join with Michigan State Police in an August safety campaign on area roadways throughout the community. 

To bring more attention to Michigan's new distracted driving law, officers and troopers will be especially vigilant regarding drivers using a hand-held cell phone or mobile electronic device to text, talk on the phone, watch videos or go on social media while driving.  Those actions are all now illegal according to recently enacted  MCL 257.602b. 

Patrol officers noticed consistent violations of the month-old law, putting all motorists lives in danger, prompting the month-long awareness campaign, officials said. 

Spirit of Peace

Canton installs symbol of peace, harmony, togetherness and unity

Canton Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak,
along with Canton officials and members of the Canton Board of
Trustees, were joined by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Wayne County
Circuit Court Judge Mark T. Slavens, donors, business owners, and community
 members at the official dedication of the Heritage Park Peace Pole Plaza. 
 Photos courtesy of Canton Township. 
Visitors to Heritage Park in Canton Township will now be greeted by a newly installed Peace Pole, the universal symbol of peace bearing the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in 12 of the most commonly spoken languages in Canton Township: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Spanish, and Urdu.

A dedication ceremony took place Aug. 3 to celebrate the installation of this 8-foot standing vigil in the newly created Heritage Park Peace Pole Plaza, which was erected as a symbol to promote peace, togetherness, and harmony in a tranquil area where park visitors can congregate for individual or group reflection, township officials said.

Westland primary voters choose Londeau and Coleman

Michael P. Londeau or State Rep. Kevin Coleman will become the first newly elected mayor in the city of Westland in nearly two decades. 

Londeau and Coleman were the top vote getters in the primary election last Tuesday which reduced the field of six candidates to two who will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot.  Unofficial results showed Londeau receiving  4,646 votes while Coleman was the choice of 4,304 voters.

Londeau was chosen by fellow members of the city council in January to serve as interim mayor during the remainder of long-time Mayor William Wild's term. Wild resigned during his fourth term in office to take a job in the private sector.

Pond closure is topic of public hearing tonight

Sherwood Pond
Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees have scheduled a public hearing tonight in an effort to determine whether swimming at Sherwood Pond at Banotai Park will be prohibited.

Following an extensive discussion of the proposed ban on swimming at the pond during the July 25 meeting, trustees said they wanted to hear the opinions and ideas of township residents regarding the pond. Signage at the pond currently warns residents that they are swimming at their own risk and there is no lifeguard on duty.

Treasurer Bart Patterson opened the discussion of the issue during the study session prior to the meeting. He said he had discussions with several people about prohibiting swimming at the pond. He told the board members he has a concern about going immediately from allowing swimming to prohibiting it.

Suspects in airport hotel shooting sought by police

Romulus police continue to investigate a shooting at the Marriott Hotel July 29 which left one man in critical condition.

According to police reports, officers were called to the Metro Airport hotel in the 30500 block of Flynn Street at 3:47 p.m. following multiple 911 calls reporting a shooting. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the wounded man and called for emergency medical response.

According to reports, two men from Delaware had arranged to meet at the hotel to purchase a large number of cell phones. The potential buyers arranged to meet the sellers in a room at the hotel and once inside the room, the two "sellers" produced handguns in what the witness told police was an apparent robbery attempt. Both the Delaware men claimed they attempted to disarm the assailants. 

Cemetery committee is named

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved four new members of the cemetery commission during the July 25 meeting.

Named to the commission charged with overseeing the repairs and renovation of the historic Martinsville Cemetery in the township were Township Manager Anthony Burdick, Finance Director Scott Holtz, Deputy Clerk Karen Armatis and Jared Belingham, a township resident.

Armatis also presented a report to the board on recent progress at the cemetery including the purchase of flag holders for the graves of veterans for flags the township had already purchased. She said the township had recently sent in an application to the state to have a historic marker installed at the cemetery but that approval process would take 10 to 12 months.

Chamber of Commerce office building to be sold

The decision to sell the Canton Chamber of Commerce building on Hanford Road has met with some strong opinions on social media.

One commenter, Mike Gerou, noted that the chamber has existed since 1972 to promote local business. He posted that he and his brother joined the chamber in 1987 and that many of the pillars of the community contributed their time, talent and treasures to the organization.

Chamber officials explained the proposed sale of the 2,482 square foot building at 45525 Hanford Road in an email to members. “After careful consideration and strategic planning, the board of directors has made the decision to put our current office building on the market for sale, the email stated. “This move is driven by our unwavering dedication to enhance our services and support for our valued members and the broader community we serve”.

County Porch Repair project seeks qualified homes

A program of the Wayne County Land Bank to enroll Inkster residents in a porch repair program is still under way.

The program is accepting applications from residents in the area between Michigan Avenue and Annapolis Road and between Middlebelt Road and Inkster Road is being funded by the county and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The program will provide repairs to the front of qualifying homes, including but not limited to roofing, steps and railings. The porch repair program is for owner-occupied, single-family homes that are in good standing with property tax and mortgage payments. The project cost is not to exceed $10,000 and the property owner must agree to live in the home for five years following the repairs.

Finance coordinator retires from her ‘dream job’

Barbara Blanchard
Northville Township Finance Coordinator Barbara Blanchard spent a quarter of a century at her dream job before retiring in June.

Working in an office was her goal since her father, an insurance agent, occasionally took her to work with him, where she said, she would pretend to be his colleague. “I never thought about being a firefighter or nurse or anything,” Blanchard said. “For me, I knew I was going to work in an office.”

Blanchard did just that for 25 years, the last 16 years with Northville Township. She retired June 5 for health reasons.

“I always felt every day when I pulled into that parking lot, 'I can't believe I work here','” Blanchard said of her time at Northville Township Hall. “You know, like what a great place to come work every day.”

Recreation Master Plan online survey is now under way

Members of the Northville Parks and Recreation staff are looking to the future. 

The department has launched a brief online survey to collect preferences on recreational preferences in the community, utilizing the recreation programs and area parks. The answers will drive the new 5-Year Parks Master Plan, which shapes future projects and operations, officials said. 

To access the survey, participants should visit It will take 5 to 10 minutes to complete. 

Maybury Country Fair Saturday

The Maybury Farm Annual County Fair is set for 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. this Saturday.

The event is a fundraiser to help feed and care for the animals at the Northville working farm. Music will be provided by The Whiskey Charmers and there will be carnival/fair games, craft toys making, a coloring contest, two face painters from Face Flair, a baking competition (registration required), local crafters, Mill Race Weavers & Quilters, blacksmith demonstration, food trucks (Kona Ice, & Pizza Pazza), plus a hot dog BBQ and freshly made cotton candy made on the farm fairgrounds.  All activities except food items and wagon rides are included in the price of admission.

The farm is located at 50165 Eight Mile Road in Northville. For more information, visit or call (248) 374-0200.

Police investigation of Art Walk vandalism continues

Surveillance photos of the vandals
Artwork intended to uplift kids and provide a sense of self-worth was destroyed by a group of young people in downtown Plymouth last week.

Police are continuing to investigate the vandalism, which was captured on nearby surveillance cameras during the evening of Saturday, July 23. The painting was part of the Plymouth Art Walk, an installation of renowned Plymouth artist Tony Roko and the Art Foundation. 

“It's shocking to me because they're not kids. They're in their early 20s,” Tony Roko said.

Police said the two vandals were part of a group of five people, three men and two women, seen walking together in the early morning hours of July 23.

City water in Wayne remains unsafe due to lead levels

Wayne residents should continue to put lead filters on home water faucets and consider having children tested for lead in their blood following levels of the neurotoxin found in city water supplies.

According to a posting on the city website last week, nine of 60 homes tested in Wayne had excessive levels of lead, the highest tested at 31 ppb, according to Lynn Sutfin, a spokesperson from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Water samples with more than 15 parts per billion (ppb) of lead require a community to take action, according to state and federal guidelines. 

Westland playground is finalist for state award

Mission to Mars playground in Westland 
The Westland Mission to Mars themed playground is one of four finalist for the statewide Community Excellence Award (CEA)-the most prestigious Michigan Municipal League community honor.

The other three competitors moving on as finalists are Bridgman, Coldwater and  Port Huron, according to an official statement from the organization.

The finalists were determined by a small voting board and the top four projects will go on to compete at the league convention, where they will present their projects on the main stage and market their projects at designated CEA finalist booths. 

Dog in golf cart injures 4-year-old

Westland Arson Dog Bella
Bella, the Westland fire dog, may have lost her golf cart privileges.

During the Blues, Brews and BBQ festival in Westland last weekend a 4-year-old child was injured by the golf cart in which Bella was stationed by her partner and handler Capt. Jeff Stobbe. 

The always obedient Bella jumped from the golf cart seat to the floor of the vehicle and in doing so, laid across the accelerator pedal. The cart began to move forward and struck the 4-year-old before firefighters could reach the vehicle to disengage the gear. 

“Unfortunately, before firefighters could bring the cart to a stop and remove the key from the vehicle, it struck a 4-year-old girl and the passenger side front tire ran over her left leg,” according to a prepared statement from the fire department.

Battle of Badges set

The Hometown Heroes in Westland will face off in a charity softball game and home run derby at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 at Jaycee Park.

Police officers and firefighters will take to the field to compete and showcase their skills. Admission to the event is free. There will be a food truck on site and several prize raffles, a spokesman said. 

All proceeds from the Battle of the Badges will go directly to support the Wayne Youth Athletic Association baseball program. 

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Owners protest proposed restaurant patio rent hike

Restaurant owners and operators in downtown Plymouth have some serious reservations about a proposed plan to increase the fees their businesses pay to provide outdoor dining.

The owners are united in their sharp objections to a plan which would increase the fees the businesses pay by 900 percent and decrease the amount of space they are allowed to use. The setback proposed would increase from 6 feet to 9 feet, severely impacting the number of outdoor tables each of the businesses could provide.

Currently, the restaurants pay $1.50 for each square foot of sidewalk or city property they rent during the summer months. The proposal which came before the commission suggests the restaurants should pay $15 per square foot. If approved, the City of Plymouth rate would be the highest in the state.

Rolling along

5th Annual Community Bike Riders fill neighborhood streets 

The fifth annual Community Bike Ride throughout the City of Romulus last Saturday drew a large crowd of riders who braved the high temperatures to share in the 4-mile bike ride throughout the city. The event was hosted and organized by the Romulus Police And Community Together (PACT) organization along with the Romulus Community School. Following the bike ride with officers and city officials, participants enjoyed a picnic at Halecreek Elementary School where DJ Tony Fatta entertained the crowd and Catered to Design provided food.

Westland retirees fund awarded $26 million grant

Retired City of Westland employees just received a $26 million benefit from the state of Michigan.

The monumental boost was awarded through the Michigan Department of Treasury where the grant of $26,147,293 was approved and will be applied to the City of Westland Municipal Employees Retirement System. 

In 2022, the Michigan Department of Treasury was appropriated $750 million in the state budget to establish and operate a municipal pension grant program for retirement systems with a funded ratio below 60 percent.  Westland officials applied for grant funding  Under the program and recently received confirmation that the application was approved. 

National Night Out celebration is set

There will be a special tonight in Canton Township during National Night Out planned from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. at Heritage Park.

National Night Out is organized by the Canton Police and Fire Departments, the Canton Public Library, Canton Coalition for Inclusive Communities, Community Financial Credit Union and Canton Leisure Services. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, better places to live, according to a statement from the township. Live music, an interactive Canton Public Safety vehicle display and complimentary refreshments from Kona Ice are planned along with craft projects and games provided by the event sponsors.  

Ford Road shopping block game continues

Shoppers in businesses located along the Ford Road corridor in Canton Township continue to enjoy random $100 gift cards presented during a special promotion now under way.

The ShopLocal, ShopCanton Color Block Game, sponsored by the Canton Downtown Development Authority, in cooperation with Canton Leisure Services and Canton Chamber of Commerce is ongoing in the green block. Visitors who shop and dine the specials from participating merchants in that color block using the ShopCanton Guide mobile app are entered for a chance to win in a weekly drawing for a $100 gift card. There will be a grand finale on the 27th week for the Grand Prize $500 gift card.

Sweet ride

The first of two new senior transport vans has arrived at the Plymouth DPW building where it will be stored until the second van is delivered, expected later this year. The vans were purchased using federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds along with contributions from Plymouth Township, the City of Plymouth, the Pulte Family Trust on behalf of Saint John's Resort, and the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Center (PARC).

Bridge sidewalk project is funded

Plymouth Township was recently awarded a federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grant in the amount of $545,271 for the Ann Arbor Road sidewalk project located under the CSX rail bridge. 

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will also contribute $350,000 to the project effort, which is expected to be repaid by the "Plymouth Walk" apartment and condo project, using the projected Plymouth Walk Brownfield Tax Capture, according to officials. 

Officials said the sidewalk installation will enhance public safety and connectivity in the corridor. They added they believe the project will also leverage the ability of city officials to request improvements to the bridge by the railroad operators.

Rotary Festival of Lights planning now under way

The traditional Romulus Rotary Parade of Lights set for 8 p.m. Sept. 15, will officially begin the popular Pumpkin Festival again this year.

The parade takes place no matter what the weather conditions may be, organizers said, and each entry pays a $10 fee. To participate, the entries must be on wheels and lighted, the more lights, the better chance of winning the $50 prize awarded in each category. Glow sticks are not sufficient lighting for a float or participants, organizers reminded entry hopefuls. Vehicles with headlights should keep them off as they distract other entries and music is welcome, officials said. Political entries are strictly prohibited.

Video tour of city set at recreation center

There will be a one-time opportunity to take the Inktown Tour without leaving the comfort of the air-conditioned Inkster Recreation Center beginning at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 4. 

Organizers said both refreshments and knowledge will be served at the free event, sponsored by members of We Rise with help from the Community Up Project and Project We Hope, Dream, and Believe. The indoor tour is designed for those who are not physically able to walk the pedestrian tour of the community. 

Businesses awarded grants

Romulus businesses Ginosko Modular and Mucci Farms were among those awarded funding from the most recent round of Going PRO Talent Fund grants.

Statewide, approximately $13.5 million in grants from the second cycle of fiscal year 2023 Going PRO Talent Fund were awarded to nearly 300 Michigan businesses to help approximately 8,500 workers secure employment, industry-recognized credentials and strong wages. In Romulus, Ginosko Modular was awarded $141,485 and Mucci Farms, $81,855, according to official state reports.

Death of former township police chief mourned

Chief of Police James Pierce
Retired Sumpter Township Chief of Police James Pierce died July 26, 2023. Mr. Pierce served as  chief of police in the township from 2006 until 2016. 

Mr. Pierce was born Jan.12, 1950 in Detroit, the son of James and Marilyn Pierce. He served in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged from service in December of 1971. He was a 3rd degree Taekwondo Black Belt and taught karate through the Metropolitan Combative Arts Dojo.

Mr. Pierce served in law enforcement for more than 45 years.  He began his career as a City of Detroit Police Officer in August of 1973.  During his career, he worked on the chief's staff, Internal Affairs, Gaming Division and Executive Protection where he served as Mayor Coleman Young's personal security for 10 years.  He retired from the City of Detroit Police Department as a sergeant in 2003.  He then briefly served as a deputy sheriff for the Wayne County Sheriff's Department.  

Evaluation of staffing needs at DPW will continue

The staffing level at the Sumpter Township Department of Works will remain at the current level…for now.

Department of Public Works Director John Danci provided a preliminary report regarding staffing during the July 11 meeting of the members of the board of trustees. Danci explained that using the data available, staff members were able to compile a study of costs and the number of hours employees in the department have spent on various projects. 

He explained that this was a preliminary report and he was sharing it in an effort to ensure the board members were kept informed as the study continued.

Veteran of inaugural township fire department retires

Northville Fire Department
Battalion Chief Brian Siriani
Another member of the inaugural group of career firefighters in Northville Township has retired. Battalion Chief Brian Siriani worked his final shift in Northville July 16, after nearly 27 years of service. 

Serendipity was the force behind his career choice. Siriani attended Wayne State University, where he played football. He said his goals were to go into elementary education and coach football. On a Friday night, however, as he visited a close friend who was a paid on-call firefighter for Northville Township, those plans changed. While Siriani was visiting, his friend was dispatched to a nearby house fire and invited Siriani to observe the scene. That moment changed the trajectory of his career, he said.

“I got to see the camaraderie between the crews,” Siriani said. “I saw how they treated the homeowners with compassion, how the team environment reminded me a lot of a football team except I was watching them put out the fire. The next day, I told my mom I was going to make a career change and I enrolled in the Schoolcraft Fire Academy and left Wayne State.”

Tackling grief

Members of the Northville Township police and fire departments joined the New Hope Center for Grief Support summer camp at Maybury Farm last month. The camp was designed to help children of all ages cope with grief through interactive and enjoyable activities. From bonding with farm animals who have experienced loss to hand painting with horses, reading heartwarming books, and jamming to live music sessions, the participants enjoyed the day, officials said. Retired Detroit Lions player Eric Hipple joined the camp and led football drills.Photos by Keith Kolodsick

Dangerous Goudy Park amphitheater closed by city

Plans to demolish and rebuild the city Amphitheater at Goudy Park in Wayne didn't come a moment too soon.

City Building and Engineering Director Mike Buiten spoke to members of the Wayne City Council at their recent meeting and explained that an inspection of the amphitheater by structural engineers would be required as plans included using grant funding to raze and reconstruct the facility in Goudy Park on Wayne Road in the city. The inspection was necessary, Buiten explained, to ensure that the project could move forward using grant funding.

Engineers reported a serious risk of collapse at the structure and determined it a threat to public safety, according to a statement from officials.

Fit to be ‘tried’

The new Fitness Court at Jaycee Park in Westland was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony last week. The fitness center, constructed in partnership with Priority Health and the National Fitness Campaign, is a free, fresh-air fitness facility designed to provide a seven-movement (core, squat, push, lunge, pull, agility and bend) workout. The Fitness Court outdoor gym was invented in 1979 by the San Francisco-based National Fitness. Staff from the Westland Fitness and Nutrition Center were on hand to perform a demonstration and members of the Westland Police and Fire departments participated in the "Race to Ribbon" Challenge. Jaycee Park is located at 3400 Hunter Ave. in the city.