Thursday, November 30, 2023

Bells are ringing…

Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign is now under way

The iconic Red Kettle Christmas Campaign of the Salvation Army is now under way and in need of both volunteer bell ringers and contributions, officials said. The 133rd Red Kettle Campaign is the largest and longest-running fundraiser of its kind and is especially needed now to meet the increasing needs of families living in the United States, officials said. Funds raised in 2022 supported services for nearly 24 million people.

The goal this year has been set at $7.9 million. The campaign provides vital funds to feed, clothe and shelter individuals and families in need of support this Christmas season and throughout the year. According to Salvation Army officers, donations have been down in recent years. In 2019, the Red Kettle Campaign raised $126 million, that number dropped to $102 million in 2022. The drop is likely due to the pandemic, inflation and people no longer carry much cash with them.

The Salvation Army is the nation's largest private provider of social services and the Red Kettle Campaign funds Christmas gifts, food, shelter, and rent and utility assistance to millions of people struggling during the holiday season and beyond.

Planning commission approves Downs plan

The final site plan for the development of the Northville Downs property was approved by a 7 to 1 vote of the members of the planning commission last week. The commissioners included some conditions on the approval issued to developer Hunter Pasteur.

Planning Commissioner Jeff Gaines cast the lone no vote on the plan.

Among the conditions was a requirement that any changes in the final Planned Urban Development (PUD) be approved by the Historic District Commission. The commission members also stipulated that documents verifying compliance with requirements before building permits are issued. The developer is also required to update architectural plans for different color roof shingles and different garage door styles in rowhouses and single-family attached buildings within the Historic District boundary, as represented to and approved by the Historic District Commission.

Township honored as a Top Workplace for 2023

Larger group of employees on the stairs Northville Township Hall.
Northville Township has made history. It has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2023 honor by the Detroit Free Press. 

Northville Township is the first municipality in Michigan to win this award in the 15-year history of the Top Workplaces program, which recognizes outstanding employers. 

The honor is based on employee feedback through a confidential survey that measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of an organization. They include alignment, execution and connection. 

Still on track

Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight recently updated residents about the road construction in the city. He said progress is still being made at the Wayne and Ecorse intersection and “they are still on track with opening the intersection by end of this construction season, despite the setbacks.” McCraight posted some photos of the road surface installed for the west side of Wayne Road which also show the framing installed for the bypass for northbound Wayne leading to eastbound Ecorse. “Hopefully weather will continue to cooperate,” the mayor said.

City to participate in Wreaths Across America

Each year, millions of Americans come together to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom.

The City of Romulus will once again participate in the annual Wreaths Across America recognition of veterans which takes place throughout the country. The ceremony this year is planned for noon on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Romulus Memorial Cemetery.

The national event is a gathering of volunteers and patriots in local, state and national cemeteries in all 50 states - most recently at 3,702 participating locations - as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. Each year, a new theme is chosen to help volunteers and supporters focus their messaging and outreach in their own communities. The national nonprofit theme for 2023 is “Serve and Succeed.”

Terms of office

New and former mayors thank supporters

Byron H. Nolen
Both incoming Inkster Mayor Byron H. Nolen and former Mayor Patrick Wimberly issued statements this week regarding the election results from Nov. 7.

Nolen received 59 percent of the total vote with 1,662 ballots cast for him. Wimberly, currently under indictment on federal charges of bribery, was the choice of 1,153 voters or 41 percent of the total votes cast in the city.

Nolen, who previously served a term as mayor, thanked the Inkster residents and voters.

“Your commitment to the community is loud and clear, and I appreciate it. I am honored and humbled to again serve as your mayor, and I am ready to use every resource available to help us improve our city. We have work to do, and I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and working together. I want to also thank a team of many volunteers that supported and believed in our mission and vision. Your contributions played a crucial role in getting us here. 

Growing strong

Members of the Wayne Police Department are continuing to grow facial hair as part of the national Movember Foundation fundraising effort. During the month of November men are encouraged to grow mustaches and beards to raise awareness for men's health. The Movember Foundation on issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, suicide prevention, and mental health. The Movember campaign helps remind police officers that just as they have a duty to protect the community, they also have a duty to protect their own health, an organizer explained. Wayne officers said any contributions would be appreciated. To donate, access, and click on the blue Donate to Team button.

Inkster, Romulus men arrested in warrant sweep

Residents of Inkster and Romulus were among nine people arrested last week and charges against several unlicensed builders who allegedly stole money through the state unemployment agency.

The police operation was coordinated with Detroit police and other local law enforcement agencies throughout the state and included a statewide warrant sweep resulting in the arrests. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that some of suspects targeted in the warrant sweep have yet to be apprehended.

At last

Beloved Karl’s Cabin is renovated and reopened

Karl's Cabin
Canton Club 55+, a center for older adults located in Canton Township, has recently been recognized as a dementia-friendly organization by Dementia Friendly America and is now also a 2023 SAGECare Platinum credentialed provider for programming to LGBTQ+ older adults.  

To be acknowledged by Dementia Friendly America, Canton Club 55+ staff completed special training, which provided information on ways to make the experience less difficult for persons living with dementia and their care partners, who utilize their services and facility. This staff training was provided by Dementia Friendly Saline. 

New economic development director is named

Rep. Alex Garza
In one of his first acts as mayor of Westland, Kevin Coleman appointed former State Rep. Alex Garza as the new Economic Development Director for the city.  Garza will play a pivotal part in driving economic growth, fostering community partnerships, and enhancing the overall business environment in Westland, according to an official statement from Coleman's office.

Garza holds degrees in Business Management, Political Science, and Public Policy. Garza served as both mayor pro-tem of the city of Taylor and as a state representative, where he played a pivotal role in shaping policies that positively impacted businesses and local communities, according to the prepared statement.

On the job

The City of Westland celebrated the inauguration of new Mayor Kevin Coleman last week, along with newly elected councilmembers and City Clerk Richard LeBlanc who was unopposed in the election. The officials were sworn into office in city council chambers. Coleman became the first new elected mayor in the city in 16 years following the resignation of William Wild. He was the choice of 8,144 voters or 59.01 percent of the total votes cast. Former interim mayor Mike Londeau garnered 5,630 votes or 40.79 percent of the total ballots cast. Administering the oath of office to Coleman was Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kyra Harris-Bolden.

Holiday help

Goodfellows help forms available in township

Applications for Goodfellows food and presents for Sumpter Township residents are available at Sumpter Ace Hardware, the Sumpter Township supervisor's office and at the Sumpter Police Department.

Deadline to turn in applications is Dec. 4, 2023. Pick-ups will be the week of Dec. 16, 2023.

For more information, contact Cathy Sykes at (734) 740-6300.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Season of giving begins

Officers from the Northville Township Police Department
spent a few hours last week participating in Crafting with a
Cop at both Ridgewood and Winchester elementary schools.
Officers helped students create paper Thanksgiving  turkeys,
 superhero masks, pumpkins, puppets and other artistic efforts.
Students were encouraged to interact with officers during the
community outreach event designed to promote positive
interaction between officers and students. 
Again this year, local police departments are exercising their "protect and serve" oaths with the annual Shop with a Cop and other charity donation opportunities throughout the area.

The purpose of the events is to foster positive relationships between youth and officers, according to law enforcement professionals. The Shop with a Cop program includes children, usually kindergartners through sixth grade students, who are selected during the holiday season to shop at a local store to purchase gifts for members of their immediate family. Each child is accompanied by a local police officer and is given a small amount of money to spend, normally $50-$100 depending on the size of the child's immediate family. The children are escorted through the store and helped to choose appropriate gifts for each family member. The children are told, and understand, that the money is not for personal use and must only be spent on gifts for family members. After shopping, police officers often treat the children to lunch, help wrap their gifts, and continue to get to know the children in the community they serve.

5 new firefighters join township department

Five new firefighters, from left, Robert Casamatta, Jeremy Dochenetz,
Chief Brent Siegel, Lacey Marcotte, Jaqueline Przytulski and
Aidan Gawura officially joined the Northville Township department last week.
The Northville Township Fire Department welcomed five new firefighters last week, including the first two women to wear the uniform full time. 

Township Clerk Cynthia L. Jankowski administered the official oath of office to Robert Casamatta, Jeremy Dochenetz, Lacey Marcotte, Jacqueline Przytulski and Aidan Gawura in front of friends and family. 

The new recruits are expected to provide the highest level of fire, rescue and emergency medical services to the community, officials said. Each firefighter has several years of experience and is also a paramedic.  

Tipping Point to present A Very Northville Christmas

Tipping Point Theatre continues its 16th theatrical season beginning Nov. 29, with the Southeast Michigan premiere of A Very Northville Christmas by Robert Hawlmark and directed by John Lepard of the Williamston Theatre. 

Audiences will meet a professional woman running in the fast lane of the big city corporate world who journeys back to her hometown of Northville on a mission for her boss. When she runs into a handsome acquaintance from high school, she's forced to evaluate her life and priorities. Hot cocoa, light parades and romance collide. This spoof is for every Hallmark movie lover, hater and everyone in between. It's full of small-town charm, big-city dreams, romance and family life all set in charming downtown Northville; a Hawlmark original, organizer said. 

Safety seminar is set

Growing up is difficult. Add in the dangers of social media and school safety, suddenly helping children navigate their tender years is a challenge. Northville Township Police Department and the embedded social worker are offering help.

A Partners in Your Safety seminar has been planned for 6 until 8 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Northville High School auditorium.

Topics scheduled for discussion include online enticement; cyberbullying; sexting; phishing scams; social media applications and their uses; online threats and parental involvement.

Commissioners choose new mayor

Suzi Deal
The City of Plymouth has a new mayor.

Following the official swearing in of the top vote getters in the Nov. 7 election, members of the commission chose Suzi Deal as the new mayor during their first official meeting last week.

Deal, who received the lowest total of the top four vote getters during the Nov. 7 election, will serve a two-year term which will expire in November of 2025. She received 16 percent of the vote with a total of 1,324. Deal, an incumbent, has served on the commission for eight years. 

The top vote getter, Kelly O'Donnell, was chosen by her fellow commission members to serve as mayor pro tem. O'Donnell received 18 percent of the votes with 1,533. Her four-year term will expire in November of 2027. 

4 pickleball courts proposed for PARC site

Pickleball fans in Plymouth have a chance to put their money where their paddles are with a new crowdfunding campaign effort to fund courts in the community.

Property at the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex (PARC) would be used for four new courts if the crowdfunding platform Patronicity generates $50,000 by the Jan. 14 deadline. If the fundraising effort meets the goal, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will award the project a matching $50,000 grant for the construction of the courts.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong using a paddle and plastic ball with holes. Enthusiasts claim it is a game that is appropriate for players of all ages and skill levels. Rules are simple, making it a great introductory sport, according to a Pickleball website. Players use a perforated, plastic ball to send a ball over a tennis-type net on a badminton-sized court. It can be played in a singles or doubles format. 

Charity group seeking children's pajamas, clothing

Area residents have an opportunity to keep children in need warm this winter.

Friends of Unity is seeking warm pajamas for children 4 to 14 years old. The pajamas will go to God's Storehouse, a Detroit charity that assists people who are homeless or living in poverty. Donors can drop off clothing through Dec. 3. Take donations to the Plymouth Community Arts Council building at 774 N, Sheldon Road, Plymouth.

Christmas Market

Village Arts Factory sale returns

Previous Christmas in the Village events featured family
friendly activities and unique gifts for sale along with
 the popular petting zoo which returns this year.
 Photo courtesy of the Village Arts Factory.
The Village Arts Factory will be transformed into a winter wonderland including a live petting zoo, caroling musicians, children's crafts and an old world Christman Market next month.

Christmas in the Village will return to the Village Arts Factory with new additions and even more holiday cheer from 3 until 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, organizers said.  Additional event highlights include visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus; horse-drawn carriage rides from 4-8 p.m. and a tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. with special guests Canton Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak, Santa Claus, and the Dodson Elementary School Choir, under the direction of Jessie Allstaedt.  The Cherry Hill Potters Guild will also be on hand, joining more than 25 craft and artisan vendors, selling unique crafts. 

Proposed cemetery rules questioned by trustee

A proposed new cemetery ordinance prompted discussion at the Oct. 24 meeting of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees.

The Rawsonville Cemetery is undergoing massive renovations and upgrades using funding from the American Recovery Program Act (ARPA). As part of that effort, board members authorized a review and update of the current township cemetery ordinance. During the study session preceding the meeting, Deputy Clerk Karen Armatis explained that the proposed changes to the new ordinance followed the guidelines of the Michigan Townships Association and that attorneys from that organization had reviewed the language and provisions.

Graduation day

Canton Township Fire Training Chief Shawn Skelly recently graduated from the Eastern Michigan University School of Fire Staff and Command Executive Leadership Program. The program requires nine-months of study and more than 360 hours of instruction to ensure graduates are prepared for fire department leadership roles. Local officials congratulated Skelly on his completion of the advanced professional curriculum.

Official city tree lighting set for tomorrow

The traditional holiday tree lighting in Romulus is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 24 at Romulus Historical Park and will include a sighting of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.

During the official tree lighting, Mayor Robert McCraight will present the "Key to the City" to Santa as he arrives for the celebration. A special guest helper is expected to help flip the switch to light the community tree.

Following the lighting of the tree, the city will host a number of activities while visitors await the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train as it passes through Romulus between 8 p.m. and midnight. There will be holiday vendors, crafts, live entertainment, pictures with Santa, food trucks and more and other activities planned.

Junior officer

City of Romulus Police Sgt. Donnell Jackson was welcomed by students at Barth Elementary School recently when he stopped by to present a junior officers badge to one young student. The youngster, according to school officials, hopes to become a police officer "and help other people just like the Romulus Police Department." School officials said the student was inspired and thrilled with Jackson's visit and thanked the sergeant and the police department for ensuring that the students are safe. "We always appreciate the Romulus Police Department stopping by Barth Elementary to make sure everything is going well and that all of our Barth Bears are safe," school officials said in a social media post.

Brunch With Santa tickets are available

The Romulus Recreation Department is offering a sweet treat to help celebrate the holiday season.

Brunch with Santa is planned for 10:30 a.m. until noon Saturday, Dec. 2. The event includes breakfast brunch, story time, a photo with Santa and a special holiday craft. Tickets are $12 for each child. Adults may enjoy brunch for $5 per person.  

Brunch will be served at the Romulus Senior Center, 36525 Bibbins St.

Future Coffee with a Cop meeting dates planned

The recent Coffee with a Cop event in Inkster drew a large crowd of residents to the Oak Street Health Clinic where police officers were on hand to answer questions and listen to concerns of individuals over a cup of coffee. 

The next Coffee with a Cop events are scheduled for the mornings of Dec. 7 and Jan. 11, a department spokesman said, with the time and place to be announced. Police officials issued a formal thank you to all those who participated and helped sponsor the community effort.

Resident charged in threat to judge

An Inkster man accused of making threats against 22nd District Court Judge Sabrina Johnson will face several criminal charges.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Antonio Walter Clark, 33, of Inkster, with resisting and obstructing a police officer, stalking, and malicious use of telecommunication services.

School district administrators are reassigned

Recent transfers and reassignments of administrators in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools district have followed the surprise discovery by auditors of a $17.6 million budget deficit.

In the recent reassignment, Chris Swanson, the principal at Wildwood Elementary School will become the assistant principal at Wayne-Westland Innovative Academy. Swanson has been the principal at Wildwood for four years and was previously at Hamilton Elementary School in the district. 

Alumni veterans' wall planned at Wayne Memorial

Wayne Memorial High Schools may soon include a tribute to servicemen who have graduated from the school.

Currently, donations are being sought to build a memorial wall to be prominently displayed at the entrance to the school. The display would include the name, rank and brief information about the serviceman or woman who served in the U.S. military. 

Estimated costs for the installation of the memorial are $40,000 and would include construction, artwork, plaques, an interactive display, a software data package for digital storage and website viewing. The project would also include the development of educational materials and contributions to support local veterans.

Sign of the season

Many of the bright red stands holding the kettles for the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign are the work of students at the Willilam D. Ford Career-Technical Center. Auto collision students accepted the challenge when Salvation Army officials reached out to inquire if the stands could be repaired and repainted. The students used their training and expertise to freshen up the stands. Officials at the center thanked the Salvation Army for "involving the students in such a meaningful project. What an incredible way to give back to the community and spread holiday cheer. 

Toy drive is planned

 he annual Westland Community Foundation and Salvation Army Toy Drive is planned for 6 until 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 at Westland City Hall.

Organizers said the gift of a new toy or book brings the joy of Christmas and sends a message of hope to disadvantaged children. Participants are urged to bring an unwrapped toy to donate. A $5 donation is also encouraged, organizers said.

Westland City Hall is located at 36300 Warren Road in Westland.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

School district audit discovers $17 million deficit

The Wayne-Westland Community Schools district is facing an unexpected $17.6 million budget deficit.

School officials and members of the board of education learned of the budget deficit last week when an audit of district finances discovered the serious budget shortfall which officials had believed was, in fact, a surplus. Board of Education President David Cox reported the surprise findings during a meeting of the board members last week.

“At this moment, right now, we don't exactly know where we are, but we have a tremendous problem that has to be addressed,” Cox said in making the deficit public during the meeting.

According to the auditor's report, revenue in the district totaled $135 million for the 2023 fiscal year, while expenses totaled $152 million. 

Annual Wayne County holiday Lightfest opens tonight

The traditional holiday Wayne County Lightfest in Edward Hines Park will officially open at 6 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Nov. 16. The highly anticipated display will then be open to vehicles from 6 until 10 p.m. until Sunday, Dec. 24. The Lightfest will be closed Monday and Tuesday evenings.

The entrance to the Lightfest is at 7651 North Merriman Road, which is on Merriman between Ann Arbor Trail and Warren Avenue in Westland, 2.5 miles south of I-96. Wayne County representatives will offer radio alerts to update visitors with important show information. By tuning into AM 1640 within 3 to 5 five miles of the Lightfest entrance, visitors can receive regular updates on wait times, traffic flow, special event and event costs. During the Lightfest, Hines Drive closes to traffic for set-up and operations from 5 until 11:30 p.m. from Ann Arbor Trail to Outer Drive.

Student led walkout included Israeli flag desecration

While law enforcement officials are confident the recent student walkout and flag destruction at Plymouth Canton Educational Park was protected by free speech, Superintendent of Schools Monica Merritt described the incident as “disruptive” and “in violation of board policies.”

A social media post Nov. 1 showed unidentified students ripping apart an Israeli flag while others cheered them on laughing and chanting “Rip it up, rip it up.”

The walkout, according to a notice to parents from Merritt on Wednesday, was student organized and student led. The walkout included students from Canton, Plymouth and Salem high schools, all located on the educational campus in Canton. 

Northville election sees 39 percent voter turnout

About 39 percent of registered voters in the City of Northville cast votes in the election last week, choosing a mayor and two members of the city council.

Mayor Brian Turnbull was uncontested on the ballot and retained his seat. Laura Genitti was the top vote getter in the council race winning 1,226 votes. Incumbent Mayor Pro tem Barbara Moroski-Browne was reelected with 916 votes. Each will fill a four-year term. Incumbent Marilyn Price received 907 votes and Robert Sochacki was the choice of 821 voters. 

The newly elected council members will be sworn into office at the Nov. 20 meeting in Northville City Hall.

Veteran firefighter named as first-ever deputy chief

Tom Hughes
Tom Hughes, a 19-year veteran of the Northville Township Fire Department has been named as deputy fire chief, a new position for the department. 

Hughes will work closely with Fire Chief Brent Siegel in planning, directing, supervising and coordinating the department, expanding the depth and breadth of what it currently accomplishes while striving for constant improvement, according to a prepared statement. 

“I have had the privilege of working with Tom for the past 18 years,” Siegel said. “He exemplifies our organizational values of professionalism, public outreach and continuous improvement. He has built our fire prevention bureau up from the ground floor and performs at an outstanding level every day.” 

Dunning Foundation grant will fund Arc renovations

The Arc of Northwest Wayne County has received a $50,000 grant from The Margaret Dunning Foundation to complete building renovations at the new Canton Township headquarters of the organization. The grant will fund the installation of new flooring and carpet which will add to the safety and usability of the building, officials said.

Founded in 1961, The Arc of Northwest Wayne County is a grassroots membership nonprofit that strives to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc moved into a larger building in Canton more than a year ago, which allowed the organization to grow its programs, services, and staff to reach more families in need of support, according to a statement from the group.

Potters’ Guild sale begins tomorrow

The annual Village Potters Guild of Plymouth Holiday Market will begin tomorrow and continue through Sunday, Nov. 19.

The guild, a decades old organization, was formed to promote and develop the art of ceramics. The common interest of members is to bring handmade ceramic items to everyday life.   

The sale this year will include works of artist members, as well as invited guest artists, offering a variety of functional and decorative ceramics for purchase, organizers said. 

The annual event will take place in the historic factory district of Plymouth, at 326 North Main St., just north of the railroad tracks.  Guild members transform the 2,000-square-foot studio workspace into a holiday marketplace with items that are great for gift giving, organizers said.

Special salute

Members of the Plymouth Noon Rotary Club paid a special tribute to the two remaining World War II veteran members of the club during the regular meeting last week. Veterans were joined by Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Todd Bush, at left, and Gabriel Lynn, far right. Army veteran Dr. Bob Peterson, a long-time Rotary Club member and retired funeral director Win Schrader, also a long-time member of the club were honored for their service by their fellow club members.  Photo by David Willett 

Holiday shows are slated

The holiday season at Village Theater at Cherry Hill will see the return of Irish tunes and dancing courtesy of Christmas with the Celts, a magic show and the popular Detroit Circus.

Christmas with the Celts returns Dec. 9 with a special matinee performance. This immersive, family holiday show features both traditional Irish tunes along with contemporary classics with a Celtic flair, accompanied by Irish dancing and humor. Award-winning magician Aaron Radatz returns with his annual holiday magic show on Dec. 21, and the Detroit Circus returns for their annual New Year's Eve performance Dec. 31. 

PJs sought by charity

Area residents have an opportunity to keep children in need warm this winter. Friends of Unity is seeking warm pajamas for children 4 to 14 years old. The pajamas will go to God's Storehouse, a Detroit charity that assists people who are homeless or living in poverty. Donors can drop off clothing through Dec. 3. Take donations to the Plymouth Community Arts Council building at 774 N, Sheldon Road, Plymouth.

Judge sentences killer of nurse to 35-60 years

Jamere Mykel Miller, 36, of Inkster, will spend 35 to 60 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections after he admitted he murdered Patrice Wilson, 29.

Miller was charged by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy last May with the homicide of Wilson of Redford. The victim was working as a nurse at Detroit Receiving Hospital and reportedly was ending their romantic relationship at the time of her death.

According to prosecutors, at about 7:53 a.m. May 13, Miller disguised himself with a wig, a hat and glasses and waited for Wilson to leave work. As she entered her car, Miller admitted he went to the back passenger side of the vehicle and fired a handgun multiple times, fatally wounding her. Miller then got into the driver's seat and fled from the scene.  

Romulus Tree Lighting to include Holiday Train

The holiday tree lighting in Romulus will include a sighting
of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train after Santa
receives the key to the city from
Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight.
The traditional holiday tree lighting in Romulus is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24 at Romulus Historical Park.

During the official tree lighting in Romulus, Mayor Robert McCraight will present the “Key to the City” to Santa as he arrives for the celebration. 

A special guest helper is expected to help flip the switch to light the community tree.

Following the lighting of the tree, the city will host a number of activities while visitors await the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train as it passes through Romulus between 8 p.m. and midnight. There will be holiday vendors, crafts, live entertainment, pictures with Santa, food trucks and more and other activities planned.

Senior Summit planned

The Inkster Police Department will host a Senior Crime Prevention Summit from 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Booker T. Dozier Recreation Center.

The event topics will include senior safety tips; scam prevention; Neighborhood Watch programs and emergency preparedness. Officials said the summit would be an opportunity for seniors to learn, engage, and connect with the community. 

The recreation center is located at 2025 Middlebelt Road in Inkster.

Graduation day

Romulus Police Chief Robert Pfannes was on hand earlier this month during graduation ceremonies at the Wayne County Regional Police Academy. Three of the graduates are candidates for the Romulus department, Pfannes said. New graduates, from left, Christian Otter and Marcus Matheson were congratulated by Pfannes, along with candidate Nathaniel Sims, Romulus Police Lt. Eric Smith and Sgt. Otter, proud father of Ofc. Christian Otter. 

A new chapter

Library renovation is celebrated 

City officials and library personnel welcomed crowds to
 the newly-renovated Willaim P. Faust Public Library of Westland last week.
 Renovations included age and topic specific
 reading rooms and an outdoor patio along with new seating. 

The City of Westland has been named as the winner of the 2023 Apex Award from InCompass Michigan, the leading statewide network of human service organizations. The award honors Westland as “an outstanding employer with a rich workplace culture that recognizes and celebrates diverse backgrounds, perspectives, skills and abilities.” 

Westland was nominated for the award by Aimee Szabo of Services to Enhance Potential (STEP).

“The award was designed to honor an organization that has fostered exceptional employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to community access in Michigan and demonstrated a commitment to inclusion and diversity in hiring practices, training and talent development,” commented InCompass Michigan COO, Laurie Morse-Dell,

Iron Belle Trail section opened in Van Buren

Van Buren Township and state officials, along with members of the community,
celebrate the opening of the Iron Belle Trail section in the township.
The non-motorized recreational pathway connects 48 Michigan counties.
A section of the Iron Belle Trail, which is expected to travel from Belle Isle to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula officially opened in Van Buren Township last month. The Van Buren Township non-motorized pathway project will close a 7.0 mile gap in the Iron Belle State trail. The path will connect the B2B Trail system (55 miles) in Washtenaw County with the HCMA trail system (30+ miles) that begins in the Lower Huron Metropark and extends southeast to Lake Erie.  More than 80 percent of the completed distance will follow the Huron River Greenway while the overall trail will connect dozens of existing parks, schools, central business districts and neighborhoods, according to state officials.

Safety steps

Sumpter Township Police Sgt. Beth Egerer visited Keystone Academy recently to talk to students as part of Public Safety Week. Egerer talked to the students about safety measures they could employ and spoke to children from the Young 5s, another class of kindergarteners and the first-grade students. Egerer talked to 200 students about respect for each other, bullying and explained some of the equipment police officers carry.

Learning experience

Wayne Police Sgt. Chad Colwell recently graduated from the Michigan Police Executive Development Seminar. The seminar is a week-long course targeted toward current or future law enforcement executives. The course focuses on leadership, critical incident management, modern supervision techniques, and other management skills. The Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Associates - Michigan Chapter sponsors the training annually and executives presented Colwell with his certificate of completion.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Train derailment prompts safety concerns

The derailment of 14 cars in Romulus last week was a safety
concern to city first responders and officials.
There were no injuries reported in the incident. 
The cause of the train derailment in the city of Romulus prompted Mayor Robert A. McCraight, along with state and federal officials to call for increased enforcement of railway safety standards. The incident, which remains under investigation, prompted McCraight to issue a statement urging  stronger federal rules for railways. He said the federal government should have a stronger regard for the safety of local communities and strengthen railway safety rules. He added that local municipalities and residents are not aware of the dangers of trains traveling through their respective communities.

Voters choose mayor, council, commissioners


Voters in Westland have chosen their first newly-elected mayor in nearly 20 years.

Voters chose current State Rep. Kevin Coleman to lead the city with 8,144 votes. Current interim Mayor Mike Londeau was the choice of 5,630              voters. The four-year position pays pays $121,574 annually. The two candidates were selected by voters from a field of six hopefuls in an August primary election.

Coleman, 40, served on the Westland City Council, the veteran's association and the Westland festival committee, prior to his election to state office. Coleman was defeated by former Mayor William Wild in his first bid for the top job in the city.  A special election to fill his unexpired term as the representative from the 25th District will now be scheduled. 

Plymouth voters nix millage, choose 4 commissioners

Plymouth voters rejected the requested charter amendment to allow a new 1.75 mill tax to fund new recreation opportunities in the city. No votes totaled    1,368 while yes votes were 1,302.

The new tax would have been effect for 12 years and was expected to generate an estimated $1.3 million annually for recreational expenses in the community through 2035. The new millage would have cost homeowners about $1.75 for every $1,000 of market value of their property. Homes with a $300,000 market value would have seen an increase of approximately $260 on their tax bills. 

March on

Members of the Romulus High School Marching Eagles will be getting up early Nov. 23. The Marching Eagles will be part of the 97th America's Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner White The band will march with the parade through the streets of downtown Detroit beginning at 8:45 a.m. The traditional event always takes place on Thanksgiving morning to officially welcome the holiday season. The parade theme this year is "A Heart of History" and the entire celebration can be viewed on Channel 4 WDIV. Following the parade, the public can vote online for the best marching band in the parade.  

Early voting law could be costly for township

Early voting will be available to Sumpter Township residents during the 2024 Presidential Election, but the cost isn't popular with members of the board of trustees.

State voters approved Proposition 2 which included the extended in-person voting on the 2022 ballot and the measure becomes mandatory with the election next year. Municipalities must now officially adopt the new procedures by state law. Sumpter trustees were asked to vote to officially adopt the new procedures during a meeting last month.

During the meeting, trustees expressed their frustration at the state mandated early voting rules allowing for 9 days of in-person voting in addition to the usual Election Day opportunity.  Township Clerk Ester Hurst noted that proving staffing and equipment is now law in the state, but the measure would be “a headache” for her department. In addition, municipalities must now apply postage to all absentee ballots which are mailed to voters.

Traditional Turkey Trot set for Nov. 21

Participants from previous Canton Turkey Trots helped the Epilepsy
Foundation of Michigan. Photo courtesy of Canton Township. 
Area residents are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and work up an appetite for a good cause Thanksgiving morning by running or walking in the 21st Canton Annual Turkey Trot for a Cause on Thursday, Nov. 23.

All ages are encouraged to join in the fight against epilepsy by taking part in the chip-timed 5K race or 1-mile fun run that will benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, an organization dedicated to empowering individuals with seizure disorders. The main sponsor of the event, is Gazelle Sports of Northville which hosts bib pick up, provides awards and supports the event each year.

Annual township Salute to Service is tomorrow

The annual special celebration honoring all veterans, living and deceased, and especially those active-duty military men and women who are currently serving in faraway places will take place just prior to Veterans Day in Canton Township.

Canton Club 55+ members and The Village Theater at Cherry Hill officials are partnering to honor area service men and women who have served or who are currently serving in the armed forces. This free event will feature a special program that will take place on the main stage of the theater. Featured presenters include Canton Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak and informational veterans' speakers, as well as a special performance by the 338th Army Band. 

Art entries being accepted

The Village Arts Factory will accept applications for solo or group art exhibitions through Monday, Dec. 4.

The arts factory is a multipurpose arts complex located in Cherry Hill Village in Canton Township and is planning exhibition for at the facility for 2024.To be considered for an exhibition, artists can apply online at by submitting a sample of digital images of current works, contact information, current resume/biography, artist statement, and availability. 

Federal grant will fund 4 new police officers

There will be four new police officers in Westland funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS). 

The funding will continue for three years, according to the city and is part of the program which  supports local law enforcement agencies in hiring and rehiring police officers. With these funds, officials said, the city can expand the police force and continue the commitment to public safety. Westland matched the grant with the required 25 percent of the total hiring amount of $1,429,464. The total expenditure for the hirings is $500,000 from the federal grant and $929,264 from Westland. 

Park it

The City of Plymouth public parking lot at the corner of Ann Arbor Trail and Deer Street (the former Saxton's location) is now available to drivers. In addition to the 47 parking spots, there are four EV charging stations, which are expected to be operational soon, pending some final touches, according to city officials. The lot also features green spaces including a rain garden. In the coming months, the area will be enhanced with benches at the corner of Ann Arbor Trail and Deer and along Ann Arbor Trail, as well as two bike racks near the corner. 

Chamber of commerce is merged with Livonia

The Westland Chamber of Commerce is now located in Livonia.

The two chambers have merged to create a 1,200 membership, according to President and CEO of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce Dan West who will manage the new group. The new organization is called the Livonia Westland Chamber of Commerce and will be headquartered in Livonia while the Westland offices on Ford Road will be sold.

West, president and CEO of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce since 2006, will hold the same title in the newly aligned organization, which will be governed by a 29-member board of directors with representatives from both communities. The initial four-person chamber staff have a combined for nearly 50 years of industry experience, according to West.

He said a Westland office would open sometime in the future at a different location in the city.

Township files for injunction against landfill

Northville Township has asked a court to halt waste dumping in a new section of the Arbor Hills Landfill because of an increase in odor complaints caused by elevated methane gas levels. 

In a motion filed Oct. 26 in Wayne County Circuit Court, the township seeks a temporary restraining order that would prevent Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township from placing waste in the newly created Cell 6. 

“Since the Arbor Hills Landfill has opened Cell 6 in early July, we have seen odor complaints quadruple,” said Northville Township Supervisor Mark J. Abbo. “While EGLE has been trying to work with Arbor Hills, we do not feel they share the same urgency of the board of trustees and residents. As a result, we feel we have no other option than to seek relief from the court,” Abbo said. 

Special delivery

New police program offers safe storage option for holiday packages

The Northville Township Police Department takes the protection of residents seriously, including reducing some of the risk of online shopping.

The department has introduced Operation Max's Vault, a temporary package storage solution which allows residents to ship online purchases under 50 pounds to the police department in care of Max's Vault, named for the department support dog. The parcels will be stored in a secured area, officials said, and the package owner must pick up the delivery within five days of arrival. “The goal of this program is to keep the Grinch out of the holiday season,” said Police Chief Scott Hilden. “It will reduce the opportunity for porch pirates to steal packages after they are delivered to a dwelling and left unattended.” 

State forgives Inkster School District debt

Inkster property owners received an early holiday gift last week when state legislators agreed to forgive $12.12 million in school district tax debt.

The Michigan State Senate approved House Bill 4292, budget supplemental legislation that included the $12.12 million the former Inkster School District debt. As a result of the state action, Inkster residents are currently paying 13 mills, plus interest, on the dissolved district remaining school debt, which was not slated to be paid off until the year 2032. By eliminating the remaining debt, all Inkster residents will see a significant property tax reduction. By  forgiveness of the district debt, Inkster residents will be paying between zero mills and 8 mills (at most) of debt, depending on which of four neighboring school districts their children actually attend. 

Hairy experience

As they have for several years, members of the City of Wayne Police Department will participate in Movember this year. Each of the participating officers will grow a beard or a mustache as part of a fundraising effort for the Movember Foundation, an organization which funds awareness of cancer research, suicide prevention and mental health. "As police officers, we can sometimes forget to make sure that our own health is a priority. The Movember campaign helps remind us that just like we have a duty to protect the community, we also have a duty to protect our own health.

Nov. 15 is deadline for Veteran’s Holiday Meals applications

Area veterans and their families have only until Nov. 15 to register for the 10th Annual Holiday Meals for Wayne-Westland Veterans.

Westland Mayor Michael Londeau, Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa and Wayne Ford Civic League President Vic Barra have organized the event again this year which is open to veterans, surviving spouses, and families of active duty service members.

Registration is available online at: or contact Londeau's office, (734) 467-3200 or email: Registration is also available at Rhaesa's office, (734) 722-2000 or email: 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

City of Northville downtown streets set to reopen

Streets in downtown Northville were scheduled to reopen this week.

Northville City Manager George Lahanas and
Mayor Brian Turnbull inspect the new bollards
installed in downtown streets.
The closing of the streets has been controversial in the community prompting criticism from nearby residents as traffic has been rerouted through some neighborhoods. Last week, with the installation of specially designed traffic bollards, officials said the downtown streets would reopen this week and remain passable until sometime next spring.   

The bollards were installed throughout the downtown area on Main, Hutton, Center and Dunlap streets. The large circular barriers will be lowered into the ground to allow the return to previous traffic patterns in the downtown area. The 3-foot-high black devices have reflective bands near the top so they are visible at night. When the streets are closed, they will be upright to prevent vehicles from entering the streets. They can also be lowered in emergencies by first responders who will have keys, officials said. 


Canton passive nature park is dedicated by Potawatomi

Members of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Nation joined Canton Township officials and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell last Friday for the naming of a nature area in the community.

The undeveloped 134 acres of land at the northwest corner of Ford Road and Ridge Road is now officially the Zibiwes Nature Area. The dedication included special presentations from members of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Nation. 

Canton Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak led the festivities, which included special remarks by U. S. Rep. Debbie Dingell and Terry Campbell, regional manager of the Office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.  

The nature area was designated by members of the Canton Township Board of Trustees in May in an effort to preserve and protect the open space, natural habitats, and greenspace of the undeveloped woodlands and wetlands located on the northwest section of the Canton community. The area, officials said, is home to many native plants and animal habitats.

Postal worker robbery Suspects are arrested

Michale Lamar
Two men are facing multiple federal felony charges in connection to the robbery of a postal worker in Northville Township last week.

Michale Lamar Smith-Ellis, 30, or Detroit and Terrance Tucker, 32, of Inkster were arraigned in federal court last week. The pair face charges of conspiracy; robbery or theft of mail, money or property of the U.S. Government; aggravated assault of federal employee; use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and key or locks stolen or reproduced. The various crimes carry penalties from 25 to 5 years imprisonment if convicted.

Northville Township Police were dispatched in response to a report of an armed robbery at about 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The incident took place in the area of Silver Spring Drive and Eight Mile Road, according to police reports, and occurred in broad daylight when two suspects, armed with a firearm, targeted a postal carrier, demanding keys to postal boxes. Police said no injuries were reported. 

Planning commission hears Downs site plan

The final site plan for the development at the Northville Downs property was presented to members of the planning commission for consideration last week.

Seth Herkowitz of Hunter Pasteur presented the developer's refined renderings of detached and attached single-family homes and detailed the timeline for the mixed-use project. While this meeting was expected to focus on conditions of the preliminary site plan approval and new elements of landscape, lighting and signage, Herkowitz noted that the presentation would need to be split over the course of two meetings due to the amount of content that he and his associates planned to present.

City Planner Sally Elmiger provided a point-by-point assessment of the conditions of the Planned Unite Development and preliminary site plan as approved by the commissioners on Sept. 7, 2022. 

Wreaths Across America seeking donors, volunteers

Each year, millions of Americans come together to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom.

The City of Romulus will once again participate in the annual Wreaths Across America recognition of veterans which takes place throughout the country. 

The ceremony this year is planned for noon on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Romulus Memorial Cemetery.

The national event is a gathering of volunteers and patriots in local, state and national cemeteries in all 50 states - most recently at 3,702 participating locations - as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. 

Inkster voters to choose mayor, council members on Tuesday

Inkster voters will go to the polls next Tuesday, Nov. 7, to choose a mayor and members of the city council in three city districts.

Current Mayor Patrick Wimberly, 49, has been indicted by federal authorities and is accused of demanding cash from a developer hoping to purchase city-owned property. Wimberly was elected to the mayor position which pays $105,000 annually in 2019.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Stormy weather

Sumpter is certified as ‘StormReady’

Sumpter Township Trustee Tim Rush, left, and
Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police Eric Luke
receive the StormReady Community designation.
Sumpter Township recently received the StormReady Community designation from the National Weather Service.

StormReady uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of extreme weather-from tornadoes to winter storms. The program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations, according to the national weather service. 

Sumpter was recertified for another four years by the national organization as one of only 10 local municipalities designated as StormReady. To earn the designation the community must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center and have more than a single means to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts. 

District high schools offering college programs

The Wayne Westland Community Schools District is offering high school students the opportunity to earn college credit hours, industry certification, and an associate degree while still in high school.

Wayne-Westland Community Schools District has partnered with several colleges and universities to combine the high school and college experience. Upon completion of this five-year program, students will graduate with their high school diploma and up to 60 credit hours, potentially earning their associate degree, according to a district spokesman.

Vistatech facility now open at Schoolcraft College

 The $11 million renovation of the Vistatech Center at Schoolcraft College provides an area where students and community members can gather to eat, work, play, learn and do business together, a college spokesman said. 

The center now provides a technology-rich venue for business gatherings, corporate events, dynamic learning, cutting-edge training, and culinary arts education - a first-of-its-kind in higher education, a college official said. 

"The Vistatech Center embodies Schoolcraft's vision of pushing boundaries and embracing innovation," said Dr. Glenn Cerny, president of Schoolcraft College. "This architectural marvel is not just a space, but a force that will drive our community toward a brighter future." 

Designed not just for students and faculty at Schoolcraft College but also as a resource for area residents,the Vistatech Center is the hub of the Schoolcraft culinary school and the site of master chef exams offered in the United States. 

Central to the revamp are three culinary establishments: American Harvest Restaurant, Main Street Café and The Craft Grille, where students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by working under the supervision of talented chefs within the culinary department. 

Voters will select new mayor, 4 councilmembers

Next Tuesday, voters in Westland will choose a new mayor, the first in nearly 20 years.

Current interim Mayor Mike Londeau and State Rep. Kevin Coleman, D-Westland, are vying for the four-year position which pays $121,574 annually. The two were selected from a field of six hopefuls in an August primary election.

Coleman, 40, served on the Westland City Council, the veteran's association and the Westland festival committee, prior to his election to state office. Coleman was defeated by former Mayor William Wild in his first bid for the top job in the city.  If Coleman is elected, a special election to fill his unexpired term as the representative from the 25th District would be necessary. 

History lessons

Members of the Noon Plymouth Rotary Club learned more about the history of their club last week as they participated in the Plymouth Historical Museum Cemetery Ghost Walk. Among those learning more about several charter members of the club were Eric Joy, June Kirchgatter, City Manager Paul Sincock and Warren Musson. The Rotary Club donated several headstones to mark the graves of the charter members of the club. This was the first of several events scheduled to mark the 100th anniversary of the Rotary  club in Plymouth.

Township Leisure Services Department honored

Canton Township Leisure Services staff members accept the CAPRA
Re-Accreditation Award at the NRPA national conference in Dallas, TX. 
 Accepting the honor is, from left, Jon LaFever, Community Development
Director; Jeanette Aiello, Project & Operations Supervisor; Greg Hohenberger,
Canton Leisure Services Director; Laura Mortier, Recreation Supervisor
and the recipient of the 2023 Robert W. Crawford Young Professional
Award from the National Recreation and Park Association.
Photo courtesy of Caught in the Moment and the
National Recreation and Park Association. 
Canton Leisure Services has again recognized for excellence in the field of parks and recreation management. The department received re-accreditation Oct. 11 and remains one of only 206 agencies in the country currently holding national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).  In addition, Laura Mortier, Canton Leisure Services recreation supervisor, CPRP, was presented with the 2023 Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). 

Annual Salute to Services recognition set for Nov. 10

The annual special celebration honoring all veterans, living and deceased, and especially those active-duty military men and women who are currently serving in faraway places will take place just prior to Veterans Day in Canton Township.

Canton Club 55+ members and The Village Theater at Cherry Hill officials are partnering to honor area service men and women who have served or who are currently serving in the armed forces. The Nov. 10 free event will feature a special program that will take place on the main stage of the theater. Featured presenters include Canton Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak and informational veterans' speakers, as well as a special performance by the 338th Army Band.