Thursday, December 28, 2023

Romulus is named as ecities ‘Honored Community’

The City of Romulus has been named a 2023 eCities Honored Community for successes and efforts in contributing to growth in Michigan. The designation was given as part of the annual eCities study, conducted by iLabs, the University of Michigan-Dearborn Office of Engagement and Impact. The four other honored communities are the cities of Eastpointe, Lansing, Royal Oak, and the Charter Township of Delta. 

“The recognition by UM's iLabs is validation that our team and city are on the right track. Where we have received four and five star certifications prior, the increased distinction as an “honored community” is a re-affirming compliment,” said Romulus Mayor Robert A. McCraight.

Coolest event ever…

2024 Plymouth Ice Festival set for downtown Feb. 2, 3, and 4

One of the most highly anticipated events of the year, the 2024 Plymouth Ice Festival, presented by Michigan First Credit Union, is set to transform downtown Plymouth into a winter wonderland, organizers said.  This year, Michigan First Credit Union will be the presenting sponsor of the event which annually draws nearly 20,000 visitors into downtown Plymouth.

Highlights of the event this year will feature the stars of the event, the spectacular ice sculptures. Producer James Gietzen of JAG Entertainment said smaller sculptures will be displayed at local businesses while the larger artworks will be installed at Kellogg Park.

Plan for ‘Gateway Project’ presented to council

Representatives from OHM Advisors presented the final concept plan for the Ford Field Park Accessible Gateway project to city council members during a recent meeting.

The representatives requested input from the council members regarding the entrance which is proposed to be constructed north of the gateway plaza with brick pillars and wrought-iron fencing along the Hutton Street sidewalk. The Americans With Disabilities compliant sidewalk will lead from the plaza overlook to the ramp entrance. 

Council members recommended using a less expensive gateway feature then the obelisk which was priced at $75,000 and less expensive fencing. Council members also noted that stadium seating is buried under the plaza location and helps stabilize the banked area. The next step in the process will be finalizing the design and using engineering services to prepare a bid for project construction, officials said.  

Wet work

The Department of Public Works in Northville Township was recently recognized by township officials during Water and Wastewater Professional Workforce Week earlier this month. The recognition was part of the statewide effort to acknowledge the crucial role of water in the well-being of all state residents. In a statement posted on social media, township officials said, "We acknowledge the crucial role of water in our lives and express our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated professionals who ensure our water remains a precious resource for generations to come. Our DPW performs tasks such as water and sewer maintenance, water testing and education to ensure we have safe, reliable public water and sewer service." 

Taking the lead

Corey Nicoloff has been named as operations leader for the Northville Township Public Works Department. Nicoloff, who started with the department in 2013, has earned an S-1 license and is a  graduate of Michigan Public Service Institute. In this newly-defined role, Nicoloff will spearhead the township public works team, overseeing the execution of assigned responsibilities. As operations leader, he will assist in planning, coordinating and assigning duties for the day-to-day operations, ensuring a seamless and efficient workflow, according to township officials. 

Park trail marking new under way

Northville officials welcomed representatives from the Rock Solid Trail Contracting, LLC. team to Legacy Park earlier this month.

The survey and mapping for the first phase of trail construction is now under way, officials said and as part of this process, some trees may be marked with orange and red/white striped flags. These flags are for geographical reference and do not indicate that any trees will be removed, officials said. 

Ford Road reconstruction project set to begin

Drivers using Ford Road next year will find a long-sought construction effort under way in response to the exceptional number of reported vehicle crashes along the highly trafficked roadway.

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials revealed the construction timeline of the recently approved project which will include the temporary widening along Ford Road. Officials said the construction was prompted by the number of crashes at Ford Road intersections which exceed the Michigan average by as much as 186 percent in some areas. While officials refused to set an exact date for construction to begin, they announced the project would begin “in early 2024.” 

Kettle campaign

Members of the Canton Police Department were on the job throughout the community recently as they volunteered to help the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. The 2023 Red Kettle goal has been set at $7.9 million for Metro Detroit. The theme of the effort this year, Love Beyond Christmas, is a reminder, officials said, of the help needed by the most vulnerable all year long. The Christmas Red Kettle Campaign provides shelter, meals and gifts to the less fortunate during the holiday season through the volunteer efforts like those of the Canton Township officers, officials said. The bell ringing campaign ended on Christmas Eve.

Warren Road ‘Underground Railroad’ house demolished

The historic two-story, red brick house at the corner of Warren and Morton Taylor roads in Canton Township was demolished last week and the last of the remains hauled from the site.

The 150-year-old home was a popular topic with Civil War history fans who suggested the house was a stop along the Underground Railroad used by runaway slaves fleeing the southern states and attempting to get to Canada. 

Donations for planned pickleball project sought

Local pickleball enthusiast Mark Malcolm is continuing his efforts to construct public courts for the game at the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex in Plymouth (PARC).

Malcolm, vice-president of PARC, recently launched a fundraising campaign to generate the matching funds necessary for a state grant to help fund the construction of four outdoor courts on property already owned by PARC.

Land for the courts has already been donated by PARC and by Dec. 16, $37,935 had been donated toward the $50,000 needed to match the state funding.

Miracle workers

Officers from both the Plymouth Township and Plymouth police departments again participated in their annual "No Shave November" Community Outreach Fundraiser this year. Each member of the department was given the opportunity to have a beard during November / December for a charitable donation. The donations were collected from officers and staff from both departments. Township Police Chief James Knittel, City Chief Al Cox and officers from each department presented the check to The Miracle League of Plymouth Executive Director Stacey Diefenbach for $2,150. 

Church choir member suffers burns

The final performance of “The Glory of Christmas” concert at NorthRidge Church earlier this month left a woman hospitalized with burns over 30 percent of her body, officials said.

According to fire department reports, first responders were called to the church at about 9 p.m. Dec. 7 to treat a woman severely burned when her choir robe caught fire during a performance. Officials said a misplaced candle  ignited the choir robe when the woman brushed against the flame. The victim remains hospitalized with “pretty significant burn injuries” after being transported to a University of Michigan facility.

Romulus gas station accused of price gouging

Operators of the BP gas station on Middlebelt Road in Romulus have until Jan. 8 to respond to a cease-and-desist notice from the office of State Attorney General Dana Nessel alleging overcharging of customers.

The notice, issued last week, alleges that the station near Detroit Metro Airport was charging $1.50 per gallon more than nearby competitors. “The Attorney General's Office has now probable cause to believe the gas station unfairly overcharged consumers more than the typical price for its services in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act,” the notice read.

Shopping trip

Several children were “arrested” earlier this month as officers from the Romulus Police Department escorted them on the annual Shop with a Cop event. The children and officers searched for perfect gifts for family members at the Walmart in Belleville, where staff members welcomed the students.

SMART bus routes expanded

Traveling to some destinations in Romulus will become easier beginning Jan. 8 when SMART begins new stops in the community.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 8, route 280 Western Wayne will be serving new stops in the downtown Romulus area on weekdays. New key destinations include Romulus Public Library, 34th District Court, Wellesley Apartments, Metro Charter Academy, Romulus High School, Concentra Urgent Care, and Metro Airport Center. 

Art entries being accepted by city

The City of Romulus Arts Council is seeking high quality images from artists and photographers for a permanent outdoor public art installation in June 2024. This year, the theme is "Acts of Community Service through Art." The Top Three Artists will win Cash Prizes.

The top prize for first place is $1,000, officials said, while second place will receive a $500 award and the third place winner will receive $250. As many as eight additional artists will receive $50 as winners of honorable mention awards and have their work reproduced and displayed downtown in Romulus. There is an entry fee of $25 for three images.

Westland is awarded ‘Safe Streets’ federal grant

Wayne, Westland, Garden City, and Inkster have each been awarded $192,000 in federal grant funding to develop and join the Safe Streets for All plan. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced $817 million from President Joe Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for 385 Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grants. 

The SS4A program grants go directly to regional, local, and tribal communities for implementation, planning, and demonstration projects driven at the local level to improve safety and help prevent deaths and serious injuries on national roadways. The funds will help communities in the development of road safety action plans and improve unsafe roadway corridors by implementing effective interventions, officials said. 


Members of the Wayne City Council honored retiring Building and Engineering Director Mike Buiten and Department of Public Works Assistant Director Ed Queen. Buiten began his career with the City of Wayne in 1998 and Assistant Director Queen began his career with the City of Wayne in 1996. Both will officially retire Dec. 31. When presenting them with retirement plaques, Interim City Manager Ryan Strong commented, “Ed and Mike exemplify the term public servant. They both care deeply about this city and helping the folks who live and work here. They will be missed.”

Heroic helpers

Members of the Inkster and Dearborn Heights police departments joined forces earlier this month with a local Target store for a special shopping trip to Target. Selected families from the City of Inkster were accompanied by an officer as they shopped for Christmas gifts. The trip was part of the Heroes & Helpers program which brought each of the families to the store in a parade of police vehicles with flashing lights.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Plymouth racetrack plan continues to prompt protests

A plan to bring a harness racing track to Plymouth Township continues to meet objections from the public and recently from the director of a new group called the Economic Development Responsibility Alliance (EDRA) of Michigan.

Marjorie Steele, the founder and executive director of the group, recently issued a statement noting that local residents continue to protest the plan to move Northville Downs harness track from the current location in downtown Northville to a 128-acre parcel of land near the intersection of Five Mile and Ridge roads in Plymouth Township. Plans for the new track were approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) by members of the planning commission in February. That approval expires in February of 2024.

Sounds of the season

The traditional Noon Rotary Club Holiday Concert took place at the Plymouth Community Center last week in front of nearly 300 guests. More than 60 students from the vocal and orchestral music programs at the Plymouth Community Educational Park performed songs and instrumental favorites of the season. Vocal presentations were under the direction of Jennifer Neumann while Michael Edwards conducted the orchestra musicians. A special rendition of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus was under the direction of guest conductor John Stewart. Stewart reminded the audience that the music programs had been rebuilt at the schools by Newmann and Edwards following COVID and explained that the performance was of a quality far beyond the high-school level.

Area mourns death of Councilwoman Eva Webb

Councilwoman Eva Webb
The Romulus community is mourning the death of City Councilwoman Eva Webb, 75, who died Dec. 15, 2023 after a hard-fought health battle. 

Calling the City of Romulus home since 1972, Mrs. Webb served on countless boards commissions and volunteer organizations always focused on helping others and moving her community forward, city officials recalled.    

Mrs. Webb's career encompassed various roles, including service as a City of Romulus employee in the Building Department beginning in 1996, moving to the position of Administrative Assistant to the City Clerk and then appointed Deputy City Clerk in 2001, a role she held until her retirement in 2009.  

Cemetery wreath ceremony pays tribute to veterans

The Wreaths Across America ceremony at Memorial Cemetery in Romulus was a moving tribute to those men and women who have served their country.

The event, brought to the community by Mayor Robert A. McCraight, was especially significant to him as a member of a military family. Service members have been a passion of the mayor for decades. He is the co-founder of the Romulus Veterans Outreach Coalition, which focuses on service projects for Romulus veterans, and supports other organizations and programs for combat veterans suffering from PTSD. McCraight has also been awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Distinguished Service Award for his efforts to acknowledge and honor those who serve in all branches of the military.

Inkster students enjoy early Christmas celebration

Students at David Hicks Elementary School in Inkster received a special holiday visit last week when more than 3,000 gifts worth more than $40,000 were waiting for them after their lunch break.

School Principal Amy Gee said she was moved to tears by the generosity of students from Walled Lake Northern High School. The gifts to the Inkster students were part of the annual gift drive of students, families and staff members. The school student leadership team chose the 430 students at the Helen Street elementary school in Inkster to receive the gifts this year. 

Checking it twice

Sumpter Township Police Officers Nicholas Johnson and Nelson Hammons weren't taking any risks during the annual Township Children's Party at the Sumpter Community Center earlier this month. Despite the red suit and beard, the officers thoroughly checked the identification of the man claiming to be Santa, just to ensure the children got to visit with the authentic Father Christmas. The event was attended by a record crowd this year, organizers said, and children received gifts and Christmas treat bags provided by the Sumpter Parks and Recreation Commission.

Alert system is changed

The service used by several Sumpter Township residents to receive public safety alerts will cease Dec. 31, township police officials said.

Sumpter Township Police are now using the new Public Crime Search application as part of the township consortium membership in the Oakland County CLEMIS (Court and Law Enforcement Management Information System).

Public Crime Search is a free web-based program that allows residents to map out reported and verified criminal activity, select specific crime types and date ranges, and generate reports for specific areas. Users can choose 16+ different types of crimes, officials noted.

Major upgrades planned at Canton Sports Center

Canton Sports Center, a popular sports destination for local softball/baseball leagues and national tournaments in the Metro Detroit area, is set to undergo several significant renovations in early 2024.

The facility, located in Victory Park in Canton Township, will be upgraded in 2024 with a new state-of-the-art LED lighting system, that will improve on-field lighting and visibility in the 12 softball fields, as well as reduce energy consumption and enhance the overall experience for players and spectators, officials said. This project, which is currently in progress, is scheduled to be completed in April 2024 by the opening day of the 2024 spring season. 

Summit Aquatic Center reopens following major renovations

While a grand re-opening of the Summit Aquatic Center is planned for Jan. 5, the five-lane pool was quietly opened for lap swimming as the $2.4 million in renovations to the facility are completed.

The construction project included tile replacement in all pools, including the lap pool and family pool, as well as on the pool decks, officials said. Tile was also replaced in the spa and sauna, as well as in the men's, women's, family, and inclusive locker rooms.  Further enhancements include the addition of a colorful 6-foot tall Gum Drop water feature, as well as the painting of the pool deck roof.  Summit members and guests will now be able to access only the lap pool from 6 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Warm wishes

The Canton Township Police Department winter clothing drive collected a van stuffed with cold weather wear. The donations were recently collected at the Canton Meijer and officers said the generous donations would provide the gift of warmth for many children and families during the winter. Canton officers distributed the donated items at Open Door Ministries last week during the weekly food distribution. More than 460 families were served as part of the effort. Officers posted a note of thanks on social media to all those who contributed to the effort.

Citizen of the Year nominations being accepted

Northville residents have only until Jan. 1 to nominate candidates for the annual John Genitti Citizen of the Year award.

Each year, the Northville community celebrates the dedication and commitment of community members who give their time, energy, and talent to make Northville a special place to live, work, and play, said a spokesman from the Northville Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event.

Each year since 1976, a citizen has been recognized with the Citizen of the Year award. In 2014, the award was designated the “John Genitti Citizen of the Year Award,” in honor of local resident and businessman John Genitti.

Northville offering discounted dog licenses until Dec. 31

Northville Township residents looking for that special holiday gift for the family pet might consider the purchase of the required 2024 dog license currently discounted to $5.

The discounted rate will be available until Dec. 31. After that date, the license renewal fee will be $7, while only new licenses will be at the $5 rate. Licenses can be purchased in person at township hall, 44405 Six Mile Road and require proof of a current rabies vaccination certificate signed by an accredited veterinarian. Payment for license fees must be in cash or check, officials said.

Meet the champs

The Wayne Memorial 2023 varsity boys bowling team won the state championship last May and received their championship rings and school banner last week. The team members Jeremiah Hodge, Elliot Hill, Davin Raisanen, Mark-Vincent Wells, Santray Trottier, Kyle Webster, and Donovan Uselman celebrated with Coach Christine Day. “I cannot say enough good things about these young men,” Day said immediately after the championship games. It was the best ending to a fantastic season,” she added.

Acts of kindness

The Compassion Project at the Westland City Council meeting Dec. 4 introduced three outstanding students from three different elementary schools in the Wayne-Westland district. Each child was chosen for this award based on random acts of kindness they implemented toward classmates, teachers, and/or classroom. Liam Bejarano from Edison Elementary surprised his teacher with her favorite candy while Sophia Bell-Esparza from Elliott Elementary was recognized for the help she provided in the lunchroom at her school.

Warm wishes

Kristi Nimsgern, at left, a member of the Westland Rotary Club, and her fellow Rotarians have adopted a family this year through the Wayne-Westland Salvation Army. Corps Pastor/ Administrator Andrew Barylski, at right, said about 750 area children are getting help this year with toys and clothing, including warm coats. Barylski is also a Westland Rotarian. The Wayne-Westland Salvation Army serves Wayne, Westland, Romulus, Inkster and New Boston.

Special delivery

School staff members, Whiteline Express deliver holiday meals

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools partnered with a local business to help spread some holiday cheer to dozens of families. 

The school district and Whiteline Express, a trucking company in Plymouth, distributed turkeys and all the sides to families with students in district schools from Dec. 19 through today, Dec. 21. Part of a years-long partnership, Whiteline contributes the food while school district staff members deliver it.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

FCC approves drone airspace expansion in Romulus

It isn't exactly Star Wars yet, but the future of specific airspace use and drone delivery service is now possible in the City of Romulus.

Romulus Director of Community Safety and Development Kevin Krause received official approval last week from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a significant expansion of drone airspace near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, located in the city. The FAA implementation of the proposed changes to the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) grid ceilings near DTW has now considerably expanded airspace accessibility. 

The new grid ceiling enables drone operators to receive immediate flight authorizations, enhancing community access to the airspace. This update has modified 22 percent of the flight grids from zero to a minimum of 5-foot ceilings, improving accessibility across 13.92 square miles of the city. This change affects more than 32 percent of Romulus, Krause explained, primarily in commercial and residential areas, positively impacting more than 5,500 Romulus residents.   

Safety first

Annual Plymouth safety awards presented by Noon Rotary Club

As has been the custom for decades, members of the Noon Rotary Club of Plymouth presented the annual public safety awards to first responders in both the city and township.

Emceed by City Manager Paul Sincock, each of the individuals was lauded for exemplary performance of their duties during the past year.

From HVA, Senior Paramedic John Natiw, introduced by Karl Rock, was named as the paramedic of the year.

Plymouth Township Firefighter Matthew Zmuda, introduced by Fire Chief Patrick Conely, received the Firefighter of the Year award from the township.

School district delays decision on privatization of buses

Members of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools Board of Education have issued a statement postponing a proposal to privatize transportation services in the district. A vote on the proposal was scheduled for the Dec. 18 meeting of the board members.

Since a $17 million budget deficit was discovered by auditors last month, 39 part- and full-time employees have been laid off, effective in January. In an attempt to maintain staffing levels, and “right-size” district financing, some jobs have been reclassified, officials said, to qualify for grant funding.

The deficit is so severe, the State of Michigan could step in and take control of the schools in an attempt to control day-to-day operation of the district which currently has about 1,600 employees charged with educating 9,800 students. 

Students seeking historic photos, speaker for project

Students at Wick Elementary School in Romulus are preparing for a trip into the past during a special celebration Dec. 20.

The 6th grade STEAM Academy is seeking local heroes and friends in the community to help provide information for a current research-based project focusing on the history, culture, and the people who make up Romulus.

The class is hosting guest panels of long-established community members to speak to the students about what brought families to Romulus. The purpose is to provide students with a  deeper level of understanding as to how the community came to be, as well as how and why things have changed, organizers said. 

The students would like to have a mix of community members to make up a panel of historians who will share their experiences. The students believe that the adults would feel less pressure if the guests were part of a panel, they could hear experiences from different perspectives, organizers noted. 

Person of the Year is sought

Romulus residents have only until tomorrow, Dec. 15, to nominate a candidate as the 37th Annual Person of the Year.

A committee named by the Greater Romulus Chamber of Commerce will review the nominations and announce their selection in January. An award ceremony will take place honoring the awardee in the spring of 2024, officials said.

Criteria for nominations require that those suggested for the honor are individuals who have made significant contributions to Romulus and city residents. A biographical synopsis should be provided stating reasons the nominee should be honored as the Person of the Year. 

Gunfire leads to arrest of 3

Jason Marqavis Smith
Gunfire erupted during an attempted escape from the scene of an assault and robbery in Canton Township last week. Three suspects were arrested when the car in which they were fleeing crashed into a ditch adjacent to Michigan Avenue. 

According to police reports, the victim met with the assailants at a Michigan Avenue credit union to complete a sale at about 1 p.m. Dec. 1. According to a press release, the victim was assaulted and robbed at gun point and the three suspects then fled the scene with the victim in pursuit. During the vehicle chase, “shots were fired by the suspects as both vehicles were traveling along Michigan Avenue.”

Following the gunfire, the vehicle in which the suspects were fleeing crashed into a ditch and the suspects attempted to leave the scene.  Canton Township police officers were nearby and three suspects were immediately arrested.

Life lessons

Students in the Plymouth Canton Community Schools district are now MI HEARTSafe certified and Canton Fire Department responders were on scene to assist with the first cardiac arrest drill at Liberty Middle School last week. Canton fire officials said this is a "huge achievement for the school district and the fire department is honored to participate in their success." There are more than 350,000 sudden cardiac arrests per year and bystander intervention is key to survival, according to national statistics. The Plymouth Canton Community Schools students are now trained and equipped to provide this life saving care prior to EMS arrival.

Elks Lodge moved to renovated hall

As the former site of the Plymouth-Ann Arbor Elks Lodge 325 on Ann Arbor Road has been leveled in preparation for the construction of homes, the new headquarters of the group on Ann Arbor Trail is a testament to the determination of the members.

The newly renovated 4,000 square foot lodge is in the former Airgas store at 110 Ann Arbor Trail. Lodge President Charley Dawson said he is proud of the new hall and the renovations made to the building. He said the new headquarters is a great place for the members to socialize and have meetings. The remodeling took nearly two years to complete. 

Class act

Keystone Academy students are accustomed to seeing officers from the Sumpter Township Police Department in the halls of the school building. School administrators said Sumpter Township Public Safety Director/Police Chief Eric Luke requires each officer to visit the school during their shift and walk through the building to ensure the safety of the students. “Their constant presence not only brings comfort and  peace of mind, but it puts smiles on our students' faces,” school officials said.

Council hears plan for Ford Field renovations

The vision for Ford Field park in Northville has been revealed in a 35-page master plan developed by consulting firm Wade Trim. The plan defines the way the east and west sides of the park, separated by Griswold, would be linked amid improvements to each side. 

The plan includes the expansion of a pathway that currently borders the west side to connect to the east side which would enable people to traverse the parks and emerge from either side to other areas of the city. Proposed new signage and a trail map that defines the connecting pathways would help unify the two parks, the consultants noted. In addition, a more visible pedestrian/bicycle crossing across Griswold, just north of Main Street, would provide enhanced safety for people going between the two sections of Ford Field. This goal of connectivity could take several years to achieve, the study noted.

New mayor selected to attend Harvard program

Mayor Kevin Coleman
Newly-elected Westland Mayor Kevin Coleman has been selected to participate in the  Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University Program for New Mayors: First 100 Days program.

Coleman was one of only 27 mayors across the country selected to attend the program which is delivered in collaboration with the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. As a participant in the Program for New Mayors, Coleman will experience world-class training from Harvard faculty, urban innovation and management experts and other mayors on how to set strategic citywide priorities, build effective city hall organizations, and deliver for residents, according to information released by the city. The new class of the Program for New Mayors includes officials from 21 states and represents more than 9.5 million residents nationwide.

Winning ways

Members of the Three Cities Art Club recognized recent exhibition winners during a public reception at the Westland Gallery in City Hall. First place in the photography category was awarded to Lawerence Hamilton for his artwork “Crosswalk,” while second place honors went to Allen Brooks for “Golden Age of Industry. The third-place award went to John Middlestead for “Boneyard Pastel Sunset.” Honorable mentions went to Cheryl Ann Boc-Chidester for “Vines of Gaudi,” and Terri Haranczak for “Old Truck.” (Fuzzy Dice).

Top dog

The City of Wayne Police Department welcomed a new recruit last week with the arrival of K9 Tanner. The newest member of the department is partnered with Ofc. Ryan Caprathe. Tanner joined the department for on-the-job training in September and is now a full-fledged officer. The German Shepherd was born in Germany last May and he and Caprathe have completed three months of training that included tracking, evidence searching, narcotic detection, building searches, suspect apprehension, and obedience. The extensive training process allowed the new partners to bond and develop the necessary skills, officials said. Police Chief Ryan Strong said, “I am thrilled to have Tanner join our department. Officer Caprathe and K9 Tanner have worked very hard to complete their initial training. I appreciate their hard work and dedication to the program. I am proud to bring the K9 program back to the Wayne Police Department.”

Suspect to face charges in assault of Inkster woman

Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Brandon Mitchell Kolc, 29, of Rockwood, in connection with the assault of a 27-year-old Inkster woman. 

Michigan State Police Troopers were dispatched at about 9:15 a.m. Nov. 28 to a rest area off of westbound I-94 in Van Buren Township for a reported assault. When officers arrived at the scene, they observed the Inkster woman suffering from multiple wounds to her face and neck. Medics arrived on the scene and transported the victim to a local hospital for treatment, according to the prosecutor's office. 

Prosecutors allege a verbal altercation between t

Fired up

State Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and members of the Inkster community celebrated the passage of HB4292 earlier this month with a ceremonial debt burning. The bill wipes out a $12 million debt owed by the former Inkster School District which would have been passed on to local taxpayers. Polehanki was one of the sponsors of the bill and joined officials at the site of the old Inkster High School at Middlebelt and Beech Street to celebrate.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

5 seeking unexpired state representative term

Two elections will determine the new State House Representative from the 25th District.

Former representative Kevin Coleman, a democrat, resigned the state office following his successful campaign to become mayor of Westland. The 25th District encompasses the City of Wayne and portions of Canton Township and Westland.

The lone republican seeking to complete Coleman's term, Josh Powell, is unopposed in the primary election set for Tuesday, Jan. 30. As the only republican on the ballot, Powell will face the winning democratic candidate in the election set for  April 16 to fill the term which expires at the end of next year.  Powell is a Westland resident who has been unsuccessful in several campaigns for a city council seat.

Living and Learning

$15,000 grant will help fund programs for disabled youth

Large white house
Living and Learning Enrichment Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities, has received a $15,000 grant from the Wendell and Doris Rogers Foundation (WDRF) for the second consecutive year. The contribution will support the essential operations of the organization, officials said.

The Wendell and Doris Rogers Foundation, known for its commitment to enhancing the lives of veterans and their families, at-risk youth, and youth with disabilities, continues to be a beacon of hope and support for communities in need, center officials said. 

Mistletoe Market and Christmas in Plymouth will begin today

Mistletoe Market begins today in downtown Plymouth as part of the highly anticipated Christmas in Plymouth celebration. 

The popular Christmas in Plymouth event will take place today and continue tomorrow with horse drawn carriage rides, special decorations, sales, carolers and holiday entertainment. The popular Mistletoe Market Craft show will be open from 4 until 9 p.m. today, Thursday, and from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 8. The market takes place at The Gathering, 760 Penniman Ave., across from Kellogg Park, near the Penn Theatre

Parks and recreation senior services supervisor named

Debbie Giulianelli-Smith 
Debbie Giulianelli-Smith has been named as the new Northville Parks & Recreation Senior Services Supervisor. 

Giulianelli-Smith has had a long relationship with Northville Parks & Recreation before her Oct. 30 start date. She and her family are longtime patrons of various Northville recreation programs, she said. Her two sons, now college-age, learned to swim through Northville Parks & Recreation classes and she discovered how to make wire-wrapped jewelry about 15 years ago. While she and her family live in Farmington Hills, she has a Northville address. 

Giulianelli-Smith said she is excited to take the reins and lead in these familiar services. She previously worked at the City of Farmington Hills Senior Division since 2018, most recently as Senior Adult Programmer. 

“Here, my immediate goal is to build our program up with extended activities through the afternoon,” Giulianelli-Smith said. “It's primarily a morning senior center and we will transition to more afternoon activities in 2024.” 

Rolling along

The Northville Township Public Safety Department had a temporary recruit last week when Alyssa Benvenuti, a graduate student at Madonna University joined both the police and fire department for 12-hour shifts including a ride-along. She completed the first-hand experience as part of her class program and rode for 12-hours with the Northville Township Fire Department and another with the Northville Township Police Department.

Cobras proposed as replacement for Chief mascot

The Canton Cobras may be the future while the Canton Chiefs will remain part of the history of the Canton High School.

While protests from parents and alumni have accompanied the effort to change the Canton Chiefs mascot and logo, members of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education heard the first reading of an official name change during their meeting last month. If board members agree with the proposed change, it could be formally adopted following a second public reading.

The change was first proposed by a group of students who argued that the Chiefs could be interpreted by other students as racially biased. After more than a year, and a second effort by students to have the name changed, members of the board agreed to retire the Canton High School Chief mascot and logo. The 6-1 vote of the board members resulted in an ongoing recall effort against those members who voted in favor of the change.

Back to the future

When Rotary District Governor Russ Jones paid a visit to his home club last month, he was treated to a special ride in club member Jan Eisen's vintage Delorean. During Jones' visit, several new members were inducted into the club as the group prepares for the 100th anniversary of Rotary. 

Former Wayne City Councilman takes plea deal

Christopher Sanders
Former Wayne City Councilman Christopher Sanders, 54, will serve two years on probation after pleading guilty to a single charge of attempted false report of a felony in a plea deal with Wayne County prosecutors.

In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of false report of a felony and conspiracy to commit false report of a felony were dismissed by the court. During an Oct. 30 hearing before Judge Donald Knapp in Third District Court, Sanders admitted his guilt on the court record. If he had been convicted during a jury trial, sentencing guidelines dictate  a minimum 2 years in prison and a $2,000 fine on one charge with a maximum prison sentence of 4 years. While Sanders had consistently rejected any plea deal, during the court hearing Prosecutor Matthew Penney said he would seek the maximum prison time possible should the case go to a jury trial.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges of obstruction of justice against Sanders alleged in an April 27 incident. Sanders was represented by attorney Jeffrey McCarthy.

Random kindness

The Compassion Project at the Westland City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 6 introduced three outstanding students from three different elementary schools. Each child was chosen for this award because of the random acts of kindness they all implemented towards their classmates, teachers, and/or classroom. Kaleb Eikenberg from Wildwood Elementary School demonstrated a random act of kindness was when he helped a classmate with a math puzzle.

Education foundation provides grant funding to teachers

Julie Brown - Special Writer

Brandi Smith sees inequities among area school districts in classroom funding. It is her job to help address that situation.

“It's such a foundation of what a community is,” the Canton Township resident said of school districts. Since this past January, her focus has been the Wayne-Westland Foundation for the Improvement of Instruction. Both a golf outing and a wine event draw business support, allowing the foundation to distribute grants to Wayne-Westland teachers for classroom use. One example? Tablets for kids who can't communicate.

“That is really just giving students greater opportunity,” the foundation executive director said of the $15,000 in grants awarded last spring. “I feel like this next year is going to continue to grow. It made me so excited and proud..”

Chamber seeking 2023 Person of the Year

Romulus residents have only until Dec. 15 to nominate a candidate as the 37th Annual Person of the Year.

A committee named by the Greater Romulus Chamber of Commerce will review the nominations and announce their selection in January. An award ceremony will take place honoring the awardee in the spring of 2024, officials said.

Criteria for nominations require that those suggested for the honor are individuals who have made significant contributions to Romulus and city residents. A biographical synopsis should be provided stating reasons the nominee should be honored as the Person of the Year. 

Artists’ entries for downtown exhibit are sought

The City of Romulus Arts Council is seeking high quality images from artists and photographers for a permanent outdoor public art installation in June 2024. This year, the theme is "Acts of Community Service through Art." The Top Three Artists will win Cash Prizes.

The top prize for first place is $1,000, officials said, while second place will receive a $500 award and the third place winner will receive $250. As many as eight additional artists will receive $50 as winners of honorable mention awards and have their work reproduced and displayed downtown in Romulus. There is a an entry fee of $25 for three images.

Volunteers needed to help place wreaths for ceremony

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 outreach in their communities. The national nonprofit theme for 2023 is "Serve and Succeed."

Volunteers to help place the wreaths are still needed, a VFW spokesman said.

The Dec. 16 event in Romulus will be free and open to the public.

On the job

Three new officers recently joined the Romulus Police Department and were welcomed by Mayor Robert McCraight, third from left, and  Police Chief Richard Pfannes. The new officers are recent police academy graduates and will now complete field training with an experienced Romulus officer. Joining the force are, from left, Christian Otter, Nathaniel Sims and Marcus Matheson.

Sumpter strays to be cared for by Brownstown Animal Shelter

Stray dogs found in Sumpter Township will be cared for by the Brownstown Township Animal Shelter along with the Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue.

Neither facility, according to Sumpter Township Director of Public Safety/Police Chief Eric Luke, has the capacity to care for the 50 or so stray dogs annually picked up by officers in the township.

Luke told the members of the township board of trustees during the Nov. 14 meeting that the number of stray dogs has put some stress on the capacity at the FMAR shelter. Pets adopted during COVID when people expected to work from home for the duration of their careers are being returned to shelters as people return to offices and are unable to care for the animals.

“We'll work through it,” Luke told the trustees. 

Man sentenced to life in prison following fatal stabbing of senior

An Inkster man has been sentenced to life in prison for the fatal stabbing of a 60-year-old Inkster man last year.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Edward Barnes, 47, of Inkster, in connection with the fatal stabbing of Carles Randall Tye, 60, also of Inkster. Barnes was found guilty during a bench trial before Third Circuit Court Judge Bradley L. Cobb and sentenced to life in prison.

Court documents alleged that at approximately 9:17 p.m. May 14, 2022, Inkster police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 30050 block of Annapolis Circle in Inkster for a reported stabbing. Upon their arrival, officers located the victim in the kitchen with a kitchen knife in his upper left abdomen. Medics arrived on scene and pronounced to victim deceased, according to police reports.

Suspect to face trial following recovery from 7 wounds received in gun battle

A Westland man will face trial on seven charges including torture and domestic violence following his recovery from seven bullet wounds he received in a separate Inkster incident.

Dekenta Reshard Parchman, 31, will face the charges during a jury trial set for April 15. Among the charges are the torture of a woman July 23 in the Parkwood Apartments in Van Buren Township and a separate charge of domestic violence in Romulus on Jan. 25, 2022. He is also accused of criminal sexual conduct, first degree with personal injury; assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder; unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle; two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and aggravated domestic violence.