Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Mother faces murder charge in beating death


A 30-year-old Wayne woman has been charged with first-degree child abuse and felony murder in the death of her 8-year-old daughter.

Chelsea Renee Duperon, 30, is accused of inflicting the head and neck injuries that resulted in the death of her child. A not guilty plea was entered for her during a court 

hearing last week. She was remanded to police custody without bail due to the severity of the charges and a danger to the community, according to court records.

The charges stem from an incident reported at about 5:30 a.m. March 16 when Wayne police officers were dispatched to a home in the 35000 block of 

Phyllis Street near Wayne Road and Michigan Avenue in response to a 911 call. 

The caller told dispatchers that an 8-year-old child had fallen down the stairs and was not breathing.

When officers arrived on the scene they found the unresponsive 8-year-old in a bedroom with severe head and neck injuries. Duperon told officers her daughter had fallen down the stairs but when questioned about obvious swelling on her own hand, Duperon told officers that her daughter was possessed by spirits, according to police reports.

The Special Investigation Section of the Michigan State Police Second District was requested at 7:30 a.m. to take charge of the investigation.

Investigators interviewed Duperon’s boyfriend who said the child had been severely injured during the previous week and suffered serious injuries and swelling. Reportedly, Duperon purchased diapers for the injured child who could not get out of bed. The boyfriend told investigators he did not take the child to a hospital as he was not the father of the child.

According to a report from the Wayne County Coroner’s officer, the child might have survived with medical attention.

Taking care of business

 Plymouth Chamber of Commerce presents annual community awards

Last week, the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce hosted the Ninth Annual Business Awards Dinner to recognize 

outstanding companies for their contributions to the Plymouth 


The chamber honored several local businesses and presented a 

special recognition award to the Rotary Club of Plymouth along with a special community contribution award to the Plymouth Community Arts Council (PCAC).

Large Business of the Year awards were presented to Shaw 

Construction and Plymouth Physical Therapy Specialists while 

Ironwood Grill was named as the mid-size Business of the Year winner. Engraving Connection, Sun and Snow and the Makeup Loft were named as winners of the Small Business of the Year awards.

The Legacy Awards for 2024 were awarded to Kate Rosevear of Travel Leaders in Plymouth and Beth Stewart, director of the 

Michigan Philharmonic.

Rosevear has been part of the Plymouth community since 

starting a residential Real Estate career in 1969. She has started 

several businesses during her career. Following her marriage to 

Harlan  Rosevear in 1978, she opened Suncoast Investment Properties, and immediately joined the Plymouth Community Chamber of 

Commerce.  During her membership, she served on various chamber committees: membership, auction, and ambassadors. At her 

suggestion, the chamber instituted the Plymouth gift certificate 

program to help recruit small businesses. Chamber officials noted that the program remains the motivation for many small businesses to join the group.

Rosevear’s Travel Leaders which opened in 1985 is the longest-standing woman-owned business in Plymouth. Rosevear has served on various committees/organizations, including the Plymouth Ice Festival Board, Rotary Club of Plymouth AM, established a scholarship in honor of her mother, and many others.

Stewart and her husband, John, were diverted into Plymouth via a car accident on I-275 and decided to stay in the community. The couple raised their family and while John opened his law practice, Stewart became a foremost community leader for the arts and culture, preserving history in Plymouth.

Stewart has been involved in various organizations: a member of the Rotary Club of Plymouth AM where she twice served as president. She has been engaged in the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce, served on the Wayne County Arts Council Board, worked for the Plymouth Historical Museum, and in 2008 she became the Executive Director for the Michigan Philharmonic. Since her arrival, the orchestra has expanded from the local Plymouth Symphony to the prestigious regional Michigan Philharmonic. And has expanded children’s programs, and the Youth Orchestra; providing music education programs in local school districts.

Stewart was inducted into the Plymouth Hall of Fame in 2002 and last year named as the Spirit of Detroit Award winner and was the presented with the Ruth Houston Whipple Award.

The Special Recognition Award was awarded to the Rotary Club of Plymouth.

Founded in 1924, the Rotary Club of Plymouth is  the oldest largest service organization in Plymouth and will celebrate a century of service this year. Members are business and community leaders who work together to support community programs by providing student scholarships, park beautification, and provide financial support to multiple civic groups and services.  Many of their contributions are funded by the annual Rotary Chicken Barbeque which began in 1955 and now sells nearly 10,000 dinners annually.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the club is donating funds to WSDP 88.1 the PARC, Rotary Park, and Miracle League

In remembrance


Romulus officials recently 

celebrated the designation of the city as a Purple Heart 

Community. The designation as a Purple Heart City is an official recognition of those in military service who have been wounded or who have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat with a 

declared enemy of the United States of America. The Purple Heart is specifically a combat decoration and it is the oldest national military medal. It was first created by General George Washington in 1782 and was then known as the Badge of 

Military Merit.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Warm Welcome

 Sheetz breaks ground for first Michigan location

A large crowd of Romulus officials and residents celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony of a very welcome new neighbor last week.

Sheetz, a major restaurant, convenience chain and gas station officially began construction of the first store location in Michigan located at 33380 Wick Road near the intersection of Wick and Vining Road in the multi-million dollar 

Northpoint industrial/business complex under construction in Romulus.

“A little over a year ago I stepped in to my new role as Romulus Economic Development Director and within the first week we were told that the retailer that was going in at Wick and Vining had backed out. So we went to work with Northpoint the developers and sought out new candidates. We finally selected Sheetz,” Economic Development Director Kevin Krause posted on social media.

He congratulated the new retailer and noted this is the first Sheetz location in Michigan and that the company had donated a total of $30,000 to Michigan Special Olympics, Forgotten Harvest and The Romulus Library.

“These are the types of business we may spend more time finding, but are true community partners and the relationships will pay dividends for years to come,” Krause posted.

According to officials, Sheetz plans to open 50-60 stores in Michigan during the next 5-6 years, part of a $500 million 

investment. The new Romulus location is expected to open late this year, officials said.

     Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight welcomed the new business and 

expressed his hope for other retailers to follow in the city.

“Economic development is a marathon, not a race. You have to start slow in order to go fast, right? The Sheetz corporation seeing and sharing our vision is a great start for us. However, we still have a long way to go before we are where we need to be,” McCraight posted on social media.

“Michigan is the first new state for Sheetz in two decades and we cannot wait for people to experience this first store, and everything our company has to offer,” said Travis Sheetz, president and CEO of Sheetz. “We look forward to creating great jobs for 

Detroit-area residents, providing total customer focus for our community members, and being a good neighbor that is actively involved in every neighborhood our stores will serve.”

“You’re going to see things like drive-thrus with indoor seating and outdoor seating, lots of parking, mobile ordering and delivering, pretty heavy on the food side of things,” Sheetz said.

Residents, officials and beneficiaries of the civic donations welcomed the new location and expressed their gratitude for the financial contributions noting the immediate benefits for the community.

“It means the world to us,” said Tim Hileman, president of Michigan Special Olympics. “As they shared today, we received a $10,000 check that will go right to our local programs. So that fund will go to equipment, uniforms, support for increasing our athletes and presence.”

Each store location will employ approximately 30 individuals, the majority of which are planned to be full-time. Consistently named by Fortune as a 100 Best Company to Work For, Sheetz offers competitive pay and benefits packages to all employees, including medical and dental insurance, 12 weeks of fully paid 

maternity leave, a 401(k) retirement plan, college tuition reimbursement, an 

employee stock ownership plan, flexible 

schedules, opportunities for advancement, quarterly bonuses, vacation time and more. Sheetz was also ranked third in the latest Best Workplaces in Retail list by Fortune, trailing only Wegmans Food Markets and Target for the second straight year.

The Pennsylvania-based company was established in 1952 and currently operates more than 700 stores across the country.

Renovations at Northville Public Library are planned


Spring will bring some changes at the Northville Public Library.

A “much-needed renovation” of the Carlo Meeting Room is under way, according to a library spokesman. A partition wall that once allowed the library to divide the room into two separate sections for various events will be removed as it is no longer used, officials explained. “The project will create storage closets for unused tables and chairs and will make it easier to use the room while improving setup time between meetings,” the spokesperson added.

Another improvement will see the replacement of the projectors and multimedia equipment with a huge upgrade to the current 13-year-old sound system. Library officials worked with Quinn Evans Architects of Ann Arbor to develop the design of the room and general contractor O’Neal Construction Inc., also of Ann Arbor, is completing the work. While the Carlo Meeting Room is under construction it will not be available for programs, and community groups will not be able to request private bookings. Library officials expect construction to last 6-8 weeks, after which the upgraded audio video technology will be installed and staff will be trained to operate the equipment. 

“We know that it will be disruptive to our patrons while construction is going on, but the end result will be worth it. We’re excited to reopen the room in a couple of months.” said Library Director Laura Mancini.”

Northville District Library was built in 1996 and opened to the community on Oct. 6 of that year. Before the current building was constructed, the library was housed in various locations throughout Northville. The library was initially housed in a storefront on Main Street, then moved to the shopping center, then to city hall and then to the community center before the current building was opened.

Settling into the current location enabled exponential growth in the collection, services, and programs, many of which are regularly held in the Carlo Meeting Room, a room that has seen its fair share of change over the years, Mancini said. Named in honor and memory of 

Northville resident John J. Carlo, a proud supporter of the library and original owner of the Northville Downs, this meeting room has

 encouraged and supported many a library patron’s quest for knowledge, she added.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Carlo family, the Carlo Room was outfitted with the equipment and furniture of the times; it originally offered a slide projector, a large-screen television, VCR, and an overhead projector for staff and guests to utilize,” Mancini explained.

For more information, visit Northville District Library website at:, email, or call (248)-349-3020. The library is also available on social media: Facebook, X, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Flickr, and Spotify

Order in the court!

  The Honorable Judges James Plakas and Ronald Lowe will present respective views on the future staffing needs of the 35th District Court.

    On Friday, this week, at the reoccurring Plymouth Noon Rotary Club the members will hear Plakas and Lowe address issues yet to be decided.

     The 100-year Plymouth Club meets each week at the Plymouth 

Cultural Center on Farmer.

     Located on Plymouth Road just east of downtown Plymouth. The 35th District Court House serves the communities and citizens of the 

communities of the City of Plymouth, Plymouth Township, the City of Northville, Northville Township and the Incorporated Township of 


Sumpter Township officer promoted to lieutenant


Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees officially 

congratulated Joseph Balowski on his promotion to police lieutenant during a recent 

regular meeting.

Balowski began his career with the Sumpter Township Police Department in 2013 and was promoted to sergeant in 2019. He is a department instructor in 

firearms and use of force and has supervised the field training program since 2021, noted township Chief of Police/Public Safety Director Eric Luke.

Balowski was the eighth township police officer to graduate from the Police Staff and Command Executive Leadership Program through the Eastern Michigan University Center for Regional and National Security. He successfully completed the program in 2021.

Balowski has been assigned to the detective bureau since February 2023, Luke told the board members, “a critical position in which he will remain.”

Board members unanimously congratulated Balowski on his promotion.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Suspect arrested in stalking of state and city official

    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Christopher Dean Baldwin, 40, of Flushing, in connection with stalking Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and her wife, Plymouth City Commissioner Alanna Maguire.  
    On March 5, 2024, at approximately 8:34 a.m., Plymouth police officers were dispatched to Attorney General Nessel’s family home in Plymouth for reports of a man sitting on her front porch. Upon arrival, officers came in contact with the defendant.

It is alleged that Baldwin rang the doorbell of Nessel and Maguire’s home, before sitting on their front porch. Baldwin was arrested at the scene without incident by officers from the City of Plymouth Police Department. It is alleged that Baldwin had 

attempted unsolicited contact with Nessel on a prior occasion. 

Baldwin came to a March 4 meeting where Plymouth City 

Commissioner Alanna Maguire was in attendance. 

Baldwin has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor stalking. 

“The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will always take any and all threats against public officials very seriously. This simply will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, in today’s climate threats to elected and other officials have become normalized. Not by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, ever,” said Worthy.  

    Baldwin was arraigned last week in 35th District Court before Judge Michael Gerou and given a $100,000/10 percent bond with a GPS tether. He is also ordered to have no contact with the victims, no controlled substances or alcohol, and to surrender all firearms. A pre-trial is scheduled for March 15, before Judge James Plakas. 

Team Effort

 Miracle League and Team USA join to fund field project

By Ashley Willet

Miracle League of Plymouth and USA hockey representatives teamed up Feb.28 in an effort to fund a new baseball field in Plymouth.

The National Development Hockey League donated $3 from every ticket sold during the game last month to Miracle League. During the hockey game, Miracle League officials hosted a silent auction with baskets sponsored by The Home Depot of Farmington Hills, Busch’s of Plymouth 

Township, Hyatt Hotels, Painting with a Twist and even the Detroit Tigers. 

A special guest at the game was Buzz Schneider, who was on the 1980 USA hockey team that defeated the Soviet Union. Schneider’s son starred in the 2004 movie Miracle portraying his father.  The movie, based on the 1980 hockey team, starred Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, and Nathan West.  Schneider did a “meet and greet” with the audience members at the game. The National Development hockey team hosted an open skate with the team members following the game as part of the fundraising effort.

Funds from this event and others will be used for the resurfacing project at Bilike Field. In partnership with 

Playground Equipment Services and Shaw Construction, Miracle League members hope to resurface the turf with an ADA-Compliant surface. Miracle League has raised $180,764 so far toward the $225,000 project.

For more information, go to or contact

Wayne council hires new city manager

    Wayne City Council members have chosen Diane Webb as the new city manager.

    Webb was selected by a four to three vote of the councilmembers with Mayor John Rhaesa, Mayor Pro Tem Alfred Brock and Councilman Donal Quarles casting the dissenting votes.

    Webb told the councilmembers she was looking forward to the new position and that she planned to meet with each of them.

Currently, Webb is the township supervisor in Redford Township. She has served elected terms on the Garden City Council and the Wayne County Commission.

    “I think you’ll do great,” Rhaesa said to Webb during the Dec. 19 meeting. “I want the council to be working with the city manager. Our job is to make you successful and our community successful.”

Despite his negative vote, Rhaesa told Webb he thought she would “do great.”.

Councilmembers expressed their gratitude to Wayne Police Chief Ryan Strong, who’s been interim manager since the abrupt resignation of former city Manager Lisa Nocerini. Strong was one of four final candidates under consideration for the job.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with you and move this 

community forward,” Webb said.

    Final candidates for the job, in addition to Webb and Strong, were Mohamed Ayoub and Ken Marten.

    Webb will replace Lisa Nocerini, who abruptly resigned in August to take a city manager job near Grand Rapids. Nocerini is a named defendant in an ongoing federal case brought by Mark Blackwell, a city critic who claims Nocerini and other city officials violated his First Amendment rights and falsely accused him of a misdemeanor during a police chief hiring process in 2019.

Multiple council members and city department heads openly supported Strong for the position. He has been serving as interim city manager since Nocerini resigned. He has been with the police department for more than 20 years.

“I’m excited to see what the City of Wayne can do with a city manager from 

outside who gives us a breath of fresh air,” Councilman Mathew Mullholland said.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Community mourns death of Craig Welkenbach

 The death last week of Craig Welkenbach is being mourned throughout the area.

Mr. Welkenbach, who served as the City of Westland Community Media Director, died March 2. He celebrated his 59th birthday Feb. 18. A beloved figure at events throughout the community, he was a popular and highly respected member of the city administration. 

    Mr. Welkenbach began his professional career with Continental Cable in Dearborn Heights prior to joining the City of Westland where he led the community media department for more than 25 years, garnering numerous accolades for his exceptional work in video production.

    Memories and tributes to Mr. Welkenbach filled social media sites as news of his death spread in the community. Westland Mayor Michael Londeau expressed his deep sorrow at Mr. Welkenbach’s death.

    “Craig was known and loved by many. He was at every event and function in Westland and greeted you with his infectious smile. He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable and important. It didn’t matter if you were a congressman, or a young child raising money for their basketball team, Craig made you feel heard and accepted,” Londeau posted. 

    “He loved to talk about sports, politics, movies, music, TV, and family. Movie quotes and song lyrics were often cited in the office, and it was common to take some time to watch a show at lunch or rehash last night’s reality TV show over coffee. Craig was very proud of the work he did, but he would never say it himself. He always put his team first. They were much more than staff to him, it was an extension of his family. 

    “We are all better for having known Craig and the world is a sadder place today with him not in it. We draw solace in the fact that his pain from cancer is gone while our pain and grief is just beginning,” Londeau concluded.  

    In addition to his professional endeavors, Mr. Welkenbach enjoyed a passion for movies and cherished moments spent up north relaxing or golfing with friends. An avid sports enthusiast, Mr. Welkenbach also had a deep love for animals. His greatest source of happiness, however, was the treasured time he spent with his family, friends recalled.

    Mr. Welkenbach was known for his quick wit and ability to find humor in any situation, along with his quick comebacks and infectious smile. Friends said his presence will be dearly missed by all who knew him.    

    Westland City Clerk Richard LeBlanc recalled his long friendship with Mr. Welkenbach in a social media post.

    Craig was a friend, a professional, and a loving family man. It's not fair that after battling cancer for half of his life that he has been snatched away.

    “We met when I was a member of the Cable Commission in the 1980s He was a behind the scenes guy, and never wanted the limelight. But he deserved it.

    “Our world has lost some of its luster,“ LeBlanc posted.

     WDIV meteorologist and former Westland resident Ashlee Baracy credited Mr. Welkenbach for career advice he gave her early in her career. 

    “He was the one who saw my potential long before I could see it in myself,” she posted. “Craig Welkenbach took a risk on me by giving me my first TV gig. He was the one who also said I should be a meteorologist when it wasn’t even on my ‘radar’ and felt so far out of reach. He was truly the foundation to this career and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I can only hope he knows that I’ll forever be grateful. But more importantly, he was a genuine friend,” she said.

    Among Mr. Welkenbach’s survivors are his devoted wife, Elizabeth "Beth" Welkenbach; his loving son David (Kristen) Welkenbach; his stepdaughters Hannah and Molly Pummill, and his adored grandson Lincoln Welkenbach. He was a cherished brother to Mary (Duane) Lamb, Karen Wells, Jim (Lorri) Welkenbach, Scott (Aranya) Welkenbach, and the late Brian Welkenbach. Craig is also survived by his mother-in-law, Carol (the late Pete) Borgelt; brother-in-law Steve Borgelt and many nieces and nephews, along with a host of dear friends and associates.

    A visitation to honor the life and career of Mr. Welkenbach is planned for 1 until 8 p.m. tomorrow, March 8 at L.J. Griffin Funeral Home, located at 7707 Middlebelt Road (South of Ann Arbor Trail), with a time of family sharing from 6 until 7 p.m.

Friends of Unity of Plymouth volunteers are ‘Miracle’ workers

Members of one Plymouth church believe in ‘miracles’ as they volunteer to help bring them about each month. 

The nondenominational  Friends of Unity of Plymouth members volunteer with the Miracle League of Plymouth monthly. This month, church members helped at the end of winter bowling event organized by Miracle League leaders. 

Miracle League of Plymouth is a local non-profit organization that allows special needs children to participate in sports despite the obstacles many have to overcome. This winter, Miracle League offered swimming, basketball and bowling. Friends of Unity members each paired up with a child with special needs to cheer them on as they rolled bowling balls down the lanes. The volunteers spent time with the youngsters which allowed parents and caregivers a break in the daily routine. Volunteers noted that the activities allow them to interact with the special needs children which is often the key to changing their life perspective about those with different needs. 

Friends of Unity the Rev. Kathy Harwood Long said being involved in Miracle League has sparked something in her. Interacting with the children one on one and getting to know the children’s interests and behaviors is very rewarding, she said. Harwood said volunteering regularly as a Friends of Unity ‘buddy’ people in the community care about them. Many local residents are unaware that there are children in the area who have certain different abilities, but who still just want to be kids, she added. 

Friends of Unity member Georgia Monroe said that seeing a child who would not normally able to bowl ‘blows her mind’. She explained that the independence of special needs children is surprising.  As a buddy, volunteers are on hand to encourage and cheer the children on. Some children will approach their buddy for a ‘high five’ while others keep to themselves. Still others might celebrate knocking down a few bowling pins with an impromptu dance.

Friends of Unity members hope to continue to volunteer each season, Harwood said. The next event planned is baseball season starting Apr. 30. For more information about Miracle League of Plymouth volunteering, visit