Category: Legal News

Howell Chamber Welcomes New Membership Development Director

The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce has a new Membership Development Director.

Dianne Samples will be joining the organization as Membership Development Director, bringing over 25 years of combined experience in community relations and business development to the Chamber. The Chamber says her lengthy tenure in retail mortgage sales and real estate, along with experience in marketing and community relations for local businesses, make her an ideal fit for the new role.

Samples is excited about beginning work at the Chamber where she’ll contribute to the growth and success of business and the community working directly with chamber members. She and her husband, Guy, are lifelong Howell residents that raised their three grown children in Howell. Samples is said to have been very active in the Livingston County United Way serving on its Development Council. She was recognized for her efforts and awarded the Charles Itsell Volunteer of the Year award in 2016. Samples has also been engaged in Livingston County Chambers, lending her leadership and management abilities to numerous events as chairperson, committee member and volunteer.

The Chamber says Samples is equipped with an energetic history of assessing community needs, analyzing data and building strategic partnerships, and will make a strong addition to the team.

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Forum Scheduled on Brighton City Council Candidates

Voters in the city of Brighton will get a chance to question the candidates for election to the Brighton City Council at an upcoming candidate forum. There are five persons running for four seats on the Brighton City Council in the November general election. They include four incumbents and one challenger. The forum will be held on Oct. 24th at 7 p.m. in council chambers of city hall in Brighton.

The incumbents include Mayor Jim Muzzin, who has been serving on council since 2003 and who was re-elected t four-year terms in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Also running are Mayor Pro Tem Shawn Pipoly, Jim Bohn, Susan Gardner and perennial challenger Susan Bakhaus. Ellen Lafferty is chairperson of the Ann Arbor Chapter of the League of Women Voters, Brighton-Howell Unit. She says Brighton will have the only candidate forum this year. Lafferty says that since the city of Howell has no opposition among its candidates for city council and mayor, there will not be a forum in that community.

As the late October forum gets closer, more information will be released about the forum itself and the format. But people who have questions about it can call e-mail Lafferty anytime at lwvbrighton.howellarea@gmail.com. (TT)

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Michigan Flyer Launching Brighton Bus Service

A motorcoach bus service will soon be making stops in Brighton to offer trips to and from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW).

Michigan Flyer, a division of Indian Trails, Inc., is partnering with Livingston County for plans to extend its deluxe airport shuttle service to Brighton beginning October 1st; offering frequent daily motorcoach runs to and from the airport. The proposed new Michigan Flyer stop will be located at the Meijer store on West Grand River Avenue in Brighton, and will pick up and drop off passengers at the south side of the Meijer parking lot near Cross St. When its motorcoaches arrive at DTW, passengers will be picked up and dropped off at the doors of both the McNamara and North Terminals.

Greg Kellogg, director of the Livingston Essential Transportation Service (LETS), says the new airport service was identified as the highest priority for new services in Livingston County’s recently completed Transit Master Plan, with a goal to offer citizens more transportation options. A technology upgrade and improving existing service for transit-dependent riders were rated as higher priorities overall.

The Livingston County Board of Commissioners approved the award of a three-year airport service contract to Indian Trails and Michigan Flyer on August 12th, along with an option to renew for two more years. Plans are in the works for the bus company to establish a small ticket office and passenger waiting area in a temporary building at the Meijer site.

Funding for the service is expected to come from passenger fares, a large investment by Indian Trails in operations and equipment, and Michigan’s Local Bus Operating Assistance Program, whose grants are administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. The adult fare to ride Michigan Flyer between Brighton and DTW will be $22 one way or $40 roundtrip. Per-person fares are even lower for couples or family members traveling together. Tickets are now available for advance purchase online.

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Rep. Slotkin AmeriCorps Member For The Day At Howell Nature Center

Livingston County’s Congresswoman was named an honorary
AmeriCorps member and took part in a project at the Howell Nature Center.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin joined a team of AmeriCorps members currently posted at Howell Nature Center Tuesday for an afternoon of service, becoming an honorary AmeriCorps member for the day as the program prepares to mark its 25th anniversary later this year. Slotkin has spent her career in national service, including serving three tours in Iraq alongside the military as a CIA analyst, and as a senior official at the Defense Department. The group’s leader administered the AmeriCorps Pledge to the Congresswoman, she donned a pin and work gloves, and joined the AmeriCorps members in building a new hiking trail for the nature center. Slotkin said coming from a service family, it is heartening and inspiring to see young people who have devoted their time and energy to service and the solemn responsibility to improve the lives of those around them. She says that’s needed now more than ever, and it was a joy to serve alongside them.

This fall marks the 25th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program. This year, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers the AmeriCorps program, will invest nearly $3 million in national service projects in Michigan’s 8th district, including funding for approximately 100 AmeriCorps members and more than 500 Senior Corps volunteers. This year, Slotkin advocated for increased funding for CNCS. The agency received a $55 million funding increase in the appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives funding Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies, including the Americorps program. Since inception, 2,100 residents of Michigan’s 8th district have given more 3.4 million hours of service to their country and received more than $8.4 million in scholarships. (JM)

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City of Howell Working On Agreement For Memorial Day Parade

The City of Howell is continuing work to finalize a contract agreement related to the annual Memorial Day parade.

In June, Council voted to establish the parade as a city-sponsored event in future years. Faced with budget challenges, Council earlier approved a new policy instituting a 50% cost-sharing mechanism to recoup expenses the city incurs for hosting events. The parade is put on annually by the American Legion Devereaux Post 141 in Howell and there was some community pushback about the fee, considering the significance of the event in recognizing veterans and their service. Community donations and others from City officials covered the parade fee for the American Legion this past May and the event was well attended. While the City is now funding the parade, the American Legion will still organize and run the event and those details are being worked out. Interim City Manager Erv Suida delivered an update at a recent Council meeting. He told WHMI they’re currently working on an agreement so that the parade will be a city event but logistically ran by the American Legion. Suida says they will run the event like they always have and it will be the same great parade honoring veterans – it will just be a city funded parade. He says they met with representatives from the Legion and worked out some of the language in the agreement. He says they’ll finalize that and then provide it to the American Legion and Council for their respective final approvals.

During the meeting, some points were raised by Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Manor that he requested be taken into consideration when working out language with legal counsel. Manor stressed he didn’t want to cause any controversy but felt it was the appropriate time to bring it up. As the parade is now a city-sponsored event, he questioned if organizations had greater legal authority to demand to participate. Manor said we live in some pretty volatile times these days and other communities have had controversy related to who marches in a parade so he wants to make sure any agreement has protections in place and spells out expectations. Attorney Dennis Perkins said permission would have to be granted before someone comes in to march in the parade and thinks the City has a right to choose who marches in the parade, which is set up for service members. Staff noted that the American Legion has no intention of changing the parade, which is about veterans – not politics or anything else. Should any significant changes develop, they would have to go to Council for approval. (JM)

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Photo Scavenger Hunt To Benefit Nonprofit Bountiful Harvest

An upcoming event will use technology to raise funds for a local nonprofit.

The Photo Scavenger Hunt, benefitting Bountiful Harvest, will be held Saturday, September 14th, rain or shine. Bountiful Harvest is a food pantry, clothing pantry, and soup kitchen located in downtown Brighton. The Hunt starts at 2pm, but participants are asked to arrive at the Brighton Coffee House & Theater on West Main Street by 1:30pm for rules and directions.

Each team, using only one smart phone, will complete as many pictures as they can within a one-hour time limit. Any team that dresses in a group costume is automatically given 10 points added to their final score. The cost is $25 per team with a maximum of five people per team. Tickets will be available at the event or can be found at the link posted below.

Bountiful Harvest, which has been around since 2011, recently moved into a brand-new building behind the First Presbyterian Church in Brighton. Its mission is to provide food and other items at no cost to individuals and families in need in the Livingston County area. The store operates 100% on donations and doesn’t receive any government grant money.

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Livingston Land Conservancy To Host 16th Annual Fundraiser

An annual event is approaching that celebrates the natural beauty of Livingston County while raising money to protect natural land and productive farmland.

The Livingston Land Conservancy will hold its 16th annual “Land on the Horizon” fundraiser from 7 to 10pm on Friday, September 6th at the Historic Howell Opera House. It’s a business casual event and all proceeds raised will benefit the Conservancy’s Land and Stewardship Funds. The Conservancy is a non-profit that works to protect the natural heritage and rural character of the greater Livingston County area by preserving natural areas and farmland. President Sara Thomas says the upcoming event is their only major fundraiser and all of the money raised goes exclusively toward land preservation, land acquisition and stewardship – which is the heart of their mission. She says they have some really generous, devoted supporters and couldn’t do this kind of work without them – noting they are an all-volunteer organization and all funds go toward their mission. Thomas tells WHMI protecting land and acquiring it is not cheap so these fundraisers are really important and they appreciate everyone who comes out. She says there are a lot of wonderful things on the horizon for land protection in Livingston County and they’re excited to be working on four additional projects – two of which will hopefully be done before the end of the year.

This year’s fundraiser will also feature a special guest. David Mindell of Ann Abor-based PlantWise LLC will discuss his work in native plantings and land restoration techniques. Thomas says Mindell has been really instrumental in some of their properties and actually conducting prescribed burns. She also noted the relationship to climate change and what’s happening on the landscape, and how that might affect what someone does in the future on land in terms of preserving things.

Tickets to “Land on the Horizon” are $65 per person and include a catered buffet dinner, live and silent auctions, raffles, a wine pull and live entertainment. A cash bar will be available. Auction items include travel and leisure packages, entertainment packages, artwork and sports memorabilia among others. Free tours of the original upper floor of the Opera House that closed in 1924 will also be conducted courtesy of the Livingston Arts Council. Those looking to purchase tickets are asked to do so by August 28th. For tickets or more information, call 248-561-5506 or email Rick Thomas rethomasllc@gmail.com. Tickets can also be purchased on the Conservancy’s website or Facebook page. That link is provided. (JM)

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Services Set For One Of The Two Men Killed In Tuesday Plane Crash

One of the men killed when a plane crashed Tuesday near Howell will be laid to rest this weekend.

A memorial service for 64-year-old Philip Colmer is set Sunday at 2pm at the Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Home in Chelsea. Colmer, along with 68-year-old James Tafralian, were killed when the Aero Commander 200D they were in crashed after trying to take off from the Spencer J. Hardy Airport in Howell Township.

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting the investigation into the cause of the crash, which could take a year or more to complete. However, eyewitnesses reported that the plane appeared to lose power, bank hard to the left, and then crash nose-first into a field at the end of the runway.

Colmer, who was known to friends as Flip, was a former Navy pilot who went on to fly the Boeing 767 with Northwest and Delta Airlines. Outside of flying, he was involved in several projects, most especially as a member of Project Recover expeditions to the Pacific to find and return the remains of missing American servicemen from World War II.

He is survived by his wife Rebecca and two sisters. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to Project Recover or Ann Arbor Fisher House Michigan. Tafralian was also a pilot, aircraft mechanic and parachute rigger who owned County Aviation Services, based at the Livingston County Airport. His service information is not yet known. (JK)

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Former Furniture Store Being Renovated For New Tenants

A one-time Genoa Township furniture store is in the process of being renovated for a new use.

Cranes and other construction equipment have been working the past several days on the exterior and interior of the former Tenpenny Furniture store at 2700 East Grand River Avenue, just east of Chilson Road. The building was purchased by Alan Ostlund of Ostlund Service Company who is turning it into a multi-tenant building.

According to Assistant Genoa Township Manager and Community Development Director Kelly VanMarter, the township issued a permit on June 26th for a remodel/renovation of the existing building, which is being reduced in size by approximately 3,200 square feet to establish a new façade and row of parking for the multi-use building.

VanMarter tells WHMI that Ostlund indicated business, retail and/or restaurant tenants are projected, with Auto One already moved into one portion of the building. Volunteers of America had initially planned to purchase the building and turn into a thrift store, but that deal fell through late last year. (JK)

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Judge Declines To Revoke Bond Of Brighton Man

A judge refused to revoke the bond of a Brighton-area man charged with ten felony counts in two separate criminal cases.

33-year-old Marcus Wayne Nichols was charged in June with a variety of felonies, including assault & battery, third and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and unlawful imprisonment. An original $900,000 bond was later reduced by Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty to $250,000 with a 10% alternative, meaning Nichols only had to post $25,000, which he did and was released July 12th. He was then arrested again August 10th after authorities say he used a vehicle to try and hit the mother of the victim in the initial case and her friend. Nichols’ attorneys refute that’s what happened and say the mother initiated the incident by throwing something at his car as he drove past. Prosecutors again requested a $900,000 bond, but that was denied by Magistrate Austin Wright and Nichols again posted another $25,000 before being released.

Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt’s office requested a motion to revoke Nichols’ bond, which was heard Thursday by Judge Hatty. Despite prosecutors pointing out that Nichols has a history of violating bond in the past on charges that included Operating While Impaired by Liquor and False Pretenses, Judge Hatty declined to remand Nichols back to jail pending trial. He did order that he remain at least one mile from victims in both cases. The victim in the initial case previously told WHMI that she feels unsafe while Nichols remains free. Court documents indicate the teen girl said Nichols would push her into walls and doors and she was scared to say no to sex with him. His next court date is Tuesday for an exam on the latest charges. If convicted, Nichols could face 15 years in prison. (JK)

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