Howell City Council Adopts Resolutions For Pavement Warranty Program

The Howell City Council has adopted two resolutions related to a Local Pavement Warranty Program.

The resolutions were required by the State of Michigan as part of road funding legislation and the program was discussed during a recent Council meeting. The City can choose to implement the warranty program on any project but the resolutions require that established guidelines be followed. Communities were required to adopt resolutions no later than September 18th.

Interim City Manager Erv Suida says when the legislation was done in 2015; the goal was to protect taxpayer money so he thinks it was done with the right thought in mind. However, how the program is going to work and the additional costs that would be added to a project is something he says they’re concerned about and something he thinks most communities are concerned about. Suida says city projects are already currently bonded and have maintenance guarantees, noting the City’s are for 2 years so the program would be supplemental to that. Suida says he doesn’t know if the City would really see a benefit from the program or if the cost is worth the benefit. He says it is something they’re interested in and Council did pass the resolutions, which was required, but actually using the program is something they’ll think hard about and on an individual basis.

A staff memo states the program was developed over the last 30 years by the Local Agency Pavement Warranty Task Force. It includes representatives of the Michigan Municipal League, County Road Association, M-DOT, the Federal Highway Administration-Michigan, Michigan’s Local Technical Assistance Program, municipal road agencies, legal counsels and industry representatives. (JM)

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Former Lions Quarterback To Speak At Upcoming Event

Addressing the mental aspect of financial security will be the goa of an upcoming event featuring a well-known former NFL star.

The event titled “Seeking Peace of Mind – Mentally and Financially” will feature former Detroit Lions Quarterback Eric Hipple, who is an author, speaker and mental health advocate. Hipple, who lost his son to suicide in 2000, has become nationally known for speaking about his own personal tragedy and struggles with depression. The other featured speaker is Private Wealth Advisor Robert Larsen.

The event is hosted by 1st National Wealth Management and will take place on Wednesday, October 9th from 6 to 7:30pm at the Cleary University Johnson Center in Genoa Township.

Seating is limited and those interested in attending should RSVP by calling 517.546.3150 or emailing info@fnbh.com. (JM/JK)

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Speaker Says Census Is Built On Past Experiences, Current Technology

A presentation in Livingston County unpacked the importance of the 2020 census and how it will be a combination of using standards that reflect the past and the present.

The educational session was held Thursday at the Howell Carnegie District Library through the Brighton/Howell unit of the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area. Guest Speaker Margaret Leary, who is the Librarian Emerita from the Michigan Law School, was the event’s guest speaker and discussed the basics of the census, noting that it technically begins in mid-March, but the official Census Day is April 1st , and will be conducted by the Census Bureau, temps, and volunteers. But Leary says 2020’s census will be unlike any before it as this time around, residents can respond by a paper form in the mail, through their phone or online.

Leary says the 2020 census is built on past experiences but uses current technology and with that, there naturally are questions about cybersecurity. Leary says with the advancement of technology being incorporated into the count, the Census Bureau is taking concerns of cybersecurity seriously. Leary reports that the Bureau will use private sector and federal standards to ensure the data will be safe, adding they will do that by using two-factor authentication and by using data encryption and re-encryption as data moves from one part of the system to the other.

The census form and instructions will be presented in 12 languages, but census-takers will also be able to provide information on how to respond and where to find translations for those that speak outside of those languages. Leary notes that one frequently asked question is how workers are able to account for the homeless population. Leary says workers will collaborate with the area’s community to locate those individuals and will visit tent cities and shelters. The 2020 census runs through June, with counts being due to Congress by December 31st of 2020, and the information due to each state’s Secretary of State by April 1st of 2021.

A major focus of Leary’s presentation was what the information collected from the census is used for, stating that there are at least 50 ways to use it, but mostly that it provides a picture of the nation that helps to determine issues like development, how congressional seats are apportioned, and how federal funding is distributed. Michigan in 2016 received approximately $29.2 billion through 55 federal spending programs guided by data from the 2010 census.

Speaking to an overarching theme of the importance of the census Leary adds, “democracy depends on a complete count”. (DK)

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Fly-In Breakfast To Honor Local Pilot

A special breakfast memorial will help remember a pilot with strong local ties.

65-year-old Randy Dippold, of Perry, was involved in a fatal plane crash on May 12, 5 miles from the coastal city of Frankfort, in northern Michigan. Dippold was flying with 53-year-old Emanuel Manos of Monroe, when their aircraft suffered engine failure and went down in Lake Michigan. Manos’ body was recovered, but Dippold’s is still yet to be found. Tomorrow morning, Dippold’s son Andrew is hosting the Randy Dippold Memorial Fly-In Breakfast at the Airservice Enterprise hanger at the Livingston County Airport.

Andrew says he’s heard from several pilots who are going to be flying in for the event. There will be a helicopter, a couple warbirds, and other planes around the hanger for interested attendees to walk around and check out. Andrew says they are just hoping to spur some interest in aviation, all in the name of remembering his father.

The event runs from 8am until noon tomorrow. For $8, friends, acquaintances, and any member of the public can enjoy a smorgasbord breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and more in Randy’s honor. Andrew said these past few months have been tough, but the family is hanging in there. He called the Fly-In a “kind of therapy” for them, letting them get to see people, hang out, reminisce, and talk about memories of his dad and his nearly 50 years of flying planes and teaching aviation. (MK)

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State Legislators Approve School Budget Bill

State legislators have approved a school aid budget that is now awaiting possible approval from the governor.

The Michigan House and Senate approved a $15.2-billion school budget bill, Thursday, increasing classroom allocation amounts by over $300-million and special education services by $30-million.

Republican Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township voted in favor of the budget, which passed the House by a 91-18 vote. She said, “We’re directing more money than ever to our local schools. This budget will directly benefit our students and teachers by pumping more resources into every classroom in Michigan. We’re also increasing our investments in skilled trades training, literacy coaches, and special ed.”

Representative Hank Vapuel of Fowlerville said he supports this budget because it “delivers far and beyond past what the governor called for, and does it without a tax increase.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a budget with a per-pupil funding increase maxed out at $180, a decrease in funding for cyber-schools, and more money for the Great Start Readiness program. The passed- House budget calls for an increase of $120-$240 per pupil and an extra $30-million for special education costs.

While it passed through the House with bi-partisan support, Senate Democrats weren’t so high on it. The budget passed the Senate 21-17, with all Democrats and one Republican voting against it. Releases from both Bollin and Vaupel call the bill the largest ever investment for Michigan schools in the state’s history. Senate Democrats argue that when the money is adjusted for inflation, K-12 schools will be getting roughly 25% less funding than they received 15 years ago.

The budget is now before Governor Whitmer for consideration. She can sign it, veto the whole budget, or line item veto portions. (MK)

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Man Who Broke Into Home, Fled From Police Gets Probation

Sentencing has been handed down to a Brighton man who admitted to breaking into a home and fleeing from police, after reportedly stealing a vehicle.

18-year-old Adam Bozich was sentenced in Livingston County Circuit Court Thursday to three years of probation under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which means his record could be expunged if he successfully completes probation. Last month he pleaded guilty as charged to three counts of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer and one count of escape from lawful custody. He also pleaded to two added charges, including unlawful driving.

Police say Bozich on June 19th crashed his own car before he broke into a home on Peppergrove Drive in Brighton, took the keys to a vehicle parked in the driveway and then stole the SUV. He crashed that vehicle not long after and then attempted to break-in to the back door of a residence on Whispering Oaks Drive but was detained. He was said to have hit several mailboxes, garbage cans and signs along the way. Police said Bozich tried to escape while officers were trying to take his photo for facial recognition since he lied about his name, but he was quickly caught.

A restitution hearing in the case has been set for November 1st. (DK)

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Putnam Resident Withdraws Supervisor Recall Request

A request to recall the supervisor of Putnam Township has been withdrawn.

Putnam Township Supervisor Dennis Brennan contacted WHMI Thursday evening saying that resident Patrick Glance has removed his recall request from the county. Glance had previously gathered signatures in an attempt to have Brennan recalled when his requests for having unspent money from the 2017 Sarah Drive Road Improvement SAD used for paving his road, Nita Road.

Under Public Act 188, as confirmed by the township’s attorney at Wednesday night’s Board meeting which Glance attended, using the unspent funds like that would have been illegal.

Brennan, who said following that meeting that he wasn’t worried about a recall, said Thursday that he was still relieved and grateful that Glance withdrew it. The supervisor said he was informed that Glance left a message at the township hall, and was under the impression that Glance was apologetic- realizing he went too far, and was sorry. (MK)

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Lakeland Teacher Arraigned On Drunk Driving Charges

A teacher in a local school district has been arraigned on charges after being arrested for being drunk while at school.

44-year-old Michael Dennis Fletcher, a teacher at Lakeland High School, was taken into custody Wednesday by White Lake Township Police after a Breathalyzer showed his blood alcohol limit was more than four times the legal limit. The school’s resource officer administered the test around 8am after being alerted by administrators that Fletcher appeared to be intoxicated. The Breathalyzer indicated a blood alcohol content of .354%. The state’s legal limit for driving is .08%.

Fletcher was lodged in the Oakland County Jail and arraigned today in 52-1 District Court in Clarkston on charges of operating while intoxicated with high blood-alcohol content and driving with a suspended license. Fletcher, a West Bloomfield resident, reportedly admitted to drinking alcohol before driving to school that morning. Parents of students at Lakeland High School were informed by the school’s principal about the arrest, assuring them that the teacher would not be on campus while the matter is pending. State records show that Fletcher is a veteran teacher who received a Michigan standard teaching certificate in 2000. (JM)

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Fowlerville Man Blames Pornography For His Role In MSU Sex Assault

Sentence has been handed down to a Fowlerville man who admitted to forcing two women at the Michigan State University health center to watch lewd videos he made of himself.

33-year-old Michael Phinn pleaded guilty last month to second-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit sexual contact, unauthorized access to a computer and a count of using a computer to commit a crime. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison. Phinn, who worked as a medical resident in the MSU Neurology Clinic, told the court he’s “not a manipulator or a monster,” and instead blamed the widespread availability of pornography. He says he “misinterpreted months of flirtatious behavior.”

Phinn originally faced harsher charges, including first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was charged last October, about a week after the women reported the allegations to police, who said the women weren’t his patients at the Clinical Center. Phinn graduated from MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and was serving a post-graduate neurology residency under supervision of the college. (JK)

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Tree Clearing To Begin Soon For M-36/Lemen Road Pathway

Preparation work will be underway soon for a non-motorized pathway in Green Oak Township.

At a meeting of the township’s Board of Trustees Wednesday, Supervisor Mark St. Charles provided an update on the project, which will create a non-motorized trail on the south side of M-36 from Whitmore Lake Road to the west line of the township and along the east side of Lemen Road from Eight Mile Road to M-36. St. Charles says tree clearing for the project will begin October 1st and the hope is to have construction complete by next September.

St. Charles tells WHMI he has been working on bringing the project to fruition for the last ten or so years, adding that there have been complications every step of the way. Among them were negotiations with several property owners, and that the original bidder on the contract was not able to meet certain requirements, which St. Charles says essentially caused them to lose any progress this construction season. Another complication involved reworking the route after a change in wardens at the Woodland Center Correctional Facility. Reworking the route then led to dealing with wetland mitigation, and receiving easement and plan approvals all over again.

St. Charles says he will be “so glad” once the pavement is done and the trail is usable, but does note that township officials are already taking the next part of the project into consideration. He says they are discussing how the next link of the trail will go from M-36 up to Silver Lake Road, and that officials are currently working that out. (DK)

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