Tag: Attorney Howell MI

Initial Follow-Up Tests Show Low Levels Of TCE Near Diamond Chrome

Air test results taken near a Howell facility believed responsible for high emissions of trichloroethylene (TCE) show all samples below health screening values.

The announcement was made this afternoon by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The testing was conducted as a follow up after high levels of the contaminant were found in previous testing released last week. Additional tests are ongoing. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with the support of EGLE and the Livingston County Health Department conducted outdoor air sampling in the area around Diamond Chrome Plating located at 604 S. Michigan Avenue in Howell. Diamond Chrome has been conducting hard chrome and cadmium coating operations for the aerospace, aeronautical, and food industries since 1953. The facility stopped operation of a degreaser suspected to be the source of the TCE earlier this week. A press release states sample results reviewed this afternoon showed that out of the 19 sample locations, 10 came back non-detect for trichloroethylene (TCE) and nine came back with low amounts of TCE. The sampling results containing TCE were below health screening values. Additionally, the samples containing TCE were located near and downwind of the Diamond Chrome Plating facility. Sample results will be posted at Michigan.gov/diamondchrome in the coming days.

Meanwhile, agencies are holding a public meeting tonight to talk about the sample results and other activities around the Diamond Chrome Plating facility. The meeting will take place at 7pm at the Parker Middle School at 400 Wright Road in Howell. (JM)

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Rickett Road Re-Opens In City Of Brighton

After months of detours, Rickett Road has finally re-opened in the City of Brighton.

Rickett Road from the railroad tracks to Church Street and Church Street from Rickett to Grand River have been closed to traffic for the last few months for reconstruction. The most significant part of the project was the replacement of an aging, partially collapsed, 8-inch sanitary sewer line. The City issued a construction update today, saying Rickett Road is now open to thru traffic but due to the weather, the contractor was unable to put on the final asphalt layer. That means the work will need to be completed next spring.

The closure has resulted in traffic issues because Rickett traffic has had to be diverted onto Grand River and Old US-23, which already had heavy traffic volumes. Although the road re-opened today, the City advises that workers may be on site over the next week to perform some finishing work and they ask that motorists drive with caution in the area. (JM)

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Commission Recommends Approval Of Salvage Yard Expansion Plan

Plans to expand a salvage yard in Howell are moving forward, despite opposition from numerous residents.

The City of Howell’s Planning Commission met Wednesday and held a public hearing regarding the proposal from PADNOS Iron and Metal, which is looking to add a tower building and a scrap shredder to process materials on its property at 645 Lucy Road. PADNOS in July acquired the former Regal Recycling property, which is zoned General Industrial. Residents packed the Planning Commission’s meeting, with many speaking in opposition of the proposal; citing concerns including air quality, as well as additional noise and traffic.

Mark Robinson, Executive Director of Livingston County Catholic Charities, was worried about the office facility’s proximity to PADNOS’ proposed shredder and any issues expansion of the salvage yard may cause, also noting that LCCC leases their current space and has been there since 1999. Robinson told the Planning Commission, “We’ve actually begun negotiations with our landlord to purchase this property. We’re ready after 20 years to make that address our permanent home. I don’t know that I can ask my board of directors and the people who donate to us to spend the money to make that kind of investment if we’re going to put the 300 people that we serve every week…at risk for whatever is floating through the air or the traffic problems coming in.”

Shredder operations and the effect it could have on the surrounding air was a big point of contention among those that spoke against the proposal. But Community Development Director Tim Schmitt pointed out that before PADNOS can even begin construction of the shredder, the company must receive an air quality permit from the State of Michigan, so any environmental regulations in that regard will be dealt with by a higher-sitting entity. Regal Recycling owner Vern Brockway, who sold the property to PADNOS, spoke to residents’ concerns about noise and vibrations that could be caused by the shredder stating, “Michael’s is on one side of the road, he runs two motors all the time…I’m down the road running equipment all the time…there’s two train tracks there…so as far as noise and vibrations go, you’re not going to get much more than what’s already there.”

Another issue frequently brought up at the meeting was fires that have occurred at other PADNOS facilities. Keith Noblett, Vice President of Services, spoke to those concerns, stating that PADNOS takes fire prevention very seriously and one of its best practices in ensuring that is the inspection process. Noblett says inbound material for the scrap shredder gets inspected multiple times, pictures are taken, and the process is audited to make sure their preventative efforts are being done correctly.

Among the attendees to speak in opposition was Donald Parker, a city resident who is the Livingston County Board of Commissioners’ Chairperson, but also the Resident Agent for Protect Livingston, a nonprofit that has opposed the project on its Facebook page. Parker, who also represents a builder that wants to put a development in near the Padnos site, did not state that he was speaking on behalf of the organization, but was clear that he was not in favor of the project stating, “If we allow this to happen…I think that we will be changing the face of downtown Howell and central Livingston County…I’m asking you to do the right thing…but I’m also asking you to do the easy thing. This is not a hard decision.”

Commissioner Jan Lobur later stated that she took exception to Parker’s comments calling it an “easy” decision, adding that while she is moved by residents’ concern, she is also aware that the property is zoned general industrial, meaning that the proposed activities are allowed within that zoning district. Mayor Nick Proctor agreed, saying that the ordinance and zoning are both pretty clear. He also later voiced his own separate concerns about Protect Livingston, stating that the lead-up to Wednesday’s meeting was a “social media frenzy”. Proctor says he’s “troubled” by Protect Livingston, calling it a “shadowy organization” that can “work in those shadows”.

Ultimately the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of PADNOS’ site plan and special land use permit request. Commissioner Robert Spaulding and Vice Chairperson Maryanne Vukonich voted against the request. The issue will next be taken up by the Zoning Board of Appeals at their December 2nd meeting. (DK)

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Passenger Seriously Injured In Three-Vehicle Hartland Crash

A passenger was seriously injured in an accident Wednesday in Hartland Township.

The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says it was dispatched just before 5:30pm to a three-vehicle crash on North Old US-23, south of Clyde Road. A preliminary investigation revealed that a 2008 Ford Edge driven by a 75-year-old Fenton resident ran into the rear of a 2003 GMC Sierra that was stopped for northbound traffic. The Sierra was pushed forward by the impact and hit a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was also stopped for traffic.

The front seat passenger in the Edge, an 89-year-old Fenton woman, was transported to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor by Livingston County EMS in serious condition. All of the other parties involved in the crash were treated and released at the scene. Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash and everyone was wearing a seatbelt.

Deputies were assisted at the scene by the Hartland Fire Department. The crash remains under investigation by the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office Major Crash Team. (JK)

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New Hudson Man Sentenced In Child Beating

A New Hudson man will likely spend most of the rest of his life in prison for trying to kill his girlfriend’s infant son.

24-year-old Seth Blumberg pleaded no contest last month to charges of assault with intent to murder and 1st degree child abuse. While a no-contest plea is not a legal admission of guilt, it was treated as such at his sentencing in Oakland County Circuit Court on Wednesday, where a judge sentenced him to serve between 47 and 99 years in prison.

Police began investigating Blumberg after the child’s mother brought the infant to the hospital March 29th of 2018 when she noticed bruising on the child. An Oakland County Sheriff’s deputy testified Blumberg admitted trying to kill the infant, including trying to choke him, so he could spend more time with the child’s mother. She testified that she dated Blumberg for about a month before moving into a two-bedroom apartment with him and his step-brother and that there were numerous occasions when Blumberg was being too rough with the infant, including picking the child up by his head.

Blumberg has been in custody since his arrest, and was given credit for the 601 days already served behind bars. However, his sentence was also enhanced due to past convictions of possessing child sexually abusive material and criminal sexual conduct involving someone ages 13-15. (JK)

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Lyon Township Fire Crews Take Part In Extrication Training

Crews with the Lyon Township Fire Department took part in vehicle extrication training this past weekend.

Deputy Fire Chief Doug Berry tells WHMI in general they do training every day at the fire station but some guys got together on Sunday and decided to do some extra training on vehicle extrication at the main station on Grand River. Vehicle extrication training is one of the biggest items the department trains on. Berry says they respond to a large number of accidents on main roads throughout Lyon Township as well as on I-96. He says the extrication training is something they’ve really focused on in the last year or two so crews can be more efficient, quicker and safer on scene when they run into those types of incidents.

The department conducts regular training exercises. Berry says crews train every day while on duty but they also do an evening training twice a month for some of the people that can’t do the daytime training if they work afternoon or night shifts. He says they occasionally do weekend training as well. Berry says the regular training benefits everyone. For the firefighters, he says it makes them better at their job but also keeps them safe. Berry says it further helps the public because when people are involved in accidents, crews can get them out much quicker and safer and then get them medical attention or transported to a medical facility.
More photos can be viewed on the Lyon Township Facebook page. The link is provided. (JM)

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Christmas Movie Filmed In Downtown Brighton To Air In December

The release date has been announced for a Lifetime holiday movie that was filmed in downtown Brighton.

Winter Song will premier December 14th at 8pm. The movie was filmed around downtown Brighton this past summer and is said to tell a story of redemption and hope. The movie stars Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Ashanti as Clio and Stan Shaw as Fred. For the plot, Clio befriends Fred, a homeless former jazz singer down on his luck. They form a special bond over music and Clio, having just lost her father, helps Fred reconnect with his daughter. Together with the power of music, the two find the strength to overcome their hardships – just in time for Christmas.

Several locations around downtown Brighton will be featured in the movie and film crews shot some scenes at Lynn’s Café and the Wood ‘N Things store. The film was produced by Danny Roth, who lives in Howell. Photo: Glamour (JM/JK)

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South Lyon Schools Propose $97 Million Bond

A number of improvements are included in a proposed bond issue in South Lyon Community Schools.

The Board of Education heard a presentation on a proposed $97.8 million bond issue Monday night, which would appear on the May 5th ballot. Staff performed an audit of facilities as well as a building utilization study, which determined building infrastructure in need of upgrades. If the bond passes, a number of improvements are planned throughout the district. They include interior and exterior building renovations, equipment replacement, lighting upgrades for energy savings, food service improvements, parking lot and sidewalk replacement and administration building infrastructure. Building additions are also being proposed to address continued growth that the district is experiencing. The early childhood center would have a multi-purpose room and staff space added while Bartlett Elementary and Salem Elementary would each have four classrooms added on, plus restrooms. Playground work is proposed in all elementary schools and various improvements are planned in both high schools. A replacement pool and locker rooms would be added at South Lyon High School while an auxiliary gym and storage space would be added at East High School. The parking lot there would also be expanded and performing Arts spaces would be upgraded. The bond would further fund furniture and equipment purchases, including school buses and allow upgrades to athletic facilities. There are also various technology needs including upgrades and additions to the security and video surveillance system.

The next step in the process is community engagement and focus groups are being put together to provide input from parents, staff and students. An informational campaign is expected to begin in February. A copy of the bond presentation is attached. (JM)

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Tyrone Township Amends Home Occupation Ordinance

Tyrone Township officials have amended and simplified their ordinance for residents wishing to run a job out of their home.

The Tyrone Township Board of Trustees approved an amendment to their Home Occupations ordinance during Tuesday night’s regular meeting. Supervisor Mike Cunningham said this will in most cases allow the homeowner operating a small job to avoid a trip before the Planning Commission. He used a resident who makes and ships hats out of her house without causing a nuisance to neighbors as an example of the old rules being a bit too much.

The new ordinance also updates the list of acceptable home applications adding, among other things, music or fitness lessons with no more than 4 students, road side stands, and personal services like hair dressing or tax preparation. It also allows for attached and detached garages and accessory building to be used for business storage. This will help as the ordinance still states that a home occupation shall not occupy more than 10% of the useable floor space of the dwelling. The Board of Trustees recognized the difficulty with enforcing this. Cunningham said the hope, however, is that they have simplified things to the point where people will just come to the township and inform them that they are conducting a business.

The Home Occupation ordinance was 1 of 5 possible amendments on their agenda Tuesday, but was only 1 of 2 that saw a successful resolution. They also approved amendments to their noise ordinance, bringing it into consistency with Public Acts 634 and 635 of 2018, which carries state recommended dates for the setting off of fireworks. (MK)

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TCE Air Emissions Result Of Degreaser Used By Howell Business

A Howell-based company at the order of the state has stopped using a degreaser that is likely causing elevated levels of a chemical found in the air near the facility.

Diamond Chrome Plating, located at 604 South Michigan Ave. in Howell, uses a chemical called trichloroethylene, or TCE, in its manufacturing operations, specifically for removing grease from metal parts. A press release issued by the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) Tuesday afternoon states that there is concern that TCE has moved from Diamond Chrome Plating into the outdoor air and into nearby buildings. TCE in the environment at certain levels may cause health risks, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin.

Sutfin says exposure to TCE does not mean someone will necessarily have health issues now or in the future. A person’s risk of developing health effects depends on how much TCE they breathe, how long they breathe it, and how their body reacts to it. Citing studies that were performed on animals to determine how the chemical could affect humans, Sutfin says it was found that if a person were to breathe TCE in during pregnancy, it can cause heart defects in developing fetuses. It can also affect the immune system if breathed in over a long period of time, and can increase the risk of developing kidney cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or liver cancer.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently requested that Diamond Chrome Plating address compliance issues identified with its new degreaser. The degreaser operations and handling of TCE must be done in a way that keeps TCE from exiting the building into the outdoor air. TCE was found in the outdoor air which indicated the degreaser is not operating properly. Sutfin says the company has signed a consent decree agreeing to resolve the air quality violations. Diamond Chrome Plating has turned the degreaser off and is exploring other options.

MDHHS, EGLE, and the LCHD, will also be holding a public meeting for the community on the issue this Thursday at Parker Middle School from 7 to 9pm. Sutfin says the meeting will serve to answer residents’ questions, provide information, and assist in EGLE’s investigation into the contamination. (DK)

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