Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Potential Five Mile Business Project Creates Buzz Nationally, Locally

Details about the development of the area near Five Mile and Beck Roads were highlighted at a Northville Township Board meeting Thursday.

Recent buzz about the business development potential of the land near Five Mile and Beck Roads on the Northville/Plymouth border bubbled up at the Northville Township Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night.

According to trustees, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will sign Senate Bill 425, which proposes the sale of the vacant Robert Scott Correctional Facility property, within a couple of weeks.

“I get calls from offices statewide inquiring about the sale of this parcel,” said Lisa Nocevino, Vice President of Strategic Communications Solutions, a Novi-based public relations firm which provides tactical support and development strategies to government clients. Nocevino was a guest at Thursday’s meeting.

“This is not a buzz just here, it’s a buzz in Washington as well,” Nocevino said. “It’s a world class parcel because of its location. There is a lot of interest being generated about the collaboration that’s happening here.”

Northville Township Trustee Marjorie Banner said the township has been in talks with Plymouth Township to develop ideas on how to best utilize the property as an industrial area.

“We’ve been working on this undertaking for awhile. We are excited about what’s to come of this area,” Banner said.

According to Nocevino, legislators support the collaborative efforts between the two townships.

“Due to tough economic conditions, cities should come together and try to strengthen the economy when they can,” she said. “This is collaboration at its best.”

One Northville Township resident in attendence at the meeting, however, said he would rather see the township put its attention on another vacant property two miles to the north.

“It amazes me how the buzz about the workings of the Five Mile project made it all the way to Washington while residents have been asking Northville Township to do something about the abandoned hospital that’s on Seven Mile and Haggerty road for quite some time now,” said Steve Emsley.

Emsely explained his paranoia of someone being severely hurt inside the vacant former mental hospital.

“It is in bad shape, the windows are out, the property is not secure. There has to be something done about this or something bad is going to happen,” he said.

According to the board of trustees, 80 arrests have been made this year in attempts to keep the area safe, over-time patrols have been hired and trespassing ticket fines has been set at $220.

The board said that based on the township’s budget, no further efforts can be made this time.

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Polaris Invests in Brammo Electric Motorcycles

Polaris Industries Inc. has announced a minority investment in Brammo, an Ashland, Ore.-based maker of electric motorcycles. By investing in Brammo, Polaris obtains access to its proprietary electric vehicle powertrain technology, as well as exposure to the electric motorcycle market.

“We are excited to advance our electric vehicle capability by establishing Polaris as a business partner and part owner of Brammo, one of the most innovative and aggressive companies we have found in the electric motorcycle space,” says Scott Wine, Polaris CEO. “Our companies share a passion for performance, and we look forward to exploiting the numerous opportunities created by pairing Brammo’s industry-leading electric powertrain technology with Polaris’ vast array of market-leading powersports products. This is a small, but important, investment for Polaris in an electric vehicle market that we feel is poised for significant growth.”

Polaris is hardly new to electric vehicles. The Minnesota-based manufacturer currently produces the Ranger EV off-road vehicle and the Gem and Breeze neighborhood vehicles.

Founded in 2002, Brammo currently offers the Enertia line of motorcycles, capable of speeds in excess of 60 mph and claimed ranges up to 80 miles on a single charge. Brammo plans to expand its product line to include high-performance sport motorcycles capable of more than 100 miles on a single charge, as well as a full line of entry- to high-performance dirt and dual-sport motorcycles.

“We have always been impressed with Polaris’ leadership within the powersports industry. Polaris is a company founded on innovation and quality and, as such, their decision to partner with Brammo is a resounding endorsement of our technology,” says Brammo CEO and founder Craig Bramscher. “This is a terrific scenario for Brammo’s customers, as we bring Polaris’ legendary engineering, manufacturing, and customer service expertise to bear on our products.”

In addition to potentially utilizing Brammo technology in its own products, Polaris will collaborate with Brammo to grow its core business.

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Safe Kids Releases First-of-Its Kind Halloween Research Study

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“Twice As Many Child Pedestrians Are Killed While Walking on Halloween” ~ Press Release 10/20/2011

Washington, DC – New Safe Kids research shows only one third of parents talk to their children annually about Halloween safety.  To complete this first-of-its kind study on Halloween-safety, Safe Kids commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a poll of 935 parents with children ages 12 and younger to assess their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to Halloween safety.

On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.  On this potentially dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians, Safe Kids strongly recommends that parents prepare children to behave safely and for drivers to take extra precautions.

While most of the parent participants in the study have talked to their children about Halloween safety at some point, many have not made it an annual conversation.  Safe Kids urges parents to engage in repeated discussions with each child, every year to reinforce safety messages and safe behaviors because of the risks they face on Halloween.

“Given children’s limited attention spans, repeated and consistent messages about safe behaviors are key to preventing injuries,” says Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “By following the basic safety tips provided by Safe Kids, Halloween can be a fun and safe night for children of all ages.”

According to the study, 40 percent of parents allow their child to use one or more unsafe item on Halloween such as a mask, loosing fitting clothing, and / or a sharp object – any of which could contribute to falls, burns or pedestrian injuries.  These are preventable hazards that could be avoided by following Safe Kids’ safety tips.

Another key finding of this report shows twelve percent of children five years of age or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone.  Not only should these young children be accompanied by an adult, but it is also recommended by Safe Kids that no child under 12 years of age spend Halloween night navigating the streets unsupervised.  This recommendation was made to protect children who often lack the maturity and cognitive ability to make appropriate decisions to accurately judge speeds and distance.

“It is alarming to hear that children ages five years and younger are trick-or-treating without adult supervision,” added Carr.  “If they are old enough and mature enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, parents should make sure children go out in groups and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”

In preparation for Halloween, Safe Kids coalitions across the country will team up with Walk This Way program sponsor FedEx to provide kids with reflective materials to promote visibility, including zipper tags that can be attached to costumes and trick-or-treat bags, as well as important safety information to children, parents, and drivers.  The Halloween study was made possible through funding provided by FedEx.

To ensure a safer celebration of Halloween, Safe Kids and FedEx recommend the following tips to parents and caregivers:

Trick-or-Treating Safety:

Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
Always walk on sidewalks or paths.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, choose light colored costumes that fit properly and avoid carrying sticks, swords, or other sharp objects.
Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them.  Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded, torn, or unwrapped.

What Drivers Need to Know:

Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.  Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on early in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit and visit our Facebook page at

In 1999, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx created the Safe Kids Walk This Way Program in the United States to teach safe behaviors to motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities.  This year will mark the twelfth yeah anniversary of the program.

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Plant City police ditch Harleys in favor of Victory motorcycles

The city’s motorcycle officers have new sets of wheels.

The city police department recently rolled out four Victory motorcycles, which officers say are more powerful and safer than the Harley-Davidsons they replace.

“The safety features provided on the Victory motor is second to none,” Senior Officer Russell Bass said. “It turns well, has forged steel roll protectors, pinned down floorboards and a bottom skid plate that protects the bike from impact and debris.”

The Victory Commander I’s also feature a black and white art deco look.

The city revived its motorcycle unit about 10 years ago after a hiatus of several years. Master Patrol Officer Fred Morris, who has been with the unit since its rebirth, said the Victorys make tighter turns and have the ground clearance to drive over curbs without damage.

The motorcycles also come with tip over protection and the fixed floorboards reduce the possibility of an officer breaking or twisting a foot, ankle or knee in the event the bike goes down, officers said.

The city bought the four new bikes at a cost of more than $30,000 each. The city plans to sell three of its Harley-Davidsons at auction and keep the fourth for a historical display.

Plant City police say they are the only department east of the Mississippi River using Victory motorcycles. Public Information Officer Tray Towles said factors in making the switch included five-year wheel-to-wheel factory warranty and maintenance.

The warranty and maintenance agreement will save the city thousands of dollars over the life of each bike, the department said.

A police news release hails the Victory as the “best police motorcycle on the market.”

Officer Kyle Russell, a member of the motorcycle unit since August 2009, likes the powerful, 97-horsepower, 106 cubic inch engine.

“We want to accelerate in traffic and get behind the traffic offender as quickly as possible to limit danger to the public,” he said.

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Embattled Hartland Principal Goes on Leave

Creekside Elementary School Principal Tracey Sahouri — who has been under fire recently over her handling of this year’s MEAP test and accusations that she allowed underage drinking at her home — has taken an indefinite leave of absence, according to a letter to parents.

Hartland School District Superintendent Janet Sifferman did not address either controversy in a brief letter, in which she also announced that Lawrence Pumford will serve as acting principal. Pumford has worked in the district for more than 11 years, most recently as an assistant principal at the high school.

“Please feel free to contact Mr. Pumford or me if you have any specific concerns regarding your children,” she wrote.

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Bulk Leaf Pick-Up THIS WEEK in Plymouth, Michigan

The Department of Municipal Services will be doing bulk leaf pick up this week (Week of October 24) in Area C. Area C is all streets South of Ann Arbor Tr., West of S. Main St., North of Ann Arbor Rd., and East of Sheldon Rd. See the city website for a map,

Residents are required to have leaves neatly raked to the curb by 7:00A.M. on the Monday of your designated week. DO NOT place grass clippings, branches/limbs, corn stalks, pumpkins, etc. into the street with leaves. DO NOT place leaf piles over storm drains. Plugged grates will cause flooding. Please take special care to keep grates free of leaves. Your second designated week will be the week of November 21. Thank you for following these guidelines to make this season’s leaf collection as efficient as possible.

Yard Waste Pickup Ends in Farmington Hills Nov. 28-Dec. 2

Yard waste pickup will end this year in Farmington Hills on regularly scheduled garbage days during the week of Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.

Under the city’s refuse contract and Michigan laws governing yard waste disposal, yard waste cannot be picked up after Dec. 2. According to the state Dept. of Environmental Quality, yard waste is prohibited in Michigan landfills.

Any accumulated yard waste should be stored until spring pickup resumes in early April, 2012.

For more information, call the Division of Public Works at 248-871-2850.

Pumpkin Palooza coming to downtown Plymouth this Sunday, October 23, from noon to 4:00!

Games, crafts, entertainment, a “haunted alley” and candy — of course — will hit the streets of downtown Plymouth next weekend for the debut of a one-day Halloween party for children.

Pumpkin Palooza, a free event being organized by downtown retailers, will combine elements the Great Pumpkin Caper (downtown trick-or-treating) and summertime’s Kid Palooza, the two events it replaces. The first-ever Pumpkin Palooza is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23.

“We wanted it to be more of an event instead of the normal trick-or-treating,” said Lindsey Lebovitz, the owner of Creatopia and chairwoman of the Pumpkin Palooza committee.

“It’s more fun for the kids instead of just walking around in a circle on the sidewalk, in a big, huge crowd,” Lebovitz added.

The Great Pumpkin Caper, which drew kids to downtown businesses that were passing out candy, was popular, said Teri Fry, events manager at the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce, but the spirit of Halloween — and fun — was lost in the crush of people.

Pumpkin Palooza, while offering trick-or-treating at some businesses (and at candy stations at three major intersections), will also feature a variety of activities that should be more in keeping with the Halloween theme, she said.

“They wanted to do something better,” Fry said of the retailers.

Pumpkin Palooza will take place downtown on Main, Forest, Ann Arbor Trail and Penniman — the streets will be closed to vehicles — and at Kellogg Park and The Gathering.

Games, with prizes, will include pumpkin bowling (pumpkins as bowling balls, gourds as the pins), witch-hat ring toss, pumpkin bocce ball and “ghost” waiter races. There will also be Halloween-themed crafts, a strolling magician and a strolling balloon sculptor, a 2:30 p.m. hula-hoop demonstration in Kellogg Park, and a noon pet costume contest and 1:30 p.m. children’s costume contest both at The Gathering. (Registration for the pet contest is at 11:30 a.m.; entrants to the kids’ contest can just show up).

Pumpkin Palooza will also feature a “haunted alley” (the passageway between Main and the lower part of the downtown parking deck) and a “pirate singer” who will be doing his swashbuckling on Forest between Wing and Ann Arbor Trail.

Jack Demmer Ford is the event’s major sponsor, but Fry said upwards of 35 businesses are participating. Some 20 to 25 of those, said Lebovitz, will have candy for trick-or-treaters.

It’ll be the only downtown Plymouth event designed especially for children, the two said.

“Most of the events that go on in town are for adults, except for Fall Festival,” said Fry. “So this is strictly a children’s event.”

For updates on Pumpkin Palooza offerings, check the chamber’s website,, and click on the “events” tab.

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Chili Contest, Motorcycle Show – 16th Annual Great Lakes Regional Chili Cook-Off

Enjoying weather that was more August than October, an estimated 20,000 people visited downtown Plymouth Sunday for the Great Lakes Regional Chili Cookoff.

The 16th annual festival, which netted around $40,000 for Habitat for Humanity of Western Wayne County, featured a motorcycle show, performances by dance troupes, live music by Steve King and the Dittilies, vendors’ booths — and chili: 90 different varieties in five competition categories.

The crowd went through more than 50,000 samples of chili, according to organizers Annette and Ken Horn.

“It was the smoothest-running event so far,” said Annette Horn, board president of Great Lakes Chili Inc., the nonprofit that runs the festival. “It’s one of the most fun days of the fall season for us, even though it is crazy and hectic.”

The chili ran out shortly before the event’s official 5 p.m. closing time.

“Usually a restaurant here and there will have some chili left, but we absolutely ran dry,” said Horn.

Returning cooks took some of the top honors in the cookoff at The Gathering.

“They’re getting a little tired of me here,” joked Richard Chauvin of Windsor after picking up his first-place award, in International Chili Society competition, for chili verde, or green chili.

It was the third straight chili verde win for Chauvin, who was fresh from the Oct. 1 ICS world championship in Manchester, N.H., where he (and about 140 other chili verde cooks) lost to Gary Ray of Livonia.

With his win Sunday, Chauvin, a master cook in both green and red chili, is guaranteed a spot in next fall’s world championship.

People’s choice

By contrast, Ron Smith of Novi took home top honors in the people’s choice category, a non-ICS competition, after competing in the Plymouth festival for the first time.

Smith had whipped up a little more than 10 gallons of his white chicken chili.

“This is great,” said Smith. “I know I have a popular chili, but it never dawned on me I would win the people’s choice.”

Smith is also a member of the Motor City HOG (Harley Owners Group) at Motor City Harley-Davidson in Farmington Hills, which sponsored one of two “chili rides” of motorcyclists into downtown Plymouth. The events — the other chili ride was sponsored by Dick Scott Classic Motorcycles in Livonia — brought about 400 motorcycles rumbling into town, the Horns said.

In addition, there were 146 motorcycles, parked on Ann Arbor Trail between Union and Main, in the festival’s motorcycle show, in which prizes were awarded in 18 categories. Motorcycle-related events raised money for the Penrickton Center for Blind Children in Taylor, and the proceeds were still being counted up Tuesday, Annette Horn said.

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LIVONIA electronic waste, secure document shredding and tire recycling event THIS Saturday, October 15th!

REMINDER – An electronic waste, secure document shredding and tire recycling event will be held this Saturday, October 15th from 9:00am – 1:00 pm at the DPW Yard 12973 Farmington Rd  (One block south of Schoolcraft on the west side of Farmington Rd)

Hazardous waste will not be collected at this event.  Wayne County will be conducting a Household Hazardous Waste/E-Waste event in November.  Details will be e-mailed shortly


Electronic Waste Recycling – Computers, televisions, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, fax machines, VCR & DVD players, stereos & speakers, cell phones & telephones, microwave ovens, X-Mas lights, game consoles, etc.


Tire Recycling – In conjunction with Wayne County Department of Environment, tires with or without rims may be disposed of.  Up to ten tires per household accepted.


Paper Shredding – Residents and businesses may bring sensitive documents for secure shredding, (up to five boxes will be accepted-each box the approximate size of a recycle bin).  Examples of items that should be securely shredded include invoices, bank statements, cancelled checks, tax returns, contracts, personal papers, etc.  Paper clips, binder clips, and staples do not need to be removed.  Bindings and metal spines cannot be shredded and must be removed in advance.  (Note: Non-sensitive documents can be recycled year-round at the Livonia Recycling Center or in your recycle bin at the curb)