In Washtenaw County, the race to replace Roland Sizemore in the County Commission's fifth district now features five candidates - four Democrats and a Republican.
Among the Democrats who submitted nominating petitions before Tuesday's deadline: Ruth Ann Jamnick, a former Ypsilanti Township Supervisor and former State Representative; Wilma Gold-Jones, who serves on the board of the non-profit Mentor2Youth; Keith P. Jason, an Ypsilanti Township Park Commission member and Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority Commissioner; and Victor Dobrin.
Ann Arbor officials expect to have the construction schedule for the rest of the new skatepark set within the next week. Park Planner Amy Kuras thinks the facility will be completed by the scheduled June 21st grand opening unless there are a lot of weather issues.
Kuras says most of the remaining work is in two areas.
It's still a little over two months before the opening day for the new skatepark in Ann Arbor, but interest in skating already seems to be growing. The skatepark's grand opening is set for June 21st, which is International Go Skating Day.
Windy conditions continue today and it's causing an increasing number of power outages. DTE Energy spokesperson Alejandro Bodipo-Memba tells WEMU about six-thousand Washtenaw County customers are without electricity.
Washtenaw County communities that contract with the Sheriff’s department for policing will likely see one percent increases in their bills in 2016 and 2017. The County Commissioners vote on that proposal this week, but Sheriff Jerry Clayton is calling for a larger conversation on how law enforcement is funded.
Clayton doesn’t believe the current model is sustainable. He thinks a county-wide model could be designed to work for communities that contract with his department and those that have their own police departments.
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton discusses how a county-wide funding model for policing could work for both communities with their own police department and those that contract for policing from his department.
Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Donald Shelton announced yesterday he will be stepping down from the bench as of September 1. The University of Michigan - Dearborn has appointed Shelton Director of the Criminal Justice Program.
Washtenaw County continues to pay about $1.6 million annually on bonds issued to fund the county jail construction project about eight years ago. The county is now considering refinancing the bonds at a lower interest rate to save about $800,000 over the remaining life of the bond issue. County Administrator Verna McDaniel thinks it's another case where small savings can build up to a big difference.
Washtenaw County finds itself at the top of the list of Michigan's healthiest counties for the fifth straight year.
The "health factors" rankings compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute consider things like the availability of parks and recreational facilities, along with social and economic factors.
Susan Cerniglia is Public Information Officer for Washtenaw County Public Health. She says they know there's a strong foundation for good health in the county.
The Washtenaw County Road Commission is warning that area roads will continue to be in rough shape for a while, as long as the weather continues to freeze and thaw.
Jim Harmon is the road commission's Director of Operations.
"We're experiencing rough road conditions s county-wide at this time," Harmon said, "both on our paved roads and un-paved roads, and our crews are working each day to try and patch and hold these roads together until things completely thaw out and stabalize."
Lyndon Township's Planning Commission tonight continues discussions on a proposed gravel pit and sand mining operation. About 200 people attended a meeting last month on a special land use request from McCoig Materials for a site on M-52 across from Green Lake.
With 6-9 inches of snow expected today, all public school districts in Washtenaw County closed for the day. There is a long list of private and parochial closings, as well. The entire list for Washtenaw and surrounding counties can be found here:
Washtenaw County is among the many in Michigan under a Winter Storm Warning. The National Weather Service issued the warning, to be in effect until three this afternoon. Storm snowfall totals could reach between 6-9 inches.
According to the NWS Hazardous Weather Statement, the peak of the snowfall is expected between six and 10am, with up to one-to-two inches of snowfall per hour.
Snowy Owls don't make it to Washtenaw County every winter. They made it this winter in greater numbers than usual. Why? Where might you see one? In this week's installment of WEMU's Issues of the Environment, David Fair seeks out answers to those questions.
Energy conservation is low-hanging fruit--no new technology, power plants or pipelines are required. But it can be a stubborn nut to crack if there is no financial motivation to conserve, and the question of motivation all depends on who pays the bills.
Rain and melting snow has caused widespread flooding across Washtenaw County. County Road Commission Operations Director Jim Harmon says crews worked hard Wednesday to clear storm drains, but as the rain fell and snow melted, those same drains clogged again. Harmon says flooding is reported anywhere from a few inches to several feet. He urges motorists to expect flooding, and not to try to drive through areas where you can't tell how deep the water is. Harmon welcomes reports of flooding at 734-761-1500, and if residents can safely do so, trying to clear neighborhood storm drains would be a big help.
Washtenaw County home owners are seeing a rise in their property values for the first time in five years. Values are rising all across the county and properties are spending less time on the market before selling. Catherine McClary is Washtenaw County's Treasurer. She says the rising values is good news overall, but the county still faces challenges, especially when it comes to making sure there is enough affordable housing. McClary says the area's homeless are often families.
Washtenaw County Public Health is accepting applications for its Healthy Workplace Awards. The awards honor businesses and organization that promote a healthy living environment in the workplace. Kathy Fellabaum is a Health Educator with Washtenaw Public Health. She says businesses that promote healthy living in the workplace are a real benefit for employees. Fellabaum says you can nominate a business or organization for the Healthy Workplace Awards by filling out an online nomination survey. Businesses can also nominate themselves. Nominations are due by 5:00 pm March 15 and awards will be announced the week of April 7.