Category Archives: Government

Camilleri announces 2020 re-election campaign during kickoff event in Brownstown

(Photos courtesy of Darrin Camilleri)


Posted by The Huron Hub on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown) was joined by over 250 supporters Sunday at Champions Sports Grill in Brownstown where he kicked off his third and final bid for state representative in the 23rd House District.

“It’s been over four years since we began this improbable journey to elected office,” said Camilleri. “To be joined by over 250 supporters in my hometown was nothing short of humbling. I’ve never been more ready to continue representing our Downriver community, and I’m so excited to keep up this fight for all of us.”

Camilleri, a former teacher who backs public education, labor, and the environment, was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist as well as other elected officials from across the region and supporters of all ages and backgrounds.

The 23rd House District includes the communities of Brownstown Township, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Township, Huron Township, Trenton, and Woodhaven. 


 

Romulus mayor to tout accomplishments, outline 2020 goals and plans during state of city address

Romulus Mayor Leroy Burcroff


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published Jan. 20, 2020

Romulus Mayor Leroy Burcroff will give the annual state of the city address on Jan. 23.

The address will highlight the city’s business development accomplishments as well as outline goals and plans for the 2020 year, which include upgrades for public safety operations, infrastructure and more, a statement from the mayor’s office said.

The event is $20 for the public to attend, with proceeds going toward Romulus summer programming, including the Sounds in Downtown and Movies in the Park events.

The address will be held at Romulus Athletic Center, 35765 Northline Road.

Registration is at 3:30 p.m. and the address is 4:30-5:30 p.m.


 

Michigan attorney general files lawsuit against firms over PFAS contamination

Toxic PFAS foam, seen here, can be bright white and tends to pile up like shaving cream on a river or lakeshore. The substance is usually lightweight and can be sticky. (Photo credit: Michigan.gov)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Jan. 15, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court against 17 defendants—including 3M and DuPont—for damages and injury to the State of Michigan caused by contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS.

The lawsuit, according to the attorney general’s office, is the first legal action taken by the state against PFAS manufacturers.

The state’s lawsuit alleges the 17 defendants deliberately concealed the dangers of PFAS and withheld scientific evidence, and intentionally, knowingly and recklessly sold, distributed, released, transported, supplied, arranged for disposal or treatment, and handled and used PFAS and PFAS-containing materials in Michigan in a way that they knew would contaminate natural resources and expose Michigan residents to harm.

The defendants are:

  • Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. – a/k/a 3M;
  • DuPont, including its historic corporate self/identity/entity, as well as its post-merger-and-spinoff self – DuPont de Nemours Inc., a/k/a “New DuPont”;
  • The Chemours Co., a spinoff of DuPont, and its subsidiary (The Chemours Co. FC LLX);
  • Corteva Inc., another DuPont spinoff which was part of Defendant Dow DuPont;
  • Dyneon LLC;
  • Archroma entities;
  • Arkema entities;
  • AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.;
  • Daikin Industries entities;
  • Solvay Specialty Polymers, USA LLC; and
  • Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc.

“We bring this action today on behalf of the people of Michigan,” said Nessel.  “It is our responsibility to protect our residents and our state’s natural resources and property by preventing and abating hazards to public health, safety, welfare and the environment – and by placing the responsibility for this massive undertaking with those responsible for creating the problem.”

The complaint alleges the defendants knew or should have known that:

  • PFAS persist in the environment and do not degrade;
  • PFAS would accumulate and build up in animals and humans exposed to PFAS;
  • PFAS are potential or confirmed carcinogens; and
  • continued manufacture and use of PFAS would inevitably result in continued and increased levels of PFAS getting into the environment and into people’s bodies.

The state also alleges the defendants knew PFAS are toxic and pose substantial health and environmental risks but hid this information from the state and its residents.

Specifically, the state says companies neglected to tell people what was in the products, suppressed the scientific evidence that the chemicals were hazardous, discharged the chemicals into the environment and distributed the chemicals all over the world, including into Michigan, knowing that PFAS would contaminate natural resources and threaten public health.

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s.

In March 2019, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended a warning first issued in August 2018 regarding unsafe PFAS levels in the Huron River.

Related: Michigan extends PFAS chemical warnings for Huron River

During that time, MDHHS said fish from the Huron River were not safe to eat due to high PFAS levels.

Officials at the time said touching the fish or water and swimming in the water bodies is not considered a health concern as PFAS do not move easily through the skin.

However, those on the Huron River were warned in September 2018 not to swallow foam that might be floating on the surface of the water.

Exposure to PFAS is correlated with several harmful and serious health effects including decreased fertility, pregnancy induced hypertension and/or preeclampsia, liver damage, thyroid disease, problems with cholesterol levels, immune system problems, and increased likelihood of cancer, especially kidney and testicular cancers.

“Without widespread action to investigate, remediate and restore the resources in Michigan impacted by PFAS contamination, the presence and migration of PFAS in our state’s natural resources and property will continue unchecked and indefinitely, threatening natural resources, property and our residents,” Nessel said.  “We are committed to ensuring that the companies responsible for unleashing PFAS on our state will stand up to their legal obligations and responsibilities.  Their reprehensible conduct demands Gov. Whitmer and I take every legal and regulatory action necessary to protect the people and natural resources of our state.”

A copy of the lawsuit is available here


 

Gov. Whitmer signs bills legalizing internet gaming, sports betting in Michigan

  • The bills legalize internet gaming and sports betting through Michigan’s casinos.

  • Revenue from online gaming and sports betting will support the School Aid Fund and First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Dec. 20, 2019 — 11:00 AM EST

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan bills Friday that legalize internet gaming and sports betting through Michigan’s casinos.

Revenue from online gaming and sports betting will support the school aid fund and First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund, according to the governor.

“My top priority in signing this legislation was protecting and investing in the School Aid Fund, because our students deserve leaders who put their education first,” said Whitmer. “Thanks in part to the hard work and leadership of Senator Hertel and Representative Warren, these bills will put more dollars in Michigan classrooms and increase funding for firefighters battling cancer. This is a real bipartisan win for our state.”

The Michigan Department of Treasury estimates that legalization will bring in $19 million in new revenue to Michigan.

The additional revenue will boost the School Aid Fund by $4.8 million and invest an additional $4 million into the FRPCF, the governor says.

FRPCF provides weekly workers’compensation wage loss and medical benefits to qualified first responders that have developed certain cancers.

The revenue for the coverage fund will be the first time FRPCF has a dedicated funding stream.

The fund helps to treat illnesses firefighters battle due to smoke inhalation and exposure to chemicals while protecting others.

Additionally, the packages of bills will allow tribal casinos to participate in online gaming and sports betting at an equal level to the Detroit casinos.

HB 4311 creates the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which allows the Michigan Gaming Control Board to issue licenses for online and mobile casinos games to be offer by licensed Detroit or Tribal casinos if the applicants meet certain criteria.

The bill allows for all current forms of casino games to be offered online or on mobile devices.

HB 4916 creates the Lawful Sports Betting Act, which legalizes sports betting in casinos, online and mobile. This bill specifies that an internet sports betting wager received by a sports betting operator or its internet sports betting platform provider would be considered gambling or gaming that was conducted in the sports betting operator’s casino located in Michigan.

HB 4308 creates the Fantasy Contests Consumer Protection Act, which establishes the legal framework to regulate fantasy sports contests within the state. It allows for both paid contest at a commercial level and private contest within certain criteria to be legal in the state of Michigan.


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Wayne County closes deal worth $4.9 million on Pinnacle Aeropark Property

Initial site plans, seen here in this rendering, call for two storage or warehouse type buildings totaling more than 600,000 square feet. (Photo courtesy Wayne County)

  • Initial site plans for the property, which sold for $4.9 million, call for two storage or warehouse type buildings totaling more than 600,000 square feet
  • Purchasers have agreed to invest $40 million into the property within five years.
  • Tenants for the proposed warehouses have not yet been secured

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Dec. 18, 2019 — 12:02 PM EST

Wayne County announced Wednesday that the sale of the Pinnacle Aeropark Property to HS Commerce 275 LLC — a joint venture between Hillwood Enterprise, L.P. and Sterling Group — has been finalized.

The 650-acre property was sold for nearly $4.9 million following inspections.

County officials say even though tenants for the proposed buildings at this point have not been secured, they are hopeful that the location will draw interest.

“Given the proximity to the airport and the expected growth of the logistics industry, we think potential tenants will be as interested and excited about this project as we are,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans in a statement. “We are continuing to leverage assets like Detroit Metro Airport to attract investment, create jobs and expand the tax base.”

Initial site plans call for two storage or warehouse type buildings totaling more than 600,000 square feet, according to the county.

Under the sale terms approved by the Wayne County Commission on October 3, the purchasers agreed to invest $40 million into the property within five years.

Related: Wayne County Commission approves mixed-use development at former Pinnacle Racecourse site

The property in Huron Township was rezoned in August by Huron Township from a Special Purpose District to the Pinnacle Development Area District, which the county says helped clear the way for the project.

The site, which is bordered by Pennsylvania, Wayne, Sibley and Vining roads, includes 350 acres of County-owned land and the 300-acre Pinnacle Race Course site, which was acquired after foreclosure in 2019 via the right of refusal process.

“This property is perfectly situated for mixed use industrial development to drive commercial investment. The fact that Hillwood was willing to move forward with these buildings before securing tenants tells us they expect the property to be in demand and that’s a great sign,” said Assistant Wayne County Executive Khalil Rahal. “We want to thank the local officials in Huron Township for partnering to bring this project to fruition.”

In 2016, structures and debris from the defunct racecourse were removed following an agreement between the County and the property’s then-owner to clear the site.

Photos: Pinnacle Racecourse demolition

Background:

Hillwood Enterprise, L.P. has large-scale global development experience in the industrial and residential sectors and is part of Perot Investments founded by former presidential candidate Ross Perot.

Sterling Group is a Detroit based equity firm.

On June 19, representatives from Hillwood visited the Board of Trustees during an open meeting to discuss their plans.

During the lengthy meeting, the developers laid out a potential plan for the site and took feedback from residents who were in attendance.

On July 29, the Huron Township Board of Trustees approved the development plan.

According to a resolution passed by the township board, protection is provided against industry that does not fit the Township Master Plan.

The resolution also retains Huron Township’s zoning process, which allows the board to put stipulations on the types of developments that buyers can build on the property.

Video: Pinnacle property discussed at July board meeting

To view The Huron Hub’s complete coverage of the Pinnacle property, including the defunct race track through the recently announced proposed development, please visit this archive on HuronHub.com.


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Michigan House votes to ban cell phone use for drivers under 18


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Dec. 12, 2019 

The Michigan House passed legislation Wednesday that bans drivers under the age of 18 from using cell phones while driving.

The bill defines cell phone use as the act of initiating a call, answering a call or engaging in verbal communication through a phone and bans distracted driving.

The law would not apply to individuals who are reporting accidents or other emergencies.

The current law only applies to individuals with learner’s permits or restricted licenses.

State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) spearheaded the bill.

“This is a matter of life and death,” said Manoogian. “Every year, distracted driving causes thousands of crashes in our state, resulting in preventable injuries and loss of life. As lawmakers, it is up to us to enact laws that keep Michiganders safe and this bill does just that. Our young drivers are the most vulnerable to accidents and we need to do everything we can to protect them.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer applauded the Michigan House of Representatives for passing the bill.

“As a mom, there’s nothing more important to me than the safety of my kids, and I know every parent in Michigan feels the same way,” Whitmer said. “That’s why Rep. Manoogian’s legislation is so important. We don’t just need better roads, we need safer roads. This bill will help us put an end to distracted driving, protect our kids, and ensure the safety of Michigan drivers. It’s my hope that the Michigan Senate will do the right thing and pass this bill so we can protect Michiganders everywhere.”

View House Bill 4181 here


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Secretary of State replacing ‘unreliable kiosks’ with new self-service stations

In addition to Secretary of State branch offices, many of the new stations will be in grocery stores such as Kroger and Meijer, meeting customers where they already are doing business.


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Nov. 27, 2019

Say goodbye to the old, unreliable relics of the past usually located near the entrance of your local Secretary of State office.

Secretary Jocelyn Benson said she is replacing “unreliable, hard-to-use kiosks across the state with new, user-friendly self-service stations.”

Benson said she is also increasing the number of stations by more than 60 percent.

Following a one-month pilot phase completed this involving a dozen new self-service stations and thousands of customer transactions, the project will expand to replace all 93 existing kiosks by the end of January and add 57 more, for a total of 150, by the end of April.

Additional stations are also being discussed.

In addition to Secretary of State branch offices, many of the new stations will be in grocery stores such as Kroger and Meijer.

“We’ve already seen a significant increase in customers using the new machines,” Benson said. “During the pilot phase, the number of transactions increased significantly on three-quarters of the new machines compared to the same period the previous year. In some locations, the increase has been as much as 57 percent.”

Like the previous kiosks, self-service stations will offer renewals for automobiles, motorcycles and watercraft.

The stations can print auto and motorcycle tabs. Watercraft tabs will be mailed to customers.

The new stations will add numerous driver-related transactions once the Michigan Department of State completes the second portion of its computer system upgrade in March 2021.

The Department of State is partnering with vendor Intellectual Technology Inc. (ITI) on the new stations, which are being provided at no cost to the state, according to Benson.

Customers will pay a technology service fee of $3.95 for every vehicle renewed at a self-service station. Transactions normally take less than two minutes.

Many of the new machines will accept cash — previously not an option at the old kiosks. The new stations also accept American Express credit cards, in addition to the Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards the previous kiosks accepted.

Residents don’t need to have their renewal packet with them to renew their registration at a self-service station. Eligible vehicles can be renewed with only the plate number and the last four digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Many stations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For an up-to-date listing of locations with the new self-service stations, visit Michigan.gov/SOSSelfService.