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November 16 – 22, 2023                                  NEWS YOU CAN USE, NEWS YOU CAN TRUST                                                  75¢

         No. 46                                                                                    www

                                       School district audit discovers $17 million deficit

               Vol. 138, No. 46           The      Wayne-Westland                               ”                                discrepancy was not caused by
             A section of the Iron Belle  Community Schools district is                                                          deliberate miscalculations or
          Trail, which is expected to  facing an unexpected $17.6 mil-       At this moment, right now, we don't exactly         misconduct.
          travel from Belle Isle to    lion budget deficit.               know where we are, but we have a tremendous               “With the complexity of
          Ironwood in the Upper           School officials and members                                                           today's budgets, which are made
          Peninsula officially opened  of the board of education                 problem that has to be addressed.               even more complex by the
          in Van Buren Township last   learned of the budget deficit last                                                        influx of various COVID funds,
          month.                       week when an audit of district                                                            the discrepancies occurred
                          See page 6.  finances discovered the serious  the deficit public during the  state law, the district must main-  within the budgeting processes
                                       budget shortfall which officials  meeting.                  tain 5 percent of the total operat-  rather than from actual transac-
                                       had believed was, in fact, a sur-  According to the auditor's  ing budget. In Wayne Westland,  tions. The diligent efforts of the
                                       plus. Board of Education      report, revenue in the district  that would be about $5 million,  new financial leadership and
                                       President David Cox reported  totaled $135 million for the 2023  according to school officials. The  staff have been instrumental in
                                       the surprise findings during a  fiscal year, while expenses  district currently serves 9,790  identifying these issues during
                Vol. 76, No. 46        meeting of the board members  totaled $152 million.         students.                     the recent financial review and
             The Arc of Northwest      last week.                       Board members agreed that     Parents expressed concerns  subsequent budget cycles. The
          Wayne County has received a     “At this moment, right now,  the findings will now require  that programs like music, art  district is diligently working
          $50,000 grant from The       we don't exactly know where we  some difficult decisions in  and sports would be subject to  toward obtaining a comprehen-
          Margaret        Dunning      are, but we have a tremendous  efforts to avoid a state takeover  budget cuts or elimination.  sive understanding of the final
          Foundation to complete ren-  problem that has to be        of district finances. To avoid that  District officials issued a pub-  budget projections,” the official
          ovations at the Canton       addressed,” Cox said in making  situation and be compliant with  lic statement explaining that the  statement said.
          Township building.
                          See page 3.

                Vol. 76, No. 46
             Jamere Mykel Miller, 36,
          of Inkster, will spend 35 to 60
          in the Michigan Department
          of Corrections after he
          admitted he murdered
          Patrice Wilson, 29.
                          See page 4.

                Vol. 23, No. 46
            About 39 percent of regis-
          tered voters in the City of
          Northville cast votes in the
          election last week, choosing
          a mayor and two members of
          the city council.
                          See page 2.

                Vol. 23, No. 46
             The annual Village
          Potters Guild of Plymouth       Annual Wayne County holiday Lightfest opens tonight
          Holiday Market will begin
          tomorrow and continue             The traditional holiday   96. Wayne County representa-  the Lightfest, wait times may  Visa/Mastercard or by phone
          through Sunday, Nov. 19.        Wayne County Lightfest in   tives will offer radio alerts to  be longer than normal on  with a credit card by calling
                          See page 3.     Edward Hines Park will offi-  update visitors with important  weekends. Admission fees,  (734) 261-1990 and tickets will
                                          cially open at 6 p.m. tonight,  show information. By tuning  which must be paid in cash  be delivered by mail. Officials
                                          Thursday, Nov. 16. The highly  into AM 1640 within 3 to 5 five  are $5 for vehicles; $20 for  stressed that all tickets pur-
                                          anticipated display will then  miles of the Lightfest    commercial van/RV/limo; $25  chased at the Lightfest must be
                                          be open to vehicles from 6  entrance, visitors can receive  for a 20-passenger mini-bus  paid by cash. There is no avail-
                                          until 10 p.m. until Sunday, Dec.  regular updates on wait times,  and $50 for a 40 passenger  ability for any credit card or
                Vol. 138, No. 46          24. The Lightfest will be closed  traffic flow, special event and  capacity bus.      check payments.
                                          Monday     and    Tuesday   event costs. During the         Advance tickets are avail-  Bus groups, however, can
             The traditional holiday
          tree lighting in Romulus is     evenings.                   Lightfest, Hines Drive closes  able at the Nankin Mills   pre-register their buses and
                                                                                                                                pay ahead of time by check,
                                            The entrance to the
                                                                      to traffic for set-up and opera-
          set for Nov. 24 at Romulus      Lightfest is at 7651 North  tions from 5 until 11:30 p.m.  Westland from 1 until 4 p.m.  Visa/Mastercard or cash. Call
          Historical Park and will        Merriman Road, which is on  from Ann Arbor Trail to Outer  Monday - Friday at the walk-  (734) 261-1990 for more infor-
          include a sighting of the       Merriman between Ann Arbor  Drive.                       up window starting Nov. 20.  mation but bus pre-registra-
          Canadian Pacific Holiday        Trail and Warren Avenue in     Officials cautioned that due  Pre-paid tickets can be pur-  tion must be done at least one
          Train.                          Westland, 2.5 miles south of I-  to overwhelming response to  chased with cash, check or  week in advance.
                          See page  4.
                                       Student led walkout included Israeli flag desecration
                                          While law enforcement offi-                                                            dents or staff members who
                Vol. 76, No. 46        cials are confident the recent                           ”                                needed support following the
             Wayne Police Sgt. Chad    student walkout and flag               Plymouth Canton, community schools,                demonstration.
          Colwell recently graduated   destruction at Plymouth                   rejects all forms of discrimination,               “Plymouth Canton, commu-
          from the Michigan Police     Canton Educational Park was                                                               nity schools, rejects all forms of
          Executive Development        protected by free speech,               harassment, intimidation or bullying.             discrimination, harassment,
          Seminar hosted by the FBI.   Superintendent of Schools                                                                 intimidation or bullying,”
                          See page 6.   Monica Merritt described the                                                             Merritt's said in the letter. “We
                                       incident as “disruptive” and “in                                                          are reviewing this matter and
                                       violation of board policies.”  Canton, Plymouth and Salem   Constitution were violated. He  will apply discipline consistent
                                          A social media post Nov. 1  high schools, all located on the  noted that in the current politi-  with our policies. I urge our
                                       showed unidentified students  educational campus in Canton.   cal climate, law enforcement  families to engage in open and
                                       ripping apart an Israeli flag    Canton police and school   departments are being cautious  constructive discussions with
                Vol. 76, No. 46        while others cheered them on  security officers were on the  in their approach. He added  their children about the impor-
             City officials and library  laughing and chanting “Rip it  scene, according to officials,  that the department was pre-  tance of respectful and peace-
          personnel celebrated the     up, rip it up.”               but did not report witnessing  pared had the demonstration  ful expression of their views
          reopening of the William P.     The walkout, according to a  any flag desecration. Canton  become a flashpoint for a larg-  and the consequences of violat-
          Faust Public Library of      notice to parents from Merritt  Police Chief Chad Baugh said  er incident.                ing to school policies. We are
          Westland following the $5    on Wednesday, was student     the incident was considered a    In her communication to    committed to promoting a safe
          million renovation.          organized and student led. The  peaceful demonstration and no  families, Merritt said the dis-  and inclusive environment for
                          See page 5.  walkout included students from  laws or violations of the   trict would provide help to stu-  all students,” she concluded.

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