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Clinton Township — Supervisor Robert Cannon heralded an initiative to improve conditions for immigrants and native-born residents Friday as he stressed achievements during his annual State of the Township address.

“We are a strong, vibrant community ... adept at handling adversity and, of course, change,” Cannon said. “I am confident that Clinton Township is moving forward.”

Cannon touted the township’s $2.5 million fund balance, fire and police departments, and commitment to diversity.

Clinton Township also will participate in the national initiative Welcoming America, where municipalities strive to create and improve the quality of life and economic potential for immigrants and non-immigrants alike.

Sterling Heights was the first city in Macomb to participate in the initiative, said Cannon, but Clinton Township will become the first “Welcoming Township” in the nation. Heading the initiative will be the township’s 12-member Cultural Diversity Committee.

“We want this program to be long-lasting and successful,” Cannon said.

Often immigrants don’t know where to turn for valuable information and helpful resources, said Kirkanne Moseley, committee chairwoman, following Cannon’s address,

“Our cultural committee is a symbol, letting them know that they are welcome,” said Renee Arrington-Johnson, committee member.

Another source of pride is that foreclosures in the township last year were down 20 percent. He said projections indicate home values will increase an average of 8 percent this year.

The passage of fire and police millages resulted in an increase in staffing. Seven laid-off firefighters are back on the job and an additional nine firefighters were hired, Cannon said. And the 12 firefighters that were paid by federal grants are still employed.

In 2014, the township also hired 17 new police officers but 14 officers retired.

“So we only gained three on our staff,” Cannon said.

“Our police department is way overworked. ...We will continue to put officers on the road as quickly as we can.”

He stressed that residents can help public safety by looking out for their neighbors.

Cannon said his new neighbors saw a man and two women at his home last November, who stole cash and jewelry.

But because the neighbors took pictures and video, Cannon said police are hot on the trio’s heels.

“We actually know who they are because of the pictures and the video,” he said. “

uwatson@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2613

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