Authorities say two Tennessee women found dead after a car crash and police shooting in suburban Detroit include one who was reported missing days earlier. Michigan State Police said in a series of tweets Monday evening that detectives working with the Wayne County Medical Examiner identified the driver as 36-year-old Dominique Hardwick of Lebanon, Tennessee, and a woman found in the trunk of the car as 31-year-old Eleni Kassa of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Police say Kassa was reported missing to the Murfreesboro Police Department on Nov. 18 after not picking up her daughter from school the previous day. Police say autopsy results for Hardwick are consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The circumstances surrounding Kassa’s death haven't been determined.
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Monday, November 28, 2022
Officials say more than 2 million people in the Houston area remain under a boil order notice after a power outage caused low water pressure at a water purification plant. The advisory — which means water must be boiled before it’s used for cooking, bathing or drinking — also prompted schools in the Houston area to close Monday. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city believes the water is safe but a boil order was required because of the drop Sunday in water pressure. Water sampling began Monday morning and the notice could be lifted by early Tuesday at the latest, once the state’s environmental agency gives an all-clear. Turner said two electrical transformers failed, causing power outages at the water plant.
Two former school board officials say policies and procedures that could have prevented a mass shooting that left four students dead at a Michigan high school last year were approved earlier but never implemented. Tom Donnelly and Korey Bailey told reporters Monday that a threat assessment policy had been adopted by the district in 2004 and was later updated. Bailey says he learned about the policy in August and that it never was put into practice in Oxford school buildings prior to Nov. 30, 2021. Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Oxford High School that also wounded six other students and a teacher.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is standing firm in his support for the state’s near-total abortion ban. The Republican on Monday refrained from commenting on whether he'd support adding exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Cameron is among the Republicans running for governor next year. He says he supports the Republican-led legislature in passing the state’s trigger law that prohibited nearly all abortions. Approved in 2019, the measure took effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law carved out narrow exceptions to save a pregnant woman’s life or to prevent disabling injury.
Saturday, November 26, 2022
A federal judge has denied a new trial request by two men convicted of conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Lawyers for Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. alleged misconduct by a juror and unfairness by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker following their conviction by a federal jury in August. Jonker in a written ruling Friday shot down claims of juror misconduct and said he found “no constitutional violation and no credible evidence” to convene a new hearing. Whitmer was reelected Nov. 8 to a second term. She was never physically harmed in the plot, which led to more than a dozen arrests in 2020.
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Ford is recalling over 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spill fuel or leak vapors onto a hot engine and cause fires. The recall covers Bronco Sport and Escape SUVs from the 2020 through 2023 model years with 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engines. But the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker says it’s not recommending that owners stop driving the vehicles or park them outdoors. That's because fires are rare and generally don’t happen when the engines are off. Dealers will update engine-control software so it detects a cracked injector. Drivers will get a dashboard message to get service. They’ll also install a tube to drain fuel from the cylinder head and away from hot surfaces.
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Charges have been filed against seven Michigan State football players stemming from a melee in Michigan Stadium’s tunnel last month. That's according to a statement from the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office. Michigan State player Khary Crump faces the most serious charge — felonious assault. Charges against the six other players are misdemeanors. Five are charged with aggravated assault and one with assault and battery. The incident occurred on Oct. 29 when multiple members of Michigan State’s football team roughed up two Michigan players. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh had said earlier he expected the suspended Spartans to be charged.
New York officials are warning a judge that a court fight over licensing rules for marijuana dispensaries could wind up hurting small farms that just harvested their first cannabis crop. New York on Monday issued its first 36 licenses for dispensaries. The state has had to delay plans to authorize scores more because of a legal battle over licensing criteria. In a court filing Tuesday, the state asked a judge to loosen an injunction preventing licenses from being issued in some parts of the state. They said marijuana farms could lose millions of dollars if they don't have an outlet for this year's harvest.
Seven Michigan State football players charged in postgame fight in Michigan tunnel; one faces felony assault.
Across America, most high school football seasons are winding down. It will wrap up the first year since the Supreme Court ruled it was OK for a public school coach near Seattle to pray on the field. The decision prompted speculation that prayer would become an even bigger part of the game-day fabric, though that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Outside Detroit, coaches have found ways for their diverse rosters to pray if they wish. Some keep it behind closed doors to avoid potential anti-Islamic jeers from fans in other communities.
Election wins for abortion rights and Democrats could translate into abortion protections in some states. But more restrictions could still be coming elsewhere. This year's overturning of Roe v. Wade pushed abortion decisions to the states. While the majority of voters oppose total bans, the issue is playing out differently in different states. In Minnesota and Michigan, where this month's elections put Democrats in control, protections are a priority. But in Florida, where Republicans strengthened their grip on power, a tighter ban could be under consideration — though there's a question of how far it should go.
A man who pleaded guilty in the fatal shootings of a southeastern Michigan man and his teenage son has been sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison. An Oakland County judge who sentenced 21-year-old Fadi Zeineh on Tuesday told him he had caused irreparable pain. The Livingston Daily reports Zeineh pleaded guilty in October to two counts of second-degree murder in the December 2020 killings of 17-year-old Dylan Stamper and his 43-year-old father, Keith Stamper. After they were shot in their South Lyon home, northwest of Detroit, Dylan Stamper was pronounced dead at the scene, while his father died in a hospital about a month later.
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Federal authorities have charged a Michigan man with making threats against a California congressman and the head of the FBI. Neil Walter of the Flint area was arrested and charged in federal court. Walter is accused of leaving a Nov. 3 phone message for U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, saying he was going to die. On Nov. 19, the FBI says Walter posted comments on Facebook next to a video of FBI Director Christopher Wray, threatening to kill him. Walter's parents say their son has a history of mental illness. Walter will remain in custody at least until a court hearing on Dec. 1. A message seeking comment was left for his attorney.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed state lawmaker Kyra Harris Bolden to the Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday, making her the first Black woman on the high court when she assumes the role in 2023. Bolden is Whitmer’s choice to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Justice Bridget McCormack. Bolden is a state lawmaker from the Detroit area who has been a licensed lawyer for only eight years. Bolden was a Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court in the Nov. 8 election but finished third in a race for two seats. The 34-year-old Bolden will join the court in January after her House term expires. McCormack said in September that she was stepping down with six years left in her Supreme Court term.
Spokesman: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will appoint Kyra Harris Bolden as first Black woman to serve on Michigan Supreme Court.
Monday, November 21, 2022
Police say two students were hit by gunfire while walking away from a Detroit school. Chief James White says the shooting near Henry Ford High School may have been an act of retaliation Monday by people who were circling the area in a car and wearing masks. White calls it an “isolated incident” that had nothing to do with the school. Henry Ford High is on the northwest side of Detroit. The chief says the injuries didn't appear to be life-threatening.
No. 3 Michigan running back Blake Corum may be the most pivotal player in The Game against No. 2 Ohio State on the road Saturday with a spot in the Big Ten championship game and likely the College Football Playoff at stake. His numbers stack up well with players at his position who have won the Heisman Trophy this century. Corum might have a shot to win the award if he can put together a spectacular performance in a win against the Buckeyes as former Michigan stars Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson did before being voted college football’s most outstanding player.
The Biden administration has announced preliminary approval to spend up to $1.1 billion to help keep California’s last operating nuclear power plant running. The Energy Department said Monday it was creating a path forward for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant to remain open, with the final terms to be negotiated and finalized. The plant, which is scheduled to close by 2025, was chosen in the first round of funding for a new civil nuclear credit program, intended to bail out financially distressed owners or operators of nuclear power reactors. The Palisades plant in Michigan also applied for funding to restart operations and was turned down.
Elizabeth Clement is the new chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Clement was the unanimous choice of her colleagues on the court. She takes over from Bridget McCormack, who is leaving the court as soon as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer picks a successor. Supreme Court justices are selected by governors when there’s a vacancy or elected by voters. The additional job of chief justice is determined by members of the court. The chief justice is the leader of Michigan’s statewide judiciary and has much influence over how courts operate. Clement was appointed to the court in 2017 by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and subsequently elected to an eight-year term.
Sunday, November 20, 2022
The federal government has turned down a request for financial aid to restart a nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan. Holtec International says it was notified Friday by the U.S. Energy Department. The Palisades plant along Lake Michigan was formerly owned by Entergy. It was shut down last spring after generating electricity for more than 50 years. Holtec International is a company that specializes in decommissioning nuclear plants. It applied for federal aid to keep Palisades going. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said it would help economic development in the state. But the Biden administration said no. Palisades critics are pleased. A coalition of environmental groups wrote a letter in September, saying the site didn’t qualify for the program.
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Piles of snow taller than most people have buried parts of western and northern New York. Snowfall totals as high as 77 inches have been reported in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, home to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. A lake-effect storm caused by cold air picking up moisture from warmer lakes has pounded areas east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario for a third straight day. The snowfall in some spots ranked among the highest ever recorded in the area. Up to 2 feet of snow has been dumped on some communities in Michigan south of Lake Superior and east of Lake Michigan.
A Pennsylvania judge is recommending the state’s high court impose civil contempt penalties against the Republican-majority Fulton County government that let a third party copy data from voting machines used in the 2020 election lost by former President Donald Trump. Commonwealth Court President Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer’s 77-page report was issued late Friday. She says the secret July inspection and copying of computer data from machines rented by Fulton County was a willful violation of a court order designed to prevent evidence from being spoiled. Messages left for the county's lawyer and their GOP commissioners weren't returned.
Michigan regulators have approved a $30.5 million electric rate hike for DTE Energy customers that's less than 10% of the increase the utility had sought. The Michigan Public Service Commission said Friday the change will take effect on Nov. 25 and result in an increase of about 71 cents monthly for a typical residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours. The Detroit News reports the rate hike is a fraction of the $388 million increase the utility had requested in January in its effort to modernize and improve reliability of the state’s energy grid and electric storage and generation system. DTE Electric has about 2.3 million customers in southeast Michigan.
A dangerous lake-effect snowstorm has paralyzed parts of western and northern New York. More than 5 feet of snow is already on the ground in some places, and authorities are reporting the deaths of two people stricken while clearing snow. The heaviest snowfall as of Friday afternoon was south of the city of Buffalo, where the National Weather Service reported more than 3 feet in many places along the eastern end of Lake Erie. Bands of precipitation brought more than 50 inches to the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park. Even more snow is expected to fall through the night into Saturday.
Friday, November 18, 2022
A SUV crashed and rolled over in suburban Detroit, killing three of the five young people inside. The crash occurred around 9 p.m. Thursday. One person was ejected from the vehicle. Jennifer Kruger says the car hit a tree, crashed through a fence and landed in her yard. Kruger says she “freaked out” when she learned they were kids. She says she feared the SUV might blow up. The dead were described as an 18-year-old male, an 8-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy. Two teen girls were in a hospital, including one in critical condition. Kruger says the sound of the crash rocked her house.
A Michigan man arrested in the August stabbing death of a Green Bay man is accused of taking selfie vides and photos with the victim's body, writing a Bible verse on the victim’s wall and leaving a handwritten apology. Caleb Anderson, of Caspian, Michigan, was charged Thursday with the Aug. 1 stabbing death of 65-year-old Patrick Ernst. The 23-year-old Anderson is also charged with killing a man in Alabama, where authorities said he fled after stealing Ernst’s car. Investigators say they found “disturbing” selfies on a burner phone Anderson said he bought in Green Bay.
A man has been convicted of murder in the disappearance of a western Michigan man whose body has not been found after nearly 40 years. Richard Atwood was 25 in 1983 when he was last seen in White Cloud in Newaygo County, 45 miles north of Grand Rapids. Roy Snell was 18 at that time and living in the area. Snell was found guilty Wednesday of committing murder during another crime. Snell’s DNA was found on cigarette butts in Atwood’s car. Investigators said robbery was a possible motive. Jurors were told that Atwood was known as someone who sold marijuana in Newaygo County. Snell now is 57 years old. He was arrested in Minnesota in 2020.
Thursday, November 17, 2022
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for parts of western New York ahead of a potentially dangerous bout of lake-effect snow. The National Weather Service forecast up to 4 feet of snow might fall through Sunday, which “may paralyze” the hardest-hit communities, including Buffalo, with periods of near-zero visibility. Hochul’s state of emergency covers 11 counties, with commercial truck traffic banned from a stretch of Interstate 90 southwest of Buffalo after 4 p.m. Thursday. Snow began falling in Buffalo around 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The National Football League says the Buffalo Bills' home game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns will be played in Detroit because of the weather.
Starbucks workers at more than 100 U.S. stores walked out on strike Thursday. It's largest labor action since a campaign to unionize Starbucks' stores began late last year. The walkouts coincide with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, when the company gives free reusable cups to customers who order a holiday drink. Workers say it’s often one of the busiest days of the year. They say they are seeking better pay, more consistent schedules and better staffing. Starbucks opposes the unionization effort. The Seattle coffee giant has more than 9,000 company-owned stores in the U.S.
An 80-year-old Michigan hunter who got lost and repeatedly fell into a river was rescued by canoe after a police dog tracked down the soaked man. The man’s wife called Michigan State Police on Wednesday after her husband went out to track deer but failed to return home. MLive.com reports the woman heard her husband shooting several shots, meaning he was lost. Troopers dispatched to the area in Crawford County’s Lovells Township used a State Police dog to track the man down along the north branch of the Au Sable River. After local responders ferried the man to safety using a canoe he was reported in good health following a hospital visit.
Lawyers for Michigan’s former health director are urging an appeals court to quickly stop an effort to revive criminal charges related to the Flint water crisis of 2014-15. Nick Lyon’s defense team made the plea this week in response to a pledge by prosecutors to try to save indictments that were declared invalid by the Michigan Supreme Court. It’s the latest volley in the legal saga. The attorney general’s office lost a unanimous Supreme Court decision in June, and a Flint judge subsequently dismissed charges against Lyon and others. But prosecutors are refusing to give up. Lyon was charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was accused of failing to timely inform the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease linked to water tainted by bacteria and lead.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has been elected to lead the Republican Governors Association as she increases her national political profile days after she easily won a second term as governor. Reynolds’ election Wednesday as chairwoman of the group will put her in charge of raising money in 2023 for the Republican governors’ largest fundraising organization. Governor races next year include Kentucky and Louisiana, now held by Democrats, and Mississippi. Reynolds served as vice-chair of the association in 2022, and her new role will give her a larger national presence.
Abortion bans in several states allow exemptions for life-threatening health emergencies, but they say mental health crises don't count. Some abortion foes say the laws target women who fake mental illness to get doctors to agree to end their pregnancies. But critics say it's an example of how mental illness is often disregarded, as if the brain were somehow distinct from the rest of the body. They note that life-threatening mental health crises happen more often in pregnancy than some realize. A U.S. government report released in September shows mental health conditions recently became the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths.
Stellantis is recalling nearly 250,000 heavy duty diesel Ram pickups in the U.S. because transmission fluid can leak and cause engine fires. The recall covers certain 2020 to 2023 Ram 2500 and some 2020 through 2022 Ram 3500 trucks. All have 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines and 68-RFE transmissions. The company says heat and pressure can build up in the transmission, expelling fluid from the dipstick tube. If the fluid hits a hot engine part, that can touch of a fire. Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, is still developing a repair. In the meantime the company says owners can drive the trucks but drivers should contact a dealer if they see a dashboard warning light.
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Alabama will withdraw from a 32-state voter registration database, the incoming secretary of state announced on Wednesday — a decision that drew sharp criticism from his outgoing counterpart. Republican Wes Allen, who will be sworn in as secretary of state in January, sent a letter announcing the state will withdraw from the Electronic Registration Information Center, a database allows states to share voter registration data. Allen cited privacy concerns as the reason to withdraw. The Republican made a promise during his campaign to withdraw from ERIC. Secretary of State John Merrill, also a Republican, issued a statement from his office saying ERIC provides needed information to maintain voter rolls and has identified suspected incidents of voter fraud.
A doctor who police say has spent two decades providing medical assistance to youth hockey teams in Michigan and Minnesota faces 10 more charges of criminal sexual conduct after being accused by patients across Michigan. Farmington Hills Police Chief Jeff King said Wednesday that his department received 33 additional tips about urologist Dr. Zvi Levran following his initial October arrest. He says the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office authorized the 10 additional charges in those cases. King says the tips came from local communities including Novi, Livonia, West Bloomfield and Redford. Levran’s attorney, Joe Lavigne, has entered not guilty pleas on his client’s behalf. Levran has been in custody since surrendering to police on Nov. 10.
Officials in Mississippi’s capital city are scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposed agreement with the federal government for how to fix the city’s water system. The water system came dangerously close to collapsing more than two months ago. EPA Administrator Michael Regan says approval of the plan would prompt the U.S. Justice Department to file a case in federal court in Jackson and ask the court to approve the proposed path forward. He spoke Tuesday in Jackson. On Wednesday, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General that it has launched two new probes into government decisions that might have impacted the crisis.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is joining several leading Republican officials insisting that it’s much too early for the GOP to focus on the next presidential election. He made the comments Wednesday morning, roughly 12 hours after former President Donald Trump formally launched his 2024 campaign. DeSantis is viewed as a potential Republican rival in the next presidential nominating contest. His sentiment was echoed by popular Republican governors in Ohio and New Hampshire as the GOP grapples with questions about its future following a deeply disappointing midterm cycle. The red wave that party leaders predicted did not materialize as Trump loyalists were defeated across several swing states.
The Energy Department on Wednesday awarded nearly $74 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law for 10 projects to advance recycling and reuse of batteries for electric vehicles and other purposes. The funding will go to academic and commercial applicants in seven states, including four in California. Other grant winners are in Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, Indiana and Alabama. The announcement supports President Joe Biden’s goal for electric vehicles to make up half of all new vehicle sales by 2030.
The election to fill a city council seat in a Michigan town has been settled by drawing two pieces of paper from a bowl, days after a 616-616 tie. The new council member in Rogers City is Timeen Adair, whose piece of paper said “elected.” The other candidate, Brittany VanderWall, pulled a piece of paper that said “not elected.” There were no hard feelings Monday and the two candidates even hugged. Adair says the Election Day tie means Rogers City, with a population of 2,800, is satisfied with both candidates. VanderWall is already looking ahead to the next election, telling Adair: "Do good work. I’ll see you in two years.”
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services, who oversees Catholic ministries to the U.S. armed forces, has been elected as the new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, was elected as vice president. Broglio, 70, was elected from a field of 10 candidates. He will succeed Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who assumed the post in 2019. Usually the election of a new USCCB president is a formality, with the bishops elevating the conference’s vice president to the post. But this year’s election was wide open because the incumbent VP — Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron — will turn 75 soon, making him ineligible to serve.
Kentucky's Supreme Court has heard arguments over the constitutionality of a sweeping abortion ban. Tuesday's hearing comes a week after Kentucky voters rejected an anti-abortion ballot measure. The case seems destined to become a defining moment for abortion rights in Kentucky. An attorney defending the ban urged the court “not to create the Kentucky version of Roe v. Wade.” A lawyer for those challenging the ban says voters declined to remove constitutional protections for abortion. The case is the first legal test since voters in Kentucky and three other states signaled their support for abortion rights in the midterm elections.
Prosecutors have added a felony murder charge to the counts a teenager is facing in connection with the death of a 62-year-old woman whose body was found in the bed of a crashed pickup truck. Nineteen-year-old Stephen Freeman of Lexington already was facing charges of receiving and concealing a body and concealing a death. The body of Gabriele Seitz of Shelby Township was discovered Oct. 27 following a minor collision in which Roseville police say Freeman fled the scene after crashing the pickup. Prosecutors said Tuesday that Freeman allegedly had entered her home through a window, and when she arrived home an altercation ensued resulting in her death.
Detroit’s police chief has suspended two officers and a supervisor following last week’s fatal police shooting of a woman who struggled with an officer for a gun after she allegedly assaulted her young son and mother. Detroit Police Chief James White said Monday he will recommend to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners that all three be suspended without pay. He also directed the Office of Professional Development to determine if the supervisor should be considered for a reduction in rank. White took the steps after the woman last Thursday became the second person apparently suffering from mental illness to be shot to death by Detroit police in just over a month.
Prosecutors say they’ll seek a life sentence with no chance for parole for a teenager who killed four fellow students at a Michigan school and pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism. Prosecutors in Oakland County, Michigan, disclosed their plans in a court filing Monday. Sixteen-year-old Ethan Crumbley recently withdrew a possible insanity defense and pleaded guilty to 24 charges. The shooting occurred nearly a year ago at Oxford High School. A first-degree murder conviction typically brings an automatic life prison sentence in Michigan. But teenagers are entitled to a hearing where their lawyer can argue for a shorter term and an opportunity for parole. Crumbley's lawyers believe he can be rehabilitated in prison. A hearing is scheduled for February.
Gas-electric hybrids were the most dependable vehicles sold in the U.S. in the past year, while big pickup trucks and fully electric automobiles performed the worst in Consumer Reports’ annual reliability survey. The nonprofit group said Tuesday that Hybrids generally are tried-and-true designs with few frills, while automakers are cramming glitchy electronic features into expensive new pickups and EVs. Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' senior director of auto testing, says hybrids have been around for more than two decades. He says even though they switch between electric and gasoline power, they don’t have a lot of the technology or complex multi-speed transmissions that have caused problems with other vehicles.
Prosecutors will seek life sentence with no parole for teen who killed 4 students at Oxford High School in Michigan.