Battery Plant That Obama Bragged About After Giving Them $150 Million In Taxpayer Funds To Make Chevy Volt Batteries Furloughs Workers – Without Having Produced A Single Volt Battery

October 9, 2012

MICHIGAN – President Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence “manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States,” but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.

Workers at the Compact Power manufacturing facilities in Holland, Mich., run by LG Chem, have been placed on rotating furloughs, working only three weeks per month based on lack of demand for lithium-ion cells.

The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from General Motors. The plant’s batteries also were intended to be used in Ford’s electric Focus.

Production of the taxpayer-subsidized Volt has been plagued by work stoppages, and the effect has trickled down to companies and plants that build parts for it — including the batteries.

“Considering the lack of demand for electric vehicles, despite billions of dollars from the Obama administration that were supposed to stimulate it, it’s not surprising what has happened with LG Chem. Just because a ton of money is poured into a product does not mean that people will buy it,” Paul Chesser, an associate fellow with the National Legal and Policy Center, told

The 650,000-square-foot, $300 million facility was slated to produce 15,000 batteries per year, while creating hundreds of new jobs. But to date, only 200 workers are employed at the plant by by the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea.

The factory was partly funded by a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. LG also received sizeable tax breaks from the local government, saving nearly $50 million in property taxes over 15 years and another $2.5 million annually in business taxes. Landing the factory was hailed as a coup when shovels first hit the ground.

“You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America,” Obama told workers at the ground-breaking ceremony. “Our goal has never been to create a government program, but rather to unleash private-sector growth. And we’re seeing results.”

Randy Boileau, a spokesperson for LG Chem in Holland, told that battery production is expected to pick up once Volt assembly lines in Detroit resume production on Oct. 15. He said the facility has spent the past two years building infrastructure and conducting pre-production “test runs.”

“The market conditions haven’t been as favorable, but this hasn’t slowed down plans one bit,” Boileau said. “LG Chem has repeatedly said that this facility is a critical component for them globally.”

Boileau pointed out the workers who are on furloughs one week a month are eligible to collect unemployment for that week, and he said the company covers the contributions to their individual benefits during the period.

The Volt has been plagued by low sales since it first rolled off the line three years ago. Orders have picked up for 2012 but are still well below projections.

Chesser said no amount of government subsidies can counter the practical problems posed by plug-in cars.

“Electric car batteries do not perform much better than they did 100 years ago,” he said. “Research has not conquered the battery storage issue, and therefore the electric transportation ‘stimulus’ did not boost the ‘technology of the future,’ but instead a century-old technology as far as performance and capability goes.”

He added that the LG Chem plant’s problems show that the unpopularity of electric cars despite heavy taxpayer subsidies has had more widespread negative effects than most realize.

“Billions of dollars were put into Volt research, and Ford received $5.9 billion in stimulus loans to retrofit plants to produce [electric vehicles],” Chesser said. “The battery companies like LG Chem that were supposed to service them have no customers to speak of. Their existence was solely based on access to taxpayer money.

“Had it been private investors rather than government bureaucrats making the decision, there either would have been a reality check about the industry, or only those who made individual decisions to invest would have lost their money, not taxpayers.”

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Totally Disgraced Detroit Michigan Police Chief Quits After Affair With Nutcase Subordinate Who Traded Sex For Promotion, Posted Her Picture On Internet With Her Gun In Her Mouth

October 8, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Less than a week after he was suspended for allegedly having an affair with a subordinate, Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. has retired from his position effective immediately, Mayor Dave Bing announced at a news conference Monday.

Bing said he did not force Godbee to resign during a Sunday meeting, but said it had become clear the chief had to step down.

“I think this was the right decision by the chief and therefore I support it,” Bing said.

Bing said he had gotten to know Godbee well and respected him as a leader.

“It bothers, hurts me a great deal that it has come to this,” Bing said. “I worry about him as a person and hope that he’ll be able to get on with his life no longer as part of the Detroit Police Department, but as a citizen of Detroit.”

Bing stressed that public safety in the city won’t be impacted by the shakeup. Assistant Chief Chester Logan will serve as interim chief.

Bing suspended Godbee for 30 days Oct. 2 after allegations the chief was having an affair with Angelica Robinson, who works for the department in internal affairs. Robinson’s gun was taken away after she became distraught and posted a photo of herself with a gun in her mouth on a social networking site. She was evaluated by a doctor and was cleared to return to work with her gun, a department spokeswoman said Friday.

The chief, who is married, filed for divorce in August. He has declined comment.

When asked if Godbee admitted to a relationship with an internal affairs officer, Bing said: “He did tell me that he had a relationship with Ms. Robinson, yes.”

Bing said Godbee was embarrassed.

“He felt he had let me down. He felt he had let the department down. He felt he had let the citizens of Detroit down,” Bing said.

The chief, who is married, filed for divorce in August. He has declined comment.

His retirement letter, which carries Monday’s date, makes no mention of the affair or what led to his stepping down. Instead, it opines about his career in the department, which he began working for in 1987, and his gratitude for being able to serve the city.

“I retire proud of the fact that I was able to assist during a time in which our city has most been in need and I thank Mayor Bing and his administration for allowing me to serve as the chief for the past two years,” the letter says.

Godbee began working for the Detroit Police Department in 1987. He briefly retired in 2008, but returned the following year and had been the chief since 2010.

Godbee took over as chief after former Chief Warren Evans was forced to resign after he marketed himself in a teaser for a reality program and also had a relationship with a subordinate, Lt. Monique Patterson.

At the time, Bing said Evans’ relationship with Patterson compromised his ability to lead. The mayor named Godbee, a lifelong Detroiter and veteran of the department, interim chief in July 2010. That September, he was given the top job.

But shortly after being named chief, Patterson released text messages showing she also had a romantic relationship with Godbee.

The mayor said he spoke with Godbee during his tenure about his behavior because of the prior indiscretion with the lieutenant.

“We have had that conversation on more than one occasion because I had concerns just based on the histor, and he confided in me that he had changed his ways,” Bing said. “And I had no reason not to believe that.”

Bing said he told Godbee what his expectations were.

“He didn’t live up to those expectations,” Bing said, “and that leads us to where we are today.”

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Detroit Police Caution Visitors To Their War Zone: “Enter At Your Own Risk”

October 6, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – The men and women of the Detroit Police Department believe the city is too dangerous to enter, and they want citizens to know it.

Detroit Police Officer Association (DPOA) Attorney Donato Iorio said officers are holding the “Enter At Your Own Risk” rally at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in front of Comerica Park to remind the public that the officers are overworked, understaffed, and at times, fearful for their lives.

“Detroit is America’s most violent city, its homicide rate is the highest in the country and yet the Detroit Police Department is grossly understaffed,” Iorio told WWJ’s Kathryn Larson. “The DPOA believes that there is a war in Detroit, but there should be a war on crime, not a war on its officers.”

Iorio says the once 2,000 strong force is shrinking rapidly; since the start of summer, hundreds of officers have left the department.

“These are the men and women who we look to protect us… and police officers can’t protect you if they’re not there. Officers are leaving simply because they can’t afford to stay in Detroit and work 12 hour shifts for what they are getting paid… These police officers are beyond demoralized, these officers are leaving hand over fist because they can no longer afford to stay on the department and protect the public,” he said.

And that’s why Iorio cautions those who enter the city to be wary.

“The explosion in violent crime, the incredible spike in the number of homicides and for officers trying to work 12 hours in such deplorable, dangerous and war like conditions is simple untenable,” he said.

Iorio said the department today has less officers than ever, even though crime rates are through the roof.

“By denying police officers the appropriate manpower, there’s a manpower crisis right now, there’s 1,000 fewer police officers today than there was 10 years ago, yet the homicide rate is higher. There’s more crime now than before, so if anything you need more officers, not fewer officers,” he said.

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Detroit Michigan Police Officer Lt. Monique Patterson Was Police Chief Ralph Godbee’s In-House Whore – She Swapped Her Body For Promotion

October 6, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – I got a call from Lieutenant Monique Patterson, the cop caught in the love triangle between former chief Warren Evans and Ralph Godbee two years ago. She said she had some text messages showing that she had sex with Godbee in exchange for a promotion.

One text message from Godbee to Patterson said, “I want you, I think you, I breathe you, I taste you, I smell you, need I go on?”

Another text message from Godbee to Patterson read, “I need a face to face so you can see that I say what I say because I’m in LOVE WITH YOU!”

Yet another text message from Godbee to Patterson said, “I can meet you by 8’ish. Can you have everything set up where you can just let me know the room #?”

A text message from Patterson to Godbee read, “I hate that all we have discussed (transfer, etc.) nothing has occurred. Nothing seems hopeful to me at this point. Nothing.”

Then a text message from Godbee to Patterson said, “You will learn over time that my word is my bond!”

This is clearly more than sex between consenting adults. It’s an abuse of power. The police department has been turned into a brothel. City hall knew said the lawyer who took the messages to Deputy Mayor Saul Green.
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Detroit Michigan Police Chief Ralph Godbee Suspended After Affair With Subordinate Internal Affairs Officer – Affair Came To Light After His Nutcase Mistress Posted Photo With Her Gun In Her Mouth

October 3, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Detroit’s top law enforcement officer has been suspended amid allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a subordinate.

Chief Ralph Godbee’s affair with Angelica Robinson, an internal affairs officer, emerged after she posted a photo with her service weapon in her mouth on Twitter, after learning Godbee was at a police conference with another woman.

Her attorney, David Robinson has confirmed that there was a relationship between his client and Chief Godbee, who is married but filed for divorce in August, according to

She now refers to herself as Godbee’s former lover, and claims he is a ‘sex addict,’ the news website reports.
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Crazed Dearborn Michigan Police Officer Tickets Woman Because He Was “Aggravated” That She Failed To Reveal She Is HIV Positive Before He Searched Her Car

October 3, 2012

DEARBORN, MICHIGAN – A metro Detroit police agency is putting its employees through training on HIV and AIDS after a videotaped traffic stop shows an officer telling a woman he’s writing a ticket because she failed to reveal she’s HIV positive before he searched her vehicle.

Dearborn police Chief Ronald Haddad told The Detroit News he takes the matter “very seriously” and is investigating the Aug. 3 stop.

The 29-minute YouTube video shows the officer telling Shalandra Jones and her driver he’s ticketing them because he’s “aggravated” Jones didn’t disclose her HIV status before he searched their SUV.

In the video, the unnamed officer says he doesn’t “want to catch something” and “has a family.” He then issued a ticket for a broken tail light.

The Detroit Legal Services firm is representing Jones and said in a statement the firm is “working to ensure that Jones is protected to the fullest extent of the law.” It wasn’t immediately clear if a lawsuit was being pursued.

Casual contact doesn’t spread HIV and AIDS.

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Pack Of Savage Black Beasts Continually Loitering At Detroit Gas Station Drives Away Customers – As Many As 40 Thugs Hanging Out, Police Come And Chase Them Off, Then They Return

October 2, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – A Detroit man says his business is being held hostage by a group of teenagers who continually loiter inside and out of his gas station.

“There’s a lot of good people around here,” said the station owner, who wished to remain anonymous. But now, those good people aren’t coming as often to the Marathon station along W. 7 Mile Road on the city’s west side.

“This is a Bad Crew gas station,” said one teen loitering out front on Tuesday. When asked what that meant, he said, “If you don’t know, I can’t even tell you.”

Surveillance video obtained by FOX 2 shows as many as a dozen teens hanging out inside the store, smoking cigarettes, sitting on countertops and even spitting into sinks.

The owner says as many as 40 teens can be hanging out in front of the station at any time. “Destroying my store. Destroying my business,” said the owner.

He says his clerks are too frightened to take action against the teens and he’s worried that the loitering could lead to violence.

Detroit police have been called numerous times to the store, but the owner says right after officers disperse the crowd and leave the scene, the teens returns to their normal posts.

Leslie Cunningham, who lives nearby the station, says members from Marvin Winans’ Perfecting Church have recently been to the station to talk to the young people. “It’s out of hand,” said Cunningham. “We try to raise young people around here that they would be concerned and care about their area and this is what we have to contend with.”

The owner, and father of four, says he would walk away from his business if he didn’t owe so much on it.

Meanwhile, he keeps working and keeps hoping that the teens decide to leave.

Detroit police tell FOX 2 they’ll continue to respond to calls from the station. The owner says he may hire an off-duty officer to help keep his business secure during peak hours.

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Dumbass Who Collected Welfare After Winning Million Dollar Lottery Prize Dies Of A Drug Overdose

September 29, 2012

ECORSE, MICHIGAN –  Police say a Detroit-area woman who collected welfare benefits despite winning a $735,000 lottery prize has died of a possible drug overdose.

Ecorse police Sgt. Cornelius Herring confirmed that 25-year-old Amanda Clayton was found dead about 9 a.m. Saturday at a home in the community southwest of Detroit.

Relatives of Clayton did not immediately return a phone message for comment.

Clayton of Lincoln Park pleaded no contest to fraud in June and was sentenced to nine months’ probation in July. Her attorney has said Clayton repaid about $5,500 in food aid and medical benefits.

Michigan’s Department of Human Services says Clayton didn’t inform the state about her pre-tax lottery windfall last year.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law in April requiring lottery officials to tell Human Services about new winners.

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Tax Dollars Down The Drain As Law Enforcement Chases Its Tail For 37 Years In Search For Jimmy Hoffa’s Body

September 28, 2012

ROSEVILLE, MICHIGAN –  Jimmy Hoffa is presumed dead, cocooned in mystery and innuendo and missing for the past 37 years. Patricia Szpunar just hopes that if the former Teamsters boss’ remains do turn up, they’re not in her backyard.

The latest search led police, droves of local and national reporters and dozens of curious onlookers to Szpunar’s brick ranch-style home in Roseville.

“I’m looking forward to everybody going home,” she told The Associated Press on Friday from her front porch. Szpunar has lived at the house since 1988.

Minutes earlier, a small mob of people scooted by, following closely behind police who were carrying tubes of soil samples taken from two 6-foot holes drilled through the concrete floor of her backyard shed.

Police in the mostly working- and middle-class community north of Detroit recently received a tip from a man who claimed he saw someone buried there about 35 years ago and that the body possibly belonged to Hoffa.

The crowd buzzed Friday, muffled a bit by the periodic whir of the drill. Szpunar cautiously peeked at the activity from the security of her partially enclosed rear deck.

“It’s not excitement for me,” she lamented. “This has turned my life upside down. My son can’t even come out and cut the grass.”
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Federal Government And Local Police Still Pissing Away Tax Dollars Chasing Their Tails In Search For Jimmy Hoffa’s Body – Find It Or Not, Who Will Benefit?

September 27, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Police will drill outside a suburban Detroit residence Friday in the search for Jimmy Hoffa, the labor strongman whose disappearance is one of the most notorious and mysterious in U.S. history.

A tipster told police that a body was buried at the spot in Roseville, Michigan, at around the same time the Teamsters boss disappeared in 1975.

The tipster did not claim it was Hoffa’s body, authorities said.

Police Chief James Berlin told CNN Thursday that while the tipster’s information seems credible, he’s not convinced the body is Hoffa’s because of the timeline. He spoke with the tipster on August 22, and believes the person did see a burial.

The tipster did not come forward sooner out of fear, said Berlin.

Dan Moldea, author of “The Hoffa Wars,” told CNN the tipster, a former gambler, contacted him on March 30. The tipster used to do business with a man who had ties to Anthony Giacalone, an organized crime figure who was supposed to meet Hoffa the day he disappeared, Moldea said.

“I am very skeptical,” Moldea said of the planned dig. If Hoffa’s burial had taken place at the spot, it would have been in full view of the neighborhood, the author argued.

And if Hoffa’s body was disposed of, it would have been done in a way that no evidence would be left years later, he said.

At 10 a.m. Friday, crews will begin digging, police chief Berlin said. It shouldn’t take long to get a sample, which will be taken to a forensic anthropologist at the University of Michigan for analysis.

The reading will determine whether there are human remains at the site, but will not identify them, Berlin said.

“It took us a while to get the proper equipment to do what we’re going to do. If this is a person, they’ve been down there for 35 years. What’s a few more days?” Berlin said.

Results from the soil testing should be available next week, the chief told CNN Wednesday.

“If they are positive, we will then start excavating,” Berlin said.

The alleged burial site is under a concrete slab, and the residence is occupied by new homeowners, who’ve been “cooperative and excellent to police,” Berlin said.

The FBI in Detroit had no comment on the planned search, and a statement from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said the Hoffa family had nothing to say at this time.

“The Hoffa family does not respond every time a tip is received by authorities. The FBI keeps the family informed and they will have no comment until there is a reason to comment,” the statement said.

Hoffa remains among America’s most famous, and in many ways infamous, missing people. His presumed death has vexed investigators for four decades.

One of the most powerful union leaders at a time that unions wielded a great deal of sway over elections — and were notoriously tied to organized crime — Hoffa was forced out of the organized labor movement when he was sent to prison in 1967.

He served time for jury tampering and fraud at a federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, until being pardoned by President Richard Nixon on December 23, 1971 — on the condition that he not try to get back into the union movement before 1980.

Two weeks before Hoffa’s disappearance in 1975, federal investigators discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars had been stolen from the Teamsters’ largest pension fund, Time magazine points out in its list of the top 10 most famous disappearances.

Hoffa, then 62, was last seen July 30, 1975, at Machus Red Fox restaurant in suburban Detroit. He was there ostensibly to meet with reputed Detroit Mafia street enforcer Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano, chief of a Teamsters local in New Jersey, who was later convicted in a murder case. Both men have since died.

Hoffa believed Giacalone had set up the meeting to help settle a feud between Hoffa and Provenzano, but Hoffa was the only one who showed up for the meeting, according to the FBI.

Giacalone and Provenzano later told the FBI that no meeting had been scheduled.

The FBI said at the time that the disappearance could have been linked to Hoffa’s efforts to regain power in the Teamsters and to the mob’s influence over the union’s pension funds.

Police and the FBI have searched for Hoffa intermittently ever since.

In September 2001, the FBI found DNA that linked Hoffa to a car that agents suspected was used in his disappearance.

In 2004, authorities removed floorboards from a Detroit home to look for traces of blood, as former Teamsters official Frank Sheeran claimed in a biography that he had shot Hoffa. Sheeran died in 2003.

Investigators ruled blood found in the house was not Hoffa’s. The FBI has a sample of his DNA from a hair brush.

Two years later, the FBI razed a horse barn in Michigan following what it called “a fairly credible lead.”

But the disappearance remains unsolved.

Urban lore long suggested that Hoffa was buried around the end zone at the former Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

As TruTV puts it, the mystery surrounding Hoffa is not simply a “whodunnit.”

“The likely suspects are all known, and their motives are well documented. The question is: Where? What exactly did they do to Jimmy Hoffa, and where did they dispose of his body?”

But over the years, numerous theories have been floated. In 1987, Joe Franco — a former Hoffa strong-arm — and a New York Times reporter published “Hoffa’s Man,” which Fortune described as “the hair-raising inside story of Jimmy Hoffa.”

“Rather than being kidnapped by rival union forces as law enforcement authorities have long speculated, Franco says Hoffa was abducted by two federal agents,” Fortune reported. “He thinks they drove Hoffa to a nearby airport, took off in a small plane, and pushed him out over one of the Great Lakes. Franco says he did not tell federal investigators this bizarre, and unverifiable, story because they would not grant him immunity.”

Hoffa’s son, James P. Hoffa, is the current president of the Teamsters.

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Three Saginaw Michigan Police Officers “Disciplined” After Shooting And Killing “Rude And Agressive” Homeless Man Who Refused To Pay For Coffee – 8 Police Officers Fired 46 Rounds

September 21, 2012

Three Saginaw, Michigan, police officers involved in the shooting and killing of a homeless man have been punished, a police official said Friday.

The on-site supervisor was demoted to patrolman, said Acting Saginaw Police Chief Brian Lipe.

Two others were “disciplined,” he said, for violating department policies in connection with the shooting. Three of their five dash-cam videocameras were not working properly. No other detail was provided on how the officers were disciplined.

The incident occurred July 1. Milton Hall, 49, had been arguing with officers in a parking lot next to a shuttered Chinese restaurant when he was shot multiple times by police, in full view of passing motorists and while he was holding a knife.

A video of the incident was exclusively shown in a report by CNN’s Jason Carroll weeks later.

Six of the eight police officers opened fire, Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas said earlier this month. All six are remaining on the police force.

After a 10-week investigation, police determined that the officers would not face criminal charges because they had not acted with criminal intent when they opened fire, Thomas said.

Police responded to a call from a woman at a nearby mini mart before the shooting. She complained that the Hall was rude and aggressive, and had refused to pay for a coffee and other items. She also said Hall spit on someone inside the store.

Hall threatened a responding female police officer with a knife. Investigators said Hall refused to drop the weapon, despite police orders to relinquish the knife and came within a few feet of the officers.

Thomas said six of the eight police officers opened fire as Hall approached. The officers had been equipped with stun guns, though they “aren’t 100% effective,” he added. The officers fired 46 rounds, striking Hall 11 times, according to Thomas.

Investigators also showed video of the incident, captured by a dashboard camera inside a police cruiser at the scene.

The eight officers, as well as a police dog, had formed a semi-circle around Hall, who did not appear to back down during the confrontation, according to the video.

“They didn’t shoot him right away at the beginning,” said Thomas. “They tried to look for non-lethal options here.” Thomas said “there is a need for greater (police) training,” as well as a need for more access to non-lethal weapons.

Hall’s family said that he had a history of mental illness.

Jewel Hall, the victim’s mother, has said that she and her attorney were conducting a separate investigation. They are requesting access to additional documents as well as the autopsy report.

In a statement released through her attorney, Hall said she was “disappointed in the prosecutor’s report finding that the actions of the six Saginaw police officers who so brutally shot and killed my son, Milton Hall, were justified.”

“If there is any benefit to come from Milton’s tragic death, we would hope that it would be to raise awareness of the challenges confronting the Saginaw Police Department and Saginaw elected officials,” she said in the statement. “The challenges are serious, systemic, wide-ranging and deeply rooted.”

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War Zone: Google Street View Car Captures Image Of Savage Black Beast In Detroit Michigan Pointing Shotgun At Their Car

September 19, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – It would be so fun to drive around in one of those Google street view cars, wouldn’t it? Happily capturing the world around you so it can be carefully digitized and archived for everyone with an Internet connection to see. Except for like, when you drive through a rough urban area and happen to have a large gun pointed at you.

A Redditor published a screencap from a Google Maps street view camera today that shows a gaggle of young men and one woman hanging out on a front porch in Detroit. Innocent enough, except that one of the young men is holding what looks to be a shotgun. As the streetview camera drives off onto the next block, the kid aims the gun at the car.

Whoever said cartography wasn’t a dangerous job has clearly never been to Detroit.

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Michigan Secretary Of State Admits There Are And Estimated 4,000 Noncitizens On State’s Voter Rolls – Federal Government Blocking Access To Citizenship Data – Obama And Democratic County And City Clerks Resisting Efforts To Cleanse Voter Rolls

September 19, 2012

LANSING, MICHIGAN – One day after being sued over a controversial ballot box citizenship question, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Tuesday there are an estimated 4,000 noncitizens on Michigan’s voter rolls.

The estimate is based on the state’s access to citizenship information for one-fifth of the population, Johnson said, adding the federal government won’t give her access to more citizenship data.

Johnson said the results of a “very tedious” analysis of 58,000 driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards found 963 noncitizens registered to vote.

Department of State employees cross-referenced those noncitizens with voting records and found 54 have a voting history and have voted a total of 95 times, Johnson said.

Using census estimates that 305,000 noncitizens live in Michigan, Johnson’s office extrapolated that 5,064 could be noncitizens and then lowered its estimate to 4,000 to account for children, spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau said.
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Murder Suspect Had To Turn Himself In Twice Before He Was Arrested By Detroit Police For Shooting Four At Party, Killing 2

September 15, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Detroit police are investigating why a murder suspect had to turn himself twice before he was arrested.

The 36-year-old man walked into a fire station two hours after he allegedly shot four people at a party early Saturday morning, police said in a statement. Two of the victims died, while the other two were seriously wounded, police said.

The suspect, who was not identified, told firefighters at 3:20 a.m. Saturday that he was connected to the shootings, police said.

Fire fighters called the Detroit Police Department, but they were told all available officers were on high priority runs and that no one would be able to be dispatched to the station, ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit reported.

The suspect left the fire station and went to a police station where he was taken into custody.

Police Chief Ralph Godbee said the department would conduct an administrative investigation to determine whether the situation was handled appropriately.

“Every effort to ensure that this person was taken into police custody should have occurred. Therefore an administrative investigation will be conducted to determine if this police run was handled appropriately and to ascertain if there were any other patrol resources which should have been made available to respond to the Detroit Fire Engine Quarters,” Godbee said.

A message left by with the Detroit police was not immediately returned.

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6 Saginaw Michigan Police Officer Won’t Have To Answer For Shooting And Killing Mentally Ill Homeless Man

September 13, 2012

SAGINAW, MICHIGAN – Police officers who unleashed a hail of gunfire that killed a homeless Michigan man wielding a knife will not face criminal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas told reporters that investigators had reviewed police reports, several pieces of evidence — including audio recordings of phone calls made to police — and interviewed several witnesses at the scene.

“Criminal charges aren’t warranted,” said Thomas, noting that the officers had not acted with criminal intent on July 1 when they opened fire on Milton Hall.

The 10-week investigation was necessary because “the Saginaw Police Department was not going to investigate itself,” he said. Hall’s family said that he had a history of mental illness.
Man killed by cops, shot multiple times

The 49-year-old man had been arguing with officers in a parking lot next to a shuttered Chinese restaurant when he was shot multiple times by police, in full view of passing motorists and while he was holding a knife.

Video captures Michigan man’s shooting by police

Prosecutors played an audio recording of a call made to police by a woman at a nearby mini mart prior to the shooting in which she complained that he had been rude and aggressive, and had refused to pay for a coffee and other items.

The woman also said Hall had spit on someone inside the store, according to the recording.

A female police officer responded to the call and radioed in for backup when she encountered Hall, who was being aggressive and threatened the officer with a knife, according to Thomas.

Investigators said Hall refused to drop the weapon, despite police orders to relinquish the knife and came within a few feet of the officers.

“He’s coming at us every time we exit the vehicle,” according to the female officer’s voice, which was broadcast to reporters during Wednesday’s press conference. “He wants us to shoot him.”

“We can’t let him get out of this area,” the officer added. “He’s going to kill somebody.”

Thomas said six of the eight police officers opened fire as Hall approached. The officers had been equipped with stun guns, though they “aren’t 100% effective,” he added.

The officers fired 46 rounds, striking Hall 11 times, according to Thomas.

Investigators also showed video of the incident, captured by a dashboard camera inside a police cruiser at the scene.

The eight officers, as well as a police dog, had formed a semi-circle around Hall, who did not appear to back down during the confrontation, according to the video.

“They didn’t shoot him right away at the beginning,” said Thomas. “They tried to look for non-lethal options here.”

Thomas said “there is a need for greater (police) training,” as well as a need for more access to non-lethal weapons.

Hall’s cousin, Mike Washington, told CNN in August that Hall had been jailed for minor offenses such as vagrancy in the past, but, “he was not violent.”

Hall’s mother, who said her son was mentally ill, has plans to speak Monday at a “town hall type meeting” organized by Concerned Citizens of Saginaw at a local church.

Jewel Hall said last month that she and her attorney were conducting a separate investigation. They are requesting access to additional documents as well as the autopsy report.

“I have good days and bad days,” she said Wednesday. “Today is not a good day for me.”

In a statement released through her attorney, Hall said she was “disappointed in the prosecutor’s report finding that the actions of the six Saginaw police officers who so brutally shot and killed my son, Milton Hall, were justified.”

“If there is any benefit to come from Milton’s tragic death, we would hope that it would be to raise awareness of the challenges confronting the Saginaw Police Department and Saginaw elected officials,” she said in the statement. “The challenges are serious, systemic, wide-ranging and deeply rooted.”

The shooting occurred in a parking lot on West Genessee Avenue, a busy commercial strip on the north side of Saginaw.

In a video purchased by CNN, shot by a motorist from across the street, Hall is seen arguing with a half-dozen officers. For more than three minutes, he walks back and forth, and at one time appears to crouch in a “karate stance,” according to the man who captured the scene.

Multiple shots are heard in the video.

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US Government Backed General Motors Losing About $50,000 On Every Volt Model Sold

September 10, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – General Motors Co sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August — but that probably isn’t a good thing for the automaker’s bottom line.

Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.

Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.
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Broke: Detroit Michigan Lets Tourists Pay To Be A Firefighter For A Day

September 7, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Are you a firefighter from a sleepy corner of this planet? Don’t feel much like a man because you don’t get much action? Don’t worry because you can now pay to become a Detroit firefighter for a day. Seriously.

Now don’t get all hot and bothered. It’s just in the planning stages.

Let me explain. Since Mayor Bing gutted the fire service, the department has been forced to close down rigs and layoff men. What to do? Here’s a firecracker of an idea. Because Detroit for years has been a magnet for firefighter tourists riding along on the rigs, Commissioner Don Austin, according to his “ride-along training program” memo, is thinking, hey, why not put them to work and charge them for the privilege.

Think about it, you don’t even have to pay their benefits, and what a great experience it will be for that guy from podunk. You can fight fires. It’s really busy. You can help pull hose. You get to save babies. You might even get to have breakfast with a confessed murderer waiting at the fire house for the cops to come and arrest him.

Of course, no tour would be complete without coming to the fire truck graveyard.

Sound great, but some people aren’t so sure.

“What about when the roof falls on the guy that’s out helping. Who’s going to take care of his liability part?” one firefighter said.

“That’s not the answer, no. We need firefighters, our laid off guys back. That’s what we need,” said Darnell McLaurin with DFAA Local 344.

How does one of the laid off guys feel about being replaced by tourists?

“Tourists? Wow. Do they know what to do?” said Sam Shack.

We caught up with Fire Commissioner Don Austin at the fire truck repair shop. He told us he would call us back.

Well, the commissioner never did get back with us, but Mayor Bing’s people did by text message saying that was just an internal memo and there’s nothing to discuss publicly. Nothing.

But I can’t blame the fire commissioner because after all those cutbacks, the only thing he does have in abundance is fire, and why not profit off it.

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Secret Service Didn’t Know They Were In The Middle Of A War Zone, Loses Entire Trailer Full Of Equipment Hours Ahead Of Vice President’s Visit In Detroit Michigan

September 3, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Brazen thieves snatched a Secret Service truck from outside a Detroit hotel late Saturday, hours ahead of a Labor Day visit by Vice President Joe Biden.

The 14-foot rented U-Haul was parked outside the Westin Book Cadillac hotel downtown and loaded with equipment for the veep’s appearance, the Secret Service said.

Secret Service spokesman Edward Donovan said no weapons were taken, but wouldn’t otherwise comment on what was inside, according to reports.

“It won’t affect the visit at all,” Donovan told The Detroit News. “We would never compromise the security of a visit.”

Agents left the vehicle on Saturday night and discovered it stolen on Sunday morning.

The Secret Service was working with local authorities to recover the truck, which is painted with an Arizona scene and has Arizona plates, Donovan said.

Biden is due to speak at a campaign rally in Motor City at around noon on Monday, one of a handful of stops before he addresses the Democratic convention in Charlotte on Thursday.

The truck flap comes one week after a Secret Service agent travelling with Mitt Romney to Indianapolis from the GOP convention in Tampa left her gun in the plane’s bathroom, where a reporter found it.

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Lansing Michigan Police Officer Sgt. Todd Johnson Arrested And Suspended After Drunken Wreck

September 1, 2012

LANSING, MICHIGAN – Lansing Police Department officials identify the officer who was placed on paid administrative leave following a traffic accident Thursday afternoon. Sgt. Todd Johnson, 41, is a 17-year veteran of the Lansing Police Department. Johnson was off-duty when he was involved in a crash at Chandler Road and State Road in DeWitt Township Thursday at about 3:30PM.

The Lansing State Journal is reporting he was arrested at the scene for drunk driving.

“All allegations of complaints against Lansing Police Officers are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated,” said Chief Teresa Szymanski. “The allegation against this LPD Sergeant is disappointing and if found true will not be tolerated.”

DeWitt Township Police is handling the investigation. Johnson was taken to the hospital for minor injuries following the crash. The occupants of the other vehicle were not injured.

Johnson has not yet been arraigned on any charges.

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Former Springfield Michigan Police Officer Trevor Endsley Pleads Guilty To Drunk Driving For A Tiny Slap On The Wrist – Quit After His Arrest

August 31, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, MICHIGAN – A former officer from the Springfield Department of Public Safety has entered a plea in a drunken driving case.

Trevor Endsley, 28, of Marshall, pleaded no contest today before Calhoun County District Judge Frank Line to driving under the influence of liquor and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

He entered the pleas as part of an agreement with Calhoun County prosecutors who will dismiss charges of driving with a high blood alcohol content and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Also as part of the agreement Endsley will be sentenced to probation and no jail time. And the gun charge will be dismissed if he has no other violations for a year.

Endsley was arrested Jan. 8 by Emmett Township police after witnesses said he collided with another vehicle while leaving the parking lot of a strip club, Hots, at 948 N. Raymond Road. He later hit a power pole and was found a short distance away.

Police said his blood alcohol content was 0.21 percent.

He later resigned from the Springfield department.

A sentencing date was not immediately set.

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Michigan Journalist Targeted With Unwarranted Harassment By TSA’s Failing “Chat Down” Program

August 24, 2012

MICHIGAN – I came face-to-face with Big Brother the other day, and it was a frightening experience.

He actually presented himself in the deceptive form of a young, attractive female officer, working for the Transportation Security Administration at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

At first she simply seemed chatty and friendly. She looked at my airline boarding pass and noted that I was coming from Denver. Then she mentioned that I was headed from Detroit to Grand Rapids.

“That’s a pretty short flight,” she said.

“Talk to my travel agent,” I grumbled.

At that point she asked me what my business would be in Grand Rapids.

“I’m headed home,” I replied.

Then she wanted to know where home was. That’s when the mental alarms went off and I realized I was being interrogated by Big Brother in drag.

I asked her why the federal government needed to know where I was going and what I would be doing. She explained that the questions were part of a new security “pilot program.”

I then told her I am an American citizen, traveling within my own country, and I wasn’t breaking any laws. That’s all the federal government needed to know, and I wasn’t going to share any more.

Not because I had anything to hide. It was because we live in a free country where innocent people are supposedly protected from unwarranted government intrusion and harassment.

At that point the agent yelled out, “We have another refusal.” One of my bags was seized and I was momentarily detained and given a hand-swab, which I believe was to test for residue from bomb-making materials.

I passed the bomb test and was told I could move on, but I hung around a moment and told everyone within listening range what I thought about this terrifying experience.

So, this is what we’ve come to. The federal government now has a need to know where citizens are going and what they are doing before they are allowed to peacefully pass. I’m starting to wonder what separates us from Russia or Cuba.

Of course, I went home, got on the computer and learned more about this “pilot program.” I discovered that it’s been going on for a few years now at selected airports around the nation.

TSA officers, being the brilliant people they are, are given the responsibility of picking out airline passengers “whose facial expressions, body language or other behavior indicate a security risk.” They are then subjected to a “chat down,” where officers interrogate you and decide if you are indeed a terrorist.

Hmmm. So what did I do to make them label me a security risk?

Well, it was 9:30 in the morning, and I was just coming from a three-day music festival in the Colorado mountains, so I probably looked pretty groggy as I stood in the half-hour line to reach the TSA security checkpoint.

Perhaps it was my odd facial expressions. For the past few weeks I’ve been suffering from a condition called “Bell’s palsy,” which includes temporary paralysis of all the muscles on one side of my face. I can’t smile, and the condition makes me look even grumpier than usual.

I suppose the government figures that grumpy looking people with droopy faces are potential terrorists. God help any stroke victims who try to travel. If they suffer from paralysis beyond their face they may be detained and questioned for weeks.

This program is a bizarre and outlandish violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is supposed to protect us from “unreasonable search and seizure” by agents of the government, unless they have probable cause. I doubt any judge would have considered my droopy face as sufficient cause for harassment.

I lived through 9/11 and I understand the need for tight security at airports. I put up with the ritual of taking off my shoes and belt and standing in a machine that shows TSA agents physical details that are really none of their business.

The idea is to keep dangerous materials that could be used in a terrorist attack off commercial airliners. Fair enough. But stopping people because they look sort of funny to security agents, and probing into their personal business, is going too far.

What’s next? Check lanes on city streets, where jackbooted thugs from Washington, D.C., will stop everyone every morning to ask them where they’re going and what they’re up to? And if our answers are not what the government wants to hear, perhaps we’ll be sent home and put under surveillance, to make sure we’re not involved in anything that Big Brother doesn’t approve of.

Our freedom is severely compromised when government is allowed to do this sort of thing. We are supposed to be presumed innocent and able to come and go as we please, as long as we don’t break any laws or give authorities reason to believe we may have.

The “chat down” program has been a failure, by the way, at least according to a recent editorial published in USA Today. TSA officials interviewed about 725,000 travelers at Logan International Airport in Boston over the course of one year, and none of them turned out to be terrorists. A small percentage were arrested on outstanding warrants for other crimes, but that’s not the purpose of the

To make matters worse, some TSA agents have told civil rights attorneys that they were instructed to target minority passengers at airports, to increase the odds of finding criminals and build justification for the program.

There is no justification for this type of unwarranted harassment in America. Even people who look a little different should be allowed to move about as they please, unless they give authorities a specific reason to stop them.

I urge everyone who cares about freedom to call their elected representatives and tell them the TSA “chat down” program goes way too far and should be iced, before any more innocent citizens are subjected to humiliating and unconstitutional interrogations.

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Detroit 36th District Courtroom Evacuated And Closed Down After Witness Shows Up Covered With Insects

August 24, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – A court room in Detroit’s 36th District Court is closed after officials say a bug-infested man showed up for proceedings.

Judge Cylenthia Miller chose to evacuate the court and send her staff home after a bailiff spotted the man with insects crawling on him.

His daughter told the Detroit News he has a bedbug problem at his home, but a court staffer talking to WWJ Newsradio 950 said it’s not yet clear what kind of bugs were on the man — indicating that they also could have been cockroaches or fleas.

The man was reportedly there to serve as a witness in a case.

A pest control company has been called in to spray. It was unclear when Judge Miller’s court room would reopen.

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Detroit Michigan Police Had 11,000 Rape Kits Hidden In Annex Building – Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Has Been Slowly Testing Them Since They Were Stumbled Upon In 2009 – 21 Serial Rapists Identified After Just 400 DNA Tests

August 24, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Untested Detroit rape kits The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is doing everything it can to get 21 suspected serial rapists off the streets of Detroit.

That number is making Detroit women cringe.

“That means I better go hide,” said Delphine Troszak, of Detroit.

The Prosecutor’s Office says 11,000 rape kits have been found sitting on the shelves at a police annex building. Most of the kits were untested, until now.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the untested kits were found in 2009. Since then, her office has been sending the kits out in waves as they try to catch up. About 400 have been tested so far. Worthy said the amount of rape cases are sadly stacking up.

“The first 200 in wave one were stranger rapes where the victim did not know the attacker,” she said. “And we have been able to identify, so far, in total, 21 serial rapists.”

Detroit police annex where rape kits were found The prosecutor said the results are matching profiles already in the database, revealing some suspects who have raped at least two women. In some cases the suspects have raped five women. It’s a mess Worthy is trying to clean up and hopefully bring justice to rape victims across Detroit.

“The women who were victims of the rapes, you know, they deserve justice,” said Dayshia Brooks, of Detroit.

Worthy said there is a lot of work to do in order to catch the rapists.

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Broke: Detroit Michigan Employs Horseshoer – Union Claims Its “Not Possible” To Eliminate Positions In City Government

August 20, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Despite having no horses, the water and sewerage department for the city of Detroit employs a horseshoer.

Yet even with a department so bloated that it has a horseshoer and no horses, the local union president said it is “not possible” to eliminate positions.

Union rules have turned the department into a government jobs program, some critics say.

The horseshoer’s job description is “to shoe horses and to do general blacksmith work … and to perform related work as required.” The description was last updated in 1967.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has a large debt, rising water prices and inefficient services — using almost twice the number of employees per gallon as other cities like Chicago.

A recent independent report about the DWSD recommends that the city trim more than 80 percent of the department’s workforce. The consultant who wrote the report found 257 jobs description, including a horseshoer. Capitol Confidential sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the department for the salary, benefits and job description of the horseshoer position.

In response to the report, John Riehl, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207, which represents many of the DWSD employees, told the Detroit Free Press that the department needs more workers.

“They don’t have enough people as it is right now,” Riehl said. “They are just dreaming to think they can operate that plant with less.”

But critics say this is just another example of city departments operating as a jobs program for union employees.

“They have said for years that they don’t have enough people,” said Roi Chinn, a former city administrator and 2013 mayoral candidate for Detroit. “As the bureaucracy thickens and union power grows, there is always a built in reflex … to want more.

“Whenever you think you’ve heard the bad about the city of Detroit, it gets worse.”

Chinn said if he was mayor he would sell the water department.

Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press, wrote last week about the “intolerable waste” in the water department.

“For unions and the whole idea of collective bargaining, this is the kind of report that just makes any sort of future very, very hard to negotiate,” Henderson wrote. “It suggests that collective bargaining turns government into a provider of jobs instead of public services.”

Daniel Edwards, a construction contracts manager with the DWSD, said the employee was transferred from the Detroit Police Department five years ago. The police department has horses, though the DWSD horseshoer no longer works with animals.

“DWSD has a blacksmith shop in our Central Services Facility,” Edwards said. The shop “also … repairs equipment and works with various metals and welding for the department when needed.” The horseshoer now works at the Central Services Facility.

The city pays $29,245 in salary and about $27,000 in benefits for the horseshoer position.

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Queer Awarded $4.3 Million After Being Stalked, Harassed, And Defamed By Now-Fired And Unemployed Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell – Lawyer’s Obsession, Bogus First Amendment Claims, And Use Of State Computers Didn’t Do Much For His Career…

August 19, 2012

MICHIGAN – A federal court jury Thursday awarded $4.5million to an openly gay former University of Michigan student body president who accused a former state attorney of stalking and defaming him.

The civil case involved Andrew Shirvell, the former assistant attorney general fired in 2010 after he stirred a national controversy with his campaign against Christopher Armstrong, at the time U-M’s student body president.

Shirvell, a U-M alumnus, created the Chris Armstrong Watch blog, calling him “a radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar.” He had cast the blog as speech protected by the First Amendment.

Standing outside federal courtin downtown Detroit shortly after the verdict, Armstrong said he was “elated.”

“This is not just a victory for myself — it’s a victory for a lot of other people,” Armstrong said. “It sends a message to bullies.”

Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, had said Shirvell contacted his friends, showed up at his public appearances and insulted his family and friends on the blog.

Shirvell, who represented himself, said the jury award was “grossly excessive” and vowed to appeal with help from the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based nonprofit national public interest law firm.

“It’s just shocking that a jury would trample on my First Amendment rights the way they did,” he told The News. “That’s why the case should’ve been thrown out months ago by the judge. … Juries give First Amendment rights short shrift.”

Shirvell also said he’s unemployed and “there’s no possible way” he could pay the verdict, but he is prepared to fight the case even to the Supreme Court.

Armstrong, who filed the lawsuit in April 2011, had offered to drop the suit if Shirvell apologized and retract his statements.

Attorney Deborah Gordon said the jury’s decision came down to holding someone accountable for unacceptable behavior. “It means the community is not going to stand by and watch this happen to another person,” she said.

The impact also appeared to have swayed jurors, said Larry Dubin, a law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.

“The First Amendment does not protect language that defames someone’s reputation or conduct that constitutes stalking or intentionally causes significant emotional damage to an intended victim,” he said. “It seems that the jury in this case was highly offended by the conduct … and expressed that outrage by awarding a very large verdict.”

The award caps a scandal that gained national attention.

The suit claimed Shirvell “developed a bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong in early 2010 after claiming he was a radical homosexual activist.

Shirvell had created a Facebook group under the name of “U of M Alumni and Others Against Chris Armstrong and his Radical MSA (Michigan Student Assembly) Agenda.” Facebook shut down the page, but a blog was created spreading false and defamatory information, the suit said.

Earlier this year, a federal judge declined to dismiss the lawsuit against him. And in March, a Michigan hearing officer upheld Shirvell’s 2010 firing by then-Attorney General Mike Cox for using state computers to wage a campaign against Armstrong.

Shirvell had appealed, saying his conduct was protected by the First Amendment. But William Hutchens of the Michigan Civil Service Commission said the dismissal was just and the attorney engaged in “hate speech” on a blog and “physical and mental harassment.”

Last year, Armstrong announced he and his family were establishing a scholarship for bullied students. Gordon said money from the verdict would go to the fund.

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Human Body Parts Turn Up In Sterling Heights Michigan Sewer System – One Month After Couple’s Body Parts Turned Up In Nearby Detroit River And Canal

August 16, 2012

STERLING HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN – Contractors found about a dozen pieces of human flesh and other body parts Wednesday while they were clearing debris in a sewer pipe 50 feet below a busy suburban Detroit roadway.

Workers stumbled upon the parts about 8:30 a.m. while beginning their daily work in the 9-foot, 6-inch-wide pipe in Sterling Heights.

“It’s not like there were arms or legs, it was small pieces,” said Sterling Heights Police Lt. Luke Riley. “One of the pieces has what appears to be part of a tattoo.”

Investigators don’t believe the parts had been in the sewer too long, Riley said.

The Macomb County medical examiner’s office was examining the pieces. Authorities also were checking on missing person’s reports.

The parts are believed to have washed into the work area from one of two large lines flowing into the sewer from the north and west. The 21-mile-long line continues south from Macomb County into Detroit where it goes through a pumping plant before dumping into the Detroit River.

Each morning workers close doors shutting the flow of water and debris from the two lines so they can do grouting and other repairs in the sewer, said Gene Schabath, Macomb County’s deputy public works commissioner.

As the water flowed slowly through the gravity-fed sewer, debris piled up on their work platform.

“They were removing all the debris that accumulated … under the debris were these body parts of various sizes,” Schabath said.

It would be difficult to determine how the parts were put into the system, he added.

“We have all these lateral lines that tie into it,” Schabath said. “There are over 100 manholes where parts could have been dropped into.”

To prevent a possible backup into homes, the two lines were reopened Wednesday after the body parts were removed and sections along the pipe checked for other parts or evidence.

Other sewer grates further along the line also were being checked, Schabath said.

The parts were not in the section of sewer when the contractors finished their work Tuesday afternoon, he added.

The discovery comes one month after torsos and other body parts of an Allen Park couple were found in the Detroit River and a canal leading into the waterway in Detroit. Later that day, an angler spotted what later were identified as legs, a circular saw and a suitcase submerged along a seawall near where the torsos were found floating.

A man who had been a guest of the couple’s home just west of Detroit has been charged with murder in that case.

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US Taxpayer Losses On General Motors Bailout Skyrocket 15% – Losses Now Exceed $25 BILLION, And Rising

August 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.

In a monthly report sent to Congress on Friday, the Obama administration boosted its forecast of expected losses by more than $3.3 billion to almost $25.1 billion, up from $21.7 billion in the last quarterly update.

The report may still underestimate the losses. The report covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM’s stock price was $22.20 a share.

On Monday, GM stock fell $0.07, or 0.3 percent, to $20.47. At that price, the government would lose another $850 million on its GM bailout.

The government still holds 500 million shares of GM stock and needs to sell them for about $53 each to recover its entire $49.5 billion bailout. At the current price, the Treasury would lose more than $16 billion on its GM bailout.

The steep decline in GM’s stock price has indefinitely delayed the Treasury’s sale of its remaining 26 percent stake in GM. No sale will take place before the November election.

Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson said the costs were still far less than some predicted.

“The auto industry rescue helped save more than one million jobs throughout our nation’s industrial heartland and is expected to cost far less than many had feared during the height of the crisis,” Anderson said.

The Obama administration initially estimated it would lose $44 billion on the bailout but reduced the forecast to $30 billion in December 2009.

But the recent estimates are not as optimistic as last year.

The Treasury Department said in a May 2011 report that its estimate of auto bailout losses was $13.9 billion. The Congressional Budget Office also estimates a $14 billion loss. The CBO has written off $8 billion of the government’s auto bailout as an unrecoverable loss.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has decried the losses on the auto bailout and insisted that forcing GM and Chrysler Group LLC to go through bankruptcy first would have saved taxpayers money.

But President George W. Bush — who gave the automakers and their finance arms about $25 billion in his final weeks in office in bailout funds — said there wasn’t time.

Taxpayers incurred a $1.3 billion loss on the $12.5 billion bailout of Chrysler.

The Treasury also has put on hold an initial public offering initially planned for last year in Ally Financial Inc. because of market weakness. The government holds a 74 percent majority stake in the Detroit auto finance company as part of its $17.2 billion bailout and has recovered $5.7 billion.

GM CEO Dan Akerson told employees at a town hall meeting Thursday that the company was working to take actions to boost the automaker’s sagging price.

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US And Canadian Cops Driving Dangerous Chevrolet Impala Police Cars – Front Lower Crontrol Arms Breaking And Can Cause Crash

August 12, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – General Motors is recalling more than 38,000 Chevrolet Impala police cars in the U.S. and Canada because a part in the front suspension can crack and cause a crash.

The recall affects police cars from the 2008 through 2012 model years. The lower control arm in the suspension can fracture, causing sudden changes in handling that could make the driver lose control, GM said in documents posted Saturday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Impalas sold to the public have some different suspension parts and are not affected by the recall, spokesman Alan Adler said. “We tested for durability on the civilian Impala, and we believe there are no issues,” he said.

GM doesn’t know of any crashes or injuries from the problem. If a fracture occurs, a squeal or chirp is likely to come from the tire area at low speeds, GM said in the documents.

The company will replace the lower control arms at no charge to police departments. Parts are available, and departments can call dealers to schedule repairs, Adler said.

The problem was discovered after GM got reports from several police fleets that the lower control arms had cracked near a bushing sleeve. GM began investigating the problem in February, and in July, GM engineers had traced the problem to lower control arms that the company started using in the middle of the 2008 model year, the documents said.

All the cars were built at GM’s factory in Oshawa, Ontario.

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Holland Michigan Shuts Down 13 Year Old’s Hot Dog Cart Business 10 Minutes After Launch – To Protect Local Restaurants – Boy Was Raising Money For His Family, Who Ended Up Homeless Several Weeks Latter

August 12, 2012

HOLLAND, MICHIGAN – Several weeks after a city zoning officer shut down his hot dog business, 13-year-old Nathan Duszynski and his parents are homeless.

The family was hoping Nathan’s hot dog cart could help them through a difficult time. Nathan’s mother, Lynette Johnson, suffers from epilepsy and his stepfather, Doug Johnson, has multiple sclerosis. Their illnesses have restricted them from finding permanent, full-time work.

The family receives about $1,300 a month in disability payments, Medicaid and food assistance. The three are having a hard time staying together. MLive confirms what the Mackinac Center learned Thursday — Nathan and his mother are staying at the Holland Rescue Mission.

“Nate and I are now in a shelter,” Lynette Johnson said. “Doug can’t stay with us because he takes prescription narcotics to deal with his pain and the shelter does not allow him with those kinds of drugs.”

She said the situation has been stressful on the family. Lynette is afraid to be away from her husband in case she has a seizure.

Nathan wanted to help out his family by selling hot dogs from a cart he bought with money he saved. He worked out an arrangement with the owner of a local sporting goods store to sell hot dogs in the parking lot. The owner of the store thought it would be a great way to attract customers and even offered Nathan a sales commission if he got people to rent his motorized bicycles.

The city of Holland, however, shut down the business 10 minutes after it opened, informing Nathan it was in the city’s commercial district where food carts not connected to downtown brick-and-motor restaurants are prohibited. The Mackinac Center’s coverage of the issue has drawn national attention.

Last week, Nathan and his family made an appeal to the Holland City Council. Mayor Kurt Dykstra defended the city’s ordinance, saying it was to protect downtown restaurant owners, who asked that the “success of the downtown district not be infringed upon by those who don’t share in the costs of maintaining the attractiveness of that space.”

A video of the mayor’s comments and the latest on the family’s plight will be posted soon.

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Detroit Michigan Voters Face Multiple Obstacles Trying To Vote: Locked Doors, Being Searched, Intimidation, And Confusing Citizenship Box On Form

August 7, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Some Detroit voters were very frustrated while trying to cast their ballots Tuesday morning on the city’s west side.

WWJ’s Vickie Thomas said voting started about an hour and a half late at Henry Ford High School, on Evergreen Road just south of 8 Mile, after elections workers could not get inside the building. The person who was supposed to open the school reportedly didn’t wake up in time to open the doors when polls opened at 7 a.m.

The school is now part of the Education Achievement Authority and Chief of Staff Tyrone Winfrey, the city clerk’s husband, blames new personnel for the huge oversight of not having the building open on time.

Unlike some voters who left after being told they couldn’t get inside to vote, Detroiter Dorian Reeves arrived at 6:55 a.m. to cast his ballot and patiently waited for the doors to open.

“I’m not deterred, oh no. Ain’t going to let nobody turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain’t going to let nobody turn me around, I’m going to keep on waiting and keep on waiting. I’m voting before the day is through,” said Reeves, as he broke out in song.

Not only did the polls open late, some voters were patted down as they entered the west side high school.

Detroit NAACP Executive Director Darnell Wright went to the school after getting a call on their voter hotline.

“There was indeed an individual who was frisking individuals and winding down for weapons, as well as an individual dressed in military fatigues, both of which we believe is a form of voter intimidation,” said Wright.

Among the issues Detroiters will vote on is a millage to support the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well a 10-year millage renewal to help fund the Wayne County jail system.

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Internal Government eMails Catch Obama Administration Officals Breaking The Law And Their Latter Lies In Federal Court And Before Congress

August 7, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Emails obtained by The Daily Caller show that the U.S. Treasury Department, led by Timothy Geithner, was the driving force behind terminating the pensions of 20,000 salaried retirees at the Delphi auto parts manufacturing company.

The move, made in 2009 while the Obama administration implemented its auto bailout plan, appears to have been made solely because those retirees were not members of labor unions.

The internal government emails contradict sworn testimony, in federal court and before Congress, given by several Obama administration figures. They also indicate that the administration misled lawmakers and the courts about the sequence of events surrounding the termination of those non-union pensions, and that administration figures violated federal law.
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Jackson County Michigan Sheriff’s Candidate Lance Laird Violates Probation – Testing Positive For Cocaine Use – Jailed For 57 Days Remaining On His 93 Day Domestic Violence Conviction, Which Includes Day Of Primary Election – Blames Everything On Lying Girlfriend

August 7, 2012

JACKSON, MICHIGAN — Jackson County Sheriff candidate Lance Laird will spend the Aug. 7 primary behind bars.

District Judge R. Darryl Mazur sent Laird, 36, to jail for 57 days after testing positive for cocaine while on probation. Laird claimed someone spiked his stuff with something causing the positive test.

“Mr. Laird, I’m not sure whether you’re going to make this election for sheriff or not,” Mazur said before imposing a sentence in the matter. “Candidly, I doubt it.”

Laird, on probation for a domestic violence charge to which he pleaded no contest in March 2011, tested positive for cocaine when tested on June 16, according to information presented in court. The 57-day sentence is the remainder of Laird’s 93-day maximum sentence for the domestic violence charge. Laird already spent 36 days in jail for the original charge and other violations.

During his violation hearing Tuesday, Laird accused Tammy Sanders, the woman he allegedly assaulted, of putting something in his stuff to create the positive test. Laird attempted to play a recording of Sanders admitting to “putting stuff in my things,” he said. The audio could not be heard by Mazur or anyone else in the courtroom.

Mazur asked Laird what the essence of the recording was, and Laird replied, “She said, yeah, I put stuff in your shit.”

Laird never used the words cocaine or drugs in his allegations against Sanders. Sanders was not in court to testify. Laird said she lies and would not be a credible witness. Mazur said it would have been more credible had Sanders come in to testify Tuesday. Laird’s attorney was also not present. Laird said she had another hearing.

Kris Putman, Laird’s probation officer, said Laird did not show up for tests on June 12 and June 13. Putman called Laird and told him to go test. Laird told Putman he was frustrated with the system. Laird did not provide enough urine on June 15. On June 16, his test was positive for cocaine. Laird requested the sample be sent away for verification. The verification came back positive as well.

Laird claims the initial domestic violence charge was based on lies and made against him because of an on-going custody dispute with Sanders. Photographs taken after the assault show Sanders with a cut lip and a bloody nose. Police reports provided by Laird show that Sanders had reported Laird hit her twice before. She had no marks, and police could not verify that an assault occurred in each. After the third report, when Sanders went to the Jackson Police Department with a bloodied face, Laird was arrested.

He pleaded no contest to avoid spending more time in jail awaiting a trial, he said in previous conversations.

Laird’s stint in jail will his 15th, according to jail records. Charges against Laird in previous, unrelated matters, were dismissed, court records show. A jury convicted him of operating while impaired in 2008. He was found guilty of assault and battery in 1994. Laird has been convicted of traffic infractions and having a dog at large, according to court records. There have been eight civil actions filed against him.

He contends the county justice system is corrupt and has fought his probation and previous charges.

Laird has said as sheriff he would throw in jail prosecutors and judges who violate people’s rights and use plea deals as instruments of coercion. He believes the county’s criminal justice system is overrun with corruption.

“What would you do if you were sheriff?” Mazur asked.

“I don’t think that’s proper for the court,” Laird responded. “I’m not here for my political agenda.”

“I’m curious,” Mazur said.

“Maybe you should ask me outside of court,” Laird responded.

At the close of the hearing, Mazur said, “If you’re elected sheriff, go ahead hold us all accountable.”

Laird was placed in handcuffs and led out of the courtroom.

Appeared Here

Savage Black Beast Opens Fire On Detroit Michigan Midnight Hip-Hop Riverboat Cruise Passengers –

August 6, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – One man is in critical condition after a woman opened fire on a crowd leaving a midnight cruise on the Detroit Princess riverboat today, according to police.

Police are still searching for the suspect in the 1:15 a.m. shooting, which left six others with minor injuries, Detroit Police Sgt. Alan Quinn said. The shooting took place on the shore, near the boarding area behind Joe Louis Arena.

The altercation apparently began as an argument aboard the boat, Quinn said. Radio One Detroit’s station Hot 107.5, which plays hip hop and rap, was hosting the On Deck Sunday Moonlight Cruise. The event is touted on the boat’s Facebook page as a nightclub atmosphere on a cruise from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The Detroit Princess also provides a DJ for the cruise, playing softer music on the boat’s top deck.

“It looks like a group of people were getting in some kind of fight,” said Quinn. “When they got back to shore, a female who was involved in the fight got into her car, drove back…and then she shot into the crowd of people who were getting off the boat.”

Keith Gillespie, the assistant promotions director with Radio One Detroit, was just getting off the boat when the shooting happened. He ran back onto the riverboat and shut the door until the the gunfire stopped.

“As I was walking out the door, I heard some commotion with some women and gunshots rang out,” Gillespie said today, adding that he immediately called a Detroit Police officer who is a friend and happened to be patrolling nearby. “It was real scary because people started running in every direction.”

Gillespie said he opened the door again when one of the victims started knocking loudly, yelling he’d been hit. When the shooting ended, they discovered three women laying in the grass with wounds to their legs.

“After I realized there were more people down, I called (police) and told them … we needed more ambulances,” said Gillespie, 45, of Royal Oak. He and others used tablecloths from the boat to hold pressure on the women’s wounds.

“My mind said this could be somebody’s mother, my mother — I’d want somebody to stop and help her,” he said.

The suspect drove off. A description of her or her car was not immediately available, Quinn said.

Detroit Princess owner and Captain John Chamberlain said everyone who boards the boat — about 500 for Sunday’s cruise — is checked for weapons. Chamberlain, who has operated riverboats for 35 years, said this was the first time he’s experienced a shooting incident near one of his boats.

“We search everyone coming in and this is why,” Chamberlain said. “We’re sorry to see something like this happen. You have a lot of crazy people out there.”

Appeared Here

Detroit Michigan’s Abandoned Homes And Garages Become Dumping Grounds For Murders – Crimes May Never Be Solved

August 2, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Abandoned and neglected parts of Detroit are quickly becoming dumping grounds for the bodies of murder victims. And authorities acknowledge there’s little they can do.

At least a dozen bodies have turned up in 12 months, many of them purposely hidden or discarded in alleys, fields and vacant houses or garages. Seven of the dead are believed to have been slain outside Detroit and then dumped within the city.

It’s a pattern made possible by more than four decades of urban decay and suburban flight. Many parts of the city are now a vast urban wilderness that is rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.

Officer John Garner says a slaying may go unsolved because of the time it takes for the corpse to be found.

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General Motors Profits Dive 41% – Billions Of US Taxpayer Dollars Still At Risk After Bailout

August 2, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – General Motors’ profits fell 41% in the second quarter as troubles in Europe undercut strong sales in North America.

America’s largest automaker made $1.5bn in the second quarter of 2012, compared with $2.5bn for the same period last year. Revenue fell to $37.6bn from $39.4bn in the second quarter of 2011. The results exceeded analysts’ estimates, but further underlined Europe’s drag on the US economy.

“Our results in North America were solid, but we clearly have more work to do to offset the headwinds we face, especially in regions like Europe and South America,” said GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “Despite the challenging environment, GM has now achieved 10 consecutive quarters of profitability, which is a milestone the company has not achieved in more than a decade.”

GM’s European division reported an operating loss of $361m, compared with an operating profit of $102m a year ago. GM is attempting to restructure the unit and recently replaced several of its top executives in Europe. The company is planning to close at least one plant in Europe by 2016, but Dan Ammann, GM’s chief financial officer, said there were no immediate plans to announce more job cuts or factory closings in Europe.

In North America, GM reported an operating profit of $1.97bn, which compares to a profit of $2.25bn for the same period a year earlier. The company posted a loss of $19m in South America during the second quarter, and made a profit of $557m in its international division, primarily in China.

While GM’s North America sales remain strong there are signs that the slowdown in the US economy is taking its toll. On Wednesday, GM and Ford announced that sales had slipped in July; GM deliveries fell 6.4% and Ford 3.8%, according to statements. Chrysler increased deliveries by 13%.

GM’s fortunes have recovered dramatically since its emergence from bankruptcy in 2009. The firm said it sold 2.39m cars during the quarter, compared with 2.32m a year ago. GM had $32.6bn in cash reserves and other liquid assets at the end of the quarter.

Its government-backed bailout has become a political hot topic. Mitt Romney has been a persistent critic of the bailout and is running ads that highlight the plight of auto dealerships closed as a condition of the government-managed bankruptcies.

In turn, president Barack Obama has consistently championed the bailouts for saving over a million US jobs and criticised Romney for his 2008 New York Times editorial entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

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Dumbass Veteran Michigan Department Of Correction Parole Officer Suspended After Making Threatening Remarks While Buying Batman Movie Tickets

July 27, 2012

ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN – A parole officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections has been suspended with pay after he reportedly made threatening remarks while buying tickets to see “The Dark Knight Rises” at a Royal Oak movie theater.

The man, who supervised parolees at the Macomb MDOC office, was at the Emagine Theater on Main Street in downtown Royal Oak on Saturday, buying the tickets for the 12:30 p.m. matinee when he said, “If I don’t get good seats, I’m going to shank somebody” to the ticket seller, according to police reports. The ticket seller contacted security who called police.

“It was a profoundly stupid thing to say in light of the tragedy in Colorado,” said Royal Oak police chief Corrigan O’Donohue.”The officer who took the report said he realized that and was apologetic.”

The man was not arrested and police do not plan to seek a warrant. The Free Press is not naming him because he was not charged.

The MDOC suspended him with pay Wednesday while it investigates whether he violated work rules. “It showed extremely poor judgment,” said MDOC spokesperson Russ Marlan. Marlan said the man has been with the MDOC since 2005.

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GM Stock Dives To New Low – Recovery Of Bailout Money Much Less Likely – Current US Taxpayer Losses Apx. $17.25 BILLION For GM And $14.7 BILLION Owed After GM Finance Unit Bailout

July 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – General Motors Co. stock fell 1.2 percent Wednesday, closing at $18.80, down $0.22, on worries about Europe — the first time the Detroit automaker’s stock has closed below $19 a share since its initial public offering.

The Detroit automaker has seen its share price tumble by more than 52 percent since it reached a high closing price in January 2011 of $38.90, just after going public in November 2010. The company has shed more than $30 billion in market capitalization over the last 18 months, and now is worth about $29 billion.

The fall came as Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday that second quarter earnings declined on larger-than-expected losses in Europe.

GM’s low stock price has prevented the Treasury from exiting the automaker. It still holds 500 million shares of stock in the company as part of its $49.5 billion bailout, or a 32 percent stake.

It needs about $53 a share in order to break even on its GM bailout. At current prices, it would lose $17.25 billion on the bailout.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told The Detroit News last month that the government should exit GM quickly, even if the government incurred a hefty loss on its investment.

But Obama administration officials have said the government has no intention of selling any of its remaining GM shares before the November election.

In a report released Wednesday, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program’s special inspector general said taxpayers are still owed nearly $27 billion for the GM bailout and $14.7 billion for the $17.2 billion bailout of Detroit lender Ally Financial Inc. The Treasury still holds a 74 percent stake in Ally as part of the bailout of the former GM finance unit.

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Michigan State Police Gladstone Post Commander Lt. William Smith Arrested And Suspended After Drunken Wreck

July 11, 2012

SAULT STE. MARIE, MICHIGAN — Authorities in the Upper Peninsula are investigating a crash that led to the arrest of a state police post commander on a drunken driving charge.

The Daily News in Iron Mountain says Lt. William Smith was arrested Saturday by police in Sault Ste. Marie for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Chippewa County Prosecutor Brian Peppler says the arrest followed a traffic accident in a personal vehicle.

Peppler says no charges have been authorized pending results of a blood test.

The 43-year-old Smith was appointed commander of the Gladstone post in April. He has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Peppler has worked with Smith in the past and says he’s asked state Attorney General Bill Schuette to appoint an outside prosecutor for the case.

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Broke: Detroit Michigan To Lay Of 164 Firefighters – 19% Of Workforce – Claims It May Be Temporary

June 26, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – As Detroit continues to work through its financial difficulties, the city will lay off 164 firefighters by the end of July, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s office announced Monday.

The layoffs could be temporary, as the city hopes to secure a federal grant that would restore the jobs of 108 firefighters. Still, there is no guarantee the city will be awarded the grant, Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said during budget talks this spring.

“Since I became mayor, I’ve made public safety my top priority, and I’ve said I would protect the jobs of police and firefighters, but fiscal realities have made this untenable,” Bing said in a statement. “With my administration continuing to work to fiscally stabilize the city and with recent cuts to the city’s budget, we’re announcing the layoffs of 164 Detroit Fire Department firefighters by the end of July.”

Bing said he hopes that many, if not most, of the remaining 56 firefighters who will lose their jobs will be recalled as the fire department loses others through retirement and attrition. The layoffs represent nearly 19 percent of the fire department’s 881 sworn firefighters. There are also 248 EMS technicians.

Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, called the layoffs disastrous and said the action will force 16 fire companies throughout the city to close.

“For as long as we’ve been fighting fires in the city of Detroit, we have guaranteed that if you call us, we will come,” McNamara said in statement. “If these cuts remain, there will be times when we won’t have the necessary resources to respond. … We have a disaster waiting to happen that will likely result in not only the loss of property, but potentially the loss of lives.”

McNamara said Bing is calling for $23 million in cuts from the department, cuts that “will put its fire department and its residents at great risk — increasing response times and further taxing an already greatly reduced workforce.”

In his statement, Bing said Austin and his staff have developed a plan to maintain the highest levels of fire service by:

• Deploying engines from adjacent sectors and using newly installed GPS systems in the engines and rigs to best dispatch fire department personnel.

•Conducting thorough risks/gain analysis of interior versus exterior fire suppression.

•Continuing community fire prevention education.

“Laying off any of our courageous and dedicated public safety personnel is the last thing I want to do at this point, but I have to face this hard reality,” Bing said.

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Are Michigan State Board Of Education Members Finally Realizing They’ll Be Unemplyed When Last Student Gets The Boot Under Their Zero-Tolerance Policies?

June 12, 2012

MICHIGAN – Long concerned by what they say is an alarming rate of suspensions and expulsions in Michigan schools, members of the state Board of Education are set to act today on a resolution that would call on schools to rethink their zero-tolerance policies.

If approved by the eight-member board, schools would be urged to “adopt discipline policies without mandated suspension or expulsion for issues that do not involve weapons.”

Students who bring guns to school, get into physical altercations or sexually assault other students or staff, by law, must be suspended or expelled. And state officials say that shouldn’t change.

What they want to address are students who are being booted out of school for nonviolent offenses, like being chronically disobedient or being insubordinate, then falling behind and sometimes dropping out.

“It’s important for us to determine why is it that these discipline issues exist, what is creating this situation, and what … we need to do to address that,” said state board secretary Nancy Danhof. She also is executive director of the Todd Martin Development Fund, which works with at-risk Lansing-area youths.

The resolution would be advisory only because the board cannot mandate school districts change their policies.

A chief concern — from board members, Michigan Department of Education (MDE) officials and student advocates — is what happens when kids who are nonviolent offenders are suspended or expelled.

There were more than 1,400 expulsions during the 2010-11 school year. And the bulk of them, 938 expulsions, were for 100 days or more, effectively putting those students a year behind. In 138 of those cases, students were expelled permanently.

The state does not keep comparable reliable data on suspensions because schools aren’t required to report it.
From school to prison?

Several organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan, have for years urged the MDE to address the impact of zero-tolerance policies.

In 2009, the ACLU of Michigan issued a report in which they said the inflexibility of zero-tolerance policies is creating a school-to-prison pipeline for many kids.

“The issue has become one of a punitive philosophy towards discipline. … Instead of addressing the issues, school districts are now coming with more of a heavy hand and laying down policies that end up getting (students) pushed out,” said Rodd Monts, field director at the ACLU of Michigan.

The impact, Monts said, “is severe.”

The likelihood of a student who has been suspended or expelled graduating on time shrinks drastically. And the problem is particularly acute for low-income students, as well as African-American and Hispanic students, who nationwide receive a disproportionate number of suspensions and expulsions, Monts said.

“Ultimately, students are missing a large number of days of school because they’re not in the classroom,” said Kyle Guerrant, director of the office of school support services at the MDE.

And that could put them further behind during a time when schools, too, face penalties if they don’t show enough student academic growth. In the end, that may be the best argument for addressing the number of suspensions and expulsions, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan said during a May meeting of the board.

“It’s sinking in deeply that you can’t meet these (academic goals) if students don’t have learning time,” Flanagan said.

Who’s kicked out

The federal Gun Free Schools Act of 1994 mandates that students who bring guns to school be expelled for at least a year. Michigan — and many other states — goes further, requiring expulsions for students who bring any weapon to school. Students also can be suspended or expelled for physical assault, verbal assault against a school employee, arson, criminal sexual conduct, bomb threats and for gross misconduct or persistent disobedience.

Danhof said many school districts have gone even further, suspending and expelling kids for things not spelled out in the state statute — like protests.

Brad Banasik, legal counsel for the Michigan Association of School Boards, said suspending and expelling students is a difficult decision for local school board members and administrators.

“They don’t take those types of decisions lightly,” he said. “I don’t see many boards out there that are going through with expulsions or suspensions without considering exceptions.”

Which is important, experts like Monts said, because kids are getting suspended and expelled for more behavior-related issues, like insubordination, disrespect and loitering.

“The majority of expulsions are not because of violent offenses,” said Peri Stone-Palmquist, executive director of the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan. “You have kids who are making mistakes, and that’s what kids do. As adults, we’re supposed to use those mistakes as learning opportunities.”
Other ways to discipline

They and others want to see schools focus on prevention and alternate ways of disciplining students for incidents that don’t impact the safety of schools. Those include programs that work on building relationships, resolving conflicts, rewarding good behavior and changing the culture in schools.

“We can’t keep losing as many kids as we’re losing a year,” Bob Higgins, safe schools consultant at the MDE, said at the May state board meeting. “We simply can’t afford to keep doing that.”

Contact Lori Higgins: 313-222-6651 or

More Details: Rules on suspension or expulsion

State law spells out the following circumstances for a student to be suspended or expelled:

• A student in sixth grade or above who physically assaults another student at school must be suspended or expelled for up to 180 days. A student in sixth grade or above who physically assaults an employee must be expelled permanently.

• A student who possesses a weapon, commits arson or commits criminal sexual conduct in a school building or on school grounds should be expelled permanently. The parent or the student, if 18 or older, can petition for reinstatement.

• A student can be suspended or expelled if guilty of gross misconduct or persistent disobedience.

• A student in sixth grade or above who commits a verbal assault against a school employee or makes a bomb threat or similar threat directed at a school building should be suspended or expelled for a period that is up to the discretion of the district.

More Details: Actions the state could request

A draft resolution the state Board of Education will consider urges school districts to take the following actions:

• Review existing zero-tolerance policies that go above and beyond what is required by law; limit the number of offenses that mandate suspension and referral to law enforcement to those that directly impact student and employee safety.

• Ensure educators are aware that Michigan law provides four exceptions to laws requiring zero tolerance for weapons.

• Implement or expand the use of proven alternative behavior-management strategies.

Appeared Here

Obama Holding Onto GM Stock After Bailout – Keeping $16 Billion Loss Off The Books Until After Next Election

June 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Republican Mitt Romney believes President Barack Obama is holding on to the government’s stake in General Motors to avoid an embarrassing financial loss before the election, and says he’d sell the stock quickly if he wins the White House.

In a wide-ranging half-hour interview with The Detroit News, the presumptive GOP nominee also said he’d review pending rules that will require automakers to almost double fuel efficiency requirements by 2025, and believes Detroit may need a leadership change in order to fix its nagging financial problems.

As part of the government’s GM bailout, the U.S. Treasury still holds a 26 percent stake in the Detroit automaker, and has been sitting on that share for 35 months.

“There is no reason for the government to continue to hold (its GM stake),” Romney, a Detroit native and son of an auto executive, said Friday.

“The president is delaying the sale of the shares to try and avoid the story that the taxpayer took another loss. I would get the company independent from government and run for the interests of the consumer and the enterprise and its workers — not for the political considerations of government officials.”

At GM’s Monday closing price of $21.11 a share, the government would lose $16 billion on its $49.5 billion bailout.

A Treasury spokesman declined comment Monday on Romney’s declaration. But last month, Tim Massad, the assistant Treasury secretary who oversees the GM stake, told The News the government has no timetable for selling its GM stock.

“We have to balance maximizing recovery for the taxpayers with the speed of exit,” he said.

Obama campaign spokesman Matt McGrath said, “The last time Gov. Romney weighed in on the future of the auto industry, it was to suggest that we let Detroit go bankrupt, a betrayal no Michigander is likely soon to forget. As someone who was dead wrong about the industry’s present, Mitt Romney is the last person who should be offering advice about its future.”

Romney said the Democrats are “distorting” his record on the auto bailout, whose government-imposed conditions included filing bankruptcy.

“If they needed help coming out of bankruptcy and government support, that was fine, but I was not in favor of the government writing billions of dollars in checks prior to them going into bankruptcy,” he said.
Romney on fuel efficiency

On another issue, Romney said he would reconsider what Obama has called one of his key domestic achievements: nearly doubling fuel-efficiency requirements to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

The Obama administration won the support of most automakers — including Detroit’s Big Three — for the 2017-2025 rules that will cost the industry $157.3 billion and add about $2,000 to the price of an average car. But it will save drivers $1.7 trillion at the pump.

Romney said he’d seek “a better way of encouraging fuel economy” than corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) mileage requirements “as the sole or primary vehicle,” he said.

“The best approach is to try and build vehicles that people want, rather than having the government telling the companies what they must make,” he said.

“I would work with the manufacturers to find ways to encourage fuel economy on the part of the consumer. But trying to have the manufacturer push the product on the consumer — that the consumer doesn’t want — is not the right approach.”

And as for electric vehicles, Romney said the government is attempting “to force a market to adopt a technology that people aren’t interested in.”
Weighs in on Detroit

Asked to weigh in on Detroit, Romney said the city may need new leadership to turn around.

“I am convinced that anything is possible in America and I have watched Detroit suffer year after year after year,” he said. “My own experience is if an enterprise of any kind continues to suffer over a long period of time, it is a result in large measure of a failure of leadership, and I am sure prior leaders did their best … but if a leader can’t get things going, it’s time to bring in a new leader.”

Romney said he isn’t prepared to say if the state should play a bigger role, but said someone should be given a chance to remake Detroit.

“A strong leader with a clear vision should be given a shot to turn the city around, and if he or she can’t get the job done, someone else should be given that opportunity,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Bing said the mayor had no comment.

Romney expects to return to Michigan “a great deal, and fighting a campaign to win” the state.

“The people of Michigan recognize that the president’s policies and Gov. (Jennifer) Granholm’s policies did not work to get people back to work and they want to see a different course taken,” Romney said.

Granholm rejected that.

“Gov. Romney obviously hasn’t read a Michigan newspaper lately. President Obama’s intervention saved the auto industry and has made Michigan the comeback story of the country,” she said. “No one will forget that Mitt Romney urged letting Detroit go bankrupt.No one will forget that Romney stabbed his home state in the back in our hour of need.

“And his trickle-down, laissez-faire approach to the economy would take us right back to those dark days.”

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Dumbass Waterford Michigan Police Officer Annette Miller Crashed Into Tree While Chasing Motorcycle In SUV Without Using Emergency Lights Or Siren

June 3, 2012

WATERFORD, MICHIGAN – After a Waterford police officer suffered severe injuries in a crash May 23, discussion arose online about the officer not using her vehicle’s lights and sirens while attempting to catch a speeding motorcyclist.

“She could have taken action to alert other drivers in the area that she was in pursuit,” said one commenter.

Coreen Darnall noted “officers need to recognize (during pursuits) that it’s not always possible to see/hear oncoming emergency vehicles, even with sirens.”

Officer Annette Miller has been unable to speak after suffering severe injuries during an accident on Elizabeth Lake Road near Huron Street in Waterford.

During the incident, a 20-year-old man driving a Volkswagen turned in front of Miller’s police vehicle. When she swerved to avoid the car, she crashed into a tree. Emergency personnel had to extricate her from the police SUV, and she has been hospitalized since. The Volkswagen driver was hospitalized for precautionary reasons, police said.

Waterford Police Chief Daniel McCaw said Miller’s lights and siren not being activated was “typical for police officers.”

“If they observe a violation, lots of times they’ll catch up to the vehicle and when they get behind the vehicle, they’ll go ahead and activate the lights and siren.”

McCaw said that Miller was not yet in pursuit mode when she was traveling along Elizabeth Lake Road.

“She was trying to catch up to the (motorcyclist),” he said.

He said police often do not use lights and sirens. For example, he said, when an officer is responding to a burglary call, “you would go in with no lights or sirens.”

McCaw said pursuit policy has changed in police departments over time.

“Years ago police would chase for everything,” he said. “You have to weigh public safety so you don’t see the pursuits as you did years ago.”

In the May 23 crash, many commenters noted that police can’t just abandon the idea of chasing a suspect.

“If you don’t chase them, then we let crime win,” said Pat Bernieri. “Let the police do their jobs as they see fit.”

‘As long as bad guys flee, cops will pursue’

While Waterford stresses Miller was not in pursuit, accounts over the years indicate pursuits come with serious risks. About 35 to 40 percent of all police chases end in crashes, Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina said in a USA Today story in April 2010. Alpert noted that the nation’s 17,000 police departments are moving toward more restrictive chase policies “because chasing someone for a traffic offense or a property offense is not worth the risk of people’s lives and well-being.”

Police pursuit records provide frightening statistics, according to a report presented online by the FBI in 2010.

“First, the majority of police pursuits involve a stop for a traffic violation. Second, one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. On average, from 1994 through 1998, one law enforcement officer was killed every 11 weeks in a pursuit, and 1 percent of all U.S. law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty lost their lives in vehicle pursuits.

Innocent third parties who just happened to be in the way constitute 42 percent of persons killed or injured in police pursuits. Further, 1 out of every 100 high-speed pursuits results in a fatality.

Most area police agencies contacted indicated that officers are to use lights and sirens during the pursuit.

Royal Oak Chief Corey O’Donohue said the department has a lengthy pursuit policy.

“Yes, we use lights and sirens,” he said.

After every pursuit, the results are “evaluated to make sure officers follow policy and use sound judgment,” he said.

Officers in pursuit must contact dispatchers. “The pursuit can be overruled by the shift supervisor,” he said.

Victor Lauria, Novi’s assistant police chief, stressed the main concern during pursuits is the safety of innocent residents, police and the fleeing suspect. “There is significant risk,” he said of pursuits.

The police officer is “constantly evaluating the situation. Lights and sirens must be activated,” he said. “They serve two functions — they alert the suspect to stop and yield, and they alert others there is an emergency vehicle on the road.”

Speeding motorcyclist ‘paced’

An example of a high-speed pursuit of a motorcyclist without lights and siren on occurred in Washington in 2010, according to a story by the News Tribune in Tacoma. A Washington State trooper spotted a motorcycle speeding and passing vehicles.

The officer drove onto the highway and paced the motorcyclist going 80 to 90 mph in a 60 mph zone.

“Pacing” is when a police officer follows a driver, checking speeds by looking at his own speedometer.

In the Washington case, the biker sped up to 100 mph. The trooper then activated his emergency lights and sirens. Eventually the motorcyclist lost control of his vehicle and laid the bike down. Arrested and charged with eluding a police vehicle and stealing the motorcycle, the biker said he fled because he was scared.

Terrence Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs Association, said police have always fielded complaints about high-speed pursuits.

“There were probably complaints about the (Old West’s) posse chasing bank robbers. As long as bad guys flee, cops will pursue,” Jungel said.

Law enforcement officials face liability if pursuits end badly.

Pursuits generally “put cops in a bad position,” he said.

“They have to try and second-guess what is going on. They have little information on why a driver is fleeing — it could be to avoid apprehension or to hide the fruits of a crime.”

As for using lights and sirens, he said “it depends. You don’t have cookie-cutter crimes. Police have to make split-second decisions that later end up in courts. Each situation dictates an appropriate response.”

Pursuit policies could differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, Jungel said.

“It depends if you are in cities or in a rural area,” he said.

Police don’t graduate without pursuit training.

Jungel stressed that pursuits are dangerous situations.

“We don’t like to face a man with a loaded gun and we don’t like to be in high-speed pursuits,” he said. “There are so many variables. The higher speeds mean greater liability.”

The Police Studies Council calls pursuits by police a “relatively dangerous, inexact undertaking.”

West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton — whose department’s pursuit policy is 20 pages long — said pursuits are “a fact of life” in law enforcement, he said.

Patton worked with Officer Miller in the 1980s and said he is concerned about her recuperation.

Common sense and reasonableness apply during pursuits, he said.

“It’s a balancing act of risk versus benefit,” he said.

Patton has trained officers in pursuits. “We tell officers not to get caught up in the emotion of it,” he said. “That’s why supervisors step in (and are apprised during all pursuits).”

Police have authority of close the distance between a fleeing suspect and themselves, he said.

“Generally there is no such thing as a silent run pursuit,” Patton said.

The written pursuit policy for Michigan State Police outlines how troopers “shall weigh the hazard presented by the violator against that created by a vehicle pursuit. It is better to either delay the arrest or abandon the pursuit than to needlessly injure or kill innocent people, including our own members.”

When a pursuit starts, the officer “shall activate and continuously operate the emergency lights, siren and in-car video recorder on their vehicles until the pursuit has terminated or is abandoned,” according to the policy wording forwarded by spokeswoman Tiffany Brown.

Most departments contacted were reluctant to hand over their pursuit policies, saying they did not want everyone to know what tactics were employed by police. The City of Memphis, Tenn. posts its entire pursuit policy online. During a crime in progress or vehicle pursuits, classified as emergency calls, “officers will respond in emergency mode with both emergency lights and siren being used.”

USA Today reported that, according to professor Alpert, restrictive chase policies save lives. He stated in a National Institute of Justice research paper that police chases in Miami-Dade County dropped from 279 a year to 51 after the department implemented a more restrictive policy.

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Funeral Home Finds Bullet Hole Near Heart In Body Of Man That Detroit Michigan Police And EMS Workers Claimed Died Of Naturnal Causes

May 25, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Detroit police and EMS workers said Leslie Brooks died of natural causes during the weekend. But when his body arrived at a funeral home, the mortician saw it differently.

As she prepared to embalm the 59-year-old Brooks on Saturday morning, mortician Gail Washington peered at a small burned area on his skin, right above his heart. Her assistants had pointed it out, and Washington now agreed: This was no natural death.

Brooks had a small-caliber gunshot wound in his chest. And now Detroit police are scrambling to figure out what happened.

That may be tough, since their initial determination ruined a possible crime scene in the east-side basement where Brooks was found. Police technicians did not scour the room or take photos until later. There was no immediate preservation of possible clues. Visitors tracked in and out. His family took Brooks’ cell phone. And, unless this was a suicide, a killer had precious hours to elude capture.

Even the clothes Brooks wore had been stripped off and discarded, as is customary when a funeral home picks up a body. The clothing was retrieved, but also is now most likely tainted as evidence.

“I am pissed off,” Shakira Bonds, 20, one of Brooks’ daughters, told the Free Press on Tuesday. “I don’t know who to go to.”

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said Tuesday the case will be investigated by internal affairs, and Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. would not yet comment. Detroit Fire Department officials, who oversee EMS workers, did not respond to requests for their version of events. Al Samuels, the chief investigator for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, said his office followed proper procedure.

Based on information gathered from the police, the family, witnesses, the mortician and the morgue, here’s what happened:

Brooks was found dead about 12:17 a.m. Saturday in a basement room that he rented from friends in the 18700 block of Dean near 7 Mile and Ryan.

A friend, Alberta Rice, 64, said in an interview Tuesday that she did not see Brooks all day Friday, and when his cell phone rang in the basement, Rice sent her boyfriend down to check on him. The boyfriend found Brooks facedown on a rolled-up carpet, his arms stretched out in front, “like he laid down there and went to sleep.” Yet Brooks was stiff and obviously dead when the boyfriend shook him.

Someone in the house called police and Yvonne Arrington, Brooks’ sister. Arrington told the Free Press she arrived at the home to find EMS workers already gone after declaring Brooks dead of natural causes. Two uniformed police officers arrived. Homicide was contacted and so was the Medical Examiner’s Office. Arrington said she asked one of the cops, “How do you know he died of natural causes? He said, ‘We don’t see … trauma.’ “

Arrington wondered, because her brother had confided in her recently that he owed two men money. He was scared, she said, but she thought he might just be paranoid.

She didn’t mention the threats to police that night because officers told her EMS believed he died naturally, Arrington said. In a way, she was relieved he didn’t die violently, she said.

“I said, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ … He just died of cardiac arrest,” she said.

Police that night put Arrington in touch with the medical examiner’s office, where an investigator told her to call a funeral home, that there was no need for an autopsy based on the opinion of officials at the scene.

She still wondered if she shouldn’t push for the more thorough examination.

“I said, ‘That’s like me talking on the phone to you and you diagnosing me with cancer,’ ” she recalled telling the morgue investigator.

But she called the Cole funeral home, which sent a crew. Arrington went home.

At mid-morning, Washington prepared to embalm Brooks’ body at the Cole funeral home on Schaefer at Puritan and made her discovery. She retrieved Brooks’ clothes, saw holes and a small amount of blood and examined the wound.

“They probably missed it,” she said, because “he had a black T-shirt on with a black shirt on top.” She said the gun most likely was small caliber, leaving a smaller hole than the larger-caliber weapons common today, and most of the bleeding must have been internal.

She has seen such mistakes before. A mortician for 38 years, Washington said this is the fourth time she has discovered a fatal bullet wound on someone initially ruled a natural death.

Samuels, the morgue investigator, said his office checked with Brooks’ doctor the night he was found dead and learned he had a history of cancer, high blood pressure and heart trouble. The decision not to autopsy Brooks was based on that opinion and the natural death ruling by EMS workers, Samuels said.

Rice told the newspaper she never heard a gunshot from her basement. She and Arrington both said they saw no gun at all that night.

Only a dead man with a mystery.

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Broke: Detroit Michigan May Turn Off Half Its Streetlights

May 24, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.
Enlarge image Detroit May Go Dark

Detroit after dark, which may go darker. Photographer: Garry Owens/Gallery Stock

Other U.S. cities have gone partially dark to save money, among them Colorado Springs; Santa Rosa, California; and Rockford, Illinois. Detroit’s plan goes further: It would leave sparsely populated swaths unlit in a community of 713,000 that covers more area than Boston, Buffalo and San Francisco combined. Vacant property and parks account for 37 square miles (96 square kilometers), according to city planners.

“You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population,” said Chris Brown, Detroit’s chief operating officer. “We’re not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas.”

Detroit’s dwindling income and property-tax revenue have required residents to endure unreliable buses and strained police services throughout the city. Because streetlights are basic to urban life, deciding what areas to illuminate will reshape the city, said Kirk Cheyfitz, co-founder of a project called Detroit143 — named for the 139 square miles of land, plus water — that publicizes neighborhood issues.
Rethinking Detroit

“It touches kids going to school in the dark,” said Cheyfitz, chief executive of Story Worldwide Ltd., a New York marketing company. “It touches midnight Mass at a church. It touches businesses that want to stay open past 9 p.m.”

Bing in 2010 began an independent project called Detroit Works to sort ideas on how to reconfigure the city for residences, businesses, green space and even agriculture, a plan due in August.

Meantime, Brown said, the city will fix broken streetlights in certain places even as it discontinues such services as street and sidewalk repairs in “distressed” areas — those with a high degree of blight and little or no commercial activity.

Bing’s plan requires state legislation to create the lighting authority. Governor Rick Snyder supports the plan, said his senior policy adviser, Valerie Brader.
Dark Portents

There’s already experience snuffing out streetlights within Detroit’s borders. Highland Park, a 3-square-mile city encircled by its larger neighbor, removed 1,100 of 1,600 streetlights last year, after piling up a $4 million debt to DTE Energy. The move saves $45,000 a month, said Alejandro Bodipo-Memba, a spokesman for the company.

Only major streets and intersections remain lit in the city of 12,000, once home to Chrysler Group LLC’s namesake car manufacturer and Henry Ford’s first moving assembly line. Mayor DeAndre Windom, 45, said residents at first complained, though few do now. He’s considering grants and private funding to relight darkened streets

Colorado Springs pulled the plug on 9,000 of its 25,600 lights in 2010 to save $1.3 million, said David Krauth, a city traffic engineer. Some were relit as revenue improved, though 3,500 remain dark, saving about $500,000 a year, he said.

In Detroit, some streets have no working lights. Many appear dim or are blocked by trees. And some areas with mostly vacant lots are well-lit.
Night Terrors

A single, broken streetlight on the northeast side brings fear to Cynthia Perry, 55. It hasn’t worked for six years, Perry said in an interview on the darkened sidewalk where she walks from her garage to her house entrance.

“I’m afraid coming in at night,” she said. “I’m not going to seclude myself in the house and never go anywhere.”

In southwest Detroit, businesses on West Vernor Highway, a main commercial thoroughfare, have sought $4 million in private grants to fix the situation themselves. The state would pay $2.5 million, said Kathy Wendler, president of the Southwest Detroit Business Association.

Jamahl Makled, 40, said he’s owned businesses in southwest Detroit for about two decades, most recently cell-phone stores. He said they’ve have been burglarized more than a dozen times.

“In the dark, criminals are comfortable,” Makled said. “It’s not good for the economy and the safety of the residents.”
Antique Lamps

North of there, on a stretch of West Grand Boulevard, the bases of light poles show where thieves tore out the wiring.

As many as 15,000 Detroit streetlights use 1920s technology, according to a 2010 study by McKinsey & Co. Upgrading the system would cost $140 million to $200 million, and $5 million more to operate than the $23 million now spent annually, the report said.

Besides streetlights, the Detroit lighting department provides electricity to 144 customers that include Detroit schools, Wayne State University and local government offices. Almost 22 percent of the city’s electric bills were unpaid, the McKinsey report said.

That’s just one reason Detroit is digging out of a $265 million deficit and saddled with more than $12 billion in long- term debt. To avoid a state takeover, Detroit agreed in April to have its finances overseen by a nine-member board appointed by the city and the state.
Civic Obligations

Delivering services to a thinly spread population is expensive. Some 20 neighborhoods, each a square mile or more, are only 10 to 15 percent occupied, said John Mogk, a law professor at Wayne State University who specializes in urban law and policy. He said the city can’t force residents to move, and it’s almost impossible under Michigan law for the city to seize properties for development.

Mogk said landowners can demand many times what property would fetch on the open market.

“There are tremendous political, administrative, financial and, to some degree, legal obstacles,” Mogk said. “Unless you phase out a neighborhood altogether, you still need lighting, and waste pickup and police and fire protection.”

As Detroit’s streets go dark, some of those neighborhoods may fade away with the dying light.

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Former Detroit Michigan Police Chief Robbed At Gunpoint While Mowing His Lawn

May 9, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – On a well kept Detroit block, mowing the lawn on a Tuesday afternoon is nothing out of the ordinary and, sadly, either is what happened next.

“They stopped and asked if that was Curtis down there. I said, ‘Yes.’ And then they started walking back towards me. Then they [sped] up and with a gun in his hand,” said Stanley Knox.

The two young men were getting ready to rob a former Detroit police chief.

“I was never afraid. I don’t know what I was thinking about,” he told us.

Did he feel that there was a chance they might shoot him?

“I thought about it at one point, yes.”

He wasn’t armed, so Knox tried to physically fight the bad guys off and in the process fell back over his lawnmower.

“They pointed the weapon at me and just gently took it off,” he said.

With Knox down on the ground, they took what they could see, his gold necklace and gold bracelet, and then took off running between the houses.

Neighbor Althea Roberts arrived home just as police converged.

“It’s scary. He’s out here cutting his grass. School was still in. They were picking up kids. I guess they went on a field trip. The church parking lot was full of cars, and then you can’t be out here and taking care of your lawn and somebody [pulls] a gun on you?”

Nearly a dozen officers responded to this crime of opportunity. One noticed the thieves left one thing behind. In the middle of the driveway, Knox’s gold Detroit police chief medallion that apparently had fallen off the chain and has now been taken into evidence.

“They got lucky, though, because they caught him off guard,” Roberts said. “I’m pretty sure it could’ve turned out a lot differently, and I wish it would’ve.”

“Hate for things like that to happen in the city, but it does, every city,” said Knox.

Knox was the police chief in the early nineties. He said he got that medallion for his service. At least he’ll be able to get that back.

The suspects are described as black men about six feet tall, 175 pounds, around 19 to 20 years old.

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TSA Agents Target Elderly Disabled Couple, Steal $300 From Them – Treated Like Terrorists

April 25, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Omer Petti and Madge Woodward expected the alarms to go off at the airport security’s metal detector when they were flying home to Detroit after visiting family recently near San Diego.

After all, Petti, who is 95 years old, has two artificial knees and Woodward, at 85, has had her hip replaced. But they sure didn’t expect to be subjected to accusations, extreme pat-downs, and most importantly, to be missing $300 in cash.

“Can you imagine an 85-year-old lady and 95-year-old retired Air Force Major in wheelchairs being treated like terrorists?” Petti asked recently sitting in the kitchen of the Bloomfield Township home he shares with Woodward.

On March 29 Petti and Woodward arrived at the San Diego International airport at 10 a.m. for a flight scheduled to leave at 11:36 a.m. As usual, Petti and Woodward removed their shoes, jackets and sweaters and put these along with their other belongings — belt buckles, carry on bags, purse and jewelry, including Petti’s money clip — into a total of four rubber bins.

Petti says a security officer asked him to remove Kleenex and $300 in folded bills that he had in his pocket and send it through the detector. “I hesitated and said: ‘You really want me to put my bills in there?’ ” Petti said. The officer said yes, so Petti put the cash into a fifth bin. Then he and Woodward proceeded through the metal detector.

After both set off alarms, they were patted down. Then, a security officer did a litmus test on Petti’s clothing, which tested positive for nitrates. Petti explained that he carries nitroglycerin pills for his heart. Nonetheless, Petti was taken to a private room for yet another pat-down by a different officer while the same security officer emptied their carry-on bags and rifled through every item.

“When I was patted down, I’ve never before been touched in every part of my body before,” Woodward said.

As the search went on, the couple — both widowed who met a few years ago at a bridge game and fell in love — became increasingly concerned about missing their flight.

Finally, they were released and told to retrieve their belongings. But only four bins were handed over to them. When Petti inquired about his $300, a senior security official was called over. Petti says this officer insinuated that they were mistaken about the missing cash, instructing the two to take off their shoes again, check their pockets again. “When I told him we were going to miss our flight he asked me if I was objecting or refusing his request.” Petti says. “I said: ‘No, I’d do anything I was asked, I would just like to know where my $300 went.’ “

Finally, Petti says the officer promised they would check their video cameras to see what happened to the fifth bin and he would advise the Transportation Security Administration manager in Detroit so that they could briefed when they arrived. Then came the mad dash for the plane. “The wheel chair attendant literally ran the two of us by himself with both wheel chairs down to the gate, endangering us and anybody who got in our way,” says Petti.

“I think I was scammed,” Petti says. “I would like my money back, but money doesn’t pay for all the stress and humiliation.”

In the weeks since, Petti has filed a police report with the San Diego Harbor Police. He’s written a lengthy letter addressed to the airport federal security director in San Diego and he’s copied politicians: local and national, including President Obama. And he is in the process of filling out a four-page “Tort Claim Package” as required by the TSA.

Nobody, he says, is giving him a straight answer. “The police said they went and reviewed the videotapes but they were too blurry,” Petti says. Petti’s son Bill, who is helping his father, doubts that. “You can bet if my father were a terrorist, those videos would not be too blurry.”

For their part, the San Diego Harbor Police declined to comment on Petti’s case. Jim Fostenos, a spokesman in the TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs said only: “They are looking into the case in San Diego. That’s all I have for you.”

Says Bill Petti: “The bottom line is my dad’s money went missing. Someone in the TSA or the next passenger took it. Either way, treating a 95-year-old like that is inexcusable.”

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Broke: Detroit Michigan Fire Commissioner Wants To Let “Abandoned Buildings” Burn To The Ground

April 23, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – The Detroit Fire Department could adjust to a looming 15 percent budget cut by allowing some abandoned buildings burn to the ground, according to the city’s top fire official.

Executive Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said his is creating three proposals for Mayor Dave Bing to consider when making deep reductions to the 2012-13 budget, likely to be below this fiscal year’s $183 million. Detroit is going through a state-monitored budget overhaul under a deal reached between Gov. Rick Snyder and city officials, an alternative to a state-appointed emergency manager.

“I’ll give (Bing) every penny I can without cutting people,” said Austin, a former Los Angeles assistant fire chief who became head of Detroit fire operations last May.
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Detroit stands out from other large U.S. cities and will need to take drastic steps to meet its service needs, he said.

“Name another city in the United States that lost 200,000 people in 10 years,” said Austin, citing U.S. Census figures. “So we’re in a unique position. And I believe it takes unique approaches to deal with situations that are not the norm.”

Wide swaths of Detroit’s once-teeming neighborhoods now consist of scattered occupied homes, surrounded by boarded-up structures, burned-out husks and weed-covered vacant lots.

One of Austin’s proposals would allow vacant buildings to burn if they’re more than 50 percent ablaze — as long as they’re not a risk to inhabited structures and the weather is favorable. Austin said about 40 to 60 percent of the fires in Detroit are in vacant structures.

Another proposal is to ask the U.S. Navy’s construction division, the Seabees, to level 10,000 vacant and dilapidated homes.

And a third is to create a demolition unit in the fire department, Austin said, using heavy equipment to level the remnants of newly burned buildings. The unit would be similar to a tractor company Austin created in Los Angeles to cut breaks around wildfires, maintain hillside fire roads and overhaul large industrial fires.

“When these houses burn up and there’s no value left, I can get my firefighters, with proper training, to raze that house — get rid of it,” he said.

Detroit Fire Fighters Association President Daniel McNamara said he opposes Austin’s idea of letting vacant homes burn, unless they’re on a predetermined demolition list, as is the case in Flint.

“If we could have that kind of communication, we wouldn’t have this kind of discussion right now,” McNamara said.

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Crazed Michigan Department Of Natural Resources Agents Conducting Armed Raid On Pig Farmers Under Guise Of “Invasive Species Order” Targeting Traditional Livestock

April 17, 2012

MICHIGAN – NaturalNews can now confirm that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has, in total violation of the Fourth Amendment, conducted two armed raids on pig farmers in that state, one in Kalkaska County at Fife Lake and another in Cheboygan County. Staging raids involving six vehicles and ten armed men, DNA conducted unconstitutional, illegal and arguably criminal armed raids on these two farms with the intent of shooting all the farmers’ pigs under a bizarre new “Invasive Species Order” (ISO) that has suddenly declared traditional livestock to be an invasive species.

The ISO also deems farmers who raise these pigs to be felons, and DNR officials were ready to make arrests on the scene and haul away these farmers to be prosecuted as hardened criminals.

Farmer forced to shoot his own baby piglets in cold blood
“I think this is an unconstitutional order, these actions of the DNR are way out of bounds,” attorney Joseph O’Leary told NaturalNews in an interview today. He is representing one of the farmers who was targeted in these raids. “To take what was six months ago an entirely legal activity, and suddenly people are felons over it. They’re not growing drugs, running guns or killing anybody, they’re raising animals pursuant to USDA regulations and state of Michigan regulations. They haven’t done anything wrong here, and the DNR is treating them like they are hardened criminals.”

In anticipation of the DNR arriving on the scene, one farmer engaged in what can only be described as a heart-wrenching task of shooting his own pigs, one by one, including baby piglets before the DNR arrived. This was to avoid being arrested as a felon. His livelihood is now completely destroyed, as the state of Michigan has put him out of business. Even after this farmer informed the DNR that he had destroyed his entire herd of pigs, the DNR continued to illegally acquire a search warrant by providing false information to a court Judge, then conducting an armed raid on his ranch to verify that the entire herd of pigs had indeed already been shot to death. That this took place satisfied the DNR, which is now showing itself to be engaged in the mob-style destruction of targeted farming businesses through its mass-murder agenda of Michigan’s small-scale farm pigs.

“It was very traumatic for him. These guys are farmers, and I know how much he cared for the animals there, and the DNR treats these like they’re some kind of a plant that needs to be exterminated rather than animals that people care about,” said O’Leary.

Here is what one of the raided farmers had to say about his experience of being forced to destroy his pigs:

“I was served a search warrant yesterday at 7: 45am. I have killed all my hogs. [DNR] gave me papers that say I do not have any hogs on my property. All they saw were dead hogs laying around from my mass slaughtering. It took 12 guys 4 times in there to kill all of them, sows with young, Pregnant sows, dozens of piglets, and old mature boars. It has been a sad few weeks. Does anyone know what it feels like to open fire on 20 baby piglets in one group which weigh between 5 lbs and 15 lbs. They are so adorable and cute. They commented to everyone that they never saw a fence built so tough and no way would a hog get out of this area.” (

One of the raids targeted Ron McKendrick of Renegade Ranch in Cheboygan County. His ranch was raided on Saturday morning, and DNR agents reportedly conducted an interrogation of his customers and his 75-year-old senior citizen employee. In order to gain access to his property, DNR bureaucrats acquired a temporary restraining order which was used to bully their way onto the property (a violation of the Fourth Amendment).

Another raid was conducted against the farm of Dave Tuxberry. He’s the man who was forced to shoot all his own pigs before DNR agents arrived, in order to avoid being arrested as a felon.

Call for arrest of Michigan’s DNR agents

Based on the actions of the DNR, it is my belief that the DNR is a rogue, criminal gang of government thugs who are murdering livestock, destroying the lives of farmers, violating the constitutional rights of Michigan citizens and engaging in outrageous acts of destruction of private property.

I believe it is the duty of law-abiding Michigan citizens to call for the immediate arrest of DNR officials who must be brought to justice for their crimes against Michigan farmers. Every agent of the DNR that participated in these raids must be brought to justice to answer for their crimes. If the use of force is necessary to make a lawful and legal arrest of these criminal Michigan government agents, then such use of force is fully authorized under the United States Constitution as well as the Constitution of the State of Michigan. It is under these laws, in fact, that police officers are given firearms to use in the protection of the People. In Texas, the state Constitution even says that farmers have the right to use lethal force to prevent someone from committing a felony crime against their property. This includes shooting horse thieves, for example, and being in the right to do so.

No government has any right to terrorize its citizens in the way that has been witnessed here with the DNR of Michigan. These people are utterly out of control, waging a private armed war against selective targets, using taxpayer money to destroy the lives of productive Michigan citizens. These DNS agents are dangerous and clearly psychologically imbalanced. They desperately need to be reminded of the tenants of lawful government and the rights of citizens. They need to be immediately arrested and given the privilege of a trial by jury to answer for their crimes against farmers.

While I do not espouse the use of violence to resolve issues with government, when innocent farmers are faced with being raided by criminal gangs of rogue government operatives who are forcing them to destroy their entire livestock herds, there is little choice but to halt the actions of these criminals through lawful arrest and bring them to justice in the court system where they must face charges of conspiracy, destruction of private property, the violation of the civil rights of private citizens, illegal trespassing and much more. This is the whole point of the Second Amendment, by the way: To give the People some balance of power so that they might protect themselves against the overzealous, tyrannical agendas of out-of-control governments which inevitably try to rule over the People as violent dictators.

A court hearing is scheduled this Friday at 9:00 am at the courthouse in Cheboygan County. I have been told that a very important legal strategy to halt this DNR madness will be unveiled in the courtroom that morning. Ron McKendrick, whose ranch was raided by DNR over the weekend, will be appearing in this hearing.

I am calling upon all patriots, farmers and food rights activists in Michigan to be there on Friday morning and join in this show of support for farming freedom and fundamental human rights. Do we not have the right to raise livestock without the state raiding our property and murdering our animals? And why is this not being covered in the national media?

Also: This battle continues to be waged by Mark Baker at who desperately needs additional legal funds to continue his fight against the out-of-control government tyrants in Michigan who are trying to destroy farms. Please check his website for updates and make a small donation (even $5 or $10 helps) using the “Donate” button on his website.

NaturalNews will continue developing this story and we anticipate bringing you more details after the Friday hearing. In the mean time, I will continue to call for the immediate arrest of DNR officials who are now, by any standard, runaway criminal thugs who are operating under the false cover of government. If anyone has a list of the names of these people, please contact NaturalNews with that list so that we can publish them under a “WANTED FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE PEOPLE” heading as we continue to call for their arrest.

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Hacked Electronic Road Sign: “Trayvon A N*gger” Greated Overnight Michigan Interstate Travelers

April 9, 2012

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – A road work sign that normally carries messages about construction projects or lane closures was plastered with a hateful message in the overnight hours.

State police said an unauthorized person took over the sign along westbound I-94 near Livernois before the Southfield interchange.

The message in lights made a reference to Trayvon Martin, the teen killed by a neighborhood watchman in Florida, and included a racial slur.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Rob Morosi said that at around 1 a.m. Monday someone was able to get into the box attached to the portable sign and pull out the keyboard.

He said that whomever is responsible knew what they were doing.

“These signs, obviously, are in cabinets which someone has to break into. And then they have to be knowledgeable as to how to erase the message that’s on there, create a new message and activate it,” Morosi said.

Morosi said they sent a crew out to the scene to address the issue as soon as they learned of it. The sign is now back on message, warning drivers about a construction project ahead.

The WWJ newsroom had been receiving multiple calls about the message.

Area resident Ken Furgama of Melvindale wasn’t happy to hear about it.

“I’d just hope it was an isolated train of thought, you know, but I do believe there are a lot of ignorant people still out there,” he told WWJ’s Ron Dewey. “I’m just sorry it happened.”

Reverend Wendell Anthony, of the Detroit Office of the NAACP, said it didn’t surprise him.

“We know that we’ve got some foolish people in all communities, in all races, in all ethnicities. But it is up to us who are wiser, who know better, to stand up, speak out, call it out, and let’s try to fix it as long as we’re able,” Anthony said. “So, I am not discouraged. I am still very much encouraged.”

MDOT is investigating with the help of Michigan State Police. Morosi said that whoever is responsible could face some pretty serious charges.

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US Federal Government’s High Profile Michigan Court Case Against “Homegrown Rutal Extremists” Falls Apart At The Seams – Bogus Charges Dismissed By Trial Judge

March 27, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN — A federal judge on Tuesday gutted the government’s case against seven members of a Michigan militia, dismissing the most serious charges in an extraordinary defeat for federal authorities who insisted they had captured homegrown rural extremists poised for war.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said the members’ expressed hatred of law enforcement didn’t amount to a conspiracy to rebel against the government. The FBI had secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia starting in 2008 to collect hours of anti-government audio and video that became the cornerstone of the case.



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“The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level,” the judge said on the second anniversary of raids and arrests that broke up the group.

Roberts granted requests for acquittal on the most serious charges: conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the U.S. and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. Other weapons crimes tied to the alleged conspiracies also were dismissed.

“The judge had a lot of guts,” defense attorney William Swor said. “It would have been very easy to say, ‘The heck with it,’ and hand it off to the jury. But the fact is she looked at the evidence, and she looked at it very carefully.”

The trial, which began Feb. 13, will resume Thursday with only a few gun charges remaining against militia leader David Stone and son Joshua Stone, both from Lenawee County, Mich. They have been in custody without bond for two years.

Prosecutors said Hutaree members were anti-government rebels who combined training and strategy sessions to prepare for a violent strike against federal law enforcement, triggered first by the slaying of a police officer.

But there never was an attack. Defense lawyers said highly offensive remarks about police and the government were wrongly turned into a high-profile criminal case that drew public praise from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who in 2010 called Hutaree a “dangerous organization.”

David Stone’s “statements and exercises do not evince a concrete agreement to forcibly resist the authority of the United States government,” Roberts said Tuesday. “His diatribes evince nothing more than his own hatred for — perhaps even desire to fight or kill — law enforcement; this is not the same as seditious conspiracy.”

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade declined to comment. Two years ago, when militia members were arrested, she said it was time to “take them down.”

The FBI had put a local informant, Dan Murray, inside the militia in 2008 and paid him $31,000. An FBI agent from New Jersey also was embedded. Steve Haug, known as “Jersey Steve,” posed as a trucker and spent months secretly recording talks with Stone. He even served as Stone’s best man at his wedding, a celebration with militia members wearing military fatigues.

Haug repeatedly talked to Stone about building pipe bombs and getting other sophisticated explosives. The FBI rented a warehouse in Ann Arbor where the agent would invite him and others to store and discuss weapons.

Haug told jurors he was “shocked” by Stone’s knowledge of explosives, noting it matched some of his own instruction as a federal agent.

Stone was recorded saying he was willing to kill police and even their families. He considered them part of a “brotherhood” — a sinister global authority that included federal law enforcers and United Nations troops.

He had bizarre beliefs: Stone suspected Germany and Singapore had aircraft stationed in Texas, and thousands of Canadian troops were poised to take over Michigan. He said the government put computer chips in a flu vaccine.

He had a speech prepared for a regional militia gathering in Kentucky in 2010, but bad weather forced him and others to return to Michigan. Instead, he read it in the van while a secret camera installed by the FBI captured the remarks.

“It is time to strike and take our nation back so that we may be free again from tyranny,” Stone said. “Time is up, God bless all of you and welcome to the new revolution.”

Swor said Stone is a Christian who was bracing for war against the Antichrist.

“This is not the United States government. This is Satan’s army,” Swor told the judge Monday, referring to the enemy.

Militia members cleared of all charges were Stone’s wife, Tina Stone, and his son, David Stone Jr.; Thomas Piatek of Whiting, Ind.; Michael Meeks of Manchester, Mich.; and Kris Sickles of Sandusky, Ohio.

“It’s hard to believe it’s over,” said Tina Stone, crying as she spoke by phone. “Thank God we live in a country where we do have freedom of speech.”

Joshua Clough of Blissfield, Mich., pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in December and awaits his sentence. Jacob Ward of Huron, Ohio, will have a separate trial.

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