DETROIT WATER SHUTOFFS
Detroit water department placed in mayor's hands
DETROIT (AP) - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is now running the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department following criticism about service shutoffs to city residents.
State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says in order Tuesday that handing control of the system over to Duggan is "in the best interests of the city."
The water department has been criticized for stepped up shutoffs to delinquent city customers. Water was cut off to about 7,200 homes and businesses in June. The shutoffs are suspended until Aug. 6 to educate customers on payment plans.
Orr says his order focuses on customer service and sound management practices that reflect the city's commitment to help customers "get and remain current on their water bills."
Duggan says he expects to have a "new plan shortly" on how to approach delinquent payments.
Canada, Michigan officials to announce bridge plan
DETROIT (AP) - Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder have called a news conference Wednesday about the planned new $2 billion bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
Snyder's office said Tuesday that Raitt and the governor "will make an announcement regarding the New International Trade Crossing" at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Canadian Club Heritage Center in Windsor.
Michigan and Canadian leaders have agreed to build the bridge over the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor. The bridge's Detroit footprint would be on the city's southwest side.
Officials say Canada would finance construction of the bridge, which would open in 2020.
Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun has fought the proposal for years, instead pushing for the building of an additional span to his private bridge.
RADIO HOST CHARGED
Ex-radio host pleads guilty in child porn probe
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A former host at a popular Christian radio station in western Michigan has pleaded guilty in a child pornography investigation.
John Balyo told a federal judge Tuesday that he photographed sex acts with a 12-year-old boy at a Kalamazoo County hotel. He pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation and possessing child pornography.
Balyo says he knew it was wrong.
The 35-year-old was a host at Christian radio station WCSG in Grand Rapids until his arrest in June at a Christian music festival in northern Michigan. His arrest was related to state charges of criminal sexual conduct. That case still is pending in Calhoun County.
Balyo faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in federal prison but his sentence could be longer.
Utility works to restore power in Michigan
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - DTE Energy Co. says it's working to restore power to about 42,000 customers without service since severe thunderstorms hit Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
The utility says late Tuesday morning that about 29,000 of the remaining outages are in Oakland County, 6,000 are in Macomb County and 3,000 are in Wayne County. About 186,000 DTE customers lost power following storms Sunday.
DTE crews are working 16-hour shifts and more than 400 workers from Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin are assisting.
In all, about 223,000 Michigan homes and businesses had outages, including roughly 37,000 customers of CMS Energy Corp.'s Consumers Energy that mostly had power back by Monday night.
The National Weather Service reports storm winds reached 70 mph, knocking down trees and ripping roofs off buildings. It says 3-inch hail fell near Midland.
Govt fails to vet chemical plants for terror risk
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional investigators say the government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at high risk for a terror attack and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities.
A yearlong investigation by Republican staff on the Senate Homeland Security Committee paints a picture of inspection delay, government errors in risk assessment and industry loopholes in a $595 million terror prevention program. A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.
The report said the Department of Homeland Security failed to conduct security inspections on 3,972 chemical facilities, or 99 percent of those deemed higher risk.
Roughly half of the higher-risk facilities are in 10 states: California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey.
Mistrial for man in death of girlfriend's niece, 5
DETROIT (AP) - A judge has declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked while deliberating the fate of a Detroit man accused of abducting, raping and killing his girlfriend's 5-year-old niece.
Twenty-two-year-old Darnell Cheatham is charged with first-degree murder, torture, arson and other crimes in the death of Mariah Smith. Her burned remains were found in a vacant house in 2011.
Defense lawyer Kareem Johnson says Cheatham maintains his innocence.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Ulysses Boykin declared the mistrial Tuesday.
County prosecutor's spokeswoman Maria Miller says in a statement that prosecutors will retry the case and says a pre-trial hearing is scheduled Friday.
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