Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT


The Latest: Politicians praise late Judge Damon J. Keith

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan politicians are praising prominent Judge Damon J. Keith as a “legal trailblazer” and a “civil rights icon.”

Keith died in Detroit on Sunday at age 96.

Among those paying tribute to him are Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters.

In their statements, they spoke of Keith’s courage in the face of what Whitmer called the “attacks and threats from others” in his defense of individual liberties and in his commitment to end racism.

Keith was a grandson of slaves who served more than 50 years in the federal courts. He captured the nation’s attention when he was sued by President Richard Nixon over a ruling against warrantless wiretaps.

Whitmer said she planned to order that all U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol complex and on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff on the day of the judge’s internment.


Illinois governor OKs first steps on blocking Asian carp

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The governor of Illinois is authorizing steps toward the installation of technologies in a Chicago-area waterway to prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he’s willing to move ahead with preconstruction, engineering and design work for the project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois.

The location is considered a crucial choke point where the invasive carp could be prevented from migrating upstream toward the lake.

Illinois officials previously have agreed to work with the Army Corps and other Great Lakes states on the project while raising concerns about its cost and potential harm to commercial shipping.

Pritzker said in a letter to the Corps Friday that he wants discussions about reducing the project’s price tag, estimated at $778 million.


3 health systems team up on $48M laundry facility in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Three health systems are teaming up to build and operate a $48 million medical laundry service facility in Detroit.

The collaboration announced Monday involves Henry Ford Health System, Michigan Medicine and St. Joseph Mercy Health System.

The facility in the city’s Northwest Goldberg neighborhood is expected to be operational in spring 2020 and will have the capacity to handle 78 million pounds (35.4 million kilograms) of linens a year for the health systems. It will have about 180 employees, including more than 100 new hires.

The facility will be owned and operated by the nonprofit Metropolitan Detroit Area Hospital Services, which has operated a laundry facility on Detroit’s west side for decades. The 70 employees working at the current MDAHS laundry facility will be relocated to the new facility.


Woman loses appeal over Facebook post about son in sewer

DETROIT (AP) — A woman who says she suffered when she learned that her missing son was found slain in a Detroit sewer has failed to persuade the Michigan appeals court to reinstate her lawsuit over a Facebook post.

Brenda Burton sued Detroit and a water department employee who was accused of writing on Facebook that he had found a “dead body in the sewer” in September 2015. Burton says she went to the site and saw her son, Osean Lockett, under the manhole cover.

Burton says the water employee acted recklessly when he made the Facebook post before police could remove the body. She says she suffered emotional distress.

The appeals court says the post might have been “thoughtless” but it wasn’t “utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”


Environmental justice advocate appointed for Michigan agency

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Regina Strong has been named to the newly created position of environmental justice public advocate in the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

The agency formerly was known as the Department of Environmental Quality. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer changed its name as part of a reorganization that included establishing the environmental justice advocate post.

Strong is the former Michigan director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. She previously served in a variety of leadership roles, including as executive director of Community Development Advocates of Detroit.

The term “environmental justice” involves efforts to ensure that pollution doesn’t disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities.


AAA: Michigan gas prices up 6 cents to $2.88 per gallon

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says average gas prices statewide are up about 6 cents from a week ago to about $2.88 per gallon.

The Dearborn-based auto club says Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded is about 3 cents more than a year ago. AAA says more increases are likely with the summer driving season approaching.

The state’s highest average was about $2.93 a gallon in the Benton Harbor and Marquette areas. The lowest was about $2.85 in the Flint and Traverse City areas.

Prices in the Detroit area were about $2.86 per gallon, up about 3 cents from a week ago.

AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.




Vacant land becoming asset as development returns to Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler didn’t have to look far when it began considering where to build its next assembly plant.

A short walk from its Jefferson North plant in Detroit is 200 acres (80 hectares) of land the company is eyeing as part of a $1.6 billion investment to convert its Mack Avenue Engine Complex into a new facility.

Decades of residential flight, disinvestment and abandonment have left the Motor City with stretches of available real estate.

Detroit is now working with Fiat Chrysler to secure the land it needs. Some is home to an old power plant. Another section holds a tree-planting operation.

Much of the land has been secured. The Detroit City Council is expected to discuss the city’s land acquisition plan on Monday.


Science Gallery Detroit gets ready to host 2nd exhibition

DETROIT (AP) — Science Gallery Detroit is getting ready to open a new exhibition in partnership with the Michigan Science Center.

The gallery’s second exhibition is titled “DEPTH” and runs June 8-Aug. 17 at the science center in Detroit.

“DEPTH” will explore water’s intense power while also showcasing the beauty and life it brings. It invites visitors to contemplate the future of mankind in relation to water.

Last year, a multimedia exhibition titled “HUSTLE ” that explored struggle, survival and success attracted more than 10,000 visitors. It was the gallery’s inaugural exhibition.

Science Gallery Detroit, developed with Michigan State University and Science Gallery International, was billed the first venue of its kind in the Americas. The first Science Gallery was developed at Dublin’s Trinity College a decade ago.


Judge: Meth in courthouse serves as warning of drug epidemic

(Information from: The Daily News,

IONIA, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge says an encounter with methamphetamine inside the courthouse where he works serves as a warning about the extent of the drug epidemic.

The Daily News of Greenville reports Ionia County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge Robert Sykes Jr. recounted his experience this month while giving an update on court matters to Ionia County commissioners.

Sykes says he was presiding over a child removal trial in which the mother was alleged to be a meth addict. He says she the woman went into a courthouse bathroom and apparently left a small bag containing methamphetamine inside.

Someone brought it out and Sykes said it was the first time he’d seen meth in person. He says in many cases he handles the “parents, the partner, sometimes even the children are using it.”