Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EST
Michigan OKs incentives it says will create 4,500 jobs
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan board has approved tax breaks and other incentives the state says will create more than 4,500 jobs, including 2,500 at Ford Motor Co. as part of the automaker’s plan to renovate Detroit’s train depot and redevelop nearby properties for researching and developing self-driving vehicles.
The Strategic Fund board Tuesday authorized putting the Corktown properties into a Renaissance Zone, meaning Ford won’t pay $200 million-plus in property taxes over 30 years.
The board also approved $31 million in tax incentives for mobility company Aptiv to renovate a facility in Troy and hire 500 engineers and staff. Among other incentives authorized Tuesday is a $10 million grant for Samsung SDI Co. to put its first high-volume U.S. automotive battery pack manufacturing plant in Auburn Hills, creating more than 400 jobs.
Funds OKed for removing mine sands from Lake Superior harbor
DETROIT (AP) — The federal government has come up with money for removing additional waste mining sands from a section of Lake Superior off Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.
The Environmental Protection Agency is providing $946,000 to dredge stamp sands from an ancient riverbed north of Buffalo Reef.
The coarse, black sands were generated in the early 1900s as a byproduct of copper processing and dumped in the lake. They’re drifting toward the 2,220-acre reef, an important fish spawning area.
EPA previously gave $3 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to design and carry out the dredging.
Officials say the extra funding will pay to dredge an additional 50,000 cubic yards of the sands, bringing the total being removed to 157,500 cubic yards.
The Corps says the work will be done next year.
STATE AID-PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Fight over aid for private schools moves to Supreme Court
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A coalition of public school groups is appealing a major decision that allows Michigan tax dollars to flow to private schools.
The groups and the American Civil Liberties Union are urging the state Supreme Court to reverse an October opinion by the appeals court. The court said private schools can receive public money to help them comply with health, safety and welfare rules.
But critics say the Michigan Constitution clearly states that no public money can aid a private school. In a court filing Tuesday, lawyers say the constitution lists no exceptions. Don Wotruba of the Michigan Association of School Boards says voters settled the issue years ago.
The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder approved $2.5 million in 2016 for state requirements at private schools.
ARETHA FRANKLIN-DETROIT MANSION
Developer plans to update home previously owned by Franklin
DETROIT (AP) — A real estate developer who recently bought the Detroit mansion owned by late singing legend Aretha Franklin plans to renovate the home.
Anthony Kellum, president of Michigan-based Kellum Mortgage, announced Tuesday that he purchased the 5,600-square-foot (520-square-meter) brick home adjacent to the Detroit Golf Club that fetched $300,000 last month.
Kellum says he plans to update the home built in 1927. He says it has been vacant for 10 years and requires “major renovations to restore its original beauty.”
The Detroit News reports Franklin bought the home in 1993 but nearly lost it in 2008 due to unpaid property taxes.
Franklin’s 4,148-square-foot (385-square-meter) Colonial-style house in suburban Detroit’s Bloomfield Township still is listed for $800,000 .
Franklin died of pancreatic cancer in August in her Detroit riverfront apartment. She was 76.
Judge dismisses lawsuit over Marine recruit’s death
DETROIT (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit over the death of a Marine recruit from Michigan who killed himself after a confrontation with a drill instructor.
Federal Judge Arthur Tarnow expressed “strong reservations” Tuesday but said he must follow legal precedent, which bars civil litigation in military deaths.
Raheel Siddiqui (Sa-DEE’-kee) died in 2016 at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Marine Corps said the 20-year-old Taylor, Michigan, man jumped to his death.
There was evidence that drill instructors beat, choked and kicked recruits. Several Marines have been convicted for their roles in abuse at Parris Island.
Siddiqui’s family filed a $100 million lawsuit, saying recruiters never disclosed that instructors had an anti-Muslim bias. The family received $500,000 in death benefits and insurance, but the judge says it’s “woefully out of step.”
Trump tests presidential limits by threat to General Motors
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is testing the limits of his presidential authority and political muscle by threatening to slash all federal subsidies to General Motors because of its planned job cuts in the U.S.
Trump unloaded on Twitter on Tuesday, a day after GM announced it would shutter five plants and slash 14,000 jobs in North America. Many of the job cuts would affect the Midwest, the politically crucial region where the president promised a manufacturing rebirth.
He tweeted: “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China.”
He says his administration is “looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including for electric cars.”
PAID UNION LEAVE
Michigan Senate OKs ban on taxpayer-paid union release time
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation advancing in Michigan would prohibit school districts and other public employers from providing paid release time for employees to conduct union business.
The Republican-sponsored bill won narrow, largely party-line approval in the Senate on Tuesday, when the Legislature’s postelection session resumed. A House committee will consider similar bills later in the week, a signal that they could gain traction.
The prohibition against allowing publicly funded paid release time would not apply to labor contracts for police, firefighters, corrections officers and transit employees.
Supporters of the legislation say it would save taxpayers money. Opponents say such arrangements are collectively bargained for, and are a productive and cost-effective way to resolve labor grievances and other issues.
Senate Bills 795-96: http://bit.ly/2Rc2Lxr
New trial ordered for man convicted after jury room chaos
DETROIT (AP) — A man who was quickly convicted of murder only after a suburban Detroit judge replaced a juror to end days of discord has been granted a new trial.
Melvin Wofford argued that his rights were violated when Oakland County Judge Michael Warren removed a juror who apparently had doubts about Wofford’s guilt. Federal Judge Laurie Michelson said he deserves a new trial.
In a Nov. 6 decision, Michelson said it’s possible that jurors turned on a fellow juror simply because she didn’t agree with their view of the case. After an alternate juror was seated, Wofford was convicted in 90 minutes.
It was an unusual case even without the turmoil. After DNA tests, Wofford was put on trial in 2013 for the murder of a man back in 1993. He denies wrongdoing.
SCHOOL SAFETY-HOCKEY PUCKS
Faculty trained to use hockey pucks to thwart shooters
(Information from: WDIV-TV, http://www.clickondetroit.com)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Faculty members at Oakland University in suburban Detroit have received hockey pucks and are being trained to use them to potentially thwart active shooters.
WDIV-TV reports the American Association of University Professors distributed pucks to its 800 members.
University Police Chief Mark Gordon says to fight effectively, faculty and students need to be prepared to throw heavy objects that will cause a distraction. Gordon says pucks fit the bill and can conveniently be carried in brief cases or backpacks.
The faculty union also is working with student groups to distribute an additional 1,700 pucks to students.
Michigan lawmakers OK permanent medical marijuana rules
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers have approved permanent medical marijuana licensing rules, including a provision to allow dispensaries to deliver the drug to cardholders’ homes.
The regulations were passed Tuesday by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, a panel of legislators that oversees rules proposed by state agencies. The regulations largely mirror emergency rules already in place, but the authorization of home delivery is new.
Provisioning centers will be able to deliver up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana per patient and do up to 10 deliveries at a time. The state is in the midst of licensing medical marijuana businesses under a 2016 law.