Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST


Judge clears man who served 15 years for Detroit firebombing

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has ordered the release of a man who has spent more than 15 years in prison for the firebombing deaths of two children in a Detroit home. Prosecutors had requested the hearing for Kenneth Nixon, concluding he didn’t get a fair trial. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow dismissed Nixon’s convictions and charges. A 10-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl were killed in a fire after a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the home in May 2005. Their mother and other children were injured. The 13-year-old brother of the children who were killed identified Nixon as the person who tossed the Molotov cocktail, but the prosecutor’s office determined his statements were inconsistent.


Flint water defendants oppose 4-month delay in proceedings

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Attorneys for former Gov. Rick Snyder and eight others facing charges in the Flint water crisis are seeking to speed the production of evidence after a judge said he needs at least four months to inspect grand jury records. The lawyers said Thursday that the delay will hurt the defendants, who “are left to languish under the specter of reputation-destroying criminal charges with virtually no avenue to challenge or assess the allegations.” Genesee County Chief Circuit Judge Duncan Beagle has issued an order governing how he will review and release grand jury testimony and set a status hearing for June 14.


Aide to embattled Shirkey leaving for job in Nessel’s office

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A top aide to embattled Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is leaving to take a job in Democratic state Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office. Amber McCann, Shirkey’s deputy chief of staff and press secretary, will start as special projects director in the department’s public information and education office. The news comes about a week after the release of a video in which Shirkey falsely said supporters of President Donald Trump were not involved in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot, calling it a “hoax.” McCann also served as spokeswoman for the two previous Senate majority leaders.


The Latest: Most of a Mississippi city is without water

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says almost all of Jackson, a city of around 150,000 people, is now without water. Lumumba says public works crews are working to pump as much water as they can to refill the city’s tanks. He notes that the city is approaching a critical shortage in chemicals used to treat the city’s water. Road closures are making it difficult for distributors to make needed deliveries. Linda Weathersby, an administrative assistant for the mayor’s office in Jackson, lives in an apartment building for seniors in the city. She says there are 85 seniors who have been living in her building without water since Monday. 


County board votes down resolution recognizing US rep’s work

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Elected officials in northern Michigan have voted down a resolution recognizing the service of a Republican congressman to his district. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the seven-member Grand Traverse County Board voted 3-3 Wednesday on the resolution for U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman. A seventh commissioner abstained. The board comprises five Republicans and two Democrats. Both Democrats voted against the resolution. The measure was presented by Republican county board Vice Chair Ron Clous, who displayed a rifle during an online meeting last month in response to a citizen’s comments against a far-right extremist group. Bergman was elected to a third term in November.


Ford loses track of dangerous air bags, forcing 2 recalls

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford has lost track of some older Takata air bags that can explode and hurl shrapnel, so it’s recalling more than 154,000 vehicles in North America. The company issued two recalls, with the largest coming because Ford can’t find 45 obsolete air bags that may have been used in collision or theft repairs of older Ranger pickup trucks. The company says the air bags were not purged from the stock of service parts. This recall covers just over 153,000 Rangers from 2004 through 2006. In a smaller recall, Ford found about 1,100 vehicles that may have gotten obsolete Takata air bags in collision repairs. They include older Rangers, Mustangs, GTs, Fusions and Edges. Also covered are older Mercury Milans, Lincoln MKZs and MKX SUVs.


Man falls into Detroit River after jumping on ice

DETROIT (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman says crews are unlikely to safely rescue a man who fell through ice on the Detroit River. Lt. Jeremiah Schiessel says the man was with a couple of other people when he walked out onto the ice just off Belle Isle about 5 p.m. Wednesday and began “jumping up and down.” He says it’s “not likely” that the search would end in a rescue. He says crews were unable to get to the spot where the man was last seen because the ice was too thin. The person’s identity is not known.  


Snowmobilers in Colorado, Wyoming latest avalanche victims

DENVER (AP) — The latest victims of a deadly avalanche season in the Rocky Mountain region include a snowmobiler who was buried by a snow slide in northern Colorado and another snowmobiler who died in an avalanche in western Wyoming. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says rescuers recovered the body of a man on Wednesday near Ruby Mountain in Jackson County, a day after he was buried at high altitude. A 56-year-old Michigan man died after an avalanche swept eight snowmobilers downslope near the Wyoming town of Alpine. At least 27 people have been killed in avalanches in the United States this winter.  


UN: Huge changes in society needed to keep nature, Earth OK

A new UN report on three environmental crises paints a picture of a broken Earth because of climate change, species loss and pollution. In a break from past reports, Thursday’s report looks at how three problems are intertwined instead of concentrating on an individual threat. It also tells the world not just how broken the planet is, but what must be done to fix it. And those fixes involve fundamental changes to the global economy, what gets taxed, where power comes from, how people get around, fish, farm and eat. The report says humanity has to stop trying to fight nature but make peace with it.


Michigan restaurants seek to tie limits to positivity rate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan restaurants have proposed tying indoor capacity limits to the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive, contending that clear guideposts would help the hospitality industry reopen and navigate the pandemic. Bars and restaurants that reopened for indoor dining and drinking on Feb 1. are limited to 25% occupancy under a state health order supported by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The capacity limit would rise to 50% under the current seven-day average positivity rate and to 100% if the rate dropped further. Whitmer has opposed linking coronavirus metrics to the automatic loosening or tightening of restrictions.