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


Report: Detroit homicides, nonfatal shootings drop in 2021

DETROIT (AP) — Homicides and nonfatal shootings in Detroit decreased in 2021 over the previous year. End-of-year crime statistics released Thursday by the police department show the city recorded 309 homicides through the end of December compared to 323 in 2020. There also were 1,065 nonfatal shootings in 2021, 105 fewer than the 1,170 the year before. However, total violent offenses were up from 14,365 in 2020 to 14,758 in 2021 as the number of aggravated assaults and rape increased. Detroit had 275 homicides in 2019 and 261 homicides in 2018.


Snow continues to pound western Michigan, Upper Peninsula

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Snow fueled by the Great Lakes is falling for a second consecutive day in western Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Some communities are reporting remarkable amounts and bracing for even more by Friday. Ishpeming recorded 23 inches in one location, while many other areas in the U.P. posted a foot or more. Many schools were closed for a second day, especially in Lower Peninsula counties near Lake Michigan. Winter storm warnings were declared until Friday. The snow has been influenced by the open waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. In the Lower Peninsula, Sparta, Coopersville and Grand Haven reported more than a foot of snow by late Wednesday. Grand Rapids had 8 inches at the same time.


Judge tosses GOP challenge to exception for recall donations

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed Republicans’ lawsuit challenging the ability of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection campaign to collect excess donations under an exception for recall attempts, saying they lack standing to sue. District Judge Janet Neff in Grand Rapids ruled this week that state GOP chairman Ron Weiser and the party failed to show they had suffered a “concrete and particularized injury.” Republicans will appeal. At issue is roughly $4 million in contributions to Whitmer that exceeded the $7,150 per-person limit. The funds not spent on litigation or other recall-defense activities can be given to political parties or charities.


COVID variant a ‘juggernaut;’ federal team stays at Beaumont

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — A medical team from the U.S. Defense Department is extending its stay at Beaumont Health in southeastern Michigan. The hospital system has been overwhelmed with patients sick with COVID-19, especially people who are not vaccinated. Beaumont had more than 750 COVID-19 patients at eight hospitals Thursday, with 65% unvaccinated. Dr. Nick Gilpin says the omicron variant is a “juggernaut.” A Defense Department team dispatched in December is sticking around through January at a Beaumont hospital in Dearborn. It includes nurses and respiratory therapists in the emergency and critical care departments. Statewide, Michigan averaged 13,670 new daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and Wednesday.  


Ohio company will pay nearly $250K for Michigan fish kill

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) — The owner of a paper mill in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has agreed to pay nearly $250,000 to settle an investigation of a fish kill in the Escanaba River. State regulators say a “catastrophic pipe failure” at the Verso site in Escanaba resulted in a discharge of partially treated wastewater in August 2020. The mill generates a pollutant known as “black liquor,” which typically is burned as an energy source. The river was deprived of oxygen, and fish in the river were killed for three miles. The Escanaba River runs for 52 miles from Marquette County to Lake Michigan.


Terror, shattered glass and thanks: Lawmakers recall Jan. 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of lawmakers have gathered on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. And a year after supporters of then-President Donald Trump tried to prevent Congress from certifying his reelection defeat, legislators who were there that violent day still had quavering voices. And they gratefully credited the U.S. Capitol Police with saving their lives and perhaps preserving American democracy as well. Among them was Texas Democratic Rep. Colin Allred. He thanked the parents of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who confronted the mob and died the following day. He thanked them for letting him live so his own sons could have him around.


Environmental justice in spotlight as WH official departs

The White House’s top official on environmental justice is stepping down a year after President Joe Biden took office with an ambitious plan to help disadvantaged communities and overhaul policies that have historically hurt them. The departure of Cecilia Martinez, senior director for environmental justice at the Council for Environmental Quality, puts a spotlight on both the administration’s successes and promises yet to be fulfilled.


Students to slowly return to school after Oxford shooting

OXFORD, Mich. (AP) — Students at a Michigan high school will return to classes next week at a different location, weeks after four were killed during a shooting. Oxford High School still isn’t ready to reopen. But the superintendent announced a tentative plan to share the middle school for two weeks, starting next Monday. Tim Throne says the high school could reopen for classes during the week of Jan. 24 after families are given an opportunity to visit the site. Four teens were killed and others were injured on Nov. 30. Fifteen-year-old Ethan Crumbley is charged with murder, and his parents are charged with involuntary manslaughter. 


Tlaib running for new Detroit-area seat after redistricting

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Rep. Rashida Tlaib says she will seek reelection in a new Detroit-area seat created through redistricting, an announcement that came hours after fellow Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence said she will retire from Congress. The new 12th District includes portions of Detroit along with suburbs including Dearborn and Southfield. Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, says the seat includes nearly two-thirds of people she currently represents. The move leaves open the new 13th District, which has much of Detroit and other areas of Wayne County. Declared candidates so far include state Rep. Shri Thanedar and former state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.


Lawmakers want info about troubling prison conditions

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Two lawmakers from different parties are demanding answers from the state Corrections Department about conditions at prisons. Sen. Jeff Irwin, an Ann Arbor Democrat, says his office has been told about staff shortages at the women’s prison in Washtenaw County. Irwin says they’ve led to “forced overtime, mandatory 24-hour shifts, and individual officers being left alone.” Irwin asked the chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee to hold a hearing about the Huron Valley prison. Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz acknowledged staff shortages at the women’s prison over the New Year’s weekend but said safety wasn’t compromised. Sen. Ed McBroom, a Republican from the Upper Peninsula, said he would hold hearings about conditions across the prison system.