Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT
Detroit police seek ‘serial murderer’ in deaths of 3 women
DETROIT (AP) — Police in Detroit say the killings of three women since March could be the work of a “serial murderer and rapist.”
Chief James Craig says the homicides appear to be connected. He spoke to reporters after a body was discovered in a vacant house Wednesday, more than two months after the first victim was found.
Two of the three women were in their early 50s. One died of blunt force trauma, while the cause of the other deaths remains under investigation.
Craig says detectives believe the women worked in the sex trade. The chief says he’s not trying to “create an alarm across the city.” But he’s making a public appeal for more information, especially from people who accept money for sex and go into vacant buildings.
CONVERSION THERAPY-HUNTINGTON WOODS
Suburban Huntington Woods bans gay conversion therapy
HUNTINGTON WOODS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit suburb of Huntington Woods says it has become the first city in Michigan to ban gay conversion therapy, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
It says the Huntington Woods City Commission voted 5-0 Tuesday to ban the practice. Violators will be guilty of a municipal civil infraction.
Commissioner Joe Rozell introduced the ordinance. He says conversion therapy “is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything that this city stands for.”
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have banned it.
Democratic state Rep. Yousef Rabhi of Ann Arbor and Democratic Sen. Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak have introduced legislation that would ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth. However, Republican majorities in both chambers have steadfastly opposed such a ban.
Ex-airport official convicted in $5M bribery scheme
DETROIT (AP) — A former Detroit-area airport official has been convicted of accepting more than $5 million in kickbacks from contractors.
Federal prosecutors say it’s one of the largest bribery cases in Michigan’s Eastern District.
The Detroit News reports that James Warner gasped as the verdict was read Wednesday in federal court. He was found guilty of bribery, conspiracy and other crimes.
Warner was an infrastructure manager at the agency that runs Detroit Metropolitan Airport, from 2010 through 2014. The indictment quotes him as telling a contractor that kickbacks were the “cost of doing business” at the airport.
The indictment says Warner once wrote a cash demand on a napkin, passed it to a contractor and then ate it.
Federal authorities seized about $4 million from Warner last year.
Health officials: Oakland County measles outbreak over
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Health officials in a county that includes many of Detroit’s suburbs say Michigan’s largest local measles outbreak since 1991 has ended.
The Oakland County Health Division announced the update Wednesday about the outbreak that began in March when an ill traveler from New York visited the area. Forty of the 44 confirmed measles cases in Michigan occurred in Oakland County, and those infected ranged in age from 8 months to 63 years.
The county Health Division, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and others administered more than 3,300 measles vaccines and held 17 special vaccine clinics.
Other possible exposure sites were in Detroit, mid-Michigan and western Michigan. The number of cases of the highly contagious disease Michigan was the highest since 65 in 1991.
Mom: Boy on minibike fatally hit by deputy wasn’t at fault
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — The mother of an 11-year-old boy on a minibike who was fatally struck by a sheriff’s deputy in southern Michigan says her son wasn’t at fault.
Christina Valadez said Tuesday during a news conference with her lawyer that Norman Hood was “a good kid” who was just trying to cross a street.
The deputy was responding to a report of a possible burglary when he hit the boy about 9:30 p.m. May 28 in Battle Creek, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) west of Detroit. The sheriff’s office has said it appears the bike turned into the car’s path.
Valadez’s attorney, Don Sappanos, says there’s evidence the deputy was speeding.
Authorities haven’t disclosed how fast the car was going. The deputy hadn’t activated his vehicle’s overhead lights and siren. State police are investigating.
Police: Michigan cop who repeatedly hit man should lose job
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Police in western Michigan say an officer seen on bodycam video repeatedly punching a man during an arrest should lose his job.
The Grand Rapids Police Department this week announced that its Internal Affairs Unit determined that the officer violated department policy during the March 17 traffic stop and is suspended without pay. Police note the officer cursed and struck the motorist dozens of times in the leg.
State police earlier investigated and the Kent County prosecutor’s office declined to bring criminal charges against the officer.
A statement from Grand Rapids police says it takes “all incidents involving use of force very seriously and holds officers to the highest standards of professionalism.”
The department has faced recent scrutiny, including an investigation by Michigan’s Civil Rights office into complaints of discrimination.
$1.3M estate of former teacher, author goes to foundation
(Information from: Times Herald, http://www.thetimesherald.com)
PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — A former teacher and author who died in April at the age of 101 has left her $1.3 million estate to a community foundation in Michigan.
The Times Herald of Port Huron reports Ann Tompert’s gift goes to the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. The foundation says the Bob and Ann Tompert Endowment Fund will benefit area’s greatest needs and opportunities as they change over time, as well as her alma mater.
The Port Huron woman told the Times Herald last year that she worked as a teacher at St. Clair Shores, East Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Marine City and other Michigan cities. The newspaper says she wrote more than 50 children’s books and said the key to longevity was “not taking life too seriously.”
Michigan awards grants for lake and stream protections
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan agency is awarding grants totaling more than $3.9 million for projects intended to benefit lakes and streams through development of watershed management plans.
The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy says the grants will help restore impaired waters and prevent runoff of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants.
Lenawee Conservation District is getting the largest sum of money — $773,522 for efforts to reduce phosphorus flows to western Lake Erie.
The city of Pleasant Ridge is receiving $608,498 to reduce impervious surfaces and install rain gardens and bio-swales in the Red Run Watershed.
A $550,000 grant was awarded to Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy for a conservation easement protecting a 200-acre (81-hectare) property covering a section of Petobego Creek and 1,400 feet (427 meters) of Skegemog Lake shoreline.
CAR CHASE-DEPUTY ASSAULTED
Man convicted after Michigan deputy injured in chase, fight
(Information from: WHMI-FM, http://www.whmi.com)
HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — A man who authorities say injured a Michigan sheriff’s deputy in a fight after a car chase has been convicted in the case.
WHMI-FM reports 36-year-old Albert Smith of Flint was found guilty Tuesday of charges including carjacking, fleeing a police officer and assault.
Defense lawyer Mark Scharrer argued Smith suffers from PTSD following three years in the U.S. Army.
Deputy Mike Mueller, who was elected in November to the state House in the 51st District representing portions of Genesee and Oakland counties, was hurt later that month in Livingston County , northwest of Detroit. He was treated and released.
Mueller tried to stop a minivan on U.S. 23. and the van flipped after exiting. Smith was pulled from the van and assaulted Mueller before being arrested.
Sentencing is June 27.
Eastpointe agrees to settle black voting rights case
EASTPOINTE, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit city council has approved a settlement in a federal lawsuit over the rights of black voters in which voters now will rank candidates on the ballot in order of their preference.
The city of Eastpointe says its City Council unanimously approved a consent decree Tuesday evening in which it will become the first Michigan city to implement so-called “ranked choice” voting with a goal on implementing it with this November’s city election. It says the mayor will continue to be elected citywide, rather than by ranked choice.
The U.S. Justice Department sued Eastpointe in 2017 , saying it should elect council members by district rather than citywide. Blacks made up 30 percent of the population in the last census but only one council member is black.