Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.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.


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.”



Immigrant-heavy GOP states OK with census citizen question

PHOENIX (AP) — It’s not just Democratic-leaning states at risk of losing federal money and clout in Congress if the Supreme Court says the upcoming census can include a citizenship question.

Fast-growing Arizona, Florida and Texas all have large groups of immigrants who might choose to sit out the census, but are led by Republicans who seem unconcerned about the potential for an undercount and the resulting loss of representation in Congress.

The Supreme Court will decide soon whether to uphold the Trump administration’s plan to ask about citizenship on census forms.

An Associated Press analysis of a Census Bureau population estimate found nine states would have lost population since the last census if not for international immigration.


Fatal illness detected in another Michigan cattle herd

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a small beef cattle herd in northern Michigan has been infected with bovine tuberculosis.

The state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the herd was in Alpena County, which is part of an area in the northern Lower Peninsula where the fatal disease is commonly found in whitetail deer. Contact with deer is believed to be a common means of transmitting the illness to cattle.

The infection was detected through routine testing. It was the 74th cattle herd found to have the illness since 1998.

An investigation is planned to identify and test other herds that had an association with the infected one.


Trust wants hungry bacteria to remove Lansing-area pollution

(Information from: Lansing State Journal,

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Scientists want to use an unconventional method to remove pollution from former General Motors properties near Lansing where an underground plume of chemicals is creeping toward drinking water wells.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the trust that controls the sites is proposing a method called “biosparging,” which removes pollution by injecting air into groundwater. This encourages bacteria to consume 1,4-dioxane, a chemical the GM plants used to clean oil off car parts.

Engineers say it could take six to 12 years to fully clean the water.

The pollution was discovered after the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust took over the GM sites following the company’s bankruptcy reorganization in 2009.

The trust will need state approval to pursue the pollution removal plan.



First in family to graduate loses cap, gown in fire

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A woman who is becoming the first in her family to graduate from college has lost her cap and gown in a fire that destroyed her home.

Kiara Phelps is graduating Sunday at Eastern Michigan University. WDIV-TV reports that a kitchen fire destroyed her family’s townhouse in Ann Arbor. No one was injured.

Phelps plans to borrow a graduation gown. She says her graduation “seems a little ruined,” but she takes comfort in the words of her mother, who told her: “Life has to go on.”

Phelps says, “That’s very true.”


Flint can’t be sued; cops gave gun to man in suicide

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court says Flint can’t be sued for the death of a man who killed himself after police returned a gun to him.

Kyle Wheeler’s gun was taken after he tried to kill himself in 2014. The weapon was returned 13 months later in January 2016. He killed himself in May of that year.

Wheeler’s family says Flint was negligent in returning the gun. The appeals court says police failed to follow “guidelines, ordinances and statutory requirements,” but Flint still is immune to a lawsuit because the conduct doesn’t fall into any of six exceptions.

The court reversed a decision by Genesee County Judge Geoffrey Neithercut.


This story has been corrected to change Wheeler’s first name to Kyle, not Ken.