Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST
Party shooting in Detroit leaves 1 dead, 4 wounded
DETROIT (AP) — One person has been killed and four others wounded during an early morning shooting at an after-party on Detroit’s eastside.
Police say someone fired shots into a crowd just before 5 a.m. Saturday. A 26-year-old man may have been the target of the shooting and was slain.
A 20-year-old man was in critical condition. Two other men and a woman were in stable condition at hospitals.
The shooting was under investigation.
Unusual election method in Detroit suburb breaks new ground
EASTPOINTE, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit suburb will make Michigan history Tuesday when it uses “ranked-choice voting” for two seats on the city council.
Voters will be asked to rank four candidates, from first to fourth. The first choices are counted first, but second choices on the ballots also come into play. The winners in Eastpointe will be two people with slightly more than 33.3% of the vote.
Eastpointe agreed to ranked-choice voting to settle a 2017 lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department. The government claimed white voters acting as a bloc had historically diluted the voting power of black residents in citywide council races.
Blacks are estimated to make up more than 40 percent of Eastpointe, which has a population of 32,000. Only one member of the city council is black.
DRINKING WATER STANDARDS
Michigan regulatory board halts state’s drinking water rules
(Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com)
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan regulatory oversight board has temporarily paused state drinking water standards that would limit allowable levels of certain toxic industrial chemicals.
MLive.com reports the committee voted Thursday to wait two weeks before deciding whether to delay or approve draft maximum contaminant levels for seven compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, called PFAS.
The substances, widely used in firefighting foam, nonstick cookware and other products, have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they persist so long in the environment.
The Environmental Rules Review Committee is staffed with business and industry representatives selected by former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
The panel was created last year by the GOP-controlled Legislature. Republican lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s effort to eliminate the panel while she restructured the former Department of Environmental Quality.
ENERGY BILL GRANTS-MICHIGAN
Grants awarded to help people behind on home energy bills
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than $54 million in grants have been awarded to community service agencies to help low-income Michigan residents who fall behind on home energy bills.
Michigan Energy Assistance Program grant agencies help with payments that can be used to meet home heating and electricity costs on primary residences.
The Michigan Public Service Commission says assistance can cover full or partial payment of one or more bills for electric, natural gas, propane, heating oil, or any other deliverable fuel used to provide heat. Grant agencies also provide weatherization improvements and other energy self-sufficiency services to reduce energy waste.
The grants are funded by a monthly surcharge assessed by participating utilities and through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. More than 65,000 households received grant assistance this past funding period.
Schools, museums, cultural centers receive humanities grants
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than a dozen universities, museums and art and cultural centers across Michigan have been awarded grants for projects and programs.
Michigan Humanities recently announced a total of roughly $175,000 in grants to 13 organizations. The Humanities Grants support projects exploring history, theater, reading, education and community identity.
Recipients of the grants, worth up to $15,000, include the Flint Youth Film Festival, Center for the Arts of Greater Lapeer for the “Women’s Suffrage Project” and Marquette Regional History Center for “The Great Outdoors: The History of Outdoor Recreation in Marquette County.”
Michigan Humanities CEO Shelly Kasprzycki says the selected projects “bring new ideas and unknown perspectives to light.” She adds they also “attract visitors and support community development.”
Longtime superintendent of Isle Royale National Park retires
HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) — The longtime superintendent of Isle Royale National Park in Michigan is retiring.
Phyllis Green stepped down Friday as head of the remote park in northwestern Lake Superior. She held the position for 18 years. It was her final stop in a 41-year career with the federal government that also included posts with the U.S. Forest Service.
At Isle Royale, Green oversaw the first stages of a continuing project to restore the gray wolf population by relocating animals from the mainland.
The native of Houghton, Michigan, also led efforts to prevent exotic species in ship ballast tanks from infesting waters near the island park.
Green worked to upgrade visitor facilities and equip the park with solar power while protecting its wilderness character.
UAW president taking leave amid corruption probe
DETROIT (AP) — United Auto Workers President Gary Jones is taking a paid leave of absence amid a federal investigation of corruption in the union.
The UAW said Jones requested the leave, which is effective Sunday.
The federal government has been investigating fraud and misuse of funds at the UAW for more than two years.
Jones has not been charged. But in a recent court filing, federal prosecutors alleged that seven top UAW officials conspired since 2010 to embezzle funds through schemes such as submitting false vouchers for conference expenses.
In a statement, Jones said he’s stepping aside so the union can focus on negotiating better contracts for its workers.
UAW Vice President Rory Gamble will serve as acting president. He recently negotiated the union’s tentative agreement with Ford Motor Co.
Whitmer orders flags lowered for a week to honor Conyers
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered flags be lowered in the state Capitol complex and in public buildings and grounds across Michigan to honor the late John Conyers.
Flags should be lowered to half-staff starting Monday — the day of his funeral — through the following Sunday.
Hundreds came to pay their respects to Conyers during an open service on Saturday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The public viewing is expected to continue Sunday.
Conyers, a Detroit Democrat, was one of the longest-serving members of Congress and used his influence to push for civil rights. He co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969.
Whitmer says Conyers’ impact “will not be forgotten.” She cites his work to spearhead criminal justice and voting rights changes.
STATE LAND PURCHASE-ELK HERD
Michigan buys northern land with lake in state’s elk range
CORWITH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan now owns a large, long-sought piece of northern property boasting a lake, forests and rare species that’s in the range of the state’s elk herd.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced it’s completed the $3.8 million purchase of the Storey Lake property. The deal to buy roughly 2,000 acres in the north-central Lower Peninsula took about two decades to wrangle.
The land in Otsego and Cheboygan counties sits between other pieces of public acreage: The Pigeon River Country State Forest and a tract of state-managed forest land.
Officials say the property is open for legal hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and wildlife viewing. The public will be invited to participate in developing an access plan.
The land once was in the hands of an owner from Switzerland.
Bills clarify solar panels are exempt from property taxes
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would clarify that rooftop solar panels are exempt from property taxes.
The bills won final approval from lawmakers this past week in the wake of a 2018 State Tax Commission memorandum that says solar panels installed on residential property must be assessed as a component of that property.
Under the legislation, installing, replacing or repairing an alternative energy system with a generating capacity of not more than 150 kilowatts would be considered normal maintenance.
Groups representing environmentalists and the renewable energy industry are urging Whitmer to sign the bills, saying they would fix a confusing statewide patchwork of taxing rooftop panels. Former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar bills, citing ambiguity over a threshold for taxing alternative energy systems installed in the future.