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TODDLER DEATH-MOTHER-MICHIGAN

Police: Man finds child dead, wife hurt in Detroit-area home

NOVI, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a man found his wife severely injured and toddler dead at their suburban Detroit home. Novi police said the man returned from work Friday evening to find them. The boy was pronounced dead at the home and the woman was taken to a hospital, where she was listed in serious condition. It wasn’t immediately clear how the boy died but investigators say no one else appeared to be involved except for the mother and child. City officials say the woman has a history of mental health issues and the husband is not considered a suspect. The family, originally from China, came to the United States in 2014.

TOP LAWS-MICHIGAN

Car insurance, gambling, ‘raise the age’ top new 2019 laws

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An overhaul of Michigan’s auto insurance system topped the list of new laws in 2019. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and lawmakers also legalized sports betting and online gambling, and enacted a measure to stop automatically treating 17-year-old offenders as adults in the criminal justice system. The Democratic governor signed 178 bills in the first year of divided government since 2010. She signed laws to spend more protecting drinking water, to ensure more online retailers collect sales tax, to ease pending monthly reporting requirements for some Medicaid recipients and to require egg-laying hens to be housed in cage-free areas by 2025. 

PETROLEUM SPILL-MICHIGAN

Crews cleaning up petroleum spill in Detroit-area river

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — Suburban Detroit officials say they don’t know the source of a spill or leak of up to 100 gallons of petroleum into a waterway as crews try to clean it up. Macomb County officials said in a release Saturday a resident spotted a sheen the day before on the Clinton River in Clinton Township. Officials traced it to a relief drain in Warren. Absorbent booms have been used to collect the petroleum, and officials say they will remain in place until the water is clear.

DETROIT-ROBOCOP

Crowdfunded ‘Robocop’ statue nears completion in Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — A statue of the robotic cop from the 1987 film “RoboCop” set in Detroit is nearing completion ahead of its debut at a science museum in Michigan. The Detroit News reports that organizers of the Kickstarter campaign website who crowdfunded Robocop for the city posted some photos on Tuesday with an update of the statue with a note that its final form is coming “later this winter” at the Michigan Science Center.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES-DETROIT SCHOOLS

Program to bring mental health resources to Detroit schools

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Public Schools Community District is teaming up with a University of Michigan program aimed at helping students effectively manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. TRAILS, or Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students, will make mental health resources available to 50,000 students and 4,000 staff members throughout the district. The program has trained more than 400 school mental health professionals in 64 counties. District officials in Detroit expect the collaboration with TRAILS will help improve social and academic outcomes across all grade levels.

HALAL METROPOLIS

Exhibition exploring Muslims in Michigan to open in Dearborn

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — An exhibition series that explores the past, present and future of Muslims in southeastern Michigan is preparing to open in Dearborn. Halal Metropolis is set to launch a roughly three-month exhibition Jan. 17 at University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Stamelos Gallery Center with a reception that includes food and a performance by the Maples Elementary School Arabic Music Ensemble. Organizers say the series aims to examine one of the largest and most diverse Muslim populations in the U.S. that still remains “unusually silent” within the region’s larger narrative. During its run, the exhibition plans a gallery talk by its team, and panel discussions on food and fashion.

POULTRY FARM FIRE-HENS KILLED

Barn fire kills 300,000 hens at Michigan poultry farm

OTSEGO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — About 300,000 hens have died in a barn fire at a southwestern Michigan poultry farm. WWMT-TV reports that the blaze started about 11 a.m. Friday at the Otsego Township farm. The barn was destroyed. Konos Inc. spokesman Brian Burch tells the television station that about 50 people work at the cage-free farm. About 250,000 hens in a second barn were unharmed. Fire crews were forced to truck in water to battle the blaze. Burch said the facility is not on city water lines. The cause of the fire was under investigation. Otsego Township is about 160 miles (257 kilometers) west of Detroit.

DETROIT-CRIME

Detroit homicides up in 2019; overall violent crime down

DETROIT (AP) — Police in Detroit say homicides in the city increased last year, while overall violent crime was down. Chief James Craig on Friday released end-of-year statistics that show 273 homicides were committed in 2019, up from 261 the year before which was the lowest number in Detroit in 50 years. Detroit’s 767 nonfatal shootings last year were more than the 755 in 2018. Robberies also were up in 2019: 2,337 to 2,309. But Craig said a 21% decrease in carjackings in 2019 is “probably the most contributing factor” in the city’s 4% drop in violent crime.

TESLA CRASHES

3 crashes, 3 deaths raise questions about Tesla’s Autopilot

DETROIT (AP) — Three crashes involving Teslas last month that killed three people have increased scrutiny of the company’s Autopilot driving system. This comes just months before Tesla CEO Elon Musk has planned to put fully self-driving cars on the streets. Tesla has said repeatedly that its Autopilot system is designed only to assist drivers, who must still pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times. But experts and safety advocates say a string of crashes raises serious questions about whether drivers have become too reliant on Tesla’s technology and whether the company does enough to ensure that drivers keep paying attention. 

KAYAK ACCIDENT-ONE KILLED

Police: Indiana man died in Michigan after kayaking accident

NILES, Mich. (AP) — A man who died after falling from a kayak into a southwestern Michigan river during a New Year’s Day excursion with friends has been identified as an Indiana man. Niles police say 40-year-old Jean Claude Mutabazi of South Bend was pronounced dead Wednesday after being pulled from the St. Joseph River. Police say Mutabazi was kayaking Wednesday morning with three other men, two of whom also fell into the river and were treated for exposure to cold. All four men were wearing personal flotation devices. Police said Mutabazi was still wearing his when he was found trapped under a log.