Wednesday State News Summary
Wed, 10 Apr 2013 13:51:30 EDT
A coalition of insurance and health organizations locked arms at the state capitol on Wednesday, and called on the legislature and the governor to repeal Michigan's new law that allows adult motorcyclists to ride without a helmet.
They say the new law, which is now one year old, is costing the state lives, and they cite a study saying there's 26 cases where a biker in Michigan who died, would have lived if they were using a helmet.
Heather Drake of Triple-A Michigan says the data over the last year tells them that (quote) "the experiment is over in Michigan. Helmet's save lives," adding that its time to repeal the new law.
But many motorcyclists, including Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, say it should the choice of an adult to wear a helmet or not wear a helmet.
The Michigan Legislature is moving quickly on a two-bill package that puts new regulations on amateur mixed martial arts events.
It comes just days after an MMA fighter died following a bout in Port Huron. Reports say an autopsy after the bout was inconclusive.
The legislation, which was approved by the Michigan House this afternoon (Wed) and sent to the Senate, requires promoters to be licensed and contestants to register, and also creates regulations on how the fights should take place.
It also sets a minimum age of 18 for contestants and spectators. Fees for participation and penalties for violators are also included in the bills.
MMA events have experienced a large increase in spectator interest in recent years, and is considered one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
(Ypsilanti-EMU Student's Death)
Authorities are releasing more details surrounding the death of a 23-year-old Eastern Michigan University student.
According to police, Julia Niswender (NAHYS-wen-der) was found dead in the bathtub of her Ypsilanti apartment in an unnatural position in December. Her cause of death has been ruled asphyxiation by drowning and police believe she was murdered.
Investigators say they have no suspects.
Earlier this week a private investigation firm owned by a friend of the victim's family offered a ten-thousand dollar reward for information leading to an arrest in connection with the case.
(24/7 News Source)
(Kalamazoo Co-Cold Case Murder Suspect)
Michigan State Police say a two-count felony warrant has been issued for a Kalamazoo man suspected of murdering a woman nearly 20 years ago.
43-year old Grady Shields Jr. is accused of killing 59-year old Lois Cox of Kalamazoo who disappeared October 20, 1993. Her bullet-riddled body was found inside her car less than a week later in Three Rivers.
The warrant for Shields stemmed from a cold-case investigation pursued jointly by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and Three Rivers Police starting in 2012.
Shields is currently jailed on an unrelated charge and will face arraignment on felony murder and open murder charges April 24 in Kalamazoo County.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is asking that anyone with further information on the case contact them either directly or through Silent Observer.
(Help from: WLKM, Three Rivers)
(Gogebic Co-Murder Trial)
The trial is underway for a 50-year-old Western Upper Peninsula man accused of murdering his elderly wife.
Kenneth Peters of Bessemer is charged in Gogebic County Circuit Court with first and second degree murder and vulnerable abuse of an adult.
79-year-old Ethel Grzeena-Peters was reported missing on August 3rd of last year. Her body was found about ten days later in Watersmeet Township.
If he is convicted, Kenneth Peters could spend the rest of his life in prison.
A 61-year-old woman is dead and several other people are homeless after a fire at a Southfield apartment complex.
Officials said the fire started around 9 p.m. Tuesday in a first floor unit at the Chateau Rivera Apartments.
With a fire station just around the corner from the complex, firefighters were able to make quick work to contain the fire to just one unit. Neighboring residents, however, had to be evacuated as a result.
Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters found the body of Linda Ferguson. No one else was hurt.
The fire is believed to have been started by cooking as an investigation continues.
(Ron Dewey, WWJ, Detroit)
(Lansing-Police Chief To Retire)
Lansing is in the market for a new police chief.
The city's top cop Teresa Szymanski has announced that will be retiring effective April 20th.
Szymanski has served with the Lansing Police Department for 26 years. She joined the department in 1987 as a uniform patrol officer and worked her way up the ranks. In 2005 Szymanski was named captain in charge of the department’s South Precinct and was named interim police chief in March 2010.
Szymanski was promoted to chief in February 2011.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is expected to name an interim chief in the coming days.
(Detroit-Medical Building Fire-UPDATE)
Investigators in Detroit say a woman was shot several times Tuesday by her ex-boyfriend before he set her workplace on fire and turned the gun on himself.
Police confirmed 35-year-old Sharita (shuh-REE-tuh) Williams was shot multiple times inside a medical facility on the city's west side. The suspect, 56-year-old Myron Williams, was fired from his job at the Park Medical Plaza last week.
The fire completely destroyed the complex.
(24/7 News Source)
(Lansing-Oil Spill Cleanup)
The Lansing Board of Water and Light says most of the oil that spilled into the Grand River last week has been cleaned up.
An equipment malfunction at the city-owned utility's Eckert Power Plant on Easter Sunday night caused turbine oil to spill into the river near downtown Lansing.
Officials estimated that fewer than 300 gallons of oil escaped into the river.
Two of three oil booms placed in the river to soak up the oil have been removed and BWL officials expect the the third to be removed Thursday.
(Auburn Hills-Chrysler Recall)
Chrysler is recalling more than 200-thousand vehicles.
The Auburn Hills automaker reports potential airbag problems in about 120-thousand Chrysler 300's and Dodge Challenger and Charger sedans from the 2011 and 2012 model years.
Roughly 61-thousand 2008-model year Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty SUV's reportedly could have drive shaft problems causing the vehicle to suddenly lose power.
A potential fuel tank problem that could cause a vehicle to stall prompted Chrysler to recall over 20-thousand 2012 Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs.
Sixty-five-hundred 2013 Dodge Ram pickups are also being recalled because a cable in the parking brake system was improperly set so the brake may not hold.
(24/7 News Source)
(Port Huron-Martial Arts Death)
Port Huron police say the cause of death is still pending, after a man died last weekend, following a mixed martial arts fight.
35-year old Nigerian native Felix Nchikwo (en-CHICK-wo) was living in Canada on a student visa. Police have notified his family.
Investigators say moments after his match at the American Legion Hall in Port Huron on Saturday he collapsed and was pronounced dead a few minutes alter.
Officials say, further tests are needed for an exact cause of death and the St. Clair County Medical Examiner's office should be able to determine the cause within the next eight weeks.
(Help from: WPHM, Port Huron)
(St. Joseph Co-Former Deputy Sentenced)
A former sheriff's deputy in Southwest Michigan who authorities say stole a prescription pain reliever from a jail while on duty has been sentenced to a year of probation.
39-year old Stephen Morris of Kalamazoo County was sentenced in Van Buren County Circuit Court on Monday. Morris admitted to stealing the pain reliever Tramadol.
The St. Joseph County Sheriff's deputy was initially charged with felony larceny counts after the theft. He resigned after his arrest.
The state attorney general's office requested neighboring Cass County prosecutors handle the case.
(Jason Scott, WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)
(Midland Co-Attempted Abduction-UPDATE)
Police have arrested a man wanted in the attempted abduction of a Midland County woman last night (Tuesday).
The Midland County Sheriff’s Department says Woodie Lewis, who also goes by the first name of "Adrian," was in custody early this (Wednesday) afternoon.
Deputies say a Lee Township woman reported her estranged, ex-finance broke into her home about 10:30-P-M, tied her up with duct tape and refused to let her leave her home. She was able to escape the house about midnight.
The victim drove to a friend's house seeking help and later went to the Mid Michigan Medical Center for treatment of injuries.
Authorities say while Lee is from the Clinton Township area in suburban Detroit, he has lived in the Mount Pleasant area.
(Help from: Bill Hewitt, WSGW, Saginaw)