Friday Afternoon State News Summary
Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:41:22 EDT
The death of an Eastern Michigan University football player whose body was found off-campus this morning (Friday) is being treated as a homicide.
Ypsilanti police Detective Sgt. Thomas Eberts says Demarius (duh-MAIR-ee-US) Reed’s body was discovered by his roommate in a hallway at the University Green apartments at 7:15 a.m. He said investigators believe the cause of death to be a gunshot wound.
According to the Detroit News, Reed, a junior, was a wide receiver for the EMU Eagles. This season, he had 15 receptions for 185 yards and one touchdown.
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to call the Ypsilanti Police Department at 734-483-9510.
(WWJ, Detroit)

(MI-Civil Rights Director)
Matt Wesaw will become the first Native American to lead the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission selected Wesaw as Executive Director at their October 7 meeting in Lansing, filling the vacancy left by the retirement of previous Executive Director Daniel Krichbaum in July.
Wesaw is currently Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and President and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority.
Wesaw spent 26 years as a Michigan State Police trooper rising to the rank of Detective Sergeant in the Organized Crime and Auto Theft Units. In 1995, he became Vice President of the Michigan State Police Troopers Association, serving in that role until January of 2001, and as the Director of Government Relations for organization until his retirement in March of 2008.
Wesaw will begin his tenure as Executive Director of the Department of Civil Rights on October 28.

(MI-Tobacco Quitline)
The Michigan Tobacco Quitline is now 10 years old.
The Department of Community Health says as of August, the Quitline surpassed 50,000 enrollees since its inception in 2003.
Officials say the Tobacco Quitline has grown from a regional pilot project offering telephone coaching to residents of the Upper Peninsula, to a comprehensive tobacco coaching program offering a wide menu of services to all Michigan residents.
Currently, the Quitline offers telephone coaching, web coaching, text messaging, email messaging, referral to local quit smoking programs, and online registration. Coaching is offered live in English and Spanish, and translation services are offered for other languages.
Health officials say while Michigan has made great strides in reducing tobacco use, there is still work to be done. In 2012, an estimated 23.3 percent of Michigan adults reported that they currently smoke cigarettes on a regular basis, a figure that is higher than the U.S. median prevalence of 19.6 percent.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for more than 440,000 deaths, or one of every five deaths, in the country each year.

(MI-Flags Lowered)
Governor Rick Snyder today (Friday) ordered U.S. flags on all state buildings and within the state Capitol Complex to be lowered to half-staff in honor of a northern Michigan fire chief who died earlier this week.
Fire Chief John Allison of Custer in Mason County passed away Monday from complications of injuries suffered in the line of duty on October 7.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Ludington. Visitation will be from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. at the church.
Allison also served as assistant chief of the Mason County Rural Fire Authority Chief’s Association. He was a lifelong farmer, working with his father and family, and a member of the Scottville United Methodist Church.
Flags should be returned to full-staff after Allison’s funeral service.

(MI-Snyder Friend)
A close friend of Governor Rick Snyder is now on the state payroll.
Richard Baird was being paid by the non profit New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify fund, commonly called the NERD fund. Snyder has been under pressure to release the names of those who contribute to the fund and were ultimately paying Baird.
The Detroit News reports Baird will continue to hold the title of Transformation Manager and receive an annual salary of 140-thousand dollars a year.
A spokesperson for the governor says the change was made to "end some of the unnecessary distractions" of Baird's employment status in the Snyder administration.
(24/7 News Source)

(Bay Co-Duck Hunters Rescued)
The U.S. Coast Guard had to rescue four duck hunters this morning (Friday) after their canoe sank on one of Consumers Energy's ponds in the Saginaw Bay area.
Coast Guard crews began searching by air and by water before 8 a.m. after Bay County 911 said they received a call from one of the duck hunters stating that they were in need of assistance.
All four men were picked up by a rescue boat about an hour later and taken to an area Coast Guard station where they were treated for mild hypothermia.
The Coast Guard says none of the hunters were wearing flotation devices when they were found although they had three life jackets on board when their canoe began taking on water.

(USSUPCO-Vanderbilt Casino Fight)
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in early December on the state's lawsuit challenging the Bay Mills Indian Community's casino in Northern Michigan.
Attorney General Bill Schuette says the case raises important questions about the relationship between state and tribal sovereignty.
The state's lawsuit challenges the operation of an 84 slot machine casino in Vanderbilt, north of Gaylord, arguing that Bay Mills violated the tribal-state compact and that the tribe violated state law by opening the casino without proper approvals.
Schuette argues the site is more than 100 miles from the tribe's reservation in the Upper Peninsula and the tribe broke federal law by opening the casino outside the reservation.
A federal judge ordered the casino to close in 2011 but a Court of Appeals reversed the decision, declaring that the district court did not have jurisdiction under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and that the tribe had sovereign immunity.

(Royal Oak-Crime Ring)
Police in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak are investigating a number of thefts in the city that they say are linked to an organized crime ring.
Investigators believe The "Felony Lane Gang" steals women's purses, gets their personal information from their wallets and perpetrates identity thefts.
Three purses were stolen Saturday in Royal Oak while investigators say several other areas in Metro Detroit have been hit as well. The stolen information has been linked to identity crimes in Michigan and Ohio.
Three suspects were recently arrested in Ohio and are facing charges.
(24/7 News Source)

(Detroit-Dog Show Cancelled)
The show will not go on as usual for the Detroit Kennel Club next spring.
Officials announced the annual dog show set for Cobo Center in March has been canceled because of a lack of sponsorships. Pet food maker Purina withdrew three years ago.
Officials said the show costs more than $100,000 annually, with the main sponsor covering a majority of the expenses.
The event, which has been held since 1916, has drawn 2,000 to 3,000 dogs and 25,000 spectators.
Show chairman Richard Ford said the club will continue to look for new sponsors and he hopes to hold a show in 2015.
(24/7 News Source)

(Grand Rapids-Ford Museum Open)
With the partial shutdown of the federal government over, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids is back in business.
Public affairs specialist Kristin Mooney says the museum is expecting a "normal" weekend in terms of the number of patrons. A typical weekend for the museum is between 100 and 200 visitors a day.
The doors of the museum and President Ford's presidential library in Ann Arbor had been closed for more than two weeks before reopening Thursday.
(24/7 News Source)

(Livingston Co-Schoolhouse Demolition)
An historic one-room schoolhouse near Howell will be torn down after being gutted by an arson fire earlier this year but a new version could someday rise again.
The blaze on January 25th destroyed the Fleming School in Howell Township. The school was originally a log building erected in 1850.
The schoolhouse was closed in 1957. In 1993 it was restored and served as an educational site for students in Howell Public Schools. It was placed on Michigan's Historic Sites list in 1994.
Howell Public Schools Superintendent Ron Wilson told the Livingston Daily Press & Argus that the district remains interested in building a replica of the schoolhouse near Howell High School.
Meantime, fire officials continue to investigate the blaze as suspicious and are looking for suspects. A reward of five-thousand dollars is being offered for tips that could lead to an arrest.

(Grand Rapids-Blue Bridge Glows)
The pedestrian bridge connecting downtown Grand Rapids to the Grand Valley State University campus, known as the Blue Bridge for its distinctive color, now glows in the dark.
The entire bridge has been strung with LED lights which show mostly blue at night but have the ability to change colors to reflect special events and special occasions.
The old railroad bridge that crosses the Grand River got a one-point-three-million dollar makeover early this year.
(WOOD, Grand Rapids)

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