Tuesday Morning State News Summary
Mon, 22 Feb 2016 23:25:28 EST
Governor Rick Snyder says his office will release thousands of pages of emails soon relating to the Flint water crisis.
He tells the Detroit News the emails will date back to 2011 and will include messages his staff sent or received related to the city’s water supply.
Snyder wouldn’t say exactly when the emails would be released other than to say it would be relatively soon.
He says state lawyers are poring over the documents now to remove any documents that would normally be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, which the governor’s office isn’t subject to.
Thousands of emails have already been posted online both from the governor’s office and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, however critics have argued there are more emails to share.
The state is calling in a special team of epidemiologists to see if rashes Flint residents have been complaining about stem from the city’s lead contaminated water.
An Assessment of Chemical Exposure, or ACE, team will arrive in Flint this week.
Doctor Nicole Lurie, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says the four member team will look in to the possible causes of the rash and to help people who have a rash figure out what they have and why.
The state has contended for weeks that the lead contaminated water in Flint is okay to bathe in.
(Dimondale-Flint Water Tests)
Water samples from homes in Flint have found lead levels that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level in 19 homes and five homes had levels that exceeded 100 parts per billion.
Water from 175 homes was sampled.
The homes are considered by the state and the feds to be sentinel sites, which are being used for ongoing, scientifically controlled testing. Results from those sites will ultimately help determine when Flint’s tap water is safe to drink again without using a water filter first.
Another round of testing at other sentinel sites will be conducted this week.
Governor Rick Snyder calls the results a start and says few conclusions can be drawn from them.
(Flint-U of M Pipe Study)
A University of Michigan study is helping the city of Flint get a jumpstart on replacing lead pipes across the city.
The report, released Monday, shows there are over 4,000 known lead service pipes in Flint and where they are.
There are also another 4,000 or so suspected lead pipes the city has no record of, bringing the total to over 8,000.
Mayor Karen Weaver says the city will use that information to narrow which homes to target first for pipe replacement.
While some, including the governor, have encouraged her to slow down plans to replace the lead pipes Weaver says until the pipes are swapped out it will be almost impossible for anyone there to sell their home and equally challenging to entice others to move to Flint.
The Board of State Canvassers has given the green light to petition language to recall the governor over the Flint water crisis. The same panel also rejected five other petitions to recall Rick Snyder and one to recall Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.
Organizers now have 180 days to start circulating petitions and 60 days from the day they start to collect the necessary 789,133 signatures needed to recall Snyder.
The group says it will try and raise $2 million to fund its efforts and plans to start collecting signatures once the weather warms up.
(MI-Cities Worry About Unrest)
A survey of local government leaders around the state believe they have overall good relations with their communities, but those in larger cities are still worried about the potential of unrest connected to police use-of-force.
A University of Michigan survey of local government leaders in the state shows 64 percent of them, whose cities have more than 30,000 residents, are somewhat or very concerned about the potential for civil unrest.
Only 10 percent are not at all concerned.
When all cities are included in the survey, 57 percent of local leaders are not at all concerned.
Police-community relations have been on their minds since August 2014 when a white police officer in Ferguson shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.
The incident was followed by civil unrest. A similar incident occurred in Baltimore last year.
The man police say went on a shooting spree in Kalamazoo over the weekend has been charged with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight counts of felony firearm use.
Brian Dalton was arraigned Monday afternoon in Kalamazoo County court.
Police say he admitted to the killings after they arrested him early Sunday morning. Dalton is being held without bond.
He appeared on a video monitor for his arraignment and sat, emotionless, as the charges were read against him.
He is due back in court on March 3rd and will have a preliminary exam on March 10th.
What could have set off a Kalamazoo area man to the point where he would randomly shoot and kill six people and injure two others in three random shootings on Saturday night is among the questions being asked by police, friends, neighbors, and others.
Friends of Brian Dalton say the man had been upset in the past year about people living in the apartment buildings to his north cooking methamphetamine, and he was upset that the quality of his rural neighborhood in Cooper Township was on the decline.
Gary Pardo Jr., whose father lives across the street from the suspect, says Dalton "was pretty normal." He adds that the suspect worked as an insurance adjuster, and is the third member of the Comstock High School class of 1989 to be charged with murder since 2013.
(WSJM, St. Joseph)
(Casino Ripoff Charges Filed)
Felony charges have been filed against a former dealer at the Motor City Casino and six others, in connection with an alleged effort to rip off the casino.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the scheme to steal money involved hundreds of dollars of individual player payouts on lost bets during games of Texas Hold 'em.
This follows an investigation by the Michigan State Police, after they were asked by the casino to investigation possible dealer-player collusion.
Charged is 53-year old Darryl Green, who was a dealer at the Motor City Casino in 2014 when the alleged acts took place. Charged along with Green were 32 year old Eugene Davis Jr., 65 year old Early Leonard Railey, and 47 year old Calvin Lawrence Pullom, all of Detroit.
Also charged were 49 year old Roxanna Dee McKinney of Farmington Hills and 42 year old Leah Katrelle Smith of Melvinddale and 57 year old Hayword Milton Stampley of West Bloomfield.
All are facing multiple felony charges.
Average retail gasoline prices in Michigan have risen 16 cents per gallon in the past week. The statewide average was $1.71 Sunday, according to both GasBuddy.com and Triple-A.
This compares with the national average that has increased 1.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $1.71 per gallon.
Michigan prices are 60 cents per gallon lower than they were this time last year, and nine cents per gallon higher than a month ago.
Triple-A says of the 10 Michigan metro areas surveyed, the lowest average price can be found in the Marquette area where it’s about $1.66 per gallon. The highest average price can be found in the Traverse City area where it’s about $1.76 a gallon.