Thursday Afternoon State News Summary
Thu, 04 Oct 2012 12:04:18 EDT
(Detroit-Citizenship Checkbox Hearing)
A federal judge in Detroit will hear arguments tomorrow (Friday) at 10 a.m. on a
voting coalitions request to strike down Secretary of State Ruth Johnsons
controversial U.S. citizenship checkbox as unconstitutional and a violation of
federal and state law.
Johnson has been ordered to appear at the hearing.
The lawsuit contends that the erratic and inconsistent implementation of the
checkbox violates the Fourteenth Amendments equal protection clause, which
requires voting rules and regulations to apply uniformly across the state.
It was filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan,
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Latin Americans for Social and
Economic Development, Ingham County clerk Michael Bryanton, and registered
voters from several communities.
Bryanton claims the check-off box "is a solution in search of a problem" and
Johnson's directive is a barrier to minority voters.
Bureau of Elections Director Chris Thomas says the citizenship box was created
around 2002 to assist voters in properly filling out the new optical scan
ballots and at a statewide conference earlier this summer told clerks that they
should use the form this November.
(Grand Rapids-GVSU Advisor Death Suspects)
Two men have been arraigned in Kent County in the stabbing death of a Grand
Valley State University advisor last month.
24-year-old Timothy Miller and Maceo Scott, both of Grand Rapids, are charged
with first-degree felony murder and armed robbery.
50-year-old Santiago Zapata Jr. was found dead in the basement of his Grand
Rapids home on September 25. A medical examiner determined Zapata died of stab
wounds suffered four days before he was found.
Police say it's believed Zapata knew his killers.
(Help from: Metro Source)
(Allegan Co-Escapees in Indiana)
The stolen car believed to be used by two escaped inmates from a northern
Michigan prison facility has been discovered in Kokomo, Indiana.
The Allegan County Sheriff's Department says the vehicle was found this morning
(Thursday), and police in Indiana are now assisting in the search for
23-year-old Gregory Bradshaw and 32-year-old Kenneth Grauman the Second.
The two men escaped from the Lake County Residential Re-entry Program in the
Baldwin area last Saturday. Investigators think they are now being accompanied
by their girlfriends.
The pair are considered armed and dangerous.
A reward of up to $1,500 for information leading to the apprehension of Grauman
and Bradshaw is offered by federal authorities. Anyone with information is asked
to contact Allegan County authorities.
As Ford Motor Company launches its first hybrid only vehicle, it also launches a
series of commercials that make direct comparison to the most popular hybrid of
all, Toyotas Prius.
Ford Marketing Communications Manager Matt Van Dyke says they want to let
people who are considering a hybrid know that there is a new choice out there.
The Dearborn based automaker says the C-MAX gets better fuel economy and higher
horsepower, but does lack the Prius' name recognition. The C-MAX has a fuel
economy of 47 miles per gallon, and a starting price of $25,000.
The C-MAX, which is now arriving in dealerships, replaces the hybrid version of
the Escape. Ford sold about a thousand C-MAX hybrids last month.
Its built at Fords Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.
(Jeff Gilbert, WWJ, Detroit/Metro Source)
Honda has announced the recall of more than 820,000 Civic compact cars and Pilot
SUVs due to possible headlight failure.
The recall affects Civics from the 2002 and 2003 and Pilots from 2004 and 2005.
The company says the recall is due to connecting switches that can overheat and
melt. No crashes or injuries have been reported from the problem.
Honda says it will fix the wiring for free. The company has already begun
sending out notices to owners.
(Report: MI Energy Efficiency)
Michigan made "significant progress" in the efficient use of energy, according
to a new report from an energy efficiency advocacy group.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy revealed the finding in its
sixth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
The report says states continue to move strongly in 2012 to advance energy
efficiency initiatives regardless of which political party is in control of
state legislatures and governors offices.
The ACEEE State Scorecard shows that the top 10 energy efficiency states are
Massachusetts (in its second year atop the rankings), California, New York,
Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota.
But it also notes that Michigan, along with Arizona, North Carolina, and
Pennsylvania, all accomplished "significant progress."
The 10 states most in need of improvement (starting with last) are Mississippi,
North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Missouri,
Louisiana, and Nebraska.
The three most improved states are Oklahoma, Montana, and South Carolina, as all
three states significantly increased their budgets for electric efficiency
programs in 2011.
(Clinton Co-Mom Sentenced)
A Lansing-area woman has been sentenced to one-year in jail and five-years
probation in connection with the death of her 10-year-old daughter last fall
from diabetes-related problems.
47-year old Kathleen Parker of St. Johns pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor
fourth-degree child abuse charge in August. She was originally charged with a
felony of second-degree child abuse.
A Clinton County District Court judge on Wednesday ordered Parks to serve 30
days of her sentence now and the rest would be waived unless she violates her
probation. She also will serve 500 hours of community service.
The body of Vienna Parker was discovered in their apartment on September 22,
2011 by child welfare workers who were checking to see why she had not been in
Authorities believe the girl may have been dead for several weeks.
Kathleen Parker was found next to her daughter's body with multiple cuts and a
stab wound to her abdomen that police say were self-inflicted.
During a welfare check on Vienna a few weeks before, Parker told authorities
that her daughter was ill and suffered from diabetes.
Attorney General Bill Schuette says a Westland man has been sentenced to to 23
to 40 years in prison for running an extensive foreclosure-rescue fraud
operation that may have scammed up to 400 victims.
Forty-six year old Rickey White and his company, Braunstein & Associates,
pleaded guilty to three felonies for collecting upfront fees and impersonating a
mortgage modification company.
The criminal charges were filed as the result of an investigation by Attorney
General Schuettes Corporate Oversight Division after receiving complaints
against the company through his Consumer Protection Division.
The investigation revealed that from December 2009 through May 2011 White
operated two companies that were marketed as mortgage modification businesses:
Braunstein & Associates in Oakland County and Expert Financial in Wayne County.
The Attorney General says White offered prospective clients mortgage loan
modifications for a fee, with a full money-back guarantee. White told victims
his companies employed expert attorneys who would review their lender files to
pre-qualify the homeowner for a mortgage loan modification. And White assured
clients his attorneys would file the modification proposals with the homeowners
lender on their behalf, according to Schuette.
The Attorney Generals investigation revealed that White had no attorneys on
staff, and that modification proposals were either incomplete or never actually
submitted to the banks. White closed Expert Financial after learning of
Schuettes investigation and continued his scam under Braunstein & Associates.
White and his company, Braunstein & Associates, each pleaded guilty as charged
on July 26 of this year.
A Roseville woman is in serious condition after she was run over by carjackers
who had her two children in the vehicle.
Police say the 31-year-old mother was about to drive her children, ages 7 and 8,
to school Thursday around 8:45 a.m. The kids were loaded in the car when the
woman ran back into her home on Collingwood Street to grab an item she forgot.
As the woman exited her home, she observed two younger-looking black male
suspects entering the front seating area of her Jeep Grand Cherokee, which had
been parked and left running in homes driveway, according to police.
The woman ran to her vehicle screaming in an attempt to stop the thieves from
driving off with her children. Police say the two suspects fled from the
driveway at a high rate of speed and in doing so, first struck the victim with
the vehicle and then ran over her legs in their haste to escape.
The suspects fled from the scene to Marquette Street, were they lost control of
the stolen vehicle and struck a telephone pole. The two suspects fled the
vehicle and witnesses state they were immediately picked up by a dark-colored
minivan or a small SUV driven by another unknown black male suspect. This
vehicle then fled the area and all attempts to locate in the immediate vicinity
The victim was transported to an area hospital with head and leg injuries and is
currently listed in temporary serious condition. The two children were unhurt
in the crash and are now in the care of family members.
The Detroit nightclub that featured a then largely unknown Barbra Streisand
just before her first national TV appearance, is closing.
The Caucus Club, one of downtown Detroit's oldest restaurants, is calling it
quits after 60 years.
The Detroit Free Press reports that rising costs imposed by the new
Toronto-based owners of the Penobscot Building have effectively forced her to
lock the doors.
Streisand was performing at the club in 1961 when she flew to New York to appear
on the Tonight Show, her first national television appearance.
The club opened in 1952, and was bought by Belloni out of bankruptcy in 1993
after working there as a waitress, according to the Free Press.
Famed TV chef Bobby Flay also once did a segment from the restaurant.
The club will close for good later this month.
The Marvelettes, an all-girl singing group which formed at Inkster High School
near Detroit and became a featured act in the Motown Records stable in the early
1960s, are among the group of nominees for the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Marvelettes consisted of schoolmates Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson,
Georgeanna Tillman and Georgia Dobbins, later replaced by Wanda Young.
Their best known hit was "Please Mr. Postman," one of the first number-one
records ever by an all-female vocal group, and the first by a Motown act.
Rush, Deep Purple, Public Enemy and N.W.A. are among the group of first-time
nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Other returning nominees include Joan Jett, Randy Newman and Donna Summer, among
The top vote-getters will be inducted on April 18 at the Nokia Theater L.A. in
(Eastpointe-Cops Sell Seized Items)
An Eastpointe police sergeant has turned in his badge and a second officer
remains under investigation for trying to sell merchandise that was seized
during drug raids.
The pair is being investigated for misconduct in office after accusations
emerged that they sold off seized items that included a Rolex watch, jewelry,
televisions and tire rims. The items were believed to be traded or sold in
exchange for cocaine and heroine.
The story came to light after some of the seized items were found listed for
sale on Craigslist.
Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane told WDIV-TV that the officers had blurred
the lines of responsibility as they worked in an undercover capacity to gain the
trust of targeted drug dealers. He said the officers had to build those
relationships in order to further their investigations.
Both officers involved worked in the drug enforcement unit and will likely face
charges. Police say evidence in the case was recently handed over to the Macomb
County Prosecutors Office.
(Ron Dewey, WWJ, Detroit)
(Benton Harbor-KitchenAid Response)
Benton Harbor-based KitchenAid is in full-out damage control after someone
posted an insensitive remark about President Obama's late grandmother on the
appliance brand's Twitter feed last night (Wednesday).
The Whirlpool subsidiary has issued multiple apologies and spokeswoman Cynthia
Soledad even sent a public and personal apology to Obama.
The offending tweet read quote, "Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! 'She
died 3 days b4 he became president." It was quickly deleted, but not before
thousands of followers saw it and some took screenshots.
The tweet was posted during the presidential debate between Mitt Romney and
President Obama. Soledad posted that the person responsible for sending it out
will no longer be responsible for tweeting on the company's behalf.
(Michael Arney, WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)