Whitmer to deem some COVID budget sections unconstitutional
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deem Republican-backed budget provisions unconstitutional attempts to restrict COVID-19 health measures but allow language limiting government vaccination requirements. The moves — planned Wednesday — will come in conjunction with her signing the budget. Whitmer had already promised to block attempts to ban local mask mandates. She’ll also declare unconstitutional attempts to require certain exemptions for students at universities with coronavirus vaccine mandates. Whitmer is OK with limiting state and municipal vaccine mandates because the provision doesn’t apply to hospitals and recognizes President Joe Biden will implement a “soft” mandate for employers with at least 100 workers.
IMPERSONATING OFFICER-MAN CHARGED
Man charged after fake police badge, guns found in vehicle
NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 63-year-old man has been charged with false representation as a peace officer after a fake badge, two handguns and a shotgun were found in a vehicle which was off the road with a flat tire in Washtenaw County. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says Tuesday that George Galbraith also was arraigned Friday in Ann Arbor district court on weapons charges. A conservation officer was patrolling Sept. 21 in Northfield Township, west of Detroit, when he saw a vehicle down an embankment. A man inside the vehicle held up what turned out to be a fake badge and said he worked for an area police department. The officer later found the weapons in the vehicle.
Detroit council member pleads guilty to taking towing bribes
DETROIT (AP) — A member of the Detroit City Council has pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Andre Spivey admits that he and an aide accepted nearly $36,000 in bribes related to oversight of city towing work. Spivey took the money from an undercover agent or an informant. He’s expected to resign from office. Saima Mohsin, the acting U.S. attorney, says Detroit residents deserve a government that’s free of “pay-to-play politics.” Agents recently searched homes and offices connected to two other council members, Scott Benson and Janeé Ayers, and aides. They have not been charged. Mayor Mike Duggan says it’s a “hard day” for Detroit and Spivey’s family.
Judge dismisses charges tied to genital mutilation case
DETROIT (AP) — A judge has dismissed a new batch of charges in the government’s investigation of genital mutilation against girls in a Muslim sect. The judge says prosecutors in Detroit were being vindictive after major courtroom losses. It’s another blow for the government, which broke new ground in 2017 when it charged a Detroit-area doctor with performing genital mutilation at a suburban clinic. The law was later declared unconstitutional by Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman. He said genital mutilation was a matter for states, not Congress. This time the judge dismissed conspiracy and other charges against four people, including two doctors.
City Council passes Detroit River protection ordinance
DETROIT (AP) — Companies operating along Detroit’s riverfront face increased inspections and maintenance rules following a materials spill into the waterway. The Detroit News reports that the Detroit River Protection Ordinance was approved Tuesday by the City Council and goes into effect next July. The city’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department will keep a registry of property owners along the river who also have to submit a seawall report every five years. Operators with bulk storage or use heavy equipment also have to submit geotechnical reports. Federal environmental officials found uranium, lead and several chemicals during testing of an industrial site where in 2019 limestone construction aggregate material spilled into the river.
Nurse gets probation for role in teen’s death at youth home
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A former nurse charged in the death of a teenager who was restrained at a Michigan youth home has been placed on probation for 18 months. Heather McLogan had no direct role in restraining Cornelius Fredericks at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. But she acknowledged that she didn’t intervene. McLogan says she feels “horrible.” McLogan made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded no contest to third-degree child abuse. She had been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Fredericks died two days after he lost consciousness while being restrained by staff at Lakeside. The prosecutor at that time said the 16-year-old was being restrained for throwing a sandwich.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GANG CHART
Man who posted FBI gang chart on social media gets probation
DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area man has been placed on probation after he snapped a photo of a gang chart while cleaning an FBI office and posted it on social media. The government says things could have gone “horribly wrong” if FBI agents had been harmed after the photo was posted on Snapchat. Anthony Cassani was cleaning an FBI office last year to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when he saw a chart of Detroit gang members. Cassani has apologized and says he understands that what he did was not simply theft of government property. Defense attorney Mark Gatesman says the 22-year-old Cassani and other people his age “live their lives online.”
Ex-convict charged with 3 murders pleads no contest in one
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — An ex-convict charged with three murders in two Michigan counties has pleaded no contest in one of the cases. Isaiah “Zeke” Gardenhire was accused of assaulting a girlfriend near Mount Pleasant in June and fatally stabbing her 13-year-old daughter, among other crimes. The Morning Sun reports that the 41-year-old Gardenhire pleaded no contest Monday to second-degree murder and other crimes. On June 7, after a series of weekend crimes in Isabella County, Gardenhire drove to Flint in a stolen car and surrendered to police outside a liquor store. Separately, Gardenhire is charged in Ingham County with killing a couple in April.
Former firefighters union treasurer charged with fraud
DETROIT (AP) — A former treasurer for a Detroit firefighters union has been charged in connection with the embezzlement of more than $220,000 in union funds. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit says 62-year-old Verdine Day was named in a criminal complaint and scheduled to appear in federal court on bank fraud and wire fraud. About $167,900 was fraudulently obtained by checks. More than $52,100 in personal expenses, including airline flights, hotel rooms, cruises and car insurance premiums were charged to union credit cards. Authorities said Day was hired by the fire department in 1986 and worked as a firefighter and engineer. She was elected union treasurer in 2015 and retired from the fire department in 2019.
US Steel: Plant’s orange plume had elevated iron levels
PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — U.S. Steel says a northwest Indiana plant’s discharge of elevated levels of iron were the cause of an orange plume that entered a Lake Michigan tributary, prompting the closure of several nearby beaches and a water treatment facility. The company idled the U.S. Steel Midwest plant in Portage as a precaution after it said the finishing line of its wastewater treatment facility experienced “an upset condition” and discharged the rusty colored plume into the Burns Waterway about 30 miles east of Chicago. The company didn’t indicate what concentrations of iron were detected in the discharge, and it was not immediately clear if the release posed a threat to public health, the environment or wildlife.