Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced today that AAA Michigan will donate $23,500 to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation to pay for the inspection of 20 aerial ladders and 4,600 feet of ground ladders used by the Detroit Fire Department (DFD). The gift is the latest in a recent series of recent corporate donations in support of the City of Detroit’s public safety operations.
“Once again, one of Detroit’s corporate citizens has come forward and generously shown its support for our public safety operations, our first responders and our citizens,” Mayor Bing said. “The proper inspection of our fire department’s aerial ladders and ground ladders was a critical need that AAA Michigan has graciously met. I appreciate the leadership and continued concern for public safety that AAA has demonstrated with this gift.”
"Our history of supporting the community dates back nearly a century," said AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner. "We are very pleased to present the Detroit Fire Department with this grant, which we know will help save lives."
The ladder inspections are required to keep DFD equipment in compliance with standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an independent organization that establishes fire safety codes and regulations for various industries and the firefighting profession. Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin ordered last February that until a full inspection of the entire ladder fleet is completed, DFD will not engage in manned aerial ladder operations -- unless there is an immediate threat to life. In cases where a manned ladder must be used, every effort will be made to properly support the ladder. DFD continues to use unmanned aerial ladders as “water towers” to fight large fires.
“We are grateful for AAA’s generous donation,” Commissioner Austin said. “Aerial ladders can place firefighters 100 feet above ground, often with large amounts of water flowing under high pressure. Because of the tremendous stress placed on ladders, regular testing is needed to find the smallest stress fractures and metal fatigue. Completing the testing of our aerial and ground ladders will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of Detroit’s citizens and firefighters.”
AAA Michigan, with 1.5 million members, is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services to approximately 8.8 million members. AAA Michigan partners with civic and community groups and traffic safety organizations to improve neighborhoods and promote traffic safety through such programs as the AAA School Safety Patrol.
The Detroit Public Safety Foundation was formed in 2011 to support the Detroit Police and Fire departments. Mayor Bing’s Active and Safe Campaign, launched last fall, has a similar mission of supporting Detroit’s public safety and recreational programs. In March, the corporate community pledged $8 million to the public safety component of the Active and Safe Campaign. The money is being used to acquire 23 new ambulances for the Detroit Fire Department’s EMS unit and 100 new patrol cars for the Detroit Police Department. To date, a total of $22 million has been raised toward the $60 million goal of the three-year campaign.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 23:57
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Bankole Thompson
The current state of Detroit’s electricity grid is not only unreliable but a burden to the city and its residents and the maintenance of the public lighting system has cause the city to continue to operate at a loss, according to a new report emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr will release Monday to the public.
The report is coming 45 days after Gov. Rick Snyder named Orr, a Washington DC bankruptcy attorney emergency manager setting in motion the emergency wheels to get the city on the road to financial stability.
According to the report the city estimates a $250 million to $500 million in capital improvements that would be needed to modernize Detroit’s public lighting system, funds that the city does not have and cannot generate at this time.
“The Emergency Manager believes that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Detroit for the city to exit the power supply business. As of 2010, when the city ceased generating a portion of the electricity it sold, the grid has solely operated as a resale mechanism for its 200-‐plus customers. The current state of the City's electricity grid has been characterized as unreliable, as well as a liability to the city and its citizens,” the report stated. “. Accordingly, the Emergency Manager seeks both to limit the city's exposure to the liabilities associated with an aging grid and provide a solution to ensure reliable power to the City of Detroit. For this reason, the city's electricity customers will be transitioned to a third party, and the grid will be closed down pursuant to a phased plan.”
The Detroit Public Lighting (DPL) department serves over 200 commercial electric customers and about 88,00 streetlights. The report cites the recently created Public Lighting Authority (PLA) as part of a comprehensive plan to overhaul the city’s electricity infrastructure because the authority will have the ability to issue debt.
“Proceeds from the debt issuance will be used to overhaul the current street lighting infrastructure. During early 2013, major legislation was to enable execution of the City's plan. In particular, Senate Bill 970 and House Bill 5705 provided a funding mechanism for the PLA, and House Bill 5688 authorized Detroit to establish the PLA. The PLA's articles of incorporation were adopted in February 2013,” the report stated. “In the short-‐term, the city plans to address long-‐standing lighting outage complaints by working with a third party to replace bulbs and fix wiring related issues to address citizen concerns and improve public safety.”
The long-term goal for the PLA according to the report is to reconfigure the street lighting footprint and pare down the current number of streetlights from approximately 88,000 to 46,000 because “the new lighting footprint will cater to Detroit's current population.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 01:38
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Bankole Thompson
The criticism that the use of consultants getting paid over a million dollars per month to help craft a financial recovery map for Detroit is baseless according to emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr.
Since December of last year, Detroit agreed to pay $14 million to nine different companies to provide financial and legal services in the city’s turnaround.
In an exclusive interview with the Michigan Chronicle’s Bankole Thompson ahead of his Monday announcement of a financial operating plan, Orr vigorously defended the city's consultants saying it is disingenuous for some to be questioning use of consultants some of whom were here before his arrival.
“I think part of it is Detroit’s been sort of removed from the world. First of all the amount of money that’s paid is actually small relative to other major cities. We shouldn’t be so provincial about the dollars,” Orr said. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a situation where the amount of debt given ordinary course- the way the city has been running- somebody’s got to come in here with a fresh perspective and say we can’t continue running in place, doing what we are doing that’s taken us to the edge of ruin.”
Orr said if the city were to shut down today and no police or fire services in operation as well as the water department, the city could not pay of its debt in half a generation. He said the magnitude of work that has to b done in a city that has over 15 billion dollars of debt against a revenue stream of a billion dollars or less requires new fresh eyes.
“Frankly in my opinion to have the consultants most of whom were here before I got here and to hear any criticism about consultants that have been here longer than a year helping the city is misplaced,” Orr said. “I come from a different world, a world of the private sector where consultants are highly sought after and highly valued. I think the city is getting excellent value for their money. So I’m not for one minute going to broker any discussion with the criticism of these consultants. The city needs them. Clearly we haven’t been doing them the right way. We need somebody us to get there.”
Since Orr took over the reigns of government in Detroit after Gov. Rick Snyder named him emergency manager, many have been waiting to see what “bold” steps would be taken to get the city on a path to financial recovery.
Even though his presence is still being protested by some who disagreed that Detroit does not need an emergency manager, a sentiment that rings true with some of the city’s civil rights activists, Orr in the interview said the numbers about the city’s situation cannot be debated.
The city is in the process of naming a new police chief and Cincinnati’s police boss James Craig, a former Detroit police officer has been widely reported to be the lead candidate to oversee 1300 Beaubien.
Orr has been criticized for stepping out of bounds in seeking a new chief by some who say he needs to remain focus on the city’s financial turnaround alone.
The emergency manager disagreed.
“I think that’s a little shortsighted. Over half of our budget is law enforcement,” Orr explains. “Section Nine of Public Act 436 states both the legislature and the mayor shall stand down. They have no authority under that statue. One of the first things I did was to give them authority. Everybody was focused on they are having a salary. That’s a minor part. The real part is ‘they shall stand down and shall not attempt to exercise any power.’ That’s well within (my obligation). At the end of the day six and a half months from now whatever we have that is going to be my responsibility and it’s going to be on my plate.”
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2013 22:43
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
After thirty-three years of being a staple in Detroit media with WXYZ-TV, award-winning reporter Bill Proctor announced his retirement, effective May 10th. Proctor joined WXYZ-TV in May of 1980 as general assignment writer.
Throughout his career, Proctor has received numerous accolades, including the 1999 Best Coverage Award for breaking news by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Proctor is also the winner of the 1983 "Outstanding Media Award" from Michigan's Crime Prevention Association. A former police officer for the Federal Protective Service in Washington, D.C., Proctor highlighted two or three unsolved crimes during each program, which aired twice a week.
Expounding upon his passion for criminal justice, Proctor founded “Proving Innocence” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing investigators to innocent convicts in cases of wrongful convictions in the hopes of proving their innocence and getting the charge overturned. He plans to continue his work with this organization upon his retirement.
Follow Amber L. Bogins @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 16:33
Category: Breaking News Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
DETROIT — A Detroit Department of Transportation bus crashed into a Ford Taurus that ran a stop sign at Evergree south north of Joy in Detroit Wednesday morning injuring several passengers,
No one was seriously injured, said Detroit Police Officer Rickey Townsel. Evergreen Avenue near the crash site south of Joy Road remains closed.
the DDOT bus ended up on the front lawn of a nearby home.
It appears to have struck a tree when veering off the road.
No further details have been released at this time.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:19
Category: Breaking News Written by Bill Mears and Chris Cuomo, CNN
(CNN) -- The Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and other officials has been released from federal custody, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said Tuesday.
Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator from Corinth, Mississippi, was charged with sending a threat to the president last week after letters containing the poison triggered security scares around Washington.
But a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled to continue on Tuesday was canceled and Curtis was released.
There is a bond attached to his release, but the conditions of the bond are under seal at this point, said Curtis' attorney, Christi McCoy. She said her client has been framed by someone who used several phrases Curtis likes to use on social media.
"I do believe that someone who was familiar and is familiar with Kevin just simply took his personal information and did this to him," McCoy told CNN. "It is absolutely horrific that someone would do this." <
Curtis was accused of sending letters containing "a suspicious granular substance" to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi; and Sadie Holland, a Justice Court judge in Lee County, Mississippi. The FBI said the substance tested positive for ricin, a toxin derived from castor beans that has no known antidote.
The FBI said no illnesses had been found as a result of exposure to the toxin.
McCoy called Curtis an activist who is passionate about organ and tissue donation. Her client wants to right some wrongs in that industry, she said.
"I have a client who is not only not guilty, he is truly 100% innocent," she added. She did acknowledge that he has "a history of some mental issues," but said they are not severe.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 17:05
Category: Breaking News Written by News One
UPDATE 8:45 A.M. EST: The suspect’s home, 410 Norfolk St. in Cambridge, is surrounded by police and the SWAT team has guns drawn. Two people are now in custody.
UPDATE 8:35 A.M. EST: Brynn Gingras of NBC New York releases yearbook photo of Boston bomb suspect. A classmate said “he was quiet.”
UPDATE 7:54 A.M. EST: NBC’s Pete Williams is reporting that the dead suspect’s name is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. According to NBC, Dzhokhhar ran over Tamerlan trying to escape from police. The deceased suspect allegedly had explosives strapped to his chest.
Governor Deval Patrick has warned residents to stay in their homes. Dzhokhar is considered armed and dangerous.
UPDATE 6:56 A.M EST: NBC reports that the remaining suspect’s name is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The suspects were brothers, legal residents from Turkey (Chechen) who had allegedly been in the US for approximately one year.
Dramatic events unfolded in Boston overnight that have left an MIT police officer and one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects dead, more explosions and much of Greater Boston on active lock down as a massive manhunt continues.
After the shooting of the MIT officer, police followed in pursuit of 2 suspects who fled to the Boston suburb of Watertown.
A police SUV “drove towards the shooters,” he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway.
The two shooters, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker.”
“They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it. But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded, he said, and one of the two men ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.
Read more from the Boston Globe AP below:
According to State Police Colonel Timothy Alben, the night’s outbreak of violence began about 10:30 p.m. police received reports of a robbery of a convenience store in Kendall Square near MIT. A few minutes later, an MIT police officer, who has not been identified, was shot multiple times while in his cruiser at Main and Vassar streets, near Building 32, better known as the renowned the Stata Center on the MIT campus.
The officer was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A short time later, two men carjacked a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint, and the owner of that car was able to flee at a gas station on Memorial Drive. The SUV proceeded out Memorial Drive toward Watertown followed by a long train of police vehicles in pursuit.
At one point during the pursuit, the two suspects opened fire on Watertown police and a Transit Police officer, who was shot and who is now in critical condition at a Boston-area hospital this morning.
During the gunfight, the man known as Marathon suspect #1 was wounded. He was taken into custody and later died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Alben said.
Police have since been searching for the other bombing suspect.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 13:05
Category: Breaking News Written by CNN
Witnesses report hearing explosions, gunshots
- A surveillance image of the fugitive resembles a photo of the bombing suspects
- One police officer dead in MIT campus shooting, before vehicle hijacked not far away
- Police corner the vehicle, take suspect into custody naked
(CNN) -- Two men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people this week terrorized the area overnight. One is dead, but the other is on the loose, police say, and he's armed and dangerous.
Police pursued two men early Friday who shot a police officer to death, stole a vehicle and threw explosives at law officers pursuing them. Authorities believe they are the same two men sought in the marathon attacks.
One died of injuries suffered while battling police early Friday, and the other is on the run in a nearby suburb, authorities said.
Both men allegedly killed one police officer late Thursday, wounded another early Friday and used explosives against police pursuing them.
Marathon 'Suspect number 2'
Police believe the man at large is "suspect number 2" in Monday's bombing. Federal, state and local law officers are swarming through the Boston suburb of Watertown, going door-to-door to track him down, said transit police spokesman Paul MacMillan.
Police warned Watertown residents to lock their homes and stay away from their windows and doors.
A surveillance image of the fugitive resembles photos of one of the suspects sought for alleged involvement in the marathon attacks that killed three.
The image of the man with bushy, wavy black hair, a pronounced chin and nose, and a slight build matches photos circulated of the man in the white cap, carrying a backpack near the scene of Monday's bombing.
Due to the strong similarity of the two images, police believe the fugitive may be "suspect number 2" in the marathon terror attack, MacMillan said.
The other suspect was injured in a a shootout with transit police and pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to a statement from the Massachusetts district attorney.
Police believe he is suspect number 1 in the marathon attack.
Boston's public transit authority has sent city buses to Watertown to evacuate residents while bomb experts comb the surroundings for possible live explosives.
Night of terror
The violence erupted when a college police officer was shot and killed late Thursday. The events that followed sent sirens howling through the night, and emergency lights shattering the darkness, as police chased after two suspects who tossed explosives at them.
Still on edge from Monday's deadly bombings, local, state and federal law officers responded to reports of a shooting on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge directly across from Boston on the Charles River.
At the time, they did not know of possible connections to the bomb attacks.
News media from across the country -- in Boston to cover the investigation into the marathon terror -- flocked to MIT's campus.
Two men had shot and killed the university policeman, while he sat in his car, the district attorney's office later said. State police and the FBI found the officer there with multiple gunshot wounds.
He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The same two suspects then hijacked a car at gunpoint in Cambridge and initially held the vehicle's driver in the car with them, the district attorney said. They released him half an hour later at a gas station unharmed.
Police encountered the stolen vehicle and gave chase. Suspects threw explosives out the window at the officers in a futile attempt to elude capture. "The suspects and police also exchanged gunfire," the statement read.
A transit police officer was "seriously injured" and taken to hospital.
Showdown in Watertown
Police cornered the vehicle in the suburb of Watertown and set up a perimeter, as reinforcements and emergency vehicles poured into the area.
Officers quickly locked down the streets of the Watertown neighborhood after isolating the vehicle.
Police carrying assault rifles ran down the streets, according to CNN affiliate WCVB, which broadcast images from the area.
One of the suspects -- the man who could be suspect number 1 -- had been wounded during the pursuit. He was taken to Beth Israel hospital, where Doctors pronounced him dead after unsuccessful attempts to reanimate him, a hospital spokesman from said.
He had bullet wounds and injuries from an explosion.
CNN photographer Gabe Ramirez arrived in Watertown as the chase ended.
"Police were in a standoff with the vehicle just down the hill," Ramirez said. They ordered one suspect out and commanded him to strip down completely naked before putting him in a patrol car, which did not leave the scene.
The man was later released and is not a suspect in the case.
But while the man was being held, FBI agents approached the squad car, and police ordered the man back out of the car. FBI agents questioned him -- still fully undressed -- on the sidewalk.
In an early phase of the lock down, a man could be seen lying face down on the street with his hands outstretched in front of him and his legs crossed. It is unclear whether this was the man who was arrested and ordered to undress.
Explosives once more
Police requested that people in the lockdown area turn off their cell phones. Authorities suspect cell phones were used to detonate the bombs that flung metal through the crowds at the marathon Monday.
Dozens of police from various units arrived in Watertown, some in SWAT uniforms, others wearing helmets. Large crowds gathered around a trove of emergency vehicles that had congregated in the neighborhood, WCVB reported.
Homeland Security Investigations deployed agents to the scene, a Homeland Security spokesman told CNN.
Police also said they were going door-to-door, street by street, searching the Watertown area.
Area residents have been on edge after two bombs ripped through the crowd near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 178 others.
Federal, state and local agencies are still investigating the marathon bombing.
Police, who were seeking two suspects in the attack, now believe they have found them.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 09:24
Category: Breaking News Written by CNN
(CNN)– President Barack Obama said he ordered the "full resources" of the federal government to respond to the Boston bombings on Monday, and that he also called for increased security around the United States as necessary.
"We still do not know who did this or why," he said from the Brady Press Briefing Room, cautioning people against jumping to conclusions. "But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this."
Any individuals or groups responsible for the "senseless" bombing, he added, will "feel the full weight of justice."
"The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight," he said.
Notably absent from his remarks was the word "terror," though federal investigators are classifying the bombings as a terror event. It is not clear if it's from a domestic or foreign source, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said.
"Today is a holiday in Massachusetts, Patriot's Day. It's a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation, and it's a day that draws the world to Boston's streets in a spirit of friendly competition," he said. "Boston is a tough and resilient town, so are its people. I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city and as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way."
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller to receive an update on the explosions that occurred in Boston, in the Oval Office, April 15, 2013. Seated with the President are Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
After Obama's statement, a White House official said "any event with multiple explosive devices – as this appears to be – is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror."
"However, we don’t yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic," the official continued.
According to the president's Facebook page, an organized call-in event scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed.
"Due to the events at the Boston Marathon, we are postponing tomorrow's National Call Day on gun violence prevention. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Boston," his Facebook stated.
The event, run by the advocacy group Organizing for Action, would have organized supporters to call their senators and urge them to support the current gun legislation bill.
Over on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner led a moment of silence on the House floor for victims in Boston.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 11:18
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