Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - The city of Detroit is putting padlocks on what they consider “illegal businesses” running without licenses or permits that are often considered as potential breeding grounds for blight and crime in the city.
Six businesses were shut down Thursday and their entryways sealed as part of Mayor Dave Bing’s “Operation Compliance.” If the business owner or any other individual breaches the sealed entrance of the closed businesses, that person will be subject to a $500 per day fine and/or imprisonment.
“Our objective is to bring every business in Detroit into full compliance with the law,” Bing said in a statement. “Proper permitting and ordinance compliance is essential to operating a business in our city.”
The city said the businesses targeted for Operation Compliance have multiple violations or have not made their properties available for safety inspections. In each case, the city says the business was notified by letter in the fall of 2012 asking them to comply with city building ordinances, but they received no response.
WWJ’s Ron Dewey visited Sonny’s Tire Shop on Tireman Street, one of the targeted businesses, and found not everything is the way it seems. Sonny Shines, who bought the business with his father, said they had no idea the previous operator had a laundry list of city hall violations.
“My family didn’t even know. My dad, he doesn’t speak much english and when we got this business, we thought we were going to go the city, get the permit. Then, the day before yesterday, the inspector comes by and he gives me a slip and tells me ‘You guys are shut down,’” said Shines.
“The guys that were here would throw the violations out. They told him to close down a long time ago, but they didn’t. And now I’m stuck with it, my dad is stuck with it. I just don’t understand.”
Shines say the seller agreed to pay the fines, and they’re now cleaning up the property and getting the proper licenses and permits to make things right.
A junkyard in the Plymouth/Oakman area was also among the businesses being shut down. Employee Zack Shara says the property owner is now securing the permits from the city to stay open.
“I mean, it’s the city so you can’t really fight it. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to survive,” he said.
The Operation Compliance enforcement team expects to close an average of 20 illegal businesses in Detroit each week. An example of an illegal business is an appliance resale shop operating in an area that is zoned for retail.
Nathan Ford, director of the city’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, said the message they’re sending is that business owners need to follow the law.
“We want the world to know that the City of Detroit is doing business differently and implementing programs that can assist the growth of business in the city,” Ford said in a statement.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 January 2013 13:26
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Financial woes in the Detroit Public School District are expected to continue for the next three years and that will mean more school closings.
A deficit elimination plan obtained by The Detroit News says the district will close 28 schools. The closures are expected to save DPS about $13.4 million in operating expenses, but hundreds of district employees will be out of a job.
The district also plans to cuts expenses by $120 million in 2013-14, by $42 million in 2014-15 and by $33 million in 2015-16.
The plan, which was approved by state officials last week, is expected to reduce the district’s current deficit of $72 million to $46 million in 2014 and $21 million in 2015.
Projections show a small surplus in the year 2016, but DPS will only have about 40,000 students. Several years ago, the district had more than 150,000 students.
Other parts of the financial plan deal with making the district more competitive in Detroit, such as upgrading the district’s technology system and creating a new system to recruit well-qualified employees.
The goal is to zero out DPS’ deficit, with the possibility of emerging from state control. The district has been under an emergency financial manager since March 2009.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 January 2013 13:22
Category: Breaking News Written by Amber Bogins
Yesterday was a record breaking day for Serena Williams at the 2013 Australian Open in Melbourne Australia. However these were not records that she wanted broken. Yesterday marked the first time the 31-year-old tennis player has ever lost to an American younger than her. During the Australian Open Quarterfinals game, she played up and coming American Sloane Stephens who is just shy of her 20th birthday. Serena’s twenty match win streak came to an end as she battled Sloane and loss with a 6-3, 5-7, 4-6 three match set. This was the second time the pair played each other, although with opposite results.
Williams suffered a back and ankle injury during the second match and it was apparent from the lack of power in her serve that she was in pain. She called for a medical timeout, but the damage was done. Sloane was a shark who smelled blood, playing close to the net, leaving no easy shots for 15-time Grand Slam champion. And her frustration showed, as she pummeled her racket on the ground after losing a point.
Stephens was stunned but focused after the win. Having grown up watching the Williams sisters dominate tennis, and having Serena Williams’ poster on her wall, the moment was very surreal. And she was gracious winner. She did not scream or jump and down. A subtle fist-pump and a huge grin was all she exhibited. Williams regained her composure and her sportsmanship and gave the young player a handshake before exiting the court.
As amazing and unbelievable a win it was for the 29th seed player, it was equally as disappointing for the vet. Time waits for no athlete, and even the greats age. This match marks the first time she was defeated by a younger American. To her credit, she wasn’t playing at 100%, her injuries definitely tipping the odds in Stephens favor (click here to see Serena’s swollen ankle). Although Serena’s career and reign as the most dominate women’s tennis player in the world today is far from over, yesterday’s loss does open up the possibility that there is new blood in the American tennis circuit and they are gunning for the top spot. The Williams sisters better be careful.
As for Sloane Stephens, there was no party Wednesday. Today she faces the No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka in the Finals.
Follow Amber L. Bogins on Twitter @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 January 2013 11:58
Category: Breaking News Written by the Grio
Pop star Beyoncé has been under fire for reportedly lip syncing her acclaimed performance of the Star Spangled Banner at this week’s inauguration of President Barack Obama.
While the “Single Ladies” singer has yet to address the allegations, the Queen of Soul — Aretha Franklin — thinks the whole ‘scandal’ is silly.
“When I heard the news this evening that she was pre-recorded I really laughed,” Franklin said in an interview ABC News. “I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers that is just not good singing weather. When I heard that I just really cracked up. I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record … next time I’ll probably do the same.”
Franklin memorably sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at President Obama’s first inaugural in 2009.
“In 2009, I wanted everything to be live and on the real side for the moment as it actually happened,” Franklin told ABC News. “Those were my feelings for my performance, but having come face to face with 28, 22 degrees I am not surprised she pre-recorded. She wanted her performance to be what she wanted to be and she realized it wasn’t going to be the way she wanted it to be or she was going to be running a risk. That’s probably why she pre-recorded exactly how she wanted it to be heard.”
Claims that Beyoncé used a pre-recorded track originated from the Marine Corps Band, who accompanied the singer’s performance.
Representatives for the band later distanced themselves from these initial reports.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 January 2013 09:06
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) - Gov. Rick Snyder has announced the approval of state incentives to support 14 business expansions that could generate about 4,590 new jobs in Michigan.
“Our reinvention of Michigan is all about more and better jobs for families and bright futures for our children,” Snyder said, in a statement out Wednesday.
“At the end of the day, that’s what this announcement really means. The fact that these companies are choosing to stay and grow in Michigan reinforces our well-earned reputation as America’s comeback state,” he said. The commitment and innovation of these job creators, coupled with the high quality of Michigan’s talent, will keep our state moving forward. I applaud this tremendous investment in Michigan’s future.”
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick says three of the 14 projects are in Detroit. Others are in Southfield, Auburn Hills, Battle Creek, Coopersville, Rodgers City and Benton Harbor.
“This is all what they call ‘gardening,’ according to the governor That means they are all … operations that we already here,” Skubick said. “They didn’t come in across the border. He said it had nothing to do with right-to-work because these jobs had already been in the pipeline.”
The incentive include a grant to pay for planned a planned renovation of the historic 19-story David Whitney building in Detroit.
The MSF approved the following Michigan Business Development Program incentives:
* Cosma International, an operating unit of auto supplier Magna International, plans to open an automotive casting components and systems facility in Battle Creek, subject to completing all necessary commercial arrangements and receiving necessary approvals. Once established, the plant will be known as Cosma Casting Michigan and is expected to create up to 572 new jobs based on investment of up to $162 million. As a result, the company has been awarded a $1.6 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites. Battle Creek has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatements.
* Denso International America Inc., the North American regional headquarters of auto supplier Denso Corp., plans to expand its new product research and development operations in Southfield, investing $45.7 million and creating 176 jobs. As a result, Denso International has been awarded a $1.54 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over existing sites in Japan and Tennessee. Southfield has offered five-year property tax abatements valued at $1.5 million.
* Denso Manufacturing Michigan Inc., a subsidiary of Denso International America, produces automotive air conditioning and engine cooling components and systems. The company plans to invest $105 million in new manufacturing capabilities for advanced thermal management products including new lines for radiator and condenser products in Battle Creek, creating 266 jobs. As a result, Denso Manufacturing Michigan has been awarded a $1.46 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Arkansas, Ontario and Mexico. Battle Creek has offered five-year property tax abatements valued at $1.5 million.
* Fair Oaks Farms Brands Inc., part of a cooperative owned by a group of large dairy farming operations in the upper Midwest, plans to manufacture nutritionally enhanced liquid milk products at a new plant in Coopersville. The applicant expects to invest $127 million and create 133 jobs, resulting in a $900,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in New York, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Coopersville has offered support in the form of 12-year property tax abatements.
* Integrated Manufacturing and Assembly, a subsidiary of Lear Corp., manufactures and assembles automotive seating components. The company plans to expand operations at an existing plant, install new machinery and equipment and expand into a new plant in Detroit. The company plans to invest $13.85 million and create 755 jobs, resulting in a $3 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Indiana and Ohio. Detroit is considering 12-year property tax abatements for the existing facility valued at $942,479.
* Southfield-based Lear Corp. plans to expand its Highland Park plant, investing $18.75 million and creating 334 jobs. As a result of the expansion, Lear has been awarded a $1.6 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Ohio and Indiana. Highland Park is supporting the project with 12-year property tax abatements valued at $3.4 million.
* Moran Iron Works Inc., a designer and manufacturer of custom large metal components since 1978, has an opportunity to make larger products — and in order to do so, needs to expand both its Onaway plant and dock improvements at the Port of Calcite in Rogers City. The company plans to invest $16.2 million and create 75 jobs, resulting in a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Presque Isle County has offered support to the project in the form of a purchase of a boom crawler crane to be used at the Port of Calcite.
* Norplas Industries, a manufacturing division of Magna Exteriors and Interiors, plans to open a new robotic paint line and injection molding process operation in Delta Township and a new operation for light assembly and sequencing of front-end modules in Brownstown Township. The company plans to invest $81.75 million and create 658 jobs, resulting in a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites. Both Delta Township and Brownstown Township are offering support to the project in the form of property tax abatements.
* Rigaku Innovative Technologies Inc. is a subsidiary of Rigaku Corp., a manufacturer of high-tech optical products. RIT plans to expand into new markets including the semiconductor industry and grow research and development, and production operations at its plant in Auburn Hills, investing $55.7 million and creating 27 jobs. As a result of the expansion, RIT has been awarded a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Auburn Hills was chosen over a site in California. Auburn Hills is offering 12-year property tax abatements in support of the project valued at $241,146.
* Van-Rob Inc., through its Michigan subsidiaries including Lenawee Stamping Corp., produces metal stamping and welded fabrications and assemblies for auto bodies and substructures. Van-Rob is considering adding several programs at its plant in Tecumseh and a new plant elsewhere in Michigan. The company plans to invest $30.7 million and create 530 total jobs, resulting in a $5.3 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Tecumseh has offered seven-year property tax abatements valued at $1.3 million.
* Whirlpool Corp., founded in Benton Harbor in 1911, is the world’s largest home appliance company. It plans to relocate refrigeration research and development operations from Evansville, Ind., to a former Whirlpool plant in Benton Harbor. Whirlpool plans to invest $18.9 million and create 180 jobs, resulting in a $2.4 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Iowa and Mexico. The city of Benton Harbor is offering 12-year tax abatements valued at $1.85 million.
The MSF board also approved one Michigan Community Revitalization Program incentive. Whitney Partners LLC, a commercial real estate development company, has been awarded a $1 million Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant and a $7.5 million performance-based loan to renovate the historic 19-story David Whitney building in the central business district of Detroit. The project will transform the building into 108 residential apartments, 135 hotel rooms and retail space on the first floor, and will restore access to the Detroit People Mover. The project is expected to create 75 permanent full-time jobs and capital investment of $82.5 million.
The MSF board also approved the following amendments to Michigan Economic Growth Authority plans:
* Axle Alliance MEGA amendment – A subsidiary of Detroit Diesel Corp., Axle Alliance manufactures axles for commercial vehicles and provides consulting services to other axle plants. The addition of the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission and DD15 proprietary asymmetric turbo to the full line of Detroit brand engines and axles at the Redford Township facilities represents a capital investment of more than $100 million and an additional 204 jobs. As a result of the expansion, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved an increase in the maximum allowance for qualified new jobs on the company’s MEGA tax credit from 215 to 419.
* Perrigo Co. MEGA amendment – Perrigo is a supplier, developer and manufacturer of over-the-counter and generic prescription medications, infant formulas, nutritional products and dietary supplements. The company is planning to add infrastructure and equipment to its plant in Allegan and a new plant in Holland Charter Township, investing an additional $242 million and creating 650 jobs to support a tablet expansion for its over-the-counter business. As a result of the expansion, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved an increase in the maximum allowance for qualified new jobs on the company’s MEGA tax credit from 400 to 1,050. Holland Charter Township and the city of Allegan have offered property tax abatements in support of this project.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 January 2013 08:32
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
ALLEN PARK (WWJ) - Allen Park police say the frigid temperatures may have played a role in the death of an elderly woman.
Police say a passerby called 911 around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday and reported finding the 87-year-old woman’s body in a ditch along Allen Road, between Pelham and Reeck roads.
Sgt. Craig Hickey of the Allen Park Fire Department said the woman was not dressed appropriately for the weather; she wasn’t wearing a hat or a coat. He said it appears the woman had been there for hours.
The woman, whose identity was not immediately released, reportedly lived nearby.
Single digit temperatures were recorded across Wayne County Wednesday morning.
An autopsy is expected to be conducted on Thursday. An investigation is ongoing.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 January 2013 08:27
Category: Breaking News Written by Crystal Wilson
The Urban Wheels Awards is an annual event, held during the North American International Auto Show, that brings together celebrities, executives, international media, government representatives, and the multicultural community to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the automotive industry. Consumers in the multicultural market buy one-quarter of new vehicles annually. The Urban Wheel Awards promotes awareness of their contributions to the industry as well as those of companies and individuals who have made progress toward embracing this reality.
General Motors received the following four awards:
1) Executive of the Year – Alicia Boler-Davis, VP Global Quality, VP Customer Experience
2) Woman Designer of the Year – Crystal Windham, Director of Design
3) GM named Company of the Year for Progress in Community Service Initiatives to Women
Vivian Pickard President of GM Foundation & Ken Barrett, General Motors Chief Diversity Officer accepted on behalf of General Motors
4) Urban Car of the Year, Cadillac ATS
Don Butler, Vice President of Cadillac Marketing, accepted on behalf of Cadillac
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 09:26
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Forty years ago Tuesday the Supreme Court made abortion legal nationwide in the decision of Roe versus Wade.
President of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, Lori Lamerand, says the Supreme Court’s decision on January 22, 1973 played a pivotal role in women having access to healthcare.
“Our hope is to that people really rally around making sure that women and families really have access to reproductive health care and insure that birth control is available to people and that we move closer to closer to ending the need for abortion,” said Lamerand.
But Ed Rivet, legislative director of Right to Life of Michigan, says legislators need to decide what role abortion plays when it comes to healthcare coverage:
“Many of us today have insurance polices where abortion is covered even though we want it and that’s a decision we have to make as a state of Michigan as we see the oncoming of the federal healthcare law,” Rivet said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 09:01
Category: Breaking News Written by Allison Brennan, CNN
Washington (CNN) -- If President Barack Obama's relationship with House Speaker John Boehner was contentious in the past, he certainly wasn't showing it while the two sat at the head table of a congressional lunch following Monday's inauguration.
The two appeared to have a lighthearted exchange that prompted an apparent eye roll from first lady Michelle Obama, who was seated between them.
Was it something Boehner said that prompted the reaction? He tapped her shoulder while she ate her lunch.
Or was it something the clearly amused president said?
Or maybe it was something both of them said.
Maybe it was her lunch.
But because there's no audio from the exchange, it's hard to tell what prompted the reaction that caught fire on the Internet.
We thought we'd leave it up to you. What do you think the first lady was thinking?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 08:52
Category: Breaking News Written by Dana Ford and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
(CNN) -- Students ducked under desks and ran for cover during a shooting at a community college in Texas on Tuesday that left three people wounded.
"I just started hearing people shouting and yelling and running," said Amanda Vasquez, a freshman who was in English class when the shooting erupted at the North Harris campus of Lone Star College in Houston. "I immediately tried to get under the desk, tried to hide ...
"I called my mom as soon as I could just because you never know. I didn't know if this was going to be the last time I was going to be able to speak with her. So I just wanted to make sure she knew that I loved her," Vasquez told CNN's AC360°.
Officials from the Harris County Sheriff's Office are still in the initial stages of their investigation, but here is what they have said so far:
The early-afternoon shooting apparently stemmed from an argument between two men. At least one of the men was armed and at least one had a student ID.
Campus to reopen Wednesday after shooting Official: Crossfire injures students
Both were wounded by gunfire and treated at a hospital, where they were detained.
"We haven't determined their exact involvement," said Capt. Ken Melancon.
Late Tuesday night, authorities said 22-year-old Carlton Berry was a shooter. Berry, who remained hospitalized, has been charged with aggravated assault.
A maintenance worker also was shot. He was struck in the leg and was in stable condition, said Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System.
The shooting took place outside, between the academic building and the library, he said.
A possible fourth victim, a woman with a student ID who was either at or near the shooting, was treated at a hospital for medical problems. According to a federal law enforcement official who received reports from the scene, the fourth person suffered a heart attack.
Lone Star College student Brittany Mobley told CNN affiliate KHOU that she saw the shooting.
"I saw two dudes basically get into an altercation and ... the dude that shot, he basically got angry and, you know, started shooting the other guy," she said. "A lot of people heard a lot of shots."
The Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas, according to its website.
There were more than 10,000 students on the campus at the time of the shooting, said Jed Young, a school spokesman. The campus was evacuated and closed for the remainder of Tuesday.
The campus will reopen Wednesday.
Police and emergency responders swarmed an entrance to the campus, aerial video from KPRC showed.
Medical personnel were seen treating at least two people and moving them to ambulances. One person appeared to be handcuffed to a stretcher. Students jogged from some buildings, with their hands up in the air, presumably in response to police instruction.
"I heard no less than five shots, and I just ran," one student told CNN affiliate KTRK. "My heart was pounding. I was praying I wouldn't hear anymore shots. I was with a bunch of other people running and someone yelled out, 'don't push!' People were crying, I had tears in my eyes."
Another witness told KTRK he saw blood on the ground and someone shot in the leg.
"Beside him, there was one guy in handcuffs," he said.
"I just heard somebody screaming, and then after that, I heard the shots," another student told KPRC.
The Houston shooting comes roughly a month after the deadly shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school that ended with 26 people -- including 20 children ages 6 and 7 -- dead.
"We know that there is significant national dialogue regarding the frequency, unfortunately, of shootings like this on public school and college campuses," said Carpenter. "Though we never expected to be a central part of this discussion, we hope that things can be learned from it."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 08:41
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