Category: News Briefs Written by The Huffington Post
Gun violence is nothing out of the ordinary to Detroit's wearied residents, as raging crime rates threaten the troubled city's long-term future.
It's been named America's most dangerous city four years running by Forbes Magazine, recording 375 homicides so far this year, compared to 344 for the whole of 2011. Assaults with guns have also risen steadily over the past few years; 532 armed crimes were logged for every 100,000 residents in 2010, according to FBI statistics. Shaken by the violence, several of the city's funeral directors were inspired to hold a hearse parade through several neighborhoods blighted by crime in January.
While much of Detroit's gun violence can be attributed to disputes between people who know each other, it's the city's children who are often caught in the crossfire, as evidenced during last winter's rash of juvenile shootings. A six-year-old boy was shot with an AK-47 during a carjacking committed by two 15-year-olds; a 12-year-old boy was hit when a traffic accident between several men turned into a shootout. Kade'jah Davis was completing her homework when she was fatally struck by bullets aimed through the front door of her home in January. Police say the shooter's motive stemmed from an argument over a cell phone. And a nine-month-old infant named Delric Miller lost his life in February, when an assailant peppered the front of the home with rounds shot from an AK-47.
Random gunfire inspires fear. But so do cold-blooded murders of the city's young people. Cops say that 18-year-old Abreeya Brown and 22-year-old Ashley Conaway of Hamtramck, a smaller city located within Detroit's borders, refused to stay silent after witnessing a shooting between several young men. The two women were then kidnapped outside their home in what the Detroit Free Press called "a hail of gunfire." Both Brown and Conaway's bodies were found in a shallow grave, each shot once in the head. Jourdan Bobbish, 17, and Jacob Kudla, 18, both of nearby Westland, disappeared after possibly buying marijuana in the city. They were both found shot to death and positioned face-down in an empty field near City Airport.
Teenagers themselves have obtained weapons to commit terrible crimes. Police say 19-year-old Brian Douglas White of Livonia shot his ex-girlfriend's mother to death and slayed the girl's new boyfriend with an axe before turning the gun on himself. 14-year-old Joshua Smith was sentenced to 25 to 50 years after allegedly using a shotgun he found in the home to kill his mother after an argument. He was charged as an adult, as was Nathanial Abraham, the 11-year-old Pontiac boy whose story received national attention after he was tried as an adult and convicted of murder in 1997. Michigan has sentenced more juveniles to life in prison than almost any other state.
The staggering number of crimes involving children has made authorities and community groups pledge to stop the violence. But the city's financial struggles and looming possibility of bankruptcy mean there are a lack of resources to do so. A budget shortfall has led the city to impose a 10 percent pay cut across the Detroit Police Department and institute 12-hour shifts. When surburbanite baseball fans attended a Tigers game in the downtown neighborhood the city has worked to revitalize, they were warned by the protesting police officer's union that they were entering Detroit "at their own risk."
New programs are attempting to curb the culture of violence.
At a gun buyback held in August, people were encouraged to trade weapons for cash, no questions asked. An assault weapon could fetch $100. Mayor Dave Bing has opened about half of 13 "mini-stations" throughout the city that will focus on community policing and improving relations between officers and residents. The Motor City is also one of six urban areas across the nation participating in a youth violence prevention program that's been supported by the Obama administration.
Still, Bing has said that police can only do so much.
"You can't expect the police to be in every home, on every corner, responding to things that we as parents and adults ought to be responsible for," he said. "Let's let these young people know that we care about them, but at the same time, we aren't going to allow them to create havoc."
A controversial coalition of volunteering residents and businesses called the Detroit 300 has begun tracking down suspected killers on their own. "We don't care what gang, crew or clique you claim. When you kill babies in this city, you are our enemy," said founder Raphael Johnson.
Federal authorities are also trying to pick up some of the slack for the overburdened police department, which has been operating under federal oversight since 2003. The city's east side is now included in a pilot program to assign harsh federal penalties to repeat offenders and known criminals. U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told reporters her "personal resolution" was driving down the city's homicide rate this year.
But the murder toll have already outpaced that of 2011, and rebirth -- or relief -- may not come soon enough for residents leaving the city in droves. In a recent poll commissioned by the Detroit News, 40 percent of respondents said they planned to move away within the next five years. Of the 800 respondents surveyed, 49 percent said crime, not education or unemployment, was the greatest challenge they faced every day.
And if they could, the poll reported, more than half of Detroiters said they'd pick up and leave the city today.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 14:23
Category: News Briefs Written by Sandra McNeill, WWJ
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WWJ) – Some parents may still keep their kids at home — but schools in Newtown, Connecticut are opening their doors today for the first time since Friday’s deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which will remain closed.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook is having an effect on children here in Michigan. Many were in attendance last night at a vigil attended by about 100 people on the campus of Lawrence Technological University. As the names of each of the victims were read, a flower was placed on a rock painted with the words “Sandy Hook.” It was clear that even several states away, emotions are still raw as a result of the shootings.
“How could you do that to kids,” asked Melanie Tracy, who brought along her 11-year-old daughter and two neighbor children. “I don’t understand it at all,” she said while choking back tears.
“I feel sad that the kids died, and the teachers and stuff … and I hope my grandpa takes care of ‘em cause he’s in heaven,” an eight-year-old girl told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill.
Eleven-year-old Sydney Tracy said she’s scared, too.
“Yeah, I’m kinda scared cause I don’t want this to happen, and my mom and dad — once I go to middle school — they’re gonna have me bring a cell phone with me at all times,” Tracy said.
Both children say their schools are now locking doors and reinforcing safety drills.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 10:09
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - A former Detroit cop has pleaded guilty to forging time sheets to get $30,000 for hours she didn’t work.
Kim Mosby-Colbert, 52, was charged with defrauding a program receiving federal funding — a crime that carries up to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
Per a deal with prosecutors, Mosby-Colbert will serve up to 6 months in prison and will pay just under $30,000 in restitution.
“We hope that prosecutions like this one will let public servants know that they will be held accountable for their conduct, and will deter them from stealing public funds to which they are not entitled,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, in a statement.
Added FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley stated, “The falsifying of records for the purpose of stealing money from tax payers is a criminal abuse of public trust. The FBI led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force is committed to ensuring citizens have honest government.”
A sentencing hearing is set for March 19 at 2 p.m.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 09:24
Category: Breaking News Written by The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama, with his latest fiscal cliff offer, proposes extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone earning less than $400,000 a year, and paying for it by increasing taxes on the middle class and cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Obama's offer would allow the payroll tax holiday to expire, meaning middle class workers will see smaller paychecks in 2013. Economists have warned that the recovery is too fragile to risk a broad tax hike on workers. It would also gradually reduce Social Security, pension and Medicare benefits seniors are due to receive, taking a small bite up front, but building up to much larger cuts over time.
Obama's concession to Republicans is opposed by a majority of Americans, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll. Fifty-two percent of survey respondents said the payroll tax cut should be extended to avoid raising taxes on the middle class, while 22 percent said that it should be allowed to expire to help pay down the debt. Extending the payroll tax cut received bipartisan support: 64 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans in the survey said they supported the extension.
MoveOn.org, the largest online progressive organization in Washington, reacted angrily Monday night to reports that Obama was softening. The group's quick reaction to a possible deal that has yet to be announced publicly shows there will be fierce opposition to cuts that hit Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries.
One top GOP aide predicted a deal, within the next day, that House Republicans would have no choice but to accept. A second said that many details still needed to be filled in, and that the president was dug in at $1.2 trillion in revenue, more than Republicans wanted.
Obama, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), had previously told fiscal cliff negotiators that "Social Security is not going to be part of this." That turned out to be a false assertion, given Monday's offer to target the elderly. The proposed Social Security reform is known as "chained CPI" and is an alternate measure of inflation that accounts for the way consumers react to higher prices by switching to similar products that are less costly. Or, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics put it, "If the price of pork increases while the price of beef does not, consumers might shift away from pork to beef."
The chained CPI proposal is unpopular across the political spectrum. Fifty-six percent of Republicans, along with 67 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents, said they thought the proposal was a bad idea. Older Americans were most likely to oppose the measure, with 77 percent of those age 65 and older saying that the proposal was a bad idea. Adults under 30 were the least likely to have an opinion: 50 percent said they weren't sure whether the proposal was a good or bad idea, while 21 percent said it was a good idea and 29 percent said it was a bad idea.
Justin Ruben, head of MoveOn.org, said in a statement that the group's members agree. "MoveOn members overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, and they've made clear that they would see any fiscal agreement that cuts such benefits as a betrayal that sells out working and middle class families -- whether the cuts come via a chained CPI, increased Medicare eligibility age, or in some other form," Ruben said.
Ruben said that his organization would encourage Democrats to block such a bargain. "If such a deal were proposed by the president and speaker, MoveOn members would expect every Senate and House Democrat to do everything in their power to block it," Ruben said. "Senate Majority Leader Reid would play a crucial role, as MoveOn members would count on him and other senators to remain true to their repeated promises to keep Social Security benefits off the table."
Reid has indeed been adamant. "I have made it very clear, I have told anyone that will listen -- including everyone in the White House, including the president -- that I am not going to be part of having Social Security as part of these talks relating to this deficit," Reid told reporters earlier.
Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, which opposes cuts to the program, said the chained CPI is painful policy. "Almost every elected official just spent an entire election season saying they wouldn't cut the benefits of those 55 and older. The truth is the chained CPI hits everyone's benefits on day one," he said. "It hits the oldest of the old and disabled veterans the hardest. If it wasn't being bandied about as being 'on the table,' I would guess that it was created as an office joke to see who could create the most noxious and offensive policy possible."
Boehner included the chained CPI in his counteroffer to Obama earlier, which also called for broader reform of social insurance programs. In 2011, Boehner and Obama reportedly agreed to a "Grand Bargain" that included the chained CPI, but the deal fell apart.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 09:35
Category: Breaking News Written by Tim Skubick, WWJ
LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) – Clergy across metro Detroit and the state of Michigan will converge in Lansing today and use the power of prayer against the concealed weapons bill now on Governor Snyder’s desk.
Members of Michigan Prophetic Voices and the Metro Coalition of Congregations say they will hold a prayer vigil this afternoon outside the governor’s office. They want him to veto legislation that would allow those with extra training to carry a concealed weapon in a gun-free zone, including schools, churches, stadiums and other public venues. The governor says he taking a closer look at the bill, given his concerns with public safety following the mass shooting in Newtown Connecticut that left 26 people — including 20 children — dead at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The head of the Michigan Education Association, meanwhile, is also speaking out on that concealed weapons legislation.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports that MEA President Steve Cook wants Snyder to veto the bill.
“There are too many guns in the streets,” Cook said. “There are too many guns in schools, and schools have to have the option to keep the guns out.”
Cook, himself a gun owner, says he doesn’t buy the argument from the NRA that guns in schools could actually save lives.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 09:03
Category: Breaking News Written by Dave Dye, foxsportsdetroit
There are 130 days until the NFL Draft.
Not much else to look forward to at this point for the Detroit Lions.
When you lose to one of the laughingstocks of the NFL, you become the laughingstock, don’t you?
On Sunday, the Lions became just that again with a 38-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, who were on a nine-game losing streak and hadn’t won since Sept. 30.
The bumbling Lions were the perfect cure, giving up 28 points off turnovers.
“There’s no question, that was the story of this game,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said during his postgame radio show. “Our turnovers cost us the game.”
The Lions extended their losing streak to six games while falling to 4-10 on the season with two weeks remaining.
Only two teams in the NFL — Jacksonville and Kansas City — have fewer victories than the Lions.
Arizona has a ridiculously poor offense and hadn’t scored a touchdown in its previous two games. The Cardinals were coming off a humiliating 58-0 loss at Seattle when they appeared to totally quit on coach Ken Whisenhunt.
The Lions, despite their losing ways, had been competitive against quality competition, but they finally cracked and played their worst game of the season.
Considering the state of the Arizona offense, with rookie Ryan Lindley at quarterback, the only way the Lions seemingly could lose the game, much less give up 38 points, would be to give the Cardinals points off turnovers.
And that’s exactly what happened all day long.
A muffed punt and three interceptions handed the Cardinals their first four touchdowns and turned it into a laugher.
“We’ve got to take better care of the football,” Schwartz said.
After quarterback Matthew Stafford failed to complete his first six passes while the Lions went three-and-out on their first three possessions, Detroit came back with an impressive 11-play, 73-yard scoring drive to take a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.
It all fell apart quickly from there for the Lions.
Stefan Logan mishandled a punt deep in Detroit territory when one of his blockers, Pat Lee, accidentally ran into him. The Cardinals took over at the Lions’ 5-yard line and broke their 11-quarter touchdown drought on the next play.
About five minutes later, the Lions got the ball at their 7-yard line, were called for back-to-back false starts (offensive linemen Gosder Cherilus and Riley Reiff) and then Stafford threw the first of his game-turning interceptions. Cornerback Patrick Peterson returned it 31 yards to Detroit’s 3 to set up another score.
A couple minutes later, Stafford gave the Cardinals one more gift in the final seconds of the first half. Safety Rashad Johnson’s 53-yard interception return extended the Cardinals’ lead to 21-7 at halftime.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Stafford threw yet another interception on a fourth-and-goal play from the 2-yard line that was returned 102 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Greg Toler with 5:07 remaining in the game.
Arizona’s suffocating defense stopped the Lions on downs in Detroit territory, setting up one final score to turn it into a total rout at the end.
To sum it up, the Cardinals scored five touchdowns on a 5-yard drive, a 3-yard drive, two interception returns and a 29-yard drive.
All that was missing was the wrapping paper with a bow on top.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 11:31
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police started investigating what appeared to be a barricaded gunman situation only to find out later he wasn’t at the home — and was likely out receiving dialysis.
“Yes, we are checking our leads, and some of them are … checking local hospitals to see if this individual has shown up,” said Detroit Police Lieutenant Alvin Barren.
Lt. Barren said after a victim was discovered shot four times Sunday morning, it was believed the shooter was holed up inside a home off Warren, separate from the crime scene.
Authorities weren’t taking any chances and brought in the SWAT team and their police tank to bust inside.
“Due to the nature and the violence of the situation it is safer to bring in the experts – which would be our special response team,” said Lt. Barren.
But after raiding the home police discovered — nothing — and new information led them to believe the suspect had never been at the home — and was actually at a dialysis appointment. He still hasn’t been found.
As for that shooting victim, police told WWJ he is expected to recover.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 11:21
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
Southfield (WWJ)- Three days after 20 children were shot and killed in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, local school administrators are sending out word to parents and students that their buildings are safe.
In a letter sent Sunday to parents at Buchanan Elementary, principal Marjorie Moore said “like all of you, my heart is hurting for the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Please know that we will continue to surround your children with love and care, as we do every day, but especially when we see them on Monday.”
Livonia Public Schools Superintendent Randy A. Liepa also sent a letter to parents in response to the tragedy. In the letter, Liepa says “As parents, we know your thoughts immediately turn to your own children and their well-being. We want you to know that in place at each of our schools is an emergency crisis plan, procedures for security lockdowns, and the use of an entrance security system (door buzzing at elementary and middle schools; police liaison officers at each high school). These procedures have been in place for some time, and are reviewed with staff and students periodically. Of course, we will be conducting a thorough review of these plans. Most importantly, we have school leaders and staff who are highly committed, caring individuals to work with our students each day.”
In a letter sent to parents Friday, Ferndale Public Schools Superintendent Gary Meier wrote “regarding safety, it is important to me that you all know that we take school safety seriously across the Ferndale Schools. We have created protocols and drills to keep our schools safe and secure. Our top priority is the safety and protection of the children of this district.”
The district has two police liaison officers and a close relationship with the Ferndale Police Department.
There is information available for parents on what to say or how to support children. Click here for that information.
Among other things, the National Association of School Psychologists says:
All Adults Should:
1.Model calm and control. Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives. Avoid appearing anxious or frightened.
2.Reassure children that they are safe and (if true) so are the other important adults in their lives. Depending on the situation, point out factors that help insure their immediate safety and that of their community.
3.Remind them that trustworthy people are in charge. Explain that the government emergency workers, police, firefighters, doctors, and the military are helping people who are hurt and are working to ensure that no further tragedies occur.
4.Let children know that it is okay to feel upset. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy like this occurs. Let children talk about their feelings and help put them into perspective. Even anger is okay, but children may need help and patience from adults to assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
5.Observe children’s emotional state. Depending on their age, children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of grief, anxiety or discomfort. Children will express their emotions differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel or express grief.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 10:43
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Mental health issues are predicted to come to the forefront as police unravel what led to Adam Lanza opening fire on a classroom full of first graders Friday in Newtown, Conn.
Many believe Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome, which falls on the high-functioning level of the autism spectrum, and his brother reportedly said he had other mental health issues as well.
Heather Irish, president of the MINDS program, an advocacy agency for people struggling with mental health issues, said although mental illness does not excuse the actions of the shooter, it may help officials understand why he did it.
“One of the real key components is the age of the shooter, because he was 20-years-old, that is a real hallmark sign of psychosis,” Irish said. “That is a time between about 18-21 is when psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia can start. But in a psychotic state – they don’t know right from wrong.”
Funeral are beginning Monday for the 20 children and six adults massacred by Lanza, who was carrying an assault rifle and two handguns, and dressed in combat gear when he shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School. Contrary to initial reports, Lanza had no ties to the school other than that he lived nearby, police now say.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 10:19
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
BLOOMFIELD TWP., Mich. (WWJ) - A water main break has a busy section of Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township closed this morning.
WWJ’s Ron Dewey reports from the scene that while there is no standing water to drive through on northbound Telegraph north of Maple, the two right lanes are closed to traffic. Crews are currently working on the problem, however, there is no word at this point on how long it’ll take for them to fix it.
Drivers will see a couple of arrow trucks guiding traffic around the work zone. Keep in mind that this is a busy intersection, and with four lanes suddenly reduced to two, there will be backups and slowdowns throughout the morning. The best advice for drivers who will be traveling through the area is to plan accordingly and stay up-to-date with traffic and weather around the clock on the 8s with WWJ Newsradio 950 and right here on CBS Detroit.com.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 10:11
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