Monday, January 22, 2018

Levin, Kildee, Dingell, Lawrence Statement on Fourth Short-Term Continuing Resolution


By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

According to a press release issued at 6:42 PM Monday evening, Congressman Sander Levin (MI-09), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) issued the following statement after voting ‘no’ on a bill that fails to include a long-term budget or the priorities of the American people:

“It is unacceptable for Congress to continue funding the government just weeks at a time. Another short-term continuing resolution—the fourth since last October—hurts our military readiness and injects uncertainty into our economy.

“Congress should pass a long-term budget that provides certainty to our military and addresses the priorities of the American people. With so many unresolved and pressing issues, including the opioid epidemic, pension crisis, disaster relief, crumbling infrastructure and protecting DREAMers, Republicans and Democrats must sit down together and reach a compromise. We stand ready to work in a bipartisan fashion to address these issues.

“While Senator McConnell has now pledged Senate action, we need a commitment from Speaker Ryan in the House to work with Democrats on a long-term budget agreement as well as legislation to fix our broken immigration system and protect DREAMers. We oppose another short-term funding bill for these reasons.”

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Government shutdown: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell's statement on impact and what Michigan families need to know.

Photo Purple Walrus Press.


By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

At precisely midnight Friday the federal government shut down and thousands of federal employees will now be placed on furlough.

Saturday, January 20, 2018, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI 12) released the following statement on the federal shutdown outlining the expected impact on Michigan families in the 12th District. According Dingell's office, the Congresswoman will remain in Washington for as long as needed to come to a bipartisan agreement to re-open the government. Dingell is ready to help constituents navigate issues and concerns.

“It is unacceptable that after a year of putting off critical priorities and hurtling from one short-term funding bill to the next, President Trump and the Republicans who control the House and Senate refuse to work to find common ground to meet the needs of the American people. This shutdown is not good for this country and is completely avoidable. There is bipartisan support for legislation that would provide long-term funding for the government, certainty to the military, and address critical priorities including funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program and raising budget caps on non-defense spending, one third of which goes to veterans and national security. This is not a war of words; it is about real people’s lives, and we need to get it done. This is what the American people expect and it is what they deserve.
“Last year, President Trump tweeted that ‘our government needs a good shutdown.’ There is no such things as a good shutdown. Failure to find a bipartisan compromise disrupts the lives of millions of Americans and has a significant impact on our communities and economy. The last shutdown cost the American economy $24 billion. This is unacceptable. We were sent to Washington to govern, and I stand ready to work around the clock to end this shutdown and do the job the American people elected us to do. My office will remain open to help families, veterans, seniors and businesses navigate this situation.”

Read the following Questions and Answers on the anticipated impact of a Federal Government Shutdown as presented in Saturday's press release from Debbie Dingell's office.


Will I continue to receive my Social Security and SSI checks?
During a government shutdown, recipients will continue to receive their Social Security and SSI checks.  However, a shutdown suspends the issuance of Social Security cards.  On a typical day, approximately 60,000 Americans apply for Social Security cards, which they may need to be able to start a job, take out a loan, open a bank account, or conduct other financial transactions.  During a shutdown, no Social Security cards are issued.

Will my mail still arrive?
Yes.  The approximately 500,000 Postal Service employees are exempt from furlough because the Postal Service is self-funded.

Will I still be able to visit the national parks and monuments?
During the 2013 16-day shutdown, national parks, national monuments, and the Smithsonian museums were closed.  However, the Trump Administration has announced that it will work to keep national parks “as accessible as possible” in the event of a shutdown.  Officials have said that the anticipated plan is to keep many national parks open for hiking, wildlife watching, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.  Open-air parks and monuments in Washington, D.C. will remain open.  However, other services that require National Park Service staff, including campgrounds and concessions, will be closed.

How will the shutdown affect FEMA natural disaster clean-up efforts?
It’s unclear how ongoing FEMA recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, California, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands from recent hurricanes and wildfires will be impacted.  FEMA staff would still respond to emergencies, but the Trump Administration has not clarified how many workers, if any, would continue with long-term projects.

What is the impact on veterans’ services?
During a government shutdown, all VA medical facilities and clinics will remain fully operational.  However, VA call centers and hotlines cease to function, and Veterans Benefits Administration public contact services are not available.  In addition, the 2013 16-day shutdown stopped progress in reducing veterans’ disability claims backlog, which had previously been progressing at a rate of almost 20,000 claims per week.  In addition, during the 2013 16-day shutdown, many veterans lost access to vocational rehabilitation and education counseling services.

What is the impact on U.S. military personnel?

The Defense Department issued guidance today saying that in the event of a shutdown, “Military personnel on active duty, including reserve component personnel on federal active duty, will continue to report for duty and carry out assigned duties.”  Regarding their pay, the Washington Post reports, “There would be no gap in their pay unless the shutdown lasted past February 1, and otherwise they would continue on the job without getting paid until the shutdown ended or until Congress and the President agreed to cover their costs before it ended.  The last time the government shut down, in 2013, the military remained on the job and legislation to pay service members during the shutdown was signed by President Obama.”

What is the impact on small businesses?
A shutdown halts federal loans to small businesses.  During a shutdown, the Small Business Administration stops approving applications for small businesses to obtain loans and loan guarantees, typically $1 billion per month. During the 2013 16-day shutdown, the SBA was unable to process about 700 applications for $140 million in small business loans.

What is the impact on federal housing loans?
During a shutdown, the Federal Housing Administration stops approving applications for housing loans.  During the 2013 16-day shutdown, the FHA delayed processing over 500 applications for loans to develop, rehabilitate, or refinance around 80,000 units of multifamily rental housing.

What is the impact on medical research?
During a shutdown, NIH shuts down most medical research taking place on its campus in Maryland, prevents the enrollment of patients in NIH Clinical Center studies, and stops reviewing medical research grant applications and making or renewing research grants.

What is the impact on the Centers for Disease Control?
During a shutdown, CDC has to greatly curtail its activities to conduct flu season surveillance and monitoring, promote immunization, support state and local health departments, and update disease treatment and prevention recommendations.

What is the impact on food safety activities?
During a shutdown, the FDA is unable to support the majority of its food safety activities.  The 2013 16-day shutdown sharply curtailed critical FDA food safety inspections of domestic and international food facilities.

Which federal employees keep working during a government shutdown?


When there is a government shutdown, federal agencies are required to classify their employees as either “essential” or “non-essential.”  The employees classified as “essential” continue to work during the shutdown.  However, the employees classified as “non-essential” are put on unpaid furlough.  In the 2013 16-day shutdown, about 800,000 of the 2.1 million civilian federal employees in the executive branch were classified as “non-essential” and furloughed.

Do furloughed federal employees get back pay?
That is up to the Congress and White House.  The precedent has been that furloughed employees are later paid, through enactment of legislation.  For example, that was done in the most recent shutdown in 2013.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell / Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur applaud EPA's decision to reconsider impairment status of Lake Erie



By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur have issued the following statements after news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided to withdraw its approval of Ohio EPA's evaluation of the state's list of impaired waterways. According to a press release from Congresswoman Dingell's office Thursday, January 18, the assessment failed to address the open waters of Lake Erie. According to the release, U.S. EPA had previously accepted both Ohio's and Michigan's assessments even though Michigan had previously designated the open waters of Lake Erie impaired, while, at the same time, Ohio had refused to do so. U.S EPA now considers the Ohio assessment "incomplete" (read full letter here).

“With this change of heart, EPA is finally taking a first step toward protect the drinking water 11 million people in Michigan, Ohio and throughout the Great Lakes region rely upon,” said Dingell, a Member of the Great Lakes Task Force. “Failure to recognize these waters as impaired puts public health and the Great Lakes economy at risk. There is no line of separation in Lake Erie, and it is clear that EPA must take a proactive approach in confronting this challenge facing the entire region.”

“EPA’s decision to reconsider the status of the open waters of Lake Erie is right on. There is no magic line between the impaired Lake Erie waters of Michigan and Ohio,” said Kaptur, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force. “This is simple, Lake Erie should be designated as impaired because it is. This past summer 1,000 square miles of the Lake were covered in green slime – even a child can see the Lake is impaired. The State of Ohio has proven time and again that it has more excuses than solutions.  We hope Governor Kasich and the Ohio EPA will join us in welcoming the U.S. EPA’s input and expertise in helping return our Great Lake to great health.”

In November, 2016, Dingell and Kaptur sent a letter to the EPA urging them to disregard Ohio's determination and designate the waters as officially impaired.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Eastern Michigan defeats Akron in men's basketball 63-49.


By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

The Eagles of Eastern Michigan University downed the Akron University Zips by a score of 63-49 at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti Tuesday night. The 11-7 Eagles  notched an impressive win that puts them in good standing for their up-coming against Ohio University at the Convo Center on Saturday, January 20.

Eastern Michigan's Elijah Minnie scored 22 points and had five rebounds, while teammate Paul Jackson scored 20 points with eight rebounds.

The Eagles offense was strong from the start, shooting 46 percent (21-45) from the floor.

Catch the Eagles at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti on Saturday, Jan 20 as they face Ohio University at 2 pm.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell calls town hall to discuss new GOP tax bill

Town Hall, Saturday January 13th, 2018
Photo by Riley G. Bender
By Riley G. Bender: Purple Walrus Press.

Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell led a town hall on Saturday to discuss the recent GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The event was hosted by Taylor, MI Mayor Rick Sollars in the Taylor City Hall. The Trump era tax bill is over 500 pages long and complex (to say the least), with debate around the potential future impacts remaining heated. Among Congresswoman Dingell’s town hall panel were State Representatives Erika Geiss, Darrin Camilleri, Cara Clemente, Ronnie Peterson, Adam Zemke and Yousef Rabhi. Also present on the panel were Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood; Stephanie Leiser, a tax policy lecturer from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; and Maggie Randolph, Senior Research Analyst from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.
Representative Dingell began the discussion by emphasizing the need to place politically charged discussion aside in order to discuss the potential impacts, positive and negative, of the bill on Michigan residents. This sentiment was echoed by Senator Hopgood, who added that the majority of the bill’s impact on the average citizen would not necessarily manifest as a large increase, but that there would be “other implications” including public programs that offer assistance to the community.
Representatives Clemente and Rabhi emphasized the importance of sharing information regarding the tax bill in order to spread awareness and ready the community to make any changes necessary. Perhaps one of the more practical pieces of information shared by the panel prior to the commencement of questions came from Ms. Leiser, in the form of a tax calculator which compares the current tax status quo from 2017 to the changes coming in the 2018 tax year due to the new bill (accessible here).
Lastly, Ms. Randolph highlighted the bill’s removal of the Individual Mandate for health insurance effective January 1, 2019, which previously required all citizens without health insurance to pay a penalty. According to Randolph, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the removal of the Individual Mandate penalty could result in a decrease in individuals with health insurance policies by thirteen million over the next ten years. They predict that this will result in a premium increase of ten percent per year for plans on the marketplace on top of any current trends.
Much of the initial dialogue as well as responses to questions from the audience were taken by Ms. Leiser and Ms. Randolph. While the town hall’s primary focus was toward the new GOP tax bill as a whole, the majority questions from the audience quickly focused the lens of discussion toward the healthcare aspect. The tone was occasionally passionate, but remained respectful and welcoming for members across the community.
Saturday’s town hall was slated as the first of many to come. Details for future events will be available soon.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy statement condemning Trump administration's inaction after report on Russian meddling.


By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has issued the following statement regarding a new report that was released by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, that outlines Russian interference in approximately nineteen European countries. Murphy is also a member of the U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“This report needs to be a wake-up call for the Trump administration. The extent of Russia’s interference is not new—we know Russia has brazenly meddled in democracies across the world, including our own,” said Murphy. “Congress passed our Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act with strong bipartisan support, but the Trump administration has not used the tools given to it in this legislation. Congress needs to support additional anti-corruption efforts, and the Trump administration needs to immediately start using the tools Congress provided them to fight back against Russia’s dangerous propaganda and disinformation crusade.” 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Congresswoman Dingell seeks answers from US Postal Service on delivery issues in Ypsilanti



By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12) sent a letter on January 11 to the U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan J. Brennan regarding continuing problems with mail delivery in Ypsilanti. In December 2016 Dingell raised similar issues after Ypsilanti residents and community leaders raised concerns about long delays in delivery and pickup,  periods where no mail was delivered for days and unreachable and unresponsive customer service. Dingell is urging USPS to investigate the matter and share what steps are being initiated to improve service.


According to a press release from Congresswoman Dingell's office, “Mail delivery problems in Ypsilanti are an ongoing issue which I have raised before, but we are receiving a significant number of complaints from city leaders and constituents because the problems with mail delivery have become so serious,” wrote Dingell. “While it is understandable that the holiday season may cause some delays, these issues go well beyond that and have been going on for too long. Residents of Ypsilanti must be able to rely on timely, consistent mail service and this is clearly not the case at this time.”
The full letter can be read here and below.

Ms. Megan J. Brennan
Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer
United States Postal Service

Dear Ms. Brennan:

                This letter is to once again address the unacceptable quality of mail delivery service in Ypsilanti, Michigan and to request that the U.S. Postal Service conduct an assessment of the problem and develop a plan to correct it.  Mail delivery problems in Ypsilanti are an ongoing issue which I have raised before, but we are receiving a significant number of complaints from city leaders and constituents because the problems with mail delivery have become so serious. While it is understandable that the holiday season may cause some delays, these issues go well beyond that and have been going on for too long. Residents of Ypsilanti must be able to rely on timely, consistent mail service and this is clearly not the case at this time.
               
                Service issues include:
·         Mail is often being delivered after 8pm.
·         Packages are reported as delivered although they remain undelivered and stored on trucks overnight. Constituents rely on the safe and timely delivery of medications and other highly sensitive packages that require confidence in the ability of the USPS.
·         Mail is not being delivered for days at a time.  A large bundle of older mail is then delivered after several days.
·         Mail is consistently being delivered to the wrong homes - so often that neighborhoods have taken to organizing street wide communication to sort on their own.
·         The Ypsilanti Post Office is unresponsive to customer complaints.  Residents are unable to speak to anyone via telephone regarding their mail service problems and voicemails are full.
·         Lines and wait times at the Ypsilanti Post Office building are exceed hours during peak hours, oftentimes with no more than a single individual working the counter.
·         A void in staffing means mail carriers are constantly changing and “filling in gaps” as opposed to mail carriers handling assigned routes.

                As I mentioned, this is not the first time we have heard these types of complaints about the Ypsilanti Post Office. It is important that these issues be investigated so we can understand the underlying issues that cause this chronic poor service and so the Post Office can implement the necessary corrective measures are implemented.  Residents of Ypsilanti deserve a higher quality of service then they are receiving today.   Please provide the results of your assessment of the problem as well as steps being taken to address. I am also requesting a meeting in the next few weeks with the appropriate USPS personnel to discuss these issues my constituents are facing, what USPS believes is causing them and what your action plan is to improve mail delivery for the residents of Ypsilanti.

                Thank you for your attention to this issue and I look forward to receiving your prompt response.


Sincerely,


                                
Debbie Dingell

Member of Congress

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Rep. Debbie Dingel, State Legislators, and Local Officials to Hold Town Hall on Republican Tax Plan Saturday.



By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) District State Legislators and local officials will hold a Town Hall on Saturday, January 13 at 1 p.m. Information will be provided about the Republican tax plan that was signed into law in December. The Town Hall will address how the plan will impact families in Michigan in the coming months and years. Experts and officials will answer questions and talk about the impact health care, Social Security, Medicade and other important programs moving forward.

The Town Hall will be free and openedto the public.

What: Town Hall on recently passed republican tax plan.

Who:

State Rep. Erika Geiss
State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood
State Rep. Darrin Camilleri
State Rep. Cara Clemente
State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud
State Rep. Ronnie Peterson
State Rep. Adam Zemke
Mayor Rick Sollars
Stephanie Leiser, Lecturer focusing on economic and tax policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Maggie Randolph, Senior Research Analyst, Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation

WHEN: 1-2:30 p.m., Saturday, January 13

WHERE: Taylor City Hall, City Council Chambers, 23555 Goddard Rd, Taylor, MI.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Attorney General Bill Schuette: 10,000 OK2SAY tips received from students in Michigan.



By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Today, January 8, 2018, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that the OK2SAY student safety program has received 10,734 tips since the program began September 2014. According to today's press release from Schuette's office, "In 2017 alone, the program received 4,605 tips-up 37% from 2016. For the first time suicide threats topped the list."

Tips were received across 30 categories including the following:
  • 1,205 tips on suicide threats;
  • 961 tips on bullying;
  • 456 tips in the other category, related to anxiety, stress, depression, harassment
  • 390 tips on self-harm
  • 311 tips on drugs; and
  • 287 tips on cyberbullying.
According to the Michigan Attorney General's Office, “This program can be categorized as nothing else but a success, and it is a success because Michigan students are using it,” said Schuette. “OK2SAY has given students who previously did not know where to turn a confidential place to get help. I want to thank our presenters and the OK2SAY technicians at the Michigan State Police who make students feel safe and comfortable when providing tips. They are another piece of the puzzle that makes this program such a success.”               


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Suspected water main break closes Pearl Street between Huron and Washington in Ypsilanti Saturday night.

Photo Purple Walrus Press.


By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

As of 8:15 PM Saturday night Ypsilanti Fire Department, Huron Valley Ambulance, Ypsilanti Community Utility Authority (YCUA), and DTE are searching for the source of a suspected water main break on Pearl Street between Huron and Washington in Ypsilanti. According to YCUA, there is what appears to be a water main break in the vicinity of a brick building located at 108 Pearl. The building is directly across the street from Congdons Ace Hardware. No one appeared to be inside 108 Pearl Street except for firemen.

YUCA and Ypsilanti Fire Department are waiting for DTE to detect the exact location of what is believed to be a water main break. Temperatures are currently in the low single digits turning Pearl Street downtown into a sheet of ice and creating dangerous conditions for crews.

This is an ongoing situation. Stay tuned for updates.

Photos Purple Walrus Press.





Friday, January 5, 2018

Cows Killed By Deputies In Dixboro Area Thursday.



By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

As reported in Purple Walrus Press Thursday evening, January 4, the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department sent out an alert to the community that a cow was on the loose near the intersection of Dixboro and Plymouth Roads in Superior Township Thursday afternoon. In fact, the Sheriff's Department has stated that at 11:20 am two cows escaped through a broken trailer door near the intersection of Dixboro and Plymouth Roads while the owner of the steer was taking the animals to be butchered in Milan. According to the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department, the owner felt she had no way to safely retrieve the the two steer. According to the Sheriff's Dept, all involved agreed that because of the size and aggressiveness of the steer, their proximity to neighborhoods and the fact that the cows were on their way to being butchered in Milan, the animals should be "dispatched at the scene and later transported by the owners.

Deputies and local residents searched for and located the animals.Shortly, both animals were located and dispatched due to their size and aggressiveness, according to the Sheriff's Department.

According to the Washtenaw Coiunty Sheriff's Department, once the animals were located the owner resumed possession and decisions regarding how and when to dispose of the steer were solely up to her.

The following is the statement from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department that was posted on their facebook page.

Washtenaw Sheriff SHERIFF'S OFFICE STATEMENT ON RECENT INCIDENT INVOLVING TWO STEER IN ANN ARBOR TOWNSHIP. 

On Thursday, January 4th at 11:20 AM Washtenaw Metro Dispatch received a call of two cows running loose near the intersection of Plymouth Rd. and Dixboro in Ann 
Arbor Township. 

Deputies arrived on scene and met with the owner of the animals. The owner clarified that these animals were large steer and as she was transporting them to Milan to be butchered her trailor door was broken and the steer got loose. The owner also advised that she had no way to corral the animals. Subsequently, all parties involved agreed that due to their size, aggressiveness, proximity to residential neighborhoods, and that they were previously set to be butchered the animals would need to be dispatched on scene and transported by the owners afterwards. 

Deputies, along with the owner and several local citizens worked together to locate the animals. The first animal was located a short time later and a Sheriff’s Office Supervisor was able to dispatch the steer. The second steer however, was more difficult to locate and required the use of the Michigan State Police helicopter. Again, due to the size, aggressiveness, and proximity to residential neighborhoods the decision was made to utilize the neccessarey resources in order to locate and dispatch of the animal. 

The Sheriff’s Office role was to ensure public safety by assisting the owner in locating and dispatching of her animals in a timely and safe manner. Once both animals were located the owner resumed possession and the decisions of how and when to dispose of the animals are sole hers.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cow on the lam in Superior Township Thursday.



By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Thursday afternoon, January 4, the  Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department sent out an intriguing statement to community. According to the Sheriff's Department, "Superior Township Deputies are looking for a loose cow in the area of Dixboro and Plymouth. Any citizen who sees this animal please contact Washtenaw Metro Dispatch 734-994-2911.

A Loose cow around Dixboro and Plymouth Road?! Wow! As 5:00 pm rolled around the cow apparently, hadn't been located. Strange. How can a cow manage to stay out of sight in a pretty highly populated area? I mean, how quickly can a cow move, and how much territory can they cover in a couple of hours? I have absolutely no idea. By 5:30 pm Thursday, I couldn't resist grabbing my camera to head over to nearby Dixboro by car to see if I could find the cow, or least, cover the capturing of the runaway cow. My 9 year old daughter was as intrigued as I was about the runaway cow and was eager to come with me. Although it was close to dinner time, my wife gave us her amused blessings. Off my daughter and I went in the car in search of the Dixboro cow.

Within 10 minutes of Ypsi we were in the heart of Dixboro, with camera in hand. All the way over to Dixboro my daughter had her eyes trained on the wooded areas off of Dixboro Rd, eyes peeled for the runaway cow, of course.

I don't know why, but I decided to drive over around the Humane Society on Cherry Hill. I mean, maybe the cow sensed there were some fury friends over there in the vicinity. Nope, no cow.

Next, we went back to Dixboro Rd and headed to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens off of Dixboro. Lots of woods and fields over there surrounding the main building...perfect place for a runaway cow to hang out. Nope, no cow

Then my daughter pointed up. She spotted a helicopter that was circling around and around the vicinity of Dixboro and Plymouth Road. Maybe the chopper spotted it! It had a spotlight and everything. My hunch is that it was a news helicopter. Hell, if we could afford it, Purple Walrus Press would have a news chopper, also! Anyway, the chopper soon left the area, and so did we.

I sure hope they find that cow soon. Cold out there! We'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Michigan State Police conduct two-day sex offender sweep in Lansing.



Photo michigan.gov

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

The Michigan State Police have completed a two-day sex offender sweep that was conducted in Lansing. During the two day compliance check of over 320 registered sex offenders within the city of Lansing, 30 violations of the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act were found. The Michigan State Police announced this information on January 3.

According to the announcement from MSP, warrants will be sought for the infractions through the Ingham County Prosecutor's office. Further, investigators will revisit 107 addresses where no one was home during the sweep.

The U.S. Marshal's Service and the Lansing Police Department participated in the sweep.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

University of Arizona fires head football coach Rich Rodriguez Tuesday.

photo ABC 15 Phoenix, Arizona.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

As of 11:20 PM Tuesday night, January 2, 2018, ABC 15 News Phoenix, Arizona has reported that head football coach Rich Rodriguez has been fired by the University of Arizona. According to ABC 15 Phoenix, a letter was sent to university students by the athletic department Tuesday evening. The letter states that there is an investigation into alleged sexual harassment by Rich Rodriguez from a former employee of the Arizona athletic department.

Rodriguez was head football coach at the University of Michigan between 2008-2010.

The following is a letter to the Arizona campus community from University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke.

Dear students, Faculty and Staff: Today is a difficult day for the University of Arizona but also a day on which we reaffirm our commitment to our values — and to ourselves. This evening, we informed Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez that we have terminated his employment effective immediately and will honor the separation terms of his contract. The decision is based on several factors, including the direction and climate of our football program. Let us share with you what we are able to at this time. In October 2017, the University’s Office of Institutional Equity retained outside counsel to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Rodriguez, after a former employee in the Department of Athletics alleged that Mr. Rodriguez harassed her on multiple occasions. Like all University employees, Mr. Rodriguez is entitled to a fair investigation and due process and at no time has the University believed that Mr. Rodriguez posed any danger to a member of the community. The law firm of Cohen Dowd Quigley was retained by the Office of Institutional Equity to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the allegations made by the former employee, and that investigation began in October. After her initial report to the University in October, the former employee retained counsel and declined multiple requests from the University to participate in the investigation into her allegations. In addition, she was unwilling to turn over communications that she alleged provided support for her allegations and recently filed a notice of a financial claim against Mr. Rodriguez. The investigation, which concluded on December 28, 2017, found that the original specific harassment allegations against Mr. Rodriguez could not be substantiated based on the evidence and witnesses available to it. However, Arizona Athletics did become aware of information, both before and during the investigation, which caused it to be concerned with the direction and climate of the football program. As a result, we have been reviewing the findings and deliberating our course of action. While this is a difficult decision, it is the right decision. And it is a decision that lives up to the core values of the University of Arizona. We have outstanding young men in our football program and tremendous employees who will continue to work hard on behalf of the Arizona family. We are confident that we will find a new leader of our program who will take us to great heights with men and women of character and talent, on and off of the field.

Sincerely, Robert C. Robbins President Dave Heeke Director of Athletics

Monday, January 1, 2018

Flint Mayor Weaver Responds To Motion filed against City In Federal Court



By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

 Flint Mayor Karen Weaver released the following statement in response to a motion filed December 27, 2017, regarding the Concerned Pastors settlement agreement.
“The City of Flint remains committed to replacing all lead and galvanized water service lines leading to homes in Flint. It is important to note, nothing in the motion filed yesterday jeopardizes, in any way, the City’s efforts or the funding commitments included in the settlement agreement for service line replacements.  The motion deals only with proposed changes to how status reports are provided, which to date, the City has worked collaboratively to adhere to.
The few individuals the City has had working on the Fast Start pipe replacement program have been focused, first and foremost, on the effort to replace lead tainted pipes leading to residents’ homes. They have made it a priority to get contractors and residents what they need to ensure the progress and productivity of the effort.
We commend our team for the work they continue to do, and are pleased that service lines to more than 6,229 homes have been replaced since FAST Start launched in March 2016.  In addition, crews have identified copper service lines at a total of 1,439 homes which did not need to be replaced. Also this year, workers began checking the composition of service lines using hydro excavation. Through this process, crews have checked lines at an additional 4,656 homes.
No one wants to get the lead out of Flint more than me. My administration and I are doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of residents, which includes continuing the work of removing and replacing lead-tainted residential service lines in 2018 and 2019, with the funding guaranteed by the Concerned Pastors settlement agreement. “

Concerned Pastors is a membership of religious leaders in Flint and the surrounding area who fight for the rights of the underserved and neglected. The organization believes that it is their duty to unify against all injustices and to provide a voice for those without resources.