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Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST

January 1, 2019

MILITARY MEMBER SLAIN-MICHIGAN

Military member fatally shot during family visit in Michigan

ST. JOSEPH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 23-year-old active duty member of the U.S. military has been shot and killed while visiting family for the holidays in southwestern Michigan.

St. Joseph Township police say Tyrone Hassell III suffered multiple gunshot wounds Monday night in St. Joseph Township, southwest of Grand Rapids. He later died at a hospital.

No arrests were reported.

Police did not say in which branch of the military Hassell served.

MICHIGAN MINIMUM WAGE

Michigan’s minimum wage will go up 20 cents to $9.45 an hour

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s minimum wage will soon increase by 20 cents an hour.

The increase takes effect in late March and will make the minimum wage $9.45, up from $9.25. The boost comes amid political wrangling that’s expected to continue into court.

The $9.25 minimum wage had been set to increase by an inflationary amount this April. But a ballot drive gathered signatures for an initiative to set it at $10 this year and ultimately $12 in 2022.

Republican lawmakers adopted the citizens’ initiative only to recently scale it back with outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder. To address business’ concerns, they landed at $9.45 and delayed the $12 minimum by years.

The ballot committee says it’s evaluating legal options and “will keep fighting until the rule of law is respected and the democratic process is upheld.”

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This story has been corrected to show the wage increase will take effect in late March, not on Tuesday.

PHEASANT HUNTING

Lawmakers vote to spend $180,000 for pheasants for hunting

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers have agreed to spend $180,000 to buy pheasants to promote hunting.

The money was included in a spending bill signed last week by Gov. Rick Snyder in his final days in office. The pheasants would be released in state game areas to enhance hunting opportunities.

The Legislature told the Department of Natural Resources to evaluate the program for possible renewal in future years. Lawmakers want the DNR to learn if the pheasant program gives a boost to small game hunting.

The opinions of hunters will be important. The DNR is also being told to explore whether the release of pheasants reduces any conflicts between hunters.

WHITMER-INAUGURATION

Whitmer set to become Michigan’s 49th governor

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is set to become Michigan’s 49th governor.

The 47-year-old former state lawmaker from East Lansing will take the oath of office Tuesday in a swearing-in ceremony outside the state Capitol building. The inaugural theme is “Building Bridges Together.”

Whitmer, who will be Michigan’s second female governor, is expected to highlight “kitchen table” issues she campaigned on such as fixing the roads and improving residents’ job skills.

Others being sworn in include Garlin Gilchrist II as lieutenant governor, Dana Nessel as attorney general and Jocelyn Benson as secretary of state. The last time Democrats jointly assumed control of the top four offices was 32 years ago. The event is free to attend.

The celebration will continue Tuesday night with a gala at Detroit’s Cobo Center. Tickets cost $150.

ATTEMPTED THEFT-BUILDING RAMMED

Worker foils theft after pickup rams Detroit business

DETROIT (AP) — A theft at a northwest Detroit business was foiled when an employee fired shots toward three people who used a pickup truck to ram a hole in the building.

Detroit police say the pickup’s driver backed the vehicle into the building about 7 a.m. Sunday and was preparing to strike it a second time when the employee inside started shooting.

The pickup sped away while the other two thieves who were outside the building also fled.

Police were not sure Monday if anyone was struck by the gunshots. They say the thieves were dressed in all-black clothing and wore ski masks and gloves.

The type of business and its name were not released.

DETROIT FIRE-TRAINING CENTER

Detroit fire officials look into blaze at old training site

(Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/)

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit fire officials are investigating a suspicious blaze that damaged the department’s former training center, which may have housed sensitive records.

The Detroit News reports that it took firefighters about 10 minutes to control Thursday’s blaze at the Detroit Fire Department’s old training academy. The department last used the building in 2014.

Detroit Fire Fighters Union President Mike Nevin says he saw paperwork, including payroll information, documents with Social Security numbers and medical information of civilians and employees, at the site.

Second Deputy Chief Charles Simms says the allegations of sensitive paperwork are being investigated. He says staff members have been at the site multiple times this year to review records that were left behind. He says the remaining documents will be removed and destroyed this week.

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ISLAND-PLANE CRASH

1 death reported in Beaver Island plane crash

BEAVER ISLAND, Mich. (AP) — A 72-year-old pilot has died in the crash of a small plane on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan.

The Charlevoix County sheriff’s office say an explosion was heard near the island’s airport around 7:45 p.m. Sunday. The U.S. Coast Guard assisted authorities in locating the Piper twin-engine plane in a dense, wooded area.

The pilot was identified as Donald Falik of Charlotte, near Lansing. He was the only person aboard the plane.

Beaver Island is off the northwestern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. A ferry operates between the island and Charlevoix.

FORECLOSURE-WINDFALL

Legal windfall or ‘theft’: Top court takes foreclosure case

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — In the new year, the Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether counties can continue to hit the jackpot when foreclosing on properties.

Counties routinely sell real estate when taxes are long overdue. State law allows them to pocket everything — even if the sales price exceeds the amount of debt. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether it’s an illegal government taking under the Michigan and U.S. constitutions.

Because of a mistake, Uri Rafaeli owed less than $9 on a rental property in Southfield. The bill grew to $285 with penalties and interest. Oakland County sold the house for $24,500 but refused to give him a dime, although the sale exceeded the overdue taxes.

In defense, Oakland County says it didn’t take property. Rather, it claims Rafaeli forfeited it.

STOLEN CAR-GIFTS

Public responds after car is stolen with gifts for girls

(Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/)

DETROIT (AP) — The public has responded like Santa Claus to help a woman whose car was stolen with a load of gifts for struggling Detroit-area girls.

Christen Greenwood says she wasn’t concerned about her car, two days before Christmas. But she didn’t know how she would immediately replace books, hygiene products and other gifts purchased for girls at a Detroit nonprofit, Alternatives for Girls. She had collected them from co-workers.

Pleas on social media were swiftly answered. Greenwood tells The Detroit News that she replaced what was lost with even more. People donated cash, toiletries, car seats, toys, coats and baby supplies.

Celia Thomas, chief operating officer at Alternatives for Girls, is grateful. She says, “The need never ends for our participants.”

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Online: https://alternativesforgirls.org

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SNOWPLOW-FATAL

Man dies after car crashes into rear of snowplow truck in UP

ONTONAGON, Mich. (AP) — A man has died in the Upper Peninsula after his car crashed into the rear of a snowplow truck.

Authorities in Ontonagon County have identified the man as 48-year-old Darren Tuomi of White Pine. Police say his Volkswagen Golf rear-ended a county truck Saturday night on M-64.

The sheriff’s department believes speed and alcohol might have been factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.

A similar crash occurred around 4 a.m. Sunday in Wexford County in the Lower Peninsula. The driver had serious injuries and was taken to a hospital.

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