18 detained in human trafficking probe • This season's 'tridemic' • Domestic abusers banned from buying guns

Michigan State Police detained 18 people on Monday in connection to a possible human trafficking operation in Detroit. 

While investigating a stolen vehicle report in the Charter Township of Royal Oak last week, Metro North Post troopers "noticed something wasn't quite right," MSP Second District took to X Monday night. "During the interviews, troopers discovered evidence of a possible human trafficking operation."

MSP worked with the Second District Special Investigation Traffic Abduction Group (TAG) to launch an investigation.

"After several days of surveillance and investigation, TAG identified three houses in Detroit where possible victims of human trafficking were being kept," according to police.

At least one of the houses is located on Hartwell St. near Vassar Dr. 

The Michigan Emergency Support Team, the MSP Surveillance Team and TAG detectives executed three separate search warrants and apprehended 18 people on Monday.

TAG detectives are conducting interviews with all individuals involved and providing assistance to those identified as victims.

"This is just one of the many examples of troopers looking beyond the original call," said MSP Lt. Mike Shaw in the release. "They were able to dig and, with the help of TAG, help get these victims out of a horrible environment and get them the help they need."

The investigation remains ongoing.

If you have been subjected to, or witnessed, human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Read more here 

Warning of this season's 'tridemic'

While the holiday season brings loved ones together, it also amplifies the likelihood of transmitting respiratory viruses, according to health experts. Viruses like the flu, COVID-19, and RSV spread more during the fall and winter months – especially with the increase in large gatherings and travel, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

In 2022, 'a tridemic' or ‘triple threat' of COVID-19, the flu and RSV became a growing concern; hospitals were overloaded with cases. However, 2023 marks the first year that vaccines are available to protect against all three of these viruses.

"Every year, we've talked about the triple threat and every year we have some cases where it's bad," said Dr. Matthew Sims from Corewell Health, who examines data on flu, COVID-19, and RSV cases. "RSV has gone up to about 6% of all (positive tests), flu is at about 2%, but it is rising, and COVID is up to about 10%."

Doctors are asking people to take precautions during holiday gatherings and travel. That means getting vaccinated against all three, washing one's hands, and covering your mouth if you have to sneeze or cough.


Potential for 'tridemic' increases as holiday season nears, health experts say

"There’s nothing that prevents you from getting exposed to more than one virus," said Dr. Matthew Sims. "Get your vaccinations. They're going to protect you and those around you."

Domestic abusers banned from owning guns

Those convicted of domestic violence crimes will be banned for owning, buying, or transporting firearms for eight years, a new law says.

The Michigan governor signed the latest gun safety legislation into office Monday, which attempts to prevent someone convicted of a violent crime from harming someone else. It's the fourth gun-related law that Gretchen Whitmer has signed.

"Keeping Michiganders – especially young women – safe and healthy is a top priority, and these bills will take long overdue steps to protect individuals from abuse," said Governor Whitmer. "As a former prosecutor and as governor, I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation to prevent abusers from accessing firearms. Together, we can make Michigan a safe and welcoming place for everyone." 

There were three bills that were part of the package. 

Warren swears in new mayor

Former State Representative Lori Stone was sworn in as the new mayor of Warren on Monday. The lifelong resident, Stone grew up there and worked as a teacher before being elected a state representative. Now, she'll serve as mayor - and make history doing it.

For the first time in 16 years, Warren has a new mayor and its first woman mayor ever at 43 years old, she's full of energy and excitement for the job and for the people.

"Listening to residents," she said. "So our community can expect more town halls, round tables, and the opportunity to weigh in on issues that are important to them, whether it is public safety, environmental policy, or Parks and Recreation."

Mayor Stone, the former school teacher and state representative, has strong support based on the standing-room-only crowd that gathered to witness her swearing in, she's going to work for everybody. She replaces outgoing mayor Jim Fouts, who has served in the seat since 2007.


City of Warren swears in new Mayor Lori Stone

"Our community can expect more town halls, round tables, and the opportunity to weigh in on issues that are important to them," Stone said. "Whether it is public safety, environmental policy, or Parks and Recreation."

DTE begins burying power lines

DTE crews are excavating deep holes in several Metro Detroit neighborhoods, strategically installing power lines underground as a part of a pilot program that seeks to reduce power outages.

At the Detroit’s Buffalo Charles neighborhood, near the Hamtramck border, "is the instillation of the underground conduit that we’re going to be pulling our underground wires and cables into – as part of our initiative to upgrade both the gas services in this area, and to underground the services for the customers that live in this neighborhood," said Morgan Elliott-Andahazy, a DTE project development manager. 

Elliott-Andahazy is overseeing the installation of five miles of wire and said this is a first. "What’s really cool about this particular location is that this is the first time that both DTE gas and DTE electric are under grounding our equipment at the same time, in the same neighborhood," she added.

After severe weather-related incidents, DTE often receives numerous complaints from customers due to extended power outages that sometimes last for days. 

Read more here.

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Daily Forecast

Plan on a rainy Tuesday with up to an inch expected in spots, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures will be in the 40s before further dipping by the end of the week.

What else we're watching

  1. The Detroit City Council will vote on a new property tax reform Tuesday that will ensure that an assessment notice to homeowners includes information to help determine if the city is overtaxing them.
  2. The Thanksgiving holiday travel rush has begun. Detroit Metro Airport began picking up steam Tuesday morning. The TSA expects to screen 2.6 million travelers with Wednesday through Sunday being the busiest travel days.
  3. Lauryn Hill has canceled her show at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday. It was scheduled to commemorate her 2th anniversary of winning a Grammy in 1998.
  4. It's also official: the UAW strike is over after all three automakers confirmed that members had ratified their new agreements.
  5. A new crime-combatting bill will distribute funding based on city's crime rates. Read about state Rep. Alabas Farhat's legislation here.

New obesity medications shaping social norms around holiday dinners

For most of her life, Claudia Stearns dreaded Thanksgiving. As a person who struggled with obesity since childhood, Stearns hated the annual turmoil of obsessing about what she ate — and the guilt of overindulging on a holiday built around food.

Now, after losing nearly 100 pounds using medications including Wegovy, a powerful new anti-obesity drug, Stearns says the "food noise" in her head has gone very, very quiet.

"Last year, it felt so lovely to just be able to enjoy my meal, to focus on being with friends and family, to focus on the joy of the day," says Stearns, 65, of Somerville, Massachusetts. "That was a whole new experience."