WEDNESDAY NEWS HIT - The families in 1,200 displaced households will get $500 checks from Ford Motor Co. following precautionary evacuations from neighborhoods threatened by a gas leak in August.
The checks would total $600,000 in donated money. The announcement was made at a news conference Tuesday when Ford's vice president of sustainability, environment, and safety engineering spoke to residents.
The automaker also extended the closure of the Mustang assembly plant through Sept. 20.
Residents still haven't been allowed to return to their homes due to widescale testing in homes and garages for any remains of toxic chemicals that entered the sanitary sewer system. The automaker has previously said 1,400 gallons of gasoline had leaked beginning no earlier than Aug. 26.
Chemicals were first detected on Aug. 30.
Since then, families have been staying at motels while environmental regulators and hazard monitoring officials have swept through properties to search for any excess fumes.
The incident prompted the use of a million-dollar detection tool housed inside an EPA van.
Mayor Mark Hammond has said residents may remain out of their homes for weeks.
Crews uncover floor not on original Michigan Central plans
A sub-basement floor beneath the Michigan Central Station was uncovered after water was pumped out of the building's basement. The reveal wasn't what crews were expecting since the original plans for the station never included another level.
After 2.5 million gallons of water were pumped out, leftover was a 60,000 square foot sub-basement. Crews had originally poured concrete into the floor to stabilize the building as renovations continue.
The final phase of restoration is currently underway and they include installing concrete floors on each level of the building. The 2018 project began after Ford bought the building following decades of vacancy in Corktown. Work is expected to be finished in late 2022 or early 2023.
Once completed, Michigan Central Station will be part of Ford's Corktown Campus. The former train depot will house members of the automaker's electric vehicle team.
Group helping resettle Afghan Refugees
Some 1,300 Afghan refugees will be resettled in Michigan after thousands fled the country amid the U.S.'s exit from the war-torn region, leaving it in the hands of the Taliban. Those that left will be given safe spaces to live while they navigate the legal process of applying for citizenship.
"They are all fleeing for the same reasons," said Deb Drennan, who runs Freedom House Detroit. "Some were given a designation prior to coming to the United States, and others are going to ask for that protection when they are in the country."
Unaccompanied minors make up a lot of the people seeking asylum. The first step, Drennan says, is to get them resettled after they are moved through quarantine and receive any necessary medical treatment. Freedom House will be involved in some of the relocations.
Any refugee without valid immigration status will have a year to apply for permanent residency. As they wait, they'll be given food, clothes, housing, and counseling. Other services offered include job training and English classes.
Are reparations back on the agenda?
The conversation over reparations in Detroit is back on the ballot in November after a Wayne County chief judge sided with supporters of a charter revision that would include the financial repayment over slavery.
A legal battle over the charter revision proposal started after the Detroit Election Commission barred it from the November ballot citing the petitions submitted to the office lacked a reverse side with any proposed language. "That's a lie, that's an absolute lie," said Attorney Todd Perkins, who is spearheading the effort.
In response to City Clerk Janice Winfrey's sworn affidavit arguing against the petition, Perkins sued her and the city. The Wayne County's chief judge sided with Perkins last Friday, which ordered the measure be placed on the November ballot.
Reparations for Black Detroiters would address centuries of systemic discrimination and slavery. No money to fund the proposal has been formally set, but finances from recreational marijuana have been suggested as a possible source.
Towing docs, USB drives seized from Detroit councilmembers
The FBI's raid of Detroit's city council and the homes of two councilmembers is circling around a corruption probe into illegal and suspect towing operations within the city, according to evidence made public. The documents pertain to Councilmember-at-large Janee Ayers and Councilman Scott Benson, who has not yet been charged.
Until Tuesday, the FBI had been silent about its investigation. But the spotlight on Detroit's council, which has seen charges against two councilmen already, could yield even more offenses. Reports of improper towing operations have been reported as the subject of the investigation.
Then yesterday, documents showing just what the FBI had gathered were unsealed. Thumb drives with labels reading "Detroit Towing," "Detroit Blight Removal," "Crossroads and Touring," and "DEGC" or Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. Shredded documents were also recovered from Benson's office.
During an impromptu press conference after the raids, the FBI said it was for "collecting evidence" but declined to go into detail. A source previously told FOX 2 the raids were connected to the corruption probe against Councilman Andre Spivey.
What else we're watching
- Some 20,000 DTE customers were left without power after another series of storms rocked Metro Detroit Tuesday night, bringing thunder and lightning. The storms also caused a massive tree to fall down on McDougal Street in Detroit, blocking access.
- The Council of American Islamic Relations is filing a civil rights action against the city of Ferndale after the forceable removal of a woman's hijab for a booking photograph. They'll be holding a press conference on the lawsuit at 10 a.m.
- James Craig officially launched his campaign for governor Tuesday. The announcement was derailed before it began when protesters entered the scene. While GOP officials called the press conference a disaster, Craig's campaign said it was a success.
- The U.S. Senate is holding a committee hearing on an inspector general's report that claimed the FBI botched investigations into sports doctor Larry Nasser for years, enabling him to sexually assault more victims.
- The Brandenburg Park Shoreline Restoration has been completed and will be unveiled Wednesday in Chesterfield Township. It will improve habitat for birds and fish.
Live on FOX 2
Temperatures will fall slightly Wednesday with highs expected in the 70s. Apart from the passing rain cloud, most of Southeast Michigan should stay dry today as well. People can expect the weather to pick up some heat as the week progresses.
Justice Department files emergency motion to stop enforcement of Texas abortion law
The Department of Justice filed an emergency motion Tuesday evening to stop Texas from enforcing its recently passed law banning almost all abortions in the state.
"This attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand," the motion reads. "The United States seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 8. This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact."
"The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot insulate itself from judicial review for its constitutional violations and to protect the important federal interests that S.B. 8 impairs. Accordingly, this Court should enjoin enforcement of S.B. 8," the motion continued.
The Texas law, known as SB8, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity — usually around six weeks before some women know they’re pregnant. Courts have blocked other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas’ law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement to private citizens through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.