Alleged abuse at Romulus group home, Whitmer on future restrictions, Westland candidate under fire

A group child care home in Romulus can no longer operate after Michigan's licensing agency revoked its license following allegations of misconduct.

Audio from home run by Shelley Macfarlane catches the licensee berating kids under her care and using prohibited forms of discipline, including a fly swatter, was acquired during an investigation. 

In one specific clip, the licensee can be heard yelling at kids and telling them "I don't wanna hear a word out of either one of you, I'm going to bust you in the mouth."

A report from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' investigation into the matter detailed several instances where MacFarlane used "profanity and degrading language, hitting children with fly swatters, and spray water as a form of discipline."

As a result, Macfarlane can no longer operate a group child care home and is required to inform all parents and children in her care that her license has been suspended. 

"It was critical to take emergency action to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the children at the Macfarlane group child care home," read a release from LARA and the Child Care Licensing Bureau.

The investigation into Macfarlane's group home, located on Washington Street in Romulus, began May 13 after audio of a child care staff member's behavior was recorded on a child's computer a day earlier. The investigation offers partially-redacted transcripts of Macfarlane, including:

  • "It doesn’t matter, sit your [redacted] down, why would you sit there, sit down, get back here and shut the [redacted] up. I don’t wanna hear a word out of either one of you, I’m going to bust you in the mouth."
  • While children were arguing and crying in the background, [redacted] said, "Enough, what are you crying about?" One of the children responded, "You hurt me." [redacted] asked, "Who hurt you?" and the child responded, "You." [redacted] said, "Right and you going to cry five minutes later, shut up, dry it up, shut up."

A licensing consultant conducting an on-site investigation interviewed Macfarlane, an unidentified employee, and several of the kids that are part of the home.

In one interview, a child said that when they got in trouble, the unidentified employee would hit children in the back of the head with a fly swatter. Another child said the employees would spray children with hot and cold water as punishment.

Westland mayoral candidate under fire

William Asper is receiving stiff opposition from many of his would-be constituents during his mayoral run in Westland. Groups have hammered the candidate over jarring social media comments and claims he doesn't live in the city.

Old Facebook comments from Asper have resurfaced amid his bid. One from Asper's account tells a woman her daughter "ought to be in special education" and only gets good grades "because she does sexual favors for them." Other more lewd comments were also included.

Asper claims that other people posted from his social media account back when he used to go to the bars. But residents campaigning against him don't think he's being honest. 

When questioned if he lives in Westland, Asper said he had a "principal residence exemption in another city."

Benson requests $25 million to address SOS backlogs

Michigan's Secretary of State has asked lawmakers to approve $25 million in funding to remove the state's backlog of transactions inflicted by the pandemic. The spending would add 500,000 appointment slots from July through September.

The money, which would come from the state's federal COVID-19 relief aid, would shore up about 13 months worth of driver's license and ID renewals that were set aside during the pandemic. The result is a higher-than-normal demand for branch visits for two months. 

"This would eliminate the backlog and free up advance and next-day appointments for anyone who wants them, getting us closer to a point when the supply of in-person transactions our offices provide meets the needs of all of our residents," Secretary Joceyln Benson said.

Benson recently changed the state's branches to appointment only, moving most transactions performed by the SOS online. House Republicans appear uninterested in offering the money unless Benson allows walk-in visits again.

New COVID-19 lockdowns unlikely, Whitmer says

The Michigan governor said Tuesday of any potential new restrictions "there is not an indication that that's something that is likely to happen."

"We feel very confident that we are really on the other - almost on the other side. I hate to say where out of the tunnel because we're still in it - but we have the tools to stay safe now," Whitmer said. On Tuesday, the state lifted much of its business and gathering restrictions. In July the overarching epidemic orders on masks and capacity limits will also be lifted.

The data is backing up the progress the state has made as well. Even after a three-day week, new COVID-19 cases were low. The state's vaccination coverage continues to lag but is nearing 60%. 

And awaiting local cities and schools on the other side is billions of dollars in available funding after a massive stimulus bill was approved by Congress.

DNR seeks information after albino deer killed with crossbow

An albino deer that was well known in Lake County, Michigan was killed with a crossbow, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday. 

It was found on the edge of a yard in Irons along North Bass Lake Road, about half a mile north of 10 ½ Mile Road.

DNR investigators said the deer was likely shot from the road sometime between 5-7 a.m. Sunday.

Anyone with information is asked to call or text anonymous tips to the Report All Poaching Hotline at 1-800-292-7800. Tipsters may qualify for a reward.

What else we're watching

  1. The governor has finalized a requirement for bias training that all 440,000 licensed or registered health workers in the state must undergo on an annual basis. The rule takes effect on June 1. 2022.
  2.  Michigan State Police are investigating a double shooting in Royal Oak Township. The shooting happened at the Baymont Inn on 8 Mile.
  3. A former police officer charged with attempted murder after shooting his son was cleared of wrongdoing after he testified during a preliminary hearing.
  4. Meet Love Hairston, the 18-year-old entrepreneur making a pandemic pivot and opening her own beauty bar business.
  5. According to AAA, an average of seven people are killed per day in teen-related crashes from Memorial Day to Labor Day. They are reminding kids to be safe on the roads.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

A brief cooldown is here Wednesday with some expected showers later in the day. But on the horizon is some hot temperatures in the 90s for much of next week.

Amazon says it will no longer test jobseekers for marijuana use

Amazon said Tuesday that it will stop testing jobseekers for marijuana.

The company, the second-largest private employer in the U.S. behind Walmart, is making the change as states legalize cannabis or introduce laws banning employers from testing for it.

In March, a New York man sued Amazon, saying the company rescinded his job offer at an Amazon warehouse because he tested positive for marijuana, even though the city banned employers from testing job applicants for cannabis in 2020.

Amazon said in a blog post that it will still test workers for other drugs and conduct "impairment checks" on the job. And the company said some roles may still require a cannabis test in line with Department of Transportation regulations.

Seattle-based Amazon also said Tuesday that it will support the federal legalization of marijuana by pushing lawmakers to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021.