Child tax credit checks incoming, pot growing granny takes on Ypsi Twp, racial profiling accusations at rink

It's a big day for Michigan families as July 15 is the first monthly deposit for the expanded child tax credit. 

Each family's incoming checks could look a little different depending on how much one makes and the age of their children. But money should arrive to the tune of $250 - $300.

That will be the first of six monthly payments that will be delivered on the 15th of every month through December. Half of the money will arrive in periodic installments while the rest will be claimed in one's 2021 taxes.

The expanded child tax credit is among the more profound pieces included in the massive relief package approved earlier this year.  Those eligible will receive up to $3,600 per child. About 36 million households are expected to see some kind of payment.

The measure expands the yearly tax credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 for older children and $3,600 for children under the age of 6.

"You only need five things to get this money, which is your money that you have coming to you as a parent," said Congressman Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township). "You need a mailing address. You need an email address. You need your social security number or ITIN. You need your social security number for you kid. And if you want to get a direct deposit, you need to give your bank account number."

Levin was part of a roundtable discussion earlier this week on the expanded credit. Another discussion will be set for Thursday at 9 a.m. between Lt. Gov Garlin Gilchrist, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), and several other officials in Wyandotte.

It's also going to be a significant lift for those impoverished in Detroit. According to Mayor Mike Duggan, it could lift at least 20,000 kids out of poverty.

Detroit single heads of households making less than $112,000 a year or married couples making less than $150,000 will get the full tax credit if they claim child dependents.

Singles making up to $200,000 and married couples up to $400,000 will get a partial tax credit.

"So more than 90 percent and I think it's going to turn out to be more than 95 percent of families with children are going to be eligible," Duggan said.

Duggan reiterated that the tax credit does not count as income against public benefits. If you owe the IRS money, they will still send you a check. And even if you're pregnant or in the process of adopting, you can still get the cash.

Racial profiling accusations at skating rink

Another claim of racial bias due to facial recognition technology has sunk a local roller skating rink under a wave of criticism after a Black teen was banned for allegedly getting a brawl at the business. According to employees, the software had a 97% match for connecting Lamya to the brawl. 

But to her mom, "it's basically racial profiling. You're just saying every young Black, brown girl with glasses fits the profile and that's not right." Juliea Robinson and her husband Derrick are considering legal action against the Riverside Arena skating rink in Livonia over the misidentification.

"I was like, that is not me. who is that?" Lamya recalls, after being barred entry when her face was scanned. She could not enter due to a brawl she was reportedly in last March. But the only problem was "I've never been there," she said.

It's the latest case of racial bias claims underscoring the need for improved technology, advocates say. A man who is suing Detroit police for being misidentified has brought the issue to the federal level after testifying in front of Congress this week. A statement from the rink said staff were busy and relied on the recognition. "That is what we look at, not the thumbnail photos Ms. Robinson took a picture of. If there was a mistake, we apologize for it."

Pot growing granny takes on Ypsi Township

A resident of Ypsilanti Township and an advocate for medicinal pot is in the middle of a legal fight with her community's government about how much weed she can grow in her home. Judith Pontius, 79, has 55 medical marijuana plants growing in her basement. 

That's too much says the township. So does the state Supreme Court. Even after two lower court rulings awarding her legal wins, she lost in the highest office. And yet, she still has the plants and now faces 93 days in jail. 

Supporters say the municipality is picking on the woman. But the law states cannabis caregivers, of which Pontius identifies herself as one, must grow her plants in light industrial areas - not personal homes. 

Pontius admits she is a little bit nervous about going to jail but insists that her 55 marijuana plants are for caregivers and personal use. "It's for my own use. I do edibles and it takes a lot of plants to make edibles from it. I only do like three a year, so I do need this many for my own use," she said.

Police say Harper Woods man poured gas on girlfriend, set her on fire

A Harper Woods man is facing several felony charges after he allegedly poured gas on his girlfriend during an argument and set her on fire before stealing her car and fleeing. 

James Lewis Carlock, 34, was located by police while driving in Detroit, leading to his arrest. The incident happened around 3 a.m. July 12 in the 18000 block of Elkhart where Carlock and his girlfriend both live. 

Carlock is charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, motor vehicle-unlawful driving away, and domestic violence. He also received a habitual fourth offense notice because he has previous felony convictions, authorities said. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

He was given a $150,000 cash bond. He will be back in court on July 28 for a preliminary examination. Carlock's girlfriend is stable at a hospital. She is expected to recover.

Redford collision shop's reputation a wreck

When you take your car to a body shop for repairs you expect it to come back with less damage - not more damage.

That's one of the reasons why a Redford repair shop guy is on a collision course with Rob Wolchek. He's a smooth operator, but he has a few dents in his reputation and those dents aren't going to get bumped out any time soon.

Take the case of Nicole and her daughter, who was involved in a crash on Telegraph in 2019. She was fine, but the car wasn't. Luckily, they were right in front of an auto repair shop - Kevin Johnson's shop, also known as the Orchard Restoration. He was given $2,000 to fix it. But weeks later, pieces had been taken out of the engine. Then the (undamaged) hood. 

Then there was Nyambi, whose Ford Fusion was rear-ended. One two-week, $4,000 estimate later and it should be all fixed. Instead, six weeks later and the Fusion had more damage on it. Are you seeing a pattern? Because plenty of other customers are. And they're fed up. See the result of Rob's meeting with Kevin here

What else we're watching

  1. A 108-pound dog was rescued after falling into a manhole in Detroit Wednesday. A Cane Corso puppy was smelling something when he fell in. After hours of waiting, the Detroit Fire Department came to the rescue.
  2. Is the name Asian Carp racist? The invasive species designation is getting a relabel this summer by researchers after worries its colloquial name was considered insensitive.
  3. Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig was on Tucker Carlson's evening show Wednesday night. He said he had an important announcement next week regarding Michigan's future. It could be an announcement to run for governor. 
  4. The governor will announce a new labor grant program to increase employment opportunities in Michigan today. 
  5. AAA examined the driving habits during the height of the pandemic and found that the average number of trips for all modes of transportation dropped by 40% in April 2020. 

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Daily Forecast

Did you enjoy your dry day Metro Detroit? Because we're back at it with more severe storm potential this afternoon and evening. Some gusty winds will accompany the possibility of torrential downpours. And more is on the way Friday.

Sunscreen recall: Neutrogena, Aveeno products recalled over benzene

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. issued a voluntary recall Wednesday over certain Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen products due to the presence of benzene — a cancer-causing chemical.

The recall includes Neutrogena’s Beach Defense, Cool Dry Sport, Invisible Daily defense and Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreens as well as Aveeno’s Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.

According to a company statement, benzene is a human carcinogen that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level of exposure. The organic chemical compound is present in the environment with humans being exposed to it daily from multiple sources. Benzene can be absorbed through the skin or ingested orally.