Green ooze cleanup expected to cost millions, 23-year-old charged with sex trafficking, an $8,000 waterbill

Remember the green ooze of Madison Heights? What seems like a relic of a bygone era is still being cleaned up months after its initial discovery on I-696 last December. As the environmental cost comes into focus, the monetary damage is still being measured. Most recent estimates put the price tag that taxpayers are on the hook for at around $4 million this year alone.

Following months of studies reached by the EPA and EGLE that show there is no threat to drinking water, any concerns for an urgent fix were replaced by long-term solutions. Instead of uprooting every inch of the contaminated soil, a process deemed not feasible or cost-effective, regulators have opted to fight fire with fire by deploying a liquid chemically engineered barrier.

As the contaminated groundwater passes through the barrier, the harmful toxins are scrubbed out. And early experiments show that it's working. The person leading the effort on the EPA said it takes about 14 days for the water to be treated and cleared. 

The toxic sludge that was originally seeping out onto the interstate looked a lot like the slime from a Nickelodeon game show. In fact, it's a harmful cocktail of trichloroethylene, cyanide, and hexavalent chromium - the last one being labeled as a carcinogen.

When rainwater spilled into the former Electro-Plating Services building's broken roof, it flooded a basement full of toxic chemicals. The site was originally shut down in 2016and its owner Gary Sayers was sentenced to prison for a year after failing to dispose of harmful chemicals appropriately. While listed as a site with a history of repeated violations of environmental laws, it was not toxic enough to earn a Superfund label, which would have opened it up to federal funds for cleanup.

So far, environmental regulatory agencies have expensed $2.2 million to clean up the contaminated groundwater, with another $2 million expected at the end of the year. 

Agencies also plan to knock the building down but have given no timetable for when demolition would begin.

“It remains our goal to have the building demolished and to have the soil treated or replaced," said Tracy Kecskemeti, of EGLE.

23-year-old Pontiac man facing sex trafficking charges

The Michigan Attorney General has laid out several felony charges for a 23-year-old man from Oakland County for his involvement in a sex trafficking and prostitution ring. 

Dana Nessel has accused Dallas Jordan-King of Pontiac of prostituting and trafficking young women, of which nine victims have so far been identified. What started as an investigation in Auburn Hills grew well beyond the scope of one Metro Detroit city.

"As it began to develop it clearly looked like it was beyond that one community this one person, this one event, beyond Oakland County's borders," said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. 

That prompted the FBI Oakland County Violent Crime and Gang Taskforce unit to get involved. Members of the sheriff's office and Madison Heights police department also were involved.

"He was clearly preying on young women that were just into college and had not been around to see what was going on, and they were lured into his deceptive nightmare," said Chief Corey Haines, Madison Heights Police.

Jordan-King allegedly befriended several college-aged women by grooming them to engage in sexual activity for profit. He also allegedly had sexual activity with a minor.

Jordan-King ran the operation out of motels near 14 Mile and I-75. The charges filed against him include: 

  • One count of forced labor/commercial sex, a 15-year felony; 
  • Two counts of pandering, a 20-year felony; 
  • One count of accepting earnings of prostitution, a 20-year felony; 
  • One count of transportation for prostitution, a 20-year felony; 
  • One count of conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony; and 
  • One count of felony firearm, a two-year felony

$400 million Amazon distribution center coming to old state fairgrounds

With a smile across his face, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a proposed land sale that comes with a long list of added benefits for the city to enjoy. They start with the conversion of an unproductive plot of land near Eight Mile and Woodward, although residents will recognize it as the old state fairgrounds. 

The city is selling a 142-acre section for $9 million to a real estate company planning on building a $400 million Amazon distribution center. The city purchased the site for $7 million. The land sale comes with no tax breaks or incentives. It also guarantees a $7 million transit station on Woodward for people who use the public transportation infrastructure there. 

The new facility, which will be built in 2022 pending approval from the city council, will promise at least 1,200 new jobs and a pilot entrepreneurship program for people looking to start their own businesses. 

Elderly Oak Park resident hit with $8,000 water bill

"From three to 450 units, that says something's not right."

That's Oak Park's city manager Erik Tungate who was looking over what appeared to be an exorbitantly high water bill for an elderly resident in the bedroom community.

For 81-year-old Faye Jones, her water bill normally looks like $117.34, which she got in February. Somehow, her water bill has now risen over $6,000 and now stands at $8,208.39.

"This is ridiculous, the city should know that something is wrong," Jones said.

"There are water leaks and water meter issues no matter where you are," Tungate said. "I don't think we are unique at all. What is unique, is how we will handle them.

"We are going to do what is fair."

Chase ATMs robbed in Detroit

Detroit Police are looking for suspects in the case of two robbed ATMs on the city's west side. 

Between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, a white Dodge Durango drove up to two Chase ATMs in Detroit, one on Greenfield and 7 Mile, the other on Warren and Southfield.

Images from the Greenfield location show tire tracks leading across a grassy knoll next to the bank. Images from the Warren location show the ATM structure completely dislodged from the site. 

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Kamala Harris: From district attorney to senator to historic VP running mate — here’s what you need to know

Kamala Harris’ political career led her from the California Attorney General’s Office to the halls of the U.S. Senate and then to a 2020 presidential run, before landing her on one of the most consequential presidential tickets in U.S. history as the nation’s first Black woman to compete as vice presidential candidate for a major party.

In choosing Harris, 2020 presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.

Born in Oakland, California to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris won her first election in 2003 when she became San Francisco’s district attorney. In the role, she created a reentry program for low-level drug offenders and cracked down on student truancy.

She worked as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California in the 1990s at a time when violent crime in Oakland was rising, according to The New York Times. She worked for the San Francisco city attorney before she was elected – twice – as the city’s district attorney.