WEDNESDAY NEWS HIT - Hamtramck officials voted against allowing flags of any religious, racial, ethnic or sexual-oriented group on City property on Tuesday night.
The decision was made despite receiving passionate arguments from pro-LGBTQ residents and activists at the packed City Council meeting which stretched beyond three hours. As a result, flags would not be displayed outside City Hall, libraries, and parks.
"We are confirming the neutrality of the City of Hamtramck we decided to stay neutral," said Mayor Amer Ghalib to FOX 2 earlier. "Flags that pertain to any religious, racial, ethnic or sexual-oriented group (would not be allowed). Exceptions are the American flag, state and city flags, POW MIA."
A passionate embrace by an LGBTQ couple inside Hamtramck’s City Council meeting Tuesday night protested the resolution.
"I yield the rest of my time, thank you (applause)," said a woman earing a clown nose at the podium, who then kissed a female next to her.
"It is clear that you are either ignorant, hateful and or spiteful," said a transgender speaker.
Supporters of the proposal say it’s all about being neutral. The resolution says Hamtramck embraces diversity but should not show special treatment to any group.
"I think the elephants in the room, the thing that we are not talking about, is that homosexuality is a sin," said one man.
The language reads in part, "The City of Hamtramck does not allow any religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation group flags to be flown on the City’s public properties, and that only, the American flag, the flag of the State of Michigan, the Hamtramck Flag, the Prisoner of War flag on City property. "
"I am a Lebanese person and I support the American flag," said Hassan Aoun, a Dearborn activist. "We are not going to sit here and tolerate you guys coming and saying, 'Oh it’s Pride Month. You're gay? No problem.' Don’t sit here and throw it down kids' throat, my throat, or anybody’s throat."
Symbols promoting political causes like LGBTQ issues have been posted on many government properties, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer's mansion where the gay rights and transgender flags fly over the front door in Lansing.
But many say at the local level, it should vary from community to community.
"This is a historic moment, a moment where the basic rights of the LGBTQ community is under attack," said a woman.
Detroit City Council bans cashless businesses
A new ordinance approved by the Detroit City Council Tuesday would require businesses within the city to accept cash payments during transactions. If businesses didn't comply with the rule, they would be fined.
Proposed by Council member Angela Whitfield Calloway from District 2, she argued a prohibition on businesses going cashless was necessary because there are more than a 100,000 residents in the city who don't use a bank.
She came up with the idea after an experience at Plum Market in the Ally Detroit Center building. The idea marinated within the city council for weeks before being voted on during Tuesday's meeting. It also appeared to have support from the public.
The Cashless Business Ban ordinance also applies to vendors at Ford Field, Comerica Park, and Little Caesars Arena. The fines could be up to $500 for not accepting cash. The law goes into effect in 90 days.
Woman had severe head trauma before dying, police say
Surveillance video showed 23-year-old Mia Kanu either fall or get pushed out of a vehicle onto Providence Drive near Coach Apartments early June 3. She was taken to a hospital after a passerby called 911, and she died a few days later.
Kanu had been at a party before she was found in the road. "It becomes a question of how did she get there, who is she, and why is she there?" said Southfield Deputy Police Chief Jeff Jagielski. Police tracked down the two people who were in the vehicle with Kanu, and they have been cooperating with the investigation.
Police were told there was an argument between the driver and someone else before they left. After days of no brain activity while Kanu was hospitalized, her family decided to donate her organs. Now, her family waits for answers and hopes someone will come forward with what happened to the young woman who was home from Tennessee State University for the summer when she died.
Truck ticketed after dumping dirt, getting stuck in mud
A couple of alleged illegal dumpers in southwest Detroit were caught after their truck got stuck on Tuesday.
The contractors' truck had to be towed out. Left in its wake was a pile of dirt that had been dumped by the offenders. It's filled with more than just debris and officials say it will be sent out for testing to see how it has to be remediated.
The contractors with employer Gamboa Construction, tell us they’ll plan to fight it saying they had to dump it - because they were stuck and needed to lighten the load. Apparently the crew caught was actually hired by a resident to fill in low spots with topsoil in the area, but took it to the wrong spot owned by the Detroit Landbank then got stuck.
That’s when crews with the city’s demo department saw what was happening and stepped in. The contractors were ticketed and the case is now under investigation by Detroit police.
Michigan GOP leader ordered to pay legal fees for Detroit lawsuit
A judge this week ordered Michigan Republican Party Chairperson Kristina Karamo and others to pay more than $58,000 in legal fees incurred by the Detroit clerk’s office to fight a lawsuit they filed challenging absentee voting in the city.
In an order signed Monday, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny said the Oct. 26 lawsuit in which Karamo was the lead plaintiff was "rife with speculation, an absence of facts and a lack of understanding of Michigan election statutes and Detroit absentee ballot procedures."
At the time, Karamo was the Republican nominee for secretary of state, a position that serves as Michigan’s top election official. Two weeks after the suit was filed, Karamo lost to Democrat Jocelyn Benson by 14 percentage points before being elected the state GOP chairperson in February.
"Plaintiffs merely threw out the allegation of ‘corruption in Detroit’ as the reason for disregarding the Michigan Constitution in this state’s largest city," Kenny wrote in his order. He ordered the plaintiffs to pay the $58,459 in legal fees incurred by the Detroit clerk’s office.
Courtesy of the Associated Press
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We get a break from the rain Wednesday with temperatures expected to hit the mid-70s with a slight breeze. Plan on some showers sweeping back in Thursday.
What else we're watching
- Some major changes to elections may be coming to Michigan as Democrats seek to expand early voting rules, giving clerks the freedom to increase the number of days one can cast a ballot. The proposal follows a ballot initiative that passed last year.
- The Detroit Metro Airport will be doing disaster training where they will perform mock exercises in the case of an active shooter or hostage situation, as well as a simulated explosion onboard an airplane
- It's Flag Day in Detroit and around the U.S. The Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority is planning to present its fourth annual flag raisings, beginning with the U.S. Army's flag at 8 a.m.
- Lawmakers are also expected to introduce new energy legislation following a string of poor air quality episodes from wildfires in North America.
- Wayne State is planning a Juneteenth Celebration at the Bernath Auditorium. The performances will start at 11 a.m. and offer a blend of education and entertainment of Black Art Performances.
Disney bumping 'Avatar 3' to 2025, schedules 2 'Star Wars' films for 2026
"Avatar: The Way of Water" may have finally arrived in theaters in 2022, but that long parade of "Avatar" delays isn't done, yet.
The Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday pushed the release of "Avatar 3" a year, bumping it from December 2024 to December 2025. The timeline is stretched even further for the next planned installments. "Avatar 4" is now slated to hit theaters in December 2029; "Avatar 5" is set to arrive in December 2031.
If those dates hold, the "Avatar" film series will have stretched across the first four decades of the century. Director James Cameron, who launched "Avatar" in 2009, has said he may not direct films 4 and 5. By December 2031, the 68-year-old Cameron would be 77. "Avatar" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" have collectively made more than $5.2 billion at the box office.