Hamtramck issues lead level warnings, Detroit artist's mural gets censored, a 6-year-old's brain tumor
THURSDAY NEWS HIT - A recent sample of lead testing in Hamtramck homes revealed at least six homes of 42 reported lead levels that exceeded state and federal safety limits.
State policy dictates that when lead levels reach Action Level - exceeding 15 parts per billion - additional testing and sampling is triggered to ensure more homes aren't seeing higher lead levels as well.
In addition to more monitoring, Hamtramck officials are also handing out water filters to residents, which can be picked up at the Town Center on Joseph Campau.
No stranger to issues with its water infrastructure, Michigan is continuing to manage the fallout from the Flint Water Crisis and is also dealing with a new threat of eroding lead lines in Benton Harbor.
The latest lead detection in Hamtramck has prompted an alert from the city that advises residents to install water filters and run water for three to five minutes in homes with lead pipes. Those without lead lines are still advised to flush their water by about 30 seconds.
Boiling water has no effect since it does not reduce the amount of lead in water
Lead exposure can lead to neurological issues.
Hamtramck reports that 300 of its lead service lines have been replaced following a state mandate that orders all cities to remove their lead lines within their communities over the next few years. Residents who would like their service line inspected and drinking water tested can reach out to the health department at 844-934-1315.
Residents are also advised to pick up a water filter at the town center, which is located at 9521 Joseph Campau, between 11 a.m and 2 p.m. More distribution events will be scheduled and posted in the upcoming weeks.
This is the city's 11th lead violation in the last 30 years.
Taking money not pictures, bride accuses wedding photographer of scam
What started out as a quest for a wedding photographer morphed into a scam before one bride-to-be discovered dozens of other victims. A man, not someone FOX 2 is identifying since he hasn't been charged, has allegedly been accepting deposits for wedding gigs and then falling off the face of the Internet.
"I always said people were silly for falling for scams," said Nichole Tennant. But when Tennant found a photographer on Facebook, she felt confident herself he was the real deal. Three years' worth of good reviews seemed to ensure that. But after she reserved him and offered a $300 deposit, his account was gone, ghosting her three months before the wedding.
In her quest to find out more about this guy, Tennant came across the "Michigan Displeased Brides" Facebook group. It was there that she found 70 women, all victims. Some said they were out thousands in cash while he just never showed.
A detective with the Allen Park police visited the scammer last week after Tennant filed a police report. It led to her getting her money back to make it all go away. The detective called that a fluke and said he may yet face charges.
Mural with twerking woman censored in Detroit
A mural painted by Detroit rapper, producer, and DJ Sheefy McFly got a slight alteration from the business owner where it was painted when a black box covering up the rear end of a woman who is depicted as twerking had the words "censored by the city" over it.
"I wasn’t trying to sexualize her in any way," McFly said. "I just saw a woman dancing and it’s been up for three years and it hasn’t been a problem in that length of time."
The city says it received a complaint about the mural and relayed it to the building's owner. Unbeknownst to McFly at the time, the owner made the change. When the artist walked by the mural this week, he noticed the change. "My biggest thing is just talking to the artist because I could’ve changed it or we could’ve just talked about it."
The mural, featuring "Keith Haring type of characters" as McFly put it, shows a man and woman dancing alongside a boombox against the backdrop of the city. "Detroit Never Left" reads a speech bubble from another man in the mural. FOX 2 was not able to get in touch with the building's owner.
6-year-old recovers from brain tumor that doctors ignored, mom says
Kiera Harrell said it took three visits to the hospital with her son exhibiting worse symptoms each time before she was able to convince doctors to look closer at his headaches and vomiting. Following a CT scan during the third visit, a brain tumor the size of an egg was found.
"I was so hurt because I have been trying to stop it from getting to this point," Harrell said. "I knew things were changing in my son and you guys are doctors and you all are supposed to help me."
Her 6-year-old son Michael had first complained of bad headaches and vomiting that got so bad that in August, he was rushed to the hospital. Doctors blamed the headaches on video games and prescribed Tylenol. The pain returned the next week when doctors blamed dehydration. But by the third visit, after Michael had fainted and began foaming at the mouth, Kierra demanded help for her son.
In a statement, Henry Ford Health Systems said "We are deeply saddened for this family and our thoughts are with them at this time. Because of patient privacy and confidentiality, we are unable to share any details." The surgery managed to remove 90% of Michael's tumor, which put him into a coma. He's only recently woken up. The family has started a GoFundMe page to help support the 24-hour medical care Michael will need when he hopefully returns home.
Arbitrator: Only person fired for Flint water crisis was ‘public scapegoat’
The only Michigan official fired in the Flint water catastrophe likely was a "public scapegoat" who lost her job because of politics, an arbitrator said in ordering $191,880 in back pay and other compensation.
It’s a remarkable victory for Liane Shekter Smith, who served as head of the state’s drinking water office when Flint’s water system was contaminated with lead. She was removed and then fired in 2016 and subsequently faced criminal charges in one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
Shekter Smith was dismissed while engineers in her department — the "boots on the ground" in Flint — were suspended with pay before ultimately returning to work, the arbitrator said in a 22-page report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Sheldon Stark said the state had failed to offer enough evidence to justify the firing of Shekter Smith, who had an "exemplary" record in government.
– courtesy of the Associated Press
What else we're watching
- The DNR has confirmed its 10th cougar sighting this year with a trail camera photo taken in southern Dickinson County, which is in the upper peninsula. The rate of cougar sightings have continued to trend upward in Michigan over the past three years.
- It was a Crimestoppers tip that lead to the arrest of two men believed to have murdered a couple sitting in their car this week. Police say it's still early in the investigation and wouldn't comment further on details.
- Wayne County is partnering with the community college for a three-day job fair, where positions in civil justice, business, and public health are available.
- The U.S. Labor Secretary will be in Michigan promoting the president's Build Back Better program. Sec. Marty Walsh will be in Rochester Hills at Oakland University for a tour.
- Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren will hold a press conference today to brief residents on a police pursuit earlier this week that ended ina stand-off before an AK-47 was recovered.
Live on FOX 2
Some heavy rain and thunder are expected Thursday morning that will last until about noon. The occasional shower may pass through in the afternoon as temperature highs take a dip, only reaching the 60s today.
Brian Laundrie search: Body found in North Port preserve
The nationwide search for Brian Laundrie may be over. A body was found Wednesday during the ongoing manhunt for the only person of interest in the Gabby Petito case, and while investigators have yet to identify the remains, items belonging to Brian were found nearby.
The FBI and Sarasota County Medical Examiner's Office are among those who were on the scene at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, working to identify human remains spotted in an area that was previously underwater.
"Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area," FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson said Wednesday afternoon. "It's likely the team will be on the scene for several days."