Highland Park officer busted in drug case, Consumers Energy rates, stamping plant gets new life

A Highland Park police officer is facing 20 years in prison and more than a million dollars in fines after she and another woman were charged in a criminal complaint with distributing and conspiring to distribute drugs

The allegation stems from a 2018 investigation conducted by the FBI when an informant spoke and met several times with Detective Tiffany Lipkovich, 45, of Detroit. 

Lipkovich provided samples, pictures of the drugs, and even exchanged money for facilitating a drug deal while she was wearing her police uniform.

"While the vast majority of our police officers work honorably and faithfully to protect and serve the citizens of this region, our office continues to prosecute those corrupt officers who put their own greed above the public good and abuse their position violate the law," said Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin.

Mohsin revealed the charges Wednesday, charging both Lipkovich and Amber Bellamy, 38, also of Detroit for distribution and conspiring to distribute. The drug being dealt was heroin laced with fentanyl, a highly addictive substance considered more potent and dangerous than other opioids.

According to the complaint, Lipkovich priced out different costs of drugs and also explained her partner had been receiving fentanyl from overseas. 

After enough interactions, Lipkovich also introduced the confidential source to Bellamy, who sold them 45 grams of the mixture. That preceded the meetup between the source and Lipkovich while she was still in her police uniform.

Members of the Highland Park Police Department sent a statement saying they "do not condone this type of activity." 

"The citizens of Highland Park have expectations, as they should, that law enforcement officers obey the laws they swore to enforce," said Mayor Herbert Yopp. "Like anyone else in the community, if a person violates the law they should be brought to justice."

Consumers Energy deploys peak summer rate for customers

Consumers Energy plans to charge more per kilowatt-hour during some of the highest-energy use times during the day as a means to incentivize people to reduce their energy usage this summer.

During the hours of 2-7 p.m., customers will pay 15 cents per kilowatt-hour used. Outside of that time frame, they'll only pay 10 cents. The utility company ran a pilot test in 2019 with 50,000 customers and said most people saved money with the peak rate model. "We expect to see, if a customer did literally nothing, they would expect to see a $2 impact," said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, with Consumers Energy.

DTE Energy, Metro Detroit's largest power provider is currently running its own pilot program with about 14,000 customers right now. 

The programs were approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission. If you need tips for reducing energy usage, learn more here

Signs of vandalism found on Gateway to Freedom Memorial

"He said ‘oh my gosh, there’s vandalism here,'' said Sharon Sexton, who recalled a text she sent to the sculptor of the Detroit Riverwalk's iconic Gateway to Freedom Memorial. Evidence of cracks and holes in the statue appeared to be intentional.

The city isn't so sure, instead attributing damage to the pedestal as time and elements. But the damage nonetheless is enough for the city to help with restoration. 

That's because the gateway memorial is an important part of Detroit history Featuring escaping slaves and an Underground Railroad Conductor pointed toward Canada. Experts believe it "represents freedom in a bi-national sense." Sexton, who runs the Michigan Underground Railroad Exploratory Collective, has started a petition to increase awareness about the monument's much-needed TLC.

And it's going to get it. The city said the Downtown Development Authority plans to clean and polish the statue and have an assessment done of its overall condition. "Once the DDA reviews this assessment, it will work with its partners to ensure that the necessary repairs are made," read a statement from the city spokesperson.

Detroit's Cadillac stamping plant to get a tune-up

A massive investment is about to turn the old Cadillac Stamping Plant from a vacant east side building into a new automotive manufacturing plant. Northpoint Development, a firm plans to spend $48 million to knock down the building and rebuild a new one.

"This has been a high priority for this city: to take it from a site of blight to a sight of jobs," Mayor Mike Duggan said. "By and large, this factory has been empty for 30 years. (It's) a site that has been a national embarrassment."

The CEO of the Missouri-based company said their vision was to redevelop the site to be the "future of automotive manufacturing." The company has also said it plans to foot the bill for demolishing the structure - a cost usually passed onto Detroit residents. 

And with all new projects coming to Detroit these days, citizens of the city will be offered priority when hiring begins. "That’s how you do developing in Detroit. That’s how to move a city forward: we employ our residents and make sure we grow the general fund," said Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson.

Legislature targets vaccine passports, governor's travel in latest bills

State Republican lawmakers from both chambers have pushed through separate bills criticized by the governor and some Democrats as being inconsequential and unnecessary. In the Senate, an approved bill would require the lieutenant governor to notify legislative leaders if the governor has left the state

In the House, Republicans and some Democrats approved a bill outlawing the requirement by state government to use a vaccine passport, despite there being none in Michigan already and no effort to create one.

In both cases, the governor's office threw cold water on the need for the legislation, accusing GOP lawmakers of "taking political potshots" and wasting time trying to ban something that doesn't exist in the case of vaccine passports.

The Michigan Senate cleared a different vaccine bill that would ban state and local health officials from mandating minors be vaccinated for COVID-19. The bill also bans vaccine requirements of the same institutions as the passport bill. Children have been able to receive vaccine exemptions for more than 40 years in Michigan. 

What else we're watching

  1. Multiple efforts to reduce the digital divide for those lacking internet in Michigan were announced this week after the governor spoke from the Boys and Girls Club Wednesday. On Thursday, Microsoft said it was expanding its Airband initiative to increase broadband access in Detroit.  
  2. Michigan State Police used a heat detection tool to find a missing 2-year-old earlier this week. Watch the search here
  3. A bill that would strengthen voter ID laws by requiring people to provide a photocopy of their ID with their absentee ballot request form cleared its respective committee Wednesday. It's part of a slew of voter laws proposed by GOP lawmakers.
  4. Only two Best Buys in the state of Michigan are selling a new graphics card for their gaming. It runs for about $1,200. There are only 50 at a location in Novi and another on the west side of the state.
  5. Chrysler-owned Stellantis is kicking off a 3-year $1 million initiative targeting green infrastructure in east side communities surrounding the Detroit Assem

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

After a big bout of rain, temperatures will remain in the 70s Thursday before heating up next week. A little more precipitation could fall Thursday, however.

‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse to occur June 10, partially visible in US

Many Americans will have a chance to witness another astronomical phenomenon on June 10 during the "ring of fire" annular solar eclipse.

EarthSky believes most people around the world will be able to view the spectacle. In the United States, scientists said the eclipse will be partially visible in the upper Midwest and the East Coast, with the exception of Florida.

Americans will see the eclipse at sunrise, according to timeandate.com, a site providing time, weather, astronomy and other information.

An eclipse "occurs when one heavenly body such as a moon or planet moves into the shadow of another heavenly body," NASA states on its website.