How Detroit plans to remove its lead lines, magic mushrooms on Detroit's ballot, reducing domestic violence

As drinking water disasters in Flint and Benton Harbor get national attention, Detroit hopes to avoid the same notoriety by tackling the issue before it becomes an emergency. And they'll save millions of dollars by avoiding expected costs with a company partnership.

Detroit Water Sewerage Department Deputy Palencia Mobley estimates it could cost around $450 million to replace lead service lines in the city. That's money that the city doesn't have.

That's why a partnership with Blue Conduit, a data software business that helps determine which houses most likely have lead service lines before they dig, is so timely. 

"It saves time. It saves millions of dollars. It's estimated we'll save the city of Detroit over $150 million and we saved millions and millions of dollars for the city of Flint," Michael McDaniels said.

McDaniels is the director of government and strategy at Blue Conduit, which was founded by scientists working on the ground in Flint. They've since begun offering their services in Benton Harbor, Toledo in Ohio, Trenton in New Jersey, and dozens of other cities facing issues of lead lines.

Cities don't have a good track record of identifying which of their homes have lead lines. Most didn't keep accurate records. Now, hundreds of thousands of homes present potentially millions of dollars in excavation and replacement costs. 

Lead water lines.

Lead water lines.

In Detroit, they would have to dig up 300,000 homes to ensure they covered every property. While they have until 2040 to replace all of its service lines, they must report how much they have by 2025.

Blue Conduit in Detroit is being paid for with grants from the state's department of environment, great lakes, and energy as well as the Kresge Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Detroit residents can also call 313-267-8000 to request a lead and copper test.

Southwest Michigan teacher on hunger strike over climate change

A teacher in southwestern Michigan said he’s on a one-week hunger strike outside his school to draw attention to climate change. Josh Gottlieb said he took a week off without pay to sit outside Kalamazoo Central High School this week. Some students and other teachers have dropped by to support him.

"It’s all of our problem," said freshman Giuliana Bush. She held a sign that said, "We are called Gen Z because we are the LAST generation!!!" Gottlieb told that he will continue his hunger strike and protest through Sunday, when the UN’s climate summit begins in Scotland.

He said political conflict in the U.S. means President Joe Biden isn’t bringing much to the conference. "We need the U.S. to be in a position of leadership and strength to contribute to this thing, and instead we’re going in on our knees with our tail between our legs," Gottlieb said.

Paul Clements, a professor at Western Michigan University, visited Gottlieb. He’s teaching a class with a climate change theme. "The fundamental issue here is if the advanced countries — particularly like the United States — don’t take that responsibility, there’s no way that the Chinas and Indias and other countries of the world are going to get on board," Clements said.

Bill introduced to cut down on domestic violence 

Nakira Howard is a survivor of domestic violence - which only got worse when was essentially locked in with her abuser at the height of the pandemic. "I dealt with more verbal abuse during the pandemic, but for him to charge at me and put his hands on me .... " she said. "It was necessary for me to get the protection for myself and my daughters as well."

Members of the House Progressive Women’s Caucus unveiled a package of bills aimed at helping people like Howard to get what they need, right away. "These protections, whether it's jobs, housing, privacy rights, those are baseline protections that folks need to do the work, and start healing," said State Rep. Felicia Brabec (D) Pittsfield Township.

A package of bills introduced Thursday will try to prevent domestic violence, support survivors, and help protect survivors from further abuse. Since the beginning of the pandemic, domestic violence rates have soared, leaving shelters overburdened, and resources stretched thin. Two additional bills are expected to be introduced soon - encouraging law enforcement and prosecutors to initiate victim-focused outreach with victim service agencies and lets survivors know if an abuser’s tether is tampered with, or if the abuser comes close to victims home or workplace. 

In Michigan alone, there were more than 64,700 reported victims of domestic violence, up nearly 20,000 from two years ago.

Magic Mushrooms on Detroit ballot

Detroit voters will get the chance to have their say to decriminalize magic mushrooms at next Tuesday's Election Day. Proposal E would decriminalize entheogenic plants, better known as hallucinogenic magic mushrooms.

But what do magic mushrooms do? Registered nurse Molly Shannon spoke about their medical benefits. "I think there's really good evidence that they treat depression better than a lot of antidepressants that are on the market," she said.

Matt Abel is an attorney with the Cannabis Council. "The ballot proposal would decriminalize the use of Entheogenic plants," he said. Abel says mushrooms would not be legal but- the police would not arrest an adult for possession of shrooms. But there are limitations. "They need to consume it in a protected environment," Abel said.

State Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) even introduced a bill that would decriminalize entheogens across the state.  "People have been doing these for thousands of years," he said. "We want people to stop overdosing on fentanyl and things like that. And we can do that if we have safe, effective means to regulate these things."

One-on-one with Dr. Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases spoke to Roop Raj exclusively Thursday. 

The themes spanned variants, vaccinations, and public safety protections for children amid a volatile time in the U.S. 

"We are on a downslope right now, if you look at the parameters of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths," Fauci said. "They continue to come down. But we are not at a comfortable place, yet. We still have about 65,000 to 70,000 new cases per day.  We have to go much lower than that.

Read and watch the full interview here

What else we're watching

  1. Joe Biden is in Europe to meet the Pope before heading to Rome and Glasgow in Scotland for two summits discussing climate change. The president said the meeting would promise to be a deeply personal one.
  2. A nonprofit called Kids First Initiative will be doing a complete Pink-out for their STEAM activities to raise awareness for breast cancer. The nonprofit will be in front of Cedar Chavez Academy Elementary today.
  3. Civil Rights leader Andrew Young will be in Detroit to promote new educational opportunities for the city's kids. Young marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to end segregation.
  4. NASA's first Black astronaut to perform a space walk is expected to zoom chat with students in Pontiac. 
  5. A new study from the University of Michigan found the loss of historical lands has left indigenous nations more threatened by climate change.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

It's going to be another rainy day in Metro Detroit with an inch of precipitation expected by Saturday morning. The rain will be accompanied by wind, clouds, and temperatures in the 50s.

Study finds California condors can have "virgin births"

Endangered California condors can have "'virgin births," according to a study released Thursday.

Researchers with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said genetic testing confirmed that two male chicks hatched in 2001 and 2009 from unfertilized eggs were related to their mothers. Neither was related to a male.

The study was published Thursday in the Journal of Heredity. It's the first report of asexual reproduction in California condors, although parthenogenesis can occur in other species ranging from sharks to honey bees to Komodo dragons.

But in birds, it usually only occurs when females don't have access to males. In this case, each mother condor had previously bred with males, producing 34 chicks, and each was housed with a fertile male at the time they produced the eggs through parthenogenesis.