New FEMA center in Southfield, Jeep plant paint fumes unsettle residents, Genoa Twp murder suspect in Texas

While resources continue to be expanded for disaster victims in Metro Detroit, frustrations from those suffering due to flooding and power outages are still top of mind for many. Those upset vented their irritation during a Dearborn Heights townhall Tuesday night.

"I’ve been here 30 years and this is what I’ve been hearing for 30 years - come up with a plan," said one resident. "I’ve got a pump right now in my basement with a hole this big, pumping water all the time," said another. "I haven’t even been here four years, and I think I’ve probably had eight or nine floods," one woman said.

Mayor Bill Bazzi said they understood people's pain. They also said grant money was going to be used to purchase flood plains that will create buffer zones to reduce flooding. 

A more regional resource is now in place as well. A new disaster recovery center that will assist residents in Metro Detroit manage the fallout from flooding and extreme weather events will open in Southfield Wednesday.

The new center will act as a resource for disaster victims, housing representatives from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Michigan State Police, and others who can walk people through assistance programs and answer questions about how to make a home more disaster-resistant.

The Oct. 6 opening of the Disaster Recovery Center arrives only days after the application for getting financial help from the June floods this year was extended. 

After they were initially rejected for federal assistance after intense rain flooded homes across Southeast Michigan on June 25 and 26, damaged households in Oakland and Macomb counties were approved.

The approval opens residents up to the opportunity of securing money for replacing important appliances while offering low-cost loans and grants for temporary housing and home repairs. The same residents also now qualify for federal disaster unemployment benefits. 

The deadline for applying for aid is Nov. 12. 

The new FEMA facility in Southfield will be located inside the Parks and Rec facility on 26000 Evergreen Road. The hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday - Saturday. It will be closed on Sunday. 

Paint fumes from Jeep plant upsetting residents

A smell emanating from the Jeep assembly plant in Detroit that's bothered nearby residents for years has gotten much worse over the last couple of months, people say. It's raising concerns about potential public health troubles.

Residents say the fumes got really bad after the factory began painting vehicles. "You could smell the paint, it smelled bleachy, and my eyes were burning," said Lonnie Carter, who lives near Beniteau Street. According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, FCA Stellantis has received multiple violation notices about a "persistent and objectionable" paint odors.

Some residents are pointing to an incomplete community benefits package that never included an environmental assessment. But a company spokesman said nearly all of the 60-plus commitments have been met or are on track. 

In a statement, the company says "Stellantis is reviewing the notice it received recently from EGLE. we take all environmental issues seriously and understand our responsibility to be a good neighbor. We are working with EGLE to identify and resolve any concerns in an affirmative manner." The automaker has to start the process to correct the violations and provide a written response to the violation notice by Monday, Oct. 11.  

Livingston County murder suspect arrested in Texas

A murder suspect in the case of a body found in Genoa Township has been taken into custody in Texas, according to Livingston County authorities in a release.

A felony complaint has been issued to Brandon Eric Wilson for one count of homicide-open murder. On Oct. 4, Wilson was stopped in Texas for a traffic violation and "made statements" to police that led to a welfare check at a Genoa Township residence.

It was there that a woman's body was discovered by Livingston County Sheriff's deputies. Wilson, who is in custody in Texas, will be returned to Livingston County and an arrest warrant has been authorized.

As the investigation continues, anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact Det. Jake Fairbanks in the Livingston County Sheriff's Department at (517) 540-7956.

Detroit man who threatened Whitmer, Nessel sentenced

A Detroit man was given 5 years of strict mental health probation for making death threats against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Robert Tesh was sentenced Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court after pleading guilty but mentally ill in August, according to court documents.

As part of his probation, Tesh must continuously receive and participate in mental health treatment, according to the Wayne County prosecutor’s office. Failure to continue treatment, except by agreement with the treating agency and the sentencing court, is grounds for revocation of probation. A psychiatric report also must be filed with his probation officer and the sentencing court every three months during the period of probation.

Tesh also is prohibited from owning, using, or possessing any firearms or weapons. Tesh, 34, was charged last year with false report or threat of terrorism after making the threats via a social media message to an acquaintance in April 2020. Detroit police officers arrested Tesh at his home -- the same day the threats were made.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy has said authorities concluded the message amounted to "credible threats to kill." Her office added that the threats were not specific to Whitmer’s stay-at-home order issued in March 2020 to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Warren schools warning against destructive TikTok trends

The popularity of TikTok trends is making school difficult for the educators of Warren, where stern warnings have been handed out against doing them. For much of the school year, Warren Superintendent Dr. Robert Livernois says administrators have had to deal with a challenge that encourages students to film themselves destroying property in bathrooms. 

However, the latest trend is forcing the issue since the challenge includes assaulting teachers or touching others inappropriately. "In October as we sit now, the challenge is to video record yourself hitting a staff member, and some of them throughout the year are very concerning," Livernois said. "One of them even includes touching people inappropriately on the breast."

No instances of the current trend have been reported. However, the district and medical professionals are encouraging parents to discuss the consequences of social media posts.

"I think the best thing to do is you know what always pause before you post," said Dr. Asha Shajahan, of Beaumont. "When you’re posting, is this something that is going to hurt someone, why are you posting it, and do you think you will regret it later."

What else we're watching

  1. A new neighborhood grocery store is opening Wednesday in Detroit. The Rivertown Market will officially open its doors at 7 a.m. Run by Meijer, it's the grocer's second small-format store in Metro Detroit. 
  2. A massive amount of dirt from Rouge Park will be excavated and hauled to Riverside Park to help manage runoff from heavy storms on the city's west side while putting the finishing touches on the park's renovation.
  3. A 2,000-mile bike path planned throughout Michigan will now include Van Buren Township. The Iron Belle Trail is mapped through 48 Michigan counties.
  4. Skeletal remains were found during road construction in Detroit. Crews uncovered human bones from a skeleton at the intersection of Ford Street and Cass Avenue. 
  5. The University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel says he will step down from his post in June 2023. It's a year earlier than his previously announced appointment. 

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Daily Forecast

Clouds will eventually clear Wednesday in time for some sun. But it won't last long as the rain is expected to start trickling in over Southeast Michigan during the evening. Things will get wetter before the weekend starts. Temperatures will remain above average as well. 

Canadian researchers discover new kind of killer whale that hunts large sea mammals: report

Canadian researchers said they identified a new, mysterious kind of killer whale that hunts large mammals—like grey whale calves—and prefers the Pacific's deepwater canyons for hunting than along the coast, according to reports.

Josh McInnes, a researcher from the University of British Columbia, said these "outer coast transient whales" are believed to be a subset of transient orcas known as Bigg’s killer whales, according to the CBC. But he said these whales have a distinct vocal dialect from their cousins and spend most of their time cruising the continental shelf off California. Their calls tend to have a higher pitch.

Hakai Magazine reported that scientists have long assumed that killer whales found from "southeast Alaska to Southern California belonged to a single west coast population."