Presidential campaigns target Michigan, the state's new COVID-19 restrictions, Vet scammed by fake DTE worker

In the twilight hours of 2020's campaign, Michigan appears to be among the candidate's most sought after states. With only four days left until election day, both Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Republican nominee Donald Trump have four scheduled appearances in the state.

Trump although is hosting the bulk of those rallies. After stopping in Lansing on Tuesday, he's back in Michigan on Friday, Sunday, and Monday. Biden and former President Barack Obama will be visiting somewhere over the weekend as well.

Visiting mid-sized urban centers like Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights, both candidates have indicated their path to victory runs through Michigan.

For being such a chaotic presidential campaign in 2020, polling across the state has remained remarkably steady in Michigan. FiveThirtyEight, a polling aggregator that averages out most polls conducted in each state, currently has the president trailing Biden by eight points. 

It's been that way since early June. Among the most recent polling contracted by Detroit media, a survey released Oct. 27 found Biden up by eight. In another local-sourced poll, Biden was up by nine.

But for the wave of new skeptics that 2016's election created, no polling gap could be enough for someone to definitively say who will win the state. Michigan has proved to be the spoiler in several statewide elections for president. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders triumphed over then-candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic Primary. During the presidential race, a mere 10,704 votes separated winner Trump from loser Clinton.

Hoping to drum hope some of the Midwestern magic he tapped into the last cycle, Trump will visit Waterford Friday, Sterling Heights Sunday, and finish the campaign season in Grand Rapids Monday night.

A lot of criticism toward the Democrat's campaign in 2016 came from running an apathetic ground game in the Midwest, which would eventually flip blue to red for the first time in years. Biden appears to have heard those criticisms and responded. After speaking in Southfield, visiting the Detroit fairgrounds last week, he plans to return Oct. 31 for the final-final stretch.

Restaurants, bars ordered to track customers, gathering limits tightened

With COVID-19 numbers at some of their highest levels in Michigan since the first case was spotted, the health department has enacted rules aimed at limiting transmission between customers and increasing contact tracing infrastructure in the state.

On Thursday, the MDHHS ordered all indoor venues without fixed seating to lower gathering limits to no more than 50 people. Dine-in establishments are also required to keep customers' names and phone numbers, in the event an outbreak is reported at a location. Also new are limits on the number of people who can sit at a table - which has been lowered to six.

Currently, the state has a 5.5% positivity rate - about 172 cases per million per day. To give residents some perspective, when the transmission rate had fallen to its all-time low in June, positivity rates were under 2%. Health experts say anything over 3% indicates community spread.

While new cases are something to raise eyebrows at, it's the doubling of hospitalizations and continuous rise in death rates that have experts grimacing. 

The state won't respond via executive order, however. After the state Supreme Court sided with a GOP lawsuit alleging the governor had overstepped her constitutional authority with the use of the 1945 emergency powers act, the state's response will take on a patchwork approach. 

Charges dropped in Warren De La Salle hazing case

All charges against the seven students involved in a hazing lawsuit have been dropped.

Long-delayed by COVID-19 after reports burst onto the scene of accusations of harassment with a broom handle among players on the high school football team, the case was dismissed under conditions the students believed to be involved complete an anti-bullying program, graduate, write an apology to the victims, and write an essay on future plans.

"I think De La Salle is a better school today than it was because of the investigation because the president is no longer there and I think there was a good lesson learned," Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said.

The case didn't come without its casualties, however. In the weeks after the team canceled its high school football season, the president and football coach left. 

"I think the climate has changed dramatically and I think the young men involved, they paid a price," said Dwyer.

Investigators initially learned the football players held the victims to the floor of the locker room and allegedly used a broom to intimidate and haze the victims.

But St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael Wendling says there was never any evidence of penetration recovered.

Dwyer said the victims are satisfied with the outcome and are ready to move on.

87-year-old Army vet scammed by fake DTE worker

An 87-year-old Army veteran and former football coach was scammed out of hundreds of dollars after a man posing as a utility worker showed up at his door.

Frank Richmond has lived in Clinton Township for 43 years and is used to power outages. So when a man dressed in DTE wear and an iPad knocked on his door, he opened it. 

It seemed legit. The worker went upstairs while Richmond went downstairs. Behind the bar downstairs were two wallets with $751 inside. 

Now it's all gone. The scammer drove away in a silver truck captured on a neighbor's front porch doorbell camera.

"I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking how stupid could you be," Richmond said.

Detroit city clerk says 500 ballots were not lost in mail, but spoiled

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey clarified earlier reports about a trove of missing ballots that had disappeared in the mail on Thursday.

"It was reported earlier in the week that mail was lost and I never said that," said Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. "Ballots were spoiled and ballots are spoiled for a number of reasons."

Voters can spoil their ballots for any reason, but typically to change their vote on something. That requires the constituent calling the clerk's office, asking for a new ballot, and discarding the old one.

"The local postmaster went and looked at the data and he went to those zip codes that more than a few, repeating," she said. "They went inside those stations and they did a sweep and they did not find ballots sitting in piles."

It's still a question mark. Meanwhile, there are still Detroiters out there, absentee voters without ballots just days before the election.

$2 million lawsuit filed against pastor accused of peeing on flyer

A North Carolina pastor is being sued for $2 million by a Southfield attorney on behalf of a Detroit woman who awoke to the man urinating on her during a flight from Las Vegas to Michigan.

In the lawsuit, the woman said she had fallen asleep during the red-eye flight before feeling something warm on the side of her.

"I jump up and I seen his private area out and I screamed and that woke everybody up," Alicia said. "By that time I actually looked at him and I see him shake himself off and I’m like this man just peed on me! I looked and there was a puddle of pee in the seats!"

An off-duty police officer took the man into custody. 

Documents later identified the man as Daniel Chalmers, a pastor of the Love Wins Ministry in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

The lawsuit seeks $2 million for severe emotional and mental distress, an inability to experience social pleasures, humiliation, anxiety, and other damages.

Amazon fairground sale delayed

A Wayne County Circuit Court issued a temporary restraining order on a sale between developers and the city of Detroit.

Amazon had planned on building a distribution center on part of the old State Fairgrounds, with construction beginning this year.

The suit was filed by the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition with a hearing on the injunction scheduled for Nov. 9.

The Detroit City Council approved the sale 10 days ago. 

Pedestrian struck in Southfield, in critical condition

Southfield police say a vehicle struck a pedestrian on 12 Mile and Southfield Road Thursday night.

The incident happened around 7:21 p.m.

A 58-year-old man and resident of Southfield was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

The driver of the vehicle involved remained at the scene and the investigation is ongoing. 

Other Stories

1. Michigan court rejects appeal to ban open carry of guns, citing voter intimidation laws
2. Neighbor steps in to help 7-year-old girl critically hurt in drive-by shooting
3. Woman creates decorative mask chains for kids, donates to Children's Hospital
4. Tuskegee Airman Preston Jowers who died at 105 was American hero, a witness to history
5. 2 Michigan men facing gang felony charge for alleged ties with white supremacist group The Base

Daily Forecast

Next week appears to get a little warmer - but not before temperatures dip into the 40s this weekend. Fear not for your (hopefully safe) Halloween, it will be a cloudless Oct. 31. 

Trump officials end gray wolf protections across most of US

Trump administration officials on Thursday stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators.

The U.S. Department of Interior announcement just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election could lead to resumption of wolf hunts in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- a crucial battleground in the campaign between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

It’s the latest in a series of administration actions on the environment that appeal to key blocs of rural voters in the race’s final days, including steps to allow more mining in Minnesota and logging in Alaska.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz, who opposes recreational wolf hunting, called the decision disappointing and wildlife advocacy groups pledged to fight it in court.

Both feared and revered by people, gray wolves have recovered from near extinction in parts of the country but remain absent from much of their historical range.