WEDNESDAY NEWS HIT - Ninety-two year-old Savannah Lewis is one of the last few holdouts in a land grab in Detroit's Cadillac Heights neighborhood. But to her, she's "darn near 100" so why would she want to buy a new house?
That's the question in front of her as Crown Enterprises, a Moroun family company, is working to buy out residents for the land they live on. But Lewis has lived in the home since 1962.
"My mother, she caught the guy that was bringing hers over and she told him she didn’t want to move," said Lewis-Davis. "And he told her well you can stay here forever, we’re just going to build around you.
"That was the attitude they took."
Victoria Lewis-Davis, Savannah’s daughter, says Crown spread herbicide on the parcels they own right up to homeowners’ property lines. The company owns about 80% of this neighborhood and says it’s been taking steps to acquire the remaining parcels as they become available.
Everything in red on the map belongs to Crown. Homeowner properties are in blue.
Eric Sanders is reluctantly seeing green.
"I’m feeling kind of mixed emotions," he said. "I don’t want to leave, but then on the other hand, I can’t really refuse the money. I can go somewhere else, I want to move out where it’s rural."
The disabled veteran says he’s selling his two houses to Crown after being fed up with crime in the neighborhood and broken promises from politicians.
"The most hurtful part is leaving," Sanders said. "I know I ain’t ever going to meet good neighbors like I did right here."
While Crown says it has no imminent development plans, it is exploring building a ready-mix concrete plant in the area, and it does not have an interest in forcing residents to sell who are not interested.
Andrew Bashi is an attorney from the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center says this.
"There's multiple communities that have basically been turned into sacrifice zones for these speculators to make tons of money off people who invested in their communities for decades," he said.
And as for Lewis, she says she is not moving. "Whatever goes on around here, I'm going to be stuck here," she said.
Crown Enterpises released a statement:
"Crown Enterprises has been a part of the Cadillac Heights neighborhood as far back as the 1960's. Crown owns the vast majority of the "6 Mile Triangle" site, bounded by Moran, Jerome, Joseph Campau, E. McNichols, and has been taking steps to acquire the remaining parcels as they become available. The goal is to secure these properties against trespassing and dumping.
"We have made unsolicited offers to residents of occupied houses. When making these offers, it is customary in real estate to include parameters around the agreement, including proposed timelines. However, residents do not have to agree or respond to our offers and several have renegotiated the terms to adjust the move out time, value, etc. Crown does not have an interest in forcing residents to sell who are not interested.
"There is no imminent development plan for the site; we have engaged the City of Detroit for permitting of a ready-mix concrete plant, a by-right use, to service local infrastructure initiatives, but this plant will only take up a fraction of the site.
"We are in the process of demolishing all blighted structures within the site and plan to continue to clean up the property, making the neighborhood safer and more secure."
Cyberattack closes school for South Redford District
A Wayne County school district canceled classes Tuesday and Wednesday after a cyberattack shutdown operations. South Redford Schools said a forensic team advised them to remain closed as it worked through the security issue.
"I looked at my phone and they said it was a cyberattack," Jaylen Green, a student, said. "It said don’t go on your Chrome Books, don’t do nothing on your phone that is like school-related like the websites we use to do our schoolwork, Google Slides, stuff like that."
Both federal and local authorities were notified of the attack and the district is still assessing what enabled hackers to get into the district's system. "At this time, we continue to actively work with our cyber security teams to resolve the cyber-attack that was made against the South Redford School District. Our cyber forensic teams have been working non-stop to identify and isolate the cyber-attack."
Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common forms of theft as hackers break into the security systems guarding private information at schools, businesses, and governments and lock the groups out of data.
Stranger stabs Roseville puppies, killing one
A pair of 10-month-old puppies Saije and Jnixx were more than just pets to the Taylor family - they were a source of comfort. "They are for my twin daughters. They are both disabled," said Veronica Taylor. But after what happened on September 15th, in their own Roseville neighborhood, the Taylor family is in need some help after both dogs were stabbed by an unknown man.
"He stabbed my boy dog in between the eyes and in the side," Veronica said. That dog, Jnixx, died, the other dog Saije, survived but barely - missing her main artery and lungs. She will need surgery to recover.
The stabbing happened around 1:45 p.m. last Thursday in the area of Flangan and Dolphin, where Taylor says the dogs got loose. At some point, Roseville police say the dogs encountered an older man walking his black terrier, one street over, in front of Brad Somervell’s house.
"And the dogs were wrapped around him a few times and he had a pocketknife and there was blood on it," Somervell said. "And I asked what happened and he said the dogs came out of nowhere and attacked him." Roseville police say the person they are looking for, is a white man 60 to 65 years old, bald with a scruffy goatee, who owns a black terrier mix.
Aidan Hutchinson dedicates game to 5-year-old boy with leukemia
"I think this game was dedicated to, right here actually, Hudson. I had him on my wrist tape. He’s a kid who just got diagnosed with leukemia. He’s actually from my hometown. So, I just had him on my wrist. I think a lot of that was I was playing for him," Hutchinson said. "I just play football. That’s all I do. There’s a lot more people with a lot worse things going on in the world so I’m just trying to make an impact. That’s all."
Hudson was diagnosed with the blood cancer two weeks ago. "It means more than I think anyone could realize," his mother Emily Gazsi said of Hutchinson's decision to have her son's name on his wrist.
What makes it even more special is that the family is diehard Lions fans. The Gazsis were connected to Hutchinson through a family-friend. "Thank you for helping my family and me," Hudson said.
Man scams Fernale residents while posing as electrician
A 19-year-old man is accused of posing as an electrician to scam a Ferndale man who needed lights installed in his garage. The victim found Damelle Robinson on Angi, formerly known as Angie's List. Robinson was going by the name John on the website.
After someone dropped Robinson off at the victim's home near Rosewood and Hilton, the victim hired him on the spot and took him to Home Depot in Madison Heights for supplies. "There were a couple red flags right off the bat. He didn't have any tools with him, he didn't have a work bag," said Sgt. Jillian Mahlmeister, with Ferndale police.
Police said Robinson waited in the car while the victim went inside to buy the supplies. However, Robinson was allegedly acting suspiciously, and someone called the police on him. "When he (the victim) came out, the Madison Heights Police Department was speaking to the man he hired in the parking lot because they got a suspicious call on him," Mahlmeister said.
The victim brought Robinson home for the job. "He left this house for a couple minutes to drop his kids to school, and the contractor was gone with all the items he bought from Home Depot," Mahlmeister said. Ferndale officers were able to track Robinson down because he had given Madison Heights officers his real name. Now he is charged with larceny in a building.
Live on FOX 2
The second-last day of summer will come with some very end-of-summer heat with high in the 80s Wednesday. From there, temperatures will drop more than 20 degrees Thursday as fall conditions kick in.
What else we're watching
- Tudor Dixon made a campaign stop Tuesday where she railed against Michigan's education superintendent of public instruction over the department's training videos that offer teachers guidance on student orientation. Here's where she stands on issues as she seeks to attract more women votes.
- Detroit police are investigating the carjacking of a red Chrysler 200 after they say a man got into the vehicle where a 95-year-old woman was sitting in the passenger seat. There was a struggle before the victim was able to escape the assault.
- Huntington Tower is opening in Detroit Wednesday. The grand unveiling of the "heart" of the entertainment district will be at 10 a.m. Many public officials will be in attendance.
- The Wayne County Sheriff's Office is getting a new dock to help its marine division. The $1.4 million project will break ground Wednesday and will be located in Trenton on the Detroit River.
- Have you met FOX 2's latest reporter Dave Kinchen? He'll be joining the Nine on the couch to introduce himself to Detroit. He also has a classic rock podcast and is planning a special on rock history in Detroit.
Feeding Our Future: 47 people charged in $250M fraud scheme
The founder of Feeding Our Future and 46 others have been charged in what federal officials are calling the largest pandemic fraud in the country.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger on Tuesday announced charges against founder Aimee Bock and others that include conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery. Authorities alleged the massive fraud scheme took at least $250 million from the federal child nutrition program — money that was intended to help feed children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Authorities claim money did not go to feeding children in need but instead went to buying houses, resort properties, luxury cars, jewelry, and other goods for the defendants.
Luger described the conspiracy as a "brazen scheme of staggering proportions" in a press conference Tuesday and said the defendants would face federal charges related to criminal conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and paying and receiving illegal kickbacks.