Wayne County considers mask rule for schools, a free house hoax returns to Detroit, chalking tires is illegal

Oakland County will mandate masks in schools and Macomb County will not. Wayne County is next on the list to decide.

It's expected to release guidelines Friday that will no doubt contribute to the back-and-forth that every county has witnessed between parents and school boards. However, with the health department ruling on the issue, it may divert the patchwork solution that's taken place around the state and solidify a larger safety policy.

If they do issue a mask mandate for schools, Wayne County's health department can expect more of the same treatment that Oakland County's health division received this week when hundreds of parents and teens lined up outside the building to express their anger. 

While very few counties in Michigan have ordered such a ruling, with Kent, Genesee, Allegan, and Ottawa, and Oakland siding with mask rules, they do represent a big portion of the students in Michigan. And that could have a large influence over the makeup of Michigan's next surge of COVID-19 cases.

Health officials have already given their take: masks work at reducing the spread of the coronavirus and will be effective at lowing the chance that students contract the virus. That's important because the Delta variant and any subsequent mutations of the virus have become increasingly effective at evading the vaccine's protection from transmitting the disease. 

It could also pose a greater threat to young people than previous mutations. Anyone under the age of 12 can't get the vaccine, leaving young people among the most threatened populations.

For Wayne County, the most populated county in the state with hundreds of thousands of students, it could spell trouble if the disease is allowed to roam freely.

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said the alternative to masks was moving students to virtual settings when outbreaks occur - something that many students might dislike just as much as wearing a mask. 

Data from the health department estimates that without masking in a school, the chances of someone catching the virus rises to 50% after just 24 hours from the moment an infected student walks into a room. With mask rules in effect, 24 hours becomes 120 hours.

A protest among parents uninterested in mask mandates is expected outside the Wayne County health department today. 

Macomb County prosecutor angry over light sentence for man who killed road worker

Martin Smith is likely to spend very little time behind bars, despite being the offending driver who hit a county road commission worker on I-94 last year, killing him. Additionally, Smith fled the scene before later turning himself in. He said he didn't know he hit anyone.

But for 26-year-old Zach Morisette's family, they don't know if they'll see the offending driver pay his due. Neither does the prosecutor. "The people of the state of Michigan, this is not justice," said Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido. 

But under a plea agreement with the judge, Smith's sentencing guidelines could land him anywhere between zero and 11 months in jail. "We objected, as to the judge, following the guidelines," Lucido said. "We don't think the guidelines are proper or reasonable at this point. It's unreasonable to sentence someone zero to 11 months who took someone's life."

FOX 2 spoke with the family of Morisette soon after his death. "He's going to be missed, so much," his brother Rodney said. "He was loving loyal caring and he just loved his family more than any words could ever describe."

Chalking tires is unconstitutional, court rules

Hell hath no fury like a woman with 14 parking tickets. In a novel argument, the practice of chalking tires without a search warrant was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court Thursday, after Alison Taylor challenged the city of Saginaw.

"For nearly as long as automobiles have parked along city streets, municipalities have found ways to enforce parking regulations without implicating the Fourth Amendment," Judge Richard Griffin said in a 3-0 opinion Wednesday. "Thus, tire chalking is not necessary to meet the ordinary needs of law enforcement, let alone the extraordinary."

It all started with parking enforcer Tabitha Hoskins would take notes and sometimes chalk tires in areas where there was a time limit but no meters. The city said chalking was a signal to motorists that vehicles were being watched. 

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling in favor of Saginaw and sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington for the next steps. It was Taylor’s second trip to the appeals court. Taylor's lawyer says he wants to turn the lawsuit into a class-action. 

New DPD grad resigns amid Greektown brawl fallout

The new recruit that attended his graduating ceremony in the day and got in a fight and was arrested hours later has resigned his position within the force. Mohamad Salameh quit his job before his probational hearing on Aug. 31. It likely would have led to his firing. 

A former Detroit deputy police chief said the tactic of resigning quickly enables the now-resigned officer to potentially not be charged. And if that happens, he can apply for a job in another department. Of course, there are other problems on the horizon - sources say he threatened and hurled racial epithets at officers while in custody, including the n-word.

"If that’s the case, chances are the officers he was dealing with at the detention center could be men of color, women of color and word is going to get around - 'We don’t want to work with this guy,'" former deputy police chief Steve Dolunt said. "And that’s going to hurt him when he applies at another police department."

FOX 2 made a trip to Salameh's home. He did not come to the door, but a man claiming to be his grandfather did. He said "it's in the past" before saying he would have preferred his grandson be a doctor. Detroit police are still pursuing charges against Salameh.

Lying man promising free Detroit homes and money finds new victims

"This is not a scam, this is not a hoax," said Ramzu Yunus in an online video where he's showcasing how to get a free home and free money. "I'm talking about free homes for everyone, $100,000 grant money for everyone."

None of this is true. A Detroit mom we're calling Tonya thought it was true. She said she was so excited to get a house for her family. She had already picked out the pain and knew what she wanted for her yard. But when she called the Detroit Land Bank to get keys, they told her it was a scam. So far, seven people have fallen for it. 

This isn't Yunus's first rodeo. Back in 2016, he was arrested after a bogus flyer advertising $100,000 and a free house if they showed up in front of Highland Park City Hall. For Tonya, apart from the confusion, she did give Yunus her personal information, but no cash. 

Apparently, Yunus was in front of Detroit's TCF Center gathering personal information from people promising homes as well. 

What else we're watching

  1. Michigan hard cidermakers have been on a tear lately, scoring nearly 200 medals at the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition. Several dozen scored a medal during the competition.
  2. The weekly I-75 closure update is here, and it includes shutdowns of I-75 in Oakland County between Big Beaver and 14 Mile heading northbound, and Big Beaver and Rochester Road heading Southbound. Crews will be providing a high friction surface treatment. 
  3. FOX 2 will be speaking with the founder and kid entrepreneur of clawcrazy today, a fun take on an arcade game that's seen unexpected growth this year. 
  4. Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib will be holding a townhall Saturday afternoon in Detroit to discuss the current infrastructure bill that has been tossed back to the U.S. House.
  5. A new Holocaust Memorial exhibit has opened in Farmington Hills. It will be open through Dec. 30 and is located on Orchard Lake Road.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

There will be a slight dip in temperatures Friday that will take us down into the mid-80s, but a chance of showers will persist throughout the day. Then, hot temperatures resume this weekend before some cooler air moves in next week

Kabul airport attack kills more than 100, including 13 US service members

Evacuation flights from Afghanistan resumed with new urgency on Friday, a day after two suicide bombings targeted the thousands of desperate people fleeing the Taliban takeover and killed more than 100. The U.S. warned more attacks could come ahead of the Tuesday deadline for foreign troops to leave, ending America’s longest war.

As the call to prayer echoed through Kabul along with the roar of departing planes, the anxious crowd outside the airport was as large as ever. Dozens of Taliban members carrying heavy weapons patrolled one area about 500 meters (1,600 feet) from the airport to prevent anyone from venturing beyond.

Thursday’s bombings near Kabul’s international airport killed at least 95 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops, Afghan and U.S. officials said, in the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since August 2011.

Afghan officials warned that the true toll could be higher, with morgues stretched to capacity and the possibility that relatives are taking bodies away from the scene. One official said as many as 115 may have died. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.