Whelan family to meet Biden • Royal Oak residents fume over porta-potty • Murder-for-hire plot in Oak Park

President Joe Biden will meet with the families of two Americans in captivity in Russia today, including Novi-native Paul Whelan who was convicted of espionage charges after his arrest in 2018.

Relatives of both Whelan and WNBA Star Brittney Griner will meet with Biden separately at The White House Friday. 

The Biden Administration has an offer on the table for the safe return of both Americans. It includes a prisoner swap for Viktor Bout, a convicted arms trafficker who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S.

There's no indication the deal has gone through.

Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison after she was charged with possession of cannabis oil that was found in her luggage while flying out of the country. Whelan was sentenced to 16 years.

The White House said Thursday the meeting with the president was an expression that the government was still doing everything it could to return the two incarcerated Americans.

READ MORE: Family of Novi man imprisoned in Russia is encouraged after US offers trade of arms dealer

Whelan's family said it had new hope they may see him again after the exchange offer was made public in July. It's unclear if Russia would accept the deal. While family is encouraged by the possibility of seeing their relative again, they also worried that a worse fate awaits Whelan. 

Prisoners that have stayed with the man have volunteered to help Russia's war effort with its invasion of Ukraine. "What we understand is that 10 of the prisoners have now volunteered to go to the front in the war against Ukraine," David Whelan told FOX 2 at the time. "We had heard that the Russian military was recruiting in the prisons, so it seems to have gotten to Paul's prison now."

More info here.

Royal Oak residents fuming over porta-potty

Lynette Kipp isn't getting what she expected when Royal Oak revamped the neighborhood park - a port-a-potty on Longfellow Avenue. "A lovely outhouse to look at while I sit on my porch," she said. "There is no screening, no landscaping, there is nothing to camouflage it. It is just sitting right out there for all to see and smell."

The city spent more than a million dollars in federal money for a fancy new playscape at Lawson Park along with a new pavilion, new baseball field, and new basketball court. And yet, with all these new attractions now in place - there's nowhere to go to the bathroom. 

Instead, a port-a-john has been put in place. According to residents, the stench is unbearable. "So it’s not a constant thing but when the wind blows, I can smell it, and it’s not something you want to smell inside your house," said Josh Fisher who lives nearby. "It seems to us to be really poor planning, especially with all the money they got."

FOX 2 asked the city if that was ever an option. "So there are a lot of variables that we look at when we kind of put together a park," Fedele said. "We felt like the cost for the brick and mortar restroom did not warrant pulling amenities away or reducing the amenities of that particular park."

It could be removed by November. Learn more here.

$190 million hotel proposed for next to Little Caesars Arena

Another huge development has been proposed for District Detroit, with a proposed hotel next door to Little Caesars Arena. The Ilitch family has teamed up with billionaire Steven Ross and a plan for a new $190 million hotel just south of the LCA. It will add to the latest in a string of high-rise, high-end buildings across downtown.

A news release says the hotel would stand 14 stories and have nearly 300 rooms along with 30,000 square feet of amenities and shopping. But some wonder about past development promises that they say, have gone unfulfilled. The issue came up in the form of a scathing rebuke on HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" a few years ago.

"Once promoted as Detroit’s largest residential development in decades, District Detroit has indeed failed to produce a single house, apartment or hotel room to date." FOX 2 reached out to IIitch Companies for comment, but they simply referred us to the hotel announcement we just mentioned perhaps to say such a huge development speaks for itself.

The organization says the 180-foot tall project will start construction no later than the third quarter of 2024. But many we talked with hate to wait so long for continued progress in the D.

Read how residents are taking the news here

Both sides of Prop 3 abortion issue readies for ballot box battle

Michigan has become a well-known battleground state and in this upcoming midterm election, one of the biggest spotlights is on abortion rights. The former president of Planned Parenthood and a passionate pro-life advocate spoke to FOX 2 about the importance of Proposal 3.

"Everything is at stake in this election," said Cecile Richards. Richards spoke about November’s midterm election with us prior to an abortion rights event in Ann Arbor Thursday. "Why it’s so important to vote yes on Proposal Three is we need to make sure we’re protecting the rights we had under Roe versus Wade. A right that women have had in Michigan for 50 years," she said.

But Maria Migliorno Miller, the head of the Citizens for a Pro-Life Society says Planned Parenthood has it all wrong and said abortion should not be considered healthcare. She instead called it "abortion on demand."

The polarizing battle over Michigan’s abortion rights has intensified since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade in June. On Tuesday, November 8th, the people of Michigan will decide.

Read more about the debate here

Michigan attorney believed to be mastermind in murder of Dan Hutchinson

Explosive new details in the investigation into the murder of Dan Hutchinson, the owner of Hutch's Jewelry. According to FOX 2 sources, a Michigan attorney is likely the mastermind behind all of it. The alleged motive? FOX 2 has learned the attorney allegedly wrote himself into the Hutch's will and the jewelry store owner had no idea.

So far, three people have been charged with the murder-for-hire plot to kill Daniel "Hutch" Hutchinson, a well-known jeweler with a celebrity client list. But an attorney could be the next person charged. Multiple sources tell FOX 2 that the attorney, who we cannot name because he hasn't been charged, is a person of interest in an investigation that started back on June 1.

At least ten bullet holes were visible in the window of the SUV that Hutch was driving. In the passenger seat was his wife, Marissa, who was miraculously unhurt in the shooting. The shooter, police say, was 44-year-old Roy Donta Larry. Police said he pulled up on a bicycle to the GMC Yukon Denali with his wife at the time and fired more than a dozen rounds into the SUV.  

Last week, the investigation broke open with two more charged including 57-year-old Darnell Larry, a relative of Roy, and 32-year-old Angelo James Raptoplous. Oak Park police declined to elaborate further on the charges, but sources say that Raptoplous was above the other two men in the plot.

Read more about the wild story here

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Daily Forecast

Prepare for some crazy temperature fluctuations over the next week. We'll get to the high 80s this weekend and early next week before temperatures tumble into the low 70s and possibly high 60s by Wednesday.

What else we're watching

  1. ‘Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale’ will soon hit theaters this year. It details both the history of the iconic Detroit boat as the SS Ste. Claire goes through restoration. Learn more here.
  2. A gofundme has been set up for the family of a student who died in an assault at Fraser High School this week. There were at least three victims that had been stabbed Tuesday afternoon outside the school. Find the link here.
  3. We have new drone footage of the Detroit Auto Show that's unlike anything people have seen before. The aerial shots offer a never-before-seen vantage point of the car show. See the clip here.
  4. Both Roop Raj and Taryn Asher will be live at the Detroit Auto Show Charity Preview Friday night, which will feature drones and a gravity jet suit as an exhibition for just how broad the field of mobility has become.
  5. There is some major construction this week on I-94 in Macomb County where only single lane options will be available near and around M-59 and Harper.

When you will see the peak of the 2022 fall foliage season

As the country moves deeper into fall, temperatures won't be the only thing changing across the northern tier of the country. The transition also marks the start of the changing of the leaves, which makes for some spectacular photos.

The annual fall foliage is highly contingent on your location and, in some areas, can start as early as late September and peak in either October or November.

While the colors depend on the chlorophyll in the leaves, weather conditions during the summer and early fall can play a big role in how extravagant the sights are. The lack of chlorophyll can help reveal the sought-after yellow, orange and red colors, which usually are bountiful during rainier periods.

Read more here