FRIDAY NEWS HIT - With Southeast Michigan finally getting a day to catch its breath, utility crews will spend Friday working to restore power to the hundreds of thousands of homes that lost electricity this week.
DTE plans to assign crews to approximately 200,000 homes today in hopes of making a dent in the total outages numbers, which reached more than 500,000 customers late Thursday night.
Since then, the number of outages has fallen to 461,000 homes, which many of those located in western Wayne County, Wastenaw County, and Livingston County. Those three areas will get the most attention since crews can make the largest impact in reducing outages there, DTE's president said.
"We'll do everything possible to get to that 95% number," said Trevor Lauer, referring to the utility's goal of power restoration by Sunday. "Washtenaw County and Livingston County saw the most extensive ice, exceeding half an inch."
The ice storm on Wednesday brought unique conditions to Metro Detroit, with precipitation falling over the region at just the right temperatures to freeze to surfaces.
The hazard made conditions particularly dangerous due to the added weight that ice can bring to tree branches and power lines, knocking more than 3,000 down. DTE spent most of Thursday getting those back up to reduce the threat to public safety.
Friday will be the "first full day of restoration" Lauer said.
During a virutal update with media, Lauer said the utility prioritizes its work based on how many customers it can restore power to with the fewest resources. From there, it will focus on facilities and buildings that provide necessary services like warming shelters.
After that, crews will focus on schools to make sure kids can return to class Monday. Dozens of districts canceled class for a third day in a row because of outages linked to Wednesday's storm.
Car crash victim fighting insurance company for care
Clarence Burgie gives his daughter, Carmen, a drink of water, while her mother Cassandra, helps with Chapstick. Things that many can do without a thought Carmen can't do for herself after she was hit by a car and paralyzed while she was a student at Michigan State University in 2001. Now, her parents are her full-time caregivers.
They had to quit their jobs to care for Carmen, and they were compensated through catastrophic claims funding until the no-fault auto insurance reform went into effect. They say Auto-Owners insurance hasn't paid them anything since July.
In August the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that insurance companies had to restore payments to people who were catastrophically injured prior to the auto insurance reform, but attorneys say Auto-Owners and some others refuse to do it.
Attorney Nick Andrews represents Carmen and a host of other families impacted by insurance companies refusing to pay. Now the case will go before the Michigan Supreme Court next month.
Red Wings move into playoff contention
Filip Zadina scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and Ville Husso made 30 saves to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the New York Rangers 4-1 on Thursday night. The Red Wings have surged into the playoff picture with seven wins in eight games, giving them a chance to earn a wild card and end a seven-year postseason drought.
"Different vibe," Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. "The guys want it so bad. They’ve worked so hard to put themselves in a situation like this."
Vincent Trocheck pulled New York into a 1-all tie shortly before Zadina scored, but the Rangers didn’t make enough plays at both ends of the ice to slow down one of the NHL’s hottest teams. "If you’re going to win in this league, everybody has to be ready to show up," coach Gerard Gallant said. "We didn’t show up as a group."
Detroit returned home after a 4-1 road trip that made Detroit's playoff hopes realistic. They'll really solidify their momentum with a win this weekend over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning have an 8-point lead over the Wings in the division.
Former Michigan congressman weighs run for president
Mike Rogers for president? The former Michigan Republican congressman may be weighing a run for the highest office in the land. He spent eight years in the state senate before moving onto the U.S. House of Representatives for seven consecutive terms.
He's been out of the political arena for nearly 10 years. But that may not be where his story ends. Last summer he attended the state fair in Iowa and then went to South Carolina and then up to New Hampshire. Not coincidentally all three states are considered critical in a presidential bid.
Back during the midterms when asked about running, he didn't answer. But he did comment on the moment within the GOP and Donald Trump. "On Tuesday it was certainly got a referendum on it, I loved some of the things you did, but now it's time for us to move forward," he said at the time. "And angry and scary is not a way to win elections."
Rogers will be back in Michigan next week including a visit to Detroit and he'll be quizzed about any White House hopes or if he is just racking up frequently flyer points.
I-75 construction resumes with freeway closure in Oakland County
Metro Detroit's favorite construction project returns this weekend when closures go into effect on I-75.
Both directions of the freeway will be closed in Oakland County beginning Friday night, with lane restrictions between I-696 and the I-75 Business Loop going into effect at 11 p.m. The closures will be in effect until Monday morning as road crews build out temporary lane shifts as the transportation department gears up for another round of construction. The closures are contingent on appropriate weather conditions.
Starting Friday morning, 12 Mile Road will be closed under I-75. After Monday morning, southbound I-75 exits at 12 Mile, 11 Mile, and both directions of I-696 will be closed for the construction season.
Lane shifts that will go into effect Monday will include two-way traffic being shifted into the northbound lanes between 13 Mile Road and I-696.
Live on FOX 2
Much of the erratic weather the past week is gone as a quieter weekend comes into focus. Temperatures are expected to come back up into the 30s Saturday and 40s on Sunday.
What else we're watching
- Outdoorama returns to Novi this weekend at the Suburban Collection Showplace while Autorama kicks things off at Huntington Place in Detroit. See more of the fun happening this weekend here.
- Rep. John James will host a district swearing-in ceremony for the state's 10th district on Friday. Several leaders from Macomb County will be in attendance at Macomb Community College this morning for the event.
- Detroit's executive committee for studying reparations will hold a press conference Friday. The 13-member body will begin studying how reparations could be implemented in the city and will be tasked with making recommendations to housing and economic development programs
- According to reports, the woman who allegedly killed an MSU student after a fatal hit-and-run before fleeing to Thailand has returned to the U.S. Yahoo reports Tubtim "Sue" Howson was extradited back to Michigan.
- During particularly catastrophic storms, those affected by power outages are entitled to be reimbursed by DTE. Learn more about the programs here.
Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledges push for victory on anniversary of Russian invasion
Ukraine’s president pledged to push for victory in 2023 as he and other Ukrainians on Friday marked the somber anniversary of the Russian invasion that he called "the longest day of our lives."
As morning broke on a day of commemorations and reflection, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy struck a tone of grim defiance and used the Feb. 24 anniversary to congratulate Ukrainians on their resilience in the face of Europe’s biggest and deadliest war since World War II. He said they had proven themselves to be invincible in what he called "a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity."
"We survived the first day of the full-scale war. We didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but we clearly understood that for each tomorrow, you need to fight. And we fought," he said in an early morning video address.