Whitmer to sign gun bills • Notorious gang member sentenced to life • Where to find Morel mushrooms

The Michigan governor is expected to sign two guns safety bills into law Thursday that deal with mandatory safe storage rules and universal background checks.

In a realm that rarely sees bipartisan support, Michigan Democrats needed every vote of their new-found majority in the state House and Senate this session to pass the bills. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to put pen to paper around 9 a.m. Thursday.

The signings come a day after Michigan State University students performed a walkout on campus to keep the spotlight on the theme of gun safety laws after a mass shooting in East Lansing earlier this year.

The gun safety bills that Whitmer intends to sign are two of three legislative efforts that Democrats have pushed this session. A third law dealing with asking a court to take someone's gun away from them if a judge determines the individual is a danger to themselves or someone else is still in the legislature. 

It passed through committee on Wednesday but won't be voted on until Democrats have everyone available, exemplifying the thin margins in both chambers in Lansing.

MORE: State GOP leader Karamo doubles down on gun control tweet invoking Holocaust imagery

The two bills that Whitmer intends to sign Thursday include:

  • Safe Storage: If you own a gun or if a minor is expected to be in your home, a gun owner will be required to lock their weapon away
  • Background checks: Someone purchasing a firearm at a gun show or through a private sale will need to have their background checked regardless of how they are buying it

Even after the bills are signed into law, they won't take effect until next year. That's because the legislation didn't receive enough support while in session. 

On Thursday, the Michigan House pushed the red flag bill through the judiciary committee after amending the language to further strengthen rules related to due process.

The red flag laws deal with extreme risk protection orders that can be signed by a judge that prevents an individual from owning a gun if there's potential that person could harm themselves or others. 

Detroit gang leader gets life in prison

A Detroit gang leader received a life sentence Tuesday for his role in a murder and drug trafficking. Duane Peterson, 38, was the leader of "It’s Just Us" (IJU), a violent street gang that committed crimes in Detroit from 2014 through the beginning of 2019.

In May 2017, IJU ambushed a 33-year-old Detroit man for allegedly disparaging an IJU associate, authorities said. Peterson chased the man down and shot him in the back of the head while the man was on the ground.

In March 2018, Peterson and another IJU member opened fire on a car full of innocent bystanders who happened to be stopped at a red light and saw Peterson beating a female in a liquor store parking lot.

Authorities said evidence at trial also showed that Peterson ran a heroin and fentanyl drug conspiracy, with at least fifteen IJU members and associates distributing the deadly drugs in Detroit, Jackson, Flint, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Eight people were charged in the case, and seven previously pleaded guilty. Only Peterson proceeded to trial.

Where to find morel mushrooms in Michigan

Morel times approaching in Michigan.

May is morel month, and they typically fruit from late May until mid-June, but these mushrooms are usually found beginning in late April. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, morels are the safest of the more than 2,000 wild mushroom types that grow in the state.

A morel mushroom (Photo by Beth Macdonald/Unsplash)

When looking for morels, check areas without grass or other ground covers, as you won't find them in areas with this. You can often find morels in areas where there were fires larger than 10 acres in the last year, especially if the burned area had jack, white, or red pine. 

This map shows areas where there have been large burns within the past few years. Though there are none in Metro Detroit, there are clusters in Southeast Michigan. When you find a morel, harvest it by cutting the stem with a knife and collect them in a mesh bag. When you get home, clean them with a brush then slice them lengthwise to check for bugs. 


Where to find morel mushrooms in Michigan

May is morel month in Michigan, and they typically fruit from late May until mid-June, but these mushrooms are usually found beginning in late April.

Troy residents upset by I-75 noise

Complaints over sound from I-75 have reached a boiling point for some residents in Troy, who say their proximity to the busy metro highway has left their ears ringing from all the noise.

One resident, Carol Kelly, said she has lived in the city for five decades, but only now has the decibels from the road gotten to the point she can't take it. "Hearing the stories of the people that live on Square Lake Road it was sad," she said. "They can’t use their backyards at all, they aren’t sleeping well, because of the noise."

Many of those stories spilled into the open during a meeting with MDOT officials, who presented a study for the section of I-75 between Adams Road and 13 Mile. 

Unfortunately, the state didn't have a good remedy for the situation. It was cost-prohibitive to build walls to push back the noise. A spokesperson with MDOT says they currently do not have the funding, and they urge those who want a sound wall near them, to call their state lawmaker to get the money allocated.

State of Michigan loses 6,000 students last year: 'They've disappeared'

Michigan has about 1.3 million students in our K-12 system, but last year - our state lost about 6,000 students. About 6,000 kids graduated from high school last year or left the state before graduation - but 6,000 new students did not show up in the new year to replace those who left. What's going on?

"Most of it is related to the birth rate decline in Michigan," said Don Wotruba, Michigan Association of School Boards. Fewer kids are showing up in hospital delivery wards. "What it really means is the amount of kids we have, is the amount of people we will have to fill jobs in Michigan down the road, and that's a problem for everyone," he said.

Declining school enrollment is not unique to Michigan, the plummeting birth rate is a world-wide problem. And the Covid pandemic didn't help at all. The state is still waiting to recoup from the loss of 62,000 students during the pandemic.

The head of the school board association says the answer for state lawmakers is to adopt state policies that will attract those 20-year-olds who can go anywhere to get a job. In addition, the goal is to prevent the 'brain drain.'

Learn more here.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Temperatures will hit their hottest of year when they peak at around 82 degrees Thursday. It will be top of this warm front before a gradual cooldown begins.

What else we're watching

  1. The woman who crashed with six kids in her car, including the 3-year-old who was unrestrained when the collision happened and subsequently died, is expected to be sentenced Thursday. She was charged with two crimes, including operating under the influence. 
  2. A victim and two dogs were found inside a mobile home after a fire broke out in Keego Harbor. It happened around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.
  3. The Great Lakes Water Authority has restored the Hurlbut Memorial Gate at its Water Works Park facility in Detroit. It was struck by lightning in 2019 and the stone eagle that was on top of the gate was destroyed. The eagle honors the city's first municipal water system.
  4. The Macomb Foster Closet, which provides clothes and other essential items to children of foster care has been evicted from its building. The nonprofit is now looking to purchase a new building and will need community support to fundraise. Find more info at foreverhomecampaign.org.
  5. April isn't just the month that temperatures warm up. It's also one of the best times to see the northern lights. Check out FOX 2's guide for seeing the dazzling light display

NPR stops using Twitter after labeled 'Government-funded Media'

National Public Radio says it will no longer maintain its Twitter accounts after the social media platform labeled the organization "Government-funded Media."

"NPR will no longer actively maintain its flagship Twitter (@NPR) or any other official NPR accounts, and we are officially deemphasizing Twitter across the organization," the group said on its website Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Twitter labeled NPR as "state-affiliated media" - a term it also uses for propaganda outlets in Russia and China. They later revised the label on NPR's account to "Government-funded Media."