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macomb county

Gavel
Flickr/Joe Gratz / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A former Detroit-area lawyer pleaded guilty in front of a federal judge today for his involvement in a Macomb County corruption case.

Angelo Selva of Macomb Township pleaded guilty to obtaining and concealing bribes for former Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds. Selva was once a Detroit-area lawyer, but says he hasn’t practiced law since 2004.

Construction near the site of the sinkhole on the Fraser-Clinton Township border in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Macomb County will have to spend an extra $5 to $10 million to fix a major sinkhole on 15 Mile Road in Fraser. County officials say a lawsuit is to blame.

Sterling Heights is suing the county to avoid paying an estimated $22 million to help repair the sinkhole, claiming it was the county’s fault it occurred. It is one of ten cities in the sinkhole’s drainage district.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sterling Heights that sought to avoid the city paying part of the estimated $70 million tab for repairing a massive sinkhole in Macomb County.

Sterling Heights is one of ten cities in the sinkhole's drainage district.

Candice Miller is head of the County Public Works Department. She says the lawsuit had stopped a crucial bond sale in its tracks. Now the sale can happen.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham listens as the study is presented to county commissioners.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County faces persistent overcrowding at its jail, but it really doesn’t have to be that way.

That’s according to an outside study completed late last year, but presented publicly to county commissioners for the first time on Thursday.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On May 9, State Representative John Kivela was found dead in a Lansing home from an apparent suicide. The Marquette democrat's death marks the third time in the past year a House member has died. Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss reactions from the Michigan State House. 

Construction near the site of the sinkhole on the Fraser-Clinton Township border in Macomb County
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County wants to prevent another sinkhole from opening along 15 Mile Road in Fraser. That’s why it will spend more than $6 million to reline the interceptor drain underneath it.

The Macomb Interceptor Drainage District Board voted to make improvements to the drain while the sewer bypass is still being used for the construction project to fix the sinkhole that was discovered last Christmas Eve.

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature is back in Lansing after a two week break. Before they left for vacation, lawmakers in the House and Senate were at odds over how to fund a fix for the sinkhole mess in Macomb County. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether legislators will be able to play nice long enough to get this sorted out.

Screen grab taken from Karen Spranger's Facebook page

It's been a bumpy first few months in office for new Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger and her staff.

Last night, the county ethics board met to discuss ethics complaints filed by a former top aide, someone Spranger fired shortly after taking office.

The meeting ended with a $100 fine against Spranger for an ethics violations, a fine she intends to appeal.

But that is just scratching the surface of what's happened since Spranger was elected last November.

Detroit Public School Distric sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District school board has chosen Nikolai Vitti as its first permanent superintendent. Vitti grew up in Dearborn Heights and is currently the superintendent in Duval County, Florida.

Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what the district's new pick means for Detroit schools. 

LAW
user southerfried / morguefile

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has been a source of controversy since her election last fall. Now two of Spranger's former deputies are suing their old boss.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Friday, says that Paul Kardasz and Erin Stahl were fired in retaliation for submitting ethics complaints against Spranger. The pair is being represented by attorney Jennifer Lord.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts
Jim Fouts Facebook page

Jim Fouts will get to stay mayor of Warren longer than some residents might like. 

 

 

The Macomb County Election Commission has rejected all six recall petitions against Mayor Fouts, despite ongoing controversy.

 

 

Fouts has been surrounded by controversy for alleged audio recordings of him saying disparaging and mocking things about mentally ill children, women and black people, and for potentially breaking campaign finance laws.

 

 

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The first home condemned because of a sinkhole in Macomb County was torn down today.

 

Dozens of homes in Fraser were evacuated after the sinkhole formed on Christmas Eve. Most families returned to their homes within a week, but three houses couldn’t be saved. 

 

 

Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols is pleased with the progress of the construction along 15 Mile Road, despite the somber situation. 

 

 

Fraser home falling into the sinkhole.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A sinkhole in Fraser which caused three homes to be condemned will be fixed by September.

The sewer collapsed in December and has affected 11 Macomb county communities. The county has chosen Dan's Excavating to fix the damage. The company won a $33 million bid to do the repair work.

Construction near the site of the sinkhole on the Fraser-Clinton Township border in Macomb County
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County officials approved $45 million in construction costs today to fix a massive sinkhole there.

 

The Macomb Interceptor Drainage District board approved a contract with a new construction firm to repair the collapsed sewer pipe in Fraser. 

 

The board also approved paying for the work that has been done in the area to date. 

 

The sinkhole, which was discovered on Christmas Eve and caused dozens of homes to be evacuated, has condemned three homes. 

 

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

FRASER, Mich. (AP) - It likely will take until Thanksgiving to repair damage from a broken sewer line that caused a football field-sized sinkhole on Christmas Eve north of Detroit.

Macomb County Public Works chief Candice Miller said Tuesday that the cost of the work would be determined Monday when a contract is awarded. 

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Macomb County will inspect the entire pipe system surrounding a collapsed sewer line that turned into a massive sinkhole Christmas Eve.

The inspection will use cameras and other technologies to examine 17 miles of pipe in the Macomb Interceptor Drainage District.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says doing a full inspection is the only way to know if there’s additional damage, and what the fixes might look like.

FLICKR USER 401(K) / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Macomb County officials are sounding the alarm about scheduled budget cuts for its mental health programs.

A changed state formula for distributing Medicaid funds has hit the county disproportionately hard. Medicaid “rebasing” has cut money for mental health services there by about $30 million in the past year.

John Kinch, director of Macomb County Community Mental Health, said those cuts to Macomb’s budget are staggered, with the final one kicking in April 1.

“And then starting April 1, it will be another $12.4 million,” Kinch said. “I can’t absorb $12.4 million.”

Fraser home falling into the sinkhole.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Macomb County officials say sediment has cut the flow of sewage through a collapsed sewer line that caused a massive sinkhole north of Detroit.

Approximately 500,000 Macomb County residents in 11 communities along the 15 Mile Road sewer line are being asked to reduce the amount of water going down their drains to help prevent the release of sewage into the Clinton River.

From left to right: Macomb County County Executive Mark Hackel, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller
From left to right: Macomb County government, City of Warren, GOP.gov

Metro Detroit's infamous Macomb County might be "the most politically craziest county in Michigan, if not the planet."

Dave Newman / Flickr

The federal investigation into corruption in Macomb county continues as a New Haven village trustee and a former village trustee are charged with bribery.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Trustee Christopher Craigmiles and former Trustee Brett Harris are accused of accepting $16,000 in bribes.

There are now a total of five county officials facing corruption charges in the federal probe.

Homes on Eberlein Rd. in Fraser were still restricted access on Friday. Most families displaced by the sinkhole should be able to move back next week.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has declared a state of emergency for Macomb County, following a sewer collapse and sinkhole in Fraser on Christmas Eve.

The declaration should open up more state funding for fixing the sinkhole, which will likely run into the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Macomb County has declared a state of emergency following a sewer line collapse that caused a football field-sized sinkhole.

County Executive Mark Hackel made the declaration Thursday to Gov. Rick Snyder. The action was needed before the county can seek state and federal funding to cover some costs associated with the sinkhole. 

The sinkhole was discovered Dec. 24 north of Detroit in Fraser after a family awoke to find their home sinking. Their house and two others have been condemned. Officials also evacuated 19 other homes.

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A massive sinkhole in central Macomb County is “an incredibly large challenge” with a “potentially incredibly expensive fix,” Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said Wednesday.

FRASER, Mich. (AP) - More than a dozen homes north of Detroit have been evacuated after a sinkhole opened in the ground nearby.

A homeowner in Fraser called police about 6 a.m. Saturday and told them his house was sinking.

Public Safety Director George Rouhib tells  The Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens that the home's basement walls could be heard cracking, bricks were falling from the exterior and the sidewalk outside was rising.

User Gini / Flickr

FBI agents have made another arrest in an ongoing investigation into widespread corruption in Macomb County.

Chesterfield Township Supervisor Michael Lovelock was arrested Thursday morning. Lovelock is accused of accepting more than $30,000 in cash bribes over the course of several years in exchange for helping a company secure a services contract with the township.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0, cropped

The mayor of Warren is defending a social media post that caused some panic and confusion among residents this week.

In a Facebook post late Wednesday, Jim Fouts referenced a “major environmental scandal brewing in Macomb County” that “could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”

Following the post, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says his office was flooded with calls about the safety of the area's drinking water.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Hackel scolded Fouts for stirring up panic.

gop.gov / gop.gov

After 24 years, Macomb County has a new public works commissioner: retiring Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller.

The race for that typically low-profile, decidedly un-glamorous job got nasty--and expensive—this year.

Democrat Anthony Marrocco has been Macomb’s public works commissioner for 24 years.

The job description is all about managing sewers and storm drains. But the commissioner also controls important construction permits, and some very large county contracts.

Longtime Macomb Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco, left; retiring U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-Harrison Township), right.
via Macomb County, US Rep. Candice Miller

If you live in southeast Michigan, you’ve probably seen ads like this on your TV lately:

And this one:

Clifford Freitas
via LinkedIn

An FBI probe into Macomb County municipal corruption has netted another local elected official, and forced a major garbage company founder to resign.

Macomb Township trustee Clifford Freitas is the second local government official charged with bribery this month.

Frietas allegedly demanded more than $40,000 in bribes to help a waste hauler, Rizzo Environmental Services, get a favorable contract.

That happened despite the fact that Freitas worked for Rizzo, and was supposed to remove himself from any government business involving the company.

FLICKR USER MATT PICIO / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Next month, voters in four southeastern counties will decide if they want to pay a new tax to fund a regional public transportation plan.

The 20-year transit millage will generate about $3 billion to pay for expanded bus service and light-rail train connections. The 1.2 mill tax rate would cost the average taxpayer about $120 annually.

Ned Staebler is with ‘Citizens for Connecting our Communities”. He says the campaign is stepping up its efforts in the final weeks before the election.

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