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macomb county

The Macomb County Jail has a chronic overcrowding problem. And that can make for dangerous conditions for inmates. Experts say jail overcrowding is linked to higher rates of violence, illness, and suicide.

18 people have died in the Macomb County Jail since 2012. This is one woman's story.

And perhaps the biggest factor contributing to overcrowding – which is a chronic issue for lots of jails, not just Macomb's – is the courts.

It was July 7, 2013, and Diane Hubble remembers that she was making mulberry jam at her son’s house.

When she came home, there was a Macomb County sheriff’s car, still running, parked in the driveway. She knew immediately that something was very wrong, and that it had to do with her daughter, Jennifer Meyers.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Back in early summer I went to see Candice Miller, the former congresswoman who is now Macomb County Public Works Commissioner. She was mainly concerned with dealing with the now-famous sewer collapse that happened in Sterling Heights last Christmas.

Miller is far more conservative than I, but I’ve always admired her can-do, no-nonsense and pragmatic approach to government. She had thrown herself completely into her new job, and was discovering new things daily. Among them, she told me, was an apartment complex in Eastpointe that was illegally discharging all its sewage directly into Lake St. Clair.

Crosses placed outside the Macomb County jail to remember inmates who have died there. Friends and relatives of the deceased inmates hold regular protests on the site.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County is being sued yet again over a death in the county jail.

Alverez Milline died in March 2016. He was serving a year-long sentence on drug charges.

The federal lawsuit claims that as far back as May 2015, Milline complained of chest and lung pain, and shortness of breath.

He sought medical care 12 times over nine months, and allegedly told the jail’s medical staff about his history of pulmonary embolisms.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Problems continue to plague Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger’s office.

Spranger was unable to present a proposed budget to Macomb County Commissioners as scheduled on Monday.

The County Executive’s office say that’s because she submitted an incomplete proposal weeks late.

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Officials say about 1.5 million gallons of sewage flowed into a trench used to repair a sewer line that collapsed and created a sinkhole north of Detroit.

The Macomb County Public Works Office says no one was in the trench at the time of the incident overnight Monday. There were no injuries.

The office said Wednesday about 9 feet of sewage initially filled the bottom of the trench but it later diminished to 6 feet. It says no sewage entered any local waters. It's being pumped out and returned to the sanitary sewer system.

Macomb County Circuit Court
Macomb County

A Macomb County Circuit Court judge could decide Monday whether a case against embattled county clerk Karen Spranger will move forward.

County officials have accused Spranger of lying about her address when she filed to run for office last year. If the case proceeds, a judge will decide whether there's enough evidence to legally disqualify Spranger from office.

"If the courts come back and say 'Nope, everything's fine,' then so be it -- she's the clerk, and we'll have to deal with the challenges we face or have been facing," Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said.

A pipe at a construction site
Sarah Cweik / Michigan Radio

There's progress being made on fixing the sinkhole in Macomb County, and officials hope that'll help put an end to some of the drama it has caused between neighboring cities. 

A new pipe is going in along 15 Mile Road in Fraser. This pipe is replacing the broken and outdated one that led to the sinkhole.

Karen Spranger
Screen grab taken from Karen Spranger's Facebook page

Macomb County leaders want a judge to legally disqualify its embattled county clerk from holding office.

The request is actually a legal counter-move on the county’s part, part of a lawsuit County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger filed against it earlier this summer.

But County Executive Mark Hackel says as part of the county’s due diligence in that case, it has uncovered evidence Spranger lied about her address when she filed to run for office last year. He says that “false statement” is grounds for removal from office.

Anna Zvereva / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Michigan’s strong history in the defense sector dates back to Rosie the Riveter in World War II.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) reports the defense sector supports 105,000 jobs in our state, turning out $9 billion in goods and services.

Michigan wants to continue that tradition by landing the new F-35 fighter jet.

BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

In Wayne County alone, some 10,000 properties are scheduled to be auctioned off this fall because of back taxes, according to Treasurer Eric Sabree. It’s a massive problem affecting people across the Metro Detroit area, and county officials are pushing homeowners to see if they can qualify for federal help.

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.

Karen Spranger
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 Schools Community District 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."

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