“Morning Briefing” is a new feature in Motor City Muckraker to keep you informed as we add award-winning reporters to our independent newsroom that soon will be a nonprofit watchdog. Your donations are key to our ability to produce more vigorous, meaningful, nonpartisan journalism at a time when news rooms are cutting back on impactful, investigative stories.
These are the top stories you’re waking up to:
Ex-Congressman Dingell hospitalized after heart attack
Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell has been hospitalized in Detroit following a heart attack.
The 92-year-old Democrat was admitted to Henry Ford Hospital on Monday and is “alert and in good spirits, cracking jokes as usual,” according to his wife and successor in the House, Rep. Debbie Dingell.
Dingell, who retired in 2015 as the longest-serving member of Congress, spent nearly six decades in the House.
In December, Dingell was hospitalized after a fall. In 2014, he was in the hospital for an abnormal heart rhythm, and later that year for a broken hip.
New Detroit firefighting policy is becoming a ‘public safety nightmare’
A new policy to dispatch firefighters to some calls without lights or sirens has become a “public safety nightmare,” according to Detroit’s firefighting union.
Under the new policy, established by Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones, firefighters were dispatched to a double homicide without lights and sires, even though someone was set afire.
Despite the mistakes, Jones and Mayor Duggan are standing behind the policy, which gives dispatchers, fighters and paramedics the discretion to “go east,” the Detroit News reports.
“No one can point to anyone dying because of implementation of this policy,” Jones said. “We’re going to do our best to protect the citizens of the city of Detroit. It’s just that simple.”
Jones, a former deputy police chief with no fire experience, said it’s too dangerous for firefighters to be speeding and disregarding traffic signals for every run, insisting some are not emergencies.
Detroit Fire Fighter Association President Mike Nevin disagrees, saying the policy is “downright dangerous.”
They are rolling the dice with people’s lives,” Nevin said. “We’re going to pull up on something that is too far gone and dire. A cardiac arrest won’t wait for anybody.”
State on path to legalizing home delivery of medical marijuana
Medicinal marijuana patients may soon be able to receive home-delivered cannabis under a proposed rule change.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulator Affairs (LARA) held a public hearing on Monday, in part over a proposal to allow the home delivery marijuana to cannabis-cardholders. “Now that the (Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation) has had enough time to research the issue, we’ve decided that it is a benefit for the state’s patients and it can be done in a safe manner,” David Harns, spokesman for LARA, told the Free Press.
Some medicinal marijuana dispensaries are already delivering cannabis, but the approval by a legislative commission will clear up any gray areas in the law.
$2.5M donation helps turn lower-income renters become homeowners
Southwest Solutions, a Detroit-based nonprofit, is renovating 60 single-family homes in the city’s Chadsey-Condon neighborhood near Corktown.
With the help of its largest-ever donation – $2.5 million – Southwest Solutions offers a new mortgage fund to “transition low-income renters into owners of affordable homes,” Crain’s reports.
With the $2.5 million donation, Judith Yaker created the Sam L and Judith Yaker Fund as a tribute to her husband, a lower-income housing developer who died in 2016. It will finance most of the Newberry Homes Project, which will provide renovation funds, mortgage lending, financial advice to new homeowners and a Sam Yaker Park and Pavilion.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.