Ford joins scooter craze, Dems seize Oakland, firefighters miss victim: Your Thursday briefing

Lime scooter. Photo by Steve Neavling

“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:

Ford buys Spin scooters, plans to roll out 400 in Detroit

First came the Bird and then the Lime.

Now Ford Motor Co. plans to roll out Spin, the third line of electric rental scooters to enter the hot Detroit market since the Bird debuted this summer. 

The automaker purchased Spin from a San Francisco company and soon will unleash 400 scooters in the Motor City.

Ford also will roll out the scooters in more than 10o cities over the next 18 months, the company said in a news release.

The scooters, which top out at about 18 mph, gained immediate popularity among people with short commutes in Midtown and downtown.

Under a recent agreement with Mayor Duggan, Bird and Lime will soon let loose at least a third of their fleet in neighborhoods north of Grand Boulevard, where much of the population does not have access to a car.

Detroit firefighters failed to spot a 26-year-old man on kitchen floor

Detroit firefighters found a dead dog and cat while battling flames inside a home on the west side, but they never spotted 26-year-old Kevin McGriff on the kitchen floor.

An autopsy indicates McGriff may have been alive when firefighters arrived on the morning of March 5, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family.

“I don’t understand,” the victim’s mother, Kelly Dougherty, told WDIV-4. “I don’t know. They just ran in, put the fire out and ran out.” 

It’s unclear how firefighters missed Dougherty’s son, who was found five days later by his father.

Dems seize Wayne County commission for first time in a half-century

An astounding shift in the political landscape of Oakland County handed Democrats control of the Board of Commissioners for the first time in at least 50 years.

Before Tuesday’s election, Republicans held a 14-7 advantage on the commission in Oakland, one of the wealthiest counties in the nation.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson

But Democrats seized an 11-10 advantage in the general election, The Detroit News reports. 

The commission, however, must deal with the formidable and outspoken County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who was first elected to the seat in 1992.

“The results of Tuesday’s election were not unexpected,” he told the News. “My administration has always reached across the aisle, especially at budget time, to pass a bipartisan, balanced, three-year budget. We will continue to do so.”

Democrats also turned out big for gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, who defeated Republican and Trump supporter Bill Schuette with 57.1% of the vote in the county.

Whitmer won statewide and will face Republican majorities in the state House and Senate.

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Steve Neavling

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.