$2M bond over misdemeanor, Mayor Fouts on traffic, opera founder dies: Your Wednesday morning briefing

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts

“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:

Whopping $2M bond set for man facing misdemeanor charges

A Dearborn man facing two relatively minor misdemeanor charges has been jailed on a whopping $2 million bond.

Judge Roberta Archer of the 38th District Court set the bond after Michael David Coffman, 51, was accused of threatening Detroit police and an assistant Wayne County prosecutor over their handling of his complaint of being sexually assaulted, the Free Press reports

The high bond is almost unheard of for a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The suspect’s boyfriend said Coffman was humiliated by police for making him recount two sexual assaults in a public setting. Coffman also said he had “to force” the department to investigate the case after several months of delays.

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Warren mayor asks Snyder to declare state of emergency over traffic

Traffic has become so bad in the city of Warren that Mayor Jim Fouts is asking Gov. Snyder to declare a state of emergency.

In a letter to the governor on Tuesday, Fouts said construction delays on I-696 is causing traffic congestion that is slowing down emergency vehicles, increasing traffic and causing a spike in accidents and traffic jams, the Free Press reports

Construction on eastbound I-696 has been stalled by a labor dispute that began Sept. 4 between the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and Operating Engineers Local 234.

“Clearly, we have a serious public safety problem in Warren due to delays in I-696 construction,” Fouts wrote Snyder. “It is critical to note that, if I-696 construction is delayed by winter, the problems in Warren will be magnified and public safety will be even more endangered.” 

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Visionary founder of Michigan Opera Theatre dies Tuesday

David DiChiera, the founder of the Michigan Opera Theatre, died Tuesday at his home in Detroit.

He was 83.

DiChiera brought opera back to Detroit in 1971 when he founded the Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT). Then in 1989, MOT bought the abandoned Grand Circus movie theater, transforming the flooded building into a first-class opera house.

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“He was the quintessential role model for any of us who do this work — passionate, creative and completely relentless in his pursuit of artistic and community impact,”  Anne Parsons, president and CEO of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, told the Detroit News. 

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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.