Week in Review: Flint water crisis, teacher sick-outs, Obama visits Auto Show
DETROIT – It was an eventful week in Metro Detroit, so Local 4 is giving you a look back at some of the biggest stories.
Flint water crisis:
Residents in Flint continued to suffer from high levels of lead in their water supply and received national recognition from President Barack Obama, who signed a Michigan emergency declaration late last week.
This week, Local 4 introduced you to the people who exposed the Flint water crisis and took you through Gov. Rick Snyder's timeline of events.
As the rest of the nation began to recognize what was happening in Flint, TIME Magazine released a cover Thursday that read "The Poisoning of an American City. Toxic water. Sick kids. And the incompetent leaders who betrayed Flint."
It was announced Friday that two employees from Snyder's office were suspended after an internal investigation into the water crisis.
Teacher sick-outs strike DPS again:
Most of Detroit's public schools closed for the day on Wednesday due to teacher absences, as disgruntled educators stepped up efforts to protest the governor's plans for the district, its ramshackle finances and dilapidated buildings.
In response, Mayor Mike Duggan called for teachers to stop staging sick-outs and return to their classrooms while state legislators work on solving the district's financial crisis.
Previously: DPS teacher explains reasons for sick-outs
Obama visits Detroit to tour auto show:
Obama visited Detroit to tour the North American International Auto Show and took the time to acknowledge the water crisis in Flint.
Obama hailed the revival of the nation's auto industry, but said the detection of high levels of lead in Flint water serves as a reminder that the government can't shortchange basic services.
Bombshell in Bashara murder trial:
Wednesday brought on a new twist in Bob Bashara's murder trial as handyman Joe Gentz, who admitted to killing Jane Bashara, changed course.
Gentz said the former police chief of Grosse Pointe Park, David Hiller, and the detective who investigated the murder when it happened in January of 2012 allegedly told him to lie. Gentz claims they coached him on what to say when he told them, "I alone did it."
On Friday, it was announced that Bashara's bid for a new trial will begin in February.
Amir Hekmati returns home to Michigan:
"I was at a point where I had just sort of accepted the fact that I was going to be spending 10 years in prison, so this was a surprise and I just feel truly blessed to see my government do so much for me and the other Americans," he said.
There was no advance warning of his release, he added. "They just came one morning and said 'pack your things."'
Convicted by an Iranian court of spying and sentenced to death in 2012, Hekmati was later retried and given a 10-year sentence on a lesser charge.
Hekmati graduated from Flint Central High School. His father, Ali, taught microbiology at Mott Community College.
Gov. Snyder releases emails regarding Flint water crisis:
During his Tuesday State of the State speech, Snyder announced he would release all of his emails sent during 2014 and 2015 regarding Flint's drinking water crisis.
Snyder said he has failed Flint residents but pledged to take new steps to fix the city's drinking water crisis, starting with committing millions in state funding and deploying more National Guard members.
Click here to read the emails.
Kwame Kilpatrick files appeal with US Supreme Court:
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, Local 4 News learned.
Kilpatrick's attorney told Local 4 News that the appeal was filed Wednesday with the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeal was received and entered into the docket. The appeal asks for the court to consider hearing Kilpatrick's case.
Packaged salads cause death in Macomb County:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said one person has died and 12 were hospitalized due to a strain of listeria linked to packaged salads produced by Dole Food Co Inc in its facility in Springfield, Ohio.
The fatality is a person from Macomb County, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Women charged with running prostitution house in Harrison Township:
Four women were charged Wednesday with running a prostitution house out of a massage parlor in Harrison Township.
Meijuan Yu, 49, Suhua Mei, 44, Hogmei Qu, 26, and Xiaoying Yu, 51, all face charges of use of a computer to commit a crime, maintaining a house of prostitution and accosting and soliciting.
Tigers sign OF Justin Upton to 6-year deal:
The Detroit Tigers made a major offseason splash on Monday when they reached a deal with All-Star outfielder Justin Upton. Upton fills the final hole in the team's roster (left field) and puts the Tigers in position to compete for a division title.
Upton signed a six-year, $132.75 million deal and has an opt-out option after the second year of the deal.
Upton is a three-time National League All-Star and hit .251 with 26 home runs and 81 RBI for the San Diego Padres in 2015. In nine seasons with the Diamondbacks, Braves and Padres, the 28-year-old hit 190 home runs and batted .271.
The signing is just the latest in a string of moves from first-year general manager Al Avila. Avila not only made splashes with the Zimmermann and Upton signings, he also brought in Mike Pelfrey to round out the starting rotation and traded for former Tiger Cameron Maybin to platoon with Anthony Gose in center field. Perhaps most importantly, he fortified a terrible back-end of the bullpen, adding reliable relievers Justin Wilson, Mark Lowe and Francisco Rodriguez.
The Tigers officially introduced Upton at a press conference Wednesday.
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