Morning Briefing Oct. 24, 2021: Search for missing local man continues, homeowners in Troy blame I-75 construction for rat problem, Hamtramck is latest Michigan city facing lead in water

Here are this morning’s top stories

Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 6 a.m. newscast

Family asking for public’s help in finding man with mental illness

A local family is looking for their missing loved one. They say Byron Johnson, 38, has a mental illness and disappeared. The family is now asking for the public’s help with finding him.

“He’s actually turning 38 today. Today is his birthday,” said Clayton Johnson.

Johnson said this is not how he expected to be celebrating his brother Byron Johnson’s birthday.

“So my brother, who suffers from mental illness, he’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He walked away from his group home,” said Johnson.

Johnson added that Tuesday they got a call from a Southfield group home on Philip Drive near Northwestern Highway and the Greenfield area.

“According to the group home, he left upset,” Johnson said. “Police were called and a missing person report was made.”

‘We hear them in the walls’: Troy neighbors face big rat problem near I-75

Reports of rats are mounting in the area of Roger Court near I-75 in Troy.

Beth Carns said she’s finding the rats outside, and inside, her home.

“I saw them in my kitchen, in the middle of the night,” said Carns. “We hear them in the walls.”

She said they are everywhere. Carns said it all started with the construction on I-75.

“They started cutting down the trees,” she said.

Her apartment complex placed rat traps outside, but neighbors are also taking things into their own hands.

“We went to Lowes and brought some good products,” said Carns.

The Michigan Department of Transportation said this project has been going on for four years and they’re looking into the issue in the area.

In 2019: Warren spends thousands to bait rats fleeing I-696 construction zone

Hamtramck is latest Michigan city facing lead in water

Another Michigan city is giving filters to residents as a result of high lead results in some drinking water samples.

Hamtramck, in the Detroit area, is a 2-square-mile (5.2-square-kilometer) city with 28,000 residents, many of them immigrants from Bangladesh, Yemen and other countries.

Seven hundred filters were passed out Thursday and another 900 will be distributed next week, said City Manager Kathleen Angerer.

“The water itself is fine. The issue is the outdated lead services lines that in some cases are leaching lead into the water into individual homes,” Mayor Karen Majewski said.

She said not every home is affected, adding: “People don’t need to panic.”

LaTonya Hatcher, 49, was in line.

“I want to get a filter for the sink,” she said. “I live in a newer neighborhood and the pipes might be fine, but I was walking by and saw they were giving out filters, so I thought I should ask if I need one.”

Across the state in Benton Harbor, residents there have been urged to use only bottled water for cooking and drinking due to elevated lead levels. The problem in both communities, according to officials, is old lines that need to be replaced.

Weather forecast: Frosty Sunday morning, rain arriving in the afternoon 🌧️

Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 weather forecast

COVID in Michigan 🦠

Michigan reported 7,505 new cases of COVID-19 and 118 virus-related deaths Friday -- an average of 3,752.5 cases over the past two days.

Friday’s update brings the total number of confirmed COVID cases in Michigan to 1,104,634, including 21,862 deaths. These numbers are up from 1,097,129 cases and 21,744 deaths, as of Wednesday.

The deaths announced Friday include 69 identified during a Vital Records review.

Testing has increased to around 30,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate at 11.52% as of Wednesday, a slight increase from last week. Hospitalizations have been steadily increasing for several weeks.

The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 3,301 on Friday -- the highest it has been since early May. The 7-day death average was 44 on Friday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.0%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 120,200 on Friday -- the highest it has been since May.

Michigan has reported more than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Monday, with 68.4% of 16+ residents having received at least one dose while 60.1% of 16+ residents are considered fully vaccinated.

Michigan COVID: Here’s what to know Oct. 24, 2021

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About the Author:

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.