State Roundup

Program tests gunfire detection system in the city

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit police pilot project is using a gunfire detection system to help officers pinpoint where shots are being fired in the city as part of an effort to fight crime.

Police Chief James Craig told The Detroit News that since the program began Sept. 22, the ShotSpotter system detected what appeared to be 24 shootings. The pilot project is being conducted at no cost to the city of Detroit.

Craig didn't specify where the system is being tested, how many sensors are employed or how long the effort will last. He said, however, that the first week of using the system suggested that shootings have become too commonplace in the city.

"In all the incidents we think were shootings, not one citizen called the police," Craig said. "That tells me people are so used to hearing gunshots in their neighborhoods, they don't consider it anything out of the ordinary. And that's sad."

Last year, there were 1,161 nonfatal shootings in the city, down from 1,263 in 2012. As of Friday, there were 797 nonfatal shootings this year, down 14 percent in the same period in 2013. Those figures don't include thousands of additional instances of shots fired that don't hit a person.

The technology is used by other departments, including police in Flint and Saginaw. Detroit tried to install the technology in 2011 when former Mayor Dave Bing pushed for the city to sign a three-year, $2.6 million contract, but City Council rejected the plan.

Vaughn Arrington, 32, who lives on the city's northeast side in an area that sees many shootings, said he supports police using ShotSpotter.

"It sounds like it'll help them catch more people who are firing guns, and that's a great idea," he said. "I'm all for anything that will help make our neighborhoods safer."

Two communitycolleges get $5M for job training

ALPENA, Mich. (AP) - Two community colleges in Michigan that are partnering with employers on job training are getting about $5 million from the Obama administration.

Alpena Community College is getting $2.5 million and the Wayne County Community College District in Detroit is getting nearly $2.5 million.

The office of Gov. Rick Snyder says Alpena Community College plans a four-year project to help up to 300 adults in northeastern Michigan. Money for Wayne County Community College District will go to the Wayne County Generation Cyber Project.

Vice President Joe Biden and the secretaries of Education and Labor are announcing winners Monday at the White House. Linking job training to industry demand is key to the Obama administration's strategy to improve wages and reduce unemployment.

Nationwide, $450 million is being distributed.

East Lansing
US aids Michigan State to build better robofish

|EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University is using a $1 million federal grant to build a better robofish that can observe the feeding and migration habits of trout, walleye, sturgeon and other Great Lakes aquatic species.

The university said the robots will advance the technology from earlier versions, including monitors that can track fish equipped with acoustical transmitters.

"Think about the GPS in your smartphone, which tracks your movement," associate professor Xiaobo Tan, the project's leader, said in a statement. "Basically the robots will form an equivalent of a GPS satellite network underwater, to localize and follow tagged fish in their vicinity."

At present, researchers "use predominantly stationary receivers for detecting tagged fish, which are limited in both precision and tracking range," said Tan. "For example, they can only be deployed close to shore and if the fish they are following swims out into the open lake, it can be very hard to track."

The robot is called Grace, short for Gliding Robot Ace. Michigan State is collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey, with National Science Foundation financing.

Earlier versions of the robot have measured water quality and temperature in lakes and rivers. The university said the new version has greater mobility and energy efficiency and will cost far less than the $300,000 each of the previous model.

"The ultimate goal is to track the movements of the fish ... to identify important habitats, understand why they move from one place to another, and how they are being affected by invasive species such as sea lampreys," said Michigan State spokesman Tom Oswald.

Bay City
Nonprofit greets two dozen immigrant kids

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - Two dozen immigrant children from Central America arrived in Michigan last week, according to a nonprofit group.

The children and teenagers range in age from 6 to 13 and are receiving care at Wellspring Lutheran Services' office in Bay City, the organization's chief executive David Gehm told The Bay City Times.

Central American migrants, especially unaccompanied children, have been pouring into the U.S. of late. About 60,000 unaccompanied children - many fleeing violence in Central America - have crossed the U.S. border with Mexico since last year. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with a wave of families and unaccompanied minors.

Wellspring has said it has a federal contract to house the children in Bay City and Farmington Hills, near Detroit. Bay City is about 90 miles north of Detroit.

They are expected to remain at the Bay City location 30 to 45 days, said Wellspring spokesman Tim Johnston.

The children and teens will receive language education and other teaching in Bay City.

"At this point, it's about caring for the children and that's what we are doing," Johnston said.

On Monday, Bay City commissioners approved a resolution symbolically supporting housing child immigrants from Central America. No local taxpayer resources will be used to help in their housing, according to city officials.

Lincoln Park
Man attacked in strip club loses liability appeal

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. (AP) - A man who was tortured in the basement of a Detroit-area strip club can't seek financial damages from the owner of the building.

The Michigan appeals court says a private contractor ran the Bada Bing Club. It says the contractor wasn't an employee of Nagy Mickhail, who controlled the property in Lincoln Park.

In 2010, Dennis Cole was attacked in the basement of the Bada Bing Club. He was taped to a chair, beaten and even drilled through a hand with an electric drill.

Four people were convicted, including Henry Ramirez. He ran the club and paid rent of $12,000 a month.

Ramirez is eligible for parole in 2016.