Aug 01, 2020
Court orders release of Michigan teen detained over failing to complete homework
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PONTIAC, Mich. -- The Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday ordered the release of a 15-year-old suburban Detroit girl from a juvenile facility where a county judge sent her for failing do schoolwork and because the teen was a threat to her mother.
The court's emergency order calls for the immediate release of the teen into her mother's custody pending appeal or further order by the appeals court.
ProPublica had reported that the girl has been in Oakland County's Children's Village since mid-May for violating probation in a case involving allegations of assault and theft.
The girl is being called "Grace" to protect her identity. She was placed on probation in April and, among other requirements, was to complete her schoolwork. Grace, who has ADHD and receives special education services, struggled with the transition to online learning and fell behind.
The girl's mother was identified in the ProPublica story as "Charisse." A spokeswoman for Charisse said in an email Friday to The Associated Press that she "is enjoying her daughter being home, and will determine her and Grace's interest in speaking publicly next week."
"In the interim, they are both extremely and deeply appreciative of the outpouring of support and for Grace's release," said Karen Dumas.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ellen Brennan initially cited a "failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school" as behind her decision to place the teen in Children's Village.
But Brennan said at a July 20 hearing in Pontiac that the girl was placed in the juvenile facility because she was a threat to her mother and that police had been called out three times for confrontations between the teen and her mother.
Brennan had said the girl was a threat to the community based on the assault allegation involving her mother in November, according to court documents. The girl also allegedly stole a cellphone from a fellow student at Birmingham Groves High School in Beverly Hills, northwest of Detroit.
Charisse testified at a hearing in May that the teen was handling her schoolwork more responsibly and that her daughter was behaving, according to ProPublica.
ProPublica reported that Grace told Brennan during a virtual hearing in April: "My mom and I do get into a lot of arguments, but with each one I learn something and try to analyze why it happened," she said. "My mom and I are working each day to better ourselves and our relationship, and I think that the removal from my home would be an intrusion on our progress."
The ProPublica story was also published by the Detroit Free Press and Bridge, another news organization.
The AP was unable Friday to leave a phone message seeking comment from Brennan because the voice mailbox to her office was full.
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Michigan announces plans for Detroit to Ann Arbor self-driving vehicle corridor
The state of Michigan Thursday announced a plan to explore the viability of developing a 40-mile corridor for connected and autonomous vehicles between Downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor.
The state selected Cavnue, a subsidiary of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP) that partners with Alphabet, Google’s parent company, to develop the project.
“The action we’re taking today is good for our families, our businesses, and our economy as a whole. Here in Michigan, the state that put the world on wheels, we are taking the initial steps to build the infrastructure to help us test and deploy the cars of the future,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.
“As we rebuild our roads to ensure every Michigander can drive to work and drop their kids at school safely, we will also continue working to build smart infrastructure to help prepare us for the roads of tomorrow. In Michigan, where the health of our workers and our economy are directly tied to the health of our auto industry, we will continue this innovative work to secure our state’s position as the automotive capital of the world.”
Cavnue will work with various government agencies throughout an expected 24-month-long Phase One.
Construction would be determined after Phase One, with goals to connect Detroit and Ann Arbor to destinations along Interstate 94 in Wayne and Washtenaw County in a corridor allowing a combination of connected and autonomous vehicles, traditional transit vehicles, shared mobility, and freight and personal vehicles.
The project aims to link the University of Michigan, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and Michigan Central Station, according to a press release.
“As a company focused on the future of infrastructure, we are thrilled to launch Cavnue to build the future of roads, and partner with Michigan and the communities along the corridor on a first-of-its-kind CAV corridor,” SIP co-founder and co-CEO Jonathan Winer said in a statement.
Initial project partners include Ford Motor Company, the University of Michigan, Transportation Research Institute, and the American Center for Mobility.
“This project, and the decision by Cavnue and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners to invest here, continues to reinforce that the future of mobility will be designed and built in Detroit and Southeast Michigan,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement.
Another goal is to reduce the number of fatal automobile crashes in Michigan, which have numbered more than 10,000 since 2008, and many of which are attributed to human error.
“My vision for Michigan Central is to create an open mobility innovation district that solves tomorrow’s transportation challenges and improves mobility access for everyone,” Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement.
“Building out a connected corridor cements Michigan as a leader in creating a more connected, autonomous and electrified future. We thank the state for recognizing the community and economic benefits and the importance of creating smart infrastructure across southeast Michigan.”
One glaring unanswered question remains: state officials haven’t responded to inquiries about the project’s cost.
Michigan Budget Director Chris Kolb has projected a $3 billion budget shortfall for fiscal year 2021, which will be better clarified after an August 24 revenue estimating conference.States News Michigan Detroit Ann Arbor Cars