A Michigan woman who won the lottery but continued to receive food assistance from the state government has had her benefits pulled, officials said.
Amanda Clayton hit it big playing the Michigan Lottery. Like many winners, she used her $1 million prize to buy a new house.
But the Lincoln Park, Michigan, resident continued to receive money in another form - $200 a month in state food assistance, according to CNN Detroit affiliate WDIV.
Her story made headlines, and on Thursday, the state's Department of Human Services announced that she is no longer getting the benefits.
According to Michigan law, welfare recipients must report any changes in assets or income to the agency within 10 days.
The department "relies on clients being forthcoming about their actual financial status. If they are not, and continue to accept benefits, they may face criminal investigation and be required to pay back those benefits," Director Maura Corrigan said in a statement.FULL STORY
n an election cycle that's seen more than its fair share of ups and downs, crucial primaries Tuesday in Arizona and especially Michigan could add a lot more drama to the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Fifty-nine delegates are up for grabs when both states vote. But much more than that, momentum that could alter the state of the race is at stake.
"Mitt Romney's ferocious campaign against Santorum in Michigan is pivot point of the campaign," GOP strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos said.
Romney was born in Michigan and his father served as governor of the state in the 1960s. Many political pundits say losing the state could seriously sting Romney's bid for the nomination.
The most recent polls indicate it's all tied up in Michigan between the former Massachusetts governor and his top rival, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
The latest survey to suggest a dead heat: An American Research Group survey released Monday, which indicated that 36% of likely Michigan GOP primary voters were backing Santorum, with 35% supporting Romney, 15% backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and 8% supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.FULL STORY
[Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET] A Nigerian man who pleaded guilty to trying to bring down a Christmas Day 2009 flight with an explosive device hidden in his underwear was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.
Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, 25, pleaded guilty in October to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, among other charges. Shortly before he was sentenced Thursday in a federal courtroom in Detroit, he argued a life sentence – for which prosecutors were arguing – would be "cruel and unusual punishment," as well as unconstitutional.
The judge rejected his argument.
U.S. officials say the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula helped plot the bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was heading from the Netherlands to Detroit. Authorities say AbdulMutallab, a passenger, tried to ignite an explosive device that was hidden in his underwear shortly before the plane landed, but passengers and flight crew members subdued him and extinguished flames after the device briefly set him on fire.
The plane was carrying 289 people.
"As this investigation and prosecution have shown, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a remorseless terrorist who believes it is his duty to kill Americans," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a Justice Department news release after Thursday's sentencing. "For attempting to take the lives of 289 innocent people, he has been appropriately sentenced to serve every day of the rest of his life in prison.
"Today's sentence once again underscores the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in both incapacitating terrorists and gathering valuable intelligence from them."
When pleading guilty in October, AbdulMutallab told the court that he aimed to avenge "the killing of innocent Muslims" and "U.S. tyranny and oppression of Muslims."FULL STORY
In what may be one of the most expensive car wrecks in history, 14 high-end luxury cars were demolished in a highway pileup in Japan this weekend. The totaled supercars included eight Ferraris, three Mercedes-Benz cars and a Lamborghini. Today, we decided to take a look back at some of the craziest highway moments.
Multi-million dollar wreck - A group of luxury car enthusiasts were driving on Chugoku Expressway in southwestern Japan when witnesses say one driver skidded out of control and started a chain-reaction crash. Several drivers were hospitalized but no one was seriously injured.
Ndamukong Suh was not in the holiday spirit during the Detroit Lions' 27-15 loss to the undefeated rival Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving.
Now, barring an appeal, the Lions defensive tackle will miss two games without pay for stomping Evan Dietrich-Smith, and at least one observer believes Suh should give thanks for the suspension.
If you were in a tryptophan haze and missed or forgot the altercation, you can check it out here. The video shows Dietrich-Smith block Suh to the ground before Suh turns him over, shoves his helmet into the turf and, as two Packers intervene, stomps Dietrich-Smith's arm while the Packers offensive lineman is lying on the ground.
Suh's reaction after the incident drew almost as much criticism as the act itself. He said he was trying to catch his balance and didn't intentionally step on Dietrich-Smith. You can decide for yourself after watching the aforementioned video, but Suh backtracked from this defense, which critics say was weaker than the New York Giants' on Monday night.
Later, via Facebook, Suh apologized, saying, “My reaction on Thursday was unacceptable. ... I made a mistake, and have learned from it. I hope to direct the focus back to the task at hand – by winning.” He also called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and apologized for his behavior, according to ESPN.
About 20% of Detroit is without working street lights, and in some areas up to 50%, the Detroit News reports.
A combination of problems, including an aging infrastructure, a shrinking city budget and criminal activity - both real and perceived - have made public lighting a problem, officials say.
“I know you heard that 50% of the city is in the dark. I wouldn’t say that high, but it is a great number,” City Councilman James Tate told CNN Wednesday. “And I don’t care what side (of town) you’re talking about - east, west, more affluent - you see lights out everywhere."
Strapped for cash like most cities, Detroit officials are trying novel - and controversial - ways to fix the longstanding issue: The Detroit Works Project proposed by Major David Bing would shift the city’s resources to the more vibrant neighborhoods, prioritizing working lights, water systems and trash pickup to areas that are heavily invested. On the other hand, blighted areas – huge swaths of the city - would be divested of resources in a bid to encourage residents to move out of those parts of the city.
“What it does is try to encourage density in certain areas of the city,” Tate said, “because in these areas that have pretty much no one on the block now the challenge is if you have one person who lives there, you’ve got to provide the services, all of them, garbage collection, water, lighting,” he said.
Another plan would have the lighting department privatized.
In any case, city leaders are angry. This past summer, several leading clergy members took Wall Street to task over contributing to blight by letting foreclosed properties fall into disrepair.
A Nebraska girl born with incomplete arms and no legs has finally achieved her dream of being a cheerleader – thanks to a high school coach about 800 miles away.
Julia Sullivan, 16, of Aurora, and her family traveled last week to Portland (Michigan) High School at the invitation of Portland cheerleading coach Linda Fox, who had Sullivan join her varsity squad for Friday’s homecoming football game.
It was the first time that Julia, who tried out for her high school’s squad in Nebraska three times without success, had cheered on a team in public, CNN affiliate WILX reported.
“I love to get the crowd going, and (I’m) just … excited (to) show the world what I can do,” she told WILX.
Fox said she’d read about Julia’s efforts to join her squad in Aurora.
“I was surfing the Internet and came on Julia’s story, and I was very inspired,” Fox told WILX. “I brought it to the team, and they challenged me to do something.”
Dave Falkenburg didn’t catch any fish in Michigan’s Wild Foul Bay on a recent excursion, but he’s happy with what he says he did grab from the water: A 65-pound fawn.
Falkenburg and his 13-year-old son, Justin, say video taken with the boy’s cell phone shows them rescuing the juvenile deer well away from shore on Sunday. They say they found it while driving their motorboat in the water about 45 miles northeast of Saginaw.
“My son thought it was a seagull or something,” Falkenburg told CNN of the moment they saw something bobbing in the water. “And I said no, I think it’s a deer.”
Falkenburg told CNN affiliate WNEM that it appeared the fawn was struggling to survive. The video, which the pair posted to YouTube, shows the boat approaching the water-treading fawn, and then Falkenburg grabbing the animal by the neck with the intention of keeping its head above water.
“We both decided that we needed to act, and needed to act fast,” Falkenburg, of Caseville, told CNN.
Thanks to you, the Green clan is still cranking out cars in Lansing, Michigan.
CNN introduced you in November 2008 to 10 members of the family who had provided a collective 300 years of service to General Motors and the United Auto Workers union. GM's future was hanging in the balance as the federal government weighed whether to save the automaker with an infusion of billions of taxpayer dollars.
"We're not asking to be bailed out, we're asking for a loan," Mike Green, the president of UAW Local 652, said at the time. "We're not asking for a handout, we're asking for a hand up."
The $50 billion loan was approved, a new version of GM emerged, the taxpayers recouped their money, and the extended Green family kept working.
"I think the government made one of the best investments it ever made," Green, now 50, told CNN this week. "I'd like to thank the American public for having faith in an American company."
Green has been re-elected as president of UAW Local 652, his sister Cindy DeLau continues to work on assembly line ergonomic improvements, and his son Rollin, 26, is "hanging in" at GM's Delta Plant, just west of Lansing, despite having been laid off a couple of times in the last three years.
Painful concessions by the UAW were part of the survival plan, Mike Green noted.
"Because of the sacrifices of the membership, we made it through," he said.
Not only did GM survive, but it's bringing 600 to 700 more jobs to Lansing next year when production starts for a new Cadillac product.
"It's been good for Lansing," Green said. "We appreciate that GM is bringing work here. That's what we do here. You bring it, we'll build it."
A man who held several people hostage in Grand Rapids, Michigan, killed himself, Police Chief Kevin Belk said Thursday night.
The man, identified as Rodrick Dantzler, is suspected of killing seven people, including two children.
He ran into a home after a roughly 15-minute chase from the police and a standoff ensued, before he shot himself to death, police said.FULL POST
A divided federal appeals court has struck down Michigan's ban on consideration of race and gender in college admissions.
The issue is likely to renew the national political and legal debate over affirmative action, which the Supreme Court could be poised to resolve in coming months.
The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday concluded in a 2-1 ruling that the voter-approved ban on "preferential treatment" at state colleges and universities was unconstitutional, and "alters Michigan's political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities."
When fewer than one in six children in your state are ready for college upon high school graduation, and the school system in your state's largest city is failing both financially and educationally, it's time for drastic actions - such as a longer school day and year, a more challenging curriculum, dramatically more resources and funding for classrooms, greater parental input and more accountability for school principals and staff.
"Today, we change the game. We must change the game," Roy Roberts, the executive committee chairman of Michigan's newly-minted Educational Achievement System, said on Monday. "It's not about blaming the past, or our teachers or educators, who in nearly all cases are trying their level best to get the job done, in some cases under trying situations. We have great people working in broken systems."
Help is on the way for the debt-ridden, underperforming Detroit Public School System. Gov. Rick Snyder, R-MI launched the Educational Achievement System, a new partnership between DPS and Eastern Michigan University, at a press conference with Roberts at one of Detroit's success stories, Renaissance High School. The new authority will oversee a "statewide school district with a focus on improvement of underperforming schools," Roberts said. It's designed to help the bottom 5% of schools improve both student performance and the effective use of school funds.
During the 2011-2012 school year, underperforming schools will be tasked with trying to improve within the Detroit system, but those that fail will be moved into the Educational Achievement System for 2012-2013, Roberts said. If and when schools improve, they will be allowed to return to their local district, if they wish, or they could stay under the auspices of the Educational Achievement System, Roberts said.
Gov. Snyder said he hopes to expand the program throughout Michigan.
"If you look at it statewide, only 16% of our kids are college-ready and that's absolutely unacceptable," the governor said. "We need to focus on a new way of doing things, and how we can do that more effectively. For Detroit to be successful, it depends on successful schools. For Michigan to be successful, it depends on a successful Detroit, so we're all in this together and we're going to make this happen as a team."
More storms in Midwest – Many people across the midsection of the country are going to spend Memorial Day cleaning up, after severe storms hit Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois overnight. More than 100,000 people in those states are without power. "It sounded like a freight train." That's the refrain of this past week. Missourians described the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, on May 22 that way, and now someone is using the same description in Michigan. Winds of more than 80 mph hit Battle Creek, Michigan. Hundreds of flights were canceled in Chicago.
Twin suicide bombings in Afghanistan – Suicide bombers targeted security forces and foreign civil affairs workers in separate blasts Monday in the western Afghanistan city of Herat, killing at least five people and wounding 33, a police official told CNN. The attacks occurred within minutes of each other just blocks apart in Herat, an area where U.S. military officials have hinted American troops would be withdrawn by July because it has been largely free of violence.
The second bomber blew himself up outside the main gate of a compound that is home to a Provincial Reconstruction Team, an attack that allowed gunmen to rush inside. Afghan and NATO-led forces fought the gunmen, Afghan government official Harif Taib told CNN. A police commander later said the situation was under police control and the gunfight had ended.
Endeavour heads home – The space shuttle undocked from the international space station and is scheduled to land early Wednesday morning. There is one last shuttle mission after Endeavour's journey: Atlantis is scheduled to launch in July.
The coach of Manchester United leads his team into the biggest soccer match of the year seeking a title of his own – greatest coach ever.
In his 25 years in charge of the club, Ferguson has won 12 league titles and countless other domestic trophies. If he leads United to victory Saturday, he will become the first manager to win three Champions League titles, reports CNN's Greg Duke.
The matchup Saturday between Manchester United and favored Barcelona will be played at one of the most famous stadiums in the world, Wembley in London, so the English side may have a edge in fans, but most experts favor the Spanish side on the field.
Sports Illustrated's Jonathan Wilson says Ferguson will have an interesting decision to make with his tactical formation: Does he play the same lineup or opt for the addition of a defensive-minded player?
Not everyone thinks Barcelona is certain to win. Gabriele Marcotti says Manchester United has an advantage at the end of this very long season.
The Ithaca Public Schools superintendent reportedly wants Michigan's governor to put more money into schools.
Maybe the state should make them into prisons, he says in a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, originally published in the Gratiot County Herald on May 11.
In part the letter reads: "The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding."
Bootz goes on to write that by providing more funding the state can help keep students out of prison.
The letter apparently was cheered but also booed by some in the state.
State Rep. Tom McMillin, a Republican from Rochester Hills, called the letter “inflammatory rhetoric,” according to the Michigan Capitol Confidential, a news service that "reports on the public officials who seek to limit government, those who do not, and those whose votes are at odds with what they say."
The Michigan Capitol Confidential looked at the budgeting issue a different way, saying that prisoners are in state care 24 hours a day while students spend only eight hours.
"Students cost roughly $6.46 per hour to educate. Prisoners cost $5.92 per hour to house," Tom Gantert wrote.
The mayor of Cordova, Alabama, has plenty of mad residents. Scott says a city ordinance passed in the 1950s doesn't allow for single-wide trailers as residences, reports say. But many people were displaced after a tornado hit the town April 27, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the trailers as temporary housing.
So while some city bureaus are using trailers for offices, the mayor won't allow FEMA to give out the single wides, according to reports.
ABC 33/30 in Birmingham said it called the mayor to ask why, and he hung up on the reporter.
CNN affiliate WIAT-TV in Birmingham reports that some people have resorted to living in tents.
The 8-year-old was upset the U.S. flag flying on a pier in Oceanside, California, was damaged, according to CNN affiliate KSWB-TV in San Diego.
"I was actually standing right under this pier at the starting line (of a 5-kilometer race). I looked up at the flag and noticed it was all ripped up and tattered," he told KSWB.
So he wrote the man in charge, according to the station.
"Dear Mr. Mayor,
"During my last visit to the pier, while I was looking around, I saw the American flag at the top of the pole waving in the breeze. I felt proud, then I was sad. The flag was all ripped up and tattered. I think it was disrespectful to our country and the people who fight for it. I would be pleased if you would replace it.
"Thank you, sir, for your attention.
" Your friend, Luke Smith, 8 years old."
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood said budget cutbacks made it harder for officials in the military town to spot such problems, according to KSWB.
Wood sent Smith a letter of proclamation and had the flag replaced, the TV station reported.
He became a Twitter phenom overnight and added the phrases "tiger blood" and "winning" to the cultural lexicon. But the recent obsession with all-things Charlie Sheen couldn't save him from terrible reviews for his stage tour debut. Today's Gotta Watch focuses on how this A-list actor has reinvented himself into an internet sensation thanks to his rants and odd behavior. Watch the recent evolution of Charlie Sheen.
Sheen's losing debut - File this under #notwinning. Detroit fans booed and heckled Charlie Sheen during the opening of his "Violent Torpedo of Truth" tour. Even his "tiger blood" couldn't save Sheen from the critical audience. Was it the crack jokes about the Motor City or the circus-like atmosphere that got fans upset? Now you can judge for yourself.
The news media took note of Monday's anniversary of the nuclear accident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island power plant, but a partial meltdown at another U.S. reactor seems to have slipped from the public memory.
Fermi 1, a small nuclear reactor south of Detroit, experienced a loss-of-coolant accident in October 1966.
Fermi 1, owned by a consortium of utilities and industrial giants, went into service on leased Detroit Edison land in 1963. It was a prototype fast breeder reactor, meaning it was designed to create more fuel than it consumed.
Detroit has lost a quarter of its population in the past decade. That's about 237,000 people, according to new Census figures. Lawmakers blame crime, political scandals, the collapse of the automobile industry, the housing market ... and the list goes on. However, things in Detroit aren't all bad. These videos underscore some of the great things happening in the Motor City.
Seeing past urban decay - Nothing positive in Detroit? Our friends over at VBS don't think so. They meet artists and musicians who say Detroit is a blank canvas full of possibility.
A high school basketball player in Michigan collapsed and died Thursday night after making the winning shot in overtime to cap his team's 20-0 regular season.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine a cause of death for Fennville High School player Wes Leonard, 16, CNN affiliate WOOD-TV reported.
A 16-year-old Michigan basketball player hit a game-winning shot in overtime Thursday night to give his team a perfect 20-0 season record, then collapsed and died on the court, CNN affiliate WOOD in Grand Rapids reports.
Wes Leonard, a junior at Fennville High School, collapsed on the court just after Fennville's 57-55 overtime win over Bridgman High, according to the WOOD report. A parent EMT immediately began CPR, but the teen later died at Holland Hospital, the report said.
The cause of death was unknown, local media reported.