TIME Crime

Detroit Mom Arrested After Two Children Discovered Dead in Freezer

Freezer Bodies-Detroit
Daniel Mears—AP Detroit Police Chief James Craig and other law enforcement have a short briefing to media as law enforcement investigates in Detroit where the bodies of two children found in a freezer on March 24, 2015

A friend called her "a beautiful person"

A 36-year-old woman was arrested Tuesday after officials found the bodies of her son and daughter in a freezer at the family’s apartment in Detroit.

Court officers discovered the frozen bodies wrapped in a plastic bag while carrying out an eviction order. The boy was 11 and the girl was 14. A post-mortem autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death, reports the AP.

The woman had two other children, aged 11 and 17, who were discovered at a neighbor’s home. They are being cared for by social services.

Tori Childs, who lives nearby, told the AP that the two dead children hadn’t been spotted around the neighborhood for the past year. All four siblings were not enrolled in Detroit’s schools but were apparently being home-schooled.

The woman was reportedly unemployed and awaiting eviction from the low-incoming housing where the family had lived for a decade. Court records show that she owed $2,206. Another friend called her “a beautiful person” who was just “going through some things.”

[AP]

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush to Propose New ‘Reform Conservative’ Agenda in Detroit Address

Jeb Bush
Jeff Chiu—AP Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco on Jan. 23, 2015.

A first policy address for the all-but-certain White House campaign of the son and brother of presidents

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will lay out the case for his “reform conservative” agenda in Detroit Wednesday, with a speech intended to broaden the reach of the Republican Party and focus the coming presidential campaign on the economic plight of the American middle class.

“I know some in the media think conservatives don’t care about the cities,” Bush plans to say to the Detroit Economic Club, in what amounts to the first policy address of his unofficial presidential campaign. “But they are wrong. We believe that every American and in every community has a right to pursue happiness. They have a right to rise.”

He will promise a “new vision,” with many details to come later, contrasting what Americans have been hearing from Washington, with a focus on raising incomes by ensuring “economic freedom.” Many of the remarks hit marks that politicians in both parties have been speaking about for years: The fear that the next generation of Americans will be worse off than the last, the preference for political solutions that arise in the state government and the idea that policy innovation is central to the nation’s economic future.

Coming amid an aggressive fundraising and staffing surge by the all-but-certain presidential contender, the speech marks Bush’s first attempt to define himself on the public stage. In recent weeks, Bush has benefited from positive reception from party leaders and wealthy donors, along with veteran campaign staff who have moved to join his campaign in waiting. But he has yet to publicly make his case for the White House.

“The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks,” Bush will say according to prepared excerpts, embracing the income inequality theme recently touted by many other likely Republican presidential candidates. “The American Dream has become a mirage for far too many.”

He is set to criticize Washington, DC, the city where his father and brother both served as president, as city too focused on government,

“This really isn’t understood in Washington D.C. And you can see why: It’s a company town,” Bush will say. “And the company is government. It’s all they know. For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work.”

The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday that Bush will make his inaugural trip to the early state of Iowa next month.

“So I say: Let’s go where our ideas can matter most,” Bush will continue. “Where the failures of liberal government are most obvious. Let’s deliver real conservative success. And you know what will happen? We’ll create a whole lot of new conservatives.”

The excerpts are below:

How do we restore America’s faith in the moral promise of our great nation that any child born today can reach further than their parents?
This is an urgent issue: Far too many Americans live on the edge of economic ruin.
And many more feel like they’re stuck in place, working longer and harder, even as they’re losing ground.
Tens of millions of Americans no longer see a clear path to rise above their challenges.

Today and in the coming weeks, I will address this critical issue.
And I will offer a new vision. A plan of action that is different than what we have been hearing in Washington D.C.
It is a vision rooted in conservative principles and tethered to our shared belief in opportunity and the unknown possibilities of a nation given the freedom to act, to create, to dream and to rise.

Six years after the recession ended, median incomes are down, households are, on average, poorer … and millions of people have given up looking for a job altogether.
Roughly two out of three American households live paycheck to paycheck. Any unexpected expense can push them into financial ruin. We have a record number of Americans on food stamps and living in poverty.
The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks. The American Dream has become a mirage for far too many.
So the central question we face here in Detroit and across America is this: Can we restore that dream — that moral promise — that each generation can do better?

Our nation has always valued such economic freedom because in economic freedom, each citizen has the power to propel themselves forward and upward.
This really isn’t understood in Washington D.C. And you can see why: It’s a company town. And the company is government. It’s all they know.
For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work.

The progressive and liberal mindset believes that to every problem there is a Washington D.C. solution. But that instinct doesn’t solve any problem, other than the problem of how to keep Washington’s regional economy well-lubricated.

There’s a better way.
Let’s define this path first by the core principles of a Right to Rise society because once we do that, the policies, the laws and the way forward will be much clearer.

And in the coming months, I intend to detail how we can get there, with a mix of smart policies and reforms to tap our resources and capacity to innovate, whether in energy, manufacturing, health care or technology.

…Let’s embrace reform everywhere, especially in our government. Let’s start with the simple principle of who holds the power. I say give Washington less and give states and local governments more.

I know some in the media think conservatives don’t care about the cities.
But they are wrong. We believe that every American and in every community has a right to pursue happiness. They have a right to rise.
So I say: Let’s go where our ideas can matter most. Where the failures of liberal government are most obvious. Let’s deliver real conservative success.
And you know what will happen?
We’ll create a whole lot of new conservatives.

This morning, 320 million Americans got up … and they are on 320 million different paths of life.
It’s our goal to see them succeed.
And it’s our responsibility to do everything possible to help them.
Because by their success, they will not only build prosperity for themselves. They will renew the promise of this nation when everyone, has the right to rise.

TIME States

Detroit Man Who Walked 21 Miles to Work Each Day to Finally Be Bought Car

James The Walker
Ryan Garza—AP In this Jan. 29, 2015, photo, James Robertson, 56, of Detroit, walks toward Woodward Aveune in Detroit to catch his morning bus to Somerset Collection in Troy before walking to his job at Schain Mold Engineering in Rochester Hills. Getting to and from his factory job 23 miles away in Rochester Hills, he'll take a bus partway there and partway home and walk 21 miles according to the Detroit Free Press

A kickstarted campaign has, so far, raised $130,000

James Robertson has arguably America’s harshest commute, a 21-mile trek that takes him through the Detroit’s worst neighborhoods. Now, his daily journey has captured the nation’s attention and prompted a GoFundMe campaign that has raised $130,000 to provide him with a car.

For the last decade, the 56-year-old has walked eight miles to work and 13 miles back again. He usually arrives home at 4 a.m., sleeps for two hours, and then wakes up at 6 a.m. to return to his factory job, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The daily odyssey takes him through Detroit’s infamous 8 Mile neighborhood in the middle of the night. But despite the ordeal, Robertson remains upbeat about his situation. “I sleep a lot on the weekend, yes I do,” he says. “I can’t imagine not working.”

A Sunday profile in the Detroit Free Press inspired hundreds of people to offer Robertson cash, chauffeur services and even cars.

Evan Leedy, a student of Wayne State University, was inspired to start a GoFundMe campaign. “I set the goal at the beginning of $5,000. Right now my page has more than $30,000,” Leedy said on Sunday evening.

Yet donations have now left $30,000 in the dust — the total stands at $130,000 at time of publication and is rising fast.

Robertson said that he is proud that he has managed his commute for all these years, but with the help of the kickstarter campaign, it looks like his walking days may be over.

[Detroit Free Press]

 

Read next: Inside the California Prison Where Inmates Train Rescue Dogs

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Autos

Check Out the Coolest Cars From the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

The 2015 North American International Auto Show is in full swing, with carmakers announcing some pretty sweet new rides. Check out the new Ford GT, the Acura NSX, the Toyota FT-1 and more.

TIME Environment

Ingested Drugs, Passed Through Sewers, May Threaten Lake Michigan Fish

Study finds exposure to a diabetic drug can throw a minnow's hormones off balance

Researchers warned that a cocktail of ingested medications has slipped past sewage treatment plants and gradually accumulated in Lake Michigan, threatening to alter the hormonal balance of local fish.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences have detected traces of coffee, birth control pills and antibiotics in Lake Michigan’s waters, the Detroit Free-Press reports. The most prevalent drug was Metformin, a medication commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

Fathead minnows exposed to Metformin at the same concentrations found in the lake exhibited unusual hormonal imbalances four weeks later. Male minnows, for instance, began to produce a hormone typically associated with female egg production, though researchers say they have not yet ascertained the long-term effects of the hormonal changes.

“It’s enough to raise an alarm bell that this might be something that causes changes in reproduction of fish,” study author Rebecca Klaper said.

Read more at Detroit Free-Press.

TIME Autos

Meet Strati, the World’s First 3D-Printed Car

CEO and founder of Local Motors John B. Rogers speaks to the media as his company showcases the world's first 3-D printed car, the Strati, at the Detroit auto show on Jan. 12, 2015.
Mark Blinch—Reuters CEO and founder of Local Motors John B. Rogers speaks to the media as his company showcases the world's first 3-D printed car, the Strati, at the Detroit auto show on Jan. 12, 2015.

The two-seater, made of plastic components and able to go 25 miles per hour, was printed created at an auto show in Detroit

Local Motors, a tech company based in Phoenix, Ariz., may have given us our first glimpse of the future of automobile manufacturing.

This week at the Detroit auto show, the company 3D-printed a car called the Strati. The two-seater is made of plastic components and can go up to 25 miles per hour.

The car — which Local plans to sell later this year — takes about 44 hours to print, and is then outfitted with an electric car battery, motor and suspension from French automaker Renault, according to the Associated Press. Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the AP the Strati is the first of three vehicles he plans to sell. The Strati will cost between $18,000 and $30,000, he added.

Local Motors plans to create a microfactory at the National Harbor, a shopping and entertainment area in Maryland. The microfactory — a center where cars are designed, manufactured and sold — will be like “Build-a-Bear mashed up with Ikea mashed up with Formula 1,” said Rogers.

The factory isn’t yet open because of the need for local zoning law changes, according to the Washington Post. The Post also notes that the Strati is not yet highway-legal.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Autos

Strong Sales for Volkswagen With Over 10 Million Vehicles Shipped in 2014

US-DETROIT-AUTO-SHOW
Geoff Robins —AFP/Getty Images Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, speaks at a press event on the eve of The North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on Jan. 11, 2015.

The German manufacturer wants to be the largest automaker by sales in 2018

Volkswagen performed strongly last year after selling more than 10 million vehicles across its marques.

On Sunday, the German automaker confirmed that the company sold 10.14 million vehicles in 2014 — a 4.2% increase year-on-year.

In a statement ahead of the annual Detroit car show, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said the performance was “despite challenging market conditions.”

The company aims to become the largest auto manufacturer by sales in three years time.

Sales this year were bolstered in part by strong performances from Volkswagen’s luxury brands, Audi and Porsche, along with the growth of the Czech automobile line Skoda.

TIME Photojournalism Links

Photojournalism Daily: Jan. 9, 2015

A compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Alex Maclean‘s aerial photographs of Detroit. The work captures the contrasting fortunes and economic inequality between the depopulated areas (defined by vacant lots and boarded-up homes) and the wealth of some surrounding areas (mansions and manicured lawns). It can appear bleak, but there’s cause for optimism as Detroit’s worst decline appears to be slowing, evident by new green spaces and corporate investment. Maclean’s pictures offer an excellent and insightful bird’s-eye view on the struggles of Motor City and its fight to survive.

Alex S. MacLean: Detroit by Air (The New York Times)

In Memoriam: Remembering the Photographers We Lost in 2014 (TIME LightBox)

An Intern Learns to Swim in the Deep End (National Geographic PROOF) Sara Lewkowicz won a three-month internship at National Geographic when she came out on top at last year’s College Photographer of the Year competition. She talks about her experience and shares photographs she made during her internship project in Mexico.

John Moore (BBC Radio 4 World at One) The Getty photographer is interviewed about his Ebola coverage in Liberia. See TIME LightBox interview as well.

David Burnett (Photo Brigade) The legendary photographer talks about his career at length.

TIME Photojournalism Links

Photojournalism Daily: Jan. 8, 2015

A compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Charles Mostoller‘s series on teen horseback riders in urban Philadelphia. The photographer documented young men, working at the stables southwest, who take care of the horses, clean the facilities and earn a little bit of pocket money by offering cheap pony rides. Their main reward, though, is the right to take the horses out themselves. Mostoller’s pictures offer a fascinating glimpse into these young cowboys, riding in one of the most unexpected settings: the concrete jungle.

Charles Mostoller: The Concrete Cowboys of Philadelphia (The Wall Street Journal)

Anonymous and Meridith Kohut: Cuba’s Economic Fortunes May be Slow to Turn (The New York Times) These photographs capture Cuba’s capital, desperately awaiting change.

Celebrating 80 Years of Associated Press’ Wirephoto (TIME LightBox) A look back at the history of Associated Press’ Wirephoto.

Why it pays to work the fringes (Columbia Journalism Review) Insightful look at Lynsey Addario’s biography, It’s What I Do.

2014 and Beyond: Philip Montgomery (American Photo) The magazine picks Montgomery as one of the top talents to follow in the years to come.

TIME Newsmaker Interview

Gov. Rick Snyder Explains How Detroit Was Saved

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder holds a rebate check for $1.2 million dollars to hand to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan during a news conference discussing the city of Detroit exiting from bankruptcy in Detroit
Rebecca Cook—Reuters Michigan Governor Rick Snyder holds a rebate check for $1.2 million dollars to hand to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan during a news conference discussing the city of Detroit exiting from bankruptcy in Detroit, on Dec. 10, 2014.

'It was a tough call to decide to go into bankruptcy'

Four years after taking office, the bookish Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder marked the completion of his toughest challenge Wednesday: saving the beleaguered city of Detroit from economic collapse.

While the city’s headwinds are from from over, it emerged from history’s largest municipal bankruptcy with $7 billion fewer obligations and identifying $1.7 billion that could be reinvested over the next decade. Snyder, an accountant and former venture capitalist elected to his second term as a Republican last month, says he now plans to share the Detroit turnaround story to the nation.

“I do want to tell the Michigan message more to the country, of our comeback, because a lot of people don’t recognize what a success we’ve had, what a success Detroit’s becoming. ” Snyder told TIME Wednesday as the paperwork restoring the city’s control over its own finances was being filed. “So it’s important to tell that story.”

But Snyder, who has been talked about as a potential Republican presidential contender, indicated he doesn’t have his eyes on the White House in 2016. “In terms of other offices, I’m very happy being governor,” he said.

Snyder said the country could learn from his philosophy of “relentless positive action,” which he describes as using the goodwill from solving one problem to solving the next.

“There’s too much ‘R’ and ‘D,’ there’s too much ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative,” he said. “We need people to recognize that we’re all Michiganders, and in the country that we’re all Americans, and we should be focused on problem solving.”

“What would Washington be like if everyone agreed not to fight or blame one another,” he added. “There’d be a whole lot of time to get work done.”

Q: What worked in Detroit?

A: What we planned to have happened. Actually it worked well. It was an extremely difficult process. It was a tough call to decide to go into bankruptcy, but again, we set an aggressive timetable. And the good part is, it turned out very well. It was a difficult situation. And I always want to recognize that there are retirees making sacrifices, other people making sacrifices. But for the circumstances we were in, this is a very constructive, positive outcome that really positions the city to start a new chapter and grow.

Q: Are you already seeing the results?

A: There’s a lot of them, and it’s been ongoing. As we’ve gone through this process, developments, particularly in midtown and downtown Detroit continue to rebound. For example, Little Caesar’s just announced a new headquarters building, the first corporate headquarters building being built in a decade, in Detroit. That just got announced today. So, that’s the kind of good thing going on as part of the entertainment district area that they are developing.

I made a trip to China just a couple of weeks ago and it was really interesting. I’ve made four trips in four years to China to build relationships there and when I went four years ago and three years ago and last year, I’d get plenty in a negative context about Detroit. This trip it was largely positive questions and actually not a lot of questions about Detroit [finances], more general interest in Detroit and Michigan.

Q: How did you marshal the various interests in the city, in many cases convincing people to see their benefits cut for the sake of the city’s financial survival?

A: I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I also need to give a great credit to Kevin Orr, the judge, the mediators, there were a lot of great people, the mayor, everyone worked hard on a lot of these issues as time passed. There are at least two key things that you always need to focus on when you deal with a lot of these discussions—they also apply out of bankruptcy, anytime you’re dealing with these issues. The first one is, to get people to really agree on what are the facts. A lot of times people work on an issue or take a position that’s an emotional response or kind of a historical response, versus really digging into what’s the factual context. Because, in the bankruptcy for example, there simply were not the resources, so something had to be reduced, and how do you do that in a thoughtful way. And the second piece is building trust with people, getting people to agree that difficult things may need to be done, but here’s a more constructive way to do it where it’s not about who wins and who loses, but how do you create an environment where people can be successful together over a longer period of time.

Q: Is the city out of the woods yet? How confident are you that in can survive any challenges that come its way.

A: I wouldn’t use the word ‘any,’ because you could think of circumstances that could put any community or any place in the country in difficulty depending on how severe it was. But in the context of saying, now is it in a comparable fashion or in a potentially successful fashion like many other urban areas, it’s clearly well positioned for that. And I say that under two different criteria. One is from a process point of view, that we’ve had a $7 billion reduction in liabilities, about $1.7 billion in reinvestment resources being identified over the next 10 years under a base plan for the city, a financial review commission that’s there to provide an oversight role like what happened in DC and New York City, to help make sure the city government is fulfilling their role responsibly in terms of budgeting. So those are all process/procedural things that are helpful. And then from a people point of view, we have a mayor and city council that have been good partners and successful partners on a number of efforts already and they’re continuing. So I think that’s set the framework for success and the ability to say that people are focusing now on the growth of Detroit.

Q: Now that you have this done, what are your next priorities?

A: A couple of them are wrapping up. We’re working on transportation funding right now, transportation infrastructure funding in the lame duck right now. I’d love to get that done. That’s something I’ve been calling for for a couple of years. But beyond that, I’m exciting about where Michigan’s poised. We’re now a top-tier state. We need to get that message out to the rest of the country. And in terms of priorities, I think we have a huge opportunity to lead the nation in filling skilled trades jobs and re-establishing a career/technical education track in our state second-to-none. Because if you stop to look at one of the great challenges you are seeing now with companies and organizations, they’re out looking for people with the right skills, and we have a lot of people, talented people, looking for work that need those skills. So the jurisdiction that does the best at leading in that is going to have a big advantage. And Michigan is going to be number one in doing that.

Q: When you say skilled trades jobs, are you referring to manufacturing? Is manufacturing coming back?

A: Yeah, and we have been. We’re number one in adding manufacturing jobs and it’s coming back strong. But we also need to redefine the skilled trades, because historically people tended to think of them as the welder, plumber, electrician, and those are great professions, but if you’re in manufacturing today, you’re a skilled tradesperson most likely. If you’re in agriculture today, you’re driving a $250,000 tractor, a $500,000 combine, you’re a skilled tradesperson. So, this is a very pervasive issue. A lot of times we overly-encourage people, and tell all of our young people to go get a university degree when in many cases, they would be just as well off if they’d have looked at a career tech-ed track and being successful there. So we need to have two parallel tracks that are both well-respected and honorable.

Q: You saw what happened in Ferguson and the national conversation that has erupted. What are your views on it?

A: What happened in Ferguson is very troubling, in terms of the whole situation, and it shows that there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done in terms of relationship-building. So I think it really highlights that people thought improvement had happened, but that there’s much more work to be done. And I’m proud to say in Michigan that we’ve been proactive on that. I don’t take it for granted. That’s something you have to actively work on and build those relationships. And we’ve been doing that in a number of our urban areas. I’m proud of the work, again in Detroit, but also in communities like Flint and Saginaw in particular. We’ve spent a lot, both of my time, but also some of our key departments in state government, the Michigan state police, human services being proactive, trying to partner with the local community itself, the leadership there, the local criminal justice system, the courts, the faith-based community, talking about these issues and how do we make sure we’re building bridges, building relationships that are deep enough to be prepared in case you have one of these terrible events happen.

Q: You’re looking to tell Michigan’s story to the nation, but what about you? Are you looking to take on a national role, perhaps a 2016 campaign?

A: As I said, I’m very active on some great next steps for Michigan, in terms of this career-tech education track, some huge initiatives. I also what to get out—I do want to tell the Michigan message more to the country, of our comeback, because a lot of people don’t recognize what a success we’ve had, what a success Detroit’s becoming. So it’s important to tell that story. But in terms of other offices, I’m very happy being governor. What I would say to you is, if you look towards the future in 2016, the best candidate will be a governor most likely in my view, and should be a governor.

Q: Any particular governor?

A: The good part is, there’s a strong group of Republican governors. If you look at the Midwest in particular, there’s a great group there. It’s good to see that this is where good things are happening in government.

Q: What’s your message to Washington and the country in general?

A: This is actually a subset of the bigger Michigan story. In the public sector in particular, but in our political culture, we need to rise above politics. There’s too much ‘R’ and ‘D,’ there’s too much ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative.’ We need people to recognize that we’re all Michiganders, and in the country that we’re all Americans, and we should be focused on problem solving. And that’s where I’ve used my philosophy of ‘relentless positive action’ for four years now and it’s been very successful. And I tell people: ‘I don’t fight with anybody. I don’t blame anybody. You didn’t hire me to do that. You hired me to solve problems.’ And if you solve these problems, it creates a much more positive atmosphere to solve the next problem, and that’s how you get on a very strong comeback path which is what we’re seeing in Detroit and in Michigan.

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