In 2015 drunk driving caused nearly one-third of all driving fatalities in the United States. That is 10,265 people; over 300 more than the year before. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2016 might have marked the worst year yet, with number at a 50-year high. Mark W. Johnson is a retired New York attorney currently living in Rome, Italy. “I used to follow the criminal impaired driving cases for the firm I was at,” Johnson says.
FLINT, Mich. — In September of 2016, Flint, Michigan’s fire department received the Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER). According to the FEMA website, the SAFER grant is competitive among fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to assist them in increasing and maintaining the number of trained firefighter available in their communities. Its goal is to enhance the local fire departments abilities to comply with staffing, response times and operational standards. Chief of the Flint Fire Department Raymond Barton knew when he stepped into his position, he wanted to bring the SAFER grant back to the city struggling for funding.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Although it may not be surprising, 911 calls increase during times of tourism peaks in this Northwest Michigan town (for example, the annual National Cherry Festival last week), but why is this? Jim Danek, a 911 dispatcher, says, “Calls increase due to the amount of alcohol consumed during the National Cherry Festival and around the Fourth of July holiday. Both for medical and behavior issues. Traffic collisions increase due to the increased number of vehicles on the roadways and add some really cool air shows to distract the drivers and it’s an obvious recipe for disaster.”
Danek worked a total of 40 hours of overtime during the National Cherry Festival week. He says, “There is hardly a shortage of overtime shifts available during the Cherry Festival.
Heroin continues to destruct our nation’s cities across the map. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates have increased by 21 percent. Nearly 13,000 people died in 2015. Greater Lansing shows similar trends. Ingham County Health Department gathers information from a variety of sources to report its annual Opioid Surveillance.
FLINT, Mich. — There is currently an opioid epidemic happening in our area and across the nation. Opioid use continues to be on the rise. There has been an increase in overdose deaths related to heroin laced with fentanyl or carfentinal (animal tranquilizer),” said Kim Shewmaker, Director of Programs Operations for Flint, Michigan’s Odyssey House drug and alcohol treatment center. Michigan resident Aaron Emerson knows the struggles of battling a heroin addiction.
When Clinton County Sheriff Larry Jerue began his career in law enforcement in the late 1970’s heroin had purity between 1.5 to 5 percent. Now it hovers around 35. “Back then heroin was an inner-city drug. Now it knows no socio background. It is hitting the suburbs and the small communities like a tidal wave,” said Jerue.
Dispensary owners and Lansing residents have been disputing a recent medical marijuana ordinance during biweekly City Council meetings. Some people in Lansing believe the flooded medical marijuana market results from poor marijuana dispensary regulations. “The purpose of the ordinance is to have realistic dispensaries available to people that really have a medical marijuana need,” said Marylin Ebaugh, resident of South Lansing. “What we have now is an over abundance of businesses.” A study conducted by Melissa Huber, Ph.D, estimates the number of patients spiked from 937 in 2011, to 2,866 in 2015. Some believe the process to obtain a medical marijuana card can be easily abused.
FLINT, Mich. — Summertime is crime time. And this Michigan city is no exception. “Research shows that there is an increase in crime during the summer, as opposed to the winter. One explanation for this is the warmer weather, which brings people out of their homes and into the streets,” University of Michigan, assistant professor of criminal justice Kimberly Bender said.