Friday, March 31, 2017

Police chase ends tragically in Detroit

Michigan State Police investigate a crash on Ashton
Photo by Frank Nemecek
What appears to have been a chase involving the Michigan State Police in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit has ended badly this evening. A white Chrysler 300 sedan hit two parked vehicles and crashed into a tree on Ashton, just north of Paul, at approximately 6:30 this evening.

Police officers on the scene declined to comment due to their on-going investigation. However, neighbors in the area reported that two individuals in a car being chased died in this crash.

Michigan State Police have Ashton, between Whitlock and Paul Streets, closed for their investigation. State troopers have canvassed the block asking residents about they might have seen and if they have any camera footage that might show details of the chase.

More news as this story develops.

Police cars block off Paul St at the Southfield Fwy.
Photo by Frank Nemecek
Update @ 9:14 p.m.
According to neighbors, it would appear that the Michigan State Police broke off their pursuit as soon as it headed into a residential neighborhood. The individuals that they were chasing, however, continued to flee and subsequently hit two other vehicles before slamming into a tree.

More news as this story develops.

Update @ 10:21 p.m.
This pursuit reportedly started on the Southfield Freeway when Michigan state troopers noticed that the driver was not wearing a seat belt and had tinted windows. They attempted to pull the driver over to issue a citation.

Unfortunately, the driver attempted to flee rather than pull over.

More news at this story develops.

Update @ 10:32 p.m.
The Detroit Fire Department is currently at the scene. They are cutting the mangled sedan open so the remains of the driver and passenger can be removed from this vehicle.

Update @ 10:39 p.m.
According to a neighbor who lives near the crash site, the impact was severe enough that the engine block of that car dislodged from the vehicle. It then continued traveling for a few more feet before landing on the ground.

Any additional updates will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Update - Saturday, April 1 @ 10:59 a.m.
The crash site as of this morning - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The wreckage from this crash is largely cleared at this point. The yellow police tape has been removed. Ashton is once again open to vehicular traffic and residents are going about their daily routines.

The tree that the fleeing vehicle slammed into, however, still stands with obvious damage to its trunk - a reminder of the spot where two foolish individuals lost their life.

Debris is still littered along the road and sidewalks. I found pieces of the destroyed Chrysler 300 sedan as far as 60 feet from the crash site.

I suspect that residents who live near this spot will continue to find small pieces of that car for days or weeks to come.

Debris from the crash - Photo by Frank Nemecek
All of this will be a lingering reminder of why it's a terrible idea to flee from the police, especially over something as minor as a traffic ticket. The driver probably had some other reason for wanting to run - a warrant for his arrest, a suspended license, or some other reason that probably made sense to him at that moment.

The tragic reality, though, is that none of those things are worth losing one's life over nor are they worth jeoparding the lives of others for.

This, I'm afraid, is a lesson that the ill-fated driver learned too late.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Day

Vietnam Veterans Memorial/ Washington, DC
Photo by Jim Bowen/Flickr
The Vietnam War ended 44 years ago today, with the last American troops leaving by helicopter. President Richard M. Nixon later declared that March 29 was to be known as Vietnam Veterans Day.

President Barack Obama issued a similar proclamation in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War starting.

Along the way, 45 of the 50 states as well as Peurto Rico have passed similar resolutions to establish a Vietnam Veterans Day as a way of welcoming home those who were scorned decades ago. Michigan, unfortunately, is one of the few states that have not adopted such recognition.

I want to take a moment to welcome home all of the Vietnam Veterans. Thank you for your service.

And for any of the elected officials who read my blog from time to time, we really ought to talk about the fact that Michigan is one of only five states in the Union that doesn't formally recognize Vietnam Veterans Day as a holiday.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, Ireland - Photo by William Murphy
I want to take a moment to wish a Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone in Warrendale neighborhood and beyond. This is one of those instances when everyone is at least a little bit Irish, even if there isn't a drop of green blood in your veins those other 364 days of the year.

There are almost a dozen different bars in Warrendale neighborhood; almost all of them are doing something special for St. Patrick's Day. Whatever you do, I hope your holiday is a full-filled and safe one.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two Detroit police officers shot in the line of duty

Raymond Durham
Two Detroit police officers were shot this evening in Southwest Detroit. They have been taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital for treatment. However, their names and current condition are not known at this moment.

The Detroit Police Department and Michigan State Police have an active manhunt underway. The shooter has been identified as Raymond Durham, a 60-year old man with a history of breaking and entering convictions.

Additional information about this shooting is available from WXYZ-TV here.

Coming soon: book reviews

Sample books from Titan - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The folks at Titan Books recently sent me a series of books to review. They sent me a series of five crime and espionage novels in this shipment. As a result, I'm pleased to announce that there will be a series of book reviews coming to the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog, starting early next month.

The first book that I will review will be Fatal Music by Peter Morfoot. In this mystery novel, Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle is called to investigate an elderly woman found dead in her hot tub. At first, is assumed that she died of natural causes. However, as he digs deeper, Darac discovers a motive for murder with no shortage of suspects.

Fatal Music is a follow-up novel to Morfoot's debut novel Impure Blood. The Crime Review called that previous novel "a vibrant, satisfying read." Library Journal declared in its review, "Morfoot introduces a delightful example of the disenchanted French boulevardier."

Fatal Music will go on sale Tuesday, April 4, 2017. I expect to have my review on-line the day before.

Pocket park moves toward goal


Plans to create a pocket park on Auburn Street in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit are moving forward. The dynamic duo behind this plan was featured on Fox 2 Detroit with Taryn Asher last week.

Their GoFundMe page also continues to move towards its $10,000 goal. They are currently a little more than 20% of the way to their target.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Fake cops shoot Warrendale resident


Three individuals who were dressed as police officers, but weren't really affiliated with law enforcement, broke into a home on Mettatal Street in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood early this morning. A 35-year-old man who lived in that home was shot during the robbery.

The victim was originally listed in critical condition. However, updates indicate that he is expected to make a complete recovery.

According to investigators within the Detroit Police Department, this was not a random event. Detectives believe that this individual was targeted as a result of dispute that happened earlier in the week.

The mother and young child who were in this Detroit home at the time were not physically harmed. Obviously, they are emotionally shaken by this event.


Monday, March 06, 2017

Pocket park project coming to Warrendale

Area targeted for a pocket park - Photo by Barb Matney
Barb and Joe Matney, the dynamic duo behind the In Memory Of community garden here in the Warrendale neighborhood and key members of the Warrendale Community Organization, have launched a new project. They are working to create a new pocket park in our area.

The project will take vacant land in Warrendale and allow it to be used for recreation. They are trying to raise $10,000 through a GoFundMe campaign.

 Additional information about this project is available here.

Tip of the week: Nine common filing errors to avoid

It's tax season and the Internal Revenue Service has release their list of the nine most common errors in tax returns. It's my pleasure to share this with my readers as part of this blog's semi-regular Tip of the Week feature.

Without further ado, here are nine common errors to avoid when preparing a tax return:

1. Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. Be sure to enter each Social Security numbers on a tax return exactly as printed on the Social Security card.

2. Misspelled names. Spell all names listed on a tax return exactly as listed on that individual’s Social Security card.

3. Filing status errors.  Some people claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help taxpayers choose the correct status. E-file software also helps prevent mistakes.

4. Math mistakes.  Math errors are common. They range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex items. Transactions like figuring the taxable portion of a pension, IRA distribution or Social Security benefits are more difficult and result in more errors. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, tax preparation software does it automatically, so file electronically.

5. Errors in figuring tax credits or deductions.  Filers can make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, the standard deduction and other items. Taxpayers need to follow the instructions carefully. For example, if a taxpayer is age 65 or older, or blind, they should be sure to claim the correct, higher standard deduction. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for tax credits or deductions.

6. Incorrect bank account numbers.  The IRS strongly urges all taxpayers who have a refund due to choose direct deposit. It’s easy and convenient.  Be careful to use the right routing and account numbers on the tax return. The fastest and safest way to get a refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit.

7. Forms not signed.  An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s not valid. Both spouses must sign a joint return. Taxpayers can avoid this error by filing their return electronically. Sign an e-filed tax return digitally before sending it to the IRS.

8. Electronic filing PIN errors. When e-filing, the taxpayer signs and validates the tax return electronically with a prior-year Self-Select Personal Identification Number. If they do not have or know their PIN, they should enter the Adjusted Gross Income from their 2015 tax return originally filed with the IRS. Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return.

Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return. Do not use the AGI amount from an amended return or a return that the IRS corrected.

9. Filing with an expired ITIN. A tax return filed with an expired Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) will be processed and treated as timely filed, but will be processed without any exemptions or credits claimed. Taxpayers will receive a notice from the IRS explaining that an ITIN must be current before any refund is paid. Once the ITIN is renewed, exemptions and credits are processed and any allowed refund paid. ITIN expiration and renewal information is available on IRS.gov 

Avoiding these common filing errors on your tax return is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Fish fries return to Ss Peter and Paul

Crowd at Ss Peter & Paul Church - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Lenten fish fries have returned to Ss. Peter and Paul's Activities Bldg. I'm pleased to report that they are as good as they have ever been. The food and comradeship are great as always.

Plus, it's nice to know that my dinner helps the church in some small way.

I hope to see lots of old and new friends there at future Fridays throughout Lent.