Archive for the ‘Michigan’ Category

Only a couple of families have taken advantage of a new service available at a Saginaw funeral home.

Drive-thru viewings.

Paradise Funeral Chapel (http://www.paradisefuneralchapel.com) recently started offering the option, which allows mourners to pay their last respects on the go. It was designed in part to cater to those with physical limitations.

The funeral home’s president, Ivan Phillips, says he expects more customers to opt for the drive-thru once they learn it’s not a gimmick and is safe to use.

Curtains covering the window open when sensors underneath the pavement recognize the presence of a car. Mourners then get three minutes to view the body as music plays.

Phillips says drive-thru viewings are set up so they don’t conflict with traditional indoor viewings.

http://abcnews.go.com/Weird/wireStory/michigan-funeral-home-drive-option-26263313

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A Michigan judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction. Judge Raymond Voet has a posted policy at Ionia County 64A District Court stating that electronic devices causing a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt, the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia and MLive.com reported.

On Friday afternoon, during a prosecutor’s closing argument as part of a jury trial, Voet’s new smartphone began to emit sounds requesting phone voice commands. Voet said he thinks he bumped the phone, and the embarrassment likely left his face red.

“I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom,'” he said.

Voet has used a Blackberry mobile phone for years, and said he wasn’t as familiar with the operation of the new touchscreen, Windows-based phone.

“That’s an excuse, but I don’t take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cellphones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on,” he said. “The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that.”

Over the years, the judge whose court is about 110 miles northwest of Detroit has taken phones away from police officers, attorneys, witnesses, spectators and friends. During a break in the trial, Voet held himself in contempt, fined himself and paid the fine.

“Judges are humans,” Voet said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”

http://www.wxow.com/story/21977920/judge-holds-self-in-contempt-for-his-smartphone

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Homicide moves through a city in a process similar to infectious disease, according to a new study that may give police a new tool in tracking and ultimately preventing murders.

Using Newark, N.J., as a pilot case, a team of Michigan State University researchers led by April Zeoli successfully applied public health tracking methods to the city’s 2,366 homicides between 1982 and 2008. They found the killings were not randomly located but instead followed a pattern, evolving from the city’s center and moving southward and westward over time.

Like a flu bug that spreads to susceptible groups such as children and the elderly, homicide clusters in Newark — often fueled by gangs and guns — spread to areas consisting largely of poor and minority residents. Over time, the concentration of homicides effectively disappeared from one area and settled in another.

“By using the principles of infectious disease control, we may be able to predict the spread of homicide and reduce the incidence of this crime,” said Zeoli, public health researcher in MSU’s School of Criminal Justice.

The study is one of the first to use analytic software from the field of medical geography to track long-term homicide trends. Zeoli said the method can be done in real time which would allow police to identify emerging hotspots.

The researchers also identified areas of Newark that had no homicide clusters during the 26-year time frame of the study, despite being surrounded by deadly violence.

“If we could discover why some of those communities are resistant,” Zeoli said, “we could work on increasing the resistance of our communities that are more susceptible to homicide.”

Joining Zeoli on the study were criminal justice researchers Jesenia Pizarro and Christopher Melde and medical geographer Sue Grady.

The study is published in Justice Quarterly, a research journal.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129103541.htm

A devoted father has completed a triathlon carrying his 13-year-old cerebral palsy-afflicted daughter across land and through water so that she could complete the gruelling event.

Rick van Beek’s feat of endurance and show of love for his daughter Madison have led many to call  the man from Byron Center, Michigan the ‘father of the century’.

But it is not the first race of its kind for van Beek, who said he has participated in more than 70 events, including half-marathons, triathlons and other outdoor races, as part of ‘Team Maddy’.

He and Maddy took part in the Sanford and Sun sprint triathlon on Sunday.

Together they completed the 0.3-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run, with Maddy pictured in her father’s arms as they transitioned from section to section.

For the swimming portion, van Beek tugs his daughter through the water in a kayak and then pulls her behind him in a cart as he cycles. He runs the last leg pushing her in a buggy.

Van Beek, 39, told the Midland Daily News that he wants to complete the events with his daughter, who is unable to walk or talk, because she adores being outside.

‘She functions like a three-month-old, and one of the very few things that we know she enjoys is being outside, being in the water, feeling the breeze in her hair and in her face,’ he said.

Maddy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy two months after she was born.

‘It was one of the worst days of our lives,’ van Beek told Fox 17. ‘Everybody prays that their children are healthy and for eight years I still wished that she had been a healthy child, but if she wouldn’t have been like she is then we wouldn’t be the people that we are today.’

His outlook changed when he saw his daughter taking part in a marathon more than four years ago, and saw the pure joy on her face.

‘I watched my daughter Maddy being pushed in the Grand Rapids Marathon,’ he recounted on his blog.

‘To see her being so happy and enjoying every bump in the road was more than I could handle, my emotions took over.

‘Shortly after that day I gave up smoking 2 packs a day and chewing a tin a day to be better, for Maddy. It has been a long road, with many bumps, but we are better.’

In a bid to make his daughter happy, he began training for outdoor races in 2008. Van Beek, who was out of shape and a heavy smoker, also realised it would be beneficial for him.

He persevered to get into shape for his daughter, and raised money for charities along the way.

‘[The emotion] drives me or inspires me to do the things that I do,’ he wrote on his blog last year. ‘Call it inspiration, call it motivation, call it what ever you want, I call it LOVE.

‘That will never fade…She is my heart and I am her legs, though someday she might not physically be able to be there with me, she will always be in my heart, quietly cheering me on.’

Many spectators have pointed out that they are touched by van Beek’s devotion.

‘That was just so inspirational to see,’ race coordinator Misty Angle told Allegan County News after watching him at the 2011 Tri Allegan triathlon.

‘That was definitely one of the highlights of the event for me and a lot of people.’

But van Beek has refused to take the credit, saying it is his daughter who inspires people.

‘I think Madison has changed more peoples’ lives than I even know about – without doing anything, just being out there. Not me, her,’ van Beek told Fox News. ‘We make a good team.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2188373/Rick-van-Beek-Devoted-dad-runs-triathlon-carrying-teenager-daughter-cerebral-palsy.html#ixzz23fnLrQRE

Thanks to Dr. Nakamura for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.

Ronald Page seemingly had it made when Bank of America unintentionally changed his account status, allowing the 55-year-old man to make unlimited ATM cash overdraft withdrawals.

But ABC News reports that Page, who in reality had only $300 in his checking account, used the accidental loophole to withdraw more than $1.5 million—losing it all on gambling.

And even worse for Page, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit says he is now facing 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of theft of bank funds, $1,543,104 in total between December 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009.

“In this case, the bank’s glitch allowed the defendant to lose a significant amount of money that was not even his in the first place,” reads the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memorandum, obtained by ABC. “The fact that defendant acted on an impulse does not minimize the seriousness of his conduct and the need for a custodial sentence.”

The day the Bank of America glitch went into effect, Page reportedly withdrew $312,000 from ATMs at the Greektown Casino in Detroit and an additional $51,727 from the MGM Grand Casino. Bank of America placed a hold on his account 17 days later, but he had already withdrawn $1.5 million by that point.

The glitch reportedly occurred because Page originally had a banking account with LaSalle Bank. When Bank of America acquired LaSalle, the glitch somehow occurred while the two banking institutions were transferring account information.

Page, who does not have a prior record, could have faced a steeper sentence but prosecutors said his crime was a “lapse of judgment” and placed blame with Bank of America for allowing the withdrawals to take place.

In addition to the recommended 15-month sentence and order to repay the funds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has suggested that Page be prohibited from gambling in any capacity.

“If his gambling addiction is not addressed, he is very likely to cause further financial hardship to himself and his family,” the memorandum reads.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/detroit-man-gambles-away-1-5-million-accidentally-191619543.html;_ylc=X3oDMTNsY3FxZXJsBF9TAzEzNzA0OTc4BGFjdANtYWlsX2NiBGN0A2EEaW50bAN1cwRsYW5nA2VuLVVTBHBrZwM4NzZjMTEyMi1jODYyLTNlMmQtOTg3OS1mMjRlMjZmMzE4MjAEc2VjA21pdF9zaGFyZQRzbGsDbWFpbAR0ZXN0Aw–;_ylv=3

Thanks to Mr. C for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

The objects displayed in Michigan’s newest museum range from the ordinary, such as simple ashtrays and fishing lures, to the grotesque – a full-size replica of a lynching tree. But all are united by a common theme: They are steeped in racism so intense that it makes visitors cringe.

That’s the idea behind the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, which says it has amassed the nation’s largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction until the civil rights movement, and beyond.

The museum in a gleaming new exhibit hall at Ferris State University “is all about teaching, not a shrine to racism,” said David Pilgrim, the founder and curator who started building the collection as a teenager.

Pilgrim, who is black, makes no apologies for the provocative exhibits. The goal of the $1.3 million gallery, he explained, is “to get people to think deeply.”

The displays are startling. The n-word is prevalent throughout, and many items portray black men as lazy, violent or inarticulate. Black women are shown as kerchief-wearing mammies, sexually charged Jezebels or other stereotypes.

The shocking images exact an emotional cost.

“There’s parts in that room – the main room – where it’s quite gut-wrenching,” said Nancy Mettlach, a student conduct specialist at Ferris. “And the thought that was going through my mind was: ‘How can one human being do this to another human being?'”

Pilgrim, a former sociology professor at Ferris State, started the collection in the 1970s in Alabama. Along the way, he “spent more time in antique and flea markets than the people who work there.” His quest for more examples was boundless.

“At some point, the collecting becomes the thing,” he said. “It became the way I relaxed.” He spent most of his free time and money on acquisitions.

In 1996, Pilgrim donated his 2,000-piece collection to the school after concluding that it “needed a real home.”

The collection spent the next 15 years housed in a single room and could be seen only by appointment. Thanks to the financial support of the university and donors – notably from the charitable arm of Detroit utility DTE Energy – Pilgrim’s collection now has a permanent home, which will have a grand opening ceremony April 26. Admission is free.

Today, the school has 9,000 pieces that depict African-Americans in stereotypical ways and, in some cases, glorify violence against them.

Not all of the museum’s holdings are on display, but the 3,500-square-foot space in the lower level of the university library is packed with items that demonstrate how racist ideas and anti-black images dominated American culture for decades.

Visitors can forget about touring the exhibits and retiring untroubled to a cafe or gift shop. Some leave angry or offended. Most feel a kind of “reflective sadness,” Pilgrim said.

But that’s not enough. If the museum “stayed at that, then we failed,” he said. “The only real value of the museum has ever been to really engage people in a dialogue.”

So Pilgrim designed the tour to give visitors a last stop in a “room of dialogue,” where they’re encouraged to discuss what they’ve seen and how the objects might be used to promote tolerance and social justice.

Some of the objects in the museum are a century old. Others were made as recently as this year.

Ferris State sophomore Nehemiah Israel was particularly troubled by a series of items about President Barack Obama.

One T-shirt on display reads: “Any White Guy 2012.” Another shirt that says “Obama ’08” is accompanied by a cartoon monkey holding a banana. A mouse pad shows robe-wearing Ku Klux Klan members chasing an Obama caricature above the words, “Run Obama Run.”

“I was like, ‘Wow. People still think this. This is crazy,'” Israel said.

One of the first rooms in the museum features a full-size replica of a tree with a lynching noose hanging from it. Several feet away, a television screen shows a video of racist images through the years.

The location of the museum – in the shadow of university founder Woodbridge Ferris’ statue – also catches some by surprise. The mostly white college town of Big Rapids is 150 miles from Detroit, the state’s largest predominantly black city.

Ferris, who later served as Michigan governor and as a U.S. senator, founded the school more than a century ago. He once said Americans should work to provide an “education for all children, all men and all women.”

Pilgrim, who is also Ferris State’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, initially considered giving his collection to a historically black college, but he wanted to be “near it enough to make sure it was taken care of.”

Most of the objects “are anti-black caricatures, everyday objects or they are segregationist memorabilia,” he said. Because they represent a cruel, inflammatory past, they “should either be in a garbage can or a museum.”