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Country Regional : United States : Michigan

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake".

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Michigan Latest News

For custom car builder, GT the star of ‘Ford v. Ferrari’

Stepping into Dean "Dino" Arnold's body shop in Middleville is like stepping back to a time when muscle and design ruled the road.

MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Stepping into Dean “Dino” Arnold’s body shop in Middleville is like stepping back to a time when muscle and design ruled the road.

Classic street rods and customized Corvettes are parked side-by-side or on racks.

“Everyone teases me: ‘You live in a dream world, man. Why don’t you come down to wherever people live?’ I say, ‘Well, I’ve done this my whole life. This is all I know how to do,'” Arnold told News 8.

He got the car bug as a teenager. A stint in the U.S. Air Force brought him to Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, on the other side of the state, in the 1960s, during the height of the war in Vietnam. He said is mechanic skills likely kept him stateside on order of his commanding officer.

“Every time I got a shipment to go out, he turned around and said, ‘You can’t leave yet, my 44’s not done yet,'” Arnold said.

After his military career, Arnold opened a body shop. In the 1980s, he got into custom design. He builds street legal copycat versions of the classics from scratch.
“There’s some variations and differences and stuff from the original pieces,” Arnold said. “But they’re pretty much on track to what the original ones were made.”

But a recreation of the original Ford GT40 holds a special parking spot in the garage.

The new movie “Ford v. Ferrari,” released Friday, provides the cinematic explanation. In the early 1960s, the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race was dominated by the Europeans. Henry Ford II, grandson of company founder Henry Ford, and his right-hand man Lee Iacocca wanted to get into the race. They had a deal to purchase Ferrari, the Italian carmaker was the one to beat at Le Mans at the time. A meeting was set with Enzo Ferrari.

“Enzo’s sitting up in his office and looking down over the factory and he says, ‘Know what? I’m not going to sell. I’m going to keep it.’ Infuriated Ford so bad, they wanted to beat them at the Le Mans racing circuit,” Arnold described.
Enter Carrol Shelby. The famed auto designer was hired by Ford to do one thing: beat Ferrari at Le Mans and establish Ford as a performance brand at home. The GT40 was end result.

By 1966, Shelby and driver Ken Miles accomplished Ford’s goal.

“They kicked their fanny across the track for about five years,” Arnold said.
That legacy lives on in Arnold’s garage: there’s the replica GT40 and another Ford creation of the era, the Daytona.

Arnold builds them to customer specs, including some modern conveniences. Most of the recreations sticker out at between $50,000 and $100,000.

The price tag on an original GT is in the millions.

“Even though we kind of hang close to the original specs and all that stuff while we’re working on it — because why reinvent the wheel when it worked good then? — we want to make it affordable for the average guy,” Arnold said.

Some of Arnold’s replicas will be on display at Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids this weekend to celebrate the release of the movie.

SW MI mom sentenced to prison for abusing 7-month-old

On Friday, a St. Joseph County judge sentenced Angel Rickett to serve eight to 40 years in prison.

CONSTANTINE, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman will spend years in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse after her 7-month-old daughter was hospitalized with skull fractures and bruising.

On Friday, a St. Joseph County judge sentenced Angel Rickett to serve eight to 40 years in prison. In October, Rickett pleaded guilty to first-degree child abuse.

In March, the Constantine Police Department said it was notified by Three Rivers officers that the baby had come into the emergency room there and doctors suspected abuse.

Doctors told investigators that the child’s injuries didn’t line up with her mother’s story that she had fallen off the couch and onto the floor at their home at the Elm Tree Apartments in Constantine.

Police interviewed Rickett and Derek Lamere. They say the investigation found that Rickett shook the baby, causing her head to hit the wall and that she slapped her in the face.

Lamere was charged with fourth-degree child abuse because police say he knew it happened but didn’t protect the baby or call them.

He was later acquitted of all charges, according to court documents.

Ousted ambassador felt threat; Trump assails her anew

Former U.S. Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch provided chilling detail of being suddenly ousted from her post.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former U.S. Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch provided chilling detail Friday in Trump impeachment hearings of being suddenly ousted from her post and feeling threatened upon learning President Donald Trump had denounced her in a phone call to Ukraine’s president. In that call, Trump assailed her as “bad news” and said she was “going to go through some things.”

In an extraordinary moment, even in an administration filled with them, Trump himself went after her again as she spoke, tweeting from the White House that everywhere she served had “turned bad.”

Asked at the hearing about the potential effect of such censure on U.S. officials and witnesses, she said, “Well, it’s very intimidating.”

Yovanovitch was testifying on the second day of public impeachment hearings into Trump, just the fourth time in American history that the House of Representatives has launched such proceedings. The investigation centers on whether Trump’s push for Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals amounted to an abuse of power, a charge he and Republicans vigorously deny.

After Trump’s tweet on Friday, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee swiftly intervened, halting the questioning to read the president’s comments out loud to the witness — and Americans following the hearing — during a live broadcast across the country.

“Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California. He asked if it was designed to intimidate.

“I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidated,” she said.

Said Schiff, “Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Trump, asked about it later, said, “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech.”

Rather than distract from the career diplomat’s testimony, Trump’s interference could provide more evidence against him in the probe. Democrats said an allegation of witness intimidation could become an obstruction of justice charge in the impeachment probe.

In her testimony, Yovanovitch described a “smear campaign” against her by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others, including the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., before her firing.

She told the lawmakers her sudden removal had played into the hands of “shady interests the world over” with dangerous intentions toward the United States. They have learned, she said, “how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.”

She said quietly, “Even now words fail me.”

Her removal from her post is one of several events at the center of the impeachment effort.

In his July phone call with new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump asked for a “favor,” according to an account provided by the White House. He wanted an investigation of Democrats and 2020 rival Joe Biden. Later it was revealed that the administration was withholding military aid from Ukraine at the time.

“These events should concern everyone in this room,” the diplomat testified in opening remarks.

Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the panel, said she was “too tough on corruption for some, and her principled stance made her enemies.”

It became clear, he said, “President Trump wanted her gone.”

The daughter of immigrants who fled the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, she described a 33-year career, including three tours as an ambassador to some of the world’s tougher postings, before arriving in Ukraine in 2016. She was forced out in May 2019.

She denied allegations against her, including that she favored Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 election, and she rejected the notion that Ukraine tried to interfere in the election, as Trump claims, counter to mainstream U.S. intelligence findings that it was Russia.

The top Republican on the panel, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, bemoaned the hearings as a “daylong TV spectacle.”

Nunes complained that Democrats are relying on hearsay testimony from witnesses who only know of Trump’s actions second-hand, and Republicans noted during questioning that Yovanovitch had left her position before the July phone call.

Nunes also pressed to hear from the still anonymous government whistleblower who first alerted officials about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine that is in question. “These hearings should not be occurring at all,” he said.

But one Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said Trump’s live tweeting at the ambassador was wrong. She said, “I don’t think the president should have done that.”

Just as the hearing was opening, the White House released its rough transcript of a still-earlier Trump call with Zelenskiy that was largely congratulatory.

Nunes read that transcript aloud. In it, Trump mentioned his experience with the Miss Universe pageant in Ukraine and invited Zelenskiy to the White House. He closed with, “See you very soon.”

Yovanovitch, a career diplomat, who has served both Republican and Democratic presidents, relayed her striking story of being told to “watch my back” and then being suddenly recalled by Trump in a swiftly developing series of events that sounded alarms about a White House shadow foreign policy.

In particular, Yovanovitch and others have described Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, as leading what one called an “irregular channel” outside the diplomatic mainstream of U.S.-Ukraine relations. Asked during an earlier, closed-door deposition if anyone at the State Department who was alerted to Giuliani’s role tried to stop him, she testified, “I don’t think they felt they could.”

Under questioning from Republicans, she acknowledged that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, serving on the board of a gas company in Ukraine could have created the appearance of a conflict of interest. But she testified the former vice president acted in accordance with official U.S. policy.

The White House has instructed officials not to comply with the probe, and most have been issued subpoenas to appear.

Later Friday, the panel in closed-door session was to hear from David Holmes, a political adviser in Kyiv, who overheard Trump asking about the investigations the day after the July conversation with Zelenskiy. Holmes was at dinner with Gordon Sondland when the Ambassador to the European Union called up Trump. The conversation was apparently loud enough to be heard.

Trump says he knows nothing of such a call. The Associated Press has reported a second U.S. Embassy official also overheard it.

Yovanovitch and other officials now testifying publicly are providing accounts that Democrats are relying on to make the case that the president’s behavior was impeachable.

Americans are deeply entrenched in two camps over impeachment, resulting in a mounting political battle that will further test the nation in one of the most polarizing eras of modern times.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump’s actions toward Ukraine amount to “bribery.”

Trump repeatedly assails the proceedings as a “hoax” and a “sham” and says he did nothing wrong.

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Laurie Kellman, Jonathan Lemire, Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram, Matthew Daly and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Suspect charged with murder of 19-year-old in Kzoo

A man was formally charged Friday with shooting and killing another man in Kalamazoo early Wednesday.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A man was formally charged Friday with shooting and killing another man in Kalamazoo early Wednesday.

Gabreon Wells-Lindsey, 22, was arraigned on charges of open murder, carrying a concealed weapon and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the death of 19-year-old Alex Johnson.

Johnson was shot shortly before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday at Hidden Hills Apartments off Emajean Street, north of Michigan Avenue.

Court records show officers responding to a report of shots fired found Johnson in one of the apartments with a gunshot wound to the chest. Johnson was rushed to the hospital, where he died.

Police said witnesses identified Wells-Lindsey as the shooter, saying the pair had a longstanding dispute. A detective testified Wells-Lindsey fired three shots at Johnson, hitting him once.

Another bullet hit a second victim, injuring that person, court records show.

Police found the suspect late Wednesday morning and arrested him.

A judge denied bond for Wells-Lindsey Friday.

Santa Claus is coming to Kalamazoo for Saturday parade

Kalamazoo is getting an early visit from Santa for the annual Holiday Parade on Saturday.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo is getting an early visit from Santa for the annual Holiday Parade on Saturday.

The parade begins at 11 a.m., starting at the Bronson Healthcare Parking Lot on Lovell Street. It will move west to Westnedge Avenue, then turn onto Michigan Avenue, go as far as Pitcher Street, and then return to Lovell.

The News 8 Daybreak team will appear in the parade, with anchors Casey Jones and Teresa Weakley singing carols.

Immediately after the parade, you can stop by WOOD TV8’s downtown Kalamazoo studio in the Comerica Building on Rose Street to get photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, then enjoy milk and cookies. The event ends at 2:30 p.m.


Holiday parade

Ethics committee reviewing Huizenga campaign funds

The House Committee on Ethics is looking into allegations of impropriety regarding Rep. Bill Huizenga's campaign funds.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The House Committee on Ethics is looking into allegations of impropriety regarding Rep. Bill Huizenga’s campaign funds.

Huizenga, a Republican from Zeeland, is now in his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Allegations laid out by the Office of Congressional Ethics include using campaign money on nonpolitical events. The office provided transcripts of interviews with Huizenga, his chief of staff and his campaign chairman discussing campaign spending. In one, Huizenga was asked about a trip to Disney World and why the campaign paid for certain expenses on that trip. The report also includes receipts from a February 2018 trip to a Utah ski resort, where Huizenga’s campaign spent nearly $5,000.

The office also says the campaign may have accepted donations from members of Huizenga’s congressional office staff.

The office asked the Ethics committee for further review of both allegations. The committee did not say much on the matter in a Thursday statement, citing confidentiality rules and a desire to maintain the integrity of its work.

In a statement to News 8 Friday, Huizenga spokesman Brian Patrick brushed off the investigation as politically motivated:

“After months of investigation, Nancy Pelosi’s foot soldiers produced a partisan report that continues the false narrative created by the Michigan Democratic Party. This matter has already been resolved and dismissed by the Federal Election Commission. We have fully cooperated in the investigation and eagerly await a timely resolution.”

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