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News@noon: Back to school; Twitter targeting

The Detroit News

Today is August 23, 2016, and school is almost back in session. So that's what we're focusing on today.

In fact, school is getting longer in certain districts. Adding five days of instruction to school calendars this fall, as required by a new Michigan law, is interfering with vacation plans for some families. The change has drawn attention to the 2005 state law that prevents public schools from opening until after Labor Day.

More changes are occurring with seven new charter schools scheduled to open this fall in Michigan. The number of new charter schools opening is down significantly from a few years ago.

As of mid-August, the state Department of Education had grant 53 waivers for local school systems and countywide intermediate school districts to start school before Labor Day.

In other school news, the nation’s most economically disparate school district boundary is the one separating Grosse Pointe and Detroit, says a report released Tuesday by a New Jersey nonprofit that advocates for education funding reform. EdBuild’s report,“Fault Lines: America’s Most Segregating School District Borders,” says nearly half of the households in Detroit Public Schools — 49.2 percent — live in poverty, compared with 6.5 percent in Grosse Pointe Public Schools.

And of course, we're following the latest news on the widespread DPS kickbacks scandal. Our latest is about Principal Clara Smith, who prosecutors say spent money meant for students on furniture, furs, air travel, cruises and casino stays in Vegas.

Here's what else you should know about today:

MSP mistake

  • A battle is expected between Michigan State Police and defense lawyers over the results of 4,001 alcohol-related cases that were analyzed using faulty calibration. Sixty-five cases were reported with higher alcohol contents than they should have had, according to state police. 
  • That still doesn't mean people should drink and drive. In fact, traffic fatalities in the U.S. have surged during the first half of the year compared to last year. An estimated 19,100 people were killed on U.S. roads from January through June, and about 2.2 million people also were seriously injured during that time period.

Twelve Oaks smash and grab

  • A 26-year-old man suspected in a weekend jewelry store robbery at Twelve Oaks Mall likely will face additional charges for allegedly biting an officer and kicking out the windows of a Novi police squad car, police said.

Dogs in the news

A beaming Dan Tillery with his then-newly adopted pup Diggy with a matching “smile,” posted this selfie on Facebook in June. It went viral. Then Waterford Township learned Diggy might be a pit bull.

  • Some good news: Months after controversy surrounding authorities’ treatment of Diggy, an adopted dog whose smile sparked waves online, Waterford Township officials have tweaked its animal ordinance that bans pit bulls. The prohibition doesn’t change, but amendments approved Monday night offer more clarity and “make it easier for the dog owners and the township” when confusion about a breed arises, Trustee Anthony Bartolotta said.
  • Some sad news: A dog that died after routine grooming at a Shelby Township business is sparking legal action and concerns about the practices at the pet center. 
  • Some better news: The nonprofit Dog Aide is stepping in to provide free services for low-income pet owners, making sure that dogs can get the care they need. 

Twitter targeting

  • It's been three months since the Cincinnati Zoo was forced to shoot Harambe after a child fell into the gorilla's enclosure. And the anger has not stopped. The latest victim: the zoo's Twitter account

Aretha taking time off

Aretha Franklin performs at New Bethel Baptist Church during a dedication program honoring her family.

Detroit News at noon is a daily roundup of the most talked-about stories on detroitnews.com. For more anytime, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram (@detroitnews), Snapchat (Search for "Detroitnews") and LinkedIn