By ZEINAB NAJM
Here’s a look back at the first four months of 2019 and the news that shaped Dearborn and Dearborn Heights:
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) made history as she was sworn into Michigan’s 13th District seat as the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in the House. On Jan. 3, Tlaib was sworn into the 116th Congress by new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while wearing a traditional Palestinian thobe as an ode to her mother along with using her own Quran.
New Jersey Devils Defenseman P.K. Subban sent Dearborn teenager Ty Cornett, 13, a video reaching out to him after hearing Cornett faced racial harassment. During the past few years, Cornett has dealt with the racial abuse from hockey teammates and opposing players as an African American playing a predominantly white sport.
The Abbas family from Dearborn was killed in Lexington, Ky., Jan. 6 while driving north on I-75 when a white Chevy pickup truck was traveling in the wrong direction on the expressway. Real estate agent and lawyer Issam Abbas, 42; his wife, Dr. Rima Abbas, 38; and their children Ali, 14, Isabella, 13, and Giselle, 7 died as they were returning home from a trip to Florida. Joey Bailey, 41, of Georgetown, Ky., was suspected to be drunk when he was driving the truck that crashed into the Abbas’ Cadillac Escalade. Bailey died as a result of the crash.
Judy Sanborn of Dearborn was reunited with her cat Daisy-duck Bandit Sanborn all the way from Tampa after he went missing just before Halloween. The cat was flown home Jan. 10 with the help of a fundraiser which raised $575 to get Bandit back to Michigan.
After being missing for almost 67 years, the 261-year-old Nowlin Powder Horn arrived back in Dearborn on Jan. 15 in great condition because of the work of the FBI and Dearborn Police Department. In 1947, the powder horn was sold to the Detroit Historical Museum for $75 and in 1952 the museum loaned it to the Dearborn Historical Museum to be on display at the Commandant’s Quarters. It was stolen from the Dearborn museum a day before the powder horn was going to be included in the Saga of a Settler exhibit.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office denied a warrant request in connection with the killing of Ali Salman, also known as Ali Al-Tameemi, at an Inkster gas station on Jan. 19. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy explained that the 25-year-old who shot Salamn acted in lawful self-defense. Salman, 34, a mechanic, and the 25-year-old were involved in a dispute over a parking space just after 3 p.m. at Marathon, 28474 Michigan Ave..
Detroit Tigers’ Outfielder Mikie Mahtook was surprised with a gift that showed paperwork of his family arriving in the U.S. along with a family tree during his Jan. 25 visit to the Arab American National Museum,13624 Michigan Ave. During the Tigers Winter Caravan stop at the museum, Mahtook received an image of the page listing the dry goods and grocery store in Patterson, La., owned by his great-great-grandfather, Butros Mahtook.
The Dearborn City Council unanimously approved the intergovernmental agreement Jan. 29 to add the City of Westland to the Dearborn United Dispatch Center. Westland will officially join Dearborn and Melvindale on July 1 with a five-year contract and an increase of on-duty dispatchers to 33 total.
Dearborn Heights resident, student and Palestinian immigrant Najlaa Karim Musarsa was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and deported to Palestine, according a Facebook post by Arab American News Owner and Publisher Osama Siblani. According to another Facebook post by Siblani, Musarsa’s apartment was raided on the morning of Jan. 30 even though she may have had a valid student visa scheduled to expire in 2019. It is unconfirmed if Musarsa’s deportation was related a fake university website in Farmington Hills the Department of Homeland Security used to carry out an immigration sting.
Dearborn Heights resident Nicholas Diedo, 35, was federally charged with arson after he allegedly set fire to the 315 North Strip Mall in Inkster on Feb. 3. Inkster police believed that Diedo was the same man seen on security video at the strip mall in January placing six one-gallon jugs filled with a yellow liquid. He is then seen attempting to break a window by throwing bricks before pulling out a flare from his sock to ignite the liquid and fire which damaged five businesses.
Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell died at the age of 92 on Feb. 7. On Feb. 6 news that Dingell had been receiving hospice care was confirmed to the AP by a source close to the family. He took office on Dec. 13, 1955, following a special election for the seat held by he late father, representing the Michigan 15th Congressional District. On June 7, 2013, he became the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history.
Former Dearborn Public Schools Trustee and Former Wayne County Prosector Fadwa Hammoud was sworn in Feb. 9 as the State of Michigan solicitor general by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel during a ceremony at Fordson High School. Hammoud became the country’s first Muslim Arab-American solicitor general and the first woman appointed to the position in Michigan.
New Yasmeen Bakery founder Mohamad Seblini, 75, died on Feb. 12 after becoming ill and spending about a month at Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak. Pita bread, a staple in the homes of many Middle Eastern homes was brought to Dearborn and perfected by Seblini in 1986.
Dearborn resident Timothy Eubanks, 34, was sentenced to up to two years probation for six counts of second degree child abuse in the Sept. 26, 2017, after his then-3-year-old son shot two toddlers in the family’s home daycare. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Hathaway sentenced Eubanks during a Feb. 15 hearing and also said that she would review the probation sentencing on Feb. 20, 2020. As part of Eubanks’ sentencing, he was required to start a national gun safety campaign to educate and reach out to millions of people to let them know what his carelessness, thoughtlessness and negligence caused.
Fatme Abuelhawa, also known as “Fay” by city of Dearborn residents and employees, died unexpectedly on Feb. 26 after working almost 20 years as a cashier with the city. The 59-year-old Dearborn resident worked as a cashier associate and bookkeeper in the Finance Treasury Division since 1999.
The Dearborn Heights City Council voted 5-2 Feb. 26 to seek a forensic audit on all city records over the last 15 years. With the approval, the council hoped the forensic audit will provide answers for questions surrounding the almost $1.4 million missing for the city’s Public, Educational and Governmental fund.
Dearborn Heights resident Daylon Wooten, 16, was charged with the murder of James Newman, 17, of Inkster following a fight on Feb. 28. The Wayne County Prosector’s Office announced the second-degree murder, possession of a stolen firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and felony firearm charges on March 6.
Payless and Charlotte Russe closed thousands of stores between the two retailers, including those at Fairlane Town Center after filing for bankruptcy in February. The March 6 court filing stated Charlotte Russe would close all 416 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, instead of the planned 94 store closures.
Fordson High School Ahmed Altaii, 19, of Dearborn died after he fell from the seven floor balcony at his hotel room in Cancun, Mexico, according to the Mexican Municipal Secretariat of Public Security and Transit. Altaii was staying at the GR Solaris Hotel during a spring break trip with his girlfriend and friends when he had allegedly started drinking early March 9. In a video posted and deleted on social media, Altaii was seen sitting on the balcony when he appeared to be accidentally bumped by another man.
The Dearborn Board of Education unanimously passed two resolutions to name the atrium at Fordson High School and team meeting room at Stout Middle School after the late Imad Fadlallah March 11. On March 13, 2017 Imad Fadlallah, 58, died in his home from possible complications following a heart procedure he had earlier that month. He worked 29 years in education including FHS principal and as a teacher and assistant principal at Stout before retiring in 2010.
The Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals and Bank of America gifted U.S. Army Sgt. Joanne Springer with a new mortgage-free home in Dearborn March 21. Springer filed an application to the VAREP in hopes of becoming a homeowner leading to her receiving the fully furnished and newly renovated house. During her time in the Army from 1975 to 1980, Springer served as an aircraft mechanic.
St. Sebastian Catholic School, 3997 Merrick St., announced plans to close in June as a result of declining enrollment, a change in neighborhood demographics and operational costs challenges. St. Sebastian Parish and school helped place students and faculty in nearby Catholic schools and offered $500 tuition scholarships to students who plan to attend a Catholic school for the 2019-20 school year.
Cardiologists Dr. Mahir Elder and Dr. Amir Kaki filed a lawsuit against DMC Receiving Hospital alleging the hospital’s administration cost-cutting and physician incompetence led to deaths of patients and their termination. Both doctors also said that they were fired in October in retaliation for complaining about dirty surgical instruments, three unnecessary heart procedures leading to patient deaths, improper or fraudulent insurance billing, lack of staff and cutbacks for support services, according to the March 25 lawsuit. Elder, Kaki and Dr. Tamam Mohamad practice out of the Heart & Vascular Institute in Dearborn, Detroit and Southfield, but lost their cardiology leadership roles at DMC on Oct. 1. DMC asked Elder, Kaki, Mohamad and Dr. Ted Schreiber to resign from their posts for violations of the hospital system’s standards of conduct which were not specified.
Mohammed Turfe, 88, known as founder of the Islamic Center of America and Bint Jebail Cultural Center in Dearborn, died on March 27. He was battling pancreatic cancer for two years and left behind seven children including 20th District Court Judge David Turfe.
The Dearborn Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution to rename the current Ten Eyck Administration Building to the Brian J. Whiston Welcome Center. The decision became final April 8 after the proposal was presented by a naming committee, which included DPS Supt. Glenn Maleyko, during a March 11 board meeting. Before his death at the age of 56 from a battle with pancreatic cancer in May 2018, Whiston served as the State of Michigan superintendent and former DPS superintendent.
Ibraheem Musaibli, 28, of Dearborn was charged with conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, possessing and discharging a machine gun in furtherance of a crime of violence, and receiving military-type training from ISIS, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release on April 10. According to the indictment, Musaibli allegedly knowingly provided and attempted to provide material support to ISIS, in the form of personnel and services, knowing that ISIS is a terrorist organization and that ISIS engages in terrorism from April 2015 to June 2018.
Adel Mozip was appointed to the Henry Ford College Board of Trustees and Dearborn Public Schools Board April 8 to fill the seat vacated by Fadwa Hammoud, who vacated the seat after being appointed Michigan solicitor general. Mozip will fill the term until the next general election on Nov. 3, 2020. Following the election, the winner will serve the remainder of the current six-year term which ends on Dec. 31, 2022.
The U.S. Department of Justice charged Wansa Nabih Makki, 41 Mahmoud Makki, 36, and Hossam Tanana, 53 all of Dearborn along with Mohamad Ali Makki, 43, of Dearborn Heights for billing insurance for $9.2 million in medications that were not dispensed. Mohamad Ali Makki and Wansa Makki were indicted with multiple health care fraud offenses while Mahmoud Makki and Hossam Tanana were indicted for laundering some of the proceeds of the health care fraud scheme, according to the April 9 U.S. Department of Justice press release.
The families of two Florida teenagers killed in a wrong-way crash by Dearborn man Walter Roney, 99, were awarded an additional $10 million, bringing the total to $11 million. According to the West Palm Beach Post, a federal jury ordered Roney’s estate to pay the amount to the parents of Britney Poindexter, 17 and Santia Feketa, 18, both of Port St. Lucie following a two-day jury trial. The crash took place on Feb. 6 while Roney and his girlfriend were driving the wrong way — westbound in the eastbound lane — on State Road 70 in St. Lucie County. As the RV traveled from Melbourne to Port Charlotte at night without lights on it struck the Chevy Silverado which Poindexter and Feketa were in, head-on. Roney died on Feb. 9 as a result of his injuries.
University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso was inaugurated as the university’s sixth chancellor during a ceremony April 12 at the UM-D Fieldhouse. He succeeded former Chancellor Daniel Little who retired in 2018 after 18 years in the role.
Vice President Mike Pence visited the metropolitan Detroit area, including Ford Motor Co.’s Truck Plant in Dearborn April 24 to push for the approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. During his visit, Pence talked to and shook hands of employees, checked out a 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor and rolled a 2019 Ford F-150 off the assembly line.
U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan Judge George Steeh declined to dismiss the lawsuit by the family Kevin Matthews, who was shot nine times on Dec. 23, 2015, by Dearborn Police Officer Chris Hampton in Detroit following a foot chase and struggle. In his opinion explanation from April 29, Steeh said experts have cast doubt on Hampton’s explanation. The Matthews family filed the $10 million lawsuit against the city of Dearborn and Hampton in October 2016.
Media personality, former concert promoter and DHS visual arts teacher Russ Gibb died April 30 of heart failure at the age of 87. Gibb began having respiratory distress while he was at Heartland Health Care Center in Dearborn Heights. Gibbs spent over 20 years as a visual arts instructor teaching video and media production at Dearborn High School.