Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

OPIOID LAWSUITS-MICHIGAN

Michigan is in on settlement talks with some drug makers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the state is involved in settlement talks with some drug makers accused of fueling the nation’s opioid addiction crisis, even though it not has yet sued.

Nessel’s office is in the process of hiring a law firm to help bring lawsuits. But she said Thursday that her office is participating in ongoing negotiations between a multi-state team and some drug manufacturers.

Oklahoma judge this week found Johnson & Johnson responsible for fueling the state’s opioid crisis and ordered it to pay $572 million. Nessel says in the wake of that judgment, other drug companies want to “get these cases settled sooner rather than later.”

She says she is “very hopeful” Michigan will settle with some manufacturers “in the near future.”

INFANT DEATH

Detroit mom charged in bathtub drowning of infant daughter

DETROIT (AP) — A woman who authorities say told them she found her 18-day-old daughter floating face down in a bathtub at her Detroit apartment has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office announced charges Thursday against 22-year-old Jaila Thomas following the death of Lauren Williams. She’s due in court later in the day and also faces a second-degree child abuse charge.

Court records Thursday morning didn’t list a lawyer for her.

Prosecutors say Thomas had been drinking and was alone in her apartment Monday morning when she found the girl unresponsive. Medics pronounced the girl dead and prosecutors say she drowned.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy called the allegations in the case “appalling,” saying in a statement that the child shouldn’t have died “if a person is ‘a little’ intoxicated.”

FOOTBALL PRACTICE-STUDENT DIES

Michigan boy dies after collapsing during football practice

SARANAC, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a western Michigan boy who collapsed during football practice has died at a hospital.

The boy, identified as a Saranac Community Schools 7th grade student, collapsed Wednesday during a non-contact drill and was flown to a hospital. Both school and hospital officials say he died hours later.

District officials say counseling and other resources are available for staff and students as needed.

MARCUS BELGRAVE-STREET RENAMING

Late jazz great Marcus Belgrave to get Detroit street

DETROIT (AP) — Late jazz trumpeting great Marcus Belgrave will be honored with a stretch of downtown Detroit street ceremonially renamed in his honor.

Belgrave’s name will grace a block of Randolph Street where it abuts Madison Avenue, which also takes the name “Aretha Franklin Boulevard.” Belgrave, who died in 2015, played with Franklin in her early days.

The sign will be unveiled Thursday before the launch of the Detroit Jazz Festival .

Singer Joan Belgrave says in a statement she worked for two years on the effort on behalf of her late husband. She sees the street as a visual reminder of his legacy for those “whose lives he touched.”

Belgrave came to Detroit in 1962 and became a Motown studio musician, and later co-founded Tribe Records. Belgrave also served as a professor or visiting artist at numerous institutions, including Detroit-area schools and Michigan State University.

TONGUE-NEW TRIAL

New trial for woman who bit off part of boyfriend’s tongue

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A woman convicted of domestic violence will get a new trial after the Michigan appeals court says an expert could have explained why she bit off a portion of her boyfriend’s tongue.

The appeals court says Desirae Glatfelter’s rights were violated by an ineffective lawyer. An expert didn’t testify for the woman from west Michigan’s Kent County because her attorney had failed to give timely notice to the judge.

The appeals court says the expert would have explained to jurors why women would use force in some circumstances. The court says the verdict might have been different. Glatfelter was sentenced to a year in behind bars.

Glatfelter bit off part of Aaron Hollowell’s tongue in November 2016 when he tried to calm her down with a forceful kiss and an aggressive “bear hug.” She had accused him of cheating on her.

UNION-AUTOS-CORRUPTION

FBI searches Detroit-area home of UAW president

DETROIT (AP) — Federal agents are searching the suburban Detroit home of the president of the United Auto Workers, apparently another step in an investigation of union corruption.

FBI spokeswoman Mara Schneider confirmed the search of a home in Canton Township on Wednesday but declined further comment. TV stations posted photos and video of agents outside Gary Jones’ home.

In response, the UAW says there’s “absolutely no need” for the search. The union says it has been cooperating with investigators.

Agents also searched the Corona, California, home of former UAW President Dennis Williams and the union’s northern Michigan retreat.

Eight people have pleaded guilty in an investigation of union officials and Fiat Chrysler executives enriching themselves with money from a job training center in Detroit. The probe appeared to widen recently when a former union official was charged with accepting kickbacks from union vendors.

MICHIGAN BUDGET

Whitmer won’t accept ‘status quo’ in road, budget talks

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she won’t sign a “status-quo” budget, stepping up her criticism of Republican legislative leaders for not offering a viable alternative to her proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike to fix the roads.

The Democratic governor held a news conference Wednesday, about a month before the budget deadline.

She said GOP lawmakers are “screwing around” and have not offered a legitimate plan nearly six months after she made her proposal. She criticized their call to shift money for schools to the transportation budget.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey accused Whitmer of creating a “fabricated crisis” and said legislators will pivot to sending her a budget plan.

Whitmer officially ruled out taking longer to address unfunded liabilities in the school employees’ retirement system to free up revenue for roads.

LAWMAKER-SEX SCANDAL

Ex- lawmaker pleads no contest to charge related to scandal

LAPEER, Mich. (AP) — A former Michigan lawmaker has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor stemming from charges filed over his role in trying to keep his extramarital affair with another legislator from being exposed.

The state attorney general’s office says Todd Courser entered his plea in a Lapeer courtroom Wednesday. A no-contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

Courser could serve up to a year in jail on a willful neglect of duty charge.

Sentencing is Sept. 16. A perjury charge will be dismissed.

Courser resigned in 2015 while another lawmaker, Cindy Gamrat, was expelled. Courser had asked an aide to send a bogus email to fellow Republicans as a trick so his affair with Gamrat wouldn’t be believed if it was revealed by an extortionist.

NATURAL GAS PLANT

Groundbreaking set on $1B Michigan natural gas plant

(Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com)

NILES, Mich. (AP) — A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for next week on a $1 billion natural gas power plant in southwestern Michigan nearly two decades after it was first proposed.

The South Bend Tribune reports Buffalo Grove, Illinois-based Indeck Energy Services has begun preparing the site for the Indeck Niles Energy Center.

The ceremony is scheduled Wednesday in Niles, located north of Michigan’s border with Indiana.

David Hicks, vice president of business development for Indeck, says it’s a testament to the “persistence and perseverance” of the city of Niles and Indeck.

The newspaper says the project, first proposed in 2000, was shelved when rising natural gas prices made it financially unviable, but it was later revived. More recently, plans to break ground in 2017 were pushed back.

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STURGEON-LAMPREY TREATMENTS

Sturgeon removed to avoid river chemicals targeting lampreys

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State regulators and Native American tribes are temporarily removing juvenile lake sturgeon from two Michigan rivers to protect them from chemical treatments targeting sea lampreys.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service treats rivers in the Great Lakes region to kill invasive lampreys. It doesn’t harm most fish. But when the treatments are applied in the Big Manistee and Muskegon rivers, lake sturgeon are at risk.

Over the next two months, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Gun Lake Tribe will join the state Department of Natural Resources to catch juvenile sturgeon and keep them in rearing facilities until the treatments are completed. Afterward, they’ll be released.

During the last sea lamprey treatment on the Big Manistee River three years ago, 117 lake sturgeon were collected and released.