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


Local bans limit options for aspiring marijuana businesses

(Information from: The Grand Rapids,

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — About 39% of Michigan communities that approved a recreational marijuana ballot measure last year have since introduced local bans that prohibit businesses selling pot.

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued emergency rules in July giving local authorities six months to introduce bans before it starts to accept applications for business licenses Nov. 1. reports that 308 of the 792 cities and townships that passed Proposal 1 in November have prohibited recreational marijuana businesses.

Bruce Barcott is the deputy editor of the marijuana news website Leafly. Barcott describes the local bans as the “second phase of legalization,” and warns that banning legal sales will only encourage the black market to thrive.

Ten other states and the District of Columbia have legalized smoking or eating marijuana for recreational use since 2012.



Michigan State to study parks’ effect on health in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan State University is putting a $3.3 million federal grant toward exploring how reviving Detroit parks can improve the health of its residents.

Researchers from the East Lansing school are using the National Institutes of Health grant to run a five-year study. They will assess the health of 700 residents in low-income areas while the city and Audubon Society restore unmaintained parks.

Researchers say studies have suggested parks might reduce stress and increase physical activity. However, the cause-and-effect relationship between parks and health has been hard to establish.

Park maintenance had been a casualty of budget cuts in the city in recent decades. The research team’s goals not only include boosting health, but also providing evidence to city officials about the value of investing in parks and other public spaces.


Clinton, Rice scheduled to speak at University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Former U.S. secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice are among those scheduled to participate in a lecture series presented by University of Michigan’s Weiser Diplomacy Center.

Rice and Clinton are set to visit the Ann Arbor school in October. The series launches Friday with Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea and a Michigan alumnus.

The series, which runs into November, also includes former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley.

Organizers say the center aims to boost the university’s role as a center for discussion on world affairs.

The center was founded last year with a $10 million gift from university alumni Ron and Eileen Weiser. Ron Weiser is the former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia and chairs the university’s Board of Regents.


Man exonerated in ’97 Detroit rape case

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man convicted of sexual assault 20 years after the crime has been exonerated.

A judge on Friday granted a new trial to James Clay, but the Wayne County prosecutor dropped the case. Clay says it’s an “amazing feeling.”

In 2017, CIay was convicted of raping a teenager back in 1997 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was charged after his DNA was compared to evidence that had languished in storage.

But it turns out that Clay had an intimate relationship with her when he was 16 and she was 15. It was around the same time that she said she was assaulted by a man with a gun. Now 37 years old, she says she didn’t recognize Clay at trial as her old boyfriend.

Reporting by the Detroit Free Press raised doubts about the case.


Boy who died after football practice had heart condition

SARANAC, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a western Michigan boy who died after collapsing during football practice had a heart condition.

Dr. David Start of the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office tells WOOD-TV on Friday that Skylar Lasby suffered sudden cardiac death caused by an abnormal heartbeat. The Saranac Community Schools 7th-grader collapsed Wednesday evening during a non-contact drill and died hours later at a hospital.

Start says the investigation continues but there were no signs of trauma or infection.

An obituary posted online by Lake Funeral Homes says 12-year-old Skylar enjoyed football, fishing and camping, and was an avid fan of the University of Michigan. He is survived by his parents and several siblings.

The schools’ Facebook page says a funeral is planned Wednesday at Saranac Junior/Senior High School.


Cops: 19-year-old extorted girls into sending nude photos

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — A 19-year-old Pennsylvania man is accused of extorting nude photos and money from underage girls and was arrested while he was trying to extort more photos from a teen while police were interviewing her.

Police say they immediately went to the Bethlehem home of Charles Cummings and took him into custody on Friday.

Bethlehem police tell that the victims are a 14-year-old girl from Michigan and a 17-year-old girl from Pennsylvania. He threatened to send nude pictures to the girls’ friends and families unless they paid him and sent him more photos.

Police Chief Mark DiLuzio tells the (Allentown) Morning Call there may be as many as 300 other victims.

Cummings was arraigned Friday on a number of offenses related to the extortion of underage girls.

He was sent to Northampton County Prison. No attorney is listed in court records.


Severe storms spawn tornado in Michigan, hail, flooding

NEW LOTHROP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say severe thunderstorms that moved across Michigan spawned at least one tornado that damaged some structures and knocked down trees.

The National Weather Service says the tornado touched down Thursday night near the Shiawassee County community of New Lothrop, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

No injuries were reported.

WEYI-TV reports two garages and two barns were damaged or destroyed. A storm survey Friday was to determine the intensity of the tornado.

The storms also hit other parts of the state. Flooding and hail were reported in parts of western and central Michigan. High winds also were felt.


Nancy who? GOP targets House Dem ‘squad’ in campaign attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Move over, Nancy Pelosi. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the “squad” of freshmen women of color are emerging as stars of Republican attacks against Democrats running for Congress.

The tone is being set from the top as President Donald Trump bashes the four squad members with a strategy Republicans are quick to mimic, modeled on his own rise to the White House. Trump made some Republicans uneasy in 2016 by taunting rivals and branding them with exaggerated nicknames intended to make them unelectable.

The GOP is embracing the tactic for 2020.

A first test will be a Sept. 10 special election in North Carolina, where Trump-endorsed Republican Dan Bishop is portraying Dan McCready and other Democrats as “crazies,” ”clowns” and “socialist.”

It remains to be seen whether the strategy will work.


Police: Shooting outside Michigan nightclub leaves 3 injured

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say an early-morning shooting outside a nightclub near the campus of Western Michigan University left three people injured.

Kalamazoo Public Safety says officers responded about 1:20 a.m. Friday to reports of gunfire and found a large crowd, including two people with apparent gunshot wounds. They say another person showed up at a hospital with a gunshot wound. All three were reported to be in stable condition.

Investigators didn’t immediately say what may have led to the shooting. They say a male suspect in a yellow Chevrolet Camaro was seen leaving the area immediately afterward. He was being sought.

The shooting prompted Western Michigan University’s Department of Public Safety to warn people to exercise caution while in the area.