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

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOMES

Official defends handling of virus in Michigan nursing homes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A top health official is defending Michigan’s handling of nursing home residents infected with the deadly coronavirus. Robert Gordon, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, told lawmakers Wednesday that Michigan’s performance is “strong” compared to other states. He dismissed Republicans’ call for facilities that house only COVID-19 patients. Gordon said just two states — Florida and Massachusetts — tried the approach and abandoned it. He says using new facilities for only COVID patients would have “limited utility” in a state as large as Michigan, “and you still need to staff, provide equipment and license that facility.”

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-BALLOT-SNAFU-MICHIGAN

Oops: VP Mike Pence missing from some Michigan ballots

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Local election clerks in Michigan downloading absentee ballots for residents overseas were given ballots that listed President Donald Trump’s Republican running mate as Jeremy Cohen, not Mike Pence. Cohen, known as “Spike,” is the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president. The Michigan secretary of state’s office says it fixed the “temporary error” within 90 minutes Tuesday. About 400 were printed but it’s unknown how many were sent. Clerks were told to reissue correct ballots and tell voters who receive the erroneous ballot to ignore it. The Livonia city clerk, Susan Nash, says, “It’s just one more thing for clerks to take care of.” 

AP-US-RACIAL-INJUSTICE-PRIEST’S-REMARKS

Michigan Catholic priest compared BLM to 9/11 attackers

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in suburban Detroit is apologizing after a fellow priest likened Black Lives Matter to the people responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The Rev. Paul Graney used a weekend homily to rail against BLM, whose goal is to eradicate systemic racism and to oppose violence against Black people. Graney is a priest at Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn. Graney says BLM is “anti-family” and “evil.” The Rev. Bob McCabe says Graney’s homily created “confusion and chaos.” McCabe says “every person is sacred in the eyes of God.”

ELECTION 2020-ABSENTEE BALLOTS

Michigan Senate OKs more time to process absentee ballots

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Larger Michigan municipalities could begin processing an expected surge of absentee ballots sooner in the November presidential election under a bill approved by the state Senate. The 34-2 vote Tuesday follows a monthslong delay in the Republican-led chamber amid lobbying from clerks in both parties who warned of significant delays in counting the votes. The GOP-controlled House will consider the measure next. Absentee voting is an increasingly popular option during the coronavirus pandemic and following the passage of a 2018 ballot initiative that lets people cast one for any reason.

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-AMERICA-DISRUPTED-ECONOMY

Politics creates economic illusion in Houdini’s hometown

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Appleton, Wisconsin, is a predominately white city of 75,000 people along Wisconsin’s Fox River. By almost any measure, President Donald Trump’s promises of an economic revival have gone unfulfilled. The area has lost about 8,000 jobs since he was elected. But these days the health of the economy isn’t judged on jobs, personal bank accounts or union contracts. Instead, it’s viewed through partisan lenses — filtered through the facts that voters want to see and hear, and those they don’t. Many Trump supporters remain faithful. One is Scott Rice, who has seen businesses close and friends furloughed and has even suffered his own bout with the novel coronavirus. Others, though, say they have had enough.

POLICE-MISCONDUCT

Charges filed against 2 police officers after state reviews

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two Michigan police officers have been charged with misconduct in separate incidents involving allegations of excessive force and an illegal search. Former Saginaw Officer Adam Collier is accused of striking a handcuffed woman with his fist while she was handcuffed for an alleged assault in July. She had resisted and spat at the officer. In Jackson County, Blackman-Leoni Township Officer David Lubahn is accused of searching a gun safe without a warrant last October and then presenting false information to get a warrant. In another case, no charges will be pursued against a Washtenaw County deputy who punched a woman who was biting him as he was investigating a shooting in Ypsilanti.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CAMPUS STRIKE

U-Michigan sues over strike by graduate students who teach

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan is suing to stop a strike by graduate-student instructors after they voted to extend their walkout. The lawsuit, filed Monday, seeks an injunction that would stop the strike by the Graduate Employees’ Organization, which represents 2,000 graduate-student instructors and graduate-student assistants. The university said a strike is illegal under the contract. The strike began Sept. 8. Union members said the university isn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also wants the campus police budget cut by 50% and an end to cooperation with Ann Arbor police, among other demands.  

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-PANDEMIC-HALLOWEEN

Trick-or-What? Pandemic Halloween is a mixed bag all around

NEW YORK (AP) — So many people look forward to Halloween, but this year is going to be vastly different for many. An association for haunted attractions estimates half among 800 or so of its members won’t open. Parents and governments are weighing whether door-to-door trick-or-treating can safely happen. Block parties, festivals and parades are off around the United States. But one big winner may just be the candy industry. U.S. sales of Halloween-themed chocolate and candy were up 70% over 2019 in the four weeks ending Aug. 9. Ferrara Candy Co., which makes a Halloween staple, Brach’s Candy Corn, said most retail partners asked for early shipments of Halloween candy because of expected demand.

DEER HUNTING-BOY SLAIN

Boy, 11, fatally shot while hunting; stepfather arrested

CLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — An 11-year-old boy has been shot and killed by his stepfather while hunting with his family in southeastern Michigan. The Times Herald in Port Huron reports that police were called out to a hunting accident Sunday night in Clay Township, about 45 miles northeast of Detroit. Police said it is believed the family was looking for deer in some woods when the boy was “struck by a round discharged by his 40-year-old stepfather.” The boy later died at a hospital. The stepfather was arrested. The shooting was being reviewed by the St. Clair County prosecutor’s office.

FIREFIGHTING FOAM-CONTAMINATION-DEER

DNR: Avoid eating deer livers in Marinette area

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources is warning people to avoid eating livers of deer killed around Marinette to avoid being exposed to PFAS chemicals. DNR officials said Tuesday that a study of 20 deer harvested around the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center in Marinette found significant levels of PFAS in the animals’ livers. DNR and state health officials issued a do-not-eat advisory for livers of deer harvested within five miles of the JCI/Tyco facility. PFAS are human-made chemicals that research suggests can cause health problems in humans. The chemicals have been used for decades in firefighting foam and nonstick cookware.