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ASIAN CARP-MISSISSIPPI

Study links Asian carp with Mississippi River fish drop

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A new study says sport fish have declined significantly in portions of the Upper Mississippi River infested with Asian carp.

The study’s lead author says it’s among the first to establish a solid link between the presence of invasive carp and a drop-off of native species.

It found that numbers of sport fish such as yellow perch and bluegill fell between 1994 and 2013 in three locations infested with silver carp.

Meanwhile, sport fish increased in other places farther upstream that the carp hadn’t reached.

The paper says Asian carp are gobbling up plankton that sport fish need for survival when young.

Fish biologist John Chick says the report illustrates the urgency of preventing the carp from moving into other sections of the Mississippi and the Great Lakes.

COLLEGE-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Grand Valley State students drop pledge at campus meeting

ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — Members of the student government at Grand Valley State University scratched the Pledge of Allegiance from the agenda at a recent meeting.

Student senator Samuel Jacobs tells WOOD-TV that “by removing the pledge, we can be accepting of all students.” The vote Thursday was 21-10 with 10 abstentions.

Another senator, Dorian Thompson, says students have posted angry reactions on social media. He says skipping the pledge at the meeting takes away the “voice of the people.” Thompson says it was the wrong message during the week of Veterans Day.

Grand Valley’s new president, Philomena Mantella, didn’t offer an opinion but says the debate is healthy “as long as it’s done thoughtfully and respectfully.”

LAKESHORE EROSION

Michigan easing permit process to fight lakeshore erosion

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — State regulators say they want to make it easier for lakeshore property owners to get permits to temporarily fix the effects of high water, especially along Lake Michigan.

The permit fee is being reduced to $100, and a public notice in most cases won’t be required. The goal is to stabilize eroding shore with sandbags, although the bags must eventually be removed.

The Michigan Department of Environment says it has issued more than 100 shoreline protection permits since Oct. 1. The agency says it’s expediting permits if there’s a threat to homes, health and safety.

A website has been created to advise property owners at www.Michigan.gov/HighWater.

In southwestern Michigan, Berrien County commissioner Ezra Scott says the lakeshore should be declared a national disaster.

YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL

Young playwrights sought for festival at Michigan State

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University seeks the work of young playwrights for an annual festival.

Michigan high school students are invited to submit a one-act play for the Wharton Center’s Young Playwrights Festival. A total of 12 finalists and semi-finalists will receive cash prizes, and the six finalists will have their plays performed during the festival in May 2020.

The finalists will work with a professional theater mentor to review and revise their play. Michigan State theater students will serve as actors for the plays.

Organizers say the competition, now in its 24th year, offers mentoring and experience early in the development of aspiring playwrights.

Entries are due by Dec. 2.

FOOD-NO FINES

School: Food donation just the ticket to paying parking fine

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — Some people issued parking tickets from Northern Michigan University can pay at least part of their debt by donating items to the Upper Peninsula school’s food pantry.

Donations of various items can reduce or eliminate a fine of up to $25. The value of items is determined at drop-off, but the Marquette campus offers options in categories ranging from $5 to $25.

The next donation date is Dec. 3, which coincides with the National Day of Giving. Organizers say about 1,000 pounds of food are typically collected and between $3,000 and $5,000 in fines are waived.

The Food 4 Fines program is similar to efforts elsewhere connected to parking or library fines. Parking Services Coordinator Patti Rizzio says some students and employees donate items even without fines to forgive.

ROBOCALL CRACKDOWN

Michigan AG unveils plan to crack down on illegal robocalls

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general plans a crackdown on illegal robocalls.

Dana Nessel on Friday announced a dozen initiatives aimed at putting a halt to the calls, many of which she says are scams.

Her office plans to educate residents so they can protect themselves, step up enforcement, work with the Legislature to update state laws and be a model that other states can follow. Nessel is urging people to hang up if they get an illegal robocall and to report it to her office.

In October, Americans received a record 5.7 billion automated from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others.

VOTER REGISTRATION-MICHIGAN

Liberal PAC files 3rd challenge to Michigan election laws

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A liberal group has filed a third challenge to portions of Michigan’s election laws, contesting rules governing how people can register to vote in the two weeks before an election.

The suit brought Friday is related to a 2018 ballot initiative that expanded voting options.

Priorities USA says the Republican-led Legislature last year imposed “onerous restrictions” on those registering in person and was wrong to not let voters register at polling places on Election Day.

The lawsuit also challenges a policy adopted by Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that excludes teens younger than 17½ years old from being automatically registered to vote when they get their driver’s license.

It is the third suit filed by Priorities USA in battleground Michigan over roughly a two-week span.

TEENS KILLED

Charges filed in 2017 deaths of 2 teens crossing street

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A man has been charged with manslaughter and other crimes, more than two years after two teens were struck by a car and killed in Flint.

Prosecutor David Leyton says the case “kind of fell between the cracks” after a Flint officer handling the investigation resigned.

Ashyrinta Clemons and Tatiana Brown were killed in August 2017 while crossing a street in what police described as a hit-and-run. They were 13 years old. Jerry Turnbow of Grand Rapids appeared in court Wednesday.

The Flint Journal says Turnbow had turned himself in after the crash but was released.

Turnbow remained in jail Friday on a $500,000 bond. No defense attorney is listed yet in the court file.

RABID CAT-MICHIGAN

Oakland County health officials confirm rabies in pet cat

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (AP) — Health officials in suburban Detroit have confirmed rabies in a pet cat.

The confirmation in Birmingham Friday follows verification so far this year of the disease in four bats and 11 skunks in Oakland County.

Officials said last month that a dead skunk found in nearby West Bloomfield tested positive for rabies. Other Oakland County communities with rabies confirmed in skunks include Southfield, Rochester Hills and Troy.

Health officials say pet owners should have their dogs and cats vaccinated against the rabies virus. Symptoms in animals include general sickness, swallowing problems and excessive drooling, slow and unusual movement, no apparent fear of humans and aggression.

Rabies can be fatal to humans after symptoms begin to occur. Deaths can be prevented with a vaccine administered immediately after exposure.