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ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-MICHIGAN

Impeachment may complicate 2020 for lonely Michigan moderate

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Republican Rep. Fred Upton has easily won reelection to his southwest Michigan House seat for more than 30 years by touting his “common-sense values” and bipartisan accomplishments.

But then came the hyperpolarized politics of the Donald Trump era.

Now no one, including Upton, really knows what the future holds for him heading into the 2020 election.

With the impeachment storm sweeping U.S. politics, there are big questions for moderate lawmakers like Upton, who may be forced to accept a new identity: either pro-Trump or anti-Trump.

What happens to this ever-shrinking group of politicians could make a big difference in which party emerges on top.

Democrats are targeting Upton, who has not yet said if he’ll seek reelection or retire.

TRIBE-E-CIGARETTES

Michigan tribe awarded grant for e-cigarette education

HANNAHVILLE, Mich. (AP) — An Upper Peninsula nonprofit organization is supporting a program that educates young people in the Hannahville Indian Community about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

The Marquette-based Superior Health Foundation awarded an $11,518 grant to the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan for the Anishinaabe E-cigarette and JUUL Health Education Project.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for children and young adults.

Health educator Kelly Hansen of the Hannahville Indian Community says JUUL products also pose risks. JUUL is a battery-powered e-cigarette that generates a nicotine-laced aerosol.

Hansen says the tribal project will use a curriculum called “Catch my Breath” to provide teachers, parents and health professionals with information about e-cigarettes and help children make wise choices.

UAW-FIAT CHRYSLER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Fiat Chrysler, auto union agree tentative deal

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union says it has reached a tentative deal with Fiat Chrysler.

The agreement reached Saturday still needs to get approval from workers.

A person briefed on the matter says the deal includes a $9,000 signing bonus, a promise not to close any factories for the next four years and a commitment to keep making vehicles at a plant in Belvidere, Illinois. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

Top union leaders still have to approve the deal, as do factory-level officials who are likely to gather next week to vote on it. Then it must be ratified by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ 47,000 union workers.

Fiat Chrysler is the last company to settle on a new contract with the union. GM settled Oct. 31, which Ford settled in mid-November.  

FORMER LAWMAKERS-CONSULTING

Report: Former Michigan legislators seek out consulting jobs

(Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/)

DETROIT (AP) — A newspaper has found that more than a dozen former Michigan lawmakers who left the Legislature at the end of 2018 due to term limits are avoiding the disclosure of clients by working as consultants, rather than lobbyists.

There were 45 state legislators who departed last year. The Detroit News reported that at least 14 have created businesses that appear to offer consulting services.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of the liberal group Progress Michigan, says the public deserves to know when politicians are being paid to pass laws through the Legislature.

Former lawmakers say the difference between consulting and lobbying is that lobbyists communicate directly with politicians and high-ranking state officials to advance policy changes on the behalf of groups. Consultants advise groups on how to reach their goals.

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MICHIGAN STATE COMMENCEMENT

Michigan State to honor global experts in biology, fisheries

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Global experts on environmental science and inland fisheries will receive honorary doctorates in science at Michigan State University.

Stanford University ecologist and biology professor Harold Mooney plans to attend the Dec. 14 fall commencement’s advanced degree ceremonies to receive his honorary degree. His research ranges from the physiological ecology of plants to global environmental stability.

Robin Welcomme also will be honored but won’t be in attendance. His research into inland fisheries has boosted awareness of how they contribute to food security, human health and prosperity.

Meijer Inc. co-chairman Doug Meijer and HGTV co-founder Susan Packard will speak at the undergraduate ceremonies.

CREDIT CARD THEFTS-RING

Police arrest 3, seize stolen and fake credit cards

(Information from: WXYZ-TV, http://www.wxyz.com)

OAK PARK, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have arrested three people and seized stolen credit cards and fake identification cards from a home in suburban Detroit.

WXYZ-TV reports that a team of police officers raided a duplex in Oak Park Friday morning.

Detroit police Capt. Conway Petty says credit card machines and driver’s licenses from several states also were recovered from the home. Some credit cards were stolen. Others were manufactured by the suspects. They were used at car rental companies, hotels, restaurants and shopping outlets.

The suspects are 20, 27 and 31. Police believe more people are involved.

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AP-US-UAW-CORRUPTION

Ex-United Auto Workers chief resigns from union membership

DETROIT (AP) — Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones has resigned his union membership.

The union announced Friday that the 62-year-old Jones had left the UAW, after stepping down as its chief earlier in November.

A widening federal bribery and embezzlement probe of the UAW has resulted in more than a dozen people being charged. Jones has not been charged, but federal agents searched his suburban Detroit home in August in connection with the investigation.

The UAW’s International Executive Board had filed paperwork to expel him over allegations raised by the federal investigation. UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg confirmed to The Detroit News that Jones’ dropping his UAW membership allows him to avoid a trial before UAW members next week.

LAWMAKER CHARGED-RECALL

Oops: Missing word spoils recall petitions against lawmaker

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — An effort to recall an indicted state lawmaker suddenly has crashed after election officials say a word was missing on the petition.

Elections director Sally Williams says rejecting petition signatures because of one word might seem “excessively technical and harsh.” But she says there’s no wiggle room: The petition language must match the previously approved reasons for a recall.

State Rep. Larry Inman, a Republican from the Traverse City area, is charged with trying to trade votes for campaign money. The recall petition is missing the word “right” in describing one of the charges against him.

Nearly 14,000 signatures from voters in his district were submitted, more than enough to force a recall election.

Recall organizer Kaitlin Flynn says she’s disappointed by the state’s decision. Inman faces trial next week in federal court. He’s pleaded not guilty.

WESTERN MICHIGAN-PLAYER CHARGED

Prison sentence affirmed for former WMU basketball player

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has affirmed a nearly 20-year prison sentence for a former Western Michigan University basketball player who was involved in a robbery that turned fatal at an apartment near campus.

The court this week found no errors to upset the decision of a Kalamazoo County judge.

Joeviair Kennedy last year was convicted of armed robbery and using a firearm during a felony. He was acquitted of murder in the 2016 slaying of 19-year-old Jacob Jones. Kennedy’s co-defendant, Jordan Waire, is serving a life sentence for Jones’ death.

Police say Waire and Kennedy burst into the apartment demanding money and marijuana. Kennedy was on Western Michigan’s basketball team when he was arrested.

Kennedy and Waire attended the same high school in Muskegon.

GAY JUDGE-CHURCH

Grand Rapids-area pastor denies Holy Communion to gay judge

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Church in western Michigan is defending a priest’s decision to deny Holy Communion to a judge in a same-sex marriage.

Judge Sara Smolenski says the Rev. Scott Nolan privately informed her on Nov. 23, about a week after receiving Communion from him at St. Stephen Church in East Grand Rapids. She says she hadn’t been regularly attending the church for months.

Nolan says the teachings of the Catholic faith aren’t flexible. The church recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman.

In a statement, the Grand Rapids Diocese says: “No community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members.”

Smolenski has been a lifelong member of the St. Stephen parish. She says she wonders “why now and why me?”