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LAWMAKER CHARGED-RECALL

Bid to recall indicted lawmaker officially short signatures

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan elections bureau has determined that a group trying to recall an indicted lawmaker fell short on submitting enough signatures. Officials late Thursday released the results of a formal review of nearly 14,000 signatures turned in by the committee hoping to remove state Rep. Larry Inman, a Williamsburg Republican. They found roughly 12,000 valid signatures, 208 fewer than the minimum needed to trigger elections in March and May. A jury last month acquitted Inman of lying to the FBI. Jurors deadlocked on attempted bribery and extortion charges, and he may be tried again in federal court.  

CHEMICAL CLEANUP-FREEWAY

Man blamed for green I-696 ooze left barrels on Thumb land

MARION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Environmental regulators say they found barrels scattered across land in Michigan’s Thumb region that could’ve contain toxic chemicals. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy found on Tuesday 55-gallon barrels, one of which was labeled the toxic chemical trichloroethylene, at property owned by Gary Sayers in Sanilac County’s Marion Township. Department spokeswoman Jill Greenberg said results of soil and water samples the agency collected at that site are now being tested for the potential presence of a variety of industry-related contaminants. Sayers is serving one year in federal prison for illegally storing hazardous waste an old industrial site in suburban Detroit

UAW CORRUPTION

UAW president says he’s clean, rejects ‘scurrilous’ claims

DETROIT (AP) — The president of the United Auto Workers is denying wrongdoing after a newspaper reported he’s under scrutiny in a federal investigation of union corruption. In a letter to staff, Rory Gamble said he “absolutely never requested or received any cash or kickback” from vendors who were hired to supply union-branded clothes and trinkets. The Detroit News said investigators are looking at financial connections between a union vendor and UAW leadership. Gamble was a UAW vice president when he was picked in December to lead the union after the sudden resignation of Gary Jones.

GORDIE HOWE BRIDGE

Pedestrian bridges planned as part of international span

DETROIT (AP) — A design has been selected for pedestrian bridges over a Detroit freeway as part of an international bridge project connecting the city to Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Officials say the five spans over Interstate 75 in southwest Detroit will be part of interchange work being completed for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The design features a curved steel arch and the pedestrian bridges will be constructed of pre-cast concrete. Work on the bridges is expected to be done between this year and 2024. The $4.4 billion international bridge is expected to open in late 2024.

OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING-MICHIGAN

Prosecutor: Western Michigan deputy justified in shooting

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor says a western Michigan sheriff’s deputy was justified in fatally shooting an armed man in November. Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said Thursday that Kent County Deputy James Davis has been cleared of any misconduct in the Nov. 24 shooting of Steven Forrest Saucier. Saucier was shot at a home in Gaines Township after deputies were called there on a report of a domestic disturbance. Becker says Deputy Elizabeth Donovan’s life was in danger when Saucier pushed her to the ground and had a .45-caliber revolver pointed at her. That’s when Davis shot Saucier.

MARIJUANA ODOR

Michigan town ‘stinks;’ Council buys marijuana odor device

BESSEMER, Mich. (AP) — Is that a skunk? No, it’s marijuana. A small town in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula is buying an odor-detection device and drafting an ordinance to crack down on the unpleasant smell of blooming marijuana plants. Council member Linda Nelson says “the city of Bessemer stinks.” Medical marijuana has been around since 2008. But Michigan’s 2018 law cleared the way for homegrown pot for recreational use. Bessemer City Manager Charly Loper says there’s a “skunk-like odor” when marijuana plants bloom indoors. It can last for weeks. Loper says some houses might need an air-filtration system.

ELECTION 2020-TRUMP

Trump boasts Iranian general’s death was ‘American justice’

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — President Donald Trump is using his first campaign election rally of 2020 to argue that he served up “American justice” by ordering a drone strike to take out Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. While in Ohio on Thursday, he also mocked Democratic leaders for questioning his decision to carry out the strike without first consulting Congress. Trump said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t “operating with a full deck,” and he called House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “pencil neck.” The president’s comments came shortly after the Democratic-controlled House approved a resolution asserting that Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran.

PRISON TUTOR

Lawsuit OK’d; prison tutor says he suspected GED cheating

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan prison inmate says he was transferred and lost his job as a tutor after complaining that teachers were supplying answers to a high school equivalency test. The Detroit Free Press says a federal judge has declined to dismiss the lawsuit, which means it will go to trial or be settled. Munin Kathawa is suing five people, including a deputy warden, claiming his rights were violated. Based on evidence so far, the judge says a jury could “reasonably infer” that Kathawa lost his tutoring job as retaliation for comments about the GED test.

FLINT WATER

Flint water case dismissed against fired state official

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a misdemeanor charge and closed a criminal case against a state official who was fired as head of Michigan’s drinking water office during the Flint water scandal.  Liane Shekter Smith’s 2019 deal with a special prosecutor called for her no-contest plea to be erased after a year if she cooperated with investigators. Fadwa Hammoud of the attorney general’s office says she had to honor the deal. Hammoud took over the Flint water investigation after Shekter Smith made a deal with Todd Flood. Shekter Smith had pleaded no contest to an obscure misdemeanor. Earlier, Shekter Smith was charged with misconduct in office and neglect of duty, but those counts were dropped.

AP-US-POOL-DEATH-MAN-CHARGED

Michigan dad denies being complicit in autistic son’s death

JENISON, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan college professor whose severely autistic 16-year-old son drowned in an icy backyard pool last March says the authorities treated him unfairly by charging him in his son’s death. Timothy Koets on Tuesday told the television program “Inside Edition” that he is being unfairly portrayed as an uncaring father. Authorities say Timothy Koets and his wife would restrain Samuel Koets’ arms to prevent him from harming himself. Authorities say the boy’s arms were bound when he was found March 28 in the pool behind the family’s Georgetown Township home. Koets is scheduled to stand trial in March.