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Officials urge vaccination after 15 Michigan measles cases

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated and take other precautions after confirming 15 cases of measles in Michigan this year.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services gave an update Friday, saying it’s the highest level the state has seen since 1994 when 26 cases were reported.

Earlier this week, the Oakland County Health Division said two Oakland County residents with the disease arrived on a flight at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus the evening of Oct. 23.

Health officials note measles is a highly contagious illness and vaccinations are an effective way to prevent it. Measles typically will start with a high fever, red eyes, runny nose, sensitivity to light, and eventually rashes on the face and head that progresses to other parts of the body.


Safety group: 2018 has been deadly year on Great Lakes

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A water safety nonprofit group says 2018 has been a deadly year on the Great Lakes, with at least 110 drownings recorded.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project , which has tracked drowning deaths since 2010, says this is the first year that it’s recorded more than 100 drownings. The Holland Sentinel reports the hot summer may have been a factor in the increase. The deaths include 39 in Lake Michigan and 35 in Lake Erie.

The deaths have prompted efforts to increase safety along Great Lakes beaches. Among those who died was 20-year-old Brandon Schmidt, who drowned in Lake Michigan in August off of western Michigan. WOOD-TV reports his mother Brandi Donley notes that warning signs, safety equipment, education and training are needed.

Donley says: “It can happen to anyone.”


Michigan teacher on probation for alleged student abuse

(Information from: The Ann Arbor News,

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan special education teacher who reached a plea deal in connection with alleged student abuse is serving probation.

Steve Hiller, Washtenaw County chief assistant prosecutor, says Lisa Mannor, a former teacher at Burns Park Elementary in Ann Arbor, pleaded no contest in September to assault and battery. The Ann Arbor News reports an original charge of fourth-degree child abuse was dropped.

Records show she was sentenced last month. She’s prohibited from teaching in person for two years.

Tiffany Massey, a former special education teacher’s assistant, was sentenced in August to a year of probation after being convicted of assault and battery.

The charges stemmed from 2016, when prosecutors alleged Mannor struck a student in the head and Massey kicked a student in the same classroom at Burns Park Elementary.



Officials: No emerging threat in contamination from air base

(Information from: The Detroit News,

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan environmental officials say there’s no emerging threat of chemical contamination in the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair watershed despite tests that found contamination from Selfridge Air National Guard Base .

The Detroit News reports that was the message to area residents at a Thursday night community briefing in suburban Detroit.

Tracy Kecskemeti, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s southeast Michigan district coordinator, says “we do not have the public health crisis or impact you have in other parts of the state.” She says “public water supplies are safe.”

Tests performed by environmental regulators found perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances , known as PFAS, and indicated Selfridge is a source for PFAS in the lake. The base in Harrison Township was among many to use a PFAS-laden foam for training and firefighting.



Small businesses awarded grants for innovative growth ideas

DETROIT (AP) — About two dozen small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park will share $260,000 in grants.

The New Economy Initiative says the awards are part of its NEIdeas Small Business Challenge, a program geared to existing businesses.

Businesses that are at least three years old are asked to share their ideas for growth for a chance to win cash grants to get it done.

Since 2014, NEIdeas has awarded more than $2 million to 144 businesses — including $10,000 each to this year’s 26 winners. About 77 percent of this year’s winners are minority-owned and 65 percent are owned by women.

New Economy Initiative Director Pam Lewis says “though they might lack capital and connections to resources, neighborhood small businesses have no shortage of great ideas for growth.”


Snyder’s priorities include fees for environmental cleanup

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says his legislative priorities before leaving office include pushing through fee increases to pay for environmental cleanup, water infrastructure and recycling needs.

The Republican governor met with GOP lawmakers Thursday, the beginning of the “lame-duck” period. It’s a final chance for Republicans to enact bills before Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer takes office in January.

Snyder also wants to work on a supplemental budget bill. He did not mention minimum wage and paid sick time ballot initiatives the Legislature enacted two months ago, but business groups want the Republican-led Legislature to amend those laws despite objections from Democrats.

Snyder has proposed raising the landfill dumping fee and imposing a new state fee on water customers.


A light shade of blue: Democrat wins in conservative county

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A Democrat has won an election in one of Michigan’s most Republican counties.

On his third try, Doug Zylstra made history Tuesday by winning a seat on the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners from a district in Holland. The Holland Sentinel says it’s a first for a Democrat.

Ottawa County in western Michigan has always been reliable for the GOP. Bill Schuette got 60 percent of the vote in Ottawa in his unsuccessful bid for governor. President Donald Trump got 62 percent in 2016. Nine of 11 Republicans running for the county board didn’t have a Democratic opponent.

Zylstra says his vote totals improved over three runs for office. He says his goal is “not to be an adversary” on the board but to effectively represent his constituents in Holland.


Snyder lowers flags to honor victims of bar shooting

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder is joining President Donald Trump’s call to lower Michigan and U.S. flags to half-staff through sunset on Saturday to honor the victims of the mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff. Flags should be returned to full-staff Saturday evening.

When flown at half-staff, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first to its peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff. The flag should again be raised to full staff before being lowered for the day.

Authorities say a Marine combat veteran opened fire Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, killing 12 people before apparently taking his own life.


Cellulosic ethanol plant sold to subsidiary of German firm

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) — The DowDuPont cellulosic ethanol plant in central Iowa has been bought by a German biofuels company’s U.S. subsidiary.

Verbio North America Corp. and DowDuPont announced Thursday that the purchase includes the 30 million-gallon (114 million liter) plant in Nevada (nuh-VAYE’-duh) and a portion of its corn stover inventory. The price was not released.

The cellulosic ethanol plant, which opened in 2015, is considered the next generation in renewable fuel production. It uses corncobs, husks and stalks to produce the biofuel. DowDuPont closed the plant last fall, announcing that it was for sale. DowDuPont said the operation no longer fit its strategic plan.

Verbio intends to install equipment for making natural gas made from corn stover and other cellulosic crop residue.

Verbio North America Corp. is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is a subsidiary of Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie AG, which is based in Leipzig, Germany.


San Francisco Opera removes singer accused of sex assault

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Opera says it has removed countertenor David Daniels from an upcoming production of Handel’s “Orlando” due to sexual assault allegations against the singer.

Daniels was sued last month by a student at the University of Michigan, where the singer is a professor, for sexual assault.

The San Francisco Opera on Thursday cited the lawsuit and allegations against Daniels as the reason for his removal from the June 2019 production. No replacement has been named.

The lawsuit filed in a Michigan federal court alleges Daniels groped the male student and sent and requested sexual photos. The lawsuit also alleges that Daniels served the student alcohol, gave him sleep medication and touched him sexually.

A message sent to Daniels’ representative was not immediately returned.