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US drops appeal dismissing female genital mutilation charges

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department won’t appeal a decision by a Detroit federal judge who threw out female genital mutilation charges against members of a Muslim sect.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco calls it an “especially heinous practice.” But in a letter to Congress, he says the law needs to be changed to be constitutional under U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Judge Bernard Friedman in November said the law was unconstitutional because Congress didn’t have power to regulate genital mutilation. The government pulled its appeal on March 30.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was accused of performing genital mutilation on nine girls at a suburban Detroit clinic. She denies any crime and says she performed a religious custom. The girls were from Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

There still are other charges in the case.


State orders amusement center to shut down rides for safety

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — The state has ordered an indoor amusement center in suburban Detroit to shut down several rides because of multiple safety violations.

The Bureau of Construction Codes issued a cease and desist order Friday to Jeepers of Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights for the rides Banana Squadron, JJ’s Driving School, Python Pit, and Yak Attack.

The order prohibits Jeepers from operating the rides until violations are corrected.

Among the safety violations are unsafe lap bars, body latches and seat latches; cracks in equipment; leaking hydraulic line or cylinder; dysfunctional operator controls, and failing to properly inspect and document daily inspections of rides.

A telephone line at the business rang unanswered Friday afternoon.


U-Michigan tells students: International visitor has measles

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan is informing students and staff that an international visitor who has returned home has been diagnosed with measles.

The university says anyone who was in certain campus buildings from April 1 through April 5 should monitor themselves for rash, fever or other symptoms. The locations are the Intramural Sports Building, North Quad Complex and the Angell Hall Courtyard Computing Site.

There could have been exposure away from campus, too. A list of locations is at .

The case is not part of the official Michigan measles count, which stands at 39. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reduced the count by two Friday after additional tests ruled out the highly contagious disease .

Health officials still are urging people to get vaccinated if they haven’t received the vaccine in the past. The number of measles cases in Michigan is the highest since 65 in 1991.


Judge OKs new charge against former Michigan State dean

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A judge says prosecutors can pursue a second felony charge against a former medical school dean who had oversight of Larry Nassar at Michigan State University.

Judge Joyce Draganchuk on Friday approved the request to add a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. She also ordered MSU to release documents that William Strampel wants for his defense.

Strampel is accused of sexually harassing female students when he was dean of the osteopathic medical school.

The new charge is related to an allegation that Strampel grabbed a woman’s buttocks at a social event. He’s also charged with misconduct in office. Trial is scheduled for May 28.

Strampel had oversight of Nassar, a Michigan State doctor who was convicted of child pornography crimes and sexual assault. Critics say Strampel failed to ensure that Nassar was following patient restrictions that were ordered in 2014.


Detroit sculptor to memorialize slain civil right activist

(Information from: Detroit Free Press,

DETROIT (AP) — A 23-year-old Detroit sculptor is shaping the memory of a civil rights activist slain in Alabama during a 1965 voting rights march.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Austen Brantley is preparing to unveil a statue of Viola Liuzzo this July. He was commissioned by the Viola Liuzzo Park Association to memorialize the white activist, who drove from Detroit to Alabama to join a march led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Liuzzo was driving fellow activists between Montgomery and Selma when she was fatally shot by Ku Klux Klan members in another car.

Brantley says he found Liuzzo’s moral compass captivating, weighing leaving her children against knowing the brutality marchers were suffering in the south.

The statue will stand in the northwest Detroit park dedicated to Liuzzo.



The Latest: Sanders promises to win back Midwest

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is telling Wisconsin voters he will build a coalition in the Midwest that will defeat President Donald Trump.

Sanders spoke in Madison as he kicked off a swing through pivotal states that are part of the Democratic “blue wall” strategy for 2020.

Sanders spoke to a crowd of about 2,400 who braved 40-degree (4 Celsiu) temperatures with a stiff 20 mph (32 kph) wind. He is visiting Midwest states Trump narrowly won and Sanders says “Together, we are going to make sure that does not happen again.”

His weekend swing is taking him to Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Sanders spoke in a city park along the shores of a lake, just a few blocks away from the state Capitol. Those in the crowd wore ski masks, winter coats, gloves and scarves as they cheered Sanders.


Crews monitor site of fire, explosions at welding company

(Information from: The Ann Arbor News,

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Emergency crews are keeping an eye on the site of a large fire at a southeastern Michigan welding supply company that caused explosions and some evacuations.

Pittsfield Township Public Safety Director Matthew Harshberger tells The Ann Arbor News crews remained at the scene Thursday night and into Friday as one fuel tank continued to burn. Two employees were treated for smoke inhalation following the fire about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Detroit.

Harshberger says they planned to let the tank burn out.

Structures surrounding Ann Arbor Welding Supply in Pittsfield Township were evacuated Thursday afternoon for about five hours. Harshberger said Thursday the fire began when a worker filling a propane tank turned away for a moment and the tank exploded. That led to other tanks exploding.



Strong winds cause flooding in Michigan along Lake Erie

LASALLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Strong winds blowing off Lake Erie are blamed for flooding in parts of southeastern Michigan.

Thursday’s winds pushed water into residential areas near the lake in Monroe County and forecasters warn that more high winds over the weekend could cause additional problems.

Monroe County authorities had a dozen pumps running Thursday, but couldn’t keep up. The county’s Drain Commissioner David P. Thompson tells WJBK-TV it “doesn’t matter how many pumps you have if Mother Nature’s going to flood you, she’s going to do it.”

Flooding came as other parts of Michigan were hit with wintry weather as a storm system unleashed a blizzard in the Upper Midwest . Reports of more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of snow came in to the National Weather Service from Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.


GM to reveal next generate Corvette in July

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — It’s enough to rev up Corvette fans — a new rendition of the classic sports car is coming.

And General Motors has a big change in the next generation Corvette being revealed July 18.

GM confirms the engine in the new model is being moved from under the hood to being tucked between the passenger compartment and the rear wheels — a “mid-engine” design.

Chevrolet says the new generation Corvette will be “the sum of each generation before it,” but will “stand alone as the new standard of performance.”

Previewing the reveal, General Motors released a photo showing GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra standing next to a camouflaged, next generation Corvette on Thursday in New York.

The sports car is manufactured at a GM plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.