Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. EDT
BODY ARMOR-AIRPORT LUGGAGE
Man returned to China after body armor found in luggage
ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — A 20-year-old man who had body armor in his luggage at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and weapons at a residence where he was staying in the Detroit area has been returned to China.
Customs and Border Protection officials said Friday that agents found the armor and other tactical apparel Aug. 18 at the airport west of Detroit in Romulus when the man arrived from Beijing. The man failed to declare the items.
A search of a Detroit-area home turned up an assault-type rifle, several handguns, high-capacity magazines and bump stock devices.
Officials said the man was rerouted back to China on another flight. His name and reason for being in the United States were not released.
State confirms 40th cougar report in Michigan since 2008
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State officials say the 40th cougar report in Michigan since 2008 has been confirmed.
The confirmation was made after an image of a cougar was captured Aug. 17 on a trail camera on public land in the Upper Peninsula’s Delta County.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources large-carnivore specialist Cody Norton visited the area and substantiated the report.
Another trail camera captured an image July 7 of a cougar in Gogebic County, about 170 miles (273 kilometers) northwest of the Aug. 17 report.
Thirty-nine of the confirmed reports since 2008 have been in the Upper Peninsula. The DNR says the reports may include multiple sightings of the same cougar and that there is no conclusive evidence of a breeding population of cougars in Michigan.
Local bans limit options for aspiring marijuana businesses
(Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com)
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — About 39% of Michigan communities that approved a recreational marijuana ballot measure last year have since introduced local bans that prohibit businesses selling pot.
Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued emergency rules in July giving local authorities six months to introduce bans before it starts to accept applications for business licenses Nov. 1.
MLive.com reports that 308 of the 792 cities and townships that passed Proposal 1 in November have prohibited recreational marijuana businesses.
Bruce Barcott is the deputy editor of the marijuana news website Leafly. Barcott describes the local bans as the “second phase of legalization,” and warns that banning legal sales will only encourage the black market to thrive.
Ten other states and the District of Columbia have legalized smoking or eating marijuana for recreational use since 2012.
Indiana casinos ready for start of sports wagering
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three casinos are set with celebrations to mark Indiana becoming the 12th state allowing sports betting.
Casinos near Indianapolis, Chicago and Cincinnati plan on taking their first sports wagers on Sunday as a new state law adopted this spring takes effect.
Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office says he’ll place the inaugural bet at Indiana Grand casino near Shelbyville. Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is expected for the festivities at the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, while the Hollywood casino in Lawrenceburg is also opening its on-site sportsbook.
Most of Indiana’s 13 state-regulated casinos and all three off-track betting parlors plan on offering sports betting by the end of September. They are looking for a boost in attracting gamblers from all neighboring states where such wagers aren’t yet allowed.
MICHIGAN STATE-DETROIT HEALTH
Michigan State to study parks’ effect on health in Detroit
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan State University is putting a $3.3 million federal grant toward exploring how reviving Detroit parks can improve the health of its residents.
Researchers from the East Lansing school are using the National Institutes of Health grant to run a five-year study. They will assess the health of 700 residents in low-income areas while the city and Audubon Society restore unmaintained parks.
Researchers say studies have suggested parks might reduce stress and increase physical activity. However, the cause-and-effect relationship between parks and health has been hard to establish.
Park maintenance had been a casualty of budget cuts in the city in recent decades. The research team’s goals not only include boosting health, but also providing evidence to city officials about the value of investing in parks and other public spaces.
DIPLOMACY CENTER-SPEAKER SERIES
Clinton, Rice scheduled to speak at University of Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Former U.S. secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice are among those scheduled to participate in a lecture series presented by University of Michigan’s Weiser Diplomacy Center.
Rice and Clinton are set to visit the Ann Arbor school in October. The series launches Friday with Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea and a Michigan alumnus.
The series, which runs into November, also includes former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley.
Organizers say the center aims to boost the university’s role as a center for discussion on world affairs.
The center was founded last year with a $10 million gift from university alumni Ron and Eileen Weiser. Ron Weiser is the former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia and chairs the university’s Board of Regents.
Man exonerated in ’97 Detroit rape case
DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man convicted of sexual assault 20 years after the crime has been exonerated.
A judge on Friday granted a new trial to James Clay, but the Wayne County prosecutor dropped the case. Clay says it’s an “amazing feeling.”
In 2017, CIay was convicted of raping a teenager back in 1997 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was charged after his DNA was compared to evidence that had languished in storage.
But it turns out that Clay had an intimate relationship with her when he was 16 and she was 15. It was around the same time that she said she was assaulted by a man with a gun. Now 37 years old, she says she didn’t recognize Clay at trial as her old boyfriend.
Reporting by the Detroit Free Press raised doubts about the case.
FOOTBALL PRACTICE-STUDENT DIES
Boy who died after football practice had heart condition
SARANAC, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a western Michigan boy who died after collapsing during football practice had a heart condition.
Dr. David Start of the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office tells WOOD-TV on Friday that Skylar Lasby suffered sudden cardiac death caused by an abnormal heartbeat. The Saranac Community Schools 7th-grader collapsed Wednesday evening during a non-contact drill and died hours later at a hospital.
Start says the investigation continues but there were no signs of trauma or infection.
An obituary posted online by Lake Funeral Homes says 12-year-old Skylar enjoyed football, fishing and camping, and was an avid fan of the University of Michigan. He is survived by his parents and several siblings.
The schools’ Facebook page says a funeral is planned Wednesday at Saranac Junior/Senior High School.
NUDE PHOTO EXTORTION-TEEN CHARGED
Cops: 19-year-old extorted girls into sending nude photos
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — A 19-year-old Pennsylvania man is accused of extorting nude photos and money from underage girls and was arrested while he was trying to extort more photos from a teen while police were interviewing her.
Police say they immediately went to the Bethlehem home of Charles Cummings and took him into custody on Friday.
Bethlehem police tell LehighValleyLive.com that the victims are a 14-year-old girl from Michigan and a 17-year-old girl from Pennsylvania. He threatened to send nude pictures to the girls’ friends and families unless they paid him and sent him more photos.
Police Chief Mark DiLuzio tells the (Allentown) Morning Call there may be as many as 300 other victims.
Cummings was arraigned Friday on a number of offenses related to the extortion of underage girls.
He was sent to Northampton County Prison. No attorney is listed in court records.