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University of Michigan removes Schlissel as school president
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan says Mark Schlissel has been removed as school president due to an alleged “inappropriate relationship with a university employee.” The University of Michigan Board of Regents said Saturday on the school’s website that the removal was effective “immediately.” Regents said members on Dec. 8 learned about the relationship from an anonymous complaint and that an investigation revealed that “over the years,” Schlissel used his university email account to “communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university.” Former University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman has been appointed interim president. Schlissel succeeded Coleman as president in January 2014.
TWO SLAIN-RENTAL HALL
Police: 2 men fatally shot outside Detroit-area rental hall
HAZEL PARK, Mich. (AP) — Two men have been shot and killed inside a vehicle parked outside a rental hall just north of Detroit. Police believe two to three men walked up to the vehicle in Hazel Park Friday afternoon and opened fire. At the time of the shooting, a remembrance gathering was being held in the hall for a person who was killed last year. Police say people in the hall and parking lot fled the area after the shooting. Hazel Park is in Oakland County.
FATAL SNOWMOBILE CRASH
Man dies after being ejected from snowmobile into tree in UP
AU TRAIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 33-year-old man has died after he was thrown from the snowmobile he was operating into a tree. The Alger County sheriff’s office says the man was on a trail in the Upper Peninsula’s Au Train Township about 8:25 p.m. Friday when he lost control of the snowmobile while trying to negotiate a curve. He was ejected from the snowmobile and struck the tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The sheriff’s office says excessive speed contributed to the incident. Au Train Township is east of Marquette.
Let the challenges begin! Time for contesting census is here
The U.S. Census Bureau has begun accepting challenges from states, cities and tribal nations that want to contest the results of the 2020 census. The count was one of the most difficult in recent memory due to the pandemic, political interference from the Trump administration, hurricanes and wildfires. Governors, mayors and tribal leaders can ask the agency to review the people and housing unit counts in their jurisdictions for possible mistakes under the Count Question Resolution program. The Census Bureau started accepting applications at the beginning of the new year. Leaders have through June 2023 to file an application.
TEEN DRIVERS-SAFETY CAMPAIGN
Michigan students participating in safe driving campaign
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Students at 38 Michigan high schools are participating in the “Strive for a Safer Drive” peer-led traffic safety campaign. The program is in its 11th year and aims to reduce crashes involving teenagers by encouraging then to talk with other teens and their communities about making safe-driving choices. It’s a public-private partnership between the Ford Motor Co. Fund’s Driving Skills for Life program and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. Each school receives $1,000, which students use to create a teen-led campaign that will educate their classmates and community about traffic safety topics including speeding; seat belt use; pedestrian, bicyclist and passenger safety; and impaired, distracted, nighttime and winter driving.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY-GRANT
Habitat for Humanity gets $2M grant for home repair needs
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Habitat for Humanity of Michigan has received a $2 million federal grant to address home repair needs of 160 low-income families. Habitat for Humanity of Michigan says the funding is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Healthy Homes Production Grant Program. The grant increases the nonprofit’s current repair program by 50% and allows for training and resources to build capacity for Habitat for Humanity affiliates and minority- and women-owned businesses. It also will promote expanded healthy homes intervention in Michigan. The grant is part of more than $104 million awarded from HUD to 60 non-profit organizations, and state and local government agencies in 29 states to protect children and families from home health hazards.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOME DEATHS
Michigan auditors report 2,400 more long-term care deaths
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan auditors have found nearly 2,400 additional COVID-19 deaths linked to long-term care facilities over an 18-month period, both at places that report coronavirus deaths to the state and homes that don’t. The figure was disclosed in a review obtained by The Associated Press on Friday before its public release next week. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration disputes the report’s methodology and conclusions. Auditors reported 8,061 confirmed or positive coronavirus deaths tied to nursing homes, homes for the aged and adult foster-care facilities as of early July. The difference between that number and what the state health department reported, 5,675, is nearly 30%.
Suspended professor made salty video to get ‘juices flowing’
DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan professor who was suspended after making a profanity-filled introductory video for his students says it was simply a humorous attempt “to get their juices flowing.” Barry Mehler teaches history at Ferris State University in Big Rapids. Mehler was placed on leave after the school president said he was “shocked and appalled” by the video. In the video, Mehler covered a range of topics, including grades, attendance, plagiarism, COVID-19 and the HBO series “Deadwood.” He says he randomly assigns grades before the first day of class because that’s how “predestination works.” Mehler also called students “vectors of disease,” a reference to COVID-19.
Michigan AG asks feds to investigate fake GOP electors
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general is asking federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into 16 Republicans who submitted false certificates stating they were the state’s presidential electors despite Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in 2020. Democrat Dana Nessel disclosed that her office has been evaluating charges for nearly a year but decided Thursday to refer the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office in western Michigan. The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Friday and the Michigan GOP had no immediate comment. In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Nessel alleged a “coordinated effort” among Republican parties in several battleground states including Michigan to illegally push so-called alternate slates of electors with fake documents.
Michigan revenues are $5.8B higher than previously forecast
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s two main funds will take in billions more that previously forecast — good news for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and lawmakers before the budget cycle. The combined additional tax revenues over the last, current and next fiscal year are more than $5.8 billion above projections from last spring. State budget director Christopher Harkins said Friday that the governor in coming weeks will present a spending plan that is focused on supporting education, clean water and jobs. Fiscal experts attribute the latest surplus largely to federal pandemic relief aid that has helped to boost incomes and consumer spending despite COVID-19.