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Michigan man to stand trial on threats to lawmaker, Capitol

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man will go to trial on terrorism charges after being accused of threatening the life of a legislator and falsely reporting a bomb in the state Capitol. Michael Varrone, 49, of Charlotte, was bound over Thursday. He is accused of calling the Michigan House six times on Dec. 12 and on at least one occasion threatening Rep. Cynthia Johnson and her family. Varrone also is charged with calling an operator at the state Capitol complex on Jan. 7 and warning that everyone should evacuate because it was going to explode. Police found no bomb.


Michigan redistricting panel OKs mapping process, schedule

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s redistricting commission has approved a process and schedule to adopt congressional and legislative maps by year’s end. The 10-2 vote Thursday came after commissioners changed course and decided to initially bounce between crafting U.S. House, state Senate and state House districts rather than go one at a time. The schedule calls for drafting to begin Friday and end Oct. 8, when the panel will publish draft maps. Public hearings will be held Oct. 11-28. The commission will vote on proposed maps Nov. 5. A public comment period will start Nov. 14. The panel could finalize district lines Dec. 30.


Central Michigan to require COVID-19 tests for nonvaccinated

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Central Michigan University will require all students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing for the fall semester. Several Michigan schools have gone all-in on COVID-19 vaccine requirements for the fall including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. Some other schools are only requiring those living on campus to be vaccinated or are stopping at mask mandates. CMU will require face masks in all classrooms, instructional areas and all enclosed indoor spaces with more than 25 individuals. Classes start Aug. 30.


Freehan, catcher on 1968 champion Detroit Tigers, dies at 79

DETROIT (AP) — Bill Freehan, a hero of the 1968 Detroit Tigers, has died at age 79. Freehan spent his entire 15-year career with Detroit and was an 11-time All-Star. The cause of death was not disclosed Thursday, but family members in recent years have publicly stated that Freehan had Alzheimer’s disease. The Tigers offered condolences to Freehan’s family with a “heavy heart.” In Game 5 of the ’68 World Series, Freehan tagged Lou Brock in a crucial play at home plate. Detroit won the game and the series. The result was best captured by a famous photo of pitcher Mickey Lolich jumping into the arms of his catcher.


Months later, man charged in death of woman found in garage

DETROIT (AP) — A man has been charged with murder in the death of a woman whose body was found in a Detroit garage months ago. A magistrate ordered Juma Reeves to jail without bond Wednesday, citing his criminal record and other factors. Brandy Nelson’s body was discovered in a garage on March 2, the victim of blunt force trauma. She was reported missing two weeks earlier. Reeves and the 20-year-old Nelson had a child together. It wasn’t immediately known if Reeves has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.


US seeks 9-year prison term for Gov. Whitmer kidnap plotter

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors are recommending a nine-year prison sentence for a man who says he worked on a wild plan to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Ty Garbin pleaded guilty to conspiracy just four months after being arrested. In a court filing, the government says he deserves credit for assisting investigators. The FBI last October said it broke up a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor by anti-government extremists who were upset over her coronavirus restrictions. Garbin and five other men were charged in federal court. Others were charged in state court with aiding them. Garbin will be sentenced on Aug. 25 in federal court in Grand Rapids.


Top doc told Whitmer school mask mandate would curb virus

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s top doctor says she’s told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health director that reinstituting a mask requirement in K-12 schools would likely lessen the spread of COVID-19, but she adds there are other factors when considering the step. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun reiterated Wednesday she’s “concerned” about the coronavirus’ potential impact on schools as the delta variant takes hold. The state health department last week strongly recommended universal masking in schools regardless of vaccination status but stopped short of requiring it. Superintendents have expressed frustration over having to decide about masks, a contentious issue in recent school board meetings.


Michigan man charged with assaulting officer at US Capitol

A 40-year- old mid-Michigan man has been arrested and accused of assaulting a police officer as part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Logan Barnhart of Lansing is charged with assaulting and resisting with a dangerous weapon, civil disobedience, disorderly and disruptive conduct, engaging in physical violence and an act of physical violence in the Capitol Building or grounds. A federal indictment Tuesday says he and others using “a deadly weapon, that is, a baton, flag, pole, and crutch, did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with” an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department. He made an appearance Tuesday in federal court in Grand Rapids and was released on bond.


Hiker dies after fall from cliff at river gorge in U.P.

LAIRD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 75-year-old man has died after falling from a cliff while hiking down a trail near a waterfall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. State police say Douglas Welker slipped at the edge of the cliff Monday at Sturgeon River Gorge near Houghton County’s Laird Township. Welker of Pelkie fell 20 feet and struck his head. He was pronounced dead at the scene. State police say an investigation reveals his death to be accidental. The gorge is part of the rugged Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness, about 80 miles west of Marquette.


Planning commission in mid-Michigan rejects housing migrants

ALMA, Mich. (AP) — The planning commission in a central Michigan community is opposed to a zoning change that would turn a former nursing home into temporary housing for boys who cross the U.S. border. Planning commissioners in Alma recommended Wednesday that the request be denied. The Alma City Commission will make the final decision. Bethany Christian Services wants to lease Warwick Living Center to provide temporary housing for boys who crossed the southern U.S. border without parents or guardians. The proposal has caused tension in Alma. Hundreds of people attended a public hearing.