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MICHIGAN BUDGET

Lawmakers, Whitmer announce deal to finalize state budget

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Top lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration have announced a deal to finalize the next state budget. They had waited to work out spending plans for state departments and funding for universities, community colleges and local governments after enacting a preK-12 budget in the summer. The Republican-led Legislature is expected to vote next week, about a week before the Sept. 30 deadline. Details of the agreement were not immediately released Wednesday. The pending legislation will cover all non-school spending, including social services, public health, roads and environmental protection.

DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-FBI

Biles: FBI turned ‘blind eye’ to reports of gymnasts’ abuse

WASHINGTON (AP) — Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles has told Congress that the FBI and gymnastics officials turned a “blind eye” to USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of her and hundreds of other women. Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that “enough is enough” as she and three other U.S. gymnasts spoke in stark emotional terms about the lasting toll Nassar’s crimes have taken on their lives. The hearing is part of a congressional effort to hold the FBI accountable after multiple missteps in investigating the case – including the delays that allowed Nassar to abuse additional young gymnasts. 

MICHIGAN LAWMAKER-ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

Michigan lawmaker accuses legislator of abuse, threats

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker was stripped of his committee assignments after a female legislator said they had a “volatile” relationship that included domestic abuse and threats. Democratic Rep. Mari Manoogian issued a statement a day after Republican Rep. Steve Marino was removed from two panels for unknown reasons. The 29-year-old Manoogian says, “None of us are immune to a volatile relationship.” Her statement Wednesday mentioned abuse of power and threats to her reputation but did not specify what the 32-year-old Marino allegedly did. House Speaker Jason Wentworth disciplined Marino. He says state police are investigating. A message seeking comment was left for Marino.

SYNAGOGUE PROTESTS

Court won’t stop protests outside Michigan synagogue

DETROIT (AP) — Pro-Palestinian protests outside a Jewish synagogue in Michigan are protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment. That’s the opinion of a federal appeals court. The court declined to stop the demonstrations or set restrictions outside Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor. The protests have occurred on a weekly basis since 2003, with people holding signs that say “Jewish Power Corrupts” and “End the Palestinian Holocaust.” Members of the synagogue, including some Holocaust survivors, say the protests have caused emotional distress. But the appeals court says the protesters aren’t blocking access to the synagogue or making a lot of noise.   

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Parents push for Michigan mask mandate inside schools

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A coalition of parent groups is urging Michigan’s health department to order indoor masking at all schools to curb the coronavirus and vowing to combat politicians who oppose such mandates. The Michigan Parents Alliance for Safe Schools includes pro-mask groups from a dozen counties. Members say they’re fighting for the 40% of students in schools where masks are optional. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration lifted a broad indoor mask mandate in June. She has contended it’s better for masking decisions to be made locally because it increases the odds that people will comply.

BEAUMONT-BEDS

Beaumont Health closing some beds because of lack of staff

TROY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s largest health care provider said 5% of its hospital beds are closed because of a lack of staff. Beaumont Health in southeastern Michigan has shortages among nurses, nurse assistants and others, including staff who prepare rooms for new patients. Beaumont says 180 of its 3,375 beds at eight hospitals have been temporarily closed. Earlier this week, Henry Ford Health System said it had closed 120 beds, or less than 10% of capacity, for similar reasons. Dr. David Donaldson, emergency care chief at Beaumont hospital in Troy, says people need to be patient. Donaldson says the wait times have increased.

MIGRANTS-HOUSING

Mid-Michigan city clears way to house teens from US border

ALMA, Mich. (AP) — Officials in a mid-Michigan city have granted a request to house migrant boys in a former nursing home. The Alma City Commission rejected the recommendation of the Planning Commission. It’s been a hot issue and the subject of tense summer meetings. Bethany Christian Services wants to use a former nursing home to provide housing for up to 40 days or until a sponsor can be found. The boys are ages 12 to 17. They crossed the U.S. border without parents or guardians and do not have legal status in this country. Alma is 50 miles north of Lansing and probably best known as the home of Alma College.

TESLA STORE NEW MEXICO

Tesla builds 1st store on tribal land, dodges state car laws

NAMBÉ, N.M. (AP) — Tesla has sidestepped car dealership laws by setting up shop on Native American land for the first time. The move in New Mexico could be a model for Tesla’s efforts to sell in other states that require car companies to sell through dealerships. The tribe has welcomed Tesla’s store that opened last week, calling it an environmentally conscious employer. Car dealers say consumers should buy electric vehicles from companies that follow state laws. They say the traditional car dealership sales model is more convenient, generates tax revenue and brings down car prices through competition. Tesla enthusiasts are happy they don’t have to travel out of state for repairs.

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR-KIDNAPPING PLOT

US doesn’t object to trial delay in Whitmer kidnapping case

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are not objecting to a delay in the fall trial of five men accused of planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The government says it wouldn’t be harmed by a postponement. Prosecutors say they haven’t made significant payments for travel by witnesses or lodging. Trial in federal court in Grand Rapids has been set for Oct. 12. The defendants would like a 90-day extension for all key dates in the case. A hearing is scheduled for Friday. Defense attorneys last week said they were still plowing through hours of conversation secretly recorded by informants and FBI agents.

OLD JAWBONE

Human jawbone, maybe ‘ancient,’ found in Michigan lake

HART, Mich. (AP) — A human jawbone with more than a dozen teeth has been discovered in Silver Lake in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast says the bone looks very old, maybe “even ancient.” The jawbone was found Sunday when someone stepped on it while removing a dock from Silver Lake. It has been sent to anthropologists at Michigan State University for analysis. No other bones were found. The county has some missing person cases. But the sheriff said the age of the jawbone probably doesn’t fit those investigations.