Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


Judge sets March trial for 5 men in Michigan governor plot

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A judge has set a March 8 trial for five men accused of planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker set the new date Monday after defense lawyers seeking more time to prepare asked him to postpone an October trial. Federal prosecutors didn’t object last week. The government said the five men were upset over coronavirus restrictions when they conspired to kidnap Whitmer, even scouting her second home in northern Michigan. They’ve pleaded not guilty and claim to be victims of entrapment. A sixth man, Ty Garbin, pleaded guilty and was recently sentenced to slightly more than six years in prison.  


Michigan rep to fellow lawmaker: I hope ‘your car explodes’

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker who got a personal protection order against another lawmaker has filed some unflattering text messages in court. Rep. Mari Manoogian says Rep. Steve Marino called her a “parasite” and hoped that her car would explode. Marino is a Macomb County Republican, and Manoogian is an Oakland County Democrat. They had a personal relationship that ended more than a year ago. Marino was removed from House committees last week when allegations of abuse were reported to leaders. State police are investigating. Marino says he’s a victim of “character assassination.” His attorney says the text messages are being taken out of context and that they’ll challenge the protection order.


Detroit-area prosecutor: I need help as cases rise

DETROIT (AP) — The chief law enforcer in Michigan’s largest county is pleading with retired assistant prosecutors to join her staff. Kym Worthy says there’s been a wave of departures and a “staggering” number of crimes in the Detroit area. Worthy says she’s losing staff to other jobs and can’t compete with higher starting salaries elsewhere. Worthy says Wayne County Circuit Court has more than 3,000 cases awaiting trial, and local courts have more  than 10,000 cases pending. The Detroit Free Press obtained an email that she sent to retired prosecutors.


Alma planning chairman quits after migrant housing vote

ALMA, Mich. (AP) — An official in a mid-Michigan community has resigned after city commissioners approved a zoning change to allow temporary housing for boys entering at the U.S. border. Don Ayers was chairman of the Alma Planning Commission. It had recommended that the zoning change be rejected. But the Alma City Commission approved it last week, 4-2. Ayers says he had planned to step down a few months ago, but the way the housing controversy ended made him even more upset. Ayers believes city commissioners should have defended the work done by the Planning Commission.


Lawyer says US journalist in Myanmar jail seems disheartened

BANGKOK (AP) — The lawyer for U.S. journalist Danny Fenster, jailed in Myanmar for almost four months, says his client appeared disheartened during a court hearing Monday. Fenster has been charged with incitement, an offense for which he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison. Fenster was detained on May 24 at Yangon International Airport as he was trying to board a flight to go to the Detroit area in the United States to see his family. He is the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar, an independent online news outlet based in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city. Monday’s hearing was held to extend Fenster’s pretrial detention and set Oct. 4 for his next appearance.


Trump endorses ‘big lie’ proponents for state election posts

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is aiming to exert his influence at all levels of the Republican Party as he considers another presidential run. That includes down-ballot races that typically receive little attention from national politicians but have a role in overseeing elections. Trump is throwing his support behind candidates who have not only perpetuated the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, but in some cases also actively tried to overturn the results. Voting experts fear that if those candidates end up winning, they could undermine the integrity of future elections and use their powers to skew the results.


FBI investigates 2 bombs found near northern Michigan stores

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — The FBI is seeking information on two explosive devices found outside cellphone stores in northern Michigan. The bombs, which were defused, were found in suspicious packages left outside a Verizon store in Cheboygan and an AT&T store in Sault Ste. Marie. Cheboygan authorities say emergency personal were dispatched around 9 a.m. Thursday after an employee reported a suspicious package near the door of the business. A similar device was reported the same day in Sault St. Marie. The FBI and Michigan State Police believe the devices are related to a series of letters discovered in the Upper Peninsula last month.


Vandals deface `Black Lives Matter’ mural in Michigan city

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — A “Black Lives Matter” street mural painted this summer in southeastern Michigan has been defaced by vandals who covered part of it with white paint. The weekend attack in Ypsilanti left the 260-foot mural’s words “Black Lives” drenched in white paint, while the word “Matter” was untouched. Trische Duckworth, executive director of the community organization Survivors Speak, calls the vandalism “an ugly display of hatred” in the city about 35 miles southwest of Detroit. The Ypsilanti City Council approved the mural at the entrance of a city park in February and volunteers painted it in June. The city plans to restore the mural.


Virus concerns prompt cancellation of annual Fort Fright

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) — A popular Halloween-themed event held annually in northern Michigan has been cancelled this fall due to concerns over the coronavirus that include the rising number of cases of the Delta variant in the area. Fort Fright at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City was scheduled for October 8-9. The event is drawn from a collection of short stories published by Mackinac State Historic Parks and based on French-Canadian folktales brought to the Mackinac Straits area by the voyageurs during the height of the French fur trade. Organizers say staffing challenges and concerns about housing volunteers also played into the decision to cancel the event.


Application period open for Detroit business grant program

DETROIT (AP) — Applications are being accepted for the latest round in a program that awards competitive grants and other resources to entrepreneurs in Detroit. Organizers say Motor City Match works to help build retail density throughout the city. Business owners apply quarterly for financial and technical assistance. They also can apply for assistance to make improvements. Since the start of the program, nine Motor City Match-supported businesses have opened along Livernois Avenue on the city’s west sde. Three additional small businesses are expected to open along Livernois before the end of the year.