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Sexual assault cases spur protests on campuses across US
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Reports of sexual assaults have fueled protests on at least eight U.S. college campuses just weeks into the new school year. Victims’ advocates say more young people are vulnerable this year as they settle into campus life after learning remotely because of the pandemic. They also say students seem more engaged in speaking out against campus sexual assault and adept at drumming up support for the cause social media. Sexual assault allegations have led students to demonstrate over the past month at colleges in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Alabama, Michigan, Massachusetts and Missouri. Advocates say COVID-19 restrictions last year kept some sophomores from fully settling into college life, making them more vulnerable to assaults.
Fritz Erickson fired as president at Northern Michigan U.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — The president of Northern Michigan University has been fired. NMU’s governing board voted 8-0 to dismiss Fritz Erickson, who had led the Upper Peninsula school since July 2014. Trustee Steve Young says “good things” have happened in Marquette but the school “can and must do more.” Erickson was a vice president at Ferris State University before moving to NMU. He also worked at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Eastern Washington University and Michigan Tech University. NMU has approximately 7,600 students. Trustees briefly met by video conference solely to fire Erickson. Erickson later said NMU is a “better place” than when he arrived.
Top Michigan health official Khaldun leaving for new job
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s chief medical executive and a top pandemic adviser to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is leaving state government for a new job in the private sector. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun will be replaced at least temporarily by Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, a senior public health physician in the state health department who oversaw COVID-19 testing strategy. Khaldun was appointed as chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health in 2019. She also is a practicing emergency physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Her new job will be revealed soon. Whitmer has begun a search to select a permanent chief medical executive.
Whitmer to nix budget provision that tries to ban mask rules
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office says she will declare unenforceable a Republican-written budget provision that seeks to ban indoor mask requirements for children. The Democrat had been expected to block the language as unconstitutional since $55 billion in spending was passed by the Legislature this week. Spokesman Bobby Leddy confirmed next week’s move Friday, calling the proposed restriction “dangerous.” The provision, which isn’t tied to spending, would prevent the state health director and local health officers from issuing or enforcing orders that require kids under age 18 to wear a mask. Various counties mandate masking in schools to curb COVID-19.
Bear euthanized after being recaptured in Traverse City area
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A black bear that traveled back to an area in northern Michigan after being removed for raiding bird feeders and trash cans has been euthanized. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the large male bear was recaptured Thursday. Holly Vaughn of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources says the bear was moving closer to downtown Traverse City and was comfortable around humans and in human settings. The department transported the bear in April about 90 miles to the Alpena area in the eastern end of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. He was given a lip tattoo, ear tags and fitted with an electronic collar. The following month the radio collar indicated he was back in Grand Traverse County.
Guilty plea in crash that killed Michigan state trooper
IONIA, Mich. (AP) — A woman has been convicted in a drunken driving crash that killed a Michigan state trooper last summer. Thomasina Jones pleaded guilty Thursday in Ionia County Circuit Court to second-degree murder, operating a vehicle with a high blood-alcohol content causing death, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and driving on a suspended, revoked or denied license. Police have said that trooper Caleb Starr was driving east of Grand Rapids in Boston Township in July 2020 when a vehicle crossed the center line from the opposite direction and smashed into his patrol car. Another trooper testified in an earlier hearing that Jones’ blood-alcohol level was 0.23, about three times over Michigan’s legal limit.
ELECTION 2022-ATTORNEY GENERAL
GOP’s Leonard again running for Michigan attorney general
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former legislative leader Tom Leonard has announced his candidacy for Michigan attorney general Friday. He is again seeking the Republican nomination he won in 2018 before losing to Democrat Dana Nessel in the general election. Leonard, a DeWitt lawyer, is the third candidate to enter the GOP field. Republicans will endorse and later formally choose their nominee at conventions next year. Leonard’s announcement coincided with the start of the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. It came about a week after former President Donald Trump endorsed attorney Matthew DePerno, who filed a lawsuit falsely claiming election fraud in Antrim County.
Man charged in Michigan pipe bomb case ordered jailed
BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — A 75-year-old northern Michigan man accused of placing pipe bombs outside two phone stores has been ordered jailed until his trial in federal court. MLive.com reports that John D. Allen of Whittemore waived his right Friday to a detention hearing in Bay City. He was charged Tuesday with extortion and attempted destruction of buildings. His arrest came after explosives and notes threatening Verizon and AT&T were found last week at phone stores in Sault Ste. Marie and Cheboygan. His attorney and a federal prosecutor on Friday requested Allen undergo a psychiatric evaluation to assess his criminal responsibility.
Assault victims protest outside U-Michigan board meeting
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Protesters appeared outside a meeting of the University of Michigan’s governing board, calling for more accountability from the school for sexual assaults by a now-deceased doctor. Some protesters were victims of Dr. Robert Anderson, who worked on campus for decades. Former football player Chuck Christian handed out T-shirts that read, “Hail to the Victims.” It’s a reference to “Hail to the victors,” a lyric in the Michigan fight song. Christian says Anderson was a “monster.” The university has acknowledged that assaults occurred. A report by a law firm hired by U-M found that officials failed to stop Anderson, especially in the 1970s. The university is in mediation with lawyers who are seeking a financial settlement
‘BMF’ series explores climb of ’80s drug kingpin ‘Big Meech’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — For years, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson kept hearing about two drug kingpin brothers who were embraced by hip-hop culture. Jackson became so intrigued by their rags-to-illegal-riches climb that he developed a series based on their life. Now, he is on the cusp on delivering his new television crime series “BMF,” which premieres Sunday on Starz. The show is based on a true story focused on the 1980s backstory of Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, who started the Black Mafia Family, a drug trafficking and money laundering organization in Detroit.