Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST
Olympics gymnastics coach kills himself after being charged
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar has killed himself in Michigan. John Geddert died after being charged with two dozen crimes, including human trafficking. Geddert was supposed to appear in court Thursday. His body was found at a rest area. Earlier, Attorney General Dana Nessel accused Geddert of turning his elite Lansing-area gym into a criminal enterprise by coercing girls to train there and then abusing them. Geddert also was charged with lying to investigators about Nassar, who is serving decades in prison for sexual assault. Geddert had said he wasn’t aware of any complaints.
How the Larry Nassar scandal has affected others
A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach’s apparent suicide after being charged with crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise is the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar. John Geddert died hours after he was accused of injuring people for years through forced labor and recruiting minors for forced labor, according to court documents. Nassar is serving decades in prison. Numerous people have been charged, fired or forced out of their jobs during the investigations into the once-renowned physician.
Senate OKs $2B in virus aid, targets vaccine distribution
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control the Michigan Senate have moved to stop the state from distributing additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to more vulnerable communities, saying race and socioeconomic status should not be factors. Democrats say the provision, included in a $2 billion coronavirus relief funding plan approved Thursday, is “unconscionable.” The state health department is adjusting populated-based allocations of doses with a “social vulnerability index” multiplier — which includes indicators such as poverty, unemployment, minority status, lack of transportation and crowded housing. The $2 billion funding legislation was sent to the Republican-controlled House.
Former Michigan Gov. Granholm confirmed as energy secretary
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has won Senate confirmation to be energy secretary. She’ll be a key Cabinet member trying to fulfill President Joe Biden’s commitment for a green economy as the United States fights to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. Separately, Senate committees also heard from Biden’s nominees for surgeon general and trade representative.
RACIAL INJUSTICE-OFFICER’S POST
Suburban Detroit officer on leave after Floyd Facebook post
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit police department has placed one of its officers on unpaid leave after a social media post making light of the death of George Floyd was shared. WXYZ-TV reports that a photo of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, along with the statement “When you gotta change a tire but don’t wanna get your trousers dirty,” was shared by the Sterling Heights officer on Facebook. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and saying he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin, who was fired, is awaiting trial. Floyd’s death sparked protests in Minneapolis, Detroit and other cities and led to a nationwide reckoning on race.
PARKING ENFORCEMENT-GRAND RAPIDS
Grand Rapids to turn parking enforcement over to civilians
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Parking enforcement in Grand Rapids is being turned over from officers to civilian employees. City officials say Thursday that the move will start July 1 and is designed to free up officers for calls for service and duties requiring their police powers. Parking calls to the Grand Rapids police communications center also will transition to civilian employees. The initiative aligns with recommendations from a 2019 staffing and deployment report commissioned by the city and meets priorities highlighted in both the police department’s and the city’s strategic plans.
SEDIMENT CLEANUP-KALAMAZOO RIVER
Sediment cleanup expected in parts of Kalamazoo River
COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Cleanup is expected in parts of the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan after a dam repair project allowed sediment to wash downstream. WOOD-TV reports that sediment that filled the river after water levels were lowered to replace the main spillway gates on Morrow Dam in Comstock Township have to be removed. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy told the owner in a letter that cleanup needs to start by March 1. Settlement negotiations were underway with the dam’s owner and additional cleanup projects are expected. Eagle Creek Renewable Energy owns the dam through a subsidiary. It will cover the cost of the initial cleanup project.
Whitmer plans to further ease coronavirus restrictions
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her administration will announce the further loosening of Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions in coming days. She did not elaborate much in a Wednesday news conference, in which she again pressed the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief funding plan. A state health department order limits indoor restaurant capacity to 25%, imposes a 10 p.m. curfew and restricts the size of inside residential gatherings to no more than 10 people from two households, through March 29. Whitmer says case numbers and public health metrics are trending in the right direction.
HEALTH CARE COSTS
Michigan lawmakers unveil bills to curb health care costs
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Republican legislative leader and other lawmakers have unveiled measures they say are designed to lower prescription drug prices, bring parity in insurance coverage of chemotherapy and improve the quality of health care. The 15-bill package would regulate pharmacy benefit managers that run drug coverage for insurers and employers, and ban the managers from profiting by charging a health plan more than what is paid to the pharmacy. Other bills would cap insulin co-pays at $50 for a 30-day supply and require insurers to count all drug rebates received for a medication toward a family’s deductible or maximum out-of-pocket costs.
FATAL SHOOTING-TEEN CHARGED
Teen charged in fatal shooting of his 10-year-old sister
LUCE COUNTY, Mich. (AP) — A 14-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of his 10-year-old sister at their home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Michigan State Police announced Wednesday the shooting occurred Tuesday at the family’s residence in Luce County. Authorities say a preliminary investigation revealed the girl’s brother shot her. Troopers arrested the teen on Tuesday at the family’s home. The boy is being held at the Sault Tribal Juvenile Detention facility. His name is being withheld because of his age.