Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST
Bills open window for Anderson victims to sue U of Michigan
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — About 1,000 sexual abuse victims of a University of Michigan sports doctor would get a window to sue the school for damages under pending bills in the state Legislature, as lawmakers revive efforts to ensure the athletes and others face no barriers in court. Similar legislation was enacted following the conviction of ex-women’s national gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, who molested hundreds of girls, including at Michigan State University. Under bills announced Tuesday, victims of the late Dr. Robert Anderson would have 30 days to sue regardless of the statute of limitations. The university couldn’t use the government immunity defense.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GOVERNOR’S HUSBAND
Whitmer isolating after husband tests positive for COVID-19
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is isolating from her husband in their Lansing home after he tested positive for COVID-19. The governor, who has no symptoms, had a negative rapid test Tuesday and is awaiting the results of a PCR test out of an abundance of caution, a spokesperson says. Marc Mallory, whose home test came back positive after he became sick, is seeking confirmation from a PCR test. Both the governor and the 61-year-old first gentleman are fully vaccinated and have received a booster. Michigan, like the U.S., is facing an explosive increase in coronavirus cases fueled by the omicron variant.
Remains found in 1997 identified as Benton Harbor woman
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Nearly 25 years later, authorities have identified the remains of a woman found in a roadside park in western Michigan. Investigators learned that she was Stephanie Judson, a Benton Harbor woman in her 20s who moved to the Grand Rapids area and was killed in 1997. DNA and genealogy tracing revealed the identity. Dustin Cook, a detective at the Kent County sheriff’s office, says the process was “incredible.” The investigation stretched from Kent County to distant relatives in Mississippi and then back to Michigan. Detectives found Judson’s sister, but their mother died before the mystery was solved.
Recall drive tied to migrant housing vote fails in Alma
ALMA, Mich. (AP) — Three officials who supported housing migrant boys in a mid-Michigan community won’t face a recall election. Their critics failed to collect enough signatures to meet a Dec. 31 deadline. In September, the Alma City Commission made a zoning change that will turn a former nursing home into temporary housing for boys who crossed the U.S. border without parents or guardians. Bethany Christian Services plans to use the site to provide housing for up to 40 days or until a sponsor can be found. Recall petitions were filed against Alma commissioners Roxann Herrington, Audra Stahl and Nick Piccolo.
New auto sales up in 2021, but long way before full recovery
DETROIT (AP) — U.S. new vehicle sales rebounded slightly last year from 2020′s dismal numbers, but were still about 2 million below the years before the coronavirus pandemic. The problem isn’t consumer demand. It’s low vehicle supplies caused by the global shortage of computer chips. Sales hit just over 15 million vehicles in 2021, up 3.4% from 2020, the year the pandemic took hold in the U.S. But during the five years before the pandemic, sales averaged 17.3 million. Most automakers are releasing December and full-year sales numbers on Tuesday. General Motors was unseated by Toyota as the nation’s top-selling automaker. GM sales were down nearly 13% while Toyota was up 10.4%
Detroit schools go online; doc: January could be ‘bleakest’
DETROIT (AP) — Students in the Detroit school district will resume classes at home with laptops at least through Jan. 14. The district says online learning is necessary until the city’s COVID-19 infection rates “decrease to safer levels.” The holiday break in the Detroit district will end Thursday. Michigan’s case numbers have caused many schools to delay the start of January classes or switch to online learning. Only about 37% of eligible Detroit residents are fully vaccinated, far below the statewide figure. Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System says January could be “one of the bleakest months” of the pandemic. Michigan reported an average of 12,200 new daily cases from last Thursday through Monday.
South Haven adds Lake Michigan restrictions in bad weather
SOITH HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A southwestern Michigan town that swells with summer visitors is taking steps to keep people out of Lake Michigan during hazardous conditions. The city council in South Haven agreed to install gates to close popular piers at certain times. Swimmers also could be fined if they’re in the lake, though surfers or kite boarders who love big wind and waves would be exempt. City Manager Kate Hosier says enforcement will start with warnings not fines. A public safety committee made recommendations after three people drowned in 2020. South Haven is in Michigan’s southwestern corner, a two-hour drive from Chicago.
Black lawmakers to sue to block Michigan redistricting maps
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Current and former Black state lawmakers in Detroit have announced a pending lawsuit to block Michigan’s newly drawn congressional and legislative districts, contending they illegally dilute the voting strength of African Americans. The step Monday came days after the new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission finalized U.S. House and legislative maps for 2022 and beyond. The plans are fairer politically to Democrats but have drawn criticism because they slash the number of seats where African Americans account for a majority of the voting-age population. Commissioners say Black voters can still elect their candidates of choice without comprising at least half of a district’s electorate.
Family of boy who died after restraint at center settle suit
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The family of a 16-year-old boy who was restrained at a shuttered western Michigan youth center and died two days later of cardiac arrest has settled a second wrongful death lawsuit in the case. The settlement between the family of Cornelius Fredricks and Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo was approved Dec. 29 by a Kalamazoo County judge. It was reached out of court and filed under seal, so no details are available. Another lawsuit was settled Dec. 2 in federal court for the Western District of Michigan. Fredericks died after he was restrained for 10 minutes at the center on April 29, 2020.
DEADLY WRONG-WAY CRASH
Wrong-way crash kills 2, injures child in SE Michigan
CASCO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Police say two people were killed and a child was critically injured when a vehicle traveling the wrong way on Interstate 94 collided with a second vehicle in southeastern Michigan. State police say a 25-year-old St. Clair man traveling westbound drove his car onto the freeway’s eastbound lanes Monday afternoon in St. Clair County’s Casco Township. His car then slammed head-on into a sport utility vehicle driven by a 33-year-old Casco Township woman. The Macomb Daily reports that both the man and woman drivers died from their injuries, and a child who was a passenger in the SUV was hospitalized in critical condition with crash injuries.