Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT
Charge in Flint water crisis dropped against state worker
(Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.mlive.com/flint)
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A misdemeanor charge against a state employee charged in the Flint water scandal has been dismissed.
The Flint Journal reports Genesee District Court Judge Jennifer Manley approved the dismissal of the public records charge against Adam Rosenthal on Thursday. He pleaded no contest to the charge in December.
Rosenthal, a water analyst with the Department of Environmental Quality, is one of four current and former state and city employees who have accepted a plea deal with special prosecutors from Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office. In exchange for their cooperation in other prosecutions, the four received reduced charges that were later dismissed.
Flint’s water system was contaminated by lead in 2014 and 2015 because corrosive water from the Flint River wasn’t properly treated. Lead broke away in old pipes.
ELECTION 2018-ATTORNEY GENERAL
Dem AG candidate: Adoption law discriminates against gays
DETROIT (AP) — The Democratic candidate for Michigan attorney general says she probably wouldn’t defend a law that allows faith-based groups to reject same-sex couples who want to adopt children.
Dana Nessel, who is gay, tells The Associated Press that the law discriminates against gay people. The 2015 law is being challenged in court by critics who argue that it’s unconstitutional.
Faith-based groups are paid by the state to place children from troubled families with new families. But they aren’t required to provide services that conflict with their beliefs.
Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office is defending the law in court. If elected, Nessel says she’d probably tell the Legislature to hire its own lawyers.
Nessel says the law is discriminatory and has “no viable defense.” She was part of the legal team that overturned Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.
ISLE ROYALE WOLVES
2 wolves moved from mainland to Isle Royale National Park
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Officials have relocated two gray wolves from the mainland to Isle Royale National Park, kicking off a multiyear effort to restore the predator species on the Lake Superior island chain.
The National Park Service says a 4-year-old female and a 5-year-old male were flown to the park Wednesday from the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
They were released separately in locations away from the territory of the other two wolves already there.
The park service says the female quickly left her crate and began exploring her new home. The male did likewise after dark.
Plans call for moving six to eight wolves to the park this fall, building to 20 to 30 over the next few years.
Managers hope the rejuvenated population will prey on Isle Royale’s abundant moose herd.
Teen charged in classmate’s death to get mental exam
WARREN, Mich. (AP) — A 17-year-old Detroit-area girl accused of killing a classmate in school will undergo a competency exam to determine if she understands the murder charge and can assist her lawyer.
The exam is common in homicide cases. Police say Tanaya Lewis stabbed 16-year-old Danyna Gibson in a classroom at Warren Fitzgerald High School on Sept. 12.
Lewis answered a few questions Thursday from Judge Matthew Sabaugh but otherwise didn’t say much in court. She’s being held in jail.
Police say Lewis was laughing as she chased Gibson and stabbed her in the chest and back in a dispute over a boy.
2 charged after 4 calves dead in fire sparked by fireworks
SANDUSKY, Mich. (AP) — A young man and a 16-year-old boy are facing charges after authorities say they shot fireworks that sparked a grass fire and killed four calves along a road in rural Michigan.
The Sanilac County sheriff’s office says 19-year-old Adam Grifka and the 16-year-old, whose name wasn’t released, face arson, malicious destruction of property and fireworks violations charges. Both are from Ubly. They’re due back in court next month.
The sheriff’s office says fireworks shot from a moving vehicle started the fire July 28 in Greenleaf Township, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Detroit. Hutches that provide shelter for animals also were damaged.
Defense attorney Daniel Damman says there was no malicious intent to harm any animals or damage any property, and that both his clients “feel intense remorse for the unintended consequences that their actions caused.”
ROAD PROJECTS-LABOR DISPUTE
Stalled roadwork to resume after builders end union lockout
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than 150 stalled road projects across Michigan will resume because road builders have agreed to end a lockout of a union of heavy equipment operators.
Gov. Rick Snyder announced the end of the labor impasse Thursday. He says the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association will stop its lockout of the Operating Engineers 324 union that has lasted more than three weeks.
Union members will report to work immediately, and the priority will be for projects that can finished before the arrival of winter weather.
Snyder, who met with both sides earlier this week, says the contractors and union will use professional mediation through the winter to help them negotiate a new contract.
Suspect in slaying arrested after police chase on freeway
WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — A 33-year-old man has been arrested after leading police on a chase that ended on a western Michigan freeway.
Grand Rapids police say shots were fired Thursday morning, but no officers were struck. It was not immediately known if the man being pursued was wounded.
Officers in nearby Wyoming named the man as a suspect in an earlier slaying at a mobile home park. The pickup truck he was driving was spotted about 10:15 a.m. and police chased the vehicle onto US-131. The chase ended near downtown Grand Rapids.
Anglers group, fish farm reach deal on disputed hatchery
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A fish farming company will abandon operations on a revered northern Michigan trout stream under a settlement with a sport anglers’ group.
Harrietta Hills Trout Farm LLC had received state permits to greatly expand rainbow trout production at the Grayling hatchery on the east arm of the Au Sable River.
The company wanted to boost its output there to 300,000 pounds a year, up from about 70,000 pounds.
Anglers of the Au Sable challenged the plan in court, saying it would pollute the river and threaten the health of wild trout.
The company said its operations wouldn’t harm the river or native fish.
Under the deal announced Thursday, the anglers group will buy out Harrietta Hills’ lease of the hatchery for $160,000 and operate it as a tourist attraction.
THERAPY DUCKS DISPUTE
Michigan township allows autistic boy to keep therapy ducks
GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — New guidelines will allow a 12-year-old western Michigan boy with autism to keep his ducks, which are his emotional support animals.
Georgetown Township officials had issued a nuisance order to Mark and Jennifer Dyke after receiving multiple complaints from neighbors about their son’s ducks straying from their property. The complaints cited concerns about the ducks’ unpleasant smell and their impact on area property values.
The Dykes requested an ordinance variance to allow their son, Dylan, to keep the ducks and members of the township’s zoning appeals board were open to the idea . A variance approved Wednesday night includes 18 guidelines, including specifics on the coop for the ducks named Bill and Nibbles.
Jennifer Dyke says the family is “ready to just move on with our life.”
MICHIGAN STATE-SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Michigan State sees increase in sexual misconduct reports
(Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com)
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Records show that Michigan State University has seen an increase in reports of sexual misconduct and officials are taking longer to investigate those reports.
The Lansing State Journal reports that the university’s Office of Institutional Equity received almost 1,200 sexual misconduct reports during the 2017-18 academic year, up from more than 700 reports the previous year.
Records show that the average investigation during the 2017-18 academic year took about 120 days, up from 80 days the previous year.
Rebecca Campbell is a psychology professor who leads the university’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup. She says the reporting increase doesn’t necessarily mean more incidents are happening.
She says the increase is likely tied to a greater awareness of sexual misconduct as a public health and safety issue, as well as former university doctor Larry Nassar’s case.