Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT


Record 2.5M voted in primary; Benson pushes for legislation

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A record 2.5 million votes were cast in Michigan’s primary, as people took advantage of no-excuse absentee voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. The count released Thursday surpassed the previous record of 2.2 million from 2018, when — unlike Tuesday — there were contested statewide contests for governor and U.S. Senate. Nearly one-third of the state’s voting-age population participated. About 1.6 million ballots were absentee, returned by mail or at drop boxes — topping the record of 1.3 million from November 2016. Benson says the turnout proves people want to vote despite the pandemic.


Whitmer takes steps to combat racism, reports case plateau

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced additional steps to combat racism, declaring it a public health crisis and ordering state employees to complete implicit bias training as the state confronts what she called systemic inequities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor on Wednesday also created an advisory council of Black leaders and asked the state health department to make health equity a major goal. The Michigan Education Association is the state’s largest teachers union. It said its board held an emergency meeting to discuss the reopening of schools. It adopted a motion saying local units should, “if needed,” demand to collectively bargain with K-12 districts over their COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.


With primary over, attention shifts to Michigan’s fall races

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — With the primary complete, Michigan candidates are quickly turning their focus to November. That’s when voters in the presidential battleground will also decide a competitive U.S. Senate race, several House contests and which party controls a legislative chamber. Tuesday’s election was marked by a record number of absentee ballots that is only expected to grow in three months amid the coronavirus pandemic. Both first-term Democratic Sen. Gary Peters and Republican challenger John James were unopposed in the primary but now are ramping up their campaigns in a race that Peters has led.


Feds arrest paroled child rapist who fled Michigan in 1999

DETROIT (AP) — A man convicted of raping two Michigan children has been arrested in California, more than two decades after he fled Michigan following his parole. The U.S. Marshals Service says 71-year-old James Meese was arrested by federal agents last week in central California. The Detroit Free Press reports Meece is in federal custody in California, awaiting extradition to Michigan. He faces federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for fleeing Michigan in 1999, months after he was released on parole. He was convicted in 1991 in Delta County of criminal sexual conduct charges for raping his girlfriend’s two daughters from the Upper Peninsula.


Senator launches investigation into Postal Service delays

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic senator says he is launching an investigation into changes at the U.S. Postal Service that are causing delays in deliveries across the country. Democrats say the delays will be especially bad because of an expected big volume increase for mail-in ballots ahead of the November election. A plan imposed by Louis DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser who took over the top job at the Postal Service in June, eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and orders that mail be kept until the next day if distribution centers are running late. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters says delays “are preventing Americans from  critical mail on-time, including prescription drugs, business mail and mail-in ballots.″


U-M gets $6M commitment to engage more business students

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Two successful graduates are committing $6 million to help the University of Michigan expand opportunities for students in real estate and investing. Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau say they want to help minorities as well as students from low-income backgrounds. Their goals include getting students interested in business even before attending U-M, making school more affordable and offering internships. Ross is chairman and founder of Related Companies, which has more than $60 billion in real estate assets, and owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Blau is chief executive officer of Related Companies.


State Supreme Court is urged to remove Lapeer County judge

LAPEER, Mich. (AP) — A watchdog agency is recommending the removal of a Lapeer County judge who deposited $1,000 from bad check cases in personal bank accounts when he was prosecutor. Judge Byron Konschuh also made false statements and failed to disqualify himself from more than 100 cases despite a conflict of interest with attorneys in those cases. That’s the conclusion of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, which sent a recommendation to the state Supreme Court. There was no immediate comment from the judge’s lawyer. Konschuh told the commission that the money should be set off by personal cash spent on office expenses over the years.    


Sheriff’s deputy charged with sex assault, placed on leave

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — A Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputy has been charged in connection with sexual assaults alleged to have occurred when he was a student at Eastern Michigan University. The Detroit Free Press reports that 24-year-old D’Angelo McWilliams was arraigned Wednesday on criminal sexual conduct and domestic violence charges. Assistant Prosecutor John Vella told a judge that the charges stem from incidents involving three Eastern Michigan students in Ypsilanti. Defense attorney Douglas Gutscher said his client denies the allegations, and the charges involve an ex-girlfriend and incidents at a fraternity house. McWilliams graduated in 2018. The sheriff’s office says an internal investigation will be conducted and that McWilliams has been placed on administrative leave without pay.


Progressives say primary wins latest sign of momentum shift

CHICAGO (AP) — Progressive Democrats are celebrating two primary victories in U.S. House races. And they’re saying the protests over George Floyd’s death and a renewed focus on racial and economic justice have given their candidates new momentum after some rough patches this year. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a member of the “squad” of four first-term congresswomen of color, scored a convincing victory over Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who had criticized Tlaib as being too divisive. It followed a stunning win by Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush over longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri.


Joe Biden launches new national ad aimed at Black Americans

DETROIT (AP) — Joe Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign has launched a new national ad focused on Black Americans, urging them to stand up to President Donald Trump the way their ancestors stood up to “violent racists of a generation ago.” The one-minute ad was shared exclusively with The Associated Press before its digital and television release Thursday. It’s meant to drum up support for Biden among Black Americans ahead of November’s general election. It takes a swipe at Trump without mentioning the Republican president by name. The ad buy reflects Biden’s improved fundraising machine. But this ad also signals Biden’s continued effort to connect with African Americans during a time of turmoil across the nation.