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JUDGE SUSPENDED

Judge suspended over sexual harassment allegations

(Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids)

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan judge has been suspended over allegations of sexual harassment, two months before retirement.

Newaygo County Judge Graydon Dimkoff was informed by the county’s chief judge Monday. He’s barred from court property but can make decisions in some pending cases.

Dimkoff is 71 years old and can’t run for re-election because of age limits. He’s scheduled to leave office at the end of the year.

Dimkoff tells The Grand Rapids Press that he’s searched his “heart, mind, body and soul” and can’t think of anything that would add up to sexual harassment. He says the allegations are “out of the blue.”

Chief Judge Robert Springstead declined to comment. The suspension order says Newaygo County is investigating.

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FUNERAL HOME INVESTIGATIONS-DETROIT

Service held for cremains found in Detroit funeral home

DETROIT (AP) — A service has been held for about 300 cremated remains recovered from a closed Detroit funeral home.

Clergy read aloud most of the names Friday at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit. More than 50 were read as “unidentified loved” ones. Placed in five coffins, the remains will be interred at the cemetery.

They were found earlier this year at Cantrell Funeral Home which was shut down in April due to improperly stored bodies and other violations. Police began looking into charges against Cantrell’s operators after mummified remains of 10 fetuses and a full-term infant were discovered last month in a ceiling.

Those remains were not part of Friday’s service.

Another Detroit funeral home is under investigation after more than 60 fetuses where found last month in boxes and freezers.

AUTISM THERAPY-CHARGES

Fraud charges filed in investigation of autism services

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Fraud charges have been filed against a woman who worked for Centria Healthcare, the largest provider of autism therapy in Michigan.

The attorney general’s office announced charges Friday against Christine Leonard of Swartz Creek, who is accused of billing Medicaid for services that weren’t performed. Attorney General Bill Schuette calls it “fraud, pure and simple.”

Records show Leonard appeared in court Friday in East Lansing and asked for a court-appointed lawyer. She didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Schuette’s office says a separate investigation of Centria remains opens. The company has denied wrongdoing and is suing former employees who apparently have talked to investigators.

The state had offered an $8 million economic-development grant to Centria but suspended it earlier this year.

GRAND VALLEY STATE-ALCOHOL

Alcohol banned at Grand Valley fraternity, sorority events

(Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids)

ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — Grand Valley State University in western Michigan is banning alcohol at fraternity and sorority events after nine fraternity chapters were sanctioned or suspended over the past five years.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that school leaders say the decision isn’t a response to any event during the current semester, which included action against one fraternity. Loren Rullman, vice provost for student affairs and dean of students, says it’s because of “what has been a pattern and alcohol is a common thread.”

A task force of students, faculty and staff will be formed to examine issues within and expectations among fraternities and sororities. The ban is until further notice.

The newspaper says Grand Valley State also suspended additional Greek chapter expansions until a new framework for evaluating expansion requests is approved.

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PARKING LOT-SCREWS

Police seek man who dumped screws, nails in parking lots

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) — Police in suburban Detroit say a man dumped hundreds of screws and nails in parking lots for a courthouse and police station, leading to some flat tires.

The Ferndale Police Department posted images of the suspect Friday on Twitter after a police car, a vehicle driven by a courthouse employee and one driven by a member of the public got flat tires earlier in the week.

Video showing the suspect also was posted to YouTube. Police Sgt. Baron Brown tells WXYZ-TV that they believe the suspect “seemingly has some sort of beef with the criminal justice system.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police department.

OUTDOOR ART DISPUTE

Michigan man must dismantle art for violating junk ordinance

(Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com)

ST. JOHNS, Mich. (AP) — A district judge has ruled that a Michigan man must dismantle an outdoor art installation and remove thousands of found objects — except for a blue plastic duck.

The Lansing State Journal reports that Clinton County District Court Judge Michael Clarizio on Wednesday gave artist Robert Park 45 days to remove the items along a pathway on his property. Park must also pay $250 in fines and court costs.

The 72-year-old spent two years creating “The Blue Loop,” which displays upcycled blue items. A town ordinance that bans the outdoor storage of junk classifies almost all of the pieces in Park’s display as junk. The plastic duck was the only object that didn’t fit the definition of junk.

Park’s attorney says they plan to appeal.

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CHILD DEATH-TRAILER

Halloween death involving trailer investigated as accident

SHERIDAN, Mich. (AP) — The death of a boy who fell from a trailer that was taking children around a central Michigan community during Halloween trick-or-treating is being investigated as an accident.

State police on Friday identified the child as 8-year-old Brady James Sexton of Montcalm County’s Sidney Township. Police earlier said the child was 10 years old .

Brady attended school in the Central Montcalm district, where grief counselors were made available.

Police say he was with a group of children riding in Sheridan on Wednesday night in the trailer, which had seats and was being hauled by a tractor. Witnesses told police the trailer was being pulled slowly in the community about 115 miles (186 kilometers) northwest of Detroit when he fell from it and was run over.

The death remains under investigation.

UBER-AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Uber wants to resume self-driving car tests on public roads

DETROIT (AP) — Uber wants to restart testing autonomous vehicles on public roads nearly eight months after one of its SUVs hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian.

The company has filed an application with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to test in Pittsburgh. It also issued a lengthy safety report pledging to put two human backup drivers in each vehicle and take a raft of other safety precautions.

Uber officials acknowledge they have a long way to go to regain public trust after the March 18 crash in Tempe, Arizona, that killed a woman as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk.

Police said Uber’s backup driver in the autonomous Volvo SUV was streaming the television show “The Voice” on her phone and looking down before the crash.

CONTAMINATED WATER-MICHIGAN

Suit blames companies for communities’ water contamination

(Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo)

PARCHMENT, Mich. (AP) — A federal lawsuit blames two companies for high amounts of toxic industrial chemicals that were found in drinking water of two southwestern Michigan communities over the summer.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Detroit firm Liddle & Dubin sued Thursday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on behalf of three Parchment residents. It’s seeking class-action status and calls for financial compensation and funding to evaluate the health of area residents.

Georgia-Pacific says there’s no direct link. 3M says it’s acted responsibly.

Health officials in July had warned the some 3,000 people who use the Parchment water system to stop drinking tap water . The water source was switched, and they said in late August that tests in Parchment and Cooper Township found acceptable levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS .

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MICHIGAN SLAYING

Detroit man heading to trial in fatal mid-Michigan stabbing

(Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit man who authorities say stabbed another man 26 times in mid-Michigan is heading to trial on murder and armed robbery charges.

The Lansing State Journal reports Ingham County 54A District Court Judge Frank DeLuca said Thursday that prosecutors have “circumstantial but powerful” evidence in the case against 31-year-old Larkin Neely Jr.

Authorities say Neely killed 27-year-old Kevin Wirth in May 2017. Wirth was found dead in the living room of a Lansing home, but authorities haven’t detailed what led to the stabbing. Police say they found a bag of blood-stained clothes in a garbage container outside Neely’s Detroit apartment with Wirth’s blood on them.

Neely’s attorney, Brendon Basiga, says there’s “still investigative work to be done” and they “look forward to having the truth come out.”

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