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

POLICE CHIEF CHARGED

Mid-Michigan police chief charged with lying to detectives

CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP) — A mid-Michigan police chief has been arraigned on official misconduct and other charges for allegedly lying that his wife had been sexually assaulted by a sheriff’s deputy.

Potterville Police Chief Shane Bartlett also was arraigned Wednesday on charges of lying to police in a violent crime investigation and making a false report of a felony.

His attorney, Matt Newburg, says he’ll vigorously challenge the allegations.

Authorities say the charges stem from a Michigan State Police investigation that started when Bartlett’s wife, Kellie, accused an Eaton County deputy of sexual assault. Kellie Bartlett at the time was a clerk with the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office. She’s been charged with filing a false report and several other counts.

Potterville City Manager Aaron Sheridan said Shane Bartlett has been suspended with pay.

HENS KILLED-BARN BLAZE

Fire at Michigan poultry operation kills 250K hens

SARANAC, Mich. (AP) — About 250,000 hens have been killed during a fire at a mid-Michigan poultry operation.

The blaze started Tuesday evening in a barn at Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Saranac, east of Grand Rapids. Operations resumed Wednesday.

MLive.com reports that the ranch supplies eggs to McDonald’s restaurants and other customers.

Herb Herbruck, one of the company’s operators, said in a statement that about 250,000 hens were in the barn. The fire was contained to one barn and did not spread to other structures at the ranch.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The family-owned company was founded in 1958. The company’s website says it has 6 million egg-laying hens.

OBIT-RUSS GIBB

Russ Gibb, Detroit DJ, teacher and rock promoter, dies at 87

DETROIT (AP) — Russ Gibb, a Detroit-area rock promoter, radio DJ, teacher and pop culture provocateur, has died at 87.

Andy Fradkin, Gibb’s former student and power of attorney, said Gibb died Tuesday of heart failure at a Garden City hospital. Fradkin says the longtime Dearborn resident suffered from health problems for several years.

Gibb leased Detroit’s former Grande Ballroom and gave Iggy Pop and the Stooges their first major show in 1968, and provided a venue for such major players as Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Who and the Grateful Dead.

One of his best known gambits was as a DJ in 1969, when he entertained rumors about the supposed death of Beatle Paul McCartney. Discussion about the hoax lit up WKNR’s airwaves and helped propel the underground conspiracy into a global phenomenon.

MICHIGAN WEATHER-FLOODING

Detroit suburb to seek emergency declaration due to flooding

DETROIT (AP) — A suburban Detroit community plans to seek an emergency declaration due to flooding that followed heavy rainfall.

Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko says his office asked the state police Wednesday to consider a declaration and will do a financial assessment of any damage before submitting an official request to the state.

Fire Chief Dave Brogan tells WDIV-TV that Dearborn Heights received three inches of rain Tuesday and that his department has received calls about residents with medical issues or physical limitations being trapped in their homes.

Brogan says there have been “a lot of homes filling up with smoke from water flooding up to their electrical outlets.” The city has opened a shelter for flooding victims.

State police urged caution due to freeway flooding and closures across the Detroit area.

PFAS CONTAMINATION

State officials: Avoid touching toxic foam on waterways

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state says people should avoid contact with toxic foam from chemicals that may be found floating on some lakes, rivers and streams.

Michigan Health and Human Services officials say anyone who touches foam from perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — PFAS — should wash it off. The concern is inadvertently transferring the chemicals into a person’s mouth while eating.

State toxicology and response section manager Deb MacKenzie-Taylor said levels of PFAS in foam can vary, but the chemicals are often more highly concentrated in foam than in surface water.

The industrial compounds have been used in some firefighting foam, waterproofing, carpeting and other products. They can get into drinking water when products containing the chemicals are spilled onto the ground or in lakes or rivers.

DEAD DOGS-TRASH BAGS

Michigan police investigate dogs found dead in trash bags

(Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com)

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Police in southeastern Michigan’s Ypsilanti Township have launched an animal cruelty investigation after several dogs were found dead in trash bags dumped along roadways.

Sgt. Eugene Rush with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office says a work crew found the carcasses of puppies and four adult dogs, some of which had been cut up, on April 23 in trash bags along roads near Willow Run Airport.

The next day, he says the same crew found a bag with dead puppies and two more bagged dogs along another roadway.

Rush tells the Detroit Free Press that “it’s a horrific crime” and investigators believe the cases are connected.

He says that the adult dogs appeared to be pit bull mixes, but it’s unclear when the dogs were dumped along the roads.

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USA GYMNASTICS-BANKRUPTCY

Suit against USA Gymnastics seeks help for abused gymnasts

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new lawsuit seeks to protect potentially thousands of abused gymnasts who might not have known about a deadline for filing claims against USA Gymnastics in the embattled group’s ongoing bankruptcy .

The federal lawsuit filed Monday in Indianapolis alleges USA Gymnastics knows or should know the identities of many abuse survivors who hadn’t filed claims by Monday’s deadline in the bankruptcy case.

The Indianapolis Star reports the suit alleges those survivors include dozens of people identified in secret files kept by the Indianapolis-based organization.

The suit states that it’s aimed at protecting the claims of people sexually abused by someone other than former sports doctor Larry Nassar , who was sentenced to decades to prison for molesting girls and young women.

USA Gymnastics hasn’t responded to a message seeking comment Tuesday.

DEER REGULATIONS

Michigan officials to take comments on deer rule changes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan residents will have several opportunities to sound off about proposed changes in deer regulations.

The state Natural Resources Commission plans to vote on the revisions in July. The seven-member commission is appointed by the governor to regulate taking of game and sport fish.

Among the recommendations are a baiting and feeding ban for the Core Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Area in the Upper Peninsula; a moderate increase in U.P. antlerless deer licenses; redefining bait to exclude natural or synthetic food-scented materials not consumed by deer; and moving the Liberty Hunt to the second weekend in September to prevent conflicts between hound bear hunters and youth deer hunters.

Officials will take comments at a series of forums between May 9 and July 11. Comments also can be emailed to nrc@michigan.gov.

MATERNITY WARD CLOSES

Hospital to close maternity ward; only 6 births in March

(Information from: News Advocate, http://news.pioneergroup.com/manisteenews/)

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — A hospital in northern Michigan is closing its maternity ward at the end of May.

Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital says the number of births has been steadily declining to around 150 per year. There were only six in March, a record low.

Spokeswoman Julie Mueller tells the News Advocate that the hospital needs about 350 births to break even on obstetric services. The departure of a doctor in May also was a factor in the decision to close the ward.

The Manistee hospital still will offer prenatal and postnatal care, but women will give birth at Munson’s hospital in Cadillac, 50 miles east. There also are other options in the region.

Fifteen jobs will be lost. The Michigan Nurses Association says it’s “gravely concerned” about the impact on the community.

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TEACHER EVALUATION-THE LATEST

The Latest: Whitmer signs delay to teacher evaluation change

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan will delay a key change in its evaluation system for teachers and schools administrators under legislation signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The laws enacted Tuesday will halt, at least for a year, a requirement that student growth and assessment data be given greater weight in educators’ year-end performance evaluations. Such information now accounts for 25% of an evaluation but was scheduled to rise to 40% this academic year under a 2015 law.

The change will now be delayed until the 2019-20 school year.

The Democratic governor says test scores are “only one piece of the puzzle and not the whole story.”

The legislation is supported by teachers unions, school districts and groups representing administrators. Legislators say Michigan’s main standardized test, the M-STEP, does not adequately measure students’ learning over time.