Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT
LAWMAKER CHARGED-THE LATEST
The Latest: Lawmaker says he’s innocent in vote scheme
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker says he will “vigorously” fight charges that he sought campaign contributions in exchange for opposition to anti-union legislation.
Rep. Larry Inman released a statement Wednesday, saying he’s innocent. The Republican from the Traverse City area says he’s “never compromised the integrity of my vote on any issue.”
A federal grand jury indicted Inman on three charges: attempted extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI. The allegations are related to a vote to repeal a wage law on public construction projects.
Defense attorney Chris Cooke says “there was no intent to break the law.”
Inman voted to repeal the wage law. Prosecutors say he had pledged to vote against the repeal in exchange for campaign cash. The carpenters union didn’t respond.
TEEN BEATEN-POLICE VIDEO
$10M lawsuit filed over police beating of Michigan teen
ALBION, Mich. (AP) — The family of a Michigan teenager who was struck by a police officer while handcuffed in a patrol car has filed a lawsuit seeking $10 million.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Calhoun County, says the 13-year-old’s civil rights were violated during the November incident, which was recorded on police camera. The officer worked in Albion, about 95 miles (153 kilometers) west of Detroit.
The teen was arrested after police were called to his home for possible assaultive behavior. The lawsuit says he was punched after spitting at an officer.
The lawsuit says the boy has mental health problems and was experiencing an emotional crisis.
Albion says the officer was fired in February. A message seeking comment on the lawsuit was left with the Department of Public Safety.
Michigan unemployment rate edges up to 4.1 % in April
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.1% in April after six consecutive months of remaining unchanged.
Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show the state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate was half of a percentage point higher than last month’s national unemployment rate of 3.6%.
In April 2018, Michigan’s jobless rate was 4.3%.
Total employment grew by 7,000 during the month while the number of jobless workers increased by 4,000.
The agency says the manufacturing sector saw the most pronounced monthly decline in jobs at 3,000.
Director Jason Palmer of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says total employment gains so far this year have averaged 9,800 per month and payroll jobs rose in April for a seventh consecutive month.
DETROIT ARCHDIOCESE-SUNDAY SPORTS
Detroit-area Catholics curbing organized sports on Sundays
DETROIT (AP) — The Roman Catholic Church in southeastern Michigan plans to stop its youth sports activities on Sundays in an effort to focus on rest and worship.
The Archdiocese of Detroit announced the policy on Wednesday. It’s expected to be implemented this fall by the Catholic High School League and Catholic Youth Organization.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron wrote in a pastoral note that Sunday has lost its place as a holy day and he wants it centered on what he calls “God-centered pursuits.”
Officials say the move has local roots in a 2016 gathering of clergy and members. They are aware of other U.S. dioceses moving toward limiting Sunday sports.
Pope Francis has called on Catholics to preserve Sunday’s holiness. Pope John Paul II wrote about it in an apostolic letter in 1998.
DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-MICHIGAN STATE
Michigan State asks alumni if it’s done enough post-Nassar
(Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com)
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University wants to know how alumni think it’s doing after a scandal involving imprisoned former sports doctor Larry Nassar.
The Detroit Free Press reports Wednesday that alumni were emailed a survey asking about communications from the East Lansing school and if the university has made enough changes.
Hundreds of girls and women have said Nassar molested them when he was a physician, including while he worked at Michigan State and Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. He pleaded guilty in 2017 to sexually assaulting nine victims and possessing child pornography.
Former Michigan State president Lou Ann Simon resigned and faces criminal charges that include lying to investigators. Trustees forced interim president John Engler out earlier this year.
Acting president Satish Udpa has formally apologized to Nassar’s victims.
GUN SHOP THEFT
$5K reward offered after burglars strike Michigan gun shop
COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A $5,000 reward is being offered for information after authorities say burglars took about 10 firearms from a gun shop in western Michigan.
The Ottawa County sheriff’s office says the break-in happened early Monday at Palladium Gun Shop in Coopersville. The sheriff’s office says a law enforcement dog tracked the suspects a short distance, but it lost their scent. It’s believed that they got into a vehicle and drove away.
Investigators initially didn’t say how many weapons were taken, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says about 10 guns were stolen.
The ATF and the National Shooting Sports Foundation each are offering $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
MENTAL HEALTH FUNDS-AUDIT
Mental health provider reaches deal over ex-CEO misspending
(Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com)
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan community mental health provider has agreed to a settlement over more than $19 million in misspending under its former CEO.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports Summit Pointe Community Mental Health and the Department of Health and Human Services entered into an agreement that will allow Summit Pointe to erase a $17.9 million fine by giving the state pension plan assets and money from the sale of low-income housing properties.
The state examined records from the seven years Erv Brinker spent as Summit Pointe’s CEO in Battle Creek. Brinker was fired in 2015. He pleaded guilty to embezzlement and Medicaid fraud in 2016. An audit found Brinker misspent on lavish benefits, parties and side projects.
Summit Pointe says the settlement won’t affect its services and it’s stronger than before.
Vandals shatter more than 200 windows at former outlet mall
(Information from: WDIV-TV, http://www.clickondetroit.com)
MONROE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say vandals shattered more than 200 windows at largely vacant shopping center in southeastern Michigan.
WDIV-TV reports the windows were broken about two weeks ago at the former Horizon Outlet Center in Monroe Township, located just off Interstate 75 about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Detroit.
Dwight Werner owns Monroe Martial Arts, which is located at the center. He says he spent more than a week cleaning up the mess and boarding up windows.
The Monroe County sheriff’s office is seeking to identify and speak with two people seen on video at the center around the time some windows were broken. Authorities say drywall and toilets also were destroyed inside the center. Damage is estimated at between $70,000 and $100,000.
Municipal lawyers urge court to reopen parking dispute
SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — Lawyers who work for local governments across the U.S. are urging a federal court to take another look at a controversy over marking tires to enforce parking rules in a Michigan city.
The International Municipal Lawyers Association objects to a recent decision by a three-judge panel at a federal appeals court. The group says the decision “effectively guts” parking enforcement.
The panel said marking tires in Saginaw qualifies as a search under the Fourth Amendment and could be illegal. The decision applies only in Michigan and three other states, but the lawyers group says the “implications … are wide-ranging.”
The group Monday urged the full appeals court to reopen the case. Saginaw city workers mark tires with chalk and return to see if the vehicle still is parked after two hours.
High water in Great Lakes spells trouble for endangered bird
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — High water in the Great Lakes may spell trouble for the piping plover, an endangered bird that builds its nests on shorelines.
Water levels have surged in recent years as the lakes bounced back from record-setting lows. Vincent Cavalieri of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that means narrower beaches and less room for the plover.
The most recent count last year turned up 67 breeding pairs of the sand-colored birds. That’s an improvement from the low point of 12 pairs in 1990 but a slight drop from 76 pairs two years ago.
Cavalieri says that when plovers nest farther from the water and closer to trees and bushes, they’re more vulnerable to predators such as skunks and raccoons.
Other beach-nesting species such as terns could be affected as well.