Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT
ADULT FOSTER HOMES-OPERATOR CHARGED
Adult foster homes operator charged; residents relocated
(Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com)
OWOSSO, Mich. (AP) — Ten residents at two mid-Michigan adult foster care homes have been relocated and the homes’ operator has been charged after authorities said they were not receiving proper care.
The Lansing State Journal reports that 58-year-old Diane Kay Lott of Owosso was arraigned Wednesday on 10 counts of misdemeanor vulnerable adult abuse. Lott entered a not-guilty plea and was released on bond. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Michigan Attorney General’s office says investigators, acting on a complaint from another state agency, made unannounced visits to the homes and learned three part-time employees didn’t have CPR or first aid certification. A medication provider certificate also had expired.
The Associated Press was unable to find a telephone number Thursday to reach Lott for comment.
Lawmaker charged with corruption calls it ‘crap,’ won’t quit
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker charged with soliciting a bribe for votes says he’s shocked by the indictment and calls it “crap.”
Rep. Larry Inman appeared Thursday on “Michigan’s Big Show,” a Lansing-based radio show, two days after federal prosecutors filed an indictment against the Republican. He says he won’t resign.
The government says text messages show Inman urging a labor union to round up campaign contributions last summer to ensure some lawmakers would vote a certain way on a controversial wage proposal. The messages show Inman saying $5,000 won’t be enough.
But Inman says, “Text messages can be misinterpreted.”
The government says the union didn’t respond to Inman’s pitch. The Traverse City-area lawmaker ultimately voted to repeal a wage law against the union’s interests.
Inman says, “Do you think that I would take a bribe? Come on. This is crap.”
Board reverses clearing of officer in veteran detention
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An appeals board has reversed a decision by western Michigan police to exonerate an officer accused by activists of racial profiling by notifying immigration officials about the arrest of a mentally ill Latino war veteran.
The Grand Rapids Civilian Appeal Board voted Wednesday after an internal affairs review found Capt. Curtis VanderKooi didn’t violate department policy. Grand Rapids’ city manager now will consider whether VanderKooi should receive additional sanctions.
The Grand Rapids Police Command Officers Association has said the union would fight attempts to further discipline VanderKooi.
Activists called for VanderKooi’s firing after Immigration and Customs Enforcement held Jilmar Ramos-Gomez for three days in December before releasing the Michigan-born man and U.S. citizen. VanderKooi told ICE about Ramos-Gomez’ November arrest at a hospital, referring to him as “loco,” or crazy.
OPIOID CRISIS-LAWSUITS-THE LATEST
The Latest: OxyContin maker denies claims from 5 states
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The company that makes OxyContin says it will defend itself against lawsuits trying to hold it responsible for a national opioid crisis, as five states announced new legal actions against the company.
Purdue Pharma said in a statement that the states cannot link the harm of opioids to the company and says the states have “invented stunningly overbroad legal theories” to try to do so.
With filings on Thursday from Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin, 45 states and about 2,000 local and tribal governments now have recent legal action against the Connecticut-based company.
Despite promises of a defense, a Purdue lawyer also said Thursday that the company is working “to try to reach some resolution that is in the best interests of the parties and the public health.”
Man dies in western Michigan corn silo accident
CASTLETON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police are investigating the death of a western Michigan man who became trapped beneath corn in a silo.
They say 72-year-old Robert Othmer of Vermontville was working inside the silo in Castleton Township about 10 a.m. Thursday when he became trapped beneath the corn. Police say family members attempted to pull him free but were unable to do so.
Police say Othmer was finally removed from the silo by first responders but they were unable to save his life.
It wasn’t clear how Othmer became trapped beneath the corn.
BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS
Court: Lansing woman can sue over failed cancer diagnosis
(Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com)
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals says a Lansing woman can sue the county health department that she says failed to diagnose her breast cancer.
Zanetta Hutchinson filed a lawsuit against the Ingham County Health Department, a doctor and a nurse practitioner after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Hutchinson says the department’s Women’s Health Center allowed a malignant tumor to grow unchecked for years.
The Lansing State Journal reports that the appeals court ruled last week that Hutchinson is allowed to sue. The case is being sent back to Ingham County Circuit Court, which previously sided with the health department’s claim that Hutchinson’s lawsuit was invalid because she filed too late.
Michigan law says a claim must be filed six months after an alleged instance of medical malpractice.
Whitmer opposes “zero” medical coverage option for drivers
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she opposes Republicans’ proposal to let people fully opt out of mandatory medical benefits covered by their auto insurance premiums.
She said Thursday that “everyone needs to buy into the system at a certain level.” She made the comments after touring an East Lansing rehabilitation facility for people with brain injuries, and as the Republican-led Legislature considers whether to send a car insurance overhaul to her desk.
Whitmer says she is open to allowing motorists to forgo unlimited coverage and choose a lesser amount, but “the zero coverage option is where I have to draw the line.” She warns that could “bankrupt people,” shift cost to taxpayers and undermine hospitals’ trauma centers.
Michigan is the only state to require mandatory personal injury protection, or PIP.
Right to Life files paperwork for abortion petition drive
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Anti-abortion group Right to Life of Michigan has filed paperwork to begin a petition drive to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure.
The organization made the expected announcement Wednesday, a day after the Republican-led Legislature passed bills to prohibit the dilation and evacuation method and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would veto them.
Right to Life, which calls the procedure “dismemberment,” needs to collect about 340,000 valid voter signatures. If it does, the Legislature could enact the initiated legislation on its own and sidestep a Whitmer veto.
Right to Life says it has received a “large outpouring of requests to get involved,” but it does not plan to begin circulating petitions until the Board of State Canvassers approves the form of the petition.
Michigan House approves e-cigarette ban for minors
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation nearing the desk of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would ban minors from using electronic cigarettes, but it is uncertain if she will sign it.
The Michigan House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved bills that previously cleared the Senate.
The state Department of Health and Human Services says the legislation conflicts with federal regulations. Former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar bills, saying he supported a teen e-cigarette ban but had concerns with excluding alternative nicotine products from the definition of tobacco.
Whitmer is noncommittal on whether she will sign the bills. Spokeswoman Tiffany Brown says Whitmer wants a “meaningful solution” to keep vaping products and e-cigarettes out of youth’s hands.
The federal government already prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. But Michigan is among just two states without its own restrictions.
JAIL STRIP SEARCHES
Lawsuit targets strip searches of women at Michigan jail
DETROIT (AP) — A federal lawsuit says female inmates at a southeastern Michigan jail were forced to remove their clothes in front of male inmates and guards as well as other jail employees.
The lawsuit this week on behalf of women who were Wayne County Jail inmates in recent months says the searches were unconstitutional and alleges the women were subjected to crude remarks. Their lawyer Michael Dezsi says hundreds of women have been subjected to similar searches at the jail.
The lawsuit says the searches were done when inmates were taken to court hearings or for medical examinations. Dezsi says he has documented complaints from female inmates dating back to 2009.
The Wayne County sheriff’s office says the allegations in the lawsuit are under investigation and officials can’t comment during that process.