Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. EDT


Plants cropping up in lost Michigan lakes where dams failed

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A nonprofit organization wants to gain ownership of four Michigan dams, including two that failed in storms on May 19. The Four Lakes Task Force representing Wixom Lake property owners in the Midland area wants to restore the infrastructure and shoreline of Wixom and Sanford lakes, while saving local residents’ houses from being lost to the eroding edges of what were once the lakes. Meanwhile, nature is returning to craters left from the lakes drained by two dams that failed in May. But not always in a good way. Initially, they were dry, but wet weather has caused plants and trees to start growing.


AP sources: Whitmer met with Biden as he nears VP decision

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Joe Biden recently talked with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who traveled to Delaware to meet with Biden as he neared the announcement of his vice presidential choice. That is according to two high-ranking Michigan Democrats. The officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, say Whitmer visited Biden last Sunday. It’s his first confirmed in-person meeting with a potential pick. Whitmer, the first-term governor of a battleground state, has long been on his short list of possible running mates. Flight records show a chartered flight left Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport for Delaware Coastal Airport.


Michigan boys praised for returning wallet with $364 inside

WAYLAND, Mich. (AP) — Two western Michigan boys who found a wallet filled with cash are being praised for turning their find over to local police. The Wayland Police Department says the two boys, identified only as Austin and Logan, approached officers outside the department’s headquarters and gave them the wallet. reports the officers found that the wallet contained $364 in cash and a deputy later delivered it to its rightful owner, a man from the nearby community of Hopkins. The police department declared in a Wednesday posting on Facebook that “Logan and Austin are Wayland Police Citizens of the Day,” adding “Way to go gents!”


Western Michigan city OKs device to turn waste into a fuel

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan city is moving ahead with a nearly $34 million project to equip its wastewater treatment plant with a egg-shaped device that will break down waste and turn it into a fuel. The Holland City Council voted Wednesday to approve a contract calling for construction of an anaerobic digester tank at the Holland Board of Public Works’ wastewater treatment plant. The Holland Sentinel reports that the digester will break down solid waste left after the wastewater treatment process and produce biogas, which can be used to provide heat or electricity at the plant.


Special September hunts will target Alpena’s nuisance geese

ALPENA, Mich. (AP) — A community in the northern Lower Peninsula has approved three hunts in September to target local populations of nuisance geese. Alpena’s city council voted Monday in favor of the special hunts to reduce the number of geese, which are aggressive toward people and spoil parks and athletic fields with their droppings. The hunts are scheduled for Sept. 3, 10 and 17 at the Alpena County Fairgrounds and at a local park. City building official Don Gilmet says hunts last year killed 115 geese. An annual effort to grab the birds’ eggs didn’t occur this year because of the coronavirus.


Utility assistance relief fund to help Hatch Detroit alums

DETROIT (AP) — Hatch Detroit contest winners and other participants whose businesses have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic will have access to a $100,000 utility assistance relief fund created by the nonprofit. This year’s Hatch Detroit Small Business Alumni Relief Fund takes the place of the annual Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest. Hatch Detroit is a nonprofit that supports existing and new retail initiatives in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck through funding, exposure and mentoring. More than 40 business have opened with its support since the first contest was held in 2011. Comerica has invested another $50,000 to provide organizational support to Hatch Detroit in 2020.


Michigan official to resign after defending racist slur

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — An official in a northern Michigan county says another official who acknowledged using a racist slur plans to resign. Tom Eckerle is a member of the Leelanau County Road Commission. A local newspaper quoted him this week as using a racist slur to describe Black residents of Detroit, whom he allegedly blamed for spreading the coronavirus. County Administrator Chet Janik tells The Associated Press that Eckerle will submit a letter of resignation Monday. The Traverse City Record-Eagle says Eckerle informed the newspaper of his intention to quit. He didn’t return a call from the AP. In an interview earlier Friday, he defended his use of the slur and said he wasn’t a racist.


Whitmer extends coronavirus emergency through Sept. 4

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended Michigan’s coronavirus emergency through Sept. 4, enabling her to keep in place restrictions designed to curb COVID-19. The Democratic governor on Friday pointed to an uptick in confirmed new cases. Since nearly two months ago, the seven-day statewide average is up six-fold, to about 700, per an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The rate of positive tests also has trended higher since early June. Whitmer has used the emergency declaration to issue orders to close certain businesses, limit gathering sizes and require masks in enclosed public spaces and crowded outdoor places.


Judge: U-Mich. must tell alumni about doctor abuse lawsuits

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A judge ordered the University of Michigan to inform alumni about a class-action lawsuit against the school over sexual abuse by a longtime campus doctor. Detroit federal Judge Victoria Roberts intervened after lawyers argued that the university shouldn’t be communicating with people who could become plaintiffs in the case. The school had already sent letters to more than 300,000 former students seeking information that could help an investigation being conducted by the WilmerHale law firm. Dr. Robert Anderson worked at Michigan from the mid-1960s through 2003. The university believes he assaulted athletes, especially males, during routine physicals and injury exams. Anderson died in 2008.


Auditor: Official key to tracing contract refused interview

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A state official involved in a coronavirus contact-tracing contract that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer canceled refused to be interviewed by auditors who investigated. A July 31 letter released by Rep. Ann Bollin on Friday shows that Andrea Taverna  instead referred auditors’ questions to her attorney. Taverna is a senior advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services. Bollin sought the inquiry into the handling of the contract. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office also is investigating how the state awarded the contract to a Democratic political firm to help contact and warn people who were potentially exposed to COVID-19.