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

TEACHER SALARIES-MICHIGAN

Michigan’s falling teacher salaries push some from the field

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

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s declining teacher salaries are leaving many educators feeling undervalued and pushing some to leave the field.

MLive.com reports that new data from the National Education Association shows Michigan teachers’ average salary continued to decrease last year. The labor union says that contributed to a 12% decline over the last decade.

The Michigan Department of Education says the average salary has stagnated since its 2009 peak, at $63,024.

Greg Queen has been teaching in Michigan for nearly 30 years. He says he was unable to provide for his family after a decade of sluggish pay increases and rising contributions for health care and retirement benefits.

Queen says his wife had to leave retirement to make up the lost income.

He says every teacher in Michigan has a similar story.

___

CARRIAGE CRASH-CHILDREN KILLED

Pickup hits Amish horse-drawn carriage, killing 2 kids

ALGANSEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a pickup truck rear-ended an Amish horse-drawn carriage in southern Michigan, killing two children and seriously injuring two others and a woman who were in the carriage.

The state police say the two adults and five children who were in the carriage were ejected when the truck hit it Friday night in Algansee Township, a small farming community not far from Michigan’s borders with Indiana and Ohio.

The children who were killed were 6 and 2 years old. They were pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities say two other children, ages 3 and 4, were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and that a woman also suffered serious injuries.

Sgt. Todd Price told ABC News that the pickup truck’s driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash and is being held in Branch County Jail. Authorities haven’t released the names of anyone involved.

WARREN SLAYING-CONVICTIONS

3 convicted in the fatal shooting of a Detroit-area woman

(Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/)

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — Three people have been convicted in the fatal shooting of a woman whose body was found outside a Detroit-area home.

The two men and one woman were tried together for Julii Larrie Johnson’s January 2017 killing.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said Friday that 61-year-old George Rider of Huntington Woods, 26-year-old Eric Gibson of Detroit and 48-year-old Marcie Griffin of Eastpointe were convicted of first-degree murder in Johnson’s killing.

The Detroit News reports Johnson was fatally shot on the front lawn of a Warren house where she was living with her boyfriend.

Police say Griffin was jealous of Johnson because she and Johnson’s boyfriend had two children together. Authorities say Griffin enlisted Rider, who enlisted Gibson to help kill Johnson.

Smith says the murder arose from “one woman’s enraged jealousy.”

___

SUGAR GLIDERS RESCUED

Michigan firefighters rescue sugar gliders from burning home

(Information from: WWMT-TV, http://www.wwmt.com)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Firefighters called to a house fire in Battle Creek rescued two small residents who got left behind in the smoke-filled home.

Police say the firefighters saved two pet sugar gliders from the burning home Thursday. The small marsupials are native to Australia, New Guinea and some Indonesian islands, and can glide like flying squirrels.

WWMT-TV reports that firefighters moved the animals from the home to safety and successfully treated them with oxygen.

Police say a faulty surge protector caused a heating lamp to ignite a wooden cage inside the home.

No one was injured in the fire.

___

SPIDER BITE-HOTEL

Appeals court revives lawsuit over hotel spider bite

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A man who says he was bitten by a poisonous spider will get another chance to pin responsibility on an Ann Arbor hotel.

James Heuschneider says he was forced to have multiple surgeries on his chest and left leg after an attack by a brown recluse spider. A Washtenaw County judge dismissed the lawsuit in favor of Comfort Inn & Suites, saying the spider was a wild animal beyond the hotel’s control.

But the Michigan appeals court says it was the wrong call. The court says the spider counts as vermin and, as a result, the hotel isn’t off the hook under state law.

The appeals court says a key issue will be whether the hotel’s pest control practices were sufficient.

GM PLANT CLOSINGS-LAWSUIT

Judge denies GM motion to dismiss suit over worker transfers

(Information from: The Tribune Chronicle, http://www.tribtoday.com)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge in Ohio has denied General Motors’ request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the United Auto Workers claiming the company violated the union’s contract by not sending workers to a plant in Indiana.

The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports U.S. District Judge Benita Pearson ruled Friday in Youngstown that a previous union grievance didn’t demand that temporary workers at Fort Wayne be given permanent positions as GM claimed.

A GM spokesman declined to comment Saturday.

The UAW has said GM should have sent workers, including several hundred from a now shuttered assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, to the Indiana plant producing the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

About 1,400 union members were working in the Lordstown plant when GM ended production of the Cruze sedan in March.

___

WOMEN KILLED-DETROIT-THE LATEST

The Latest: Person of interest in custody in Detroit deaths

DETROIT (AP) — Police say a person of interest in the possible serial killings of three women on Detroit’s east side is in custody.

Chief James Craig said earlier Friday that investigators were seeking a man in his mid-30s who’s known to be homeless and who frequents the east side. Police released two photos of the man in an effort to generate tips from the public.

Craig didn’t say why the man is a person of interest.

Three woman have been found dead in vacant houses since March, the latest one this week.

So far, only one has been ruled a homicide. But Mayor Mike Duggan says there’s a “strong possibility” that one person is responsible for the three deaths.

DETROIT SHOOTINGS-LGBTQ-THE LATEST

The Latest: Detroit man arraigned in LGBTQ shootings

DETROIT (AP) — A man charged with fatally shooting three people and wounding two others because they were part of the LGBTQ community has been arraigned on charges.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 18-year-old Devon Robinson of Detroit faces three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder, and five firearm counts in connection with the May 25 shooting. He pleaded not guilty.

A magistrate remanded Robinson to jail. A probable cause conference is scheduled for June 21.

Prosecutors say the shooting killed 21-year-old Alunte Davis, 20-year-old Paris Cameron and 20-year-old Timothy Blancher, all of Detroit. The prosecutor’s office says Davis and Blancher were gay men and Cameron was a transgender woman.

Records don’t list a lawyer for Robinson.

NATIONAL FOREST-FEE WAIVER

Huron-Manistee forests waiving many user fees Saturday

CADILLAC, Mich. (AP) — Visitors to Michigan’s Huron-Manistee National Forests can use some of their most popular recreation sites for no charge Saturday.

The U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees in honor of National Get Outdoors Day.

The waiver applies to day-use sites. Among them are the Nurnberg Trailhead at Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area in Mason County; the Big M Mountain Bike Trail in Manistee County; the Hoist Lake Foot Travel Area in Alcona County; and Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary in Newaygo County.

Also included are Rainbow Bend and other access sites on the Manistee Wild and Scenic River.

Fees are still being levied for camping and day use of 14 sites that are managed by the concessionaire American Land and Leisure. Other special fees such as watercraft permits remain in effect.

UPPER PENINSULA ENERGY

Michigan task force to evaluate Upper Peninsula energy needs

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is establishing a task force to assess energy needs in the state’s Upper Peninsula.

Among its top priorities will be finding a way to distribute propane across the far-flung region without utilizing Enbridge’s Inc.’s Line 5 oil pipeline, the focus of a dispute between Whitmer and the Canadian company.

They’re arguing over a proposal to dig a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac to replace an underwater segment of Line 5, which the Democratic governor says poses an “unacceptable risk” of an oil spill.

About 25 percent of U.P. residents heat their homes with propane, much of which comes from the pipeline.

Whitmer says the task force will examine alternatives to Line 5 fuels in addition to how the peninsula’s overall energy needs are being met.