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Nassar, Tyndall victims make plea on Title IX changes

DETROIT (AP) — Dozens of people who say they were victims of sexual assault by doctors at three major universities are urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to make campuses accountable for investigating abuse allegations.

The Education Department is considering new guidelines that could change the way allegations are investigated. DeVos has called for a “more balanced approach ” that respects the rights of the accused, especially students.

A letter signed by 80 people was released Thursday. They say they were assaulted by Larry Nassar of Michigan State University, George Tyndall of the University of Southern California or the late Richard Strauss of Ohio State University. Nassar is in prison, and Tyndall denies the allegations.

The victims are especially concerned about ordering colleges to allow cross-examination in student-discipline cases involving assault allegations. They say that “should not be the price of coming forward.”


State forms team to address Michigan funeral home problems

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has formed a team to address allegations of improper body disposal, prepaid funeral violations and other complaints involving funeral homes across the state.

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says Thursday that the team will be made up of multiple agencies. The announcement follows an increase in complaints seen by mortuary science regulators. Three new regulators also are being added, bringing the total to seven.

One closed Detroit funeral home is being investigated by police after 10 mummified fetuses and a full-term infant were found hidden in a ceiling. Another funeral home is under investigation after authorities found 36 fetuses in boxes and 27 others in freezers.

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ mortuary science program oversees 751 funeral homes and more than 2,100 mortuary science licenses in Michigan.


Man who arranged dog fights is sent to federal prison

JONESVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A man who spent time in a Michigan prison for dog-fighting crimes is returning to a federal prison for continuing the enterprise.

Damiane Buehrer of Hillsdale County was sentenced to 46 months in prison Wednesday. Prosecutors say his “idea of ‘bonding’ with an animal involves a large dose of brutality.”

They say the 40-year-old Buehrer was aware that his dogs would win fights “or die trying.” He pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to sponsor pit bulls in fights and also breed them. Four other people have pleaded guilty.

In a court filing, defense attorney Michael Dunn says Buehrer is “passionate about finding a path to a clean and drug-free life.”


Enrollment begins to buy health insurance plans in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The 45-day period to buy health insurance for 2019 is underway in Michigan.

About 343,000 state residents are covered through the individual market.

Eleven insurers are offering 123 plans — nine on the federal marketplace that enables consumers to qualify for income-based tax credits to help pay premiums.

Rates have stabilized for 2019, though a Kaiser Foundation study estimates that if not for changes by President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress, premiums would have been substantially lower next year .

Enrollment began Thursday and ends Dec. 15. Those who bought a plan through the marketplace last year will be auto-enrolled in the same plan unless they pick a different one.

In Michigan, premiums on average are rising 1.7 percent, though rate changes vary by insurer and plan.


Police: 15-year-old dead, 3 teens hurt in Detroit shooting

DETROIT (AP) — Police say a shooting at a home in Detroit left one 15-year-old boy dead and three other teenagers wounded.

Officer Vanessa Burt tells The Detroit News that investigators are working to determine what led to the shooting Wednesday at a home on the city’s east side. Police on Thursday said investigators were seeking two male suspects. One is 25-years-old and the other described as being in his mid-20s.

The wounded were identified as two 16-year-old boys and another 15-year-old boy. Authorities haven’t released their names. They were listed in serious condition.


Deacon charged in connection with sexual assaults of boy

TROY, Mich. (AP) — A 63-year-old deacon has been charged in connection with the sexual assault of a boy at a Catholic church in suburban Detroit.

Hurmiz Ishak of Fraser was arraigned Wednesday in Troy District Court on three counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Police say the boy’s parents reported the alleged sexual assaults in October to a priest at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy, north of Detroit.

The St. Thomas Chaldean Diocese said in a statement that church officials contacted authorities as soon as they were made aware of the allegations.

WDIV-TV reports that Ishak has been suspended from duties as a sub-deacon. The diocese described a sub-deacon’s responsibility as “an elevated altar server.”

Ishak is jailed on a $300,000 bond. A defense attorney was not listed Thursday in court records.


Ex-police chief faces charges related to video poker arcade

(Information from: The Flint Journal,

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A former police chief of Flint, Michigan, is facing charges in connection with a video poker arcade.

The Flint Journal reports 66-year-old Bradford Barksdale is due in court this month after being arraigned in October on charges of gambling, using a computer to commit a crime and possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle. Barksdale stepped aside as Flint’s chief in 2004.

The Associated Press sent a message seeking comment from his lawyer Brenda Williams. She waived a hearing that was scheduled for Thursday.

The allegations follow a raid on West Point Arcade in Flint Township. Adam Crossnoe and his father Alvin Crossnoe also are charged in the case. Attorney Fred Meiers, who represents the Crossnoes, says the operation is “above-board” but the law is “difficult for anyone to interpret.”



Michigan man pleads guilty to disability benefits fraud

(Information from: The Grand Rapids Press,

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan man has agreed to a plea deal for collecting disability benefits despite being capable of working in construction and serving on a governor’s committee.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Michael Alan Fehler Sr. has agreed to plead guilty to conversion of public money.

Prosecutors say Fehler received Social Security Administration disability benefits from 2009 to 2017. Prosecutors say surveillance video from 2015 shows Fehler conducting multiple physical activities, such as loading a lumber cart and carrying a bag of golf clubs.

Defense attorney Matthew Borgula declined to comment to the newspaper.

The prosecution and defense have agreed to recommend one year of in-house detention while on probation.

A judge will review the plea agreement and determine restitution. No court date has been set.



Michigan picks schools to share $25M for security upgrades

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan is giving $25 million in grants to select public and private schools to upgrade door locks and other security features in the wake of mass school shootings in other states.

The state police received 407 applications requesting $69 million — far more than the $25 million authorized by the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder. The agency announced this week that it is giving the $25 million to 114 school districts, 42 private schools, 22 charter schools and 10 regional districts .

Some recipients must provide matching funds, while others do not have to do so. Schools must spend their grant by Sept. 30, 2019.

Snyder says the grants are part of a “proactive approach” to help prevent tragedies in schools.



Lists of recipients:


Family of singer Chris Cornell sues doctor over his death

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Family members of Chris Cornell are suing a doctor they say overprescribed drugs to the rock singer, leading to his death.

Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell, and others sued Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Robert Koblin (KOHB’-linn) was negligent in prescribing the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam and other medication to the Soundgarden frontman from September 2015 until his death in May 2017 in Detroit.

The suit says the doctor knew Cornell had substance abuse problems and didn’t examine him during that time.

Coroner’s investigators ruled Cornell’s death a suicide. The autopsy noted prescription drugs in his system but said they weren’t a contributing cause.

The lawsuit says the drugs caused erratic, impulsive behavior that led to Cornell’s death.

The doctor’s office had no immediate comment.