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CONNECTICUT-NEW NAME

Connecticut minor league team to get a new name

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Tigers minor league baseball team is getting a new name.

General Manager Dave Schermerhorn says the Detroit Tigers affiliate wants to rebrand for the 2020 season as something that connects better with the local community.

The club is a member of the short-season Single-A New York-Penn League. It recently reached a new long-term lease agreement with the city of Norwich to continue playing in the 6,000-seat Dodd Stadium.

Fans are being asked to submit name suggestions on the Connecticut Tigers website . Schermerhorn says the club will whittle those down to few finalists and hold a public vote on a new name.

Schermerhorn acknowledges the team would like a brand that has better merchandising appeal. He says that could mean something traditional or a “more fun and whacky name and logo.”

SPRING FLOODING-THE LATEST

The Latest: Spring snowstorm moving into Great Lakes region

A spring snowstorm that pummeled Colorado and Wyoming before sweeping into the Plains is now moving into Great Lakes states, where it’s already setting records.

Winter storm warnings are posted for northern Wisconsin and Michigan, which could see heavy snow, strong winds, sleet and freezing rain. The National Weather Service reports that daily snowfall records have already fallen in La Crosse, Wausau and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Weather service meteorologist Steven Fleegel says as much as 25 inches of snow has been reported in northeastern South Dakota, and it will continue to snow into Friday.

The weather service says the threat of severe weather will shift this weekend to southern states including Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Threats include damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

MICHIGAN ST-RAPE LAWSUIT

Woman who alleged rape by ex-MSU players speaks publicly

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan State University student is speaking publicly a year after suing the school, alleging three former men’s basketball players raped her in 2015 and that counseling center staff discouraged her from reporting what happened.

Twenty-two-year-old Bailey Kowalski said Thursday she came forward because she’s “no longer afraid” and hopes to encourage other “silent survivors” to tell their stories. Kowalksi says she was inspired to go public after seeing victims of Larry Nassar speak out.

Kowalski and the players aren’t named in the lawsuit, which says she met the players at an East Lansing bar and was taken to an off-campus apartment where she was gang raped.

A university spokeswoman declined to comment on the case but said the school takes sexual assault and Title IX situations “very seriously.”

JUDGE-MISCONDUCT

Judicial panel recommends Livingston County judge’s removal

BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) — A judicial watchdog agency has recommended the Michigan Supreme Court remove a Livingston County judge for misconduct.

The Judicial Tenure Commission on Thursday also asked the high court to order District Court Judge Theresa Brennan to pay costs, fees and expenses of more than $35,000 because of “her intentional representations and misleading statements” to the commission.

The agency found Brennan tampered with evidence in her own divorce case, lied under oath and failed to disclose her relationship with a Michigan State Police detective who was a witness during a murder trial before her.

Brennan was barred from hearing cases last June after the commission filed its formal complaint. She has continued to receive pay and benefits.

A message seeking comment was left for her attorney.

AP-US-OFFICIAL-ARRESTED-DETROIT

Pittsburgh official bound over for trial in Detroit fracas

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

DETROIT (AP) — An elected official from Pittsburgh has been bound over for trial on felony resisting and obstructing police and misdemeanor disorderly conduct stemming from an altercation at a Detroit hotel.

District Judge Ronald Giles ruled Thursday there’s enough evidence against Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner to proceed to trial. Prosecutors allege Wagner interfered with Detroit police while they prepared to remove her husband, Khari Mosley, from the Westin Book Cadillac hotel on March 6. The couple was in Detroit for a concert.

The Detroit News reports police body camera footage presented during the hearing showed Wagner berating officers.

Mosley is charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, both misdemeanors.

The couple’s attorneys, Charles Longstreet and Thomas Fitzpatrick, said they plan to sue the police department and the hotel.

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BUSINESS FIRE-MICHIGAN

Explosions reported at Michigan welding supply company

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Explosions have been reported at a Washtenaw County welding supply company that caught fire.

Structures within a mile-radius of Ann Arbor Welding Supply in Pittsfield Township were being evacuated early Thursday afternoon.

Thick black smoke rose above the area, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Detroit. No injuries have been reported.

Paul Cyr, general manager at a nearby business, told the Ann Arbor news that people in the area “heard a big boom, like a car hit the building.”

A hazardous materials team also was called to the scene. Traffic along nearby roads was diverted and a freeway temporarily was closed.

The company’s website says it supplies “industrial, specialty, high purity and mixed gases.”

SECRETARY OF STATE-BRANCHES

Benson outlines plan to address long lines, broken kiosks

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says she will unveil changes designed to shorten wait times and fix broken self-service kiosks at branch offices where people renew driver’s licenses and conduct other business.

Benson, who took office in January, visited all 131 branch offices. She released her findings Thursday, her 100th day on the job.

The Democrat says one-third of self-service stations were broken and in general were difficult to use. She says many customers have to wait in line far too long to access basic state services.

Among Benson’s plans are exploring multi-year license plates and automatic driver’s license renewals. She recently pulled down an online appointment system available in some branches because it was giving customers inaccurate wait times, but her office has begun redeploying the technology.

INTERNET GAMBLING

Judge gives Justice Department a deadline in lottery case

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A federal judge is saying he won’t dismiss a legal challenge from New Hampshire over a U.S. Justice Department opinion the state fears will threaten online gambling and state-run lotteries.

The department Thursday argued it needed more time to determine whether state lotteries and their vendors are subject to the federal Wire Act.

In November, the department interpreted the act as applying to any form of gambling that crosses state lines, not just sports betting.

That raised concerns about the viability of online poker and other gambling across states, as well as state lotteries.

Judge Paul Barbadoro gave the department 14 days to determine the reach of the Wire Act. After that, Barbadoro is expected to rule on the lawsuit filed by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

FLINT AIRPORT STABBING

Attorneys seek 25 years for man in Michigan airport stabbing

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Lawyers for a Montreal man convicted of stabbing a police officer at an airport in Flint, Michigan, have asked the judge to sentence him to 25 years in prison.

Amor Ftouhi (ah-MOOR’ fuh-TOO’-ee) was convicted in November on several charges in the June 2017 attack, including committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries. Witnesses said Ftouhi, who is Muslim, yelled “Allahu akbar” — or “God is great” — while attacking Lt. Jeff Neville, who survived being stabbed in the neck.

Ftouhi could get a life sentence. But in a memorandum filed Thursday in federal court in Flint, his attorneys asked that he be sentenced to 25 years in solitary confinement.

They wrote Ftouhi was depressed about debt and that he couldn’t support his wife and children after moving them from Tunisia to Montreal. They have said he expected to be killed by other officers.

The attorneys declined to comment about the filing when reached by phone.

CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE

Agriculture report shows fewer but larger farms in US

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The latest Census of Agriculture shows the number of farms and ranches in the U.S. has fallen but the remaining operations are larger and are responsible for a higher percentage of agricultural sales.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the 2017 Census of Agriculture on Thursday, marking the 29th release of the report since the government began collecting the data in 1840. Since 1982, it has been released every five years.

The census shows there were 2.04 million farms and ranches in 2017, down 3.2 percent from 2012. The average size of those operations was 441 acres, an increase of 1.6 percent.

About 75 percent of all sales came from only 105,453 of those farms, down more than 14,000 from 2012.

The average age of producers was 57.5.