Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EST

LAWMAKER CHARGED

House leader: ‘Nothing has changed’ with status of lawmaker

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The leader of the Michigan House says an indicted lawmaker will continue to have no committee assignments or staff under his watch after a jury acquitted him of lying to the FBI and deadlocked on attempted extortion and bribery charges. A spokesman for House Speaker Lee Chatfield said Wednesday that “nothing has changed” with the status of Rep. Larry Inman. Inman was charged in May with seeking a bribe from a labor union in exchange for a vote to not overturn Michigan’s prevailing wage law. Inman and Chatfield, both Republicans, met Wednesday, a day after the trial concluded.

KALAMAZOO RIVER CLEANUP

Company to pay $245M toward cleanup of Kalamazoo River PCBs

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Federal officials have told The Associated Press that they’ve reached a $245 million deal to continue cleaning up a polluted Michigan river. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department negotiated the settlement with NCR Corp. It was filed in federal court Wednesday. The company was among several whose paper mills dumped toxic PCBs into the Kalamazoo River from the 1950s to the 1970s. Cleanup has been underway for more than 20 years. The deal with NCR will pay for cleanup of floodplain soils and dredging of river sediments. It also will remove an aging dam in Allegan County.

SPORTS BETTING-NEWS GUIDE

Michigan is poised to legalize sports, online gambling

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Legislature has voted to legalize sports betting and internet gambling. The bills approved Wednesday will expand options for gamblers in a state with three commercial casinos in Detroit and two-dozen tribal casinos elsewhere. The legislation reflects a compromise with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after lawmakers agreed to a higher tax on i-gambling than was initially proposed. Michigan will become the 20th state to authorize sports wagers and the fifth to allow casino-style games to be played online. Sports betting could be in place by March Madness.

STUDENT KILLED

Teen killed while walking to bus stop in Ottawa County

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Police say a teenager was struck by a vehicle and killed while walking to a school bus stop in western Michigan’s Ottawa County. The 16-year-old girl attended West Ottawa High School. The sheriff’s office says she was walking west along a street when she was struck by a vehicle traveling east around 7:15 a.m Wednesday. The driver told deputies that she didn’t see the teen until the time of impact.

MOTEL FIRE

Motel hit with major fire on day it closed due to nuisances

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Fire caused severe damage at a Battle Creek motel on the same day that the property was closing for 90 days due to allegations of drug dealing and other illegal activity. Authorities said no one was hurt in the fire Tuesday night at the Econo Lodge motel. Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant told the Battle Creek Enquirer that firefighters used water for more than two hours. Sturdivant says there’s a “high degree of suspicion” about the cause of the fire. It remains under investigation.

UAW-FIAT CHRYSLER

UAW workers ratify new contract with Fiat Chrysler

DETROIT (AP) — Unionized workers at Fiat Chrysler have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year contract with the company. The ratification means the United Auto Workers union has settled with all three Detroit automakers.  The union said Wednesday that about 71% of Fiat Chrysler workers voted in favor of the deal. The UAW has about 47,000 members at Fiat Chrysler. The deal includes a $9,000 bonus per worker upon ratification. The company also has promised $4.5 billion worth of new investments in U.S. factories. General Motors workers ratified an agreement in October after a 40-day strike, while Ford Workers settled in November. 

BORDER COUNTY-MARIJUANA

Indiana county might ease up on marijuana possession

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — A northwestern Indiana county near Michigan and Illinois is proposing to ease the penalties for marijuana possession. Supporters say it makes sense after Michigan and Illinois legalized pot use. The Lake County Council endorsed an ordinance Tuesday that would give sheriff’s deputies the discretion to write tickets for possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana. Additional votes still would be necessary. The ordinance wouldn’t apply to cities or towns in Lake County. County Council President Ted Bilski says officials must be “fiscally responsible.” He says there wouldn’t be enough room in jail for pot offenders.

CONTAMINATED WATER-MICHIGAN

Michigan townships, company reach deal over contamination

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Two western Michigan townships have reached a tentative settlement with a footwear company in a federal lawsuit over contaminated water. The tentative deal announced Tuesday between Plainfield and Algoma townships and Wolverine World Wide calls for the company to pay $69.5 million toward extending a municipal water system to about 1,000 homes. Those homes with private wells north of Grand Rapids _ near where Wolverine dumped hazardous waste decades ago _  have been affected by the contamination. The chemicals known collectively as PFAS were long used in scores of industrial applications, don’t break down easily and can migrate from soil to groundwater. Some studies have suggested the chemicals can be harmful to human health.

LAWMAKER CHARGED-MICHIGAN

Jury: Lawmaker didn’t lie to FBI, hung on 2 other charges

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal jury in western Michigan has cleared a Republican state lawmaker of lying to federal authorities but was hung on two other charges against him. The Detroit News reports jurors Tuesday found Rep. Larry Inman not guilty of lying to the FBI but could not reach a verdict on charges of attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe. Inman, from Williamsburg in the Traverse City area, had been accused of urging union officials in 2018 to round up $30,000 in campaign contributions per legislator to protect a law setting higher wages on state-financed construction projects.  Colleagues in the Michigan Legislature asked earlier this year that he resign, but Inman declined.

JUSTICES-RAISE

Michigan House supports 10% raise for Supreme Court justices

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Supreme Court justices would get a 10% raise under a measure that has won initial legislative approval. The state House backed the increase by voice vote Tuesday. The raise was recommended by a state commission that considers the compensation of justices and other elected officials. Supporters say the pay hike is needed because otherwise state Court of Appeals judges will soon make more than justices who sit on Michigan’s highest court. Justices make nearly $165,000 a year. Their pay would rise by 5% in 2021 and 5% in 2022. Their salary would be more than $181,000.