Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EST
PUMPKIN-TOLL ROAD OVERPASS
Police: Pumpkin tossed from toll road overpass causes crash
LAPORTE, Ind. (AP) — A Michigan motorist has suffered minor injuries after a pumpkin tossed from a northwestern Indiana Toll Road overpass crashed through her windshield.
State police say 64-year-old Susan Brown of Edwardsburg was struck by the pumpkin about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, lost control and drove into a ditch in LaPorte, east of the Michigan City exit.
Brown suffered minor injuries. Edwardsburg is just north of the Indiana state line.
The pumpkin was thrown from the North Goldring Road overpass. Police say it was the second incident at that location and the third time an object has been thrown onto a roadway in the area since Nov. 7.
No arrests have been made.
SENIOR HOUSING-KILLINGS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Warrant to be sought in senior complex slayings
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police plan to seek charges against a registered sex offender suspected in the fatal shooting of two people at a senior housing complex.
Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood told The Associated Press Wednesday that a warrant request naming 69-year-old James Fleming is being prepared for presentation to the Wayne County prosecutor’s office.
A 50-year-old unarmed security guard and a 66-year-old female resident were shot to death at the Phillip Sims Senior Housing complex Tuesday night. Fleming is also accused of earlier trying to rape a 30-year-old woman who was visiting him that day.
Fleming fled after the shootings and is believed to be driving a dark blue 2001 Chrysler Town and Country minivan with Tennessee plates.
Chief James Craig told reporters Wednesday that Fleming lives in the building.
Senate OKs Coast Guard bill with ballast water compromise
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Senate has approved a new policy on ships that dump ballast water in coastal ports and the Great Lakes, a practice blamed for spreading invasive species that damage the environment and the economy.
The ballast plan is contained in a $10.6 billion Coast Guard budget authorization bill passed Wednesday. It now goes to the House for consideration.
Environmentalists and the shipping industry have battled for years over regulation of ballast water, which keeps ships upright in rough seas.
Under the bill, the Environmental Protection Agency would continue setting rules requiring ships to treat ballast water before it’s discharged. The Coast Guard would enforce them.
States could not set regulations tougher than those on the federal level. But Great Lakes regional standards could be established if enough states agree.
Michigan Medicaid approved for drug pricing experiment
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is the second state to receive federal approval for a drug-pricing experiment that supporters say may enable the state to save money and ensure medicines are working as advertised.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the waiver approval Wednesday, months after OK’ing a similar proposal from Oklahoma. Administrator Seema Verna says Michigan will be empowered to “demand results from drug manufacturers in exchange for paying for medicines” for Medicaid recipients.
Under the value-based purchasing program, the state and a pharmaceutical company would agree to a set payment if its medication works as advertised, but only a fraction of that if the drug is not as effective as promised.
DETROIT CASINO SALE
Dan Gilbert selling Detroit’s Greektown casino in $1B deal
DETROIT (AP) — Businessman and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has reached an agreement to sell Greektown Casino-Hotel in downtown Detroit for $1 billion.
Gilbert’s Detroit-based JACK Entertainment said Wednesday it planned to sell the casino to Pennsylvania-based Penn National and New York-based VICI Properties. The deal requires state and federal regulatory approval.
Under the agreement, Penn National will acquire the operating assets of Greektown for about $300 million and VICI Properties will acquire the land and real estate assets for about $700 million.
In a statement, Gilbert and his companies say they are targeting the capital proceeds from the sale for investment in Detroit real estate and business development.
Gilbert already has a major real estate presence in Detroit and has been a key player in the revitalization of the city’s downtown.
Police: Woman, 77, dies after apparent dog attack at home
BIG PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 77-year-old woman died after apparently being mauled by a family dog at a home in western Michigan.
State police say troopers went to the home Tuesday in Newaygo County’s Big Prairie Township and found Sharon Lee Daniels unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say Daniels, who used a wheelchair, was home alone with three dogs when one of them bit her.
Police say the three dogs, which were described as pit bulls, were seized by county animal control officers and were being held at the county animal shelter.
The home is located about 150 miles (241 kilometers) northwest of Detroit. Results of an autopsy to confirm Daniels’ cause of death were pending.
Police are investigating, but they say criminal activity isn’t suspected.
Settlement with ex-inmate with HIV includes policy change
(Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids)
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A proposed settlement says a former Michigan inmate with HIV will get $150,000 after he alleged he was given a harsher penalty for alleged sexual activity in 2012 than a non-infected prisoner.
The Grand Rapids Press reports Michigan has agreed to change its policy in assessing inmates with HIV as part of the lawsuit settlement with 47-year-old John Dorn.
He said he spent 11 months in administrative segregation, was given a higher security classification and was sent to a prison in the Upper Peninsula, while the other prisoner only lost privileges for 30 days.
The settlement awaits a judge’s approval. Records say the agreement with the Michigan Department of Corrections isn’t an admission of wrongdoing by either side.
Department spokeswoman Holly Kramer says “all parties are satisfied with the resolution.”
UPPER PENINSULA MINE-MICHIGAN
Lawsuit seeks to block mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
MENOMINEE, Mich. (AP) — A group is suing two federal agencies as part of an effort to block a proposed mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin line.
The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River names the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The federal government hasn’t formally responded to the lawsuit. The Justice Department says it’s reviewing the complaint.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced in June that it granted a final permit to Toronto-based Aquila Resources, which is targeting primarily gold and zinc in an underground sulfide deposit discovered in 2001. The company also expects its Back Forty mine to produce smaller volumes of copper, silver and lead.
The Menominee Indian Tribe sued in January seeking to block the project .
Lawsuit seeks to maintain federal gray wolf protections
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An environmental group has sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to preserve federal protections for gray wolves and force the agency to develop a national recovery plan for the species.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, a day after the service denied the group’s petition for a nationwide recovery plan. The service said its regional approach meets the legal requirements.
But the group says the agency is required under the Endangered Species act to foster the recovery of gray wolf populations across their former range, not just in the northern Rockies, the Great Lakes region and the southwest.
Congress lifted federal protections for northern Rockies wolves, but courts have blocked efforts to lift them in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The Department of Justice says it’s reviewing the complaint and has no further comment.