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

CHURCH ABUSE-MICHIGAN

Lansing Diocese removes accused senior priest from ministry

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Lansing says it has removed a senior priest from public ministry because of what it calls a “credible allegation” of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor dating to the 1960s.

The diocese announced Friday it had taken the action against the Rev. Joseph Aubin, who was not assigned to a parish since he was on senior status.

A residential phone listing for Aubin in the Lansing area rang busy Friday afternoon and he could not be reached for comment.

The diocese announced in September that it plans to invite an external agency to review how it handled sexual abuse allegations. Its report has not yet been published.

Catholic dioceses across Michigan have surrendered documents to state officials investigating sexual abuse by priests.

HUNTER DEATH

Authorities: Hunter apparently accidentally shot, killed

ALDEN, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a hunter apparently accidentally shot and killed another hunter in Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula on the first day of the state’s annual firearms deer season.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says conservation officers responded Thursday afternoon to a reported hunting accident in near the Antrim County community of Alden. The DNR says 38-year-old Justin Beutel of the Midland County community of Sanford was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lt. James Gorno, a district law supervisor with the DNR, says in a statement that Beutel was hunting on private property and was apparently shot by a 45-year-old Gaylord man who was hunting nearby. He says the men weren’t hunting together and apparently didn’t know each other.

The death is under investigation. Firearms deer season runs through Nov. 30.

POLICE CHIEF-SON

Son of Detroit-area police chief found dead in vacant home

(Information from: WWJ-AM, http://www.wwj.com)

DETROIT (AP) — The body of the 55-year-old son of a suburban Detroit police chief has been found in a burned-out Detroit house.

Warren police Commissioner Bill Dwyer says, “Sadly, it’s true.” He confirmed the discovery of Michael Dwyer’s body to radio station WWJ .

The fire occurred on Oct. 26 in a vacant house, but the body wasn’t discovered until Wednesday. Southfield police were following up on a missing person’s report.

Detroit fire Commissioner Eric Jones says the house was too dangerous to search immediately after the fire was extinguished. He called it a “firefighter safety issue.”

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts says Dwyer and his wife are devastated. The case is under investigation.

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WINTRY WEATHER-MICHIGAN

Slippery roads likely factor in 2 Michigan crash deaths

WAYLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say slippery road conditions amid wintry weather likely were a factor in separate crashes that killed two people in Michigan.

In western Michigan, a two-vehicle crash Thursday in Allegan County’s Wayland Township left one person dead. Authorities say one vehicle likely lost control and was struck by an SUV. The sheriff’s office says 77-year-old Frances May Engeseth, who lived in the Delton area, was pronounced dead at the scene.

In southern Michigan, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reports an 18-year-old woman died Thursday night after apparently losing control of her vehicle on an icy roadway in Jackson County’s Henrietta Township and hitting a tree.

A pre-winter storm that hit the Midwest and other parts of the U.S. brought snow and freezing rain to Michigan, leaving roads slick around the state.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK-MICHIGAN

Economic forecast calls for continued Michigan job growth

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — University of Michigan economists say the state’s economy is on the brink of the longest period of job growth since the World War II era.

The Ann Arbor school’s economists released their annual analysis of Michigan’s economy Friday, noting that the state has seen nine years of uninterrupted job growth.

Despite some slowing in job growth, the forecast for the next two years looks positive. It’s from economists Gabriel Ehrlich, George Fulton, Donald Grimes and Michael McWilliams as well as researcher Jacob Burton.

Ehrlich, director of the school’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics , notes “mixed news is that job growth is slowing down as the labor market tightens.”

The 2019-20 forecast for Michigan sees steady but muted job growth, low unemployment, tame inflation and an economy that continues to diversify.

CONGRESS-WOLVES

House passes bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House has passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species.

Long despised by farmers and ranchers, wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned out of existence in most of the U.S. by the mid-20th century. Since securing protection in the 1970s, wolves have bounced back in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the wolf’s status and is expected to declare they’ve recovered sufficiently to be removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The House bill enshrines that policy in law. It was approved, 196-180, and now goes to the Senate.

VOLKSWAGEN

VW wants to storm car market with mass-market electric model

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker Volkswagen says it will invest 44 billion euros ($50 billion) in developing autonomous and electric cars and expand the appeal of battery-powered cars by selling its upcoming ID compact for about what a diesel-powered Golf costs.

Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch told a news conference Friday that the company’s plans for the next five years aim to make Volkswagen “a worldwide supplier of sustainable mobility.”

Poetsch says the company is in talks with Ford about possible cooperation in making light commercial vehicles.

Volkswagen is converting three of its German plants from internal combustion to battery car production as it pivots away from diesel vehicles in the wake of its emissions scandal. It says it will increase the number of electric models from six now to more than 50 by 2025.

GRAND RAPIDS COLD CASE SLAYING

Michigan man sentenced to life in prison for 2nd slaying

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan man who already was imprisoned for killing his half brother has been sentenced to life in prison for a second slaying.

Twenty-three-year-old Royale Runyon was given the most-recent punishment Thursday in Kent County Circuit Court. Runyon was charged last year with murder in the December 2012 shooting death of a 20-year-old woman. He was convicted of first-degree murder in July.

Runyon, in a statement, maintained his innocence. He was 17 at the time of the killings.

Runyon already was serving a sentence of at least 30 years in prison for second-degree murder in the slaying of his half brother, 20-year-old Mahdi Hayes, five days after the woman was killed.

The woman was Hayes’ former girlfriend and police later connected him to her shooting death.

RECYCLING GRANTS

Detroit, Warren get state grants to boost curbside recycling

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is helping the cities of Detroit and Warren pay for curbside recycling carts.

The department awards grants to help communities improve their recycling collection infrastructure.

Warren will receive $500,000 to support the purchase of 25,000 recycling carts, while Detroit will get $75,000 for 7,000 carts.

Officials say the state assistance was matched at a rate of over 130 percent, producing a total investment of more than $1.3 million.

The DEQ says the grants will result in greater recovery of recyclable material, get more residents involved and boost opportunities for recycling education.

Gov. Rick Snyder has pushed to boost Michigan’s recycling rate.

SUPREME COURT-WILDER

Supreme Court justice not stopping despite election loss

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan Supreme Court justice who lost an election still will hear arguments in five cases Monday.

Justice Kurtis Wilder finished third in the race for two seats on the state’s highest court. The defeat last week means his term ends at the end of December.

Court spokesman John Nevin says Wilder will participate in decisions that can be written before Jan. 1. The court heard 13 cases in October, including a major dispute about people who were wrongly accused of committing fraud to get unemployment benefits. But it sometimes takes months for opinions to emerge.

No cases will be heard in December.

Megan Cavanagh will become the newest justice on Jan. 1. Justice Elizabeth Clement also won election to an eight-year term.