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GENERAL MOTORS-STRIKE

GM-UAW talks take turn for worse; settlement not near

DETROIT (AP) — The top negotiator in contract talks between General Motors and the United Auto Workers says bargaining has hit a big snag.

In an email to union members, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes (DIT-ez) casts doubt on whether there will be a settlement soon in a dispute that’s led to a 21-day strike by 49,000 union members.

Dittes’ letter says the union presented a proposal to the company Saturday. He says GM responded Sunday by reverting back to an offer that had been rejected and made few changes.

He says the company isn’t willing to fairly compensate workers.

GM says it continues to negotiate in good faith “with very good proposals.”

The strike has shut down GM’s U.S. production since Sept. 16 and hampered manufacturing in Mexico and Canada.

MICHIGAN BUDGET

Spending vetoed by Whitmer may be revived _ if deal reached

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn’t specifying which of the near-$1 billion in vetoed funding she wants to restore if a budget deal can be reached with the Republican-led Legislature.

But a look at what the Democrat backed in her initial plan provides an indication of what ultimately may be revived.

The list includes scholarships for students at in-state private colleges, the Pure Michigan advertising program and a funding increase for charter schools.

Other spending that Whitmer vetoed after previously supporting it includes payments to counties to house state inmates and hire deputies for road patrols.

Whitmer says her vetoes shouldn’t be a surprise because Republicans passed a budget without her input after giving “ultimatums.” Republicans — who want to work on non-budget issues for now — say she left talks.

ROUGE RIVER PARK

Detroit park to commemorate Rouge River’s 50-year turnaround

DETROIT (AP) — Ground is being broken for a park commemorating a half-century turnaround for a river that runs through Detroit’s industrial southwest side.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell and Rashida Tlaib are among the dignitaries expected to attend Wednesday’s groundbreaking of the Fort Street Bridge Interpretive Park.

The date, Oct. 9, also marks the 50th anniversary of a 1969 fire on the Rouge River. Sparks from an acetylene torch ignited oil and wooden debris in the river, sending flames high into the air.

Organizers say the fire was among the catalysts for the Clean Water Act of 1972 and major watershed restoration efforts in the years since.

Plans for the park include a sculpture, kayak launch, boardwalk, rain garden and walking path.

LAWMAKER CHARGED-MICHIGAN

Drive starts for recall of indicted Michigan lawmaker

(Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, http://www.record-eagle.com)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Work has started on gathering petition signatures toward possibly recalling a Michigan lawmaker facing federal charges of trading votes for campaign money.

Republican Rep. Larry Inman has denied any wrongdoing and has rebuffed a formal call from the Michigan House that he resign from his Traverse City-area seat.

Recall Inman campaign leader Kaitlin Flynn tells the Traverse City Record-Eagle that collecting the 12,000 needed signatures will be a challenge. She says community response has been “overwhelmingly positive” since petition circulation started Sept. 23.

Inman’s attorney, Christopher Cooke, says the recall petition violates Inman’s right to an impartial jury by having people seek signatures while the federal case is still pending. Inman is accused of seeking campaign money from a labor union in exchange for favorable votes on wage legislation.

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TOXIC CHEMICALS-DEER-MICHIGAN

Tests find no PFAS in deer from Michigan recreation area

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

COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — State health officials say consumption guidelines are not needed for deer harvested from Oakland County’s Proud Lake Recreation Area, northwest of Detroit.

The Detroit News reports the Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services says tests showed no per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in muscle and heart tissue samples from 20 white-tailed deer harvested within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of Norton Creek in Commerce Township.

The toxins are used in various stain- and stick-resistant household products. They’re also a component of firefighting foam.

Officials recommend that people not eat livers and kidneys of deer taken from the recreation area. They say perfluorooctane sulfonic acid — a type of PFAS — was found in liver and kidney samples. Some liver samples also had low detectable levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs.

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JURY TAMPERING

Michigan Supreme Court takes Big Rapids jury tampering case

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to look at a misdemeanor conviction that raises key questions about free speech.

Keith Wood was distributing pamphlets in 2015 outside the Mecosta County courthouse in Big Rapids. He told people they could choose their conscience over the law if they were picked to serve on a jury.

The case involved a man who had a wetlands dispute with a state agency. The case ended with a plea deal and didn’t go to trial. But Wood was charged with jury tampering and convicted.

Wood argued that he couldn’t be convicted of jury tampering because no jurors were selected in Andy Yoder’s case. The Michigan appeals court rejected that argument.

The Supreme Court says it will hear arguments during its current term.

UNION-AUTOS-PEARSON

UAW official charged with corruption now on leave of absence

DETROIT (AP) — A Missouri-based official at the United Auto Workers who was charged with corruption last month has stepped away from the national organization.

UAW officials said in a statement that Vance Pearson of St. Charles, Missouri, began his leave of absence Thursday.

Pearson is the director of UAW’s Region 5, which covers thousands of union members in more than a dozen states. The organization’s national office in Detroit will oversee the region in Pearson’s absence.

Officials did not give a reason for Pearson’s leave of absence or say if he would still be getting paid.

Pearson is accused of embezzlement, fraud, filing false reports and conspiracy. He is the 10th person charged in an investigation of the Detroit-based union’s finances.

ASSISTED LIVING CENTER-GIFT

Foundation makes gift to assisted living center in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Hydration stations and security cameras will be installed in an affordable assisted living center in Detroit as part of a more than $26,000 gift from the United Methodist Retirement Communities Foundation.

Two hydration stations will be added to the Thome Rivertown Neighborhood common living areas. The cameras will be integrated into the facility’s existing security system.

Thome Rivertown Neighborhood on the city’s eastside is a partnership between the United Methodist Retirement Communities Foundation and other senior care organizations. It features 80 assisted living apartments, and services and programs that serve more than 750 low-income older adults each year.

The gift is part of the foundation’s fundraising efforts supporting the Rivertown Resident Services Fund.

SCHOOL PRINCIPAL-SEX ASSAULT

Former middle school principal pleads guilty to sex charges

(Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, http://www.record-eagle.com)

KINGSLEY, Mich. (AP) — A former middle school principal in northern Michigan accused of inappropriately touching students has pleaded guilty.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports Karl Hartman pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of assault with intent to commit sexual contact stemming from accusations he spanked two former students for sexual gratification in his office when he was the principal at Kingsley Elementary School in 2004. He retired in January.

The 55-year-old Hartman is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1. The felony convictions carry a maximum five-year prison sentence that Hartman would serve concurrently if a judge accepts the terms of a plea agreement under which prosecutors dropped six felony and two misdemeanor charges.

Grand Traverse County Assistant Prosecutor Kyle Attwood says the plea agreement spares the accusers from having to testify at trial.

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