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POLICE CHIEF-ASSAULT CHARGES
Michigan police chief fired amid sexual assault allegation
(Information from: WOOD-TV, http://www.woodtv.com)
FREMONT, Mich. (AP) — The police chief of the central Michigan city of Fremont has been fired after being charged with inappropriately touching a woman.
The Fremont City Council fired Chief Randall Wright on Monday. A statement released Tuesday said the council wouldn’t comment further on Wright’s firing. Wright has declined to comment.
Wright was arraigned last week on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, one each in Kent and Ingham counties, after a woman accused him of assaulting her in June while they were returning from a Detroit Tigers game.
WOOD-TV reports the woman says an intoxicated Wright made inappropriate comments and touched her “aggressively” despite her objections. Wright was on paid administrative leave when he was fired.
Officials say Sgt. Jon Getting will lead the department until a replacement is hired.
BALD EAGLE KILLED
Bald eagle euthanized after being shot in northern Michigan
MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials say a bald eagle was euthanized after being shot by hunters in Manistee County who said they mistook it for a goose.
The Department of Natural Resources says local fishing guides saw the shooting Saturday in a wooded area on the Manistee River and called the agency’s poaching hotline.
The 2-year-old female was taken to Wings of Wonder, a raptor rehabilitation facility in Leelanau County. Staffers determined both of her wings were too badly damaged for surgery to succeed.
Conservation officers and a sheriff’s deputy confronted the two hunters, ages 53 and 24, who were from New Boston near Detroit. They admitted shooting the eagle.
The DNR said Tuesday it will submit a report to the county prosecutor’s office, which will decide whether to file charges.
2nd Detroit-area trial starts in lawsuit over bogus epilepsy
DETROIT (AP) — Jurors are hearing opening statements in the second trial of a Detroit-area doctor who is accused of intentionally misreading tests to come up with epilepsy diagnoses in children.
Lawyers for Claire Linzell say she was one of 250 children whose EEG results were wrong. Dr. Yasser Awaad worked at Oakwood Hospital, which now is part of Beaumont Health.
Linzell was 4 years old when she was referred to Awaad in 2005. He said he had discovered abnormal brain activity during electroencephalograms. She was treated with an anti-seizure medication.
Brian McKeen says the four tests were a “frightening experience” for the girl, and the medicine made her anxious and impaired her learning.
But Awaad’s attorney, Harry Sherbrook, says it’s “outrageous” to accuse the doctor of intentional bad acts. Opening statements started Tuesday and will resume Wednesday.
A jury awarded $3 million to another former patient after a June trial, but the amount was reduced by a judge to $846,000.
Motorist crashes, dies after deer knocked into windshield
RAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 28-year-old woman has died in southeastern Michigan after a deer struck by another vehicle crashed through the windshield of a car she was driving.
The Macomb County sheriff’s office says the driver of a Chevy Captiva hit the deer about 7:20 a.m. Tuesday on a road in Ray Township, north of Detroit.
The deer was thrown into oncoming traffic and smashed into the passenger side of a vehicle, which veered from the roadway and struck a tree. Erika Ladas of Capac was injured in the crash and later died at a hospital. Ladas had worked as a dispatcher for sheriff’s office since January.
The 40-year-old driver of the Chevy was not injured.
The crash was under investigation.
Priest takes plea deal in sexual abuse investigation
DETROIT (AP) — A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after a Detroit-area jury said it was having trouble reaching a unanimous verdict in his sexual abuse trial.
The attorney general’s office says the Rev. Patrick Casey pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault. He was accused of engaging in sex acts with a younger man who was struggling with his Catholic faith and homosexuality and had sought Casey’s counsel in 2013.
The maximum penalty is a year in jail.
Casey at the time was a priest in Westland. TV station WXYZ reports that a Wayne County jury was deadlocked during deliberations Monday. Casey had been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony.
The Detroit Archdiocese says it learned about the allegations in 2015 and banned Casey from any form of church ministry.
State sprays 14 counties to combat mosquito virus
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Aerial organic pesticide spraying has been completed in 14 counties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to combat eastern equine encephalitis, a rare mosquito-borne virus.
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services says Tuesday that the treatment covers more than 557,000 acres (225,409 hectares).
Four of 10 people confirmed to have the virus in Michigan have died. Several dozen cases have been confirmed in horses and other animals.
State and local officials continue to urge residents to take precautions such as avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn, applying insect repellants and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants. Mosquitoes generally do not die until the first hard frost.
Other states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have recently done similar aerial spraying.
GM STRIKE-THE LATEST
The Latest: GM talks hit snag over job security guarantees
DETROIT (AP) — Talks between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have hit a snag over what the union says is GM’s unwillingness to guarantee new products for U.S. factories.
Union Vice President Terry Dittes (DIT-ez) says in a letter to members Tuesday that a lack of commitment by GM to UAW-represented factories has weighed heavily on bargainers.
He says any pay gains will be meaningless without job security from new products. Dittes says he told the company that there is no job security when GM sells vehicles in the U.S. that are made in other countries.
The union went on strike against GM on Sept. 16, halting production at U.S. factories. Parts shortages have forced the company to close one plant each in Canada and Mexico.
GM had no immediate comment.
Once nearly extinct, songbird coming off endangered list
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Kirtland’s warbler is being removed from the federal endangered species list after a successful battle to save it from extinction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the yellow-bellied songbird has recovered but will continue to rely on habitat preservation measures for long-term survival.
It nests in the young jack pines of northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario that must be logged and replanted on a regular basis to mimic wildfires that historically regenerated the forests.
Efforts also will continue to keep away brown-headed cowbirds that invade warbler nests.
After falling to 167 pairs in 1987, the population is now about 2,300 pairs.
Republicans propose undoing some Whitmer budget vetoes
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control Michigan’s Legislature are proposing to reverse some budget vetoes that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued last week.
Supplemental spending bills introduced in the Senate on Tuesday would fund scholarships for students who attend in-state private colleges and a per-student funding increase for charter schools.
Republicans also want to make payments to local governments that can’t tax state-owned land, fund a summer program for third-graders lagging in reading and ensure that about 120 sheriff’s deputies keep patrolling county and local roads.
A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says lawmakers are preparing for potential budget-related action and nothing has been decided pending talks with Whitmer. Legislative leaders and Whitmer plan to meet Thursday.
She vetoed nearly $1 billion in proposed spending after budget discussions broke down.