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Judge won’t block Michigan’s new redistricting commission

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to block the creation of a Michigan commission to draw seats in Congress and the state Legislature after the 2020 census.

Republicans sued, claiming illegal provisions in the 2018 amendment to the state constitution. The 13-member commission is an extraordinary change that will take redistricting out of the hands of lawmakers in the state Capitol.

Many partisan elected officials or candidates or their family members are barred from getting a commission seat. Grand Rapids federal Judge Janet Neff found nothing illegal about the restrictions Monday, saying, “There is no right to state office or appointment.” She rejected a request for an injunction.

The state is mailing 250,000 applications to encourage people to apply for the commission. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will randomly select four Democrats, four Republicans and five unaffiliated voters.


AG Nessel: Prosecutor spoiled cases with misconduct

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — Attorney General Dana Nessel says a former Central Michigan University student should be allowed to withdraw his no-contest plea after an investigation found misconduct by a prosecutor.

Nessel says Brian Kolodziej (KO’-la-jay) “failed in his sacred duty to properly administer justice.”

Kolodziej resigned in September as an assistant attorney general after Nessel learned that he had an intimate relationship with a woman who had accused Ian Elliott of assault. Elliott has served about four months of a one-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Nessel said Monday she’ll concur in a request by Elliott to withdraw the plea. It’s possible the case will be dismissed. A message seeking comment was left for Elliott’s attorney.

Separately, Nessel says she’s dropping sexual assault charges against two men in another Kolodziej case. A message seeking comment was left with Kolodziej’s lawyer.


Man killed in officer-involved shooting identified

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Police have identified a western Michigan man killed in an officer-involved shooting in the Grand Rapids area.

Police say 34-year-old Steven Forrest Saucier was shot around 4 a.m. Sunday at a home in Gaines Township after Kent County sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic disturbance.

The Wyoming Police Department is handling the investigation. Wyoming Lt. Eric Wiler says Saucier met deputies with a gun, a brief confrontation ensued and one deputy fired on Saucier. Another deputy suffered minor injuries in the confrontation with Saucier.

The deputy who shot Saucier hasn’t been identified and has been placed on administrative leave.


Benson names Jonathan Brater director of elections

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has named Jonathan Brater to be the next director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections following the retirement of current director Sally Williams.

Brater, who will take over Jan. 2, has worked alongside Williams for the past 11 months while he focused on elections while serving as the Department of State’s Legal Policy Director. He previously served as counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, a non-partisan nonprofit, where his work focused on modernizing elections in partnership with secretaries of state around the country.

Benson says in a statement, “Throughout his career Jonathan has demonstrated his commitment to secure, non-partisan election administration.”

Brater, an Ann Arbor native, was selected after an open application process that began shortly after Williams announced her retirement earlier this month.


Snowstorm could make Upper Midwest holiday travel a mess

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Forecasters say a snowstorm could make Thanksgiving travel a mess in southern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and other parts of the Upper Midwest.

At least 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow is expected to begin falling Tuesday afternoon south of Interstate 94, followed by strong winds on Wednesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brent Hewett says Wednesday morning “is not looking great for travel.” Minneapolis-St. Paul could see its biggest November snowfall since 2010.

Hewett says northwestern Wisconsin could be hit by 8-12 inches (20-30 centimeters) or more of snow. He says travel in northwestern Wisconsin “is going to be chaotic.”

Meteorologists say another winter storm could develop after Thanksgiving into the weekend. But they say it’s too soon to tell whether that system will bring rain, snow or a mix.


Canadian Aid: Contractor struggled with snow, seeks help

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — The state says a contractor hired to plow snow in a southeastern Michigan county is calling Canadians for help.

Ferrovial Services has an agreement to plow certain roads in Monroe County. The Michigan Transportation Department says it’s working with Ferrovial to improve performance after a Nov. 11 storm.

The Monroe News says local officials complained about the hazardous condition of certain roads after the early storm socked the region.

Troy Hagon of MDOT says Ferrovial “will be bringing in experienced snowplow drivers from Canada to help provide additional training.” Hagon says the Monroe County Road Commission also might pitch in.


Michigan state trooper injured during I-94 traffic stop

BRIDGMAN, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police say a trooper was injured when a suspect’s car struck the officer as the driver sped away from a traffic stop.

Police say troopers had stopped a Jeep Cherokee for speeding along Interstate 94 in Berrien County about 3 a.m. Monday when its driver accelerated and raced away, leaving an officer with minor injuries.

The suspect’s vehicle continued east on I-94 in southwestern Michigan, with police in pursuit, before exiting in Bridgman and getting onto westbound lanes of I-94.

Police say the Jeep Cherokee then struck a tractor-trailer and rolled before striking a second tractor-trailer.

The Jeep Cherokee’s driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated, fleeing and eluding police and resisting/obstructing police.

Police say the driver and three passengers are all from the Chicago area.


Missouri Episcopalians elect openly gay man as next bishop

(Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri has elected an openly gay man as its next leader.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Rev. Deon Johnson will replace Bishop George Wayne Smith upon Smith’s retirement this spring. The election was held this weekend at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis.

Preaching there Sunday, the Rev. Kathie Adams-Shepherd said the Episcopal Church “has not always been a safe space” for all but that a “new season is ahead.”

Johnson is rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton, near Detroit. He and his husband have two children. He says he has a passion for “social justice and inclusion.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri has about 11,500 active members who live in the eastern half of the state.



Vigil, services set for slain Detroit police officer

DETROIT (AP) — Memorial services have been set for a Detroit police officer killed last week in a shooting that also wounded one of his colleagues.

A vigil is planned Monday for officer Rasheen McClain at the department’s 12th precinct. Public viewings are set for Dec. 4 and 5 at Fisher Funeral Home and Cremation in Redford Township, followed by a Dec. 6 funeral at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.

McClain and officer Phillippe Batoum-Bisse were shot Wednesday while responding to a home invasion. A 28-year-old man, who has been arrested, may be connected to several earlier shootings.

The suspect has not been charged in the shooting of the officers. He was shot in the arm by other officers as he fled.

Prosecutors say they are reviewing warrant requests.