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MISSING BOY-MICHIGAN

Boy, 5, found dead in pond after disappearing on Christmas

SIX LAKES, Mich. (AP) — Police say the body of a 5-year-old western Michigan boy has been found in a rural pond, a day after he was reported missing while playing outdoors on Christmas. State and local officers, as well as a swarm of volunteers, had been searching for Beau Belson, who was autistic. He was last seen playing with others Wednesday afternoon in the Six Lakes area, 56 miles northeast of Grand Rapids in Montcalm County. State police First Lt. Kevin Sweeney told an anxious crowd that Beau’s body was in a pond near his grandmother’s house.

ELECTION 2020-MICHIGAN-PATRICK

Patrick short on signatures to make Michigan primary ballot

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has failed to collect enough valid voter signatures to make Michigan’s March 10 Democratic primary ballot. The state Bureau of Elections says Patrick, who jumped into the race late, submitted nearly 8,700 valid signatures, less than the roughly 11,300 that are needed. More than 5,100 signatures were deemed invalid due to errors. The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will meet Friday to consider the petitions. Patrick launched his campaign Nov. 14. If he had jumped in days earlier, he could have automatically appeared on the Michigan ballot without having to file nominating petitions.

CHRISTMAS KIDNEY

Michigan woman gets kidney from husband on Christmas Eve

DETROIT (AP) — Here’s a Christmas gift you’d never forget: a kidney. WOOD-TV reports that doctors in Detroit removed a kidney from Logan Bosselaar on Christmas Eve and transplanted it to his wife, Vanessa. They live in the Grand Rapids area. The surgery had been in the works for weeks. Doctors were surprised that Logan was a perfect transplant match for his 24-year-old wife, who has a serious kidney disease. Vanessa says her husband is “now a piece of me.”

PETS-FIRE

Relative: Christmas Eve fire killed Michigan family’s 5 dogs

COLON, Mich. (AP) — A southern Michigan family is mourning the loss of all five of their dogs in a Christmas Eve fire that broke out when the family was at a holiday celebration. MLive cites a relative, Karen Herman, as saying the family’s dogs died in Tuesday’s fire and the family also couldn’t locate their cat after the blaze at their Colon area home. Herman said the family “lost everything” in the fire, but she said she’s thankful they weren’t home at the time of the fire. TV station WTVB reports the family is staying with relatives in nearby Mendon.

DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-MICHIGAN STATE

Michigan AG: Nassar investigation not suspended after all

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general says her communications director was “inadvertently misleading” when she said her office has suspended a nearly two-year-long criminal investigation into Michigan State University’s handling of complaints against serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar. Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing. Nessel says she remains “deeply committed to finding the truth about who knew what about … Nassar at MSU.” Communications Director Kelly Rossman-McKinney told The Associated Press Wednesday that she was mistaken to use the word “suspended.” She says it was ”a humbling but an important lesson that words really do matter.”

SYNAGOGUE LAWSUIT-PROTESTS

Michigan synagogue member sues anti-Israel protesters, city

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A member of a Michigan synagogue is suing anti-Israel protesters and Ann Arbor city leaders over 16 years of protests outside the Beth Israel Congregation, arguing the demonstrators have been uniquely provocative and so some restrictions wouldn’t violate free-speech protections. The 85-page lawsuit filed recently in federal court describes the protesters’ messages as hateful and anti-Semitic. It says the protests amount to harassment.  The lawsuit likely faces major hurdles. Federal courts, up to the U.S. Supreme Court, have typically extended First Amendment protections widely, including to the most provocative and offensive speech.

INDIANA DUNES-EROSION

Indiana Dunes National Park eyes erosion-fighting sand traps

BEVERLY SHORES, Ind. (AP) — The National Park Service and a northwestern Indiana town will install sand traps along the Lake Michigan shoreline to combat beach erosion at the Indiana Dunes National Park. The federal agency was scheduled to begin working Friday with the town of Beverly Shores to fill 300 linear feet of sand traps at the national park. Officials are asking the public to steer clear of the area as heavy equipment is used to install and fill the sand traps. The park has 15 miles (24 kilometers) of shoreline. Park officials say Lake Michigan’s water level remains “well above the long-term average.” 

ZOO RHINO CALF

Endangered black rhino at Lansing zoo delivers first calf

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Officials says an endangered black rhino at a Lansing zoo has delivered her first calf. The unnamed calf was born at Potter Park Zoo on Christmas Eve before 6 a.m. Zoo officials say the 12-year-old mother, Doppsee, nuzzled her baby within minutes and the calf was standing up about 90 minutes later. Zoo officials say the calf is bonding with its mother and won’t be seen by the public until the spring of next year. Ronan Eustace is a zoo veterinarian and says the mother and calf will be monitored closely for weeks. 

AP-US-RUST-BELT-CITY’S-FUTURE

Rust Belt region banks on becoming hub for electric vehicles

A long-struggling Rust Belt community stung by the loss of a massive auto plant is trying to carve out a new economy. Leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, are embarking on a plan to become a research and production hub for electric vehicles. They’re already seeing some success. General Motors announced this month it will open an electric vehicle battery plant, and a startup company is looking to make electric trucks. But Youngstown faces competition from places like Detroit and China that are taking big roles in developing electric vehicles. Both GM and Ford Motor Co. are investing heavily in their Detroit-area factories.

DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-MICHIGAN STATE

AG suspends investigation of Michigan State over Nassar

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A criminal investigation into Michigan State University’s handling of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal has been suspended and could be coming to a close. A spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Tuesday that the probe is suspended unless the school releases privileged documents or former interim president John Engler agrees to an interview. Nessel’s predecessor opened the investigation into the university’s handling of complaints against Nassar, a former campus sports physician. One former school official has been convicted, and charges are pending against two others.