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MICHIGAN LAWMAKER-OFFENSIVE COMMENT

Michigan Senate may not release details of harassment probe

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate won’t release documents from a sexual harassment probe of a male lawmaker who told a young reporter that high school boys visiting the Capitol could have “fun” with her. The Legislature isn’t subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. It does release broad financial records related to harassment investigations, but not much else. Sen. Pete Lucido issued a brief apology for what he called a “misunderstanding” Wednesday after a Michigan Advance journalist published a report detailing their interaction outside the state Senate chamber. A spokeswoman for the Senate’s leader says the probe’s outcome will be communicated.

EMINEM-SURPRISE ALBUM

Eminem drops surprise album, advocates changes to gun laws

Rapper Eminem has once again dropped a surprise album. He’s released “Music to Be Murdered By,” announcing it on Twitter just after midnight on Friday. Eminem has also released a new music video that depicts a shooting at a concert similar to the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting and includes footage of news broadcasts from recent mass shootings around the U.S. The video ends with an appeal to register to vote to help change gun laws. A version of the cover art is an homage to Alfred Hitchcock, who released an album of the same name in 1958. The album features a collaboration with Juice WRLD, the 21-year-old rapper who died in December.

CHILD WELFARE

Michigan House OKs bills aiming to better child-abuse probes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s child-welfare law would be updated to clarify that caseworkers must make contact within 24 hours to assess the well-being of each child in a household where abuse or neglect is suspected under a bill advancing in the Legislature. The measure and others were passed by the House on Thursday in response to a scathing 2018 audit that found failures in Children’s Protective Services investigations. The bills were backed with overwhelming bipartisan support and sent to the Senate for future consideration.

DETROIT MAN-TRAFFICKING CHARGES

Detroit man convicted of drug, sex trafficking charges

DETROIT (AP) — A federal jury has convicted a 70-year-old Detroit man on drug and human trafficking charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said in a release Richard Jackson was found guilty Thursday of sex trafficking using force and coercion, drug distribution and maintaining drug premises. Authorities say Detroit police officers went to the home and found squalid conditions, signs of intravenous drug use everywhere and a security gate installed at the top of a stairway. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement Jackson “targeted vulnerable women and exploited them for his own profit.” Sentencing is set for April 16. Jackson faces at least 15 years in prison.

HOUSE FIRE-SLAYING

Higher reward offered in 2018 slaying of Lake County woman

ELLSWORTH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police have increased to $15,000 the reward for information leading to an arrest in the 2018 slaying of a 79-year-old woman whose remains were found following a house fire in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula. WWTV-TV reports the reward is being offered in the death of Evelyn Louise Ware, whose body was found following the Jan. 10, 2018, fire at her home in Lake County’s Ellsworth Township. The reward had stood at $5,000 since shortly after the fire. The additional reward money is coming from an anonymous donor and the Detroit Crimes Commission. Investigators haven’t released how she died.

ALCOHOL BREATH TESTS

Dozens of alcohol-breath devices back in service in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State police say 37 of Michigan’s 203 desktop alcohol-breath devices have been returned to service. The head of the state police, Col. Joe Gasper, updated lawmakers on an investigation that could raise questions about some drunken driving cases. State police are investigating whether any crimes were committed by contractors who must certify that the machines are properly calibrated. Gasper identified eight police agencies with “discrepancies” in 52 breath tests linked to the DataMaster DMT machines, including some that go back more than a year.

COURT-PEN BAN

Detroit’s 36th District Court drops ban on pens, pencils

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan courts soon must allow visitors to carry phones. A Detroit court is lifting a ban on something even simpler: pens and pencils. Chief Judge William McConico erased the ban on writing instruments at 36th District Court. It was adopted in 2017 under a different chief judge, apparently for security reasons. McConico said the policy was an “unnecessary hardship on the public.”  The Detroit court is one of the busiest in the U.S., serving a city of nearly 700,000 residents.

NURSING HOME DEATHS

Woman released decades after Michigan nursing home deaths

WALKER, Mich. (AP) — A woman who spent 30 years in prison for the deaths of residents at a Michigan nursing home has been released on parole. Relatives of victims had sued to keep Catherine Wood locked up, but a judge in October said he wouldn’t block the parole board’s decision. Five people were suffocated at the Alpine Manor Nursing Home in Walker, Michigan, in the late 1980s. Wood cooperated with investigators and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy. She had been housed at a federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, to separate her from a co-defendant, Gwendolyn Graham. Graham is serving a life sentence.

COUNSELOR-TEENS EXPLOITED

Counselor gets 17 years in prison; coerced teen girls online

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — A man who worked at a Port Huron counseling center for decades was sentenced to 17 years in prison for using internet chat rooms to sexually exploit girls while posing as a teenager. Jackie Woodburn was charged with seven crimes before pleading guilty to producing child pornography. The government said he coerced girls into certain acts on camera. The 65-year-old Woodburn had served as director of Colonial Woods Christian Counseling Center. He resigned in 2018.

WATER BILL-OFFICIAL

‘Oversight:’ Detroit-area county leader pays $558 water bill

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) — Oops: The leader of Michigan’s second-largest county didn’t pay his water bill for more than a year. The Detroit News reports that Oakland County Executive David Coulter paid $558 after the newspaper raised the issue Monday. He last paid a water bill in Ferndale in November 2018. Coulter says it was an “oversight.” He says he hadn’t set up an automatic payment for water like his other bills. Coulter, a Democrat, is the former mayor of Ferndale. Oakland County commissioners appointed him to the executive’s job last summer after the death of L. Brooks Patterson.