Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

DEER REGULATIONS

Michigan officials to take comments on deer rule changes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan residents will have several opportunities to sound off about proposed changes in deer regulations.

The state Natural Resources Commission plans to vote on the revisions in July. The seven-member commission is appointed by the governor to regulate taking of game and sport fish.

Among the recommendations are a baiting and feeding ban for the Core Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Area in the Upper Peninsula; a moderate increase in U.P. antlerless deer licenses; redefining bait to exclude natural or synthetic food-scented materials not consumed by deer; and moving the Liberty Hunt to the second weekend in September to prevent conflicts between hound bear hunters and youth deer hunters.

Officials will take comments at a series of forums between May 9 and July 11. Comments also can be emailed to nrc@michigan.gov.

MATERNITY WARD CLOSES

Hospital to close maternity ward; only 6 births in March

(Information from: News Advocate, http://news.pioneergroup.com/manisteenews/)

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — A hospital in northern Michigan is closing its maternity ward at the end of May.

Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital says the number of births has been steadily declining to around 150 per year. There were only six in March, a record low.

Spokeswoman Julie Mueller tells the News Advocate that the hospital needs about 350 births to break even on obstetric services. The departure of a doctor in May also was a factor in the decision to close the ward.

The Manistee hospital still will offer prenatal and postnatal care, but women will give birth at Munson’s hospital in Cadillac, 50 miles east. There also are other options in the region.

Fifteen jobs will be lost. The Michigan Nurses Association says it’s “gravely concerned” about the impact on the community.

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TEACHER EVALUATION-THE LATEST

The Latest: Whitmer signs delay to teacher evaluation change

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan will delay a key change in its evaluation system for teachers and schools administrators under legislation signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The laws enacted Tuesday will halt, at least for a year, a requirement that student growth and assessment data be given greater weight in educators’ year-end performance evaluations. Such information now accounts for 25% of an evaluation but was scheduled to rise to 40% this academic year under a 2015 law.

The change will now be delayed until the 2019-20 school year.

The Democratic governor says test scores are “only one piece of the puzzle and not the whole story.”

The legislation is supported by teachers unions, school districts and groups representing administrators. Legislators say Michigan’s main standardized test, the M-STEP, does not adequately measure students’ learning over time.

ELECTION 2020-PETE BUTTIGIEG-ALLEGATION

Student says Trump backers recruited him for Buttigieg smear

A Michigan college student says pro-Trump agitators recruited him to falsely claim he was raped by Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj), then published the smear without his permission.

Hunter Kelly, a 21-year-old gay Trump supporter, says conservative activists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman sought to use him for the “despicable scheme” they concocted to blunt Buttigieg’s momentum and help the president’s reelection bid.

The incident may offer a glimpse into disinformation tactics, powered by fake social media accounts and partisan news sites, that could become a staple of the 2020 campaign.

Wohl denied Kelly’s accusation, saying the student had reached out to him.

Invoking the powerful #MeToo movement against a pioneering gay candidate, the anti-Buttigieg smear started Sunday when a post appeared on the publishing platform Medium under Kelly’s name.

CANDIDATE-EMBEZZLEMENT

Former House candidate gets probation for embezzlement

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A former Democratic candidate for the Michigan House has been sentenced to probation and community service for embezzling about $150,000 when she served as treasurer of another campaign.

Thirty-four-year-old Jennifer Suidan of Wolverine Lake was ordered Tuesday to serve five years’ probation and make monthly payments to cover $98,000 she stole from the campaign of Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner and $51,000 she stole from a law firm hired to manage his campaign funds. She also must perform 100 hours of community service and write letters of apology.

She pleaded no contest to embezzlement in March. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such at sentencing.

Suidan was a candidate for the House in the 39th District and lost in November to a Republican.

FLINT WATER

Defense strikes back in records dispute in Flint water case

DETROIT (AP) — Lawyers for former Michigan health director Nick Lyon are vigorously opposing an effort to put his Flint water criminal case on hold for six months, saying it’s a sign of the prosecution team’s “dysfunction.”

The attorney general’s office says it needs a timeout so it can dig through 23 boxes of records found in the basement of a state building. But defense attorney Chip Chamberlain doubts the records are relevant to Lyon’s case. He says prosecutors were aware of the boxes in February.

Lyon has been ordered to trial on involuntary manslaughter charges related to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area in 2014-15. He’s accused of failing to timely inform the public about the outbreak, which has been tied to Flint’s use of the Flint River.

A judge is considering Lyon’s request to dismiss the case.

SOLDIER DEATH-SYRIA

US soldier from Michigan dies in noncombat incident in Syria

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The military says a 28-year-old U.S. soldier from suburban Detroit has died of wounds sustained from a noncombat incident in Syria.

The Defense Department says Private First Class Michael A. Thomason of Lincoln Park died Monday in Kobani. Details of the incident weren’t immediately released.

Amber Martinez tells WJBK-TV that her brother joined the Army so he could “help people” and “protect people who can’t protect themselves.”

Martinez says her family was told Thomason died in a shooting. She says she last spoke with him a few days earlier and he was supposed to be on patrol at the time of his death.

Thomason was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

TANNING PARLOR VIDEO ARREST

High school teacher charged after tanning girl recorded

CLIO, Mich. (AP) — A mid-Michigan high school gym teacher has been arrested after allegedly video-recording a naked 14-year-old girl at a tanning parlor.

Forty-two-year-old Jacob Emmendorfer was arraigned Tuesday on charges of child sexually abusive activity, capturing or distributing an image of an unclothed person, and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell says Emmendorfer was arrested Monday at Tropi Tan Spa in Clio after the girl saw a cellphone dangling over a wall separating her tanning cubicle from another, got dressed and ran out to tell her mother. Sheriff deputies responded within minutes and found Emmendorfer in an adjacent tanning cubicle.

Emmendorfer remained incarcerated Tuesday at the Genesee County Jail. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

He’s been suspended at Davison High School.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA SHOPS

Judge rules in favor of pot shops in licensing dispute

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Medical marijuana shops that don’t have a full state license yet have won another reprieve from a judge.

Judge Stephen Borrello at the Court of Claims says the state can’t shut down shops that don’t get a license until 60 days after a final decision from regulators. He says the state’s handling of applications under a 2016 law has been slow and “apt to sudden change, freakish or whimsical.”

Licensing deadlines have been extended numerous times due to court action and other reasons, including regulators needing more time to evaluate applications. The judge said Tuesday that the state’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious” and violated due process.

The Legislature is paying attention. The House recently voted to prevent unlicensed facilities that stay open after June 1 from becoming licensed for a year.