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

CELLPHONE THEFT-COURTROOM

Man charged in theft of cellphone from courtroom bench

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — A cellphone left unattended on a courtroom bench proved too enticing a target for a suburban Detroit man appearing before the judge on another matter.

The Macomb County prosecutor’s office says Friday that the man was waiting to be sentenced in June in Macomb Circuit Court for a 2017 traffic case when he saw the phone on the bench in front of him.

He sat down beside the phone, placed his hat atop it before sliding the phone into his pocket.

The phone’s owner returned and asked a courtroom deputy for assistance when he saw it had been removed. The deputy reviewed the courtroom’s video feed which recorded the theft.

The Eastpointe man is charged with larceny in a building in connection with the stolen phone.

NATIVE VETERANS-HEALTH

Bill would expand health care options for Native veterans

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A bill introduced in Congress would expand health care options for Native American veterans.

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and California Rep. Ro Khanna announced the bill Friday. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has signed on as co-sponsors.

The measure would allow the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to reimburse about three dozen health care facilities in 20 states for services provided to Native veterans in urban areas. California leads in the number of urban Indian health centers.

A reimbursement system already exists for about 185 hospitals and clinics run by the federal Indian Health Service or by tribes in more remote areas. Udall’s office says those agreements helped more than 9,300 Native veterans last year.

Census figures show about three-quarters of Native Americans live in urban areas.

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This story corrects the number of states to 20, not 19.

CIVIL RIGHTS-DIRECTOR REPRIMANDED

Civil Rights director reprimanded for inappropriate comments

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Civil Rights Commission is reprimanding Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu for inappropriate comments that he has said objectified women.

Chair Alma Wheeler Smith says Arbulu should complete a training program and can’t conduct internal or external training on his own during that time.

Arbulu has been director since 2015. He said in a statement that he made “comments objectifying women” and that were “unacceptable and regrettable.”

The Civil Rights department investigates discrimination complaints including those involving race and gender.

Commission spokeswoman Vicki Levengood tells the Detroit Free Press Friday that the remark was to a male staffer in May about a woman attending a meeting.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office calls the decision to keep Arbulu as director but take away some of his responsibilities “difficult to comprehend.”

FATAL CRASH-MICHIGAN

Vehicle crash kills 4, injures 2 in southwestern Michigan

BUCHANAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Four people have been killed and two others injured when a motorist ran a stop sign and smashed into another vehicle in southwestern Michigan’s Berrien County.

WNDU-TV reports that four people in the second vehicle died in the noon Friday crash in Buchanan Township, just north of the state line with Indiana.

Two people in the vehicle that ran the stop sign were hurt and taken to hospitals.

GUN THEFT-REWARD

Reward offered after theft of 40 guns from Saginaw shop

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A $5,000 reward is being offered in the theft of about 40 guns from a mid-Michigan weapons store.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation posted the reward Friday following a break-in at Showtime Guns & Ammo Sales in Saginaw.

ATF says the four masked men broke into the store about 3 a.m. Friday.

Saginaw Township Police Lt. Rick Herren says surveillance cameras captured video of the thieves.

LAKE MICHIGAN PLANE-RESTORATION

Restoration of WWII-era plane offers pilot’s family closure

(Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo)

PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) — The restoration of a WWII-era plane is bringing closure to the family of the veteran who crash-landed it in Lake Michigan but later died in combat.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the plane’s last pilot, Lt. John Lendo, made an emergency landing in Lake Michigan in 1944 during a training mission. He survived the crash but died later that year while serving in the Philippines. His body wasn’t recovered.

The plane was pulled from the lake in 2009 and is being restored at the Air Zoo in Portage. The work is expected to be finished next year.

Arthur Lendo, the pilot’s nephew, said Thursday that the restoration gives him a chance to honor his uncle. He donated more than $100,000 to fund the work.

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PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS-SHORELINE REPAIRS

Porcupine Mountains park getting $550K in shoreline repairs

(Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com)

SILVER CITY, Mich. (AP) — Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is getting $550,000 in emergency shoreline repairs along a main entry road.

MLive.com reports the state says high water levels along Lake Superior and recent storm damage have caused erosion that’s threatening County Road 107.

Work is scheduled to begin Monday.

Eric Cadeau, a regional field planner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, says the work aims to prevent visitors from needing to take an 80-mile (129-kilometer) detour to get to another park entry point. The state is teaming with the Ontonagon County Road Commission on the project.

High water levels on the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior, have been blamed for flooding and contributed to hazardous conditions along shorelines this year in the region.

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FLOOR CLEANER-JOYRIDE

Joyride on floor cleaner causes damage at Michigan school

TROY, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say three people who broke into a suburban Detroit high school caused more than $1,200 in damage while riding a floor cleaning machine through the hallways.

The Troy Police Department posted photos on social media of the male suspects in the July 25 break-in at International Academy East High School.

Detroit TV stations including WDIV-TV broadcast surveillance video of the apparent joyride. The suspects are seen riding in hallways, sometimes two at a time on the machine, crashing into things along the way. WXYZ-TV reports police say they damaged about $1,200 in musical instruments as well as furniture.

Police are asking anyone with information on the suspects to contact investigators.

MARQUETTE-OLD HOSPITAL

Deal falls through for former Marquette hospital site

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — A developer is backing out of a plan to acquire and redevelop a 21-acre (8.5-hectare) former hospital campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Veridea Group says it’s terminating the deal “with great regret.” It had announced plans in December to purchase the College Avenue complex in Marquette, which included 800,000 square feet (74,322 square meters) of buildings, some homes and vacant lots.

In a statement, Veridea president Robert Mahaney says significant issues were discovered during a review period. He didn’t elaborate.

The former Marquette General Hospital site is controlled by a subsidiary of LifePoint Health.

Mahaney says redevelopment of the site is “critical” to Marquette.

GENERAL MOTORS-LORDSTOWN

GM: VP Pence was mistaken about funds for buying idled plant

(Information from: The Vindicator, http://www.vindy.com)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — General Motors says U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was incorrect in saying that a fledgling electric vehicle maker and a new affiliated company have secured funding to buy GM’s shuttered Lordstown plant in Ohio.

Pence made the comments Tuesday while visiting Lancaster, Ohio.

GM spokesman Jim Cain tells The Vindicator in Youngstown that $25 million obtained by Workhorse Group Inc. from private investors is not directly related to a sale of the Lordstown plant.

The newspaper reported that Pence’s office and a Workhorse spokesman didn’t immediately respond to follow-up inquiries about the vice president’s comments.

Cain says discussions about the details and conditions of a potential purchase are ongoing between GM, Workhorse and its new affiliated company. Cain says the buyer would be that affiliate, not Workhorse.

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