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


Ethanol producer blames Indiana plant closure on Trump’s EPA

CLOVERDALE, Ind. (AP) — The owner of a western Indiana ethanol plant is blaming its shut down on the Trump administration allowing some refineries to not blend ethanol with gasoline as required under federal law.

South Dakota-based ethanol producer Poet says it will cease production by mid-October at its Cloverdale plant, one of four it operates in Indiana. A company notification says 50 workers will lose jobs from the closure.

The company says production is being cut at half of its 28 plants where corn is processed into ethanol. Poet says it’s consolidating jobs at plants in Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri.

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued gasoline refinery exemptions removing 2.6 billion gallons (9.8 billion liters) of ethanol from production.

Poet calls those exemptions “bailouts to oil companies.”


Man charged in death of Detroit girl attacked by 3 dogs

DETROIT (AP) — A man has been charged in the death of a 9-year-old Detroit girl who was mauled by three dogs despite rescue efforts by neighbors, her father and emergency responders.

Wayne County prosecutors charged 33-year-old Pierre Cleveland on Thursday with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and having a dangerous animal causing death. Authorities say he’s the owner of the dogs that got loose and attacked Emma Hernandez as she rode a bike Monday in her neighborhood.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Cleveland, in police custody, has an attorney. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

Police described the dogs as pit bulls or pit-bull mixes. One was shot by a bystander while first-responders tried to save Emma in an alley. Neighbors also threw bricks at the dogs to try and stop the attack.


Ex-Kalamazoo diocese worker accused of defrauding immigrants

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A former Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo employee has been indicted on a federal wire fraud charge after allegedly defrauding immigrants she was supposed to be assisting.

Federal prosecutors contend that Monica Karina Mazei engaged in a scheme between 2015 and this year while assigned to help people apply for visas, work permits, permanent resident status and citizenship.

Prosecutors say she requested blank checks or money orders from her clients, wrote “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” in the payee line of the documents that she used as receipts, then wrote her own name on the checks and cashed them.

The diocese said in a statement Thursday that the employee was fired when officials learned of the potential fraud earlier this year.

Mazei did not return a call left on her phone.


Park along Detroit’s riverfront named as it nears completion

DETROIT (AP) — The newest park along Detroit’s eastern riverfront will be named in honor of a native of the city who led Carhartt Inc.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy announced Thursday the park known as Atwater Beach, which opens this fall, is being named Robert C. Valade Park. The name recognizes a gift to the conservancy from the Molly and Mark Valade Family Fund.

The newest park completes a series of recreational spaces along the stretch of the Detroit River and, via a bridge, connects Stroh River Place with the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre. It will feature a beach, playground area and floating bar spanning two boat slips.

The roughly three-acre parcel is a former industrial site that recently has been used as a buoy storage and cement facility.


Republican file 2nd suit challenging redistricting panel

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Republican Party and other Republicans have filed a lawsuit challenging the formation of a redistricting commission to draw congressional and legislative lines.

Thursday’s suit is the second one brought in under a month.

The party, chairwoman Laura Cox, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and others say a 2018 ballot measure approved by voters violates the GOP’s fundamental right to associate or not associate. They fear people who do not represent Republicans’ interests will be selected as Republican commissioners.

The constitutional amendment requires that a panel of four self-identified Democrats, four self-identified Republicans and five unaffiliated members draw political maps instead of the Legislature, starting in 2021.

Voters Not Politicians, which spearheaded the anti-gerrymandering change, says it is confident the law will withstand the latest challenge.


Woman to woman: Female Trump backers try to sell his message

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign is rallying and training a corps of female defenders, mindful that Trump’s shaky standing with women could sink his hopes of reelection next year.

They’ll be leading volunteer training sessions in 13 battleground states, including Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Ohio.

It’s a recognition of the president’s persistent deficit with women that could be made worse by an economic slowdown.

In 2016 and over the course of Trump’s presidency, women have been consistently less supportive of him than men have been. The most recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found, for instance, that while 42% of men approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, just 30% of women agree.


Michigan priest accused of binding teen with plastic, tape

ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) — A priest is accused of wrapping a teen boy in plastic and tape and leaving him in a janitor’s room at a Michigan church.

The attorney general’s office says it charged the Rev. Brian Stanley with false imprisonment after discovering information in files collected from the Kalamazoo Diocese in 2018. The alleged incident occurred in 2013 at St. Margaret Church in Otsego and lasted for more than an hour before the boy was released.

The attorney general’s office says Stanley was asked by the boy’s family to counsel him.

The 57-year-old Stanley was in custody Thursday and wasn’t immediately available for comment. He’s due in court in Allegan, Michigan.

The diocese says it reported the incident to Otsego police in a timely manner, but no charges were filed. Stanley has been prohibited from public ministry since 2017.


Detroit rapper’s aunt-manager killed in car shooting

DETROIT (AP) — The manager of Detroit-based rapper Tee Grizzley has died after shots were fired at their vehicle.

The medical examiner’s office says 41-year-old Jobina Brown died Tuesday from multiple gunshot wounds. She was the aunt of Tee Grizzley, whose actual name is Terry Wallace Jr.

Police say Brown, the rapper and another man were in a car when shots were fired in Detroit. Grizzley wasn’t hurt.

Barney McDowell tells TV station WJBK that the shooting occurred near his house. He says he heard shots, opened the front door and quickly closed it.

Another music manager, Mikey Epstein, says he knew Brown. He says he had a “horrible gut feeling” when he heard the news.


Detroit Zoo to be powered entirely with wind energy by 2021

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Zoo plans to operate entirely on wind-generated electricity by 2021.

Officials said Thursday the power will come from three new DTE Energy wind parks scheduled to go online late next year. The move will prevent emissions of as much planet-warming carbon dioxide as 8,740 acres of U.S. forests soak up in one year.

DTE is providing the wind energy under its MIGreenPower program, which helps its customers reduce their carbon output and support development of more wind and solar projects in Michigan.

Detroit Zoological Society CEO Ron Kagan says ecological sustainability is a top priority for the organization. The 125-acre zoo in Royal Oak also has permeable pavement to prevent storm water runoff and an anaerobic digester that converts animal waste and food scraps into compost and energy.


Skydiver who died in Michigan made low turn

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan company that offers skydiving says a man who died last weekend had no equipment problems but turned too close to the ground.

Skydive Grand Haven released a statement Wednesday, saying 33-year-old Paul Van Vuuren of Atlanta, Nebraska, was an experienced skydiver who had made hundreds of jumps.

Skydive Grand Haven says the event at Grand Haven Memorial Airpark involved hundreds of licensed skydivers doing “high-performance maneuvers” with small, fast parachutes. The company says it was a separate group and unrelated to its business.

Skydive Grand Haven says accidents sometimes occur and it is “deeply saddened” by Van Vuuren’s death. Grand Haven is 34 miles (55 kilometers) west of Grand Rapids along Lake Michigan.