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Detroit-area official charged with altering voter records

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — An election official in suburban Detroit has been charged with six crimes related to how she handled absentee ballot records during the 2018 election.

State police say Sherikia Hawkins, the elected clerk in Southfield, falsified and forged records after Oakland County officials raised questions about how the city accounted for absentee ballots. It’s important that the number of ballots equals the number of people who participated in the election.

Hawkins is accused of switching her original reports with altered reports. Originals were found in a trash can.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says no races were won or lost based on Hawkins’ alleged acts. Benson barred Hawkins from managing any local election activities while the case is pending.

Defense attorney Harold Gurewitz says Hawkins has a good record as an elections manager, and he predicts she’ll be vindicated.


Lost hiker’s body found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

INWOOD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula say they found the body of a lost hiker at a campsite in the Big Island Wilderness Area.

Department of Natural Resources officials say the body of the 29-year-old man from the Oakland County community of Clarkston was found early Monday near McInnes Lake in Schoolcraft County’s Inwood Township. He was reported missing Sunday evening, which led to a nighttime search.

Officers say the man appeared to have died of an accidental injury. They say his leg was badly cut and he tried to apply a tourniquet.

His name isn’t being released until a medical examiner’s report is completed.

Big Island Wilderness Area encompasses roughly 6,000 acres and two dozen lakes.


GOP, Trump launch campus effort to register, mobilize voters

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Republican National Committee is putting a college twist on its grassroots voter registration efforts, seeking to mobilize President Donald Trump’s supporters.

The “Make Campus Great Again” initiative is offering students free pizza and training, plus campaign swag to distribute.

The events started at four campuses in Ohio last week. Similar training has been held or is planned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Denver and for college Republicans in Michigan.

A regional spokeswoman for the Trump-RNC reelection effort says the training aims to build on young voters’ enthusiasm from the midterm elections and push back against any attempt to stifle conservative voices on campus.

In the 2018 midterms, 67% of voters ages 18 to 22 voted for Democratic House candidates. Just 31% voted for Republicans.


Whitmer OKs Medicaid reporting changes, rips lack of funding

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed changes to Michigan’s reporting requirements for people who will have to meet work-related requirements to qualify for Medicaid coverage.

But she’s accusing the Republican-led Legislature of not allocating $10 million she requested to implement the rules, which will take effect in January.

Whitmer on Monday signed a law exempting some enrollees in the state’s Medicaid expansion program — Healthy Michigan — from having to meet monthly reporting rules if the state can verify their compliance with work requirements through other data.

People would have a month to verify their compliance, instead of 10 days under existing law.

The Democratic governor, who opposes the work requirements, says lawmakers should automatically suspend the rules if data in early 2020 show significant numbers of Michiganders will lose coverage.


The Latest: GM says strikers made threats, put nails in road

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says some United Auto Workers strikers at its Tennessee plant have blocked traffic, placed screws and nails on public roads and damaged vehicles during the ongoing nationwide walkout.

GM detailed its complaints before a local judge approved a temporary restraining order Sunday barring certain unruly behavior at the Spring Hill plant.

Court documents say about 100 nonunion salaried GM employees and contractors remain working at the plant so it can resume normal operations when the strike ends. GM is also shipping 1,000 finished vehicles ordered by customers via commercial haulers. The company says safety and security is the highest priority and a minority of picketers was unlawful.

Several protesters were arrested for blocking the roadway last Wednesday.

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg says the union is committed to conducting strike-related activities safely and lawfully and is continuing to work with law enforcement as issues arise.


Ex-Michigan officer fired for Klan document denies bias

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A white Michigan officer fired after a framed Ku Klux Klan application and Confederate flags were found in his home says in a report he collected antiques and memorabilia linked to “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series.

A 400-page report Muskegon officials released Monday includes an interview with Charles Anderson. Anderson denies any bias or being a KKK supporter or member.

An investigation was launched after a potential home buyer, who is black, reported seeing the KKK document at Anderson’s home. Rob Mathis and his wife, Reyna Mathis, toured the home and were later interviewed.

The report details encounters between them and Anderson, including a 2008 incident in which he pulled them over for speeding. The report says they refused to comply with Anderson’s commands and Reyna Mathis punched him.

She was sentenced to 60 days in jail for assaulting an officer.


Fire guts building at Detroit’s outdoor art project

DETROIT (AP) — Fire has destroyed a building that is part of Detroit’s popular outdoor art project known as the Heidelberg Project.

Flames were shooting through the roof before firefighters brought the blaze under control Monday morning. The building east of downtown Detroit has “you” painted all over it, one of many buildings with the work of artist Tyree Guyton. The rear was gutted, and piles of bricks were everywhere.

Guyton is known for attaching shoes, clocks, vinyl records, stuffed animals and other objects to rundown homes in the neighborhood.

A spokesman, Dan Lijana, says the Heidelberg Project has been hit with fire in the past. He says, “Every time we’ve emerged from it stronger.”

Authorities say a person is in custody in the investigation.


State trooper charged with misdemeanor in fatal crash

DEWITT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan State Police trooper has been charged with a misdemeanor in a fatal crash, north of Lansing.

Investigators say Trooper Brian Wiles crashed into a semitruck, which then struck the rear of another vehicle, killing 26-year-old David Engel of DeWitt.

The Lansing State Journal says 22-year-old Wiles is charged with a moving violation causing death in the July 19 crash in DeWitt Township in Clinton County. Police say overhead lights and sirens were activated as he was driving to a Meijer store to investigate a theft.

There was no immediate comment from Wiles’ attorney. The trooper has been suspended since the crash.


Indiana Dunes seeing more visitors with national park status

PORTER, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Dunes National Park saw its highest number of visitors this summer after receiving national park status.

The 15,000-acre (6,070-hectare) park along the southern shore of Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana became Indiana’s first national park in February.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center has tallied 131,662 visitors in the first eight months of 2019, breaking its all-time annual record. The park drew in over 42,000 July visitors, more than doubling totals from the same period last year.

Park officials say the higher visitor numbers indicate the public has responded to the national park designation.

The giant sand dunes were formed over 10,000 years ago and reach almost 200 feet (60 meters) tall in some places.


Authorities: 1 dead in Detroit assisted living facility fire

DETROIT (AP) — Authorities say a man has died following a fire at an assisted living facility in Detroit that prompted the evacuation of dozens of elderly residents.

The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph’s Manor on the city’s east side and was quickly extinguished. Detroit police Sgt. Ron Gibson told reporters at the scene that two people were taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The fire department says they’re expected to be OK.

Gibson says about 50 people were evacuated. A woman with dementia had been missing after apparently wandering away during the evacuation, but she was later found safe.

The fire was reportedly contained to one room. Residents were allowed back a few hours later. The cause of the fire is under investigation.