Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EST
Michigan AG unveils plan to crack down on illegal robocalls
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general plans a crackdown on illegal robocalls.
Dana Nessel on Friday announced a dozen initiatives aimed at putting a halt to the calls, many of which she says are scams.
Her office plans to educate residents so they can protect themselves, step up enforcement, work with the Legislature to update state laws and be a model that other states can follow. Nessel is urging people to hang up if they get an illegal robocall and to report it to her office.
In October, Americans received a record 5.7 billion automated from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others.
Liberal PAC files 3rd challenge to Michigan election laws
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A liberal group has filed a third challenge to portions of Michigan’s election laws, contesting rules governing how people can register to vote in the two weeks before an election.
The suit brought Friday is related to a 2018 ballot initiative that expanded voting options.
Priorities USA says the Republican-led Legislature last year imposed “onerous restrictions” on those registering in person and was wrong to not let voters register at polling places on Election Day.
The lawsuit also challenges a policy adopted by Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that excludes teens younger than 17½ years old from being automatically registered to vote when they get their driver’s license.
It is the third suit filed by Priorities USA in battleground Michigan over roughly a two-week span.
Charges filed in 2017 deaths of 2 teens crossing street
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A man has been charged with manslaughter and other crimes, more than two years after two teens were struck by a car and killed in Flint.
Prosecutor David Leyton says the case “kind of fell between the cracks” after a Flint officer handling the investigation resigned.
Ashyrinta Clemons and Tatiana Brown were killed in August 2017 while crossing a street in what police described as a hit-and-run. They were 13 years old. Jerry Turnbow of Grand Rapids appeared in court Wednesday.
The Flint Journal says Turnbow had turned himself in after the crash but was released.
Turnbow remained in jail Friday on a $500,000 bond. No defense attorney is listed yet in the court file.
Oakland County health officials confirm rabies in pet cat
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (AP) — Health officials in suburban Detroit have confirmed rabies in a pet cat.
The confirmation in Birmingham Friday follows verification so far this year of the disease in four bats and 11 skunks in Oakland County.
Officials said last month that a dead skunk found in nearby West Bloomfield tested positive for rabies. Other Oakland County communities with rabies confirmed in skunks include Southfield, Rochester Hills and Troy.
Health officials say pet owners should have their dogs and cats vaccinated against the rabies virus. Symptoms in animals include general sickness, swallowing problems and excessive drooling, slow and unusual movement, no apparent fear of humans and aggression.
Rabies can be fatal to humans after symptoms begin to occur. Deaths can be prevented with a vaccine administered immediately after exposure.
UAW-FORD UAW CONTRACT
United Auto Workers approve new 4-year contract with Ford
DETROIT (AP) — Members of the United Auto Workers union at Ford Motor Co. have voted to approve a new contract with the company.
The union says in a statement Friday night that 56.3% of workers who voted were in favor of the deal.
The four-year agreement reached Oct. 31 gives workers a mix of pay raises and lump-sum payments as well as a $9,000 ratification bonus. The company also promises $6 billion in U.S. factory investments. Ford gets to close an engine factory near Detroit but its 600 workers there will get jobs at a nearby plant.
The deal is similar to one ratified by General Motors workers after a bitter 40-day strike.
On Monday, the union will focus bargaining on Fiat Chrysler, the last of the Detroit Three automakers to settle.
Court denies ex-Detroit mayor’s motion to get out of prison
DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has denied ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s latest effort to get out of prison.
The order was filed Friday on Kilpatrick’s motion arguing, among other things, that U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds was biased and should have recused herself due to a personal relationship she had with his defense attorney. The 49-year-old Kilpatrick said Edmunds sent his lawyer a card for his wedding.
Kilpatrick resigned in 2008 following a text-messaging sex scandal involving his chief of staff. In 2013, Edmunds sentenced him to 28 years in prison for extortion, bribery, conspiracy and other crimes during his years in office.
Kilpatrick is being held in a federal lockup in Brooklyn, New York. He is due to be released in 2037.
Engineering firms win key ruling in Flint water lawsuit
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge has dismissed much of a civil lawsuit filed against engineering companies that were hired by Flint, Michigan, during its disastrous water switch in 2014.
The attorney general’s office has argued that Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam have some responsibility for the lead crisis in Flint. But Genesee County Judge Richard Yuille dismissed most counts last week, leaving only a claim of unjust enrichment.
The engineering companies deny any liability and say they warned Flint about challenges with its water plant. They’re still being sued by Flint residents in federal court.
Veolia welcomed the judge’s decision and said the lawsuit was an attempt to divert responsibility from state regulators. Lockwood, Andrews had a similar reaction. Attorney General Dana Nessel plans to press ahead.
Cold ends mosquito season, rare virus threat in SW Michigan
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Health officials in a southwestern Michigan county say cold weather has ended this year’s mosquito season and with it the threat of a deadly mosquito-borne virus.
Berrien County Health Department spokeswoman Gillian Conrad says recent cold, snowy weather wiped out mosquitoes that were spreading the eastern equine encephalitis virus.
Health officials say there were 10 confirmed human cases of that rare virus this year in southwest Michigan. Five of those people died.
Conrad tells WSBT-TV that officials have no way of predicting whether the virus will be a problem again in 2020 when mosquito season returns.
Berrien County and several other Michigan counties conducted aerial spraying of pesticides earlier this year to combat the mosquito-borne virus. Those were the first such aerial treatments in Michigan since 1980.
FIREARMS DEER SEASON
Hunters prepare to hit the woods for firearms deer season
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Thousands of hunters will trek into Michigan woods and fields Friday as firearms deer season opens.
The season runs through Nov. 30.
The Department of Natural Resources’ annual forecast says overall deer numbers are low in the Upper Peninsula and buck sightings have been limited.
Buck numbers appear on the upswing in the northern Lower Peninsula. They are abundant in many parts of southern Michigan, where bachelor herds have been spotted.
Baiting and feeding deer remain illegal in the Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula, a policy meant to prevent spread of chronic wasting disease.
The Legislature has approved bills to lift the ban but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has not signed them.
More than 550,000 people hunted for deer in Michigan last year.
ELECTION 2020-MICHIGAN-8TH DISTRICT
2 more Republicans enter race to challenge Democrat Slotkin
BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) — Two more Republicans are entering the race to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, whose districts stretches between Lansing and the northern Detroit suburbs.
Paul Junge, who worked as an immigration official in the Trump administration, an East Lansing lawyer Kristina Lyke announced their candidacies Thursday.
Junge says he would “defend conservative values,” while Lyke says her campaign is the “direct result” of Slotkin’s support of the impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump.
Other Republicans who previously launched campaigns are State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder and Mike Detmer, who sells cars.
Slotkin, who has a national security background, is in her first term after winning the seat that had been held by Republicans.