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ONLINE GAMBLING

Michigan launches online sports betting, casino games Friday

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Online sports betting and casino games will start in Michigan at noon Friday, an expansion of options for gamblers who now wager through offshore sites. State regulators have authorized licenses for all three Detroit casinos and seven of the dozen tribes with “Class III” casinos. Additional operator and platform provider licenses are expected to be approved in coming weeks. Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm calls the launch a “new era,” saying it will give casinos a new way to engage with customers and provide state and local governments with additional tax revenue.

AP-US-FLINT-WATER

Judge gives preliminary OK to $641M Flint water deal

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has granted preliminary approval to a $641 million deal that would benefit Flint residents who were harmed by lead-contaminated water. The settlement includes $600 million from the state of Michigan, although Flint, an area hospital and an engineering firm are also part of the agreement. Federal Judge Judith Levy signed off in a 72-page opinion. Her preliminary approval triggers a monthslong process during which Flint residents can object and pursue their own claims. State regulators allowed Flint to use the Flint River in 2014-15 without treating the water to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead in old pipes broke off and flowed through taps. Experts have also blamed the water for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which led to at least 12 deaths.

CAPITOL BREACH-MICHIGAN

FBI: Michigan man with hockey stick assaulted Capitol cops

DETROIT (AP) — The FBI says a Michigan man with a hockey stick struck police officers during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Michael Foy of Wixom is charged with five crimes, including assault and obstruction of law enforcement. The FBI says said he crawled through a broken window at the Capitol after police were assaulted. The FBI says a Facebook page belonging to Foy’s father, as well as a YouTube video, helped investigators identify Foy. Foy is the second Michigan man to be charged in the Capitol violence. Karl Dresch of Calumet appeared in federal court in the Upper Peninsula on Wednesday.

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR-KIDNAPPING PLOT

Plea deal likely in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan governor

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A plea deal appears to be in the works for one of six men accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Ty Garbin is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing in Grand Rapids federal court next Wednesday. The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap Whitmer by anti-government extremists upset over her coronavirus restrictions. Six people were charged in federal court in Grand Rapids. Separately, eight others were charged in state court with aiding the alleged scheme. In October, attorney Mark Satawa said Garbin had no intention to carry out a kidnapping, no matter what he might have said in recorded or online conversations.

AP-US-COUNTY-COMMISSIONER-GUN

Michigan official shows gun after public meeting criticism

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A county official in northern Michigan is drawing criticism after displaying a rifle in response to a citizen’s criticism of a far-right group during an online public meeting. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Ron Clous was among members of the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners taking part in the livestreamed meeting Wednesday. During a public comment period, a woman criticized the board for allowing members of the neo-fascist Proud Boys to address the commission last year. Clous then stepped away from his webcam and returned with a rifle. He told the newspaper he wanted to show his support for the Second Amendment.

DETROIT EX-MAYOR-FERGUSON

Former Detroit mayor out of prison; crony still behind bars

DETROIT (AP) — President Donald Trump’s mercy toward Kwame Kilpatrick didn’t extend to the former Detroit mayor’s partner in crime. Kilpatrick was released from prison Wednesday after his 28-year sentence for corruption was reduced to time served by Trump. But his pal, Bobby Ferguson, remains behind bars on a 21-year sentence. Evidence at the 2012-2013 trial showed Kilpatrick went to bat for Ferguson on city contracts and punished contractors who didn’t make room for him on excavation jobs. Ferguson’s attorney, Michael Rataj, says it doesn’t make sense that Kilpatrick is free while Ferguson remains “stuck in prison.” 

US ATTORNEY-DETROIT

Matthew Schneider resigning as US attorney in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — The chief federal prosecutor in eastern Michigan says he’s leaving office on Feb. 1. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider was picked by President Donald Trump and served for three years. Changes are common when a new president from a different party is elected. Saima Mohsin will become acting U.S. attorney. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in eastern Michigan covers more than 30 counties, from the tip of the Lower Peninsula to the Ohio border. Schneider recently announced a deal with the United Auto Workers to put a monitor in place after a series of corruption convictions. Schneider sharply criticized Trump for releasing former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from prison, years before the end of his 28-year sentence for corruption.

BIDEN-DETROIT OFFICIAL

Detroit official tapped for role in Biden administration

DETROIT (AP) — A member of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s team has been appointed to the administration of President Joe Biden. Duggan’s office says Arthur Jemison took the oath of office Wednesday as principal deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Community Planning & Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Office of Community Planning & Development oversees more than $8 billion in federal block grant funding to cities and states for community development projects and disaster response. Tuesday was Jemison’s last day as group executive for Housing, Planning and Development in Detroit.

TRAINING VESSEL-SLAYING

Man arraigned in slaying aboard vessel in Port Huron

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — Members of a police task force in Detroit have arrested a 43-year-old man sought in connection with the slaying of a man whose body was found last summer on a former Navy training vessel in Port Huron. Reginald Grasty was arraigned Wednesday on open murder and disinterment/mutilation of a corpse charges. Port Huron police say he was jailed on a $750,000 bond. The body of 44-year-old William Orlow of Port Huron was found June 23 on the Grayfox, about 68 miles northeast of Detroit. Grayfox Association board chair Jim Semerad has said Grasty lived on the ship with Orlow for about two weeks in October 2019 as a part of a program the Grayfox once provided.

CAPITOL BREACH-PRIEST SUSPENDED

Priest punished for going to Trump rally before Capitol riot

LIMA, Ohio (AP) — An Orthodox priest from Ohio says he has been suspended for three months for going to President Donald Trump’s rally near the White House before his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Father Mark Hodges says he was told by a church leader that he was “guilty by association.” Hodges says he marched toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, but left when he saw a group violently going after the police. He calls the suspension unjust. The archbishop from the Diocese of the Midwest Orthodox Church in America confirmed the suspension but won’t comment on the details.