Lawmakers and Whitmer announce deal to finalize state budget
LANSING, Michigan (AP) – Key lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration have announced a deal to finalize the state‘s next budget. They had waited to develop spending plans for state departments and funding for universities, community colleges and local governments after passing a pre-K-12 budget this summer. The Republican-led legislature is expected to vote next week, about a week before the September 30 deadline. Details of the deal were not released immediately on Wednesday. Pending legislation will cover all non-school expenses, including social services, public health, roads and environmental protection.
Biles: FBI turned a blind eye to reports of gymnast abuse
WASHINGTON (AP) – Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told Congress the FBI and gymnastics officials turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar on her and hundreds of other women. Biles told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that “enough is enough” as she and three other American gymnasts spoke movingly about Nassar’s enduring toll of crimes. The hearing is part of a Congressional effort to hold the FBI accountable after several missteps in investigating the case – including delays that allowed Nassar to abuse additional young gymnasts.
ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE BY A MICHIGAN LEGISLATOR
Michigan lawmaker accuses lawmaker of abuse and threats
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A Michigan lawmaker was removed from his position on the committee after a lawmaker said they had a “volatile” relationship that included domestic violence and threats. Democratic Representative Mari Manoogian released a statement a day after Republican Representative Steve Marino was removed from two panels for unknown reasons. Manoogian, 29, said: “None of us are immune to a volatile relationship.” His statement on Wednesday mentioned abuse of power and threats to his reputation, but did not say what Marino, 32, allegedly did. House Speaker Jason Wentworth disciplined Marino. He says state police are investigating. A message requesting comment has been left for Marino.
Court will not stop protests outside Michigan synagogue
DETROIT (AP) – Pro-Palestinian protests outside a Jewish synagogue in Michigan are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. This is the opinion of a federal court of appeal. The court refused to stop the protests or impose restrictions outside the Beth Israel congregation in Ann Arbor. Protests have been held weekly since 2003, with people holding up signs reading “Jewish Power Corrupt” and “End the Palestinian Holocaust”. Members of the synagogue, including some Holocaust survivors, say the protests have caused emotional distress. But the appeals court said protesters are not blocking access to the synagogue and making a lot of noise.
MICHIGAN VIRUS OUTBREAK
Parents push for Michigan mask mandate in schools
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Coalition of parent groups urges Michigan Department of Health to order indoor masking in all schools to fight coronavirus and pledges to fight opposing politicians to such mandates. The Michigan Parents Alliance for Safe Schools includes pro-mask groups from a dozen counties. Members say they are fighting for the 40% of students in schools where masks are optional. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration lifted a broad indoor mask mandate in June. She argued that it is best to hide the decisions to be made locally, as this increases the chances of people complying.
Beaumont Health closes beds for lack of staff
TROY, Michigan (AP) – Michigan’s largest healthcare provider has said 5% of its hospital beds are closed due to understaffing. Beaumont Health in southeast Michigan is experiencing shortages of nurses, nursing assistants and others, including staff who prepare rooms for new patients. Beaumont says 180 of its 3,375 beds in eight hospitals have been temporarily closed. Earlier this week, Henry Ford Health System said it had closed 120 beds, less than 10% of capacity, for similar reasons. Dr David Donaldson, chief of emergency care at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, says people need to be patient. Donaldson says wait times have increased.
Mid-Michigan town leads the way for teens on the US border
ALMA, Michigan (AP) – Officials in a central Michigan city have granted a request to accommodate migrant boys in a former nursing home. The City of Alma Commission rejected the Planning Commission’s recommendation. It was a hot topic and the subject of tense summer meetings. Bethany Christian Services would like to use a former retirement home to provide accommodation for up to 40 days or until a sponsor is found. The boys are 12 to 17 years old. They crossed the US border without parents or guardians and have no legal status in this country. Alma is 80 km north of Lansing and is probably best known as the seat of Alma College.
TESLA NEW MEXICO SHOP
Tesla builds first store on tribal land, dodges state car laws
NAMBÉ, NM (AP) – Tesla circumvented auto dealer laws by first settling on Native American lands. The move to New Mexico could be a model for Tesla’s efforts to sell in other states that are forcing automakers to sell through dealerships. The tribe hosted Tesla’s store that opened last week, calling it an environmentally conscious employer. Auto dealers say consumers should buy electric vehicles from companies that obey state laws. They say the traditional car dealership sales model is more convenient, generates tax revenue, and lowers car prices through competition. Tesla enthusiasts are happy that they don’t have to travel out of state for repairs.
GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN REMOVAL GROUND
US does not oppose postponement of trial in Whitmer kidnapping case
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) – Federal prosecutors are not opposed to the postponement of the fall trial of five men accused of plotting the kidnapping of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The government says it would not be harmed by a delay. Prosecutors say they have not made significant payments for witness travel or accommodation. The trial in federal court in Grand Rapids has been set for October 12. The defendants would like a 90-day extension for all key dates in the case. A hearing is scheduled for Friday. Defense attorneys said last week that they still went through hours of conversation secretly recorded by informants and FBI agents.
Perhaps “ancient” human jaw found in Lake Michigan
HART, Michigan (AP) – A human jawbone with more than a dozen teeth has been discovered in Silver Lake in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast said the bone looked very old, possibly “even old.” The jaw was found on Sunday when someone stepped on it while pulling out a dock in Silver Lake. It was sent to anthropologists at Michigan State University for analysis. No other bones were found. The county has a few missing persons cases. But the sheriff said the jaw age probably doesn’t match those inquiries.