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


Feds seize $12M, allege its part of money laundering scheme

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Detroit have seized about $12 million in cash that they allege was part of a money laundering scheme operating between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. A forfeiture complaint unsealed Thursday in federal court in Detroit alleges some of the laundered money was used to buy armored vehicles for an illegal drug trafficking operation based in Michigan. The Detroit Free Press reports prosecutors are seeking court approval to allow the U.S. Treasury to keep the cash, which was seized in two separate actions. The complaint alleges that the money-laundering operation moved cash from the United Arab Emirates to the U.S. using shell companies.


Center in UP to look at impact of oil spills in freshwater

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula has been selected as a hub for a center that will look at the impacts of oil spills in freshwater environments. The school says the U.S. Coast Guard National Center of Expertise for the Great Lakes also will help develop effective responses to spills. Federal legislation established the Great Lakes National Center of Expertise in 2018. Lake Superior State is in Sault Ste. Marie and just off the St. Marys River which connects Lake Superior to Lake Huron. Lake Michigan is about 60 miles southwest of Sault Ste. Marie.


GOP uses voters to push election reforms in unlikely states

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republicans in at least four states where Democrats control the governor’s office, the legislature or both are pursuing statewide ballot initiatives or veto-proof proposals to enact voter ID restrictions and other changes to election law. They are California, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania. In conservative Nebraska, Republicans are pushing a ballot measure because they have been unable to get enough lawmakers on board with tightening voting laws. The push follows success by Republicans this year in passing voting restrictions in states they already control politically. Democrats say Republicans are just whipping up distrust in elections for political gain.


New Ice Mountain owner adjusts water withdrawal plan

EVART, Mich. (AP) — The new owner of a bottled water operation in western Michigan says it won’t use a state permit that would allow it to significantly boost water withdrawals. The Ice Mountain plant's previous owner had received state approval to pump 400 gallons a minute from a well in Osceola County, a 60% increase. But BlueTriton Brands recently told regulators it would pump at 288 gallons a minute, a lower volume that would allow the company to avoid certain environmental monitoring requirements. The water taken from the well is moved by pipeline to a production site in Evart and then trucked to the bottling facility in Mecosta County.


County official quits over 'politicization' of public health

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A county health officer frustrated with the “politicization of public health” during COVID-19 is quitting her job in southwestern Michigan. Courtney Davis has been the interim health officer in Berrien County since July when she was promoted from deputy. Communications manager Gillian Conrad is also resigning. Davis ordered masks in local schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19, though the order was dropped Sept. 29 when the health department believed state funding would be in jeopardy. Berrien County has had only one applicant for the job of permanent health officer, a role that Davis was serving on an interim basis.


Prosecutor: Woman charged with killing 4 had other targets

CLARE, Mich. (AP) — A woman is charged with killing her father, sister and two handymen in mid-Michigan. The Clare County prosecutor says 54-year-old Judy Boyer had a journal with names of other people whom she wanted to kill. Bond was set at $1 million Friday, and a not-guilty plea was entered on Boyer’s behalf. Authorities haven't disclosed a motive for the killings. The victims were Henry Boyer, his daughter Patricia Boyer, Zachary Salminen and Wade Bacon. Salminen and Bacon were at Henry Boyer's home to fix the roof and handle other jobs before cold weather arrived. Judy Boyer lived across the street.


Feds get key guilty plea in Detroit-area corruption probe

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) — A real estate investor has pleaded guilty to bribing a Detroit-area mayor with cash, appliances and home upgrades in exchange for getting dozens of foreclosed properties. Shady Awad replied, “yes,” when a judge recited the payoffs in Taylor and asked if they were accurate. The government says Awad bribed Taylor Mayor Rick Sollars with benefits worth more than $53,000. The mayor was charged in 2019. He pleaded not guilty and his case is pending. Awad pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy and could face about four years in prison when he is sentenced in March.


Hamtramck in Detroit area is latest facing lead in water

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) — Another Michigan city is giving filters to residents as a result of high lead results in some drinking water samples. Hamtramck is a 2-square-mile city in the Detroit area with 28,000 residents, many of them immigrants from Bangladesh, Yemen and other countries. The city says 700 filters were passed out Thursday and another 900 will be distributed next week. Mayor Karen Majewski says the water is fine but old pipes are leaching lead into the system. The mayor says not every home is affected and “people don't need to panic.” Across the state in Benton Harbor, residents there have been urged to use only bottled water for cooking and drinking due to elevated lead levels.


Amid air quality concerns, districts embrace electric buses

BOSTON (AP) — Efforts to make school buses greener are gaining momentum thanks to billions of dollars in spending in the federal infrastructure plan. A collection of parents, students, environmentalists and lawmakers argues school districts should transform their fleets from diesel to electric vehicles. They say the shift would offer health benefits to children while also addressing concerns that fossil fuel-burning buses are bad for the environment. The transition until now has largely stalled because cash-strapped districts lacked money to buy more expensive electric buses. But that could change if Congress approves the infrastructure bill that includes $5 billion for electric and hybrid buses.


On Nov. 1, no GM plants will be closed due to chip shortage

DETROIT (AP) — For the first time in eight months, the global shortage of computer chips won’t force General Motors to close any North American factories. The company said Friday that as of Nov. 1, all plants that had been closed on and off since February due to the shortage will be making vehicles. The shortage has forced automakers to sporadically shut down plants since late last year. That has cut supplies on dealer lots and driven new vehicle prices to record levels. But production isn’t back to normal just yet. Some of the factories will only run one shift per day. And experts say chip shortages will persist well into next year.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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