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


Lawsuit: Jail denied inmate medication to treat addiction

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A federal lawsuit has been filed against a northern Michigan county and jail officials alleging that a 20-year-old inmate was denied access to prescribed medication to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. The suit was filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Cyrus Patson of Traverse City. Patson was being held for a bond violation at the Grand Traverse County Correctional Facility where he said he was not allowed to take Suboxone. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that ACLU attorney Syeda Davidson said the organization received complaints from other inmates at the jail who said they were not receiving physician-prescribed medications to treat addiction.


Michigan governor vetoes stricter voter ID, election bills

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed Republican-sponsored legislation that would toughen in-person voter identification rules and require people to include additional information such as their driver’s license number on absentee ballot applications. The governor said Friday that the bills would disproportionately hurt minority voters who are more likely to lack access to a photo ID on Election Day than white voters. A Republican-affiliated ballot committee is circulating petitions that would enable the Republican-controlled Legislature to still enact a similar initiative next year regardless of Whitmer’s opposition.


State police recover township's missing elections equipment

ADAMS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s secretary of state office reports that elections equipment missing from a community in the southern part of the state has been located. Spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer says Friday evening in a release that the equipment was recovered Friday at the Adams Township Hall in Hillsdale County. Wimmer did not give details about the equipment but said an investigation was being conducted to determine if anyone had tampered with it. State officials earlier had barred township clerk Stephanie Scott from running next week’s local election. The Michigan Bureau of Elections said Scott failed to take steps to ensure the security of the vote,. Hillsdale County instead will supervise the Adams Township election.


Michigan court again vacates restrictions on ballot drives

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has again struck down changes to the state's ballot drive law, including a limit on how many voter signatures can come from any one region. Friday's ruling is the latest in a legal fight that began after Republican lawmakers and then-Gov. Rick Snyder enacted the 2018 law. It made it harder to mount ballot initiatives. Many parts have never taken effect because of an opinion from Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel and court decisions. The court negated a 15% cap on signatures from any one congressional district. It also nullified requirements that paid circulators file an affidavit and that petitions say whether circulators are paid or not.


U of Michigan gets $40M gift to help 1st-generation students

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A program at the University of Michigan to combat struggles that low-income and first-generation college students can face is getting $40 million from the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation. Former New York Mets owner and real estate developer Fred Wilpon alongside his wife, Judy, created the Kessler Scholars Program in 2008. The program helps scholarship recipients combat various collegiate struggles, including: Not feeling connected, uncertainty about how to navigate financial aid or class systems and difficulty networking. The foundation has awarded scholarships to more than 400 undergraduates. The university says that with the most recent gift announced Thursday to fund the program in perpetuity, the Wilpons will have donated more than $75 million to the university.


Ex-state contractor gets 5 years for jobless insurance fraud

DETROIT (AP) — A former contractor for the state of Michigan has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for helping orchestrate a $3.8 million fraud scheme involving money intended to help unemployed people during the coronavirus pandemic. A federal judge sentenced 40-year-old Brandi Hawkins to 58 months in federal prison on Thursday and ordered her to pay nearly $3.8 million in restitution to the state. The Detroit woman, a former contract employee with the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in June. She admitted receiving bribes from people to file fraudulent unemployment insurance claims seeking money intended for people during the COVID-19 pandemic.


NC voter ID debate clouded by call for justices' recusal

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — One of several legal challenges to North Carolina’s contentious voter ID law is on hold amid a dispute over whether two justices on the state Supreme Court should recuse themselves. The state NAACP’s request that Phil Berger Jr. and ex-Sen. Tamara Barringer be disqualified further clouds the future of photo voter ID requirements in one of the numerous Republican-dominated states where lawmakers have sought them. Federal appeals judges struck down a previous version of a North Carolina voter ID law approved in 2013. Berger is the son of the state Senate leader, who is a defendant in the lawsuit the court is hearing.


Teacher on hunger strike to put light on climate change

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A teacher in southwestern Michigan says he’s on a one-week hunger strike outside his school to draw attention to climate change. Josh Gottlieb says he took a week off without pay to sit outside Kalamazoo Central High School. Students and teachers have dropped by to support him. Gottlieb says he will continue his hunger strike and protest through Sunday, when the UN’s climate summit begins in Scotland. He says political conflict in the U.S. means President Joe Biden isn’t bringing much to the conference. Freshman Giuliana Bush supports Gottlieb. She says climate change is everyone's problem.


State's top court looks at law that makes convicts pay bills

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to look again at a law that allows communities to collect millions of dollars from poor criminal defendants. The money helps pay salaries, keep lights on and wax floors in courthouses up and down the state. The issue is whether it’s unconstitutional, especially when a judge knows a conviction will bring in cash and please local officials who count on the money. The Supreme Court says it will hear arguments in the months ahead in a case from Alpena County. Travis Johnson was ordered to pay $1,200 in local court costs for a pair of convictions.


'Heroic' mom saves 4 kids in house fire in SE Michigan

CHELSEA, Mich. (AP) — The mother of four children is recovering from severe burns after rescuing her kids from a fire at their home in southeastern Michigan. Firefighters say Mikala Vish repeatedly went back into her Chelsea home to save the kids Tuesday. Lt. Derek Klink calls it the “most heroic thing” he's ever seen. Vish is in a hospital with burns on more than 60% of her body. A 6-year-old son also was badly burned. The family lost everything in the fire. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $35,000 so far. Chelsea is in Washtenaw County, 15 miles west of Ann Arbor.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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