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

MICHIGAN-MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING

Michigan moves to fund mental health like physical health

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Starting this month, 13 mental health and addiction clinics across Michigan will receive the same Medicaid funding as any other health center in an effort to help bridge the stigmatic and funding divide between mental and physical health. The selected Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics meet high standards of care for those in need of mental health and addiction services. They will now be fully reimbursed by Medicaid. That is the same as other health care services and instead of relying on grants to supplement costs.

OBIT-DAN BENISHEK

Former US Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan dies at age 69

DETROIT (AP) — Dan Benishek, a Michigan surgeon who served three terms in Congress, has died at age 69. In a statement, his family says he died Friday. Details about how he died were not released. The Republican from Crystal Falls represented northern Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula, from 2011 to 2017. In Congress, Benishek served on the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Veterans Affairs committees. He also worked at the Iron Mountain VA Medical Center for two decades as a surgeon. Republican leaders described him as an advocate who fought with passion. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says once funeral arrangements are announced, U.S. and Michigan flags will be lowered in his honor.

FINLANDIA-PRESIDENT

President quitting UP college founded by Finnish immigrants

HANCOCK, Mich. (AP) — A college founded by Finnish immigrants in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will be looking for a new leader. Philip Johnson says he’s resigning as president of Finlandia University in Hancock at the end of 2021-22 school year. He didn’t give a reason. Johnson has been criticized by faculty members, who approved a no-confidence vote in June. In response, the school's governing board said attracting more students was a “top priority.” Finlandia was known as Suomi College when it opened in 1896. It is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. The liberal arts school said it had 430 students in September.

PROPOSED FIREWOOD QUARANTINE-INVASIVE SPECIES

Proposed firewood quarantine to keep pests out of state

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed a quarantine on exterior firewood to help prevent the introduction of unwanted pests and diseases into the state. Under the proposal, firewood shipped into Michigan would have to be certified as heat treated at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 60 minutes. Kiln-dried lumber and wood chips smaller than one inch and logs or wood shipped from out-of-state sources directly to mills and other facilities for immediate processing would be exempt. The agency says more than 140 pests and diseases can be moved by firewood, including Asian long-horned beetle, mountain pine beetle and spotted lanternfly.

RESCUE DEVICE

Family whose son drowned in pond donates sonar device

SHEPHERD, Mich. (AP) — A mid-Michigan couple whose 4-year-old son drowned in a pond has donated a sonar device to police to use in similar emergencies. John and Rachel Kenny say they bought the device with money remaining from a GoFundMe account. The AquaEye can scan two acres of water in five minutes. Their son, Spencer, fell through ice and drowned in a pond last December in Isabella County. The Shepherd Tri Township Fire Department says the outcome might have been different with the device, which can identify bodies, especially in murky water.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING-DETROIT

Detroit senior community gets $19.7M in renovations

DETROIT (AP) — Nearly $20 million in renovations to an affordable housing community that’s home to 198 Detroit senior citizens have been completed. The city says rents on the apartments will not go up due to the $19.7 million in upgrades at Parkview Place. The building is just east of Detroit’s downtown. Each apartment received about $41,000 in upgrades, including new appliances, kitchen cabinets, countertops, sinks and faucets, and flooring. The building also received new elevators, a new roof, new windows, new entry doors, a new boiler, new water pumps and new fire suppression system. Renovations and affordability extensions were made possible, in part, through a 9% low-income housing tax credit award by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

ELECTION BILLS

Gov. Whitmer vetoes 2 more election-related bills

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has again vetoed election bills, blocking proposals to accelerate the state’s review of ballot initiatives and to change the process for canceling the registrations of dead voters. The Democrat said Friday that the legislation would “divert key resources away from ensuring" people can vote. It was the second time in two weeks that she vetoed election measures. She will soon nix more controversial Republican-sponsored legislation that would toughen voter ID requirements and ban the secretary of state and local clerks from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications.

AP-US-BIDEN-AUTO-SAFETY

AP review: At least 13 auto safety rules are years overdue

WASHINGTON (AP) — As pandemic-era traffic fatalities spike, the U.S. agency in charge of auto safety is struggling with a backlog of safety rules ordered by Congress that are years overdue. It's estimated the unfinished rules would save thousands of lives. An Associated Press review of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's rule-making activities under the last three presidents found at least 13 safety rules past due. The agency has lacked a permanent leader for four years and auto safety groups say President Joe Biden should act on a nomination. They fear the agency's mission of saving lives and costs from traffic injuries is getting lost.

KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS-INDICTMENT

Lawyer: 'Preposterous' to blame Afghan man in US war deaths

NEW YORK (AP) — The lawyer for an Afghan commander awaiting trial in Manhattan federal court says it's preposterous to charge his client in the killing of three American soldiers. Attorney Mark Gombiner spoke Friday at a pretrial hearing after Haji Najibullah pleaded not guilty to charges in a rewritten indictment against him. Najibullah was already charged in the 2008 gunpoint kidnapping of a New York Times reporter and another journalist. But an indictment returned last week accused him of commanding the Taliban fighters behind a fatal ambush of the three servicemen in Afghanistan in 2008.

ESCAPED-AFRICAN-CAT

Caracal cat owner ticketed, ordered to find them new home

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit woman has been ordered to find another home for her four African caracals after one of the wild cats spent hours on the loose this week. Royal Oak police have issued Elaine Westfall five citations. Westfall told the Detroit Free Press for a story Friday that the cats have to be gone by Monday, though she's unsure police have the authority to order her to move them out. At least two of the cats escaped from their enclosure on Wednesday. She used raw meat to lure one back, but the other wasn't captured until that evening. Native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and India, caracals prey on rodents, other small mammals and birds.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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