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The Associated Press

Gretchen Whitmer, Abdul El-Sayed, and Shri Thanedar
Facebook/Michigan Radio

Democrats running for Michigan governor held their second and final televised debate Wednesday just weeks before the August 7 primary.

Abdul El-Sayed and Gretchen Whitmer focused on the influence of corporate money in politics and had sharp exchanges.

park sign
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan officials want Congress to approve legislation that would boost funding for fish and wildlife conservation.

Pending bills would allocate $1.3 billion a year to a federal program similar to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The trust fund uses royalties from mineral development on state land to improve outdoor recreation.

More than 300 wildlife species in Michigan need protection to prevent them from becoming endangered.

crucifix
pxhere

State police say they discovered $63,000 hidden above ceiling tiles in the home of a Michigan priest who is accused of embezzling millions.

The search was conducted Tuesday at the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle's luxury home in Williamston.

Police say money was in $2,000 bundles secured with cash bands that said, "For Deposit Only-St. Martha Parish."

Wehrle is charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos.

drone in woods
pixabay

The Macomb County sheriff's office has launched a new unmanned aerial vehicle unit with four drones.

Officials say the drones are able to search for missing persons and be used in rescues, hostage situations, traffic crashes and crime scene investigations.

They are equipped with high-resolution cameras that can capture both aerial photos and video.

One unit has a thermal imaging camera, which can be used to search for someone in a wooded area or water.

The Michigan Supreme Court opens its 2012 session this week.
Subterranean / Flickr

The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a challenge to a proposed November ballot initiative to change who draws congressional and legislative districts every decade.

http://en.kremlin.ru

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters is accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of “playing games” with the United States.

Peters says he wanted President Trump to “call out” Putin for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election during their summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland today.

J. Stephen Conn/FLICKR

Officials say court documents were damaged during last month's severe flooding in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The Daily Mining Gazette reports a vault flooded containing circuit, family, and probate court records on the Houghton County Courthouse's basement level. The county is insured for the loss and the records are being dealt with by a document restoration company.

The newspaper says an estimate listed more than 3.6 million documents.

Downtown Detroit Partnership

A popular sand beach in the heart of downtown Detroit is getting a little sprucing up.

The Downtown Detroit Partnership says a $125,000 grant from the Southwest Airlines Foundation will be used to improve the beach at Campus Martius Park.

Beach furniture, toys and games, lighting and landscaping will be enhanced. Beer and wine tastings will be among new events at the beach, which opened in 2014.

black and white damaged ship
Department of the Navy / wikimedia commons

The remains of a Michigan man who was killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor have been buried in the Upper Peninsula.

Lowell Valley was 19 years old and in Navy when the USS Oklahoma was attacked. Radio station WDBC says Valley's remains were identified through DNA tests.

Valley's younger brother, Bob Valley, says he received a call from the Navy in January.

A funeral Mass was held Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Church in Ontonagon, followed by burial with full honors at the church cemetery.

Official White House portrait

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, is joining other Democrats in demanding that President Trump address Russian interference in the 2016 election when he meets with Vladimir Putin Monday.

“President Trump needs to be discussing with [Putin] and holding him accountable for what is documented Russian interference in the basic process of democracy in this country,” says Dingell.

Last week, a special prosecutor indicted a dozen Russian government officials on charges they hacked email accounts belonging to top Democratic Party officials in 2016.

Benton Harbor City Hall front steps
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

An officer who authorities say ran over a man who was fleeing police in southwestern Michigan has been charged with assault.

The Berrien County prosecutor's office says Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety officers were investigating a possible stolen lawn mower about 1:45 a.m. May 10 when they came upon a man who was riding a bike without a light.

The prosecutor's office says the man dropped the bike and ran before Steven Johnson, who no longer works for the department, intentionally hit him with a squad car.

Sewer cover
user greg l / wikimedia commons

Officials say about 2.5 million gallons (9.5 million liters) of partially treated sewage recently flowed from a lagoon at a mobile home park in mid-Michigan into the Grand River.

WOOD-TV says a report to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality by the operator of the lagoon near Portland, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, blamed it on a "miscommunication/oversight between (the) contractor and waste water operator."

CG for AG Facebook

A federal prosecutor has quit his job to launch an independent candidacy for Michigan attorney general.

Christopher Graveline headed the violent crime unit at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, prosecuting gang members and drug traffickers. He faces a July 19 deadline to collect 30,000 signatures from voters to get on the November ballot.

Graveline has support from Barbara McQuade, his former boss and a University of Michigan law professor. McQuade was U.S. attorney for eastern Michigan under President Barack Obama.

WoodleyWonderWorks / Flickr

Detroit education officials are working to address shortfalls in the school district's special education program after audits found it's failing to meet student needs.

The Detroit News reports that the Detroit Board of Education on Tuesday approved Superintendent Nikolai Vitti's plan for sweeping reforms to its special education department. Two audits identified that the district lacks an effective system for identifying and evaluating children who may be eligible for special education services.

Natural gas plant
World Resources Institute

An official says construction on a nearly $1 billion natural gas power plant in southwestern Michigan probably has been pushed back to next year.

Michael DuBois, vice president of project development for Buffalo Grove, Illinois-based Indeck Energy Services, told the South Bend Tribune that the company continues to work on financing for the plant in Niles. He says they're "optimistic" about lining up investors.

Frances Perkins Building, headquarters of the United States Department of Labor
US Department of Labor / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Labor says a Michigan truck accessories manufacturer has agreed to pay back wages owed to 134 employees.

The department says Rugged Liner Inc. will pay $308,111 to the workers after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found the company violated overtime and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Officials say the Owosso-based company automatically deducted 30 minutes from some employees' work time regardless of whether they took their meal breaks.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Michigan regulators have significantly expanded the list of conditions approved for treatment by medical marijuana. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on Monday added 11 medical conditions deemed debilitating by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008. They are: arthritis, autism, chronic pain, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, Tourette's syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

Denied conditions include anxiety, asthma, brain injury, panic attacks, depression and diabetes.

Grow Detroit's Young Talent Website

More than $11 million has been raised to support Detroit's youth summer jobs program.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced Monday that 8,210 young people ages 14 to 24 will receive six weeks of training, on-the-job experiences, professional contacts, and exposure to potential career paths as part of Grow Detroit's Young Talent.

The city says most participants will work 20 hours per week at more than 500 sites with companies of various sizes. The companies include auto suppliers and law firms.

Michigan Supreme Court
Courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court is considering whether it's appropriate for a judge to see the conditions of a home before terminating someone's parental rights.

The court on Thursday told lawyers for an Otsego County couple and the state of Michigan to file briefs on that issue as well as others. The court will hear arguments in the months ahead.

Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery, where several well-known Detroit figures are interred, is among 30 cemeteries whose sale the Michigan Strategic Fund has preliminarily agreed to help finance, despite the owners of the properties having no knowledge of any pot
Thomas Hawk / Flickr

There's a problem with a deal Michigan officials tentatively OK'd for a company to buy more than two dozen cemeteries in the state: None are for sale.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the owner of 28 cemeteries allegedly involved in the proposed sale says he's had no contact with the would-be buyer.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) says she has concerns about some of the individuals President Trump is considering naming to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Though she declines to say which of the prospective candidates to fill the vacancy on the nation’s highest court concern her.

Trump is promising to select a "great" Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. He’s expected to name his choice Monday.

John Conyers III
Conyers for Congress / via Facebook

The son of former U.S. Rep. John Conyers is hoping to get his name on the 13th Congressional District ballot as an independent.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Democrat Dan Kildee says it’s time for Congress to act to prevent future mass shootings.

By one count, there have been more than 150 mass shootings in the United States this year, including the recent deadly shooting at a Maryland newspaper.

“This is just becoming almost insanity,” says Kildee (D-Flint), “and Congress just completely fails to act.”

The Fitz Forward plan calls for the development or demolition of every publicly-owned parcel in the quarter-square-mile area of the Fitzgerald neighborhood in northwest Detroit.
Fitz Forward Development Group

A development team has closed on the purchase of 128 parcels in northwest Detroit as part of a massive reinvestment in one of the city's neighborhoods.

Fitz Forward Development will develop the parcels in the Fitzgerald neighborhood as part of its plans to revitalize the area through reparations and remodels of existing historic homes, installation of a greenway, development of community gardens, and demolition of dilapidated homes.

Patino distributed 300 free hams to struggling Pontiac residents in 2014. He is now charged with a health care fraud scheme valued at over $100 million.
Brian Tam / Flickr

A Detroit-area doctor who wrote prescriptions for more than 2 million painkiller pills has been charged with health care fraud.

Dr. Frank Patino appeared in Detroit federal court Wednesday. He was returned to jail to await a Friday hearing to determine if he'll stay locked up without bond.

Patino is accused of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for health care that wasn't performed or wasn't necessary. The value of the alleged scheme is pegged at $112 million.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A Michigan lawmaker is looking to amend the rules governing trust fund money intended to grow public land for resource protection and recreational opportunities.

Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts

An exhibition of "accidental" art will open at the Detroit Institute of Arts on August 26th.

"Lost & Found: Photographs from the DIA's Collection" will be a collection of photographs from around the U.S. and Detroit, taken by unknown and often untrained photographers.

Some of the work will feature James Pearson Duffy, an amateur photographer and collector, who made over 500 photographs of Detroit in the early 1970's, and Peter Cohen, an acclaimed vernacular photography collector.

Humane Society of Huron Valley

An animal welfare group says it’s rescued more than 100 dogs, cats, and other animals from a home in Michigan where an unlicensed animal breeding operation was housed.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Many online shoppers may have to start doing something new: pay sales tax.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.  

The decision came in a case that pitted the state of South Dakota and online shopping giant Wayfair.

The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impacted online sales tax collection.

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

 The Michigan Supreme Court says judges, not juries, have the sole power to decide whether someone under 18 gets life in prison without parole.

The 4-2 opinion, released Wednesday, centers on murder cases from St. Clair County and Genesee County. Many new sentencing hearings for so-called juvenile lifers have been on hold while a decision was in the works.

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