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HOMELESS CAMP CLASH

7 arrested, 4 officers hurt in homeless camp skirmish

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Seven protesters have been arrested and four police officers have been injured during a skirmish at a Kalamazoo homeless camp. The clash occurred two days after police cleared people out of the camp and signs were posted warning that trespassing enforcement would begin at noon at noon Friday. Activists were present when officers with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety arrived and told everybody to leave. Police say the activists clashed violently with officers. Three were cited for trespassing and seven others were taken to jail and face charges including trespassing, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. One person also faces a felony charge of assaulting an officer.

BIRD FEEDING-VETO

Whitmer vetoes bill to ease restrictions on feeding birds

GAYLORD, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed a bill that would have eased restrictions on feeding birds in areas where deer and elk roam. Whitmer says the bill clashes with state efforts to keep certain animals from congregating and spreading disease. Feeding birds is not illegal. But it’s illegal to put out food that can lure or attract deer. Rep. Ken Borton’s bill would have explicitly allowed people to place or spread feed within 300 feet from their house. The Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Farm Bureau opposed the bill. Years ago, Borton was accused of not doing enough to keep deer from his feeders in Otsego County. He said the case was dismissed.

STATE TROOPER SHOT

Judge: Man charged in shooting of trooper to remain jailed

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — A Michigan man accused of causing a shooting that seriously injured an Ohio state trooper during a traffic stop will remain jailed without bail. A judge made the ruling Friday during the initial court appearance by Robert Tramaine Hathorn. The 42-year-old Muskegon man is charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. It’s not clear if he’s retained an attorney. Authorities say trooper Josef Brobst stopped Hathorn’s car for speeding late Wednesday on Interstate 75 near Findlay, and Brobst asked Hathorn to exit the vehicle because he smelled marijuana. Authorities say the two men were standing behind the patrol cruiser when they began struggling over the trooper’s service weapon and Brobst was shot in the lower body.

PREVAILING WAGES

Whitmer restores prevailing wages on state projects

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan will pay higher "prevailing" wages on state construction projects, three years after Republican legislators repealed a long-standing law that required better pay. The Democratic governor said Thursday the cancellation of the law doesn't preclude her from implementing a prevailing wage policy for state contracts. She calls it the "right policy" and one that benefits workers and the government. The announcement is drawing criticism from conservative groups and an association of nonunion contractors that funded a ballot initiative that enabled lawmakers to rescind the law. They say Whitmer's move is illegal. A lawsuit appears likely.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WMU SPORTS

WMU loses appeal over athletes and virus vaccine requirement

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of athletes at Western Michigan University. They sued to play sports without getting a COVID-19 vaccination, citing religious reasons. The appeals court declined to freeze a decision by a judge who said WMU's vaccine policy likely violates the constitutional right to follow a religion. The appeals court says at least 16 athletes sought the religious exemption but were ignored or denied. WMU can require them to wear a mask or be regularly tested for COVID-19, under an injunction from a judge in Grand Rapids. In their lawsuit, the athletes say they are "devoted Christian people" who believe that the Bible and their faith preclude them from getting a COVID-19 shot.

FOOTBALL-NO REFS

Homecoming game at Detroit-area school scratched; no refs

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — The football homecoming game at a suburban Detroit school has been canceled because of a lack of referees. Mount Clemens was supposed to play Friday night against Potterville, a school southwest of Lansing. Homecoming games are a big date on any school’s schedule, with community events and other traditions. Mount Clemens coach Marcus Cribbs says his players are disappointed, especially the seniors. The school plans to hold a homecoming dance Saturday and other events next week. The high school and middle school were closed Friday because of a threat.

COURT BACKLOG

Whitmer proposes $6.3M to reduce backlog of felony cases

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed spending $6.3 million in federal rescue funding to reduce a backlog of felony cases in Michigan courts that was caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor’s office says there are more than 6,200 cases, the most common being gun cases, that have been awaiting adjudication for roughly five months or longer. The funding, if approved by the Legislature, would be used to create "virtual backlog reduction dockets" — teamed by visiting judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court clerks, probation officers and other staff.

POLICE COMPLAINT

ACLU: Feds need to investigate police in Detroit suburb

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the federal government to investigate the use of force by a suburban Detroit police department, especially incidents involving Black people. The ACLU says officers in Taylor have injured people and created an "atmosphere of fear and intimidation." The ACLU referred to 20 instances of alleged or documented excessive force. A white officer was recently charged with assaulting a Black motorist in 2020. The City of Taylor issued a statement saying it "has been made aware of the complaint filed by the ACLU and will cooperate as requested by the Department of Justice as we always do."

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-PRESIDENT

Schlissel says he can always teach after U-M presidency

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The president of the University of Michigan says he’ll return to teaching and research "if nothing more interesting comes along." Mark Schlissel spoke Thursday, two days after saying he would leave the presidency in 2023 after nine years. He noted that he’s a tenured member of the university faculty. Schlissel described himself as "just an old biology professor" before his career took him to university leadership. Schlissel is paid $927,000 a year. He will be paid his presidential salary for up to two years after June 2023, under an agreement with the Board of Regents. The university will also provide a lab and $2 million to get it running.

JAPAN-NISSAN-SMART PLANT

Smart robots do all the work at Nissan's 'intelligent' plant

KAMINO KAWA, Japan (AP) — Nissan’s "intelligent factory" hardly has any human workers. The robots do the work, including welding and mounting. They not only do the paint job; they also inspect their own paint job. The assembly line for the Ariya sport-utility vehicle at Nissan's Tochigi plant, set to be up and running before April, is designed so that all three types of models — electric; e-Power, with both a motor and an engine, and regular combustion engines — can be built on the same line. Nissan says the robots also can help make up for a lack of workers in aging Japan.

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