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Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. EDT

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BENZENE VAPOR-MICHIGAN SEWERS

Ford plant caused benzene vapor in Detroit suburb’s sewers

FLAT ROCK, Mich. (AP) — Ford and Michigan environmental officials say one of the automaker’s plants is the source of benzene vapor in sewers that forced the evacuation of 10 homes and a school in the Detroit suburb of Flat Rock. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy confirmed Friday that a fuel leak at the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant caused the vapor. It said hazardous materials technicians would inject fire suppressant foam to begin dealing with the problem. It also said an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline spilled into the city’s sewers.

AP-US-UAW-CORRUPTION

UAW watchdog getting evidence from feds in corruption probe

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Detroit put a herd of UAW officials in prison. Now they’re sharing additional evidence with a court-appointed watchdog who has authority to pursue other misconduct at the union. The independent monitor, Neil Barofsky, can investigate and bring disciplinary charges inside the United Auto Workers. A judge took the unusual step of giving prosecutors permission to share grand jury materials and other records. The government says the monitor’s staff has met with people who cooperated with agents in the criminal investigation. The investigation led to a dozen convictions at the UAW, including prison terms for two presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. 

OAKLAND UNIVERSITY-STRIKE

Oakland U faculty end strike with new contract with school

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Professors at at Oakland University in suburban Detroit have ended a two-day strike after reaching a contract agreement with the school. The two sides struck a deal at 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Terms haven’t been disclosed. The university and its branch of the American Association of University Professors sent a joint statement to the campus Saturday morning saying “the faculty will undertake all feasible measures to assure that full course content and learning objectives are delivered to their students, and that all requirements for credits and program accreditations are satisfied.” The 880-member union went on strike Thursday morning as classes began for the 2021-22 school year. The school has about 18,000 students. 

MAYOR-PRAYER

Saginaw mayor invites public to pray in park for peace

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The mayor of Saginaw is inviting residents to a park Sunday to pray for “peace in our city.” Brenda Moore is joining local pastors and others at 2 p.m. in Borchard Park. By late August, Saginaw had at least 12 homicides compared to 15 at the same time in 2020. There have been more than 60 shootings this year in Saginaw. The mayor says she believes that prayer is a “crucial element” in fighting violence and other issues that divide the city. Moore says, “Everyone is invited, from the east and west, all races, all religions.”  

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GIFT CARDS

City trying to recover cost of nearly $200K in gift cards

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A city in western Michigan is trying to figure out what to do with nearly $200,000 in gift cards purchased to support restaurants businesses during the pandemic. The cards were never formally approved by Muskegon city commissioners, although City Manager Frank Peterson says he got the blessing of four commissioners through email. Muskegon’s city attorney says the gift cards should have been approved by the commission during a public meeting. A committee led by Muskegon’s economic development director says businesses and philanthropists have been approached about paying 25%. The city would then sell the cards to the public at 75% of their face value.

WEST NILE VIRUS-MICHIGAN

First West Nile virus cases of year in Michigan found

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — It’s the height of mosquito season in Michigan and the first West Nile virus cases have been found in residents in the southeastern part of the state. West Nile virus, as well as Jameson Canyon virus have been found in mosquitoes tested in several southeastern counties as well as Kent County in western Michigan. The state health department is advising residents to take preventive measures to keep from getting bitten by mosquitoes. That includes wearing shoes and socks, using insect repellent and ensuring that the doors and windows in homes are repaired and have tight-fitting screens.

FATAL DOG MAULING

Elderly suburban Detroit woman fatally mauled by dog

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 91-year-old suburban Detroit woman has been fatally mauled by a dog that belonged to a family member. The incident occurred Thursday evening at a home ion Bloomfield Township. Bloomfield Township Police Capt. James Gallagher says police and EMS responded to the scene and found the woman unresponsive and suffering from “significant injuries.” The woman was taken by EMS to a local hospital where she died. No other injuries were reported. The animal was taken to the Bloomfield Township Animal Shelter. The woman’s name hasn’t been released.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-RESTAURANT

Michigan diner owner jailed over virus rules plans to reopen

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan restaurant owner who flouted COVID-19 restrictions and spent four nights in jail in March says she plans to reopen in a few weeks. Marlena Pavlos-Hackney says her food license has been restored. She operates Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland. Pavlos-Hackney became the face of defiance over enforcement of virus-related restrictions. She continued to serve indoor diners and broke other rules aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. Sen. Tom Barrett called her “Michigan’s first political prisoner of the pandemic.” The restaurant could be open again by Sept. 21. It has been closed since March.

AP-US-ENBRIDGE-ENERGY-LINE-3

Congresswomen urge Biden to stop pipeline in Minnesota visit

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and her progressive congressional allies have urged President Joe Biden to stop construction on Enbridge Energy’s much-contested Line 3 project. Omar and three other congresswomen said the pipeline project would worsen climate change and violate Native American treaty rights. But Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner says six years of reviews, court decisions and permit approvals disprove claims that Line 3 would violate treaty rights or damage the region’s environment. Pipeline supporters, including Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, state lawmakers and pipeline workers spoke Friday ahead of Omar’s visit to praise the jobs the pipeline has brought to the region.

ABORTION-MICHIGAN

If Roe is overturned, Michigan has abortion ban on the books

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Supreme Court’s decision to let a Texas ban on most abortions remain in force — for now — is prompting warnings and cheers from advocates who note Michigan still has a 90-year-old ban on the books if Roe v. Wade is overturned. It’s unclear whether the 1931 law automatically would take effect if the landmark case is reversed. Democrats’ attempts to repeal the 1931 law have been blocked in the Republican-controlled Legislature. An option on both sides could be to organize a ballot initiative, though it’s too early to say because of uncertainty over what the justices will do.

The Associated Press

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