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State Briefs

By the Associated Press • Nov 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Disgraced sports doctor pleads guilty to assaulting gymnasts

CHARLOTTE (AP) — A disgraced Michigan sports doctor who admits he sexually assaulted female gymnasts and possessed child pornography pleaded guilty Wednesday in a third criminal case, acknowledging that he molested girls who sought treatment for injuries.

Larry Nassar, who worked at Michigan State University and at USA Gymnastics, said he molested girls with his hands at the Twistars gymnastics club in Eaton County, near Lansing. A week ago, he made a separate but similar guilty plea nearby in Ingham County, the home of his campus clinic.

"Guilty, your honor," Nassar told a judge in response to charges involving a girl under age 13 and two teenagers at Twistars, where gymnasts with hip and back injuries would line up to seek his help.

Nassar, 54, has dropped his claim that he was performing legitimate treatment with his ungloved hands.

In a third case, Nassar will be sentenced in federal court on Dec. 7 for possessing child pornography. He faces decades in prison.

Meanwhile, more than 100 women and girls are suing him.

Crews searching northern Michigan lake for missing man

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — Crews have been searching a northern Michigan lake for a man who was last seen over the weekend.

The search resumed Wednesday for 46-year-old John Murray White of Traverse City at Lake Skegemog, including use of a helicopter. Crews spent Tuesday at the lake, where police say White's pickup truck was found near a boat launch and a kayak believed to be his was located on another part of the lake.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff's officials said White's family reported him missing Tuesday and that he hadn't been seen since Saturday. White's family told deputies he frequently kayaked the lake off Grand Traverse Bay.

Sheriff Tom Bensley said the lake is littered with logs, making it difficult to use sonar in the search.

Michigan nuclear reactor back in operation after shutdown

BRIDGMAN (AP) — A reactor at a nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan is back in operation after being shut down since September for refueling and maintenance.

Indiana Michigan Power said Cook Nuclear Plant's Unit 1 reactor was connected to the transmission grid on Tuesday.

The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reported the company said the shutdown was longer than usual since it was extended for inspection and replacement of baffle bolts, which support internal components of the reactor vessel. The inspections had been planned for 2019, but were moved forward to this outage.

The plant is along Lake Michigan in Berrien County's Lake Township, near Bridgman.

Cook's Unit 2 was in operation during the Unit 1 shutdown. During the outage, an additional 1,500 contract workers supplemented the plant's regular 1,200-person staff.

Bill OK'd to ban ousted lawmakers from running to fill seats

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Legislature has voted to prohibit a lawmaker who resigns or who has been expelled from office from running in the special election to fill the seat.

The bill cleared the Senate on a 35-3 vote Wednesday after winning House approval earlier this year.

It is a response to former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat running in special elections to finish the remainder of their terms in 2015. Courser had resigned and Gamrat had been expelled after being accused of misusing state resources to try to cover up their extramarital affair.

They lost the special elections.

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the legislation when it reaches his desk.

Michigan Legislature votes to let prison agency hire felons

LANSING (AP) — Legislation heading to Gov. Rick Snyder would require the Michigan Department of Corrections to have a policy allowing for the hiring of felons.

The Senate approved the bill unanimously Wednesday, months after the measure won House passage.

A 1996 law prohibits people convicted of felonies from being employed in the prison agency. It apparently was a reaction to fears over the state hiring felons as corrections officers.

The legislation would make an exception if the job wouldn't risk public safety or the operation of the department. An extensive background check and written approval from the department director would be required.

The Corrections Department supports the bill as a way to lead by example because many employers automatically exclude hiring people with a criminal record.

Students would get loan info under bill OK'd in Michigan

LANSING (AP) — Michigan universities and colleges would be required to give students information about their federal loans each year under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The House passed the legislation 91-14 Wednesday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

Supporters say there is evidence from other states that providing students with more information about their debt leads to better financial planning.

Under the bill, students would receive estimates on how much they have borrowed, their future monthly loan payments and total payoff estimates.

The sponsor, Republican Rep. Thomas Albert of Lowel, has said student loan debt can be a serious problem and once students realize their debt and what they will have to pay, they're less likely to borrow money they may not need.

Michigan man suspects an intruder: Toilet seat was down

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — A man suspected of breaking into a northern Michigan home left a big clue: The toilet seat was down.

Police said a Traverse City man who lives alone figured something wasn't right last Saturday. Why? He told investigators that he typically keeps the seat up.

Police Chief Jeff O'Brien said a 26-year-old man was found passed out in the man's garage. O'Brien told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that the intruder appeared to be intoxicated and had taken prescription drugs from the home.

The man and the resident don't know each other. Charges will be pursued.

Officials take public feedback on Lake Michigan fish plan

GRAND HAVEN (AP) — Michigan officials are taking feedback on a long-term plan for managing Lake Michigan fish populations and future stocking activities.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hosting the last of three public meetings on the topics today in Grand Haven. Others were held this week in Manistique and Traverse City.

The DNR and other state and tribal agencies are trying to balance Lake Michigan's predator fish with available prey. Michigan reduced Chinook salmon stocking in its waters by about 40 percent last year. Stakeholder groups this year recommended cutbacks in predators besides Chinook.

Among options are reducing brown trout, moving some coho salmon to the southern part of the lake and reducing second-priority lake trout stocking sites in northern Lake Michigan.

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