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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Feb 7, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Former Michigan Republican congressman dies at 84

DETROIT (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, a Republican who served suburban Detroit's Oakland County for 16 years after a career in insurance, died Tuesday at 84.

State Sen. Marty Knollenberg said his father died of complications from Alzheimer's disease at a memory care facility in Troy, where he lived for 2 ½ years.

Knollenberg was elected to Congress in 1992 at age 59 — his first elected office. He had been chairman of the Oakland County Republican Party, a district chairman, and president and founder of a local GOP club.

Marty Knollenberg said his father ran at the urging of retiring U.S. Rep. Bill Broomfield, who had become a friend.

Democrat Gary Peters, now a U.S. senator, beat Knollenberg in November 2008. Peters said in a statement that Knollenberg "worked tirelessly to represent the people" of southeastern Michigan.

Ex-Olympic gymnastics coach Geddert facing investigation

LANSING (AP) — Former U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team coach John Geddert is facing a criminal investigation following the final sentencing of disgraced ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar, who molested girls at Geddert's elite gymnastics club in Michigan.

The Eaton County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that people recently came forward with complaints against Geddert, 60. The office declined to elaborate on the number of complaints, when exactly they were filed or their nature, citing the ongoing investigation.

Geddert until recently owned and operated Twistars, a gym in Dimondale, near Lansing, where Nassar offered treatments on Monday nights.

During Nassar's two recent sentencing hearings, some victims complained that Geddert was physically abusive, was indifferent to injuries and forced them to see Nassar. One also alleged that Geddert was aware in the late 1990s that Nassar had performed an "inappropriate procedure" on her when she was 16, and her mother and Geddert agreed that Nassar would not treat her in private appointments again. That accuser's anonymous statement was read in court by a prosecutor.

Also Tuesday, Michigan State University released a letter that interim president John Engler sent Monday to an independent special prosecutor appointed by state Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate allegations that the school ignored and mishandled old complaints against Nassar.

Wife of late UAW official pleads guilty in corruption probe

DETROIT (AP) — The wife of a late union official has pleaded guilty to a tax crime in a federal corruption investigation at a training center run by Fiat Chrysler and the United Auto Workers.

Monica Morgan pleaded guilty Tuesday and faces up to 27 months in prison. She owes $191,000 in restitution.

Morgan was married to General Holiefield, who was a UAW vice president before his death in 2015. Former Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator Al Iacobelli admits he spent more than $1.5 million in cash and gifts on high-ranking UAW members, including Holiefield.

A $262,000 mortgage on Holiefield's home was paid off with training center money that came from Fiat Chrysler.

Defense lawyer Steve Fishman insists Morgan wasn't part of the conspiracy. He said Holiefield and Iacobelli "cheated the hell out of auto workers."

West Michigan community reacts to high school blackface incident

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Forest Hills school officials say that a senior photographed in blackface committed an offensive and unacceptable act.

A Forest Hills Northern High School senior, who is white, put on dark-brown makeup in what appeared to be an attempt to make himself look black. Photos of the student were posted online and shared thousands of times.

Some students said the Friday incident was offensive because it resembled blackface. Several students organized a "blackout against blackface" districtwide protest Tuesday where they wore all black to show their solidarity against racist actions.

The senior found makeup another student had left behind and used it to cover his face, Forest Hills Public Schools Superintendent Dan Behm said. The incident occurred in a classroom with a substitute teacher present, he said.

The senior didn't realize his actions would be offensive, according to Behm.

Plans move forward on tunnel to Ann Arbor's riverfront

ANN ARBOR (AP) — Plans are moving forward on a tunnel in Ann Arbor to improve access to riverfront recreation areas and curb flooding.

The Ann Arbor City Council voted Monday to take a step forward on the project that will go under railroad tracks between Depot Street and the Huron River.

The Ann Arbor News reported the tunnel will accommodate pedestrians as well as a stormwater sewer. Construction is expected to start this year.

City officials estimate that the flood-control portion of the project totals $5.1 million, with $3.7 million covered by Federal Emergency Management Agency grant funding. The pedestrian trail elements total $2.3 million, including grant money.

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