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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 3, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Heavy, wet snow blamed for icy roads, Michigan power outages

DETROIT (AP) — Heavy, wet snow and ice are blamed for creating hazardous driving conditions in parts of Michigan and knocking out power to thousands of customers.

Rain and snow fell Thursday and wrapped up early Friday, leaving behind icy conditions. Numerous crashes were reported on Detroit-area roadways.

Warmer temperatures are forecast for the coming days.

Schools were shut for the day Friday in the Detroit Public Schools Community District and some other districts due to the weather.

DTE Energy reported 104,000 of its customers were affected and 49,000 had no power Friday afternoon because of heavy, wet snow. Outages are concentrated in Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties.

Some cities declared snow emergencies to prohibit parking on streets.

Detroit's big auto show may move from January to October

DETROIT (AP) — Organizers of Detroit's big auto show are talking about moving it from frigid January to October starting as early as 2020.

North American International Auto Show spokesman Max Muncey said a schedule change is being considered but is not final.

An earlier show would allow for outdoor displays including autonomous vehicle driving courses that can't be done in January.

It also would distance the show from winter holidays and the CES gadget show in early January. CES has been attracting automotive technology announcements that could go to an earlier show in Detroit.

The Detroit show has lost some automakers in recent years including Porsche, Jaguar-Land Rover and Mazda. Mercedes-Benz is pulling out starting next year.

Muncey said the 2019 show will happen as scheduled from Jan. 14-27.

Sorority suspended at Central Michigan amid hazing probe

MOUNT PLEASANT (AP) — Officials say a sorority chapter at Central Michigan University has been suspended by its national organization amid an investigation into alleged hazing.

Damon Brown, director of Student Activities and Involvement, told the Grand Rapids Press that the Mount Pleasant school was notified last month of Sigma Lambda Gamma's suspension. He said the Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority plans to report its findings to the university.

Shannon McNaul, executive director of the organization, said there's no timeframe for completing the investigation, but the local chapter is presumed innocent unless found otherwise.

The suspension comes after two fraternities at the school were suspended last fall. Brown said Phi Kappa Tau was suspended through fall 2020 for alcohol abuse, misconduct and hazing involving scavenger hunts. The other suspended fraternity is under investigation, but details haven't been released.

Ex-EMT accused of delaying emergency response is convicted

DETROIT (AP) — An ex-emergency medical technician has been convicted of neglect of duty after medical response was delayed to a Detroit home where an 8-month-old girl was having trouble breathing. The child later died.

The Detroit News reported that Ann Marie Thomas, 48, was convicted Wednesday of the misdemeanor. She faces up to a year behind bars when sentenced April 12.

Prosecutors said Thomas was parked less than a mile from the home but delayed her response when dispatch put out a call for help in May 2015. Another emergency worker was eventually sent, but the child, I'Nayah Wright-Trussel, later died.

The girl's family alleges Thomas told dispatch she didn't want to be there "10 minutes doing CPR, you know how these families get."

State officials didn't notify residents of unsafe fish in West Mich. lake

PLAINFIELD TWP. (AP) — A Grand Rapids television station has found that Michigan officials didn't immediately inform residents about unsafe levels of chemicals in fish.

The state began testing fish from Freska Lake in September 2017 after residents raised concerns, WOOD-TV reported.

The lake is near a site where Wolverine World Wide buried per- and polyfluoroalkyl sludge for years. Studies suggest that PFAS affects fetal development, disrupts hormonal functions, damages fertility and immune systems, and boosts the risk of cancer.

The Department of Natural Resources collected the fish, the Department of Environmental Quality sent them to the lab for testing, and the Department of Health and Human Services determined if they were safe to eat.

A November 2017 email acquired by the TV station through a records request says there were problematic levels of PFAS in the lake's bluegill and cautions limiting consumption to two meals a month. The current statewide advisory, which is in effect because of mercury concerns, limits consumption to eight meals a month.

"That is very concerning if they've known this long," said Bill Fix, who lives near the lake. "We've been ice fishing. They should have told us on day one. Even if they didn't know, if they had concerns they should have told us."

The Department of Health and Human Services first re-tested the fish to confirm the results, which were received in December, said Angela Minicuci, a department spokeswoman. The department then decided to wait to release the results this spring through their Eat Safe Fish guide, she said.

The state is now considering releasing the test results sooner than originally planned, she said.

"This is part of our challenge around PFAS and creating new models for communication," Minicuci said.

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