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State Briefs

Associated Press • Apr 12, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Veteran receives high school diploma 70 years later

GREENVILLE (AP) — A World War II veteran in Michigan has finally received his high school diploma with the help of his family and the school district more than 70 years later.

Ralph Taylor received his Greenville High School diploma on Monday at 90 years old. He graduated from the high school in 1945, but he was called to serve in the U.S. Navy two days before his commencement ceremony.

Taylor went on to grow a family of four children, nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. But the veteran said he felt he still missed something by not being able to walk across his high school's stage to accept his diploma.

"It's 73 years without a diploma. ... You miss it," Taylor said. "You go to school all those years and you want your diploma."

His family recently took up the effort to return Taylor's diploma, which was presented to him at a school board meeting attended by about two dozen friends and family.

"I didn't know that all my kids and grandkids and everybody else would be there," Taylor said. "It was exciting."

He said receiving the diploma in the company of his family was one of the best moments in his life.

"It feels wonderful," Taylor said. "It feels complete."

Michigan board questions Whirlpool's access to student data

BENTON HARBOR (AP) — A school board in southwestern Michigan is investigating allegations that Whirlpool Corp. received access to student information.

Benton Harbor school board trustees passed a resolution Tuesday directing Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson to report details of data electronically released to Whirlpool, the Herald-Palladium reported .

Compiling the information will take about two weeks, Robinson said.

Whirlpool officials began investigating the matter last week, said Jeff Noel, Whirlpool's spokesman.

"The issue of privacy we take very seriously," he said. "When we found out about it, we hired an outside law firm to look into it."

Student information wasn't given to the company itself but to a school district volunteer working for the company, Noel said. The volunteer received the information from school staff to contact parents of children who left the district to find out why they left, he said.

The information the volunteer received is permitted under the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, Noel said.

The law states that school districts can release "directory information" to anyone without consent so long as parents were notified and given a choice to opt out. Directory information includes a student's name, address, phone number, birthdate, attendance dates, and activities and sports.

The school board questions whether parents were offered an opportunity to opt out.

Noel said the board can expect a report from Whirlpool's attorney about the issue soon.

Police: Officer fatally shoots man who fled traffic stop

ROYAL OAK (AP) — Authorities say a suburban Detroit police officer has fatally shot a man who sped away from a traffic stop.

Royal Oak police say the officer pulled over a car Tuesday evening for a traffic violation, but the driver, 27-year-old Antonino Thomas Gordon of Commerce Township, fled and was spotted later in a fast food restaurant drive-thru lane. Police say the officer shot Gordon after he tried to flee again, and the injured suspect's car collided with a van.

Gordon was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Lt. Keith Spencer said Gordon had multiple arrests for drunken driving and disorderly conduct.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office is investigating and the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave.

Police say the driver of the van suffered minor injuries.

Flint protesters: "Do your job" to Snyder, representative

LANSING (AP) — Security guards have evicted protesters from the chambers of the Michigan House of Representatives after they converged on the state capitol to condemn Gov. Rick Snyder's decision to close four remaining free bottled water sites in Flint.

More than 50 people, mostly residents of Flint, were kicked out of a House session while chanting, "Do your job. Open the pods."

One man told reporters he was detained while security guards evicted the protesters from the chamber, but he said he was released within an hour. He would not provide his full name.

The protesters also condemned their representative, Democrat Sheldon Neeley, saying he should be voted out of office because he's not doing enough to fight for clean water in the city.

Dad's murder conviction affirmed; daughter's body missing

LUDINGTON (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has affirmed the conviction of a man who was charged with murder in the disappearance of his 4-month-old daughter in Mason County.

The body of Katherine Phillips still hasn't been found. But the appeals court says there was plenty of circumstantial evidence pointing to the death of "Baby Kate." The girl disappeared in 2011 in the Ludington area.

Her father, Sean Phillips, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to at least 19 years in prison. Prosecutors said Phillips had a turbulent relationship with Kate's mother and didn't want the baby.

Phillips, now 28 years old, didn't testify during the trial. Separately, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012 for unlawful imprisonment in Kate's disappearance.

Authorities searching Michigan river for kayaker find body

WATERVLIET TWP. (AP) — Authorities who have searched a southwestern Michigan river for a missing kayaker since February say they've found a body.

The Berrien County Sheriff's Office says the body of a male was found Tuesday in Watervliet Township in the Paw Paw River. A statement says the body wasn't immediately identified, but notes the search for the kayaker lasted more than 40 days.

The sheriff's office has said that three people were kayaking on the Paw Paw River on Feb. 27 when two kayaks struck a log. Authorities say one kayaker swam to land and 35-year-old Cory Wright of Niles was missing.

Wright vanished as area waterways were running high due to heavy rain and melting snow that caused flooding in Michigan, Indiana and other Midwest states.

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