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State Briefs

By the Associated Press • Nov 4, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Federal grant to boost Lake Michigan shipping port expansion

PORTAGE, Indiana (AP) — An Indiana shipping port along Lake Michigan has landed a nearly $10 million federal grant for an expansion project.

The U.S. Department of Transportation grant will cover about half the cost for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor project. The Ports of Indiana state agency will pay the rest.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported the Burns Harbor port is coming off the highest three-year total volume of cargo — such as steel, coal, limestone and grain — in its 47-year history

Ports of Indiana chief executive Rich Cooper said the expansion will give companies more options for transferring shipments between ships, rail cars and trucks.

The expansion plan includes two new rail yards that could store 165 rail cars and a new 6-acre truck yard.

Michigan receives hundreds of proposals for stopping carp

LANSING (AP) — Michigan officials say they've received hundreds of entries in a contest seeking new ideas for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge in January, soliciting proposals to prevent silver and bighead carp from reaching Lake Michigan through Chicago-area waterways. Scientists say the huge carp could endanger the lakes' native fish.

The contest has drawn 353 entries from 27 countries. It's hosted by InnoCentive, a global crowd-sourcing company.

A panel of experts will review the proposals and select up to eight for $25,000 awards, which will be announced in February. Some of them will be chosen to compete before a live audience in March for additional awards totaling up to $500,000.

Teen girl shot outside Lansing school, police say

LANSING (AP) — Police said a 15-year-old girl has been shot outside a mid-Michigan school on Friday afternoon.

Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski said the injury doesn't appear to be life-threatening. The shooting occurred at Pattengill Academy, a school for students in grades 4-6.

Yankowski said the girl was injured while inside a car. She was taken to a hospital. The vehicle is in police custody.

Lansing school district spokesman Bob Kolt told the Lansing State Journal that 80-90 students were inside Pattengill Academy at the time of the shooting.

Trial of Michigan sports doctor won't be moved, judge says

LANSING (AP) — A judge has refused to move the trial of a former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor who is charged with molesting girls at his home and campus clinic.

Lawyers for Dr. Larry Nassar say it will be hard to pick a jury in Ingham County after more than a year of unflattering stories about him. But Judge Rosemarie Aquilina says not everyone follows the news.

Aquilina held a hearing Friday to deal with many issues before jury selection starts on Dec. 4.

Nassar pleaded guilty in federal court in July in a separate child pornography case. Aquilina said prosecutors can't mention the conviction during trial.

Nassar specialized in treating gymnasts from all over Michigan. He also worked for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Mediator ordered in white nationalist case vs Michigan State

EAST LANSING (AP) — A mediator will try to settle a dispute between Michigan State University and white nationalist Richard Spencer, who wants to speak on campus.

MSU was sued after it refused to rent space to a Spencer supporter. In August, the school said it was concerned about public safety, especially after violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Federal Judge Janet Neff on Friday ordered MSU and Spencer ally Cameron Padgett to pick a mediator by Nov. 17. She also set deadlines to manage Padgett's request for a preliminary injunction. He says the school is violating free speech rights.

Spencer popularized the term "alt-right" to refer to a fringe movement that's a mix of white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration beliefs.

Officer left jurisdiction to drive by ex's home, prosecutors say

BENTON TWP. (AP) — A police officer in southwest Michigan has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor neglect of duty for leaving his jurisdiction to drive by an ex-girlfriend's home to see who she was dating.

The Berrien County Prosecutor's Office said Friday that Robert Fuller, 30, has been sentenced to a $575 fine. Fuller is a Benton Township police officer.

Prosecutors said a reported use of the Law Enforcement Information Network led investigators to discover that Fuller left his patrol jurisdiction several times in 2016 for personal reasons. Police officers are only permitted to leave their jurisdictions for limited legitimate reasons.

Administrative hearings regarding Fuller's employment status are underway with the police department. 

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