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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Substitute teacher accused of choking 8th-grader in Michigan

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A woman says her 13-year-old son had red marks and bruises on his neck after being choked by a substitute teacher at a southwestern Michigan school.

Mona Thompson told WWMT-TV that her son was asked to leave the classroom Tuesday at Kalamazoo's Milwood Magnet School after another student threw a tennis ball at the teacher. She said the teacher grabbed the eighth-grader by the throat in trying to remove him.

Thompson said other middle school students tried to intervene and her son "retaliated with a punch."

Police said prosecutors will review the case.

The Kalamazoo school district said in a statement the teacher has been removed from its substitute teaching list. The district said there are "conflicting allegations regarding this situation" and four students were scheduled for hearings on possible discipline.

Trucker charged in crash that killed man, young daughter

FLINT (AP) — A Texas truck driver has been charged in a Michigan crash that killed a man and his young daughter, and critically injured another.

Dalibot Sakotic, 34, of Wylie, Texas, was arraigned Friday in a Flint court on charges of manslaughter and reckless driving. He's jailed on a $500,000 cash bond.

Prosecutors said his semi-truck slammed into a car Wednesday on I-69 that was carrying members of a Davison family.

The two rear-seat passengers, 27-year-old Cody Thomas and his 3-year-old daughter, Aria Thomas, were killed. The driver remains in the hospital with serious injuries, and the fourth occupant who escaped serious injuries was the wife of the deceased man and mother of the child.

The Genesee County Prosecutors Office said Sakotic has requested a court-appointed attorney.

More dogs found in home of woman charged with animal cruelty

ROME TWP. (AP) — A woman accused of animal cruelty after more than 200 animals were removed from her southern Michigan property has been arrested after authorities say they found additional neglected animals.

Sharon Kay Evans of Lenawee County's Rome Township was arrested Friday for violating an order not to possess animals. Sheriff's officials said they acted on tips that Evans had dogs, and recovered more than a dozen after obtaining a search warrant.

A bond hearing is set for Monday.

The Associated Press left a message with the public defender's office, which is representing her.

Earlier this year, authorities removed roughly 200 dogs, 32 horses, five cats, two peacocks and a donkey from the property. A not-guilty plea was entered for her in January on a charge of felony animal cruelty.

Gypsum company seeks 580 acres of state land for expansion

LANSING (AP) — A company that operates a gypsum quarry in Michigan's northeastern Lower Peninsula wants to buy 580 acres of adjacent state forest land to expand its operation.

The U.S. Gypsum Co. has submitted a purchase application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The land is in Iosco County's Alabaster Township near Tawas City.

U.S. Gypsum has been in business in the area for more than 100 years.

Gypsum is a mineral deposit composed of calcium, sulfur, oxygen and water. Once refined, it is used to make products such as plaster and drywall.

The DNR says it will study the Chicago-based company's plan, considering issues involving forestry, wildlife, fisheries, recreation and minerals. It also will consult with tribal governments and host a public meeting.

State court dismisses challenge to controversial dental contract

MASON (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has dismissed a challenge to a state contract that had drawn the ire of a Lansing-area judge.

Ingham County Judge William Collette said politics helped Blue Cross Blue Shield win a multimillion-dollar Medicaid dental contract. He ordered a state official to explain the bid process. But the appeals court this week dismissed a lawsuit by a losing bidder, MCNA Insurance.

State attorneys said Collette had exceeded his powers in an agency decision. Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for the budget department, said the bid process was "fair and thorough."

MCNA isn't convinced, saying the process was "deeply flawed." The company says Blue Cross was allowed to change its bid and improve its score.

An appeal to the Supreme Court is planned.

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