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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jun 15, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Miss Michigan spends year advocating for arts education

MUSKEGON (AP) — Miss Michigan is ready to pass on the crown after spending a year promoting arts education at schools throughout the state.

Heather Kendrick, 24, will relinquish the title Saturday when she crowns Miss Michigan 2018, the Muskegon Chronicle reported.

Kendrick said her year in the role has been "so rewarding."

Kendrick was crowned Miss Michigan in Muskegon on June 17, 2017. She spent the year advocating for a cause close to her heart, "Keeping the Arts in Education: Advocating S.T.E.A.M." S.T.E.A.M. is an educational framework that stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

As Miss Michigan, Kendrick also climbed to the top of the Mackinac Bridge, rode in the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade, stood at the starting line for a dog sled race in Marquette, interacted with nearly 10,000 students and competed in the Miss America pageant. She also kept her full-time job as the director of an arts program at the University of Michigan while she served as Miss Michigan.

Census suggests Michigan wolf population stable, thriving

LANSING (AP) — State biologists say Michigan's gray wolf population appears to be leveling off after several decades of steady growth.

The Department of Natural Resources said a census this winter produced an estimate of 662 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. That's up slightly from 618 in the previous count two years ago.

The survey found 139 packs — 15 more than in 2016. The average pack size was down slightly, to fewer than five wolves.

The census was taken from December through April, before pups were born. That's when the population is at its lowest point of the year.

Michigan wolves had all but disappeared before gaining legal protection in the 1970s.

Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said they're now thriving. Recent surveys suggest the minimum population may be stabilizing at 600 to 700.

Former Western Michigan basketball player cleared of murder

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A jury has acquitted a former Western Michigan University basketball player of murder in the shooting death of a fellow student, but convicted him of armed robbery and a weapons charge.

The Kalamazoo County jury deliberated two days before returning the verdict for Joeviair Kennedy. He faces a possible life sentence when he's sentenced July 16.

Nineteen-year-old Jacob Jones was killed near the campus on Dec. 8, 2016.

Co-defendant Jordan Waire of Muskegon was convicted last month of felony murder, armed robbery and weapons charges.

Prosecutors said it was Waire who shot Jones. Kennedy has said they took marijuana and about $25.

Kennedy's attorney, Eusebio Solis, said his client agreed to the robbery but not the killing.

Kennedy was arrested in 2016 at the start of his second basketball season.

Construction worker killed in I-75 crash in downtown Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — One road construction worker has been killed and another suffered minor injuries after being struck by a suspected drunken driver on a freeway in downtown Detroit.

State police said a woman drove an SUV early Thursday morning into an active construction zone on northbound I-75 and slammed into the workers who were connecting a utility trailer to a pickup.

The driver was arrested at the scene. Her name and the names of the construction workers were not immediately released.

The freeway's northbound lanes were closed for hours as police investigated the crash. They were reopened at about 7 a.m. Thursday.

Additional traffic barriers were being installed Thursday at the construction site.

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