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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jul 4, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Judge tosses Detroit schools case, says no right to literacy

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit focused on the poor reading skills of students at several Detroit schools, concluding in part that there's no constitutional right to literacy — and drawing vows of an appeal.

Judge Stephen Murphy III agreed in his 40-page ruling that "when a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury — and so does society." But he also asserted that the U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee a fundamental right to literacy.

The lawsuit was filed in 2016, arguing the schools were in "slum-like conditions" and "functionally incapable of delivering access to literacy." The lawsuit accused Gov. Rick Snyder, the state school board and others of violating the civil rights of low-income students.

The district at the time had been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

The plaintiffs said Monday they planned to appeal Murphy's ruling, which was posted late Friday in U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan.

15 train cars derail in downtown Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO (AP) — Police said approximately 15 train cars derailed Tuesday in downtown Kalamazoo.

No injuries have been reported.

The city's Department of Public Safety said the train was carrying freight, not passengers, and some cars were empty. There's no evidence of hazardous materials being released.

The derailment was reported at around 6:50 a.m.

Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas said it was a "big inconvenience."

Deadline to register for August primary is next Monday

LANSING (AP) — The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 7 primary election is just days away.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said the deadline is Monday, July 9. She said every community will have a primary election on Aug. 7.

Voters must be 18 years old by the election date. They can register by mail or in person at their local clerk's office or at a secretary of state office.

A registered voter who needs to change an address can go to www.ExpressSOS.com.

The primary election ballot will include races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Federal funds to help with road repairs from UP flooding

LANSING (AP) — The federal government is injecting $2 million to help patch up flood-damaged roads in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration announced the emergency relief funds that will reimburse the state for initial repairs.

The money will be used to repair roads and bridges that were wrecked by heavy rainfall last month. The rain swelled waterways that washed away large chunks of concrete and asphalt, littering roads with debris. Some residents used boats to get around.

Gov. Rick Snyder issued disaster declarations for Gogebic, Houghton and Menominee counties. That made them eligible for state resources.

Long-term damage assessment is still ongoing.

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