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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Sep 14, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Snyder wants resolution as dispute stalls Michigan roadwork

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder is calling for a resolution after a road builders' lockout of union workers has slowed or halted work on more than 150 projects statewide.

Snyder said Thursday the Michigan Department of Transportation and other agencies have limited legal authority because the dispute is between contractors and their employees. But he's asking for state Attorney General Bill Schuette's guidance on whether the situation is legally a labor dispute, which might allow MDOT to consider steps such as issuing penalties for late completion of roadwork.

A contract between the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and the Operating Engineers 324 union expired June 1. Work continued until the lockout came Sept. 4.

Snyder said it's a "terrible situation" and drivers need both sides to "sit down and resolve their differences soon."

Lawsuit seeks damages after abuse linked to Explorer program

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A young woman who was sexually abused as a teenager during a mentor program at a fire department in West Michigan is suing the Boy Scouts of America and others involved in the case.

The lawsuit was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids and WOOD-TV reported it seeks damages for gross negligence, but doesn't specify an amount.

The lawsuit follows a criminal case where Clem Bell and Steven Drake, ex-firefighters in Kent County's Cascade Township, pleaded guilty last year to promoting child sexually abusive activity and other charges. They met the girl as part of an Explorer program, which gives young people the chance to learn about potential careers.

MLive.com reported the Boys Scouts of America said Bell and Drake weren't registered with the Explorer program.

'Shroom boom: Mushroom pickers find big ones in UP

QUINNESEC (AP) — Mushroom steak, anyone? The possibilities seem endless for a wild Upper Peninsula mushroom that looks like a volleyball.

The giant mushroom, known as a puffball, was recently picked in Dickinson County. Joe Arcand of Quinnesec wants to keep the exact location a secret and isn't giving too many details. He laughed and told the Iron Mountain Daily News that it was "in the woods."

Arcand said fall can be a prime season for mushroom picking, although spring gets much attention. He's also found meadow mushrooms, which are related to button mushrooms sold in stores.

Experts at Michigan State University say it's important to know what you're picking. There are many mushrooms that can be toxic to humans. The message: Don't eat a wild mushroom unless it's been cooked and positively identified.

Free tours offered at Michigan's salmon collection sites

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — Free tours are available this fall at three northern Michigan sites where crews collect Great Lakes salmon as the big fish migrate up rivers.

The tours are offered at weirs on the Boardman River in Traverse City, the Little Manistee River in Manistee County and the Upper Platte River in Benzie County.

Weirs are structures that block upstream fish passage. Staffers with the state Department of Natural Resources gather chinook and coho salmon at the weirs. They use fertilized eggs from the captured fish to produce more salmon.

Tours deal with topics such as salmon biology, how weirs and fish ladders work, invasive species, state fish hatcheries, and the DNR's annual egg collection efforts.

Officials say each of the weirs has its own tour schedule.

Gov. Snyder leaving for eighth investment mission to China

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder is leaving today for an eight-day investment mission to China, his eighth trip as governor to Michigan's third-largest export market.

Snyder plans to meet with high-level government officials and business leaders on topics such as manufacturing, mobility technology, agriculture and tourism.

It will be the 29th foreign investment mission led by Snyder or Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

Snyder says the value of building relationships with other countries "cannot be overstated." He says Michigan has seen more than 400 foreign direct investment projects since 2011, and Michigan this year ranks third in the U.S. in the number of investment projects from China.

Michigan companies will participate in the trade mission, while Michigan's agriculture director will lead a separate effort to help connect Michigan companies with Chinese commodity buyers.

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