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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 21, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Man charged with manslaughter after son's drug overdose death

PAW PAW (AP) — A southwestern Michigan man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal overdose of his 16-year-old son.

Gary Birkhead, 48, of Bangor was arraigned Wednesday in Van Buren County District Court on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child abuse.

State police said Cole Birkhead died of a drug overdose Aug. 13, 2017. Police didn't say what drug the teenager had taken.

Prosecutors allege Gary Birkhead knowingly allowed his son to use illicit drugs over a two-year period.

Birkhead told a judge he's eager to prove his innocence. His bond was set at $1 million.

No negligence by college after student kills man, court says

OLIVET (AP) — The state appeals court has rejected an effort to make a small Michigan college responsible for the acts of a student who killed a man while studying in Italy.

Johnathan Hindenach was a student at Olivet College in 2008 when he took a class that included a trip to Florence, Italy. He was placed in a psychiatric hospital after an Italian court said he wasn't criminally responsible for the man's death.

Hindenach's family sued Olivet, saying the school had failed to properly monitor his mental health before the homicide.

But the appeals court said Olivet was aware that Hindenach suffered from depression and used medication. The court said it "plainly was not foreseeable" that he would kill a stranger and be hospitalized for his actions.

Michigan awards grants to 3 auto suppliers for expansions

LANSING (AP) — State officials said Wednesday that three auto supply companies have received financial support from the Michigan Strategic Fund to expand their operations.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. said the expansions will generate a combined $29.6 million in private investment and create 262 jobs.

Concord Tool and Manufacturing Inc. in Mount Clemens was awarded $300,000 for its tool and die plant, which ships products to Toyota facilities in North America.

A $685,000 grant was given to AMS USA Manufacturing LLC for a new manufacturing facility in Pontiac. The company supplies driveline systems, chassis and electronic systems.

Ventra Evart LLC was awarded $350,000. The company makes plastics, metals, lighting and mechanical assemblies at its plant in Evart. It plans to buy a building about a mile from its existing facility.

Michigan cuts loans for some docs going where need is high

DETROIT (AP) — Some newly graduated doctors have an opportunity to decrease their medical school loans if they work where they are most needed in Michigan.

The program announced Wednesday is called MIDOCs and is supported by $5 million in state money. It seeks to lure and keep physicians in the state by offering up to $75,000 in loan repayment in exchange for a two-year, post-residency commitment to work in urban or rural areas with doctor shortages.

The candidates are subject to approval by program leaders.

Four medical schools — those at Wayne State, Michigan State, Western Michigan and Central Michigan — have been designated two slots apiece for 2019.

Of Michigan's 83 counties, 90 percent have at least a partial designation as a physician shortage area.

Former state House candidate awaits sentencing in embezzlement case

PONTIAC (AP) — A former Democratic candidate for the Michigan House who authorities say embezzled about $150,000 when she served as treasurer of another campaign has pleaded no contest in the case.

Jennifer Suidan, 34, is scheduled to be sentenced April 16 in Oakland County Circuit Court after entering the plea earlier this month to a charge of embezzling $100,000 or more. A no-contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

Suidan was accused of stealing money from the campaign of Andy Meisner, the Oakland County treasurer, over 18 months. Meisner earlier said a "wrong has been done" to the people who donated to his campaign.

Suidan was a candidate for the state House 39th District and lost in November 2018 to a Republican.

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