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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 28, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Bacterial meningitis kills Muskegon prison guard, sickens inmate

MUSKEGON (AP) — A Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman said a guard who worked at a state prison in Muskegon died after contracting bacterial meningitis and an inmate has been diagnosed with it.

MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz said the guard died Monday. The 52-year-old man was a 20-year veteran of the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility, Gautz said. The guard's name hasn't been released.

Gautz said he doesn't know how the illness entered the prison and who contracted it first. He said prison staff has been made aware of the illnesses, as have state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The prison was cleaned with bleach, Gautz said.

UP county sued for barring jail inmate from wearing artificial leg

SAULT STE. MARIE (AP) — A man says his rights were violated when an Upper Peninsula jail refused to allow him to wear his artificial leg during a three-day stay.

Ralf Keller of Sault Ste. Marie has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Chippewa County commissioners and the sheriff's department. He said he was being held in jail in 2016 for a non-violent matter.

Keller said his rights were violated under federal disability law. The lawsuit describes him as a "small, frail, non-violent man" whose prosthetic left leg posed no risk to other people in jail.

In a court filing last week, attorneys for Chippewa County said the jail had "legitimate reasons" to take Keller's leg. No other details were disclosed.

The lawsuit seeks a cash award of more than $75,000.

Man who hadn't missed work in 30 years is missing

SUPERIOR TWP. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a Washtenaw County man who hasn't been seen after missing his first day of work in 30 years.

Police said Marcus Esper of Superior Township was last seen Monday. He was going to a storage facility in Ypsilanti Township, driving a white 2013 Buick LaCrosse, but didn't show up.

Esper, 56, is white; 6 feet, 1 inch tall; and weighs about 235 pounds. 

Anyone with information can call 734-994-2911.

Porn video inadvertently shown in middle school history class

DEARBORN (AP) — Students in a suburban Detroit seventh-grade history class were expecting a video on explorers Lewis and Clark, but instead viewed at least 30 seconds of pornography.

WJBK-TV reported Wednesday that a substitute teacher at the O.L. Smith Middle School in Dearborn eventually was able to turn the computer off.

Dearborn Public Schools said the March 13 incident was caused by a technology glitch. District spokesman David Mustonen said officials are looking into the incident to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Michigan professor accused of sexual misconduct retires

ANN ARBOR (AP) — A University of Michigan violin professor whom students accused of sexual misconduct going back years has retired.

The Ann Arbor school told The Detroit News that Stephen Shipps retired Feb. 28.

The school hired Shipps in 1989. He took a leave of absence Dec. 7, 2018, three days before the Michigan Daily published a story in which students accused him of engaging in sexual relationships with teenage students, unwanted touching and making inappropriate statements.

Neither Shipps' attorney, David Nacht, nor a school spokeswoman replied to messages seeking comment left by The Associated Press.

One of Shipps' accusers told The Detroit News that she lost her virginity to Shipps when she was a 17-year-old high school student in the late 1970s, when Shipps was concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony in Nebraska.

Power station in Michigan's Upper Peninsula to be demolished

MARQUETTE (AP) — A power station in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that burned its last pieces of coal in 2018 is scheduled to be demolished this year.

WLUC-TV reported the Marquette Board of Light and Power had an update Tuesday on the fate of the Shiras Steam Plant, which generated electricity for the Marquette area. Board Chairman Tom Tourville said the land where the plant sits along Lake Superior is to be repurposed for community use.

The plant was turned off last June. The city-owned utility instead is relying on a power plant called the Marquette Energy Center that uses natural gas for fuel.

The TV station said the Shiras Steam Plant was the main supply of power to the Marquette area for about five decades.

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