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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Northern Michigan pastor charged in sexual assaults of 2 men

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — The pastor of a church in northern Michigan has been charged in the sexual assault of two men after they allegedly were given drugs.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported that Christopher Cox, 41, was arraigned Monday on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of delivering or manufacturing methamphetamine.

Court records show the alleged assaults occurred March 12 and in October 2018 at Cox's Traverse City home. The March 12 accuser told authorities his life was threatened if he told anyone about the incident.

Cox is jailed on a $100,000 bond. Cox's attorney, Paul Jarboe, told The Associated Press that he has not "been provided with any law enforcement reports to reply to the allegations."

Cox is pastor of Long Lake Church in Traverse City.

Judge puts former Gov. Snyder back in Flint water litigation

FLINT (AP) — A judge says former Gov. Rick Snyder can be sued by residents in the Flint water scandal, reversing a decision from last summer.

Residents claim Snyder violated their right to bodily integrity by repeatedly doing nothing as Flint used corrosive water that released lead from old pipes. Judge Judith Levy said a right to bodily integrity is a "fundamental interest" protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Levy said members of Snyder's administration had warned that switching Flint to the Flint River "could lead to a potential disaster." The city was under state management in 2014 and 2015. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality failed to require corrosion control.

Levy, a federal judge in Ann Arbor, is overseeing lawsuits related to the water crisis. She released a 128-page opinion Monday.

Snyder left office in January. He has apologized for failures that created and prolonged the crisis.

Michigan fish wholesaler gets year in custody for illegal trout

CHARLEVOIX (AP) — A fish wholesaler in northern Michigan has been sentenced to a year in custody after pleading guilty to acquiring trout that were illegally caught in the Great Lakes.

Federal Judge Paul Maloney said John Cross III of Charlevoix can serve his sentence in the offseason. He appeared in court Monday, months after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

The government says Cross and his business, Cross Fisheries, bought about 50,000 pounds of lake trout from a fisherman who was using so-called trap nets. Those fish should have been thrown back into the water.

Cross said he's "truly sorry." His family has been involved in fishing for generations.

Separately, Cross' business pleaded guilty to a felony. The judge ordered restitution of $1 million, but hasn't decided how or when it will be paid.

Detroit seeks to increase participation in census count

DETROIT (AP) — An effort is underway to increase participation by Detroit residents in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census.

The city says it will work with community groups to raise awareness about the census and encourage people to be counted. The campaign also wants residents to know that information given to census workers — including immigration status — will be kept confidential.

Detroit's census numbers will determine how much federal funding the city will receive for programs like Medicare and Medicaid, food assistance and school funding. The city says Detroit's participation in the census dropped from 70 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2010.

Mayor Mike Duggan's office says that for each person not counted in the 2020 census, Detroit will lose about $1,800 in federal funding each year over the next decade.

Kellogg sells Keebler and other brands for $1.3 billion

BATTLE CREEK (AP) — Kellogg is selling Keebler cookies and other brands for $1.3 billion, about $2.6 billion less than it spent on that brand alone 17 years ago.

Food producers are trying to find new brands with more growth potential after sweeping shifts in consumer taste, particularly in the U.S. The value of household names like Keebler has deteriorated as families seek food and snack alternatives that are at least perceived to be healthier.

Along with Keebler, the Battle Creek company said Monday that it will sell Mother's and Famous Amos cookie brands, as well as its fruit-flavored snack, pie crust and ice cream cone businesses, to the Italian sweets maker Ferraro.

The brands generated sales of $900 million and profits of $75 million last year, according to Kellogg.

Kellogg acquired Keebler Foods, founded in 1853, in 2001 for $3.86 billion.

Ferrero is best known for the brand Nutella hazelnut cream. The company said Monday that it will also acquire six U.S. manufacturing plants from Kellogg.

The sale is expected to close by the end of July.

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