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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • May 3, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan Legislature approves bill to forgive 4 snow days

LANSING (AP) — Michigan schools would not have to reschedule up to four snow days that occurred during an arctic deep freeze under legislation sent Thursday to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her expected signature.

The bill won final approval when Senate Democrats agreed to ensure it would take effect immediately. That was a reversal after they had effectively stalled the measure earlier in the week because majority Republicans stripped a House-passed provision that would have ensured some hourly school employees were paid for days canceled due to the weather — if their labor contract or employment agreement is silent on the issue.

"It's all for the kids and giving schools plenty of notice so they can do their proper planning," Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican, said of not counting the Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 period toward the state cap on snow days.

State law forgives districts from making up six days that have been canceled for emergencies, and schools can get a waiver from the state superintendent for three additional days.

Many districts have already reached or exceeded nine snow days. Some are in the double digits, meaning their students could have up to an extra week or more of school in June without the legislation.

Teen held after allegedly seeking gun to shoot students

BERRIEN SPRINGS (AP) — Authorities said a 15-year-old boy who wanted to shoot several students at his high school in southwestern Michigan sought help from other students in a failed attempt to get a gun.

The Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police Department said it got a call Wednesday afternoon from the principal at Berrien Springs High School who had received a tip passed along from a state tip line.

Police said multiple students heard the boy talk about wanting to get a weapon. They said the boy wanted to shoot fellow students before shooting himself.

Police said no weapons were seen at the school or obtained by the boy, who is being held at the Berrien County Juvenile Center on a charge of threatening to commit violence.

2 corrections officers charged in separate jail incidents

MOUNT CLEMENS (AP) — Two corrections officers have been charged in separate incidents that allegedly occurred while they were on duty at the Macomb County Jail.

The Macomb County Sheriff's Office said Sgt. James Stanley, 39, was arraigned Thursday on misdemeanor assault charges. The Sheriff's Office said a Taser was used on an inmate in September 2018. A second inmate suffered a bloody and swollen nose in July 2018.

Stanley has been placed on leave. Defense attorney Douglas Gutscher declined to comment Thursday pending review of the investigative reports.

A 25-year-old ex-deputy faces arraignment on a criminal sexual conduct charge after a female inmate told authorities he engaged in sexual relations with her at the jail in Mount Clemens, northeast of Detroit. She reported the incidents in March.

Report: Teachers requested help for bullied Lansing student

LANSING (AP) — A report says a Lansing school district internal investigation following a 13-year-old student's suicide shows the boy was bullied in school and district officials received pleas for help from the boy's mother and a request for intervention from his teachers.

The Lansing State Journal reported Thursday that the investigation was conducted by a school public safety officer after the Everett High School eight-grader's death in January and was submitted to school officials March 25.

The 121-page investigation report obtained by the newspaper doesn't address what action, if any, an assistant principal took regarding the teachers' request for intervention after they noticed a change in the boy's behavior in the months before his death

School Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul said in a statement she could not discuss the report.

Court says drunken driver can choose jail over probation

ADRIAN (AP) — The Michigan appeals court says a man convicted of drunken driving can seek a jail sentence over probation.

Joseph Bensch pleaded guilty to two separate drunken driving cases in Lenawee County. In one case, he was sentenced to six months in jail followed by six months in an in-patient treatment program. In the other case, he was sentenced to two years of probation with many conditions.

The sentences were supposed to run at the same time. But Bensch's lawyer objected to probation in the second case.

The appeals court says the "issue rarely arises." But, in a 2-1 opinion, judges Douglas Shapiro and Jane Beckering said a 1975 legal precedent allows someone to decline probation in favor of jail. Judge Jonathan Tukel dissented.

Tours planned this month to see elusive Kirtland's warbler

MIO (AP) — Bird watchers, take note: The U.S. Forest Service is offering guided tours this month for people interested in seeing the elusive Kirtland's warbler.

The ground-dwelling songbird nests almost exclusively in young jack pine forests of northern Michigan. It was on the brink of extinction, but has bounced back after a recovery campaign by government agencies and private groups.

Tours in the Huron-Manistee National Forests will be conducted daily from May 15-31. They start at 7:30 a.m. at the Mio Ranger Station.

Each begins with a short video that tells the history of the Kirtland's warbler and conservation efforts. Afterward, a Forest Service expert leads participants on a visit to jack pine stands where the birds live.

The tours cost $10 for adults and are free for children.

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