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State Briefs

By the associated press • Jun 7, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Great Lakes mayors’ group endorses plan to fight Asian carp

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — A group representing mayors of cities in the Great Lakes region wants to fortify an Illinois waterway to prevent Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Cities Initiative has endorsed a $778 million plan developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which recently sent the proposal to Congress.

It calls for installing technologies such as underwater noisemakers, electric barriers and “bubble curtains” at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, about 40 miles from Lake Michigan. The structure is a crucial line of defense between the lake and the carp-infested Illinois River.

Michelle Morin-Doyle, chairwoman of the cities group and deputy mayor of Quebec City in Canada, said people created the Asian carp problem and are responsible for solving it.

Michigan district gets more time to avoid school shutdown

BENTON HARBOR (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is giving a southwestern Michigan school board a little more time to develop a plan to keep the district’s high school open.

The Democrat said Wednesday after a public meeting in Benton Harbor that she’ll look at a “viable alternative” if one is presented. The deadline had been Friday, but Whitmer said she’s giving officials another week.

The Whitmer administration, citing the district’s poor finances and weak academic performance, has said it wants the board to close the high school as part of a broader plan to improve local K-8 education. If not, the district could be shut down.

The board has accused state officials of wanting to take money out of Benton Harbor to benefit nearby white communities. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said a protest is planned for Tuesday in Lansing. He says on Facebook that he’s David “looking for Goliath.”

John James announces Senate run against Gary Peters

LANSING (AP) — Republican businessman John James announced Thursday that he will challenge first-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters in 2020 in a key state for President Donald Trump’s re-election chances.

James, a 37-year-old African American combat veteran and CEO of an automotive logistics company in Detroit, lost to longtime Sen. Debbie Stabenow last year. But he did better than expected, considering he was a political unknown initially and the race was never prioritized as a battleground by the national GOP in what was a successful year for Michigan Democrats.

“There’s so much work to be done to heal our nation and to unify our state. I just want to help people,” James told The Associated Press.

James said he chose to file on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that helped change the course of World War II because it is a reminder of what Americans can do when they put their differences aside.

Peters, 60, won election to an open seat in 2014 after serving three terms in the U.S. House. He previously was a state senator and lottery commissioner, served in the Navy Reserve – volunteering to serve again after Sept. 11 – and worked as an investment adviser.

Roof collapses into classroom; no one was in school

WYOMING (AP) — A roof has collapsed into a classroom at a school in the Grand Rapids area, less than a week after students were dismissed for summer vacation.

The collapse occurred at Lee Middle and High School in Wyoming, which is part of the Godfrey-Lee district. No one was injured.

Superintendent Kevin Polston said the partial collapse happened overnight. The cause isn’t known yet. That section of the school was built nearly a century ago in 1925.

The last day of classes in the Godfrey-Lee district was May 31.

Youth pastor accused of inappropriately touching teen girl

LANSING(AP) — Authorities say a youth pastor at a mid-Michigan church inappropriately touched a teenage girl and sought sex acts from her over the course of two years.

The Lansing State Journal reported Victor A. Trevino Jr., 22, faces nine charges, including four counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of child sexually abusive activity and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime. He’s a youth pastor at the Bread House South church in Lansing.

Court records didn’t list a lawyer for Trevino. The Associated Press sent an email Thursday seeking comment from him via the church, where his father is pastor.

The newspaper said the alleged abuse occurred at Trevino’s home, the girl’s home, the church and Potter Park Zoo in Lansing.

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