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State Briefs

by the associated press • Jun 29, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan Supreme Court removes county judge from office

BRIGHTON (AP) — A judge facing criminal charges and ethics violations was removed from office Friday by the Michigan Supreme Court.

The court's decision against Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan was unanimous and came just nine days after justices heard arguments. The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission had recommended her removal.

Brennan was accused of many ethics violations in how she ran her office as well as for a relationship with a state police detective during a murder trial. Separately, she was ordered to trial this week on charges of perjury and destroying evidence in her divorce case.

"We adopt the commission's findings of fact because our review of the record reveals that they are amply supported," the Supreme Court said.

In a footnote, the court added: "We are not often confronted with the multifarious acts of misconduct that are present in this case."

Brennan's attorney, Dennis Kolenda, told the court that phone calls and text messages between her and a state police detective weren't proof of an improper relationship with a key investigator during a murder trial.

Survey finds no Asian carp in Chicago-area waterways

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials said a survey this month for Asian carp in Chicago-area waterways found no trace of the invasive fish.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said Friday it teamed up with the Illinois Natural History Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the June 3-14 investigation of 602 sites for fish and surveillance of more than 400 sites for environmental DNA.

The DNA surveillance sites included Lake Calumet, located a few miles from Lake Michigan, where six water samples in April registered DNA hits for silver or bighead carp.

Scientists say that if Asian carp become established in the Great Lakes, they could out-compete native species.

Sulfuric acid leaked from derailed train car, officials say

PORT HURON (AP) — About 13,700 gallons of sulfuric acid has spilled from one of about 40 freight train cars that derailed in an international tunnel connecting Michigan and Canada.

Canadian National Railway spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said the chemical was contained Friday at the site and poses no threat to public safety.

Abecassis said the derailment occurred at about 4:30 a.m. Friday and is under investigation. No injuries were reported.

The tunnel beneath the St. Clair River connects Port Huron to Sarnia, Ontario. The train was in Port Huron at the time of the derailment.

Port Huron City Manager James Freed said the wreck caused "significant damage" to the track. It was not clear when the tunnel would reopen.

Trains were being rerouted to a crossing in Detroit.

Flint hears from prosecutors who dropped water charges

FLINT (AP) — Prosecutors who dropped charges against eight people in the Flint water scandal have explained their decision in a public forum.

Fadwa Hammoud and Kym Worthy spoke to about 100 residents Friday night at a Flint union hall, two weeks after dismissing charges against former Michigan health director Nick Lyon and other officials.

They said the previous team didn't properly pursue evidence, overlooked loads of records and let the state redact information. They restarted the investigation and said charges could be refiled.

Residents expressed anger that prosecutors who previously handled the investigation let seven officials take plea deals resulting in no jail or criminal records. Some were shocked the statute of limitations for one crime expires in nine months. One woman criticized prosecutors for waiting two weeks to come to Flint.

Religious discrimination suit involving flu shot is settled

OWOSSO (AP) — A mid-Michigan health care system has agreed to pay almost $75,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of a job candidate who was passed over because her beliefs preclude her from getting flu shots.

The Lansing State Journal reported the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Memorial Healthcare of Owosso rescinded its job offer for a medical transcriptionist position after learning of Yvonne Bair's Christian beliefs. Court records say Bair believed she must use "natural methods" for health.

Memorial Healthcare President and CEO Brian Long said it resolved the lawsuit "because it was no longer worth the time, cost and energy to defend it."

The commission argued the hospital violated the federal Civil Rights Act and discriminated against her because of her religion.

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