County official charged with assault is resigning
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Kent County elected official charged with sexual assault says he's quitting on Jan. 1.
Gary Rolls has been a county commissioner in the Grand Rapids area for nearly 12 years. He was charged last month with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The alleged victim is in her late 20s and lives in the Muskegon area. Authorities say the allegations go back many years.
In a statement Thursday, Rolls says he'll prove his "absolute and complete innocence" at trial.
The 47-year-old Rolls was arrested after a county board meeting on Nov. 21.
Ex-special ed teacher pleads in Michigan sex case
ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) - A former teacher has pleaded no contest in a sex case involving a special education student at a southwestern Michigan high school.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Kelly Laker initially was charged with felonies that carried a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years. The plea agreement this week knocks down those charges to two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of two years.
The 61-year-old Laker is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 10.
He was placed on paid leave from his teaching job after the allegations first surfaced in March. Laker resigned in August.
Authorities say he wrote love letters to one of his students, and the girl told police she was fondled multiple times.
Michigan hunter details his Alaska survival tale
GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan hunter is detailing how he survived for a week in the Alaskan wilderness.
Adrian Knopps was stranded with no food, shelter or warm clothes. He was sleep-deprived, hallucinating and slipping into hypothermia.
Resigned that he would die, the 51-year-old electrician from Grand Ledge carved a farewell message on his rifle and collapsed.
That's when a Coast Guard helicopter came to his rescue.
Knopps was stranded for seven days in September after his hunting partner drowned while boarding their boat.
He tells The Detroit News that: "You try to live one moment at a time and do what you have to."
A Coast Guard official says it's remarkable that Knopps made it out alive.
Detroit firefighters get $115,000 thanks to movie
DETROIT (AP) - The producers of a documentary about Detroit firefighters are giving $115,000 to the department.
"Burn" chronicles the struggles of firefighters in the city.
The donation is being made through the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Actor Denis Leary is a "Burn" executive producer.
He started the foundation and is expected to come to Detroit early next year for an official presentation. Leary portrayed a firefighter on the TV series "Rescue Me."
The money represents a portion of the proceeds from the film. The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report it will go toward buying much-needed gear for firefighters.
Filmmakers Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez were embedded with Detroit firefighters to make the movie. It premiered in Detroit last year and has screened in 170 cities.
Port Huron Hospital set to join McLaren system
PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - Port Huron Hospital has signed a letter of intent to join McLaren Health Care Corp.
MLive.com reports the decision was unanimously supported by the hospital's board of trustees.
Administrators began meeting with employees Wednesday and will continue to do so this week regarding the announcement.
The Times Herald says McLaren has eight member hospitals and three special-care facilities. The health system and Karmanos Cancer Institute also recently merged.
With about 1,450 employees, Port Huron Hospital is one of the largest employers in St. Clair County.
TRAVERSE CITY-WIND TURBINE
Traverse City utility to remove wind turbine
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Traverse City Light & Power's wind turbine will be removed after nearly two decades in service.
Board members for the city-owned utility this week decided to bring down the windmill in Elmwood Township after staffers made an unsuccessful effort to return the turbine to peak efficiency.
The 160-foot structure that for 17 years spun its blades and accented the M-72 skyline needs $10,500 in parts. Plus, officials say it would cost up to $10,000 to hire experts to determine what causes one part to continually fail.
Utility board chairman Pat McGuire tells the Traverse City Record-Eagle the windmill "served its purpose."
Officials say they may try to sell the turbine or will have it dismantled if a buyer can't be found. No date has been set for its removal.
'Selfie' is on the record at state Supreme Court
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The word "selfie" is spoken even at the Michigan Supreme Court.
Selfie refers to someone who takes their own picture, usually with a smartphone. Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. used the word Wednesday when talking about a Detroit-area judge who took a picture of his fit, shirtless frame and sent it to a female sheriff's deputy.
Justice Bridget McCormack jumped in and said, "I want the record to reflect that the chief justice just used the word 'selfie.'"
Young, a conservative, bow-tied justice, says it shows that he's in tune with today's culture.
Britain's Oxford University Press recently declared "selfie" the word of the year. It publishes Oxford dictionaries.
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