Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. EDT


Ex-coach wins appeal over defamation claims against ESPN

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan court has reinstated a lawsuit against ESPN by a former college gymnastics coach at Central Michigan University. Jerry Reighard claims he was defamed on Twitter by an ESPN reporter linking him to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar and a controversial coach. The appeals court found a lack of “minimal due diligence” by investigative reporter Dan Murphy when he referred to Reighard on Twitter in 2019. A judge ruled in favor of ESPN, saying the tweets were substantially true. But the appeals court says a jury should sort out what happened. ESPN says it will appeal.


Instructor had 14 seconds to land plane in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Preliminary fact-finding by Federal Aviation Administration investigators indicates a flight instructor had 14 seconds to safely land a plane after its engine died during its final approach. The crash landing sent the Northwestern Michigan College training plane into a backstop at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center’s athletic fields Tuesday. College spokeswoman Diana Fairbanks says air traffic controllers cleared the flight for landing at Cherry Capital Airport. She says the instructor radioed controllers again after the plane’s engine started slowing down, and he took control of the single-engine Cessna from a student pilot.


Michigan DNR: Bird flu confirmed in 3 baby red foxes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Avian influenza has been confirmed in three baby red foxes in separate southeastern Michigan counties. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that the kits in Lapeer, Macomb and St. Clair counties were confirmed Wednesday to have died from the HPAI virus. They are the first confirmation by the state of the virus in wild mammals. The fox kits were collected from dens between April 1-14. Michigan DNR wildlife veterinarian Megan Moriarty says the viruses “may occasionally transmit from birds to mammals, as occurred in these cases.” Avian influenza has been detected in backyard flocks and commercial poultry facilities, and in wild birds in more than 30 states.


Republican candidates, minus Craig, meet for 1st debate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans running for Michigan governor have met in their first debate. They staunchly opposed abortion before the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is potentially overturned and disagreed on exceptions and whether former President Donald Trump won the state’s 2020 election. Trump, who lost to Joe Biden by 154,000 votes and has pushed bogus claims of mass fraud, has not yet endorsed a candidate in August’s GOP primary. Four of eight candidates on the debate stage Thursday night falsely said Trump carried Michigan. Two said he did not. Two others did not say either way.


Former national security adviser Robert McFarlane dies at 84

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former White House national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane, a top aide to President Ronald Reagan who pleaded guilty to charges for his role in an illegal arms-for-hostages deal known as the Iran-Contra affair, has died. He was 84. McFarlane, who lived in Washington, died Thursday from complications of a previous lung condition at a hospital in Michigan, where he was visiting family, according to a family statement. 


Western Michigan soldier who died in WWII laid to rest

ZEELAND, Mich. (AP) — A soldier who died when a B-25 bomber went down in Papua New Guinea during World War II has been laid to rest in his western Michigan hometown nearly eight decades after his death. WOOD-TV reports dozens of relatives and local residents attended Thursday’s funeral for U.S. Army Air Force Cpl. LaVerne “Dirk” Van Dyke at the Zeeland Cemetery. The Zeeland resident and six fellow crew members were presumed dead after their B-25 went down in 1943 over Papua New Guinea. Their remains were found in 1998 in the southwest Pacific nation but Van Dyke’s remains were not positively identified for another 20 years.


Michigan profs push ‘pee for peonies’ urine diversion plan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Two University of Michigan researchers are putting the “pee” in peony. Rather, they’re putting pee on peonies. Environmental engineering professors Nancy Love and Krista Wigginton are regular visitors to the Ann Arbor school’s Nichols Arboretum, where they’ve been applying urine-based fertilizer to the heirloom peony beds ahead of the flowers’ annual spring bloom. It’s all part of an effort to educate the public about their research showing that applying fertilizer derived from nutrient-rich urine could have environmental and economic benefits. Love is co-author of a study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal that found urine diversion and recycling led to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy. 


Landfill to be searched for body of Detroit-area teenager

LENOX TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say they’ll search a suburban Detroit landfill for the body of a teenager who was killed earlier this year and likely placed in a Dumpster. Zion Foster, a 17-year-old from Eastpointe, was last seen on Jan. 4. Investigators believe Zion is dead and that her body was put in a Dumpster, whose contents eventually were dumped at a landfill in Lenox Township. The landfill search won’t start until May 31. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says police owe it to Zion’s family to find the body and determine what happened to her. Zion’s cousin is in prison for lying to police during the investigation. He is a suspect in her disappearance.


Dead person found in truck submerged in St. Clair River

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — Police say a dead male has been found inside a pickup truck submerged in the St. Clair River in Port Huron. The Port Huron Police Department says a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft noticed the vehicle in the river about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Investigators say the vehicle might have entered the river several days ago. The identity of the dead person hasn’t been released.


U-M gets apology from ex-president, gives him job, cash

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A former president at the University of Michigan who was fired over a relationship with a subordinate has apologized to the school’s governing board. It’s part of a settlement between the university and Mark Schlissel. The deal guarantees him a faculty job, retiree health insurance and other benefits, according to The Detroit News. But it first starts with a one-year leave and $463,000. The Board of Regents fired Schlissel in January, saying his interactions with a female employee were “inconsistent with promoting the dignity and reputation of the University of Michigan.” Schlissel acknowledged “poor judgment” in an April letter to the board. He says the relationship was consensual and never physical.

The Associated Press

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