Michigan Headlines

Police nab wanted serial flasher

CASCADE TOWNSHIP (AP) — A western Michigan man suspected of exposing himself to people for nearly two decades was arrested last week on sexual delinquency charges, police said.
Police say Steven Todd Pastoor, 56, was arrested Wednesday and confessed to exposing himself from the waist down to residents while standing on their decks or porches. Court documents show he confessed to indecent exposure crimes dating back to the late 1990s.
“We believe him to be responsible for several dozen indecent exposures over the last almost 20 years,” Kent County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Joel Roon told WOOD-TV.
Known as the Cascade Flasher, Pastoor routinely kept his shirt and hat on but was nude from the waist down when he stood on porches and decks of homes in and around Cascade, police said. He knocked on windows to ensure he gathered an audience before exposing himself and masturbating in front of people, authorities allege.
Pastoor’s arraignment was Friday. It wasn’t known Monday whether Pastoor has a lawyer who could comment on the allegations.
Authorities caught Pastoor after he started targeting one woman in January who later installed cameras around her home. Police said he was arrested Wednesday after police found him without pants near a highway.
Pastoor was charged as a sexually delinquent person, and conviction entails imprisonment until it’s determined he’s not a threat.
“The invasion of privacy that people experience when they’re in their home and they feel someone watching them is not lost on us. We take this crime very seriously,” Roon said.

Michigan Headlines

Macomb County prosecutor under corruption charges calls it quits

MOUNT CLEMENS (AP) — A suburban Detroit prosecutor charged with corruption resigned Monday, saying he’s confident he’ll be cleared but decided to quit “for the betterment of my family, my health and the citizens of Macomb County.”
Eric Smith, who was first elected in 2004, is charged with illegally benefiting from accounts stuffed with money from drunken driving cases, bad check cases and assets forfeited in drug crimes. He pleaded not guilty last week.
“I have been part of the criminal justice system for close to thirty years,” Smith, a Democrat, said. “Know that I have absolute confidence that our cherished justice system will bring forth the truth and exonerate me.”
Smith is charged by the attorney general with conducting a criminal enterprise, embezzlement and accessory after the fact. The alleged scheme totaled $600,000.
Defense attorney Martin Crandall has called the charges “baseless” but hasn’t address the specific allegations.
Smith and others used money to buy flowers and makeup for female staff, a security system for Smith’s home, garden benches for staff and more, according to the attorney general’s office.

FILE- In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 file photo, Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith, left, flanked by Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer, speaks to the news media in Warren, Mich. Authorities have charged Smith with corruption Tuesday, March 24, 2020, alleging he ran a criminal enterprise and embezzled cash for country club catering, home security cameras and other perks. Smith, the chief law enforcer in Macomb County, Michigan’s third-largest, had repeatedly declared his innocence while state police spent months poring over documents and canceled checks. (Max Ortiz/Detroit News via AP, file)
Michigan Headlines

Whitmer OKs $150M to fight pandemic

Associated Press

In a pool photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Monday, March 30, 2020. The governor said she suspended state hiring and promotions and vetoed $80 million in new spending in order to steer money to fighting the coronavirus. At the same time, Whitmer said she signed laws with $150 million for the state’s response. She said it’s too early to know how the economic slowdown related to the virus will affect state revenue but the impact “is going to be real.” (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed onto a $150 million funding package to fight the coronavirus pandemic while vetoing $167 million she said should be saved as Michigan confronts what are expected to be plummeting tax revenues amid the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Just weeks ago, the Democratic governor and Republican-led Legislature had agreed to additional mid-year spending to fund their priorities after a budget impasse last fall.
“The world has changed since those negotiations, and we must react and change along with it,” Whitmer told reporters while also announcing directives to restrict state departments’ discretionary spending and to suspend hiring.
She blocked $35 million for a new program she had touted that would have provided financial assistance for adults age 25 and older to attend community college. Also vetoed was $16 million to partially revive Pure Michigan, the state’s tourism campaign; $15 million to the Going Pro campaign, which helps businesses recruit students into the trades and other high-demand fields; and $37 million in earmarks, or “enhancement grants,” for projects in individual legislative districts.
“It’s too early to determine the exact impact on state revenues and knowing there is the potential for a significant loss in revenue, now is not the time to sign a bill for supplemental funding for anything other than dollars that can be utilized to help our COVID-19 response,” said Whitmer, who is expected to extend her stay-at-home order and other restrictions through April.
She and legislative leaders from both parties issued a joint statement saying that to date, the state had spent more than $130 million to secure medical supplies such as masks and ventilators.
Whitmer also OK’d $120 million in spending unrelated to the outbreak, including $31 million for legal settlements and $14 million to reimburse communities’ costs for the March 10 presidential primary.
There is an initial $25 million payment as part of the state’s $80 million settlement with male teens who said they were sexually harassed or assaulted in prison while housed with adults. Legislators also allocated $6 million to cover costs associated with a $12 million settlement with the family of a Detroit teenager who crashed an all-terrain vehicle and died after he was shot with a Taser by a state trooper.
Other funding blocked by Whitmer includes $8 million toward a barrier system at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes; $11.3 million to replace a computer system whose poor performance has made it difficult to track progress in a yearslong effort to improve services to children in foster care; and $5 million to help municipalities to offset the cost of repair infrastructure damaged by high by erosion from high water levels in the Great Lakes.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Shane Hernandez, a Port Huron Republican, said the money to combat COVID-19 will support health care workers with more testing equipment, protective gear and other resources. The vetoes, he said, show the “fundamental reality that state government must be focused on lessening the spread of COVID-19 while also preparing for budget pressures caused by a temporary economic slowdown.”

Michigan Headlines

Michigan officials plead for ventilators, people to run them

Associated Press
LANSING — Michigan desperately needs thousands of ventilators to treat victims of the coronavirus and more health care workers willing to pitch in during the crisis, state officials said Monday.
TCF Center in downtown Detroit soon will be turned into a 900-bed field hospital for COVID-19 patients who are not critically ill.
“There’s a shortage of acute care physicians. But I’d say it’s certainly nurses. We are definitely having a shortage of nurses to take care of COVID-19 patients right now,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s medical executive.
The number of coronavirus cases reported statewide reached 6,498 Monday, an 18% increase, while deaths rose to 184 from 132. Detroit has roughly 28% of the cases and deaths.
Michigan has 1,700 ventilators — critical equipment to help people breathe — but needs 5,000 to 10,000 more, Khaldun said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent 400 due to arrive today. The state is procuring 2,000 from other sources.
“That’s going to be a pressure point,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said when asked about people to operate them. “That’s precisely why we’ve called out to people who have perhaps retired from the medical field to consider coming back. That’s why we’ve made it easier for people to join the front lines.”
Khaldun said health care workers in areas that are not hard hit could travel to hot spots in southeastern Michigan. Whitmer signed an order allowing hospitals to be flexible in how they use medical professionals.
“If anyone says there’s one particular date where we know this is going to peak or we know how many people are going to get it, are going to die — it’s just not true right now,” Khaldun said.
Ford Motor said it will start making ventilators in late April at a factory in Ypsilanti Township. It expects to produce 50,000 by July 4.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness including death.
Oakland County, which has more than 1,300 cases among residents, rolled out online maps that show the numbers by ZIP code. County health officer Leigh-Anne Stafford cautioned it is not a complete picture of the coronavirus because it is not known where someone was infected.
Twenty-one of Michigan’s 83 counties have not reported any cases, including a five-county pocket in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.
Mayor Mike Duggan said Detroit is getting testing kits from Abbott Laboratories that can confirm the coronavirus in minutes instead of days. They will be used on paramedics, police and health care workers.
The governor, who is expected to extend a stay-at-home order and other restrictions at least through April, suspended all nonessential veterinary procedures and encouraged veterinarians to use telemedicine. On Sunday night, Whitmer urged county jails to consider early release of older inmates, those with chronic conditions and people nearing their release date, all to reduce the spread of the virus.
Whitmer, who signed $150 million in emergency funding to fight the pandemic, said President Donald Trump authorized up to 3,000 National Guard members to do humanitarian work in Michigan.
All Michigan schools have been closed since March 16. Whitmer, who has said it is “very unlikely” that schools will reopen, said she will publicly talk about the rest of the school year this week.
To encourage students, Grosse Pointe South High School principal Moussa Hamka recalled how his friends missed years of education while in refugee camps.
“They all turned out OK. It built some resiliency, some grit,” Hamka said in a video onTwitter.

Michigan Sports

Denver Broncos raid Detroit Lions for punter Sam Martin

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) — The Denver Broncos have finalized a three-year, $7 million deal with free agent punter Sam Martin, the third former Detroit Lions player signed by general manager John Elway this month.
Martin joins former Detroit teammates Graham Glasgow and Jeff Driskel in Denver. Glasgow, a guard and center, signed a four-year, $44 million deal and Driskel signed a two-year, $5 million contract to serve as quarterback Drew Lock’s backup.
Martin is an eighth-year pro who appeared in 106 games for the Lions after being selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft out of Appalachian State.
In seven seasons, he’s averaged 46 yards per punt with a 40.9-yard net average with 38 touchbacks and 175 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Martin, who also handled kickoffs in Detroit, and the Saints’ Thomas Morstead are the only two punters in the NFL to have played at least 10 games in each of the last six seasons without a punt getting blocked.

Michigan Sports

Western Michigan hires from within, promoting Clayton Bates to men’s basketball head coach

KALAMAZOO (AP) — Western Michigan promoted Clayton Bates to be its basketball coach Saturday, with its athletic director saying the coronavirus crisis impacted the school’s search.
Bates was previously an associate head coach for WMU. He replaces Steve Hawkins, whose tenure ended this month after 17 seasons.
“I decided to change leadership of our program days before the COVID-19 crisis emerged. A comprehensive national search in this time of anxiety, despite exceedingly strong national interest in the position, just didn’t sit well with me,” athletic director Kathy Beauregard said in a statement.
“Clayton is the best person for the job at hand. He brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience and he has a close bond with the young men on our team,” she added.

Michigan Sports

Michigan Wolverines’ Isaiah Livers applies for early entry into NBA draft

ANN ARBOR (AP) — Michigan forward Isaiah Livers is applying for early entry into the NBA draft.
The school said Livers is not hiring an agent and would work with the Michigan coaching staff during the evaluation and pre-draft processes. Even if a player does use an agent during the evaluation process, he can return to school without losing eligibility if he ends the relationship with the agent.
Livers said he’d be fine coming back to Michigan, but he figured all along he’d test the waters after this season.
“If they like what they see and teams are literally saying that they’re going to draft me, then I’m pretty sure that I’m going to stay in the draft,” Livers said on a conference call. “It’s basically whatever the evaluation and feedback — however that comes — is basically how I’ll make my decision.”
Livers has started 46 games in three seasons at Michigan. He led the Wolverines in scoring this season at 12.9 points per game, although he was limited to 21 games because of injury problems.

Michigan Sports

‘No blueprint’ for college coaches trying to recruit in viral environment

AP Basketball Writer
After Michigan lost to Ohio State in the semifinals of the women’s Big Ten Tournament, coach Kim Barnes Arico and her staff immediately hit the road. They intended to take advantage of a full week off before the NCAA Tournament by making visiting as many potential recruits as possible.
“That was our window. You get to go to someone’s home, that helps you build relationships. Helps build so many things,” Barnes Arico said. “We had all these things scheduled until we went to see high school championships.”
Those championships were canceled, of course. So was the NCAA Tournament, and just about everything else in sports due to the coronavirus, including the crucial recruiting period for college coaches who were putting the finishing touches on the 2020 class and laying the all-important groundwork for next year.
The NCAA has barred in-person recruiting until at least April 15. The Collegiate Commissioner’s Association, which administers the letters of intent used by Division I and II athletes, followed with a suspension on all letters through the same date.
The result? No college coaches packed into suffocating high school gyms. No coaches milling around airport terminals, waiting for the next flight to some out-of-the-way place. No chance to shake hands with mom and dad and make a pitch that ultimately hold the fate of your career in their hands.
“March was watching high school games and going into homes. April and May had recruiting weekends. Home visits are all gone,” Barnes Arico said. “When the calendar comes back, June isn’t a home-visit month. What will happen?”
It’s a similar story for college football, baseball and a myriad other sports. There is a pervasive sense of uncertainty that has coaches on edge as they try to navigate recruiting amid a pandemic.
“I think recruiting is more of an inexact science right now than it ever has been,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Just knowing your own numbers and how to attack that — how can you commit to something now that you don’t know what will exist, and the rules behind that existence? I think there’s a lot of programs up in the air.”
That includes the Jayhawks. Like most, they are largely done with their 2020 recruiting class. But they’re also awaiting the decision of leading scorer Devon Dotson, who is expected to skip his final two seasons for the NBA, and that could potentially open up a late scholarship for Self and his staff to fill.
“What you do,” Self said, “is you recruit like you’re going to have more scholarships when you don’t end in the end.”
Just like many businesses these days, technology is helping to fill the void. FaceTime and Zoom video conferences allow coaches to see athletes as they talk, and kids are increasingly posting workouts on YouTube for coaches to see.

Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico directs her team during the second half against Michigan State in Ann Arbor on Jan. 5. The corona-virus outbreak brought the sports world to a screeching halt, which includes the crucial recruiting period for college coaches who were putting the finishing touches on their 2020 classes while laying the all-important groundwork for next year’s classes. (AP file photo)
Michigan Sports

All-state selection: Munising Mustangs’ Megan Matson named to Associated Press’ Division 4 Second Team in girls basketball

Ann Arbor News
and Journal Sports Staff
It was clear from the moment Bree Salenbien played her first high school basketball game that she was a phenom in the making.
Now, the question is where Salenbien will rank among the state’s all-time great players when she graduates.
As of now, the Adrian Lenawee Christian star’s legacy is still being cemented, and the 6-foot-3 junior can now add another accolade to her resume. Salenbien was voted The Associated Press Player of the Year for Division 4 in girls basketball by a panel of Michigan sports writers. It was her third straight POY award, which is a rare accomplishment, although New Haven star Romeo Weems also pulled that off from 2017-19.
From the area, senior Megan Matson of Munising made the Second Team, joining three other Upper Peninsula in gaining that honor — senior Sophia Vaughn of Engadine and sophomores Ally Schultz of St. Ignace and Tessa Wagner of Carney-Nadeau.
Making the First Team from the U.P. are St. Ignace junior Hallie Marshall and Ewen-Trout Creek junior Elise Besonen.
Four U.P. players also made honorable mention — Briana Smith of North Dickinson, Emmalee Hart of St. Ignace, Sandra Boulton of Carney-Nadeau and Kennedy Englund of Mid Peninsula.
Salenbien added to her collection of awards after another season in which the star forward help lead Lenawee Christian to top the state rankings in Division 4.
Salenbien averaged 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 3.3 blocks and 3.0 steals a game this season against one of the toughest schedules in the state of Michigan, including matchups against Detroit Edison, Hartland, Michigan Center and Fowler.
The highly touted Division I prospect guided the Cougars to back-to-back Division 4 state titles in 2018 and 2019 and was poised to have them in the running again this season before a season-ending knee injury in the final regular-season game.
LCS still managed to advance to the regional final, but its run was halted when the Michigan High School Athletic Association suspended all sporting activities due to the coronavirus.
Despite the injury, Salenbien, rated a 4-star recruit by ESPN, remains one of the most coveted prospects in the country for the 2021 class, having already received scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, California, Gonzaga and Xavier, among others.
Salenbien was joined on the All-State first team by her sister and LCS senior Dani Salenbien for the second consecutive year, along with these Lower Peninsula players — Saginaw Arts & Sciences senior Amaka Unobagha, Martin senior Faith Guritz, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes junior Brooklyn Robak, Fowler sophomore Mia Riley, Forest Park senior Mercedes Simmons, Leland junior Olivia Lowe, Fruitport Calvary Christian senior Kelsey Richards and St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran senior Mara Rugen.
Ubly’s Joel Leipprandt was voted Coach of the Year after leading the team to a 23-1 record, its first league title since 2005 and its first district championship since 2008.

Iowa Headlines

Judges slow abortion bans amid virus

Associated Press
DES MOINES — Federal judges on Monday temporarily blocked efforts in Texas and Alabama to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic, handing Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers a victory as clinics across the U.S. filed lawsuits to stop states from trying to shutter them during the outbreak.
A new Ohio order is also unconstitutional if it prevents abortions from being carried out, a separate judge ruled Monday. The ruling instructed clinics to determine on a case-by-case basis if an abortion can be delayed to maximize resources — such as preserving personal protective equipment — needed to fight the coronavirus. If the abortion is deemed necessary and can’t be delayed, it’s declared legally essential.
The rulings indicated judges were pushing back on Republican-controlled states including abortion in sweeping orders as the outbreak grows in the U.S. In Texas, the ruling came down after state Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said abortion was included in a statewide ban on nonessential surgeries.
But U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the “Supreme Court has spoken clearly” on a woman’s right to abortion. One abortion provider in Texas, Whole Woman’s Health, said it had canceled more than 150 appointments in the days after the Texas order went into effect.
“There can be no outright ban on such a procedure,” Yeakel wrote. Paxton said the state would appeal.
The rulings happened Monday as lawsuits were also filed in Iowa and Oklahoma, after governors in those states similarly ordered a stop to non-emergency procedures and specifically included abortion among them.
The lawsuits were filed by Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights and local lawyers in each state. Their aim, like abortion providers in Texas, is to stop state officials from prohibiting abortions as part of temporary policy changes related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Friday that abortions were included in his executive order banning all elective surgeries and minor medical procedures until April 7, unless the procedure was necessary to prevent serious health risks to the mother. Stitt said the order was needed to help preserve the state’s limited supply of personal protective equipment, like surgical masks and gloves.
A spokesman for Stitt referred questions about the challenge to Attorney General Mike Hunter, who vowed in a statement to defend the ban.
“My office will vigorously defend the governor’s executive order and the necessity to give precedence to essential medical procedures during this daunting public health crisis,” Hunter’s statement said. “Make no mistake, this lawsuit will itself drain significant resources, medical and legal, from emergency efforts, and likely, directly and indirectly, bring harm to Oklahomans as a result.”
Monday night, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order against Alabama’s order, saying the ruling will be in effect through April 13 while he considers additional arguments.
Thompson wrote the state’s concerns about conserving medical equipment during the pandemic, does not “outweigh the serious, and, in some cases, permanent, harms imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to privacy.”
Alabama abortion clinics had said that without court action, they would be forced to cancel more than 20 abortions scheduled for Tuesday, including one patient who would have been pushed past the legal limit for abortion in the state.
“Preventing them from getting an abortion doesn’t do anything to stop the COVID-19 virus, it just takes the decision whether to have a child out of their hands,” Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said in a statement.
Alabama closed many nonessential businesses with a state health order, effective Saturday. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said earlier Monday the state would not offer a “blanket exemption” to abortion clinics.
In Ohio, Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics that sued last year to try to thwart a law that bans most abortions after a first detectable fetal heartbeat are asking a court to speed up its decision in that case and to consider a recent coronavirus order by the state health director. In filings Monday, the groups’ attorneys argued “the state is again attempting to ban abortions” through Dr. Amy Acton’s directive barring all “non-essential” procedures and Attorney General Dave Yost’s threats that it will be rigidly enforced.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said the governor “is focused on protecting Iowans from an unprecedented public health disaster, and she suspended all elective surgeries and procedures to preserve Iowa’s health care resources.”
Reynolds said Sunday the move was not based on her personal ideology but a broad order to halt nonessential procedures to conserve medical equipment.
The Iowa lawsuit said abortion procedures do not require extensive use of medical equipment and do not use N95 respirators, the devices in shortest supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Patients’ abortions will be delayed, and in some cases, denied altogether,” the lawsuit states. “As a result, Iowa patients will be forced to carry pregnancies to term, resulting in a deprivation of their fundamental right to determine when and whether to have a child or to add to their existing families.”
The lawsuits seek court orders halting action pertaining to abortions and ask judges for immediate hearings.