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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jan 18, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Low-profile administrator replaces Engler at Michigan State

EAST LANSING (AP) — Michigan State University ousted its interim president on Thursday, a week ahead of his scheduled departure, as the school stepped up efforts to finally move beyond the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

Its new temporary leader, Satish Udpa, is a high-ranking but low-profile university administrator and former engineering dean who was promoted Thursday to take the helm until a permanent president is announced in June.

Unlike John Engler, the hard-nosed former governor known for a confrontational style with political opponents, the well-respected Udpa, 68, is expected to bring a softer tone in a caretaker role.

"We can't continue to operate the way we have been for the past two years," Udpa said a day after the MSU Board of Trustees forced Engler to step down over his comments that some victims of the imprisoned former campus sports doctor had been "enjoying" the publicity.

Udpa said he supports a campus culture where "everyone respects everybody else," saying he wants to create an environment that makes victims "whole. That's the single-most important priority for me."

MSU associate professor Andaluna Borcila called the board's decision to hire Engler a "big mistake.” She said she only has heard good things about Udpa and hopes he can fill the gap until a longer-term leader is found from outside the university.

Teichman, known for farm's pit-spitting event, dies at 88

EAU CLAIRE (AP) — Agricultural tourism pioneer Herb Teichman, who founded a cherry pit-spitting competition in southwestern Michigan that attracted international attention, has died at the age of 88.

Bowerman Funeral Home said Teichman, of Eau Claire, died Monday at Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville.

Teichman and his wife, Liz, owned and operated Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm near Eau Claire. He opened the farm for pick-your-own fruit harvests and in the 1970s started the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship. The "Pit Spit" became a popular attraction and the 45th annual event was held last summer.

The South Bend Tribune reported Teichman's death followed a short illness. Lynnell Sage told the newspaper her father "liked seeing other people enjoy the farm" and "wanted to share the beauty that is here."

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday.

UP community hurt by ailing snow removal equipment

CALUMET (AP) — There's a crisis in one snowy Upper Peninsula community: Calumet's snow removal equipment is on the ropes.

Street department superintendent Marc Klein said a large snow blower that attaches to trucks doesn't work. The Daily Mining Gazette said he told the Calumet Village Council that some replacement parts haven't been made in nearly 30 years.

Klein said a backup purchased from the city of Houghton is in worse shape.

Calumet is in Houghton County on the Keweenaw Peninsula. The region typically gets pounded by snow.

Klein said Calumet is at "the mercy of Mother Nature" unless it can borrow or buy something.

Detroit man sentenced to life in Lansing barbershop shooting

LANSING (AP) — A Detroit man convicted of murder and other charges in a 2017 shooting at a Lansing barbershop that left one man dead has been sentenced to life in prison.

Shawn Pickens, 24, was given the mandatory no-parole sentence Wednesday after a jury in December 2018 found him guilty of charges including first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and carrying a concealed weapon, the Lansing State Journal reported.

Police said 29-year-old Dominique Laurenz Simmons of Lansing died in the Feb. 11, 2017, shooting at the Kutt II barbershop. Pickens fired several shots into the barbershop that was filled with men, women and children. Simmons returned fire and hit Pickens in the abdomen.

Authorities said Pickens also shot and wounded a 17-year-old boy who was in the barbershop.

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