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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Feb 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan redistricting deal killed by federal judges

DETROIT (AP) — A three-judge panel has thrown out a deal to redraw at least 11 Michigan House districts for the 2020 election, saying the state's new Democratic secretary of state had no authority to make a pact with fellow Democrats who accused Republicans of crafting unconstitutional maps.

Friday's decision means the panel of federal judges will hold a trial, starting Tuesday.

The lawsuit was filed by the League of Women Voters and others who claim districts were shaped by Republican operatives to guarantee the party's dominance in the state Capitol after the 2010 Census. They say constitutional rights were violated when Democratic areas were packed in certain districts or diluted elsewhere.

The secretary of state was a defendant in the lawsuit as the state's chief election officer. The office changed hands — and parties — when Jocelyn Benson won in November.

Michigan State U. ousts lawyer but he'll still be paid

EAST LANSING (AP) — Robert Young Jr. has been ousted as the top lawyer at Michigan State University.

Acting President Satish Udpa said Young was "relieved of his duties" Friday as vice president and general counsel.

Young, a former chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, joined MSU last year when John Engler was interim president. Engler was removed by university trustees on Jan. 17.

Young had more than two years remaining on a three-year contract worth $425,000 a year. MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said Young will be paid the full amount.

Young played a critical role in the $500 million settlement with sexual-assault victims of sports doctor Larry Nassar .

In a written statement, Udpa said: "We appreciate that Bob stepped in last year to help the university with the settlement and many legal issues."

90-year-old Michigan woman locked out of home, dies in cold

THREE RIVERS (AP) — A 90-year-old woman has died in the extreme cold after locking herself out of her home in southwestern Michigan.

Ada Salna was found covered with snow on the steps of her home Wednesday near Three Rivers in St. Joseph County, WOOD-TV reported. Pathologist Joyce deJong said Salna died of hypothermia. Blood loss from a cut also contributed to her death.

Salna was feeding birds when she was locked out, according to the TV station.

Water main breaks, burst pipes cause disruptions in Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — Water main breaks and burst pipes due to bitterly cold temperatures have disrupted operations at a Detroit court, university buildings and other places around Michigan.

The 36th District Court was closed Friday amid flooding caused by a burst pipe due to this week's subzero temperatures. A restoration company will work through the weekend to get the court ready to reopen Monday.

Sprinkler lines burst in two buildings at Wayne State University in Detroit due to the cold.

In suburban Detroit, the Kresge Library at Oakland University was closed Friday due to flooding caused by a water main break. In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the OK was given Thursday in Escanaba to resume using water after a water main break.

Similar problems are expected amid a rapid thaw. A flood warning remains in effect along the Muskegon River in West Michigan due to an ice jam.

Demand for high-tech health help grows during cold stretch

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A health care system in West Michigan said more than 400 people used an online service to seek help for non-emergencies during the extreme cold spell.

Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids said MedNow typically sees 250 people over a four-day period. But demand rose significantly Monday through Thursday.

MedNow allows people to see a health professional over a computer or mobile device instead of going to a doctor's office. Senior Director Joe Brennan said it's best for people with aches, rashes, cold and flu.

Matthew Streichhirsch of Newaygo County was in pain after removing snow. He and wife Tracy used MedNow on Wednesday. She feared that her cold was growing into pneumonia. They got medication for the short term and avoided a trip to the emergency room.

Detroit man charged with murder in boy's freeway shooting

DETROIT (AP) — A 24-year-old Detroit man is facing murder and other charges following the shooting death of a 3-year-old boy on a Detroit freeway.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also charged Derrick Devon Durham with five weapons-related charges Friday in connection with the shooting of Christian Miller on Jan. 24 while he was riding in his godmother's SUV on the Southfield Freeway on Detroit's west side. The boy died the following morning.

Durham surrendered to police Wednesday. He was remanded during his arraignment Friday. A probable-cause hearing is set for next week.

Michigan State Police 1st Lt. Michael Shaw said Wednesday that "a traffic incident" occurred between Durham and the boy's godmother, and "we don't think the godmother was aware of what was going on when this incident occurred."

Kentucky bar accused of over-serving driver in fatal crash

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky bar has been accused of over-serving the wrong-way driver who killed himself and five members of a vacationing Michigan family in a highway crash last month.

News outlets report that Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon was issued an order to show cause Thursday by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Alcoholic Beverage Control Office.

The bar is accused of serving 41-year-old Joey Bailey alcoholic drinks when he was already under the influence.

County Coroner Gary Ginn previously said Bailey's blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit, and he was at fault in the crash that also killed five members of the Abbas family, including three children.

A statement from the bar says its representatives will review the order.

The ABC Office scheduled a Feb. 19 pre-hearing conference.

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