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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 5, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Alpena teacher accused of sexually assaulting boy, 11

ALPENA (AP) — A northern Michigan special-education teacher has been accused of sexually assaulting a student, beginning when the boy was 11 years old.

Judge Thomas LaCross ruled Friday that there's enough evidence of an improper relationship between Heather Winfield and a student for the case to go to trial. Winfield faces multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct with a child younger than 13, The Alpena News reported.

Winfield was placed on administrative leave from Thunder Bay Junior High School in Alpena in October 2016 after district officials began investigating the allegations. Officials concluded that Winfield inappropriately communicated with a student, but she resigned before the school board could vote on her termination.

Police said the boy, who is now 14, told authorities that Winfield sexually assaulted him more than 100 times starting in 2016.

Investigators found hotel receipts and financial statements that showed Winfield rented 16 rooms in a three-month span that matched the boy's allegations, said Michigan State Police Trooper Robert Mitchell.

Defense attorney Dan White noted that Winfield received positive teaching reviews and was known as a caring educator.

A trial date hasn't been scheduled yet. Winfield could be sentenced to up to life in prison if convicted.

Northern Michigan school district is dealing with teen suicide

KINGSLEY (AP) — Teachers in a small northern Michigan school district are being trained to watch for signs that could alert them to troubled teens.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported that three teenagers in the Kingsley area have killed themselves in less than eight months, the latest occurring a month ago.

The public is invited Thursday to watch "The Ripple Effect," the story of a 19-year-old man who survived a fall from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Kevin Hines now is a motivational speaker and mental health advocate.

Kingsley Superintendent Keith Smith said "things have kind of returned to normal" in the Grand Traverse County community. But he also said that emotions "don't just go away."

A parent information night about suicide is planned for April 3.

4 Canadian wolves relocated to Isle Royale National Park

ISLE ROYALE (AP) — Four Canadian wolves have been relocated to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan as part of an ongoing effort to restore the predator species on the Lake Superior island chain, officials said Monday.

Helicopter crews fired net guns last week to capture a female and a male near the mainland city of Wawa, Ontario, and two males on Michipicoten Island Provincial Park in Lake Superior. All four were sedated and examined by veterinarians before being flown to snowbound Isle Royale, where they were given another checkup and released, the National Park Service said.

Like others brought to the island last fall, they were fitted with radio transmission collars enabling scientists to track their movements. Each wolf arrived separately over several days.

The translocation boosted the park's wolf total to eight — four males and four females — including the last two survivors of a dwindling population that had occupied the park for about 70 years.

Four were moved from tribal land in Minnesota to the park last fall. Of those, one died and another made its way back to the mainland across an ice bridge in February.

Plans move ahead for demolition of Detroit's Joe Louis Arena

DETROIT (AP) — Plans are moving forward for the demolition of the former home of the Detroit Red Wings in downtown Detroit.

Detroit Building Authority Director Tyrone Clifton told the Detroit Free Press that demolition of Joe Louis Arena is expected to begin in the next 4-6 weeks and finish by the end of the year or early 2020.

Clifton said that crews will start by disassembling the arena's interior and then proceed to the exterior by June or July. The newspaper said Detroit-based Adamo Group is doing the demolition under a $5.9 million contract with the city and there will be no implosion that people might be able to gather to see.

The Red Wings moved to the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit in 2017.

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