State Roundup


City reaches $253K settlement with police officer 
FRANKFORT, Mich. (AP) — A community in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula has reached a $254,000 settlement in a long-running employment dispute involving a police officer.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports Officer Tim Cavric filed a grievance against Frankfort in 2006 after officials who had laid him off hired a new officer without first offering him the job.
Cavric’s layoff was for what officials said were financial reasons. A legal battle resulted in his 2012 rehiring, but a dispute over back pay and benefits lingered.
Mayor Bob Johnson says agreement signed Monday settles all legal matters between Cavric and the city. Cavric gets money for back pay and benefits.
Three grievances concerning Cavric and the police department were mediated during a Monday meeting between city officials, Cavric and a police union.

Goats exiled from city lots head for early slaughter 
DETROIT (AP) — Owners of 18 goats that were evicted from abandoned lots in a Detroit neighborhood plan to slaughter them earlier now that their plan to fatten them on uncut weeds and grass has fallen through.
The goats arrived in the Brightmoor neighborhood June 6 from Idyll Farms in Northport at the tip of northern lower Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. They were removed June 7 at Detroit animal control officials’ order.
Now, the goats will be butchered earlier rather than later, Idyll Farms told for a report Sunday.
“The goats are currently grazing somewhere else, and will be gradually processed,” the farm said in an email. “They cannot return to Idyll Farms because the goats there are in a closed herd and the herders never introduce animals from the outside (or even back into) the herd.”
Current zoning laws don’t allow livestock operations in Detroit, but the west side neighborhood is within a proposed urban farming zone in the Detroit Future City Project.
Before bringing the goats to Brightmoor, Idyll Farms published a brochure describing its plans.
“We hope to demonstrate, through our pastured goats in Detroit, that urban farming is a feasible and constructive way to further support and engage the community,” it said. “Idyll Farms Detroit expects to ace as a vegetative cleaning crew, help provide jobs, clean the neighborhood and help a community bond around a mascot known for survival and resilience.”
Heights Charter school district gets self-management plan 
MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — A charter school district in Muskegon Heights will operate under a self-management plan rather than be run by an outside management company, a change that’s designed to bring more local control to the western Michigan community’s schools, officials said.
The Muskegon Heights Public School Academy board on Monday night hired Alena Zachery-Ross as superintendent, approved an agreement to contract with the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District for financial management and picked an employment agency.
“It’s an independent school district,” The Muskegon Chronicle reported board President Arthur Scott said following the meeting. “We don’t have a vendor to worry about.”
Mosaica Education Inc. has served as the management company since the public schools were turned into charter schools. Mosaica, which has said it was losing money on the effort, plans to cease operations in Muskegon Heights this month.
Zachery-Ross, who previously was superintendent under Mosaica, will be the only direct employee of the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy. She said she knows the community wants to return to a traditional public school district, but that’s not currently possible.
“Our community has such a strong voice, but they need to be heard,” she said. “This is the next best opportunity for the people to be heard.”
The charter school district was created in 2012 as a solution to debt that put Muskegon Heights Public Schools into financial emergency. The traditional public school district, Muskegon Heights Public Schools, still exists but only to pay off the debts it incurred.
The schools were turned into a charter district by a former state-appointed emergency manager, and the district still is overseen by an emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. That emergency manager, Greg Weatherspoon, was in the audience for Monday’s meeting.