State Roundup

 Grand Haven

Top court enters dispute over sledder’s death 
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is stepping into a dispute between a western Michigan park commission and the family of an 11-year-old boy who died in a sledding accident.
The issue is whether the Duncan Park Commission is an arm of local government in Grand Haven. The Michigan appeals court said no and said the commission is not immune to a lawsuit.
Chance Nash of Nunica hit an obstruction at Duncan Park and died in 2009.
The appeals court says the park actually is private land, and the city of Grand Haven doesn’t make rules for it or maintain it.
$1.2M grant to fund new genetics education program
DETROIT (AP) — Middle school students in Detroit and Flint will learn about genetics through a new program funded by a $1.2 million federal grant.
Michigan State University is partnering with the University of Michigan to create learning materials about genomics and evolution for students and local communities. The National Institutes of Health awarded the grant for the five-year program.
Renee Bayer of MSU tells the Detroit News a previous six-year genetics education project for Detroit high school students determined that the students didn’t have the background needed to master the curriculum. She says Detroit Public Schools will choose one teacher and school for the first year of the program to pilot the middle school curriculum.
Students will learn how genetic and environmental factors can shape behavior and the risk of disease.
Workplace fatality rate declines 
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan’s rate of job-related deaths has decreased in recent years even as more people enter the workforce following the economic recession.
The Detroit News reports federal data show Michigan’s rate of workplace fatalities declined from 3.6 per 100,000 workers in 2010 to 3.4 per in 2012. The total number of fatalities increased to 133 deaths last year from 120 in 2007.
Transportation accidents are the leading cause of workplace deaths, and men are more likely to die on the job than women.
Michigan Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation project coordinator Debra Chester says businesses “have had to do more with less” and now must refocus on safety.
The national rate in 2012 was the same as Michigan’s, with 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.
Ann Arbor
U-M Health deals with drug losses, paper reports 
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan Health System says it is improving the way it stores and distributes drugs, especially after the overdoses of a nurse and a doctor and the theft of thousands of painkillers a few years ago.
The Ann Arbor News reports that an employee was blamed for the theft of 16,000 painkiller tablets in 2011 and 2012. No one was arrested. The health system has also reported smaller losses of controlled substances in 2013 and 2014.
The newspaper says the incidents were reported to state and federal regulators. U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald says the health care industry isn’t immune to addiction by employees.
A nurse died of an overdose last December while a doctor overdosed on the same day but survived.
Man dressed as z­ombie injured in hit-and-run 
NUNICA, Mich. (AP) — Police say a man trying to scare motorists while dressed as a zombie was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in western Michigan.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that Jeff Stiles’ injuries were not considered life-threatening Saturday, but he was admitted to a hospital. The 45-year-old man was hit by a car in Nunica in Ottawa County.
County sheriff’s Sgt. Matt Wilfong says Stiles was attending a Halloween party as a zombie when he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette.
East Lansing
MSU gets pest management funds from feds
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University’s pest management programs are getting a boost from the federal government.
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan recently commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that the school’s work is getting more than $380,000 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Crop Protection and Pest Management program.
The funding supports projects that address high priority pest management challenges though coordinated efforts with state and regional partners.
Police seek felony charge following pit bull attack 
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police want a felony charge from prosecutors after a pack of pit bulls severely mauled a Detroit man.
The Detroit Free Press reports police want a charge of harboring a vicious animal causing serious injury against the owner, who previously received misdemeanor citations.
The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says a decision is pending.
The 61-year-old owner was arrested on an unrelated warrant after the Oct. 2 attack, but was released a few days later. Police initially said they didn’t expect criminal charges, saying it appeared there was no malicious intent on behalf of the dogs’ owner.
The 50-year-old who was attacked reportedly lost most of one arm and had his head and other limbs bitten. Police killed one dog at the scene and rounded up at least 11 others.