State Roundup

Highland Park
Part of collection of black history found discarded

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) — Part of a financially struggling Michigan school district’s collection of black history books, tapes, film strips and other materials has been found discarded outside its high school library.

Workers on the second floor of the library mistakenly threw them out, said Highland Park School District’s state-appointed emergency manager Donald Weatherspoon. He said the district in the mostly black Detroit enclave was able to recover the materials in time.

The materials were found Thursday by area residents, WXYZ-TV and the Detroit Free Press reported. About 1,000 pieces of material were found, the newspaper said, and tax and bank records containing personal information were among discarded materials.

“In diversity, range and depth, that library rivaled most community college libraries,” said Highland Park resident Paul Lee, a historian who helped build the collection.

Lee was notified of the materials on Thursday, and he and several friends, carrying flashlights, dove into large trash bins and pulled out what he said was a fraction of the collection. Lee said the district began building the collection after the civil rights movement.

Weatherspoon said the recovered materials would be sorted and those that have historical value would go to a library or a museum that would agree to accept them. The issue came up at Tuesday night’s school board meeting, drawing concern that the district no longer will keep the materials.

“I can’t let you sit here and say this was a mistake,” Highland Park Board Vice President Debra Humphrey said during the meeting.

The district can’t afford to secure the collection, Weatherspoon said. Leona Group, the charter school management company that began operating schools in the district a year ago, was offered materials and Weatherspoon said they took what they wanted.

Rodney Patrick, a city councilman, urged Weatherspoon to consider other options “before the Hefty bags come out.” The city closed its own library several years ago, and Patrick said artifacts from that library are being stored voluntarily by a company in the city.

“This speaks to a larger issue — a disinvestment in urban areas,” Patrick said after the meeting.

Jackson
Police: Inmate asks dad for ride in foiled escape

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a Michigan prison inmate arranged for his father to pick him up as part of an escape attempt that ended up foiled.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports the father thought his son was to be released Friday on parole from Cooper Street Prison near Jackson.
Police say the father stopped and asked a Michigan Department of Corrections officer for directions on where to pick up his son. Authorities found the inmate in a garage on prison property. He’s been serving
time for charges including armed robbery.

State police and prison officials are investigating. The Jackson County prosecutor’s office is expected to review the case for possible charges.

The prisoner could face up to 5 additional years in prison if convicted of an attempted escape.

Detroit
Brown stepping down from Detroit City Council in July

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown has announced plans to resign his post and take a job working for the city’s state-appointed emergency manager.
Brown said in a statement Wednesday he’ll step down effective July 1.

He says the job working for emergency manager Kevyn Orr will focus on “pivotal areas ... where Detroiters will feel the greatest positive impact.”

Orr says Brown will become Detroit’ chief compliance officer, spearheading efforts to right-size and reform city operations as part of a broader restructuring. Brown will earn $225,000 a year.
Brown was elected to Council in 2009. With Brown stepping down, only seven council members will remain. Kwame Kenyatta resigned last week.

The Council lost much of its authority when Orr was hired in March to fix Detroit’s finances.

Saginaw
School board for struggling district lays off teachers

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The board for a struggling school district has voted to lay off nearly all of its teachers and staff amid uncertainty about whether classes will take place in the fall.
The Saginaw News reports the Board of Education for the Buena Vista School District near Saginaw on Tuesday approved layoffs for teachers effective Wednesday, the last day of school. Administrative staff will work through Friday.

School officials the district will have about $2,000 as of July 5.

Board President Randy L. Jackson says the district still is making plans for fall classes. The board approved an application to request a $2.5 million loan from the state to help keep running.

The district had laid off teachers and closed for part of May because it said it couldn’t make payroll.

Detroit
Strike 3: Man loses appeal over baseball cards

DETROIT (AP) — A man who claims the U.S. Postal Service lost rare baseball cards worth $165,000 has struck out at the federal appeals court.

The court says immunity applies to the Postal Service in this case, citing a law that lists few exceptions. Anthony Johnson says mint baseball cards of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Joe DiMaggio were stolen from his Detroit home by a guest in 2009 and shipped to California.

The package may have been found, but the cards and other valuables were missing.

Johnson says he couldn’t insure the contents of the package because the items were taken without his consent. But the appeals court says that fact still doesn’t help him overcome the Postal Service’s immunity.

Detroit
County collects DNA to help families find kin

DETROIT (AP) — The Wayne County medical examiner’s office has held an open house for the families of missing people, collecting their DNA as a way to help solve the cases.

The event took place Tuesday. The office also asked participants to bring police reports, photos and medical and dental records.

The Detroit News says Michigan has at least 4,000 missing people as well as the unknown remains of more than 100 people. The medical examiner’s office is working with state police and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Staffers get DNA samples from swabs taken from inside the cheek. State police detective Sarah Krebs says the data will go into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System within a few weeks.h

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