State Roundup

 Battle Creek

Woman sentenced in attack on Blige’s father 
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan woman accused of stabbing the father of R&B singer Mary J. Blige during a domestic dispute has been sentenced to jail.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports Cheryl White of Battle Creek was sentenced Monday to 365 days in the Calhoun County jail with credit for 270 days already served. She’ll also serve five years of probation and pay more than $17,000 for Thomas Blige’s nursing services.
White didn’t address the court Monday.
White in September pleaded no contest to assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.
Thomas Blige testified earlier in the case that White attacked him with a knife on Jan. 23 after he caught her slashing his tires.
Psychiatric Hospital worker blames state 
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — An employee on leave from the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital says the state is responsible for incidents that injured a patient.
At least 28 workers have been suspended with pay as of Friday amid an investigation into patient rights violations regarding one patient, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. State officials aren’t releasing any more information due to patient privacy and the ongoing investigation, they said.
Mike Fitzgerald, 64, a resident care aid who has worked at the hospital for about 10 years, told WOOD-TV the case involves a patient who was often violent with staff members and who suffered a broken arm. The patient was recently taken off of medication for his outbursts because of kidney problems, and a psychiatrist ordered staff members not to use restraints on him because he liked being restrained and it would seem like a reward, Fitzgerald said.
“It allowed him to hurt others and be hurt himself,” Fitzgerald said. “It was not safe at all.”
Fitzgerald said his supervisors received no relief after notifying administrators about issues, including injuries to workers that sometimes required hospitalization.
“Management on all levels saw us (restraining the patient). They said, ‘Well, that’s the best you can do,’” Fitzgerald said. “Even recipient rights (state regulators) came in and watched . and said ‘Well, there’s not much we can do.’”
Fitzgerald said the patient’s family started complaining in August, around the time the patient suffered from a broken arm. Then state investigators and police launched their investigation and staff members were suspended.
“Now we’re being blamed,” Fitzgerald said. “This is wrong. It’s so wrong what’s happened there to the patients and to the staff.”
The hospital is now short-staffed due to the suspensions, he said, and those who are still working are struggling since there are few male staff members who haven’t been suspended. Fitzgerald plans to sue the state if he’s ultimately fired from the hospital.
“That way, we’ll have our day in court,” he said. “The public will be able to see what went wrong, who made the mistakes and where the negligence really lies.”
The health department declined to respond to the station about Fitzgerald’s allegations.
Ex-library di­rector sentenced for embezzlement 
ALBION, Mich. (AP) — A former director of the Albion District Library has been sentenced to three years of probation for embezzlement.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports 44-year-old Karen Kuhn-Clarke learned her punishment on Monday in Calhoun County Circuit Court.
She pleaded guilty in September to embezzlement that occurred between 2011 and last May. In a written statement, she told the court she’s “not an evil person.” Kuhn-Clarke wrote that she had to feed her family and had no additional income sources.
Prosecutor David Gilbert told Judge Conrad Sindt that investigators estimated Kuhn-Clarke took about $14,500 by using the library credit card to make unauthorized purchases. Investigators say payments included cable television bills, satellite radio for her car and cancer treatment for her cat.
Sindt says Kuhn-Clarke “violated the public’s trust.”
Grand Rapids
Baby healthy after breech birth in church parking lot 
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan couple says their son is healthy and “beating the odds” after being born prematurely in a church parking lot.
Cam Peeple was born breech in the front seat of Jordon and Erin Peeple’s car on Saturday, four weeks before his Nov. 30 due date, The Grand Rapids Press ( ) reported.
Jordon Peeple, 26, delivered his son less than 10 minutes after the couple left their Green Lake-area home for a hospital. He said Cam was already out by the time he pulled into the parking lot to call for help.
An American Medical Response dispatcher instructed Jordon Peeple over the phone on using shoelaces to tie the umbilical cord.
“I took it off my boot and they told me to tie it 6 inches from the baby,” he said. “So I tried to measure it and (Erin) let me know several times that it was way too close, way too close. I just said, ‘No, it isn’t — it’s just right.’ So I tied it and they said help was on the way. Shortly after that, help was on the way.”
First responders arrived several minutes after the baby was born and transported the Peeple family to a local hospital. Cam weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces at birth.
Erin Peeple, 31, said her husband walked her through the whole thing and helped keep her calm. This is their first child after two years of marriage.
“You think about all the things that could have went wrong with delivering in a car, delivering a breech baby and a preemie baby at that,” Erin Peeple said. “He’s proved a lot of people wrong. He’s beaten a lot of odds, that’s for sure. We’re happy.”
Police to post prostitution suspects’ photos 
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Flint Police Department will start posting the names and arrest photos of prostitution suspects online in an effort to deter would-be offenders.
The department said Monday it will start posting the information on its Facebook page this week about people who have been arrested and arraigned on prostitution charges. It says it allowed to share the information since arrest records are public.
Police Chief James Tolbert says making arrests isn’t enough to deter prostitution. He says police believe the public notifications will be effective because they may have other repercussions for offenders.
City spokesman Jason Lorenz tells the Flint Journal both suspected prostitutes and their suspected solicitors will be named.
Women sue Ford for harassment at assembly plant 
CHICAGO (AP) — Several female workers at Ford Motor Co.’s Chicago assembly plant have filed a lawsuit against the automaker alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.
The women claim male co-workers, managers and supervisors would target them if they complained about propositions and inappropriate conduct.
In announcing the lawsuit Monday, plaintiff Christie Van said working at the plant has been “a total nightmare.”
The lawsuit is the not the first of its kind concerning the plant. A 1999 class action lawsuit alleging sexual harassment was settled and a monitor appointed.
Plaintiff’s attorney Keith Hunt says once the monitor left, there was no protection for women workers.
Ford issued a statement claiming it is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, It added that it takes reports of harassment and discrimination seriously.


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