State Roundup

Ann Arbor
Hand transplant program to begin at U. of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan Health System has launched a hand transplant program that it says is the first in the state.
The health system announced Tuesday it’s actively seeking adult candidates for the surgery.
Hand transplantation is part of the University of Michigan Transplant Center’s new “vascular composite allograft” program, which it says refers to transplants involving several different kinds of vascularized tissue such as skin, muscle and bone.
The health system plans a hand transplant first, but notes the field of transplantation also includes face, abdominal wall and other types of transplants. Doctors say hand transplantation can be an option for patients with amputations or injuries of the arm or hand.
Hand transplants have been performed in other parts of the U.S. and elsewhere.

GOP Michigan Rep. Benishek will retire from House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Rep. Dan Benishek said Tuesday that he will not seek re-election next year, a surprising announcement that could mean a competitive race for his Northern Michigan seat.
The three-term lawmaker’s decision was his latest reversal about his political future. When first elected in 2010, Benishek said he would serve only three House terms.
But in April he said he would seek re-election next year anyway, citing his desire to continue trying to improve services from the Veterans Affairs Department.
The 63-year-old’s retirement announcement Tuesday did not address why he had changed his mind again. He said not seeking re-election “will allow me to focus my time and attention on helping our veterans and working to make things better for the families and workers throughout Northern Michigan, and devote more time to my family.”
Benishek was re-elected in 2014 with 52 percent of the vote, and national Republicans were bracing for a potentially close race even before he said he will step down. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign organ, had named him to their 2016 Patriot Program, which funnels money and logistical help to incumbents who need extra help.
Benishek’s district gave GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney 54 percent of the vote in his 2012 race against President Barack Obama, but Obama won by 2 percent points over Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008.

Bob Bashara clears a hurdle in bid for new trial

DETROIT (AP) — A judge says she’ll hear testimony in a high-profile case to determine if a Detroit-area man should get a new trial in the death of his wife.
Judge Vonda Evans made the decision Tuesday after hearing arguments from Bob Bashara’s appellate lawyer, Ronald Ambrose.
Ambrose claims Bashara’s rights were violated by ineffective work by his lawyers last year. The 57-year-old Bashara is serving a life sentence for arranging the death of Jane Bashara at their Grosse Pointe Park home in 2012.
Ambrose says Bashara’s trial “started bad and ended worse.”
He says the jury wasn’t given evidence to learn that Jane Bashara didn’t care about her husband’s lifestyle of bondage and domination. Bob Bashara was a former Rotary Club president who hosted men and women at a sex dungeon.


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