Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan elections board has cleared three more groups to proceed with drives to put statewide proposals on the 2018 ballot.  

Advocates of empowering an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative districts had the form of their petition approved Thursday by the Board of State Canvassers. The Legislature and governor currently handle redistricting, drawing complaints that the process is too partisan.

MEDFORD, MA (AP)--   Efforts to address gerrymandering are gaining new help from math and data experts at many universities.

Scholars from California to Massachusetts have been working on cutting-edge math and computer-science tools that could help federal courts identify voting districts that are drawn unfairly.

Gerrymandering, the practice of drawing voting maps to favor certain voting groups, has regained attention recently through lawsuits in North Carolina and Wisconsin.

EAST LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan State University has denied a request to rent space to a group headed by white nationalist Richard Spencer. 

The university said in a statement Thursday that the decision was made "due to significant concerns about public safety." It cites last weekend's "tragic violence" in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Michigan State officials say they support "freedom of expression" but their "first obligation" is to safety and security on campus.

MILWAUKEE, WI (AP)--   A U.S. senator from Wisconsin is urging the State Department to investigate reports of tainted or substandard alcohol at Mexican resorts.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported about travelers becoming sick after drinking alcohol at resorts south of the border, including a 20-year-old Wisconsin woman who died in January after being pulled from a resort pool.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (AP)--   Vern Ehlers, a research physicist who served 17 years representing a western Michigan congressional district, has died. He was 83. 

Melissa Morrison, funeral director at Zaagman Memorial Chapel, said Wednesday that Ehlers died late Tuesday at a Grand Rapids nursing facility.

Ehlers, a Republican, decided against seeking re-election in 2010. He previously was a state lawmaker and taught physics at Calvin College.

In Congress, he sought protections for the Great Lakes and funding for math and science education.

AUTRAIN TOWNSHIP, MI--   A Michigan man has died on a boating trip he was taking to pour his father's ashes into Lake Superior. 

WLUC-TV reports that 59-year-old Robert Louis died shortly after he and six other passengers fell out of their wooden kit boat near Au Train on Sunday.

Louis' brother, John Louis, says the group was out to honor the final wishes of the brothers' father, who died two weeks ago after battling Alzheimer's disease.

PESHTIGO, WI (AP)--   A Wisconsin man came perilously close to death after accidentally shooting a nail into his chest.

Doug Bergeson tells WBAY-TV that he was working on a house he's building near Peshtigo in June when his nail gun accidentally fired, sending a nail into his chest.

Bergeson says "it didn't really hurt," and he thought the nail just nicked him. Then he saw that only about an inch of 3½ inch nail was sticking out of his chest.

DETROIT, MI (AP)--   The Michigan appeals court has turned down an appeal in a dispute over public aid for private schools. 

A judge last month put a freeze on $2.5 million for fire drills, inspections and other state requirements at private schools. The money was approved by lawmakers in 2016, but critics say it violates the Michigan Constitution.

The appeals court on Monday said it found no grounds to get involved immediately.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Gov. Rick Snyder has created a state council to better coordinate Michigan's fight against the opioid epidemic. 

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will lead the council that was established by Snyder's executive order Tuesday.

The formation of the Council on Opioid and Prescription Drug Enforcement was recommended by a prescription drug and opioid abuse task force in 2015. It will address, develop and maintain relationships among local, state and federal agencies that enforce drug laws and regulations.

ONTONAGON, MI (AP)--   Guitar, fiddle and mandolin virtuoso David Bromberg is among the headliners of a music festival this month in the wilds of the Western U.P. 

The David Bromberg Quintet performs Aug. 26 — the second day of the three-day Porcupine Mountains Music Festival. The 13th annual festival is held at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park's ski hill.

The festival also includes a Q&A session with Bromberg, who has worked with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Jerry Garcia.

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