State Round Up

Grand Rapids: Sneak peak of MSU’s new Secchia Center
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University officials will offer a sneak peak of the university’s new Grand Rapids-based medical school headquarters.

College of Human Medicine officials will provide a media tour Tuesday morning of the $90 million, privately funded Secchia Center of the College of Human Medicine. The 180,000-square-foot, seven-story medical education building is located in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Secchia Center is set to open in September, when the first 100 first-year students and 50 second-year students are expected begin their medical studies.

Harrison Twp.: Legionnaires’ disease infects 4 at Selfridge
HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A fourth case of Legionnaires’ disease has been confirmed and a fifth is suspected at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township.

John Ambrose, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Army Public Health Command, said Monday three of the confirmed cases involve employees from Warren-based TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. One is from the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard.

The fifth person also is from TACOM.

Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, commander of the 127th Wing, said one person remained hospitalized in critical condition.

A bacterial outbreak in July sickened more than 30 people.

Legionnaires’ disease is a sometimes deadly disease that takes its name from an outbreak at the Pennsylvania American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976.

Grand Rapids: Sept. 1 is new deadline for death penalty decision
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A judge in Grand Rapids is giving federal prosecutors another month to decide whether to seek the death penalty against two men charged in the disappearance of a western Michigan man.

A decision was due Monday but federal Judge Janet Neff has granted an extension until Sept. 1.

Rami Saba (RAH’-me SAH’-ba) and Raogo Ouedraogo (RAH’-go Qua-DRAH’-go) are charged in the disappearance of Donald Dietz of Ionia County. Investigators say they were working to steal Dietz’s identity and get control of his $443,000 bank account.

The Amway retiree has been missing for nearly three years. Michigan doesn’t allow the death penalty for crimes prosecuted in state court but it’s available in federal court. A trial date hasn’t been set.

Detroit: Casino, nonprofit team on Detroit urban ag project
DETROIT (AP) — Urban agriculture is getting a boost in Detroit under a partnership between the MGM Grand Detroit casino and a nonprofit group.

The casino says it will invest $1 million in the Grand Garden over the next five years. Officials recently broke ground on the project and the first harvests from the downtown site are expected to take place this fall.

The site is about two acres and will feature a greenhouse where herbicide- and pesticide-free vegetable, flower and other horticultural crops will be grown. Produce sales to restaurants will help fund operations.

The Grand Garden will be managed by the Greening of Detroit, and eventually will include an herb garden, fruit garden and learning areas for future growers. It’s walking distance from MGM’s casino and hotel.

Detroit: School chief:  Rent-a-cops save millions
DETROIT (AP) — The state-appointed Detroit school manager says his move to ax the district’s security guards and hire a contractor to replace them will save millions of dollars a year.

Robert Bobb said Monday the district will pay about $6.5 million a year to Securitas Security Services USA Inc. The district used to employ 226 guards at a cost of about $11 million a year.

They were terminated effective last Friday.

Bobb says there was a high rate of absenteeism among the guards, and he says the new arrangement will increase safety as well as          cut costs. He says the change doesn’t affect the district’s police officers.

Bobb says the move is part of a $41.7 million safety plan that includes alarms and digital camera surveillance.

Detroit: Officer alleges ex-chief’s girlfriend mistreated her
DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit police officer is suing the city, saying ex-Chief Warren Evans’ girlfriend harassed her and got her moved from the unit that protects Mayor Dave Bing and his wife.

The Detroit News says Shanda Starks sued Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court. The complaint says Lt. Monique Russell-Patterson had a “tyrannical operating style” and used her relationship with Evans to “retaliate against and punish” Starks.

Starks is suing under the Whistleblower’s Protection Act.

Police Sgt. Eren Stephens says the city’s policy is to withhold comment on active lawsuits. Russell-Patterson’s phone number is unlisted.

Bing fired Evans on July 21, citing the chief’s relationship with the lieutenant as well as his involvement in reality TV programs.