State Roundup

Lansing

Captured sword-wielding man to get treatment

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Lansing police say a sword-wielding man is expected to get mental health treatment after he broke into a home, started a fire and barricaded himself for hours.

The Lansing State Journal and MLive.com report police negotiated with the 19-year-old man before he was taken into custody on Saturday night. Police say the man was described as also wearing a cape. Before he broke into the home he reportedly walked up to several doors in the neighborhood, asking questions.

No injuries were reported. The man got a mental health evaluation at a hospital and was placed into protective custody.

Police say the former Lansing resident was in the city visiting relatives and could face charges. The owners of the home where he was captured were out of town at the time.

Oneida Township

Plan would build wind turbines in Michigan

ONEIDA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- A plan from a Texas-based wind farm company that's currently under consideration would build 63 wind turbines in Michigan.

The Lansing State Journal reports the planning commission in Eaton County's Oneida Township has scheduled a hearing for next month related to the project west of Lansing.

Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC has proposed the turbines. As planned, they would be about 500 feet tall from the tips of their blades to the ground.

Final decisions on the plan likely will follow wind testing in the area, which could take a year.

Mount Pleasant

Disinvited gay speaker addresses prep grads at CMU

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) -- An alumnus of a Michigan Catholic high school who wasn't allowed to speak at its graduation ceremony because he's gay has delivered his planned talk to the graduates at a different location.

Dominic Sheahan-Stahl gave the address Sunday at Central Michigan University's Warriner Hall in Mount Pleasant.

The 32-year-old actor had been invited to speak at Sacred Heart Academy's graduation ceremony Sunday, but the invitation was withdrawn.

Sheahan-Stahl is a 1998 graduate of the Mount Pleasant prep school and now lives in New York City. His youngest brother is in this year's graduating class.

Mlive.com says Sheahan-Stahl wore a white T-shirt bearing the words "Live Through Love."

Sacred Heart graduates occupied the first three rows of the auditorium, wearing their red and white graduation gowns.

Lansing

Bills try to bring Mi ch. kindergarten in line with U.S.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Supporters of bills to push back the age that Michigan children could start kindergarten say the measures would bring the state in line with most of the country and would ensure the students are ready for the increased academic focus.

The Michigan Senate unanimously passed legislation this month that would move up the date by which a child needs to turn five in order to enter kindergarten from Dec. 1 to Sept. 1.

Tina Everard, a kindergarten teacher at Southwest Elementary School in Howell, said she feels for the 4-year-olds who enter her classroom at the beginning of the school year. She said they're the ones who prefer to play when it's time for reading and math and struggle to stay focused.

"It's not their fault. They just need that time to develop," Everard told the Detroit Free Press.

Kindergarten, once largely devoted to play and socialization, has become increasingly academically focused in recent years, educators say. Backers of the later start for kindergarten say the younger children often aren't ready for the more academic approach in today's kindergarten classes.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart. The change would be implemented over three years, with the cutoff moving to Nov. 1 in 2013, Oct. 1 in 2014 and Sept. 1 in 2015.

"I believe, in the long run, our children will be better off because of it," Booher said.

It's unclear when the House will take action on the bills. Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said questions still need to be addressed and said some representatives question whether the change is appropriate.

The state budget also is dominating the House agenda at present, Adler said.

One effect of the change would be a reduction in the number of kindergartners in the state during the transition time, which would help the state's budget by reducing school spending. But local school district budgets would see a cut in their aid.

If the state went from a Dec. 1 to a Sept. 1 start date at one time, "That would have been a big chunk of students lost," said Keith Wunderlich, superintendent for New Haven Community Schools.

Most states' age cutoff is before October, the newspaper said.

Michigan and most other states have adopted a set of common education standards in reading, writing and math. Starting in 2014, students in grades three through 12 will be tested on them. Michigan's students at each grade level would be younger than average unless the change is made.

"This puts us on an even footing with other states," said Keith Myers, executive director of the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children.

Published: Tue, May 22, 2012