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DETROIT BANKRUPTCY

Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial begins

DETROIT (AP) - Opening statements in Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial have begun in federal court.

Attorney Bruce Bennett, one of the city's lawyers, began opening statements Tuesday afternoon before Judge Steven Rhodes.

Bennett said progress "has been made, but the city is still in distress."

Detroit expects to cut $12 billion in unsecured debt to about $5 billion.

Most creditors, including more than 30,000 retirees and city employees, have endorsed the restructuring plan put together by state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr and his team.

One of the keys is a commitment from the state, corporations and foundations to donate $800 million to soften cuts to city pensions. In return, city artwork would be protected from being sold.

Bond insurer Syncora Guarantee opposes the plan and says Detroit has unfairly discriminated against financial creditors.

MURDER ATTEMPT-AUTISTIC DAUGHTER

Mom of autistic girl pleads guilty to child abuse

BEULAH, Mich. (AP) - A northern Michigan woman accused of trying to kill her autistic daughter has pleaded guilty to first-degree child abuse.

Benzie County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Tang-Anderson says Kelli Stapleton entered the plea Tuesday morning. Stapleton had been scheduled to go on trial Wednesday on a charge of attempted murder.

Tang-Anderson says no sentencing date was set. The maximum punishment for the charge is life in prison.

The 46-year-old Stapleton is accused of trying to kill herself and her teenage daughter last year by carbon monoxide poisoning by igniting charcoal grills inside a van.

Isabelle was 14 at the time. She has severe autism and sometimes has violent outbursts.

Stapleton's blog had chronicled the challenges her family faced while caring for her.

ACTIVIST-FRAUD

Davis pleads guilty to Highland Park schools theft

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit-area labor activist Robert Davis has pleaded guilty in a federal case that accused him of stealing $125,000 from the financially struggling Highland Park public schools while serving on the school board.

Federal prosecutors say that the 34-year-old Davis used companies to submit false invoices and then took a cut of the cash while on the school board.

Davis is known for repeatedly suing Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit officials to stop the use of emergency managers.

The charges carry up to two years in prison for embezzlement and tax fraud. U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow is to sentence him Dec. 9

DETROIT WATER SHUTOFFS

Bankruptcy judge will weigh in on Detroit water

DETROIT (AP) - A judge is considering a request to issue a restraining order to stop Detroit from shutting off water to customers for unpaid bills.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes heard arguments Tuesday on the restraining order request made by critics of the city's water department. The judge says he'll rule Tuesday afternoon.

The hearing on the water issue came before the scheduled start of Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial.

The city stepped up shutoffs in March of those 60 days behind or owing more than $150. About 15,000 customers had service shut off in April-June. The city has faced international criticism for the shutoffs.

Rhodes has said the shut-off program is bad for Detroit's reputation. The judge also has acknowledged he was unsure whether the issue was within his authority.

SNYDER AD

Snyder ad says he's built 'strong foundation'

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is airing his first TV ad for the final two months of the governor's race, emphasizing his accountant credentials as key to building a "strong foundation" for Michigan's recovery.

The Republican speaks throughout the 60-second ad. He says when the "numbers add up," he can help more people.

Snyder repeats successes he has claimed throughout his re-election bid against Democrat Mark Schauer. Those include eliminating a budget deficit, boosting education funding, and helping to lower the state's unemployment rate and create nearly 300,000 private-sector jobs.

The governor acknowledges that residents might not feel the recovery yet, but says they will soon.

Schauer's campaign said Tuesday that Snyder isn't on the side of regular people and accused him of "lecturing" voters about when they'll feel a recovery.

CHURCH-SEX ASSAULT

Archdiocese: Michigan priest 'negligent' in abuse

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) - The Archdiocese of Detroit has found a Mount Clemens priest was "negligent" when he didn't promptly report a sexual assault on church property to police.

The archdioceses says an investigation by a panel of church law judges concluded Rev. Michael Cooney of St. Peter's Catholic Church didn't properly notify police in 2011. The panel says Cooney failed to take measures to protect a 14-year-old girl when he learned a 19-year-old usher had sexually abused her at a church event.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron says Cooney has apologized for not taking action. He says he's requiring Cooney to make a retreat and write letters of apology to people involved.

The teen's family filed a lawsuit in Macomb County court against the 19-year-old, Cooney and the archdiocese. An undisclosed settlement was reached in 2013.

DETROIT MEDICAL CENTER-AWARD

Detroit Medical Center to get $10 million award

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Medical Center has been selected to receive a $10 million award as part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Health Care Innovation Awards program.

The money will enable the DMC to test a primary care and preventative health model that reaches patients who use some of Detroit's busiest emergency departments.

In a news release Tuesday, the DMC says the Health Care Innovation Awards range from $2 million to $23.8 million over three years and are made possible by the Affordable Care Act.

Funding this year totaled about $360 million for 39 recipients in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

OIL SPILL-INVASIVES

Officials: No invasive species in Michigan lake

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says no new invasive species have been found after a day of collecting fish and other aquatic species in Morrow Lake.

MLive.com reports scientists are asking the public to look out for unusual plants or animals that may have come to the area in the four years since the Enbridge oil spill.

State fisheries biologist Seth Herbst says the dredging and cleanup work that's happened since the oil spill has made the area particularly vulnerable to invasive species. The Calgary, Alberta-based pipeline company leaked crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River in 2010, spilling about 843,000 gallons of oil. The river runs through Morrow Lake.

Herbst says invasive seeds, eggs and small creatures can travel on equipment used to clean up spills.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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