Southwest Michigan Today: Friday October 12, 2018

13 hours ago

A Roman Catholic Priest facing allegations of sexual abuse previously worked in Kalamazoo. Congress approves funding for a new Soo Lock. A new report says Michigan’s schools are leaving behind kids of color. 

A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse in Lansing had earlier worked in Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Diocese says Robert Gerl was assigned to the Saint Thomas More Parish near Western Michigan University from 1997 to 2000. He was a priest at Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Portage from 2000 to 2009. Officials say the charges against Gerl involve an alleged sexual assault "several decades" ago. Gerl has been banned from performing priestly duties during the investigation.

(MPRN) Kids of color are getting left behind by the state’s K-12 schools according to a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy. It says recent changes like new third-grade reading standards don’t deal with the root cause of learning challenges faced by many minority children. League CEO Gilda Jacobs says the state must tackle systemic issues to improve student performance. The State Education Department says it and local school districts are addressing many of the issues raised in the report.

(Interlochen Public Radio) Congress has authorized funding for a new Soo lock. The bill authorizing nearly $1-billion to build an additional lock passed with bipartisan support on Wednesday. Millions of tons of iron ore pass through the Poe Lock each year on thousand foot ships. That’s the only lock at the Soo that can raise and lower ships that big. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk. If approved Congress would still have to allocate funding for the new lock.

(WGVU) Voters will decide next month whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Michigan. A pro-legalization group says it's analysis of arrest records shows why it should be legal. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol commissioned a study of marijuana arrests in 2016. Spokesman Josh Hovey says it found that nine of every ten busts in Michigan involved people with an ounce or less of marijuana. The report also found that African-Americans in Michigan are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites are.