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Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday August 7, 2019

Kalamazoo Public Safety Headquarters - file photo by WMUK

Police Departments respond to a hoax about active shooters in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and other cities. Southwest Michigan College’s president is stepping down. Proposed “Red Flag” laws get support from the governor and cause a stir in a West Michigan Congressional race. 

(MPRN) Medicaid insurance providers in Michigan cannot discriminate based on sex, gender identification, or sexual orientation. That means insurance providers can no longer deny benefits for sex reassignment surgery and therapies. The administration added language to the Medicaid Provider Manual. This brings Michigan in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. 

(Michigan Radio) A number of police departments in Michigan responded to an online hoax that spread across social media Tuesday. The hoax claimed that active shooters were going door-to-door around five Michigan cities, including Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids and Detroit. The claim was false. An officer with the Detroit Police Department says spreading false information about shootings is malicious, reckless and irresponsible. Vanessa Burt says people who see online claims of an active shooter should contact law enforcement.

(MPRN) Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants the state Legislature to act in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Whitmer says she supports a so-called “red flag” bill currently in the state House. It would allow law enforcement to take a person’s firearms if there is proof the person could harm themselves or others.

(Gongwer News Service) A Republican candidate for Congress in the district that includes Battle Creek and Grand Rapids has used a slur against transgender people in a news release opposing new gun regulations. Tom Norton launched his campaign for the Republican nomination earlier this year to challenge Justin Amash in the Third Congressional District. Amash has since left the Republican Party and plans to run for re-election as an independent. Norton issued a news release opposing red flag laws. He said such laws would hurt blacks, veterans and then used a derogatory term for transgender people. The Gongwer News Service says it continues Norton’s pattern of including anti-transgender statements on seemingly unrelated issues. Of the other Republicans running in the district only state Representative Jim Lower responded to Gongwer’s request for comment. He said Norton’s language was in his words “obviously a desperate plea for attention from Norton’s failing campaign.” However Lower also expressed skepticism about red flag laws.

(MLive) The president of Southwestern Michigan College is stepping down. MLive says David Matthews has announced that he'll retire at the end of the year. He's been the top administrator of the community college in Dowagiac for 18 years. It was founded by his father Fred Matthews in 1964. Matthews says he's leaving to pursue what he calls "other personal adventures." Matthews has faced criticism by a community group because of the size of his salary, among other issues.

(Detroit News) A former candidate for the Democratic nomination for Michigan governor has settled a lawsuit over a 2016 business sale. Avomeen Holdings filed suit against Shri Thanedar claiming he inflated the value of the business before it was sold. The Detroit News reports that the settlement was reached before trial was scheduled to start this week. Thanedar spent 10-million dollars of his own money running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary last year, but he finished third behind current Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Abdul El-Sayed.