State Roundup

Traverse City
1 of 3 charged in poaching ring pleads guilty

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — One of three people accused of using in a northern Michigan poaching ring has pleaded guilty to eight misdemeanors.
Seventeen-year-old Mark Johnson of Traverse City told the judge Tuesday he didn’t shoot the animals, but acknowledged riding in the pickup as they were shined and killed.
Seventeen-year-old David Walston of Traverse City and 21-year-old Daniel Kelsey of Lake Ann also face poaching-related misdemeanors.
Authorities say a black bear and at least seven deer were shot and mutilated in Grand Traverse, Benzie and Leelanau counties. They say the bear was beheaded and its paws were cut off with an axe. Police say Walston shot the bear.
Johnson’s attorney, William Conklin, tells the Traverse City Record-Eagle Johnson is “a young man who caved in to peer pressure.”

Soldier originally from Mich. dies at Fort Benning

VASSAR, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a 31-year-old soldier originally from Michigan who was deployed once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan has died at Fort Benning, Ga.
Hanlin Funeral Home said Wednesday Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Schlereth of Opelika, Ala., died suddenly of natural causes Nov. 27 at the base. Details weren’t immediately available.
Schlereth was born in the Michigan community of Saginaw and previously lived in Vassar, about 70 miles northwest of Detroit.
The funeral home says he was a 1999 graduate of Vassar High School. He joined the Army afterward and was stationed most of his career at Fort Campbell, Ky. He more recently was stationed at Fort Benning as a reconnaissance course instructor.
Schlereth had received two bronze stars, among other honors. Survivors include his wife, Margaret, and son, Caleb.

Traverse City
Beekeeping gets approval in newly passed ordinance

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Beekeeping is getting the OK in Traverse City.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports Wednesday that city commissioners have approved an ordinance to allow beekeeping inside city limits. The measure was approved without a restriction that would have banned it within 100 feet of a home where someone is allergic to stings.
Under the ordinance, residents of the northern Lower Peninsula community must get an annual license and are allowed two hives that must be at least 25 feet from a neighboring home. The ordinance also requires a 6-foot-tall flight barrier if the hive is within 25 feet of a property line.

Union Township
Authorities: CMU student tried to poison roommate

UNION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a Central Michigan University student tried to poison a roommate at their apartment by putting bleach in a glass of iced tea.
The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant reports 19-year-old Kayla Ashlyn Bonkowski is due in an Isabella County courtroom Monday on the felony poisoning charge. She was named in a warrant issued by prosecutors following a report about the Nov. 11 incident.
Reached by email, Bonkowski told The Associated Press on Wednesday morning she needed to consult with a lawyer before commenting.
Authorities say they believe Bonkowski put bleach in the drink at the apartment in Union Township, located near the Mount Pleasant school about 120 miles northwest of Detroit. Police say the roommate was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Investigation into cruelty is planned at animal shelter

HASTINGS, Mich. (AP) — An investigation is planned at a West Michigan animal shelter after an animal welfare advocate who worked with the facility was charged with misdemeanor cruelty.
TV stations WWMT and WOOD report county commissioners voted Tuesday to start looking into the Barry County shelter.
A forensic auditor is expected to do a preliminary check of its operations.
Marcie Tepper worked with the Barry County animal shelter for 17 years and was the liaison to the animal control advisory board. She was charged after the bodies of dogs were found last month at a house she owned in Thornapple Township that went into foreclosure.
Tepper has said she no longer could care for the dogs or find new homes so she euthanized them. The home is about 120 miles northwest of Detroit.

Song aims to draw new attention to detained American

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A song being recorded in Michigan aims to help draw attention to the case of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran on espionage charges.
Amir Hekmati was arrested while visiting his grandmothers in Iran in August 2011.
The Flint Journal reports a Friday recording session is planned at Mott Community College in Flint for the song “"I Will Fly.” Bill Packer, the school’s choral director and a music professor, says he tried to put himself in Hekmati’s shoes with the song.
Amir Hekmati was raised in Michigan. His parents live in the Flint area. The U.S. government has repeatedly denied that Hekmati is a spy.
The song will be presented to Hekmati’s family and made available for purchase or donation at a website about Hekmati.

Ilitch proposes $650M project housing Red Wings

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch is planning a $650 million multiuse development in downtown Detroit that includes a new home for his hockey team, it was announced Tuesday.
Ilitch said he’s proposing a “substantial investment in the development of a new residential, retail, office and entertainment district in downtown Detroit.”
Ilitch long has said he wants to build a new downtown home for the Red Wings, who now play at Joe Louis Arena, and spokeswoman Sandra van Meek said the proposed development would include a replacement for Joe Louis, which was built in 1979.
Ilitch said the focus of the district would be a “state-of-the-art, multipurpose events center.”
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he was “very pleased the Ilitch organization is exploring another significant development project that would continue the ongoing transformation of Detroit’s downtown and Midtown communities.
“A development of this magnitude, anchored by a world-class, multipurpose events center, would be a vital contribution to a more vibrant downtown and the strengthening of our city’s economy.”
Ilitch also said Tuesday that he is backing a state House bill that allows Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority to continue capturing tax revenues to further growth programs. The measure is now before the state Legislature.
His family also owns Little Caesars Pizza and downtown Detroit’s Fox Theatre. He said the new project would add to the “more than $1.9 billion the Ilitch companies have already invested.”
Eric Larson, non-executive president of Olympia Development, told the Senate Government Operations Committee the project would create more than 8,000 construction jobs. He provided no timetable for getting the project under way.
The committee was considering legislation that would enable Olympia to apply for Downtown Development Authority funds to support the project.