Daily Briefs

Family of man fatally attacked at veterans home settles lawsuit

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The family of a World War II veteran with dementia who was attacked and died after wandering into another man’s room at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans in 2012 has settled a lawsuit against the state of Michigan.

WOOD-TV reports the family of Andrew Ball Jr. will get $544,000 and the state will cover $281,000 in court costs and attorney fees.

The 84-year-old man was struck several times in the head after entering another man’s room in April 2012. Ball died a few days later. The death was ruled a homicide, but prosecutors declined to bring charges against the other man in part because he also had dementia.

Ball was living in a secured dementia unit at the state-run veterans home but somehow was able to get out.


Flint voters to decide whether to update city’s charter Aug. 8

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Flint voters will decide whether to update the city’s 43-year-old charter with changes including stronger ethics standards and a requirement to create of a water bill assistance plan.

Voters on Aug. 8 will cast ballots on the proposed charter, which was drafted over the last two years by the City of Flint Charter Review Commission.

The Flint Journal reports it aims to boost transparency by improving notice of public meetings to residents, creating a water and sewer bill payment assistance plan and preventing Flint from using water and sewer funds for other matters.

It was drafted amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water. Water and sewer bills have been an issue amid the crisis.

An ombudsman would enforce ethics requirements, investigate complaints and conduct performance audits on city officials.


Woman pleads guilty  in probe of illegal labor at dairy farms

RUTH, Mich. (AP) — A judge has accepted a guilty plea in an investigation of illegal labor at dairies in Michigan’s Thumb region.

Madeline Burke pleaded guilty to hiring people without verifying that they were eligible to work in the U.S. The government says the workers were in the U.S. illegally.

Burke and her husband are natives of Ireland. They operate two dairies near the tip of the Thumb. Burke has agreed to pay a fine of $187,500, which adds up to $1,500 per illegal worker.

Federal Judge Thomas Ludington accepted her guilty plea in a June 29 decision.

Charges still are pending against her husband, Denis Burke. He’s accusing prosecutors of selectively targeting immigrant farmers. Dutch immigrants John and Anja Verhaar were prosecuted in 2010. The government denies any discrimination.