State Roundup

Dundee: Farmer gives $2.5K in winnings to fire dept.

DUNDEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- A farmer has donated $2,500 he won in a drawing to the volunteer fire department in Monroe County's Dundee Township.

For Jeffrey Sontag, it was payback.

Dundee Township firefighters assisted when his farm was damaged by a tornado in June.

The 55-year-old Sontag won the money as part of a program sponsored by Monsanto Co. that allows farmers to donate to their favorite nonprofit organization.

He says township firefighters are "unsung heroes" who "don't get a lot of recognition."

He gave a $2,500 check to fire Chief Dan Motylinski last week prior to a township board meeting.

Motylinski tells The Monroe Evening News the money will go for Fire Prevention Week awareness activities, school breakfasts for students taking MEAP tests and new firefighting equipment.

Warren: City fights blight with inspectors, demolitions

WARREN, Mich. (AP) -- The City of Warren says its aggressive effort aimed at targeting dilapidated buildings has led to 576 structures being razed or approved for demolition from 2007-2010.

The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reports Mayor James Fouts on Tuesday gave an update about the Detroit suburb's fight against blighted buildings.

City building inspectors identify vacant eyesores and the property owners are notified and sent notices to attend an administrative hearing. The city says almost 1,100 hearings were held from 2007-2010. Most of the cases involve vacant, dilapidated houses.

Detroit: GM recalling Cadillac CTS over vehicle handling

WASHINGTON (AP) -- General Motors says it is recalling more than 50,000 Cadillac CTS vehicles worldwide to fix a loose joint that could cause a rear wheel to become unstable, making it hard for drivers to steer.

GM says the recall affects more than 44,000 CTS vehicles in the United States from the 2009 and 2010 model years. The remaining vehicles were sold in China and around the globe.

GM says there have been no injuries or fatalities related to the recall.

The auto company said nuts in the rear suspension could become loose, causing a sudden change in the vehicle's handling or making the driver lose control of the vehicle.

Owners can contact Cadillac at 866-982-2339 for more information.

Detroit: Detroit Independent Film Festival set for 2nd year

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Independent Film Festival has announced the lineup for this year's 5-day event.

It's the second year for the festival, which runs March 9-13 and includes more than 80 films.

Two opening night receptions are planned. "Michigan Filmmaker's Night" at Ren Cen 4 Theatre at the Renaissance Center includes the premiere of Mike Allore's short film "World of Art." The Michigan premiere of "The Beast Pageant" is that night at the Burton Theatre.

The festival also includes the Michigan Film Awards, which are being handed out March 12 in cooperation with the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham.

Detroit: Bing: Only cops to get incentives to live in city

DETROIT (AP) -- Officials say they have no plans to include residents or city employees in Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's plan to offer renovated homes for as little as $1,000 to city police officers who live in the suburbs.

Bing staffers said Tuesday the $30 million plan aimed at repairing up to 200 abandoned houses in the Boston-Edison and Indian Village neighborhoods is only for police officers, even though the federal stimulus program that will fund it says it's supposed to be available to all residents.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press say city council members expressed concerns Tuesday that the plan was limited to police.

Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said the project "raises a lot of concerns."

Bing says at least 53 percent of the city's 3,000 officers live elsewhere.

Lansing: Detroit bridge official plans to discuss spans

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The son of Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun is expected to speak in Lansing about competing proposals to build another span between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The company says Detroit International Bridge Co. Vice Chairman Matthew Moroun has scheduled a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the state Capitol. The company's statement says Moroun will discuss "a significant matter" related to the "proposed new international bridge crossing."

Bridge spokesman Alan Upchurch says Moroun is expected to talk about the Detroit River International Crossing plan that's backed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the Canadian government, as well as his company's rival plan for a second span.

Upchurch declines to provide details about the announcement.

Sault Ste. Marie: Army corps budget: $55M for Great Lakes projects

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Obama administration's proposed budget for fiscal 2012 includes $55 million for water projects in in and near the Great Lakes.

Michigan projects include $26 million for navigation and hydropower work for the St. Marys River and Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie and $5.8 million for Detroit River navigation.

The plan has $7.7 million for navigation and recreation work in Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis. Other large projects are $3.4 million for navigation in Green Bay harbor and $2.9 million for Fox River flood risk management in Wisconsin.

The corps' overall civil works budget proposal is $4.6 billion.

Grand Rapids: Man cleared in great-grandmother's death

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- A jury in Grand Rapids has acquitted a man of killing his 80-year-old great-grandmother.

Ryan Ward was found not guilty Tuesday in the fatal beating of Ruth Boyd in 2008.

The Kent County prosecutor's office said Ward killed her after she confronted him over $200 in missing money.

Defense attorney Helen Nieuwenhuis (NEW'-in-hice) used a private investigator, pathologist and a blood-spatter expert to raise doubts about the prosecutors' case. The 23-year-old Ward had no history of violence.

Assistant prosecutor Greg Boer says he still believes Ward is responsible. Ward's mother Robbin James-Garcia tells The Grand Rapids Press she's glad her son is coming home. The trial lasted about four weeks.

St. Louis: Prison ordered for doctor with child porn

ST. LOUIS, Mich. (AP) -- A central Michigan doctor has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for possessing child pornography.

Craig Tubbs of St. Louis in Gratiot County says he turned to "artificial Internet relationships" with adults after a car crash left his wife in a wheelchair and with the mind of a 7-year-old. He says the child pornography was unsolicited and he deleted the images.

In a letter to the federal judge in Bay City, the 50-year-old Tubbs says he never wanted the photos, which he called "repulsive." He admits he didn't alert authorities.

Tubbs was sentenced Tuesday at the low end of the guidelines, which called for a prison term of 46 months to 57 months.

Lansing: Senate passes bill clarifying ban on illegal drugs

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The Michigan Senate has unanimously passed a bill reinstating penalties for illegal drugs such as synthetic marijuana.

Possession of the drugs and other substances was made illegal with a state law that took effect in October. The criminal penalties for offenders were inadvertently repealed in December when the Legislature passed and Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a separate bill related to drug sentences.

Granholm urged lawmakers to reinstate the penalties for synthetic marijuana and other substances such as Salvia Divinorum and Khat when the new legislative session began this year.

The Senate passed the measure 37-0. Democratic Sen. Bert Johnson of Highland Park was excused for the day and didn't vote.

Iron Mountain: Man sentenced in flare gun attack at Walmart

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (AP) -- A 28-year-old Upper Peninsula man accused of firing a flare gun at employees inside a Walmart in Iron Mountain has been sentenced to one year in prison.

Andrew Olson of Iron Mountain also was ordered to serve one year of probation. Olson last month pleaded no contest to assault with a dangerous weapon and discharge of a weapon in or at a building.

Authorities say on Sept. 19 Olson pointed the flare gun at three employees inside a stock room before fleeing through an emergency door. Olson fired the weapon, nearly missing a manager who followed him outside.

The Daily News of Iron Mountain says Olson apologized and wrote a statement to the victims, who did not attend the sentencing. Olson said he doesn't remember the incident.

Published: Thu, Feb 17, 2011