State Roundup

Center Line: Man who choked boy to undergo psych evaluation
CENTER LINE, Mich. (AP) — A 35-year-old suburban Detroit man who told police that the devil told him to choke his 3-year-old stepson has been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.

The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens says Randall Caballero of Warren was referred Tuesday to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti.

Authorities say Caballero attempted to choke the boy on Dec. 17, then told neighbors he’d killed his son. Police found the boy crying along the street. He was treated at a hospital for hypothermia.

Caballero faces attempted murder and first-degree child abuse charges.

Defense lawyer Daniel Waszak, who filled in for Caballero’s court-appointed attorney, told the court “there’s a psychiatric history that needs to be examined.”

Caballero remains held at the Macomb County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Jackson: Family says 2 pit bulls saved them from house fire
JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A Lower Michigan family says two pit bulls alerted them about a house fire and credits the animals with allowing them to escape the blaze.

Laura Gingras tells the Jackson Citizen Patriot that she was giving her 9-month-old daughter Raigan a bath upstairs about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday when Tia and Trixie, the family’s two dogs, began barking.

The unusual barking caused Laura to notice smoke, run out of the house and call 911. No injuries were reported.

Five-year-old Tia is expected to recover after being pulled barely breathing from the house. Three-year-old Trixie was found hiding and unhurt.

Capt. Jason Senft says the fire appears to be accidental. An investigation is ongoing.

Chad Gingras, Laura’s husband, was working when the fire broke out, but says: “Thank God we had those dogs.”

East Lansing: MSU vets helping Iraq rebuild its livestock industry
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University animal experts say they’re working to help Iraqis rebuild their nation’s livestock industry after decades of war, oppression and mismanagement.

A group of veterinarians from the East Lansing school has been holding video conferences twice monthly with Iraqi veterinarians and livestock officials in Baghdad. Topics include farm management, animal nutrition, biosecurity and modern breeding techniques.

The project started this fall and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA officials and translators are located at the Baghdad site during the video conferences.

Associate veterinary professor Ann Rashmir says the university has the knowledge and resources to help, and says “a country that seeks stability needs to be able to feed itself.”

Flint: Mich. native makes a ‘match,’ helps save a life
FLUSHING, Mich. (AP) — Lindsey Dawes thought it was a longshot when she registered to be a bone marrow donor in 2004 at a Grand Valley State University health fair. Six years later, she got a call she never expected.

Dawes was told she could be a candidate, and tests soon proved that the 24-year-old native of Flushing, near Flint, was a match for a 54-year-old California woman suffering from leukemia. Dawes donated her bone marrow this month, and it was flown the same day to the recipient.

Dawes told The Flint Journal she was shocked, since her father has been on the registry for 20 years but has never been contacted. Not to mention that donor registrants have a 1-in-200 chance of being a match for a U.S. patient, National Donor Program spokeswoman Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg said.

About 75 percent of donors give through a blood stem-cell donation that’s similar to donating plasma or platelets, Lesak-Greenberg said. Dawes was among the other 25 percent who undergo a surgery that removes marrow out of the pelvic bone.

“The fact that this can save somebody’s life and that she has 10, 15 years more with her family is worth every second of pain,” Dawes told the newspaper.

Dawes, who moved to Arizona in April for a job, said she hasn’t met the woman but hears she’s responding well to the transplant.

Lansing: Snyder picks acting director for Mich. prisons
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Gov.-elect Rick Snyder will appoint a temporary director of the Michigan prison system while he continues searching for a permanent director.

Snyder said Tuesday that Richard McKeon will be the acting director of the Michigan Department of Corrections. McKeon formerly served as chief of staff at the agency.

McKeon worked at the Department of Corrections from 1981 to 2003 and later served as an adviser within the department. He now serves on the board of an Eaton County domestic violence shelter.

Containing costs in the prison system will be a major factor for Snyder and state lawmakers as they wrestle with state budget problems.

Snyder will be sworn in Saturday as Michigan’s new governor, replacing term-limited Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

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