State Roundup

 Howell

Judge strikes down ordinance for maintenance 
HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has struck down rules in Howell requiring homeowners to maintain areas between sidewalks and city-owned streets.
The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus reports the case was brought on behalf of homeowner David Shoemaker.
His lawyer Liz Downey said the case first centered on the lack of an appeal process for homeowners. On Tuesday, however, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Zatkoff struck down the entire ordinance.
Howell City Manager Shea Charles says the city plans to review its options and could appeal.
The ordinance required homeowners to maintain the areas or have the city do it and add its maintenance fees to their tax bills. The judge wrote that the ordinance violated “the right not to be forced by a municipal government to maintain municipal property.”
 
Rochester Hills
Painting hanging in Hall t­o be shown at DIA 
ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — A 17th-century painting by Spanish artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo that was hanging in a dark corner at Meadow Brook Hall in suburban Detroit will go on display next year after it was spotted by a Detroit Institute of Arts curator.
Dr. Salvador Salort-Pons was at Oakland University in suburban Detroit in February to deliver a lecture and was walking through Meadow Brook when he saw the painting. He said it turned out to be a work titled “Infant St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness.”
“When I saw it I thought that looks like a painting by Murillo. I ran up to it, I had a flashlight with me and started examining the painting,” he told WDIV-TV.
Commissioned around 1670, it changed hands several times before Matilda Dodge Wilson and her husband, lumber baron Alfred Wilson, bought it in the 1920s. It was hung in their home, Meadow Brook Hall, which is on what is now Oakland University’s campus.
The painting is being restored by experts at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Oakland University students are observing the process, the museum said Wednesday. It’s scheduled to be put on display at the museum starting in February and will be on loan to the DIA for five years.
The painting was exhibited in the Royal Academy in London in 1883, and the museum said it will be the first time it will go on display in a U.S. museum.
 
Kalamazoo
Officials: Man who helped ex-cons sent to prison 
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a registered Michigan sex offender who edited a newsletter for a nonprofit that helps ex-convicts re-enter society has been sentenced to prison.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports 67-year-old Thomas P. Kennedy of Kalamazoo was sentenced Tuesday in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court to 18 months to 7 years for using a computer to commit a crime and one to 4 years in prison for possession of child sexually abusive material.
Kennedy pleaded guilty to the charges, which stem from possession of DVDs. He’s listed on the sex offender registry for 1990 second-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions.
He told the court at sentencing that he ordered the material. Defense lawyer Jeffrey Dufon had asked that Kennedy not be sent to prison, saying the images didn’t depict sex acts.
 
Lansing
Deal to preserve flights from 6 Michigan airports 
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — American Airlines and US Airways have agreed to continue daily flights from six Michigan airports for at least five years as part of a larger deal with the government over their planned merger.
MLive.com reports the combined airline will maintain service in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Marquette and Traverse City.
 The new airline would be able to discontinue service if demand changes significantly or in some other cases.
The settlement announced Tuesday lets the two airlines form the world’s biggest airline. It’s awaiting approval by a federal judge. Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout says it’s too soon to tell how changes at other airports may impact Michigan service.
 
Detroit
Security planned after Heidelberg Project fire 
DETROIT (AP) — Security cameras and other measures are planned after another house that makes up the internationally known Heidelberg Project outdoor art installation in Detroit burned.
The building known as the “House of Soul” was destroyed Tuesday morning. The fire at the house, which had been covered with old vinyl albums, is being investigated as suspicious.
A statement from Heidelberg Project officials announced the planned measures, which could include additional lighting.

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