State Roundup

 Battle Creek

Man seeks new trial in 1995 deaths of children
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A Battle Creek man serving a life sentence for the 1995 fire-related deaths of two young brothers in southern Michigan is seeking a new trial.
The Michigan Innocence Clinic, which is based at the University of Michigan Law School, filed a motion with Calhoun County Circuit Judge James Kingsley and wants a new trial for 47-year-old Andrew Babick Jr., the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
The attorney general's office, which prosecuted the case, told The Associated Press it hasn't seen the motion and couldn't comment. The court hasn't yet ordered the office to respond, spokeswoman Joy Yearout said in an email.
A federal appeals court in 2010 refused to overturn the conviction.
Babick was accused of using flammable liquids to start a fire at a house in September 1995 because he was mad at a man who sold him crack cocaine. Babick denied any role. Two adults escaped, but Le'Daryus Fields, 3, and Le'Tonio Briggs, 2, died.
Attorney David Moran of the Michigan Innocence Clinic said evidence of arson was flawed and has since been debunked by fire investigators. He said the fire that killed the children more likely was an accident.
"The understanding of fire investigation at the time of Mr. Babick's trial and direct appeal was vastly different from scientific consensus that exists in the profession today," Moran wrote.
Babick is imprisoned at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater.
Sault Ste. Marie
Mailman delivers personal rescue to woman, 95
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — A mail carrier in the Upper Peninsula knew something wasn't right. Daniel Thorne always hands mail to a 95-year-old woman on his route, but she didn't respond to a knock at the door.
Thorne says he heard a plea for help: The Sault Ste. Marie woman had fallen and couldn't get up last week. She had been on her back for hours.
Thorne tells The Evening News that he got the woman back on her feet. She had a bruise on her head. He stayed with the woman until relatives could arrive and accompany her to a hospital.
Thorne says she's home and "back to her old self."
Postal Service spokeswoman Sabrina Todd says Thorne has been nominated for special recognition by the postmaster general.

State AG wants more action on Asian carp issue
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a protest to the federal government's latest report on ways to stop a Great Lakes invasion of Asian carp.
Schuette knocks the report as "incomplete" and lacking any "concrete plan of action." In January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offered eight ways to block migration of Asian carp between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.
Some would cost billions of dollars and take decades to complete. Schuette said Tuesday there seems to be no sense of urgency. Similar criticism has come from members of Congress.
Schuette wants to see barriers between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River waterways. The Army Corps has said any additional action depends on direction from Congress.

Kronk Foundation signs lease for nonprofit facility
DETROIT (AP) — The Kronk Gym Foundation has signed a lease for a facility in the Motor City that it hopes will help people of all ages in and out of the ring.
Anita Ruiz, the nonprofit organization's executive director, says she signed a five-year lease on Monday to rent part of the Considine Recreation Center on Woodward Avenue.
She hopes to open the facility for the public next month with boxing equipment donated by the World Boxing Organization.
Ruiz says she and the late Emanuel Steward founded the Kronk Gym Foundation in 2007, adding he was its president until he died in 2012. Steward, an International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer, worked with a long list of champions, including Thomas Hearns and Wladimir Klitschko.
Ann Arbor
Students camp out for tickets to Obama's speech
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of University of Michigan students camped out overnight to get tickets to President Barack Obama's planned campus visit.
Some pitched tents and others brought sleeping bags for their wait in the line, which began to form on Monday. The school says tickets to Obama's Wednesday speech would be distributed at the Michigan Union Ticket Office to students on Tuesday morning.
Temperatures were in the 40s early Tuesday. Obama plans to visit the school's Ann Arbor campus on to discuss his proposal to raise the national minimum wage.
Police: Skull was accidentally put in apartment trash
WARREN, Mich. (AP) — Police in suburban Detroit say a human skull found in a large trash bin outside a suburban Detroit apartment complex was accidentally put in the garbage.
Warren police Commissioner Jere Green tells the Detroit Free Press that a doctor legally had the skull for her profession. He says the skull was among items to be moved that were improperly disposed of by a third party.
Green says the matter isn't criminal or foul play.
Police said a woman going through the trash last Wednesday found the skull partially inside a canvas bag. Police say they also found a different doctor's ID as well as a lab coat with a health care organization's patch on it and health facility paperwork.
Names of those involved weren't released. An investigation is ongoing.

SUV, 4-wheelers fall through ice on Saginaw Bay
LINWOOD, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a sport utility vehicle and a pair of four-wheelers have been retrieved after separately falling through ice on Saginaw Bay.
The Saginaw News reports Mike's Wrecker Service removed the SUV from the water just north of Linwood after it went through the ice on Saturday. Bill Giorgis, president of the company, says his team cut a channel and created a make-shift ramp.
Giorgis says the driver "hit a bad spot" in the ice. No injuries were reported. His team also removed two four-wheelers, which separately fell through ice.
Last month, the Coast Guard warned outdoor enthusiasts of unsafe ice conditions throughout Saginaw Bay and the Saginaw River as temperatures warm. The Coast Guard has said that snowmobilers and ice fisherman are particularly at risk.

Barbershop case suspect convicted of officer assault
DETROIT (AP) — A man identified as a person of interest in a Detroit barbershop shooting that killed three people has been convicted of an unrelated assault charge.
A federal court jury on Monday convicted Larry Walker II of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer for trying to ram an unmarked police car in the hours following the November shooting. He's not charged in the barbershop slayings but has been identified by police as a person of interest.
The verdict came after a trial that began last week. Walker faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced July 8.
The Detroit News reports defense attorney Carla Marable says Walker chased the unmarked car because he believed the driver was harassing his family.
Marable has said Walker had
Food pantry set to serve up its 500,000th meal
MONROE, Mich. (AP) — Nine years and 500,000 meals.
It's a milestone Jeff Weaver never expected to reach when the God Works! Family Soup Kitchen served its first meal.
"What makes it special for me is that I had no idea the program would take off the way it did," the Monroe resident told the Monroe News.
A ceremony will be held April 16 at St. Joseph Catholic Church to mark the 500,000th meal served by the organization since the meals for the needy and homeless began in October 2005.
Among those expected to attend are Lillian Williamson, coordinator of the meal at St. Joseph's, and members of the board of directors for the soup kitchen program.
Weaver, director of the program, said it has come a long way since the first meal was served.
Other churches had been serving meals for the less fortunate at the time but the need grew as the economy worsened. 
Meanwhile, God Works!, a nonprofit organization, has grown to oversee 13 free weekly meals for low-income families in the Monroe County area.


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