State Roundup

 Brighton

Police crack down on swearing and disorderly conduct 
BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) — Police in downtown Brighton are cracking down on disorderly conduct by issuing tickets to people who swear or cause problems following complaints about the behavior of teenagers and young adults in the area.
Colin Andersen told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus of Howell that he was simply venting when he swore after a friend was ticketing for skateboarding in Brighton, a community about 35 miles northwest of Detroit.
The 19-year-old from Brighton said he was in the parking lot near the Imagination Station playground in April when he was ticketed for disorderly conduct. Andersen said he swore under his breath and no children heard him, but he ended up with a $200 fine.
“What got me to start arguing a little bit, they were asking all of us to leave because he got a ticket,” Andersen said. “That’s not fair. We’re just standing around.”
Brighton police Chief Tom Wightman said it’s OK for teenagers to hang out downtown, and the city doesn’t have a law prohibiting certain words. He noted that the playground is used by families and young children, and he said the department gets complaints about teenagers and young adults.
“That’s what gets on our radar, their behavior,” he said.
Andersen fought the ticket in court but lost. Wightman chuckled when asked to about Andersen’s statement that he said the profanity under his breath.
“That would require an officer with some incredible hearing,” Wightman said.
 
Saginaw
Cops work with  mental health after 2012 death  
SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The fatal shooting of a man by Saginaw police has led to changes in how law enforcers work with a mental health agency.
The agency has updated its policies on how authorities should respond to someone with mental health issues before confrontations develop.
Police say Milton Hall refused to drop a knife before he was shot 11 times in a parking lot in 2012. The shooting, recorded on video, led to a $725,000 lawsuit settlement with Hall’s family. Critics say officers did a poor job in defusing the situation.
Police Chief Brian Lipe tells The Saginaw News that his department has improved communications with the county mental health agency. He says police typically didn’t seek assistance unless someone was in danger or a threat to others.
 
Howell
Judge: Livingston jail must allow mail from ACLU 
HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge says the Livingston County jail must deliver mail to inmates from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in March challenging the constitutionality of the jail’s policy of restricting most incoming and outgoing mail to postcards.
WHMI-FM says Judge Denise Page Hood last week granted an injunction filed by the ACLU, ordering that mail sent by the group to inmates must be delivered. It follows a temporary injunction she granted last month.
The ACLU complained it got no response to two-dozen letters sent in February.
According to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, the county’s attorney filed an emergency motion to stay Hood’s injunction pending appeal. No court date to hear that motion had been set as of Friday.
 
Rochester Hillls
Suit filed against oil and gas dril­li­ng under town parks 
ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Residents of Rochester Hills have sued the Detroit suburb and a drilling company to block plans for oil and gas exploration beneath municipal parks and a cemetery.
The group Don’t Drill the Hills filed suit Thursday in Oakland County Circuit Court, according to The Oakland Press of Pontiac and the Detroit Free Press.
The group said that drilling would violate a 2011 voter-approved City Charter amendment that forbids leasing or converting of city-owned open spaces without voter approval.
“We’re saying, just let us vote on leasing our parklands for this purpose,” said Kristen Kennedy, who lives across the street from the city-owned Stoney Creek Cemetery.
City officials said the drilling would be horizontal from industrial sites that likely would be outside the city. The charter amendment doesn’t ban leasing of mineral rights, said City Attorney John Staran. He said Rochester Hills followed state law and the city’s charter in approving the lease.
“The city approached it very carefully and thoughtfully and was fully advised and had requested and received a legal opinion concerning the legality,” he said.
The city approved a drilling lease with Traverse City-based Jordan Development Co. in January 2013. Such deals are important sources of government revenue, Staran said.

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