State Roundup

Mississippi
2 Michigan men admit role in drug conspiracy

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Two Michigan men have pleaded guilty to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilos of cocaine and 1 kilo of heroin in South Mississippi.

The Sun Herald reports Clifford Barnette Jones Jr., 25, of Roseville, and Mark Anthony Williams Sr., 45, of Harper Woods, pleaded guilty last week to one count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering.

Both are facing a maximum prison sentence of 5 years and a $250,000 fine. They are set for sentencing in July.

A federal grand jury indicted the two along with Clifford Barnette Jones Sr., 56, of Pasadena, California, on count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and interstate travel in aid of racketeering along with two counts each attempt to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

According to the indictment, the conspiracy began in April 2013 and continued through March.

An investigation began after a confidential informant began communicating with the elder Jones about selling numerous kilos of cocaine.

An undercover DEA agent later met the elder Jones in Waveland and showed him some cocaine, then gave him a bank account number to deposit money to cover any drug deals. The three wanted buy the cocaine in South Mississippi so they could deliver it to someone in Detroit.

The trio, records say, deposited a total of $65,000 into the DEA account between April 25, 2013, and Feb. 10, 2014, to buy cocaine and heroin. On Feb. 24, they met an undercover officer in a casino parking lot and handed over $35,000 to buy 5 kilos of cocaine and 1 kilo of heroin.

Midland
Dow Chemical to trim about 3 pct. of global force

Dow Chemical will cut about 3 percent of its global workforce as it prepares to break off a significant part of its chlorine operations in a deal announced earlier this year with Olin Corp.

The company says the cuts will reduce its workforce by 1,500 to 1,750 positions. Dow Chemical employed about 53,000 people worldwide at the end of last year.

The Midland, Michigan, company said in March that it will receive about $2 billion in cash and cash equivalents and an estimated $2.2 billion in Olin common stock as part of the chlorine business deal.

The Dow Chemical Co. will take charges totaling about $330 million to $380 million in the second quarter for asset impairments, severance and other costs tied the cuts announced Monday.

Last week, Dow also announced that it was selling its AgroFresh specialty chemical business to the buyout company Boulevard Acquisition Corp. for $860 million.

Dow has been under pressure from the hedge fund Third Point LLC to split its specialty chemical and petrochemical businesses.

The company also announced last fall a three-year, $1 billion "productivity drive" to cut costs and push earnings higher. The cuts announced Monday will address stranded costs from the chlorine business, Chief Financial Officer Howard Ungerleider said in a statement from the company.

Shares of Dow Chemical edged up 11 cents to $51.80 shortly before markets opened Monday. The stock had already advanced more than 13 percent so far this year, as of Friday.

Milford Township
Woman sues city of over 2013 hayride accident

MILFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A woman has filed a lawsuit against the city of Dearborn over a 2013 hayride accident.

The Detroit Free Press reports the lawsuit filed by Cynthia Cialone seeks $25,000 in damages from the city. Cialone and her 11-year-old daughter were on a hayride wagon at Camp Dearborn in Milford Township when it tipped over.

Cialone says she fractured three ribs and hurt her neck, and that her daughter injured her arm and shoulder.

The man that drove the tractor pulling the wagon pleaded no-contest to an impaired driving charge in February 2014. He was a city of Dearborn employee.

The city has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, saying it is immune from liability because Cialone signed a hold harmless agreement on behalf of her group.

Five other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people on the hayride.

Saranac
Man's homemade seismograph comes in handy

SARANAC, Mich. (AP) - A western Michigan man dashed to his basement to confirm a weekend earthquake by checking his homemade seismograph.

Lyle Denny of Ionia County built his first machine in 2008, when he was teaching science to his son at home. He said he learned how to solder the circuits and "behold, it worked."

"If the ground shakes, it moves. And this morning, it moved big time," Denny said while showing the device to a WOOD-TV reporter Saturday, after a 4.2-magnitude quake.

"I could feel it in the house," Denny said. "I thought if I could feel it in the house, it's gonna be significant. And it was."

The epicenter was about 9 miles southeast of Kalamazoo, about an hour's drive from Denny's home near Saranac. The earthquake was felt in at least five states, but there were no reports of damage.

It's considered the second-largest quake in Michigan in 100 years, according to experts at the University of Michigan.

Ben van der Pluijm, a geologist at the university, said the earthquake likely occurred in "basement" rocks that are more than 1.4 billion years old.

"We feel a lot of relatively small earthquakes in the state, but most of them occur to the south of Michigan," seismologist Larry Ruff said. "So to have an earthquake of this magnitude with the epicenter in Michigan is very unusual."

New York
General Motors ignition switch death toll up to 97

NEW YORK (AP) - Families of at least 97 people killed in crashes caused by defective General Motors ignition switches will get compensated by the automaker.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the total on Monday. It stood at 90 deaths last week.

An additional 179 people who were injured will also receive compensation.

According to Feinberg, 130 compensation offers have been accepted so far and five have been rejected. The amounts offered have not been disclosed.

The fund received 4,342 claims by the Jan. 31 deadline, and about 15 percent of the claims are still under review. More than two-thirds were found ineligible or deficient.

GM knew about problem switches in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for more than a decade but recalled them only last year. They can slip out of the "on" position, causing the cars to stall.

Published: Tue, May 05, 2015

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