State Roundup

Fish sculpture stolen from Legacy Art Park

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Local officials say a stainless steel sculpture has been stolen from a park southwest of Traverse City.

The fish sculpture, which is a part of the Big Two Hearted Hemingway installation, was taken from Michigan Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville.

WPBN-TV reports that park officials are asking for the fish to be returned immediately and promise no questions will be asked. Anyone wishing to return the sculpture can contact executive director Renee Hintz or leave it at the park entrance.

More than 45 outdoor sculptures are on display at Michigan Legacy Art Park. It's located on a 30-acre preserve leased by Crystal Mountain and features two miles of wooded hiking trails.

Johnson Controls eyeing options for auto business

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Johnson Controls says it is looking at options for the separation of its automotive business.

The Milwaukee company, which makes auto components and building systems, said Wednesday that it doesn't have a timetable for when its strategic review will be completed. Its shares rose more than 4 percent in morning trading.

The automotive business, which includes seating, overhead systems, floor consoles, door panels and instrument panels, made up more than half of Johnson Controls' $42.83 billion in revenue last fiscal year.

Johnson Controls also has a power solutions unit that includes lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for Start-Stop, hybrid and electric vehicles.

The company is selling its global workplace solutions division - which manages spaces for corporations - to CBRE Group Inc. for about $1.48 billion. The deal, announced in March, is expected to close by the fourth quarter.

In September Johnson Controls Inc. announced that it was reorganizing its building efficiency business, separating the unit's North America business from its global products business. The building efficiency business provides equipment, controls and services for heating, ventilating, air conditioning refrigeration and securities systems.

Johnson Controls is among several companies that are breaking off parts of their businesses. General Electric Co. said Tuesday that it will sell its private equity business in a deal valued at approximately $12 billion. EBay Inc. announced in October that it will split off payment processor PayPal. And Hewlett-Packard Co. is planning to break up its operations into two separate companies before November.

Johnson Controls shares rose $2.20, or 4.3 percent, to $53.76 in morning trading as the broader market advanced. Johnson Controls shares have risen 7.7 percent over the past year.

Defendant in 2008 homicide reaches plea deal

MARINETTE, Wis. (AP) - A man accused of running over another person with his car and dumping his body in a Marinette County stream has been convicted after reaching a plea deal.

Erik Smith was charged with reckless homicide and three other felonies in the 2008 death of Eric Volp. Smith was accused of running over the Iron Mountain, Michigan, man with his car multiple times after an argument, then dumping his body in a trout stream.

Prosecutors say that while Smith was being held in federal prison on child pornography he told a cellmate he had killed Volp. That cellmate sent a letter to authorities and Smith was charged in January. WLUK-TV reports Smith pleaded guilty to three of the four felonies against him in Marinette County court Tuesday. The fourth count was dismissed.

Lawyer's write-in effort for pig ends in mayor's race

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A lawyer who wanted to enter his pet pig into the Flint mayoral race is calling off the effort.

Michael Ewing started the "Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor" campaign after learning that a mix-up by Flint's clerk threatened to keep candidates' names off the ballot. Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed a law allowing Flint's mayoral election to proceed despite the error.

Ewing confirmed to The Associated Press in an email Wednesday that with the write-in effort off, a "Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor" Facebook page now will be used in part to share good news stories about Flint.

Ewing had said Giggles' candidacy sought to draw more attention to the mayoral race, better educate voters about their choices and encourage residents to demand more of elected officials.

Official: More bears heading south in state

CADILLAC, Mich. (AP) - An official with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says more bears are finding their way south in the state.

Wildlife outreach technician Jordyn Richardson tells The Grand Rapids Press that black bears are becoming more prevalent in a swampy area that is near Cadillac. The newspaper says a bear killed a beagle near Cadillac Monday night, while another bear was struck and killed by vehicle south of White Cloud just hours earlier.

The newspaper reports bears have also been sighted farther south near South Haven and Hartford. The department's website says the vast majority of Michigan's bears are found in the Upper Peninsula.

Katie Keen, another wildlife technician, says people are likely to see more bears around this time of year because mothers and new cubs are roaming.

Rogers City
Man convicted in death of baby gets 32-year sentence

ROGERS CITY, Mich. (AP) - A young man convicted of in the death of his ex-girlfriend's baby in Michigan's northeastern Lower Peninsula has been sentenced to at least 32 years in prison.

Joshua Tough of Onaway learned his punishment Tuesday. He told the court he was frustrated with the child, so he threw him and the baby's head hit the crib.

The Alpena News reports Tough's admission came during testimony to determine if a judge should allow Tough to take a plea deal offered before trial, despite the fact he had been convicted by a jury. Tough changed lawyers during the case.

Ashton Richardson died of head trauma in April 2014, just three weeks after birth. The child's mother earlier was sentenced to nine months in jail in the case for child abuse.

Sault Ste. Marie
Senators seek federal funding to upgrade Soo Locks

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's U.S. senators are renewing a lengthy battle for federal funding of an additional shipping lock on the river that connects Lakes Huron and Superior.

Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters sent a letter this week to the Office of Management and Budget. It urges approval of funding the Army Corps of Engineers has requested for a cost-benefit study of upgrading the Soo Locks.

Only one of the four locks is large enough to handle the ships that carry 70 percent of the cargo moving through the complex.

Stabenow and Peters want to replace two outdated locks with a new one capable of accommodating the largest freighters.

Their letter says if the system were disabled for a lengthy period, economic losses would reach $160 million in a month.

Grand Haven
Judge dismisses suit over decision to drop cross

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a city's decision to convert a cross into an anchor on a hill overlooking the Grand River in western Michigan.

Ottawa County Judge Jon Hulsing says a group called Citizens of Grand Haven has no standing to sue because members insist on being anonymous. He said Tuesday that it conflicts with the "presumption of openness" in court matters.

The lawsuit claimed Grand Haven's decision to change the 48-foot-tall cross on city-owned Dewey Hill was religious discrimination. The vote in January was 3-2.

At that time, council member Michael Fritz said Grand Haven was a diverse community with many different religions. The Muskegon Chronicle says the cross had been displayed periodically since 1964.

State to allow some prisoners at private prison

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A new law opens the gate to high-security prisoners at a privately owned prison in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.

The law signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder would reopen the prison in Lake County, 75 miles north of Grand Rapids, and could create hundreds of jobs.

The law allows prisoners of any security level at the former Michigan Youth Correctional Facility, near Baldwin in Webber Township. It had been limited to housing prisoners with a security level of four or below. A security level of six is the most restrictive.

Republican Rep. Jon Bumstead says the change could bring more than 300 jobs to the area. He says Vermont and Washington have expressed interest in sending prisoners to Michigan.

Published: Thu, Jun 11, 2015