State Roundup

State OKs $89.5M for program for energy assistance

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state has approved Michigan Energy Assistance Program grants totaling $89.5 million for 13 organizations to help low-income residents.

The Michigan Agency for Energy, working with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says Wednesday the funding is for the fiscal year that starts in October.

Funding includes $17 million for DTE Energy Co.; $13.2 million each for Consumers Energy and TrueNorth Community Services; $12.6 million for The Salvation Army; $9 million for the Michigan Community Action Agency Association; and $8.5 million for The Heat and Warmth Fund.

Most of the money is expected to be used from November to May. Information for those seeking help will be posted starting Oct. 1.

Grand Rapids
LaughFest in western Michigan set for 6th season

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - An annual festival of laughter in western Michigan is set for its sixth season.

Organizers of Gilda's LaughFest say Wednesday that the event will take place March 10-20. Details on headlining performers will be announced later.

The festival honors the memory of comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. Proceeds and donations from LaughFest support free emotional health care programs offered for children and adults living with cancer and grief through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.

This year, more than 45,000 people attended LaughFest's 270 ticketed and free events at 49 venues in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland.

Grand Rapids
Man pleads guilty to embezzling from business

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A former CFO who police say took more than $325,000 from a foam manufacturer in western Michigan has pleaded guilty in the case.

The Grand Rapids Press reports 43-year-old Chad James Perleberg pleaded guilty this week to embezzlement of more than $100,000 from Wyoming-based Grand Rapids Foam Technologies, which produces foam products used in furniture, bedding, seating and other products.

He faces no more than 5 years in prison when sentenced Oct. 15.

Police say Perleberg used company checks to pay for personal credit cards, issued checks to himself, altered petty cash receipts and used a company credit card for his own expenses. Court records say an audit found nearly $330,000 had been misappropriated.

Police say the thefts occurred between April 2011 and last October.

Activist's appeal over immigration crime scheduled

DETROIT (AP) - A Chicago activist's appeal of the 18-month prison sentence she was given for lying about her convictions for bombings in Israel when she sought U.S. citizenship is scheduled to be heard this fall.

A federal judge in Detroit in March also stripped Rasmieh Odeh of citizenship, meaning she'll be deported, but she was allowed to remain free while she appealed.

Oral arguments are Oct. 14 before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The appeal filed earlier this year asks for a sentence that includes no more time behind bars.

Odeh was convicted of two bombings in Jerusalem in 1969, including one that killed two people at a market. But in 2004, she answered "no" on her U.S. citizenship application in Detroit when asked about any past criminal record.

State gets federal grant to expand hunting program

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has received federal funding to expand a program that pays private owners to let the public use their land for hunting.

The $951,400 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help the DNR take the Hunting Access Program to the northern Lower Peninsula.

The program started in 1977 in southern Michigan, where most land is privately owned.

Wildlife biologist Mike Parker says efforts to enroll participants will focus on agricultural areas in northern Michigan where public land is scarce. Grant funds also will be used to restore wildlife habitat by building up grassland, forests and food plots.

The DNR says it plans to continue taking the program to new areas in the next three years, including the eastern Upper Peninsula.

Published: Thu, Sep 03, 2015


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