State Roundup

Port Huron

Authorities capture inmate who fled work detail

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) -- Authorities say they've captured a St. Clair County jail inmate who fled from a work detail near Port Huron last week.

The Times Herald reports 34-year-old James Miller of Croswell was captured by Port Huron police on Sunday following a tip. The sheriff's department says he fled the detail in Port Huron Township on Thursday afternoon wearing jail-issued black-and-white pants and an orange shirt.

Miller had been jailed on a probation violation, and could be charged in the escape. Court records say he pleaded guilty in October to attempted resisting/obstructing a police officer, operating a vehicle while intoxicated second offense and driving on a suspended license.

The sheriff's department has said the resisting/obstructing charge was because Miller gave police a false name.

Traverse City

Prosecutor won't bring charges in Meijer case

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- The Grand Traverse County prosecutor says he won't bring charges following an investigation stemming from retailer Meijer Inc.'s campaign activities.

Alan Schneider told the Traverse City Record-Eagle on Friday that perjury may have taken place during a 2007 deposition in Grand Rapids for a civil lawsuit, but that is out of his jurisdiction. Schneider says he'll forward his information to prosecutors in Kent County.

In April, Schneider declined to charge employees and officers of Grand Rapids-based Meijer in an investigation into whether campaign finance laws were broken.

The company funded a 2007 attempt to recall the Acme Township Board over a zoning dispute. Meijer had been arguing with local officials over its plans for a store.

The state of Michigan fined Meijer more than $190,000 for violating campaign laws.

Grand Rapids

Police say ex-con used stolen gun to kill 7, self

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- A 34-year-old ex-con whose criminal past barred him from owning firearms used a stolen .40-caliber handgun to kill seven people and wound two others before taking his own life, a Grand Rapids police official said.

Investigators are trying to figure out what motivated Rodrick Dantzler to kill two former girlfriends, his 12-year-old daughter and four others related to them on Thursday, police Capt. Jeffrey Hertel said.

Dantzler wounded two other people and took three hostages before freeing them and shooting himself, police said.

Bethany Twp.

Big expansion soon for Michigan's wind power grid

BETHANY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- An array of 133 wind turbines that will tower 46 stories over farmers' fields and rural homes will begin taking shape in a few weeks in central Michigan's Gratiot County.

The Invenergy LLC project is designed to produce 200 megawatts of electricity, starting in 2012. That's more than the 164 megawatts made by all of Michigan's wind turbines now in operation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. In all, 103 turbines now operate statewide.

The new turbines will be spread across four townships in an area about 25 miles west of Saginaw. The largest concentrations will be in Bethany and Wheeler townships.

"We kind of compare it to when the railroad came through in the 1800s," said Jeff Ostrander, village manager in Breckenridge, near the heart of the project. "It's new. It's different. It's interesting."

"I think they look kind of neat," 37-year-old farmer Kent Humm, who will be hosting four of the turbines, told the Detroit Free Press. "It's going to change the landscape, that's for sure."

The Gratiot County project should be a big boost for the economy and for government treasuries as well, officials say. The wind farm will pay more in taxes in its first year of operation than the county's 10 biggest taxpayers combined, Gratiot County Administrator Nicole Frost said.

About 150 construction workers will participate in the project. Once it's up and running, Chicago-based Invenergy says it will employ 15 technicians at its Breckenridge office. DTE Energy Co. will buy all the turbines' power for 20 years.

Elsewhere in Michigan, other wind power projects are taking shape as well.

In western Michigan, the Muskegon County Board of Public Works will have a special meeting Tuesday to hear from a consultant about plans for a $300 million wind farm.

A number of developers have expressed interest in the project, and consulting company Howard & Howard is expected to make a recommendation on the top proposals for the board to consider.

"It's a very important part of the process," County Administrator Bonnie Hammersley told The Muskegon Chronicle. "The board will learn of the interest and what is available."

The gun he used was stolen from a home in western Michigan's Kent County, which includes Grand Rapids, Hertel said.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working to trace the gun's history, The Grand Rapids Press reported Sunday.

Dantzler has a criminal record dating back to a 1992 juvenile arrest for burglary, and his mother and at least three other women have sought protective orders against him, according to records.

A funeral is scheduled Wednesday for one of the former girlfriends killed, Kimberlee Emkens, 23, along with her sister, Amanda Emkens, 27, and Amanda's daughter, Marissa, 10. The service is planned for 11 a.m. at St. Jude Catholic Church in Grand Rapids.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Reyers North Valley Chapel in Grand Rapids.

A funeral is planned Friday for the other victims: Jennifer Heeren, 29; her and Dantzler's daughter, Kamrie Heeren-Dantzler, 12; and Heeren's parents, Rebecca Heeren, 52, and Thomas Heeren, 51. The service is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Sunshine Community Church in Grand Rapids.

Visitation is noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the church, the newspaper said.

Published: Tue, Jul 12, 2011