State Roundup

Kalamazoo

Snowplows slowing in SW Michigan to cut costs

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) -- State snowplow trucks in nine southwestern Michigan counties will be taking it a little slower this year while salting roadways.

The Michigan Department of Transportation announced Monday that the move in its Southwest Region is expected to save more than $100,000 in salt costs. Plows will be going 25 mph while dropping salt instead of previous speeds of 35 to 45 mph.

The agency expects more salt dropped by the trucks will remain on roadways if it's dropped at slower speeds. The change includes Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.

The change could mean MDOT uses 30 to 40 percent less salt in the region.

MDOT says the pilot project could be expanded to other parts of the state in the future.

Monroe

3 dogs in alleged Monroe Co. fight ring released

MONROE, Mich. (AP) -- Three dogs involved in an alleged Monroe County dog-fighting ring have been released from an animal control facility.

The Monroe Evening News reports that the dogs have been removed from Monroe County Animal Control pens and on Monday were in possession of the Buster Foundation, an animal rescue organization.

A Monroe County Circuit Court judge earlier this month signed an order overturning a district court's ruling to euthanize the pit bull mixes. The judge ruled that the dogs -- Dusty, Reilly and Monroe -- don't pose a threat to public safety.

Buster Foundation President Jon Svoboda says the dogs were in "great spirits."

The dogs were seized during a March raid on a suspected dog-fighting operation in the county located along Michigan's border with Ohio.

Lansing

Debate continues over Michigan charter school bill

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The Republican-led House Education Committee is resuming discussions on legislation to allow more charter schools in Michigan while Democrats continue to oppose the plan.

The education committee scheduled hearings for Tuesday and Wednesday on the legislation that would end some numerical and geographical limits on charter schools. It narrowly passed the Republican-led Senate in October.

The state has roughly 250 charter schools. Supporters say more should be allowed to boost educational options in public schools.

Democrats say it appears to be an effort to help charter schools that are sometimes run by for-profit companies at the expense of other schools.

Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor on Tuesday planned to propose a constitutional amendment to ban for-profit schools. It's unlikely that proposal would advance in the Republican-led Legislature.

Detroit

Doctor sentenced to 10 years in prison

DETROIT (AP) -- A 67-year-old Detroit area physician has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on public corruption, illegal prescription drug trafficking and health care fraud charges.

Gwendolyn Washington of Southfield was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

She and her sister, Sherry Washington, were accused of paying kickbacks to the Detroit Public Schools' former Risk Management director. Their company proposed $150,000 in fees for an employee health awareness program, but more than $3 million was paid to the company's four partners.

The government says in a release that Gwendolyn Washington also admitted to performing unnecessary ultrasounds, nuclear cardiac stress and other tests on patients. Medicare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield were billed more than $5 million.

Sherry Washington was sentenced last month to seven years in prison.

Warren

Man faces charges after puppy pulled alongside van

WARREN, Mich. (AP) -- A 43-year-old Macomb County man has been charged with animal cruelty and drunken driving after witnesses told police he pulled his puppy by a leash from a van in a flea market parking lot.

Keith Parker was arraigned Monday in Warren District Court, The Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens reported.

"He said he thought the dog needed to go for a run," Warren Detective Lt. Dan Beck said. "It seems like an awfully cruel thing to do, if that's exactly what happened.

"The dog couldn't keep up, and maybe rolled at one point."

His dog, "Cricket," suffered a bloody paw and was being kept at the police department.

Parker was arrested without incident about 9:45 a.m. Sunday in the lot, just north of Detroit. He was at the flea market to sell some items he owned, police said.

He was being held Monday on a $25,000 bond.

The Associated Press could not determine Monday night if Parker had an attorney.

Detroit

Man sentenced to life for Taylor officer's slaying

DETROIT (AP) -- A 37-year-old Westland man will spend the rest of his life in prison without parole in the slaying of a Taylor police officer.

Tyress Mathews was sentenced Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit. A jury found him guilty earlier this month of first-degree premeditated murder.

Cpl. Matthew Edwards was shot July 23, 2010, while investigating a breaking and entering report at a Taylor apartment complex, southwest of Detroit.

Mathews told Edwards and his partner, Cpl. Gregory Piche, that he and his wife had been arguing and he wanted to get his car keys and leave, according to The Detroit News.

Piche had testified that the officers were trying to diffuse the problem when Edwards was shot.

Defense attorney Todd Perkins claimed Edwards and his partner fired first, but witnesses said Mathews fired the first shot. The 31-year-old Edwards never removed his gun from its holster.

Piche shot and wounded Mathews.

"Cpl. Edwards thought he had peaceably handled the situation," Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Stevens said after Monday's sentencing. "He trusted humanity for a split second and that's all it took. His children should know he was and is and always will be a hero."

Mathews spent time in prison after pleading guilty in 1991 to assault with intent to commit murder and armed robbery.

Ann Arbor

City bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against an Ann Arbor bus agency after it refused to allow an ad that says, "Boycott Israel."

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Detroit claims the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority is violating the free-speech rights of Blaine Coleman, who wants to put the ad on buses near the University of Michigan.

The lawsuit says the bus agency's board met Nov. 17 and rejected the ad, claiming it violates a policy against ads that ridicule people or groups.

Coleman's ad would say, "Boycott Israel, Boycott Apartheid." He believes the Israeli government treats Palestinians unfairly. A message seeking comment was left with the chairwoman of the bus agency.

Published: Wed, Nov 30, 2011