State Roundup


Coast Guard seeks source of fake distress calls

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service is working to identify the source of dozens of fake distress calls over the past two years, saying the calls are a waste of time and money and can be a danger to responders and mariners.

The messages were sent over marine band radio VHF-FM Channel 16, the frequency used for distress calls, the Coast Guard said this week.

The calls reference someone being in distress in boats or planes on Lake Erie. In one, the caller says "Mayday! Mayday! My boat is sinking." In another, a boat is reported to be on fire.

Investigators believe the calls came from somewhere in far southeastern Michigan, south of Monroe. An award of up to $3,500 is being offered for information leading to the conviction of whoever is responsible.

"False distress calls are dangerous because they put those mariners who are actually in danger at added risk because crews are preoccupied with needless searches," said Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel, Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center supervisor. He said the calls also waste taxpayer money and put responders at risk unnecessarily.

A Coast Guard officer from Cleveland tells radio station WTAM that investigators believe one person made more than 50 fake calls.

East Lansing

Old state police headquarters set for demolition

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Most of the buildings that once housed the Michigan State Police headquarters in East Lansing are scheduled for demolished this spring.

Michigan State University owns the site. For years, it leased the site to state police for $1 a year.

State police moved into a new headquarters in Lansing in 2010, and university officials now say they don't need most of the structures.

The Lansing State Journal says the university estimates the demolition will cost $3.1 million, with $1.25 million coming from the state.


Capital's mayor tout's area's manufacturing strength

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says a new report shows the Lansing-East Lansing region is a leading manufacturing area for the nation.

Bernero's office says the assessment comes from the Urban Institute's MetroTrends study, which compares job growth in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas between June 2009 and October 2011 in key economic sectors.

Bernero says the Lansing area stands out nationwide in the report for goods producing, manufacturing, and transportation and utilities.

He says it's important for the nation as a whole to focus on making products as part of a strategy for economic recovery and growth.


State takes over management of wolf populations

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Wolves attacking livestock or dogs in Michigan can now be killed under a new management plan instituted by the state, but hunting or trapping the animals remains illegal.

Michigan has more flexibility in handling problem wolves now that wolves in the western Great Lakes region have been removed from the federal endangered species list. Of the estimated 4,400 wolves in the region, which also includes Minnesota and Wisconsin, about 687 roam across Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

State laws that allow for the removal, capture or killing of a wolf "in the act of preying upon" someone's livestock or dogs went into effect Friday. Michigan's DNR said it would continue to recommend as a first option nonlethal ways of dealing with problem wolves.

"Although lethal control methods are now legal in certain circumstances, wolves remain a protected species in Michigan and no hunting or trapping season is in place," said Gary Hagler, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division. "The DNR will investigate and continue prosecution of any wolf-poaching cases."

The illegal killing of a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and repayment of costs for prosecution.

Guidelines for livestock or dog owners forced to kill wolves include reporting the animal's death within 12 hours and keeping the animal's carcass until the DNR takes possession of it.

Michigan DNR director Rodney Stokes said the removal of wolves from the endangered species list shows that their population is recovering and was a victory for the state and residents who have been affected by wolves attacking their pets or livestock.

"The state's healthy wolf population is a reminder that Michigan still has places where wild animals such as wolves can live and thrive," he said in a written statement. "Fully implementing the state's Wolf Management Plan will allow us to more effectively respond to problem wolves, while maintaining a self-sustaining wolf population and increasing social acceptance of the species as a whole."

Published: Tue, Jan 31, 2012