State Roundup

Detroit

54-year-old man charged with scamming 5-year-old girl

DETROIT (AP) -- The Michigan attorney general's office has charged a Detroit man with running a gift card scam on a 5-year-old girl.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says Otis Lee Josey was pretending to be a radio station employee in November when he told the child and her mother he was authorized to give restaurant gift cards in exchange for donations to a charity benefiting a children's hospital.

Schuette says Josey accepted $5 from the girl in exchange for a $20 gift card to Chuck E. Cheese's. The attorney general says the card was a fake.

The 54-year-old Josey faced arraignment Tuesday in Detroit District Court on a misdemeanor charge of false pretenses, less than $200.

There's no telephone listing for Josey, and it wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Detroit

Lawsuit filed over Oakland Co. child killer case

DETROIT (AP) -- The mother of one of four children killed during a 13-month period in the 1970s wants the Justice Department to investigate the unsolved Oakland County child killer case.

A lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit by Deborah Jarvis seeking $100 million in damages claims the Oakland County prosecutor, sheriff department and state police withheld information about the case. Her 10-year-old daughter Kristine Mihelich of Berkley was among those slain.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard tells the Detroit Free Press the Justice Department has been involved in the investigation for years. Prosecutor Jessica Cooper dismissed the claims as groundless.

The Detroit News reports state police won't comment on pending litigation.

Other children killed between February 1976 and March 1977 were 11-year-old Timothy King and 12-year-olds Mark Stebbins and Jill Robinson.

Flint

City's emergency manager proposes job cuts

FLINT, Mich. (AP) -- Flint's state-appointed emergency financial manager is calling for cuts to police, fire and other departments as part of a budget proposal to close a projected $25 million deficit.

Michael Brown presented details on Monday to City Council, with the plan including cutting 19 police officers and more than 30 firefighters. Two of Flint's five fire stations would close under the plan and there could be several fee increases. Trash collection could be outsourced over the long-run.

In all, The Flint Journal reports nearly 150 layoffs could take place. That's about 20 percent of the city's workforce.

Councilman Bernard Lawler says the budget will overburden residents who can't afford to pay higher fees for water, waste collection and street lights.

Lawler says Flint needs more help from the state.

Flint

14-year-old boy charged in dog fighting case

FLINT, Mich. (AP) -- A 14-year-old Flint boy is facing charges following a dog fighting bust at a home.

The Genesee County prosecutor's office on Monday announced that the boy was charged with torturing animals and dog fighting. He faces up to four years behind bars if convicted of the felony charges.

Prosecutor David Leyton said in a statement that he wished that Michigan law provided harsher penalties under the circumstances involved.

WSGW-AM reports the house was raided April 9. The raid came after a dog believed to be used to train fighting dogs was found in the driveway. The Flint Journal reports six dogs were removed from the home and three of the animals were euthanized due to severe injuries that they sustained.

The case is being heard in Genesee County's juvenile court.

Lansing

Group wants to make it harder to raise Mich. taxes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- An anti-tax group says it's begun collecting signatures to let Michigan voters decide in November if a supermajority vote should be needed to raise state taxes.

The Michigan Alliance for Prosperity announced the drive Monday. Its plan would require all future tax increases proposed by the state legislature to be approved by at least a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate.

Currently, taxes can be increased if more than half of lawmakers in both the House and Senate vote to do so.

The alliance has until July 9 to collect the necessary signatures. Group President Lana Theis says the higher requirement would "stabilize the tax environment" and help the economy.

Some supermajority laws have left states so fiscally constrained that their bond ratings have dropped.

Battle Creek

Settlement reached in oil spill cleanup case

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) -- A man who claims he was wrongfully fired from his job cleaning up a 2010 pipeline rupture that spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil in southern Michigan has accepted a settlement in the case.

John Bolenbaugh of Battle Creek says he was fired as a temporary cleanup worker for SET Environmental Inc. because he told the Environmental Protection Agency of unscrupulous conduct by contractors. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the settlement was read into the record Tuesday in a Calhoun County courtroom.

Financial terms weren't immediately disclosed. A civil trial in the case had started last week and SET Environmental had denied Bolenbaugh's claims.

The spill into the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek near Marshall came from Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.'s pipeline. Cleanup continues.

Published: Wed, Apr 25, 2012

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