State Roundup

Kalamazoo

Bank employee pleads guilty to embezzling $100K

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) -- A former teller and supervisor at a West Michigan bank faces up to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from customers.

The Kalamazoo Gazette says Tammy Lynn Lumbard pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids to one felony count of bank embezzlement.

Federal investigators say Lumbard stole $108,630 between 2010 and 2011 from Huntington Bank customer accounts by preparing checks that were payable to "cash" and forging customer signatures. She was fired in October 2010.

As part of a plea agreement she signed last month, Lumbard has agreed to make full restitution to Huntington Bank.

Lumbard is free on $10,000 bond. Sentencing has not been scheduled.

Lansing

City facing $1.8M budget deficit

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Lansing could face a $1.8 million budget shortfall by months' end.

But a deficit elimination plan reviewed by The Lansing State Journal shows the city about 80 miles west-northwest of Detroit could make up the difference by selling a parking lot and drawing $600,000 from reserves.

Selling the 1.4-acre, city-owned lot to Lansing Community College would require City Council approval.

The current fiscal year ends June 30.

Chad Gamble, Lansing's chief operating officer, says declining tax revenue caused the budget shortfall. He says payments from the Lansing Board of Water & Light also are $200,000 less than budgeted due to a mild winter and low wholesale gas prices.

Mayor Virg Bernero says he doesn't support selling property to fill one-time budget shortfalls, but it's better than tapping city's reserves.

Fennville

Mediator named in lawsuit over cannery waste

FENNVILLE, Mich. (AP) -- A well-respected Grand Rapids lawyer has been appointed mediator in a lawsuit by property owners who say groundwater has been contaminated by a fruit cannery in western Michigan.

Jon Muth will bring together lawyers for the plaintiffs and Birds Eye Foods. The company for decades sprayed wastewater onto fields in the Fennville area, 50 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. The cannery produces fruit fillings, sauces and glazes.

Muth's job as mediator will be to look at the facts and encourage the parties to settle the dispute.

Birds Eye in 2010 announced plans for a new treatment system. A lawsuit pending in federal court says the company should have known about the dangers of spraying wastewater laced with chemicals on area fields.

Bay City

Judge won't upset insurance rule in fireworks law

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A judge has rejected a challenge to the insurance requirement in Michigan's new law expanding the sale of fireworks.

Federal Judge Thomas Ludington in Bay City says he's not going to trump the judgment of lawmakers. He says the $10 million insurance requirement for dealers seems justified when considering the volatile nature of fireworks.

The judge last week said the insurance rule isn't the product of "irrational minds."

The state has granted hundreds of certificates to dealers wanting to sell fireworks since the law kicked in.

Consumers no longer are limited to sparklers. They can get firecrackers and fireworks that shoot in the air.

Crystal Falls

Man convicted in slaying of Iron County woman, 81

CRYSTAL FALLS, Mich. (AP) -- A 45-year-old Upper Peninsula man has received the mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole for murdering an 81-year-old woman who was scheduled to testify as a witness in his theft case.

An Iron County jury in Crystal Falls on May 4 found 45-year-old David Levack of Kingsford guilty of felony murder, home invasion and witness intimidation in the death of Joyce Johnson.

The Daily News of Iron Mountain says a judge sentenced him Monday.

Authorities say the woman from Stambaugh Township was scheduled to be in an Iron County court Sept. 27, 2011, to testify. When she didn't appear, deputies found her dead at home

Levack testified that Johnson was like a grandmother to him, denying killing her and saying he has no idea who did.

Saugatuck Township

Deal OK'd between Mich. community, energy exec

SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- A judge has blessed a settlement in a lawsuit over development of Lake Michigan shoreline controlled by an Oklahoma energy executive.

The deal between Saugatuck Township and Singapore Dunes LLC ends litigation that began when the Allegan County township adopted a tough zoning ordinance after the land was acquired.

Aubrey McClendon's company has proposed building homes, a hotel, marina and golf course where the Kalamazoo River meets Lake Michigan.

McClendon is chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, based in Oklahoma City. Kalamazoo federal Judge Paul Maloney approved a settlement Monday that scratches strict zoning put in place in 2005.

Environmental groups had urged the judge to reject the deal. They say the dune area is fragile and can't support major development.

Published: Wed, Jun 13, 2012