State Roundup

Monroe Twp.
Reward offered to help catch fake ‘mayday’ caller

MONROE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has announced a $3,500 reward for help in catching a man who’s made at least 20 fake “mayday” calls on a marine radio operating in the Monroe area.
The Coast Guard’s Cleveland office says the man began calling in 2010, making claims such as that his boat is sinking. The Coast Guard is posting 15 recordings to see if anyone recognizes the man’s voice.
Lt. Justin Westmiller in Detroit says the calls could cause a disaster by diverting rescuers from a real emergency.
He says the prank caller uses marine band radio VHF-FM Channel 16. It’s the international hailing and distress frequency.
Westmiller says the calls come from the Bolles Harbor area on Lake Erie in Monroe County’s Monroe Township.
The U.S. Coast Guard asks that people with tips about the fake mayday caller to call 800-773-2587.

Frenchtown Twp.
Tracking dog and   handler nab same suspect twice

FRENCHTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A law enforcement dog in southeastern Michigan is getting to know one man quite well.
The Monroe Evening News reports the German shepherd named Ranger and Monroe County sheriff’s Deputy Rob Moody found the man hiding last week in a garbage can in Frenchtown Township after the theft of more than $300 of liquor and DVDs from a store.
Moody says the man was the same one they tracked a few weeks earlier in January in Bedford Township while seeking burglars.
Moody says he at first “didn’t put two-and-two together,” but later realized it was the same man. He says the double catch is “a first for me.”
Following the first charge for resisting arrest, the 25-year-old man was released from custody. He’s now jailed on charges including shoplifting.

Senate to take up  DNA testing for felonies proposal

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Senate committee is expected to take up a bill this week that would expand DNA testing in Michigan.
The bill would require people arrested for committing or attempting to commit a felony to provide a DNA sample. It was introduced by Lawton Republican Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker last week and sent to the Judiciary Committee.
Schuitmaker’s office says the bill would make DNA collection the same as fingerprint collection. If the charges are dropped or the person is found not guilty, the sample would be destroyed.
Currently, DNA samples are taken at the time of arrest only when people are arrested for violent felonies, such as murder.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill in 2011 requiring all prisoners to submit a DNA test within three months of entering prison.

Vote likely on merger of two small cities

SAUGATUCK, Mich. (AP) — The proposed merger of Saugatuck and Douglas in Allegan County seems likely to be headed to a ballot.
Eighty-eight 90 signatures are needed. The Grand Rapids Press says the petition already has been signed by more than 300 residents in the two small cities. The deadline to get the names to Lansing is Feb. 19.
Groups on both sides of the issue already have formed. Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities questions whether there would be significant savings in a merger. Supporters say the savings could be $500,000 a year.
Saugatuck and Douglas are hiring the Citizens Research Council of Michigan to complete a study by April. The Detroit-area group is an independent organization that studies state and local government.

Ann Arbor
Bike-sharing  program in the works on campus

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A bike-sharing program is in the works that would include Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan campus. reports the Ann Arbor-based Clean Energy Coalition is developing the program, which could start as early as this fall. Participants will be able to obtain a bicycle at one kiosk and return it miles away, as long as the kiosk is within the bike share system.
Officials say the program could cost between $1.8 million and $2 million to launch and operate for its first three years.
In Detroit, Wayne State University announced last month that it was partnering with several businesses, organizations and institutions to study the feasibility of a bike sharing system. That project could include areas such as Detroit’s downtown and Midtown.

St. Clair Shores
Community looks at bounty on rats  to control rodents

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit community is considering offering a $5 bounty for every rat caught in the city as part of a broader rodent-control effort.
The Detroit Free Press reports the idea is part of a multipronged proposal to deal with rats in St. Clair Shores, which is among a number of communities facing rodent problems. Officials earlier had an aggressive pilot program taking place to help curb the rat population.
City Manager Mike Smith says the proposed bounty is aimed at collecting data to help the battle against rats. The idea was presented last month to City Council. Smith says officials are taking feedback from residents and City Council could take up the issue in March.
The proposed rat-control program also could include inspections, baiting and updated garbage cans.o