State Roundup

Motown joins list of immigrant-friendly cities

DETROIT (AP) - The city of Detroit is joining a national initiative aimed at creating immigrant-friendly environments.

The Detroit Immigration Task Force plans to announce Monday that Detroit will participate in "Welcoming Cities & Counties."

It joins New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities in the program that also looks to maximize opportunities for economic growth through immigration.

Task force members include immigrant community leaders, nonprofit service providers and immigration experts. The group has been working since January to draft a comprehensive city-wide plan to help Detroit become a diverse, inclusive and global city.

City Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López says "Detroit's immigrants historically played a key role in making the city one of the greatest in the world."

Small village police department starts back up

OAKLEY, Mich. (AP) - Police in a small Saginaw County village have resumed patrols after securing liability insurance.

Oakley Police Chief Robert Reznick obtained insurance and reinstated patrols over the weekend. The Oakley Board of Trustees voted 5-1 Tuesday to disband the force of about 12 certified officers because it didn't have insurance. The village has a population of 300 but about 100 reserve officers.

The Saginaw News reports a lawyer on Monday sued on behalf of Trustee Francis Koski in Saginaw County Circuit Court, seeking to stop the "rogue police department." He told WEYI-TV the department needed board approval.

Reznick says council allowed the department to resume as soon as it had insurance. He says he disagrees with critics who say the village has too many officers because the police presence stops crime.

GM expert says 19 deaths eligible for compensation

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors' compensation expert in cases involving faulty ignition switches has determined that 19 wrongful death claims are eligible for payments from the company.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg has received 125 death claims due to the faulty switches in older-model small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt. He says in a report issued Monday that the rest remain under review or require further documentation.

GM hired Feinberg to compensate victims of crashes caused by the switches. GM has blamed the switches for at least 13 deaths, but lawmakers have put the death toll closer to 100.

Feinberg also has received 320 claims for compensation due to injuries. Of those, 12 have been deemed eligible for payments so far.

The switches can slip out of the run position, causing engines to stall.

Funeral home opens drive-through window

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - A Saginaw funeral home is offering an unusual new convenience for mourners - a drive-through viewing window.

The Saginaw News reports Paradise Funeral Chapel has installed a window that displays a body inside the building. Curtains over the window automatically open when a car pulls up, and mourners get three minutes to view a body as music plays overhead.

President Ivan Phillips says many people are afraid of funeral homes. He says his drive-through allows people who might not otherwise visit the funeral home to honor the deceased.

Phillips says it's up to each family to decide if they want to use the window. His business also offers a silver, horse-drawn carriage to bring the dead to nearby cemeteries.

At least three other U.S. funeral homes offer drive-through service.

City denies family's bid to keep 4 goats

FERRYSBURG, Mich. (AP) - Officials in a western Michigan city are blocking a family from keeping its four goats in a residential area.

The Grand Haven Tribune reports the Ferrysburg zoning board of appeals upheld a determination by City Manager Craig Bessinger last week that goats are farm animals, which aren't allowed on parcels of less than 10 acres.

Adam and Amanda Montambo say they need the goats on their 1.4-acre property for health reasons. They say Amanda and four of their five kids can't digest cow milk because of lactose intolerance but can drink goat milk.

Bessinger says Ferrysburg defines farm animals as those raised for income or consumption. He says drinking the milk is consumption.

City Council member Mike DeWitt lives next door and says the goats are cute. He says they don't bother him.