State Roundup

'Pure Michigan' campaign starts national ad effort

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state's "Pure Michigan" tourism campaign has launched a national advertising effort to lure out-of-state visitors to the Great Lakes State.

Travel Michigan, which is part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., says that TV ads began this week and include both national networks and cable channels. The ads run through early June.

The campaign involves partners including four local and regional groups. The campaign has a total budget of about $12 million, including $2 million from those participating entities.

The state says it uses the "Pure Michigan" brand for "business, talent and tourism initiatives."

State ed board: Snyder's order is unconstitutional

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The State Board of Education says Gov. Rick Snyder's order moving the Michigan school reform office under his oversight is unconstitutional.

Democrats and Republicans on the Democratic-controlled board unanimously adopted a statement Tuesday saying they're "deeply concerned" by the Republican governor's move last week.

The order removes the reform office from the Education Department - which reports to the board - and places it in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

The board asks Snyder to reconsider, saying decisions should be directed by "those with expertise in effective education policy."

Snyder spokesman Dave Murray says he wanted a more "proactive approach" to fixing struggling schools.

Michigan allows the lowest-achieving bottom 5 percent of schools to be placed into a state district if their "redesign" plan isn't achieving satisfactory results.

Man sentenced to life for killing wife, father-in-law

KALKASKA, Mich. (AP) - A man who pleaded guilty in the shooting deaths of his wife and father-in-law in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports 40-year-old Keith Ferguson of Kalkaska on Tuesday received the mandatory term for first-degree murder. Ferguson pleaded guilty earlier this month in Kalkaska County Circuit Court.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped kidnapping and explosives charge.

Ferguson and 42-year-old wife Tiffany Ferguson had four children.

Authorities say he killed his wife at the family's house in Coldsprings Township while the couple's children were home Nov. 18. Authorities say he then took the children to the home of their 63-year-old grandfather and killed James Webber there.

Ferguson barricaded himself in a house afterward with a hostage before police arrested him.

Counterfeiter sent to prison for 3 years for scam

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit-area man who once tried to sell his counterfeit cash machine on TV's "Hardcore Pawn" has been sent to prison again - for counterfeiting.

Federal Judge Robert Cleland had no mercy for Kenny "Boom" Smith, ordering a three-year sentence Tuesday. The punishment even exceeded the recommendation of prosecutors.

Smith was accused last summer of selling $3,600 in counterfeit cash while on supervised release for an earlier counterfeiting crime. Prosecutors say it's his third counterfeiting conviction and his tenth overall conviction.

Smith's lawyer had asked for a one-year prison sentence.

In a previous case, Smith was arrested partly due to his desire to be on "Hardcore Pawn," which is based at a Detroit pawn shop. Owner Seth Gold told agents that Smith wanted to show his counterfeiting skills.

Bad Axe
Couple accused of caging son get 11 months in prison

BAD AXE, Mich. (AP) - A couple accused of keeping their 19-year-old adopted son in a cage at their home in rural Michigan have been sentenced to 11 months behind bars.

WNEM-TV reports Karen and Timothy Tolin also were ordered Tuesday to serve two years of probation.

They earlier pleaded no contest to unlawful imprisonment in a Huron County court. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a charge of vulnerable adult abuse against each of them. A no contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

A deputy answering an Oct. 20 civil dispute call found the 19-year-old in a bedroom at the home in Paris Township, about 90 miles north of Detroit. Authorities also removed three adults and two children from the home, which wasn't a licensed care facility.

City seeking grant to avoid laying off firefighters

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - Saginaw firefighters are at risk of losing their jobs nearly two years after looming layoffs were halted with a $2.3 million grant.

The two-year Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant is expiring soon and without an extension, the city will be forced to lay off up to 13 firefighters at the end of June due to limited funds in the city's budget. The Saginaw News reports layoff notices were issued in February to the 13 firefighters with the least seniority.

The Saginaw City Council on Monday approved a resolution in support of the fire department seeking continued support through FEMA's grant program. Officials agreed to comply with the long-term obligations of the grant.

A fire official says the department already has submitted an application.

Published: Thu, Mar 19, 2015


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