State Roundup

Nonprofit gets nearly $5.2M to boost fresh food

DETROIT (AP) - A Michigan nonprofit will get nearly $5.2 million to help boost the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables for those getting food assistance by expanding a program allowing people to get more for their money at grocery stores and farmers markets, officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the multiyear funding for the Fair Food Network as part of $31.5 million being distributed nationwide. The money seeks to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.

"With this funding, we'll reach even more people, supporting healthy food environments and resilient rural and urban communities," Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of Fair Food Network, said in a statement.

The Ann Arbor-based Fair Food Network will use the funding to help expand the "Double Up Food Bucks" program that allows people to boost their purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables. Shoppers at farmers markets, for example, can spend $10 and get a matching amount to spend that day or another day.

The grant will be matched by private funding, said U.S. Den. Debbie Stabenow, and new technology will be introduced to make purchases easier.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, said the expanded program will help the half-dozen farmers markets in his district as well as across the state.

Internships for students created by Ilitch Holdings

DETROIT (AP) - A 10-week summer program will allow some high school students to work with the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Little Caesars and other companies run by the Ilitch family.

Ilitch Holdings created the 24 paid internships for students at Detroit's Cass Technical High School.

The school district says the work will provide students with hands-on experience in event management, marketing, public relations, finance and other areas.

Ilitch Holdings President and Chief Executive Christopher Ilitch says students in the program will "play an important part in the continued growth" of Detroit.

Students must be at least 16 years old and have a minimum 3.0 grand point average to qualify. The interns will work directly with Ilitch company employees on business projects throughout the summer.

Police: Car driver, 87, at fault in tanker crash, fire

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Police say an 87-year-old driver who was trying to change lanes is at fault for a crash and tanker truck fire that closed a stretch of Interstate 94 near Detroit last month.

State police announced an update on the investigation on Wednesday, saying the man's car hit the truck in the eastbound lanes. Police say his car spun in front of the semi, causing the truck to hit another car and knock that car over the median wall of the freeway into the westbound lanes.

The tanker truck burned for nearly two hours following the crash March 11 in the suburb of Dearborn. The fire sent flames and black smoke into the air and across the area.

No serious injuries were reported.

Grand Rapids
Workers discover man's missing ring after 20 years

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A religious ring commemorating a Michigan man's emigration to the U.S. has been returned to its rightful owner after it had been missing for about 20 years.

A Kent County Road Commission crew discovered the cherished ring belonging to 70-year-old Abraham Joshua of Grand Rapids while performing work on a drainage pipe beneath his driveway. One of the workers knocked on the man's door Tuesday morning to see if the ring was his.

Joshua tells The Grand Rapids Press that the gold ring is symbolic of his Christian faith and serves as a reminder of his decision to leave Pakistan and emigrate to the U.S.

He estimates he lost the ring sometime during the late 1980s or early 1990s as he was working in his front yard.

Grand Rapids
Judge dismisses lawsuit over bogus work release from jail

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the family of a Michigan woman who was slain alongside her husband by a man who was free on a bogus work release.

Christopher Perrien was sentenced in 2013 to life in prison without parole for first-degree murder in the deaths of 62-year-old Michael Greene and 46-year-old Terri Greene. They were shot Sept. 22, 2011, at their home in Eaton County's Delta Township.

Authorities say Perrien told a judge he worked for a nonexistent company to gain release from the Eaton County jail.

Terri Greene's family sued the Michigan Department of Corrections and others in federal court in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Press and the Lansing State Journal report U.S. District Judge Janet Neff ruled Perrien was to blame, not officials.

Hotel workers to get $50K in case over back wages

DETROIT (AP) - Nearly 100 Michigan hotel workers will get a total of $50,000 in back wages and damages following a labor violations case.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the agreement this week involving housekeepers and maintenance employees. The government says they weren't paid for work performed before and after scheduled shifts and didn't get overtime pay.

The Grand Rapids Press and Detroit Free Press report workers were employed at seven hotels in Grand Rapids and Monroe by A&M Hospitality and Management, Grand Hospitality Management and owners Akram Namou and Hikmat Piromari.

They resolved violations by signing a consent judgment in federal court. Their lawyer Patrick N. Butler says in a statement they "remain committed to providing the fairest, most welcoming and accommodating work place as possible to all of their employees."

Mount Clemens
Woman faces murder charges in man's death

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) - A 20-year-old suburban Detroit woman faces murder charges after authorities ruled the death of a man she met on Craigslist as a homicide.

Bria Corrine-Janelle Blackmon of Madison Heights is charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, armed robbery and illegal use of a financial transaction device.

She's accused in the death of 57-year-old Michael Scott Freeland of Sterling Heights, who was found dead in his home following a fire on Friday. Authorities later announced he was the victim of a homicide.

Police said they determined Freeland died before the fire, and identified Blackmon as a woman he had recently begun dating after meeting on Craigslist.

Investigators believe Blackmon robbed Freeland and caused his death, but it's unclear if she started the fire.

It wasn't immediately known if she has an attorney.

State won't give up over inmates' air mattress

KINGSLEY, Mich. (AP) - A dispute over a Michigan prisoner's air mattress is returning to a federal appeals court.

The state again is vowing to appeal a decision that gives a special mattress to Richard Boone II, who has pain due to a history of leg and hip problems.

The 45-year-old Boone is a convicted robber at the Pugsley prison near Traverse City. In November, a federal court in Cincinnati overturned a decision that granted him the air mattress.

The appeals court said Detroit federal Judge Arthur Tarnow didn't follow the correct procedure for an injunction. In February, Tarnow held a hearing and approved the mattress again.

The Corrections Department claims other prisoners will demand a special mattress if Boone can have one. A state lawyer has described prison mattresses as "crappy."

Published: Thu, Apr 02, 2015