State Roundup

Judge hears from cop in boy-in-basement case

DETROIT (AP) - A state police officer says a missing 12-year-old boy discovered behind a large barrel in a Detroit basement appeared relieved that his father was not around.

Detective Sgt. Ken Ducker says he used a flashlight to find Charlie Bothuell in his father's home after 11 days last summer. Ducker says there was a blanket, a cereal box and drink bottles.

He testified Tuesday at a hearing in a criminal case against Charlie's father, also named Charlie Bothuell, and stepmother Monique Dillard-Bothuell. They're charged with torture and child abuse.

A judge must decide whether there's enough evidence to try the case.

Ducker says Charlie replied, "good," when told his father wasn't home when he was discovered last June.

Bothuell insists he didn't know his son was there.

Ally Financial 1Q profit more than doubles on sale

DETROIT (AP) - Ally Financial, the former lending arm of General Motors, said its quarterly profit more than doubled, thanks mainly to its sale of a stake in an auto-loan company in China.

The results beat Wall Street's expectations, and drove the lender's stock up 49 cents, or 2 percent, to $20.80 in early trading Tuesday morning.

The Detroit-based lender reported first-quarter earnings of $576 million, or $1.06 per share. That's up from $227 million, 33 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

The sale of Ally's 40 percent stake in a joint venture in China at the start of the year contributed nearly $400 million to quarterly profit.

First-quarter earnings, adjusted for non-recurring items, came to 52 cents per share, handily surpassed financial analysts' expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 42 cents per share.

New car loans hit $9.8 billion in the quarter, a 7 percent increase from the same period of last year. Deposits at Ally Bank reached $50.6 billion, up 12 percent.

Total revenue was $1.09 billion in the period, down from $1.14 billion the year before and also short of analysts' forecasts. Analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.17 billion.

Shares in Ally Financial Inc. have fallen 14 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has declined 17 percent in the last 12 months.

Ann Arbor
Gun group, parent sue district over carrying policy

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A gun owners' group and an Ann Arbor parent have sued the city's school district over new policies keeping guns out of schools except those carried by law enforcement officers.

The Ann Arbor News reports that Michigan Gun Owners and Ulysses Wong filed the lawsuit Monday against the Ann Arbor Public Schools and Superintendent Janice Swift. It alleges the policies enacted this month violate state law and the constitution.

A resident with a concealed pistol license may legally openly carry a gun into a school. Ann Arbor school officials explored a weapons-free policy amid debate about whether it's appropriate to openly carry firearms in schools.

School officials anticipated a lawsuit stemming from the action. It came after Joshua Wade carried a gun into Pioneer High School during a concert.

City grounds plan to ban drones after pushback

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) - Officials in a Detroit suburb have grounded plans to ban drones from flying over the city.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Ferndale City Council opted to drop the proposed ban after hearing from about two dozen supporters of the unmanned aerial vehicles. Councilman Mike Lennon says the city should leave such regulations to federal authorities.

The ordinance would have made it a misdemeanor to fly drones anywhere but over the operator's backyard. An exception would have been made for law enforcement.

Gary Vasilnek uses them to inspect chimneys. He says such a ban would be "like a witch hunt."

Earlier this month, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a ban on hunting animals with a drone or using a drone to harass hunters.

Nearly $25K in grants awarded for river cleanups

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Officials have awarded nearly $25,000 in grants to 13 local governments and agencies across Michigan to support cleanups of rivers, streams and creeks.

The grants range from $500 to $5,000 each. They come from a fund generated by the sale of water quality protection license plates.

Grants are administered by the Great Lakes Commission, under a contract with the state Department of Environmental Quality. Officials say the awards support local stewardship and a sense of community while protecting Michigan's waters.

Local governments often team up with nonprofit organizations or other volunteer groups for the cleanups, which include removal of trash and assorted debris from streams and stream banks.

The largest grant was $3,766 to the Huron River Watershed Council. Other recipients are listed at:

Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015