State Roundup

Teen gets 40-60 years for killing, attempted rape

ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) - A 16-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing his 21-year-old cousin while trying to rape her in western Michigan has been sentenced to 40 to 60 years in prison.

The teen was charged as an adult in the June 2014 death of Kassandra Keyzer in Allegan County's Wayland Township. WOOD-TV reports he learned his sentence Monday. He earlier pleaded guilty to felony murder and attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

The plea came with an agreement he wouldn't face life in prison without a chance for parole.

Police say Keyzer was found dead with deep lacerations, including a stab wound to her neck, and her clothing had appeared to have been cut off. Authorities say the teen's grandmother was slashed in the neck but survived. She died of cancer in December.

Orion Township
GM invests $245 million for new vehicle program

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - General Motors Co. plans to invest $245 million and add 300 jobs at its Orion Assembly plant to support launching a new vehicle program.

The automaker announced plans Monday for the plant in Oakland County's Orion Township, located in suburban Detroit. GM North America Vice President of Manufacturing and Labor Relations Cathy Clegg says in a statement the plant is a "breeding ground for manufacturing innovation."

Details of the new vehicle involved weren't immediately released. GM says $962 million has been invested in the plant since it was reopened in 2010.

The announcement is part of $5.4 billion Detroit-based GM earlier said it will invest in U.S. manufacturing over the next three years.

Grand Rapids
About half of city's marijuana tickets are unpaid

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Officials in Grand Rapids say about half of the people ticketed for marijuana possession are paying their fines.

The Grand Rapids Press reports ( ) more than $100,000 in civil infraction fines has gone uncollected since the drug was decriminalized in the city. Several hundred offenders haven't paid up, prompting the court to consider enforcing the lack of response to tickets as a misdemeanor.

Grand Rapids voters in 2012 decriminalized marijuana use and possession. Instead of a misdemeanor crime, marijuana offenses now are civil infractions. Offenders get a $25 fine for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $100 for a third offense.

Officials say the court typically collects about 80 percent of civil infraction fines for offenses such as housing code violations, barking dogs and fireworks.

Contaminated soil to be removed from stadium site

UTICA, Mich. (AP) - Nearly 20,000 tons of contaminated soil will be removed from the site of a planned suburban Detroit development that includes a new $10 million minor league baseball stadium, officials said.

The $937,000 cleanup will involve excavating and disposing of polluted soil at the former landfill near downtown Utica, installing methane gas detection equipment along with a new soil cover, The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reported.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled Tuesday for the project along the Clinton River. Mayor Jacqueline Noonan said work is expected to begin later this summer.

"Not only will we be removing a longtime eyesore and providing a new resource for the community, but we'll also be improving the environment," Noonan said.

General Sports and Entertainment LLC of Rochester is the developer and will be the operator of the new 2,500-seat stadium on one side of the river. Land on the other side of the river will be used for a parking lot as well as a retail and residential development.

Both properties were used as an unlicensed landfill that operated from the 1940s to the 1960s, according to documents filed with the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

According to an analysis of cleanup prospects, waste material that ranges from near the surface to 20 feet below grade includes a number of hazardous volatile organic compounds and metals including arsenic, barium, cadmium, lead, mercury, and potentially explosive levels of methane gas.

The property targeted for a parking lot was being developed by the Traverse Group as a brownstone residential project in the 2000s, but the development didn't move forward due to the housing market crash, according to city officials and county documents.

State sees higher demand, lower prices for energy

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan residents and businesses will increase their power demand while paying lower prices this summer and fall, according to a new state report.

The electricity market likely will increase the amount of natural gas-fueled generation compared to other fuels as a result of better prices, the Michigan Public Service Commission said Friday in its summer energy appraisal. The report said residential and commercial customers should see lower heating and cooling bills as well as cheaper prices at the gas pump.

"The demand for energy in Michigan is projected to increase across all sectors in 2015, assuming a return to normal summer weather and reflecting continued price advantages in the natural gas and petroleum markets," the report said.

The projected 2015 sales increase is 1.4 percent for electricity, the report said.

"Given the anticipated demand and reserve margins within the region, there should be an adequate supply of electricity over the summer and for the remainder of the year," it said.

The expected increases are 1.3 percent for natural gas and 1 percent for gasoline.

"This will be the third straight year of gasoline consumption growth (and) only the fourth year since 2004 in Michigan," the report said.

The rising demand assumes continued lower prices for oil and gas.

Gasoline prices remain well below last year's levels, despite a mid-June spike, according to AAA Michigan.

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have gone up by nearly 25 cents over the past week. The average price per gallon for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was $2.96 on June 14, about 97 cents less than at the same time last year, the Dearborn-based auto club said.

The Michigan Public Service Commission began releasing the appraisals in 1978.

Cheerleading coach prevails in appeal over fall

CLARKSTON, Mich. (AP) - A former high school cheerleader who sued her coach over an injury isn't doing handstands after a decision from the Michigan appeals court.

The Clarkston district and the coach were sued in 2012, four years after Lindsey Friend was hurt while performing a move called a "double twist." She fell when others failed to catch her in 2008, suffering temporary memory loss, headaches and neck pain.

Friend accused coach Jaclyn Fahrner of failing to provide enough safety. But the appeals court says Fahrner provided weeks of training before the double twist. The court last week said "reasonable minds could not differ."

The court notes that Friend did well in high school and received a scholarship to Aquinas College, where she ran track.

Postal worker linked to opened mail to pay $1.5K

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) - A postal worker accused of stealing as many as 2,000 pieces of mail in suburban Detroit will escape charges if she pays $1,500 and meets other conditions.

Court filings show the government dropped a criminal complaint against Sharon Berrien. Instead, she'll pay $50 a month toward her debt, perform 40 hours of community service and follow other requirements for one year.

A judge approved the deal Friday.

The investigation began in October when mail was found along Pelham Road and Interstate 94 and given to the Taylor postmaster. In November, 800 pieces were found in Berrien's trash. Three bags were inside a closet.

Berrien says she kept $1,000 to $1,500. She told investigators that she was "bored" and didn't have any financial problems.

Group unveils plans to develop city's downtown

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) - A community group unveiled its plans to develop downtown Midland, hoping to gather feedback from the public.

Residents on Thursday visited different stalls set up on a hotel's lawn to learn about the project shared by Momentum Midland, the Midland Daily News reported.

The plan calls for a floating riverside café on the Tittabawassee River and for relocating a farmers market by the Poseyville Road Bridge so it would be open year-round.

A relocated farmers market would provide a canopied structure with room for 140 merchant stalls and a 6,000-square-foot food hall for people to eat and relax.

Momentum Midland spokesperson Paul Barbeau said the group has heard "a lot of enthusiasm" for a year-round market, which can't be done at its present location. Moving it also would free up an existing riverfront location to transition into a place for recreational and cultural events, including a boardwalk, skating rink and beach area.

"We've done a lot of listening from outside experts, market study research, information from focus groups in Midland, and work meetings with different stakeholders to develop this vision," Barbeau said.

He said the plan is still in the concept stage and that the organization will regroup and discuss.

"I've kind of characterized this as the 'end of the beginning,'" Barbeau said. "Now, it is about getting into a real implementation strategy and wanting people to know that there will be plenty of opportunity for dialogue and discourse and public feedback as things progress."

Published: Tue, Jun 23, 2015