State Roundup


Monument dedicated to Lake Michigan crash victims

ALMA, Mich. (AP) -- The lone survivor of a small plane crash in Lake Michigan in July said the dedication of a monument to those who died helps bring closure.

About 200 people attended the dedication ceremony of the black marble monument Saturday at Wright Park in the mid-Michigan community of Alma. Pilot Jerry Freed said the community's response to the tragedy continues to amaze him.

"The people of this town ... have just been wonderful," Freed told The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant.

Investigators have said the plane's engine lost power July 23 about 10,000 feet above the middle of Lake Michigan while heading from Alma to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.. Freed reversed course but crashed near Ludington, about 100 miles from Alma.

Freed had volunteered to fly Don Pavlik, the Alma schools superintendent who was to receive cancer treatment, and others to Rochester. The other victims were Pavlik's wife, Irene, Dr. James Hall, and co-pilot and retired construction company owner Earl Davidson.

All on board lived in Alma.

The monument is inscribed with a rainbow, recalling one that was seen over Ludington after the crash, as well as a cloud shaped like an angel that was photographed by an Alma resident following the crash. Images of the four who died are etched into the stone.

Earlier, Alma Public Schools named its middle school after Don Pavlik, and St. Louis Public Schools plans to rename the library at Carrie Knause Elementary School for him.

Grand Rapids

Autopsy planned following athlete's death at race

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Authorities say an autopsy was planned following the death of a former college football player participating in the weekend's 25k River Bank Run in Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the autopsy was scheduled for Monday following Saturday's death of 37-year-old Jason Kinzler.

Kinzler, who was a star linebacker at Grand Valley State from 1993 to 1996, collapsed about a mile from the finish line. Rescuers tried to revive him but police say the runner was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Grand Valley State spokesman Tim Nott says Kinzler was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2008. He says thoughts and prayers were with Kinzler's family.

Funeral arrangements were pending. He is survived by his wife, Kristi, and their three children, Hannah, Jake and Josh.

East Lansing

Panel to discuss more regionalization in education

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- The Lansing Economic Club is sponsoring a forum on regionalizing more education services in Michigan.

State superintendent Mike Flanagan will join Michigan Future President Lou Glazer, Amber Arellan from the Education Trust, Ingham ISD superintendent Stan Kogut and Michigan Association of Public School Academies President Dan Quisenberry to discuss how school districts can join together to save money.

Proposed public education cuts of $340 per student or more are focusing attention on finding ways to further consolidate services.

Michigan has more than 500 school districts, and at least a fifth are having trouble making ends meet.

The forum will be held at noon Thursday at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University. Tim Skubick of public television's "Off the Record" program will moderate the discussion.


Ohio man convicted of killing wife to be released

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- An Ohio man will be released from prison next month, 11 years after his conviction for killing and dismembering his wife and leaving her body parts at a McDonald's and other sites in Michigan.

The Blade of Toledo reports that the pending release of Thomas Craft has prompted the family of the woman he was convicted of killing to lobby for a law that would require victim approval of conditions of an inmate's post-release supervision. The family of Lynnette Craft also worked to make sure the 48-year-old Craft spends the next five years under state supervision at a halfway house.

Craft was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2000 as part of a plea deal for voluntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and possession of criminal tools

Officials said he killed the 38-year-old Lynnette Craft in June 1999 at their home in Swanton, a community 18 miles west of Toledo near the Michigan state line. Authorities said her severed head was found in a landfill in Washtenaw County, Mich., her torso in a trash bin at an Interstate 94 rest stop and her feet in a bin at a McDonald's near Ann Arbor, Mich.

Craft maintained that his wife killed herself and that he dismembered her body to hide the suicide from their sons. A coroner's ruling said cause of death was "undeterminable."

The family of Lynnette Craft successfully petitioned the prisons department for in-state monitoring of Craft after learning he planned to move to Wisconsin near the couple's sons following his June 20 release. He is to spend the next five years in a halfway house in Ohio's Allen County.

"After obtaining additional information and balancing the needs of the victim's family and the offender's best opportunity at re-entry, it was determined it would be in the best interest of all involved if the offender remained in Ohio to complete his period of supervision," prisons spokeswoman said JoEllen Smith told The Blade.

The family also has launched a drive for "Lynnette's Law," writing to more than 500 politicians in an effort to increase the rights of victims upon an inmate's release.

"Victims have no rights and that's why we set up Lynnette's Law," the woman's brother, Bob Quast, told The Blade. "We're going to change laws in this country no matter how long it takes so victims have rights and not the bad guys."

Grand Rapids

State settles lawsuit over child-care union

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Snyder's administration has settled its portion of a lawsuit challenging union dues for child-care providers who work at home.

The state has been dismissed from the lawsuit in exchange for pledging that it will never force child-care workers to pay dues as a condition of getting public subsidies to watch kids from low-income families. The Snyder administration ended the practice earlier this year but a lawsuit still is active in federal court.

Child-care workers were granted union status under Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration. It's been controversial because many providers believe unions have no role in their private business.

The state has agreed to pay $25,000 in legal fees to the National Right to Work Foundation. The lawsuit still seeks dues refunds from the union.

Published: Tue, May 17, 2011


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