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State Briefs

By the Associated Press • Dec 23, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Man who killed teacher expressed regret before suicide

PORTAGE (AP) — Police in southwestern Michigan have released the handwritten note and map that led investigators to the body of a missing teacher in October.

Christopher Lockhart expressed regret for killing his wife, Theresa Lockhart, and wrote, "I pray that God forgives me." He wrote the note on Oct. 23 before killing himself at their Portage home.

Police found his body the next day, and then discovered Theresa Lockhart's body in a remote hunting area, 50 miles away in Allegan County.

The note backs up what police reported in October. Christopher Lockhart said he was drunk and "snapped" during an argument. He strangled his wife.

Theresa Lockhart was a popular Spanish teacher in Schoolcraft when she disappeared in May. Christopher Lockhart was suspected but never charged.

Judge says township must issue Nestle water pump station permit

OSCEOLA TWP. (AP) — A judge said a bottled-water company should be allowed to build a pumping station as part of its plans to get more groundwater in West Michigan for the Ice Mountain brand.

Nestle Waters North America sued after Osceola County's Osceola Township rejected a zoning permit. Nestle wants to withdraw up to 400 gallons a minute, with help from a pipeline booster station at SpringHill Camps, a summer camp.

Mason County Judge Susan Sniegowski ruled this week, ordering Osceola Township to issue a permit for construction of the station.

Nestle said it's pleased with the ruling. Osceola Township said the judge improperly analyzed its zoning ordinance.

The permit dispute is separate from a decision to increase water output. That request is pending at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Coast Guard crews launch Operation Coal Shovel icebreaking

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews have kicked off Operation Coal Shovel icebreaking operations in parts of the Great Lakes.

The effort got going Friday. It encompasses southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, Detroit River, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Coast Guard icebreakers from both countries work together to break ice in the waterways as conditions worsen throughout the winter. The Coast Guard also provides flood mitigation assistance as requested from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

State will release $554M for school employees in January

LANSING (AP) — The state of Michigan said $554 million will be released Jan. 22 for public school employees and retirees whose pay was illegally deducted for health care.

The Michigan Supreme Court this week said the money, which has been held in escrow, doesn't belong to the state. It was collected under a 2010 law that was subsequently struck down.

After getting the money in late January, school districts will be responsible for distributing it to employees or retirees.

The improper deductions were made from July 2010 until September 2012. Someone making $50,000 a year at that time should receive approximately $3,000, plus interest.

Detroit TV anchor returns to work after harassment probe

DETROIT (AP) — The parent company of Detroit television station WXYZ said anchor Malcom Maddox is returning to work following an investigation into allegations the station ignored sexual harassment complaints against him.

The E.W. Scripps Co. said it completed an investigation into the allegations and found no basis for additional action against Maddox or others.

Maddox told viewers on Friday that he's made mistakes, but is renewing his responsibility to honor the station's "policies and values."

WXYZ placed Maddox on administrative leave Dec. 6 after allegations publicized by a Detroit pastor, the Rev. W.J. Rideout.

Scripps said in 2015 it determined Maddox engaged in inappropriate communications with co-workers that didn't conform to company policy. Scripps said that at that time Maddox received corrective action, including a two-week unpaid suspension.

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