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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jan 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Michigan waste plant seeks permission to treat dioxins

VAN BUREN TWP. (AP) — A large hazardous waste treatment facility near Detroit is seeking approval to treat dioxins, some of the most toxic man-made chemicals.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is reviewing the request from U.S. Ecology's Michigan Disposal Waste Treatment Plant in Wayne County’s Van Buren Township, the Detroit Free Press reported. The department is accepting public comments on the proposal.

The site takes hazardous wastes from industries and government cleanups, and then treats and stabilizes them until they can be disposed in a landfill. It also processes and disposes of low-level radioactive wastes from hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to extract oil and natural gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals.

Michigan Disposal seeks to expand its hazardous waste storage and treatment capacities, conduct treatment outside of treatment tanks and add two new waste streams to treat dioxins and wastes with sulfides. The change would allow the plant "to accommodate situations such as emergency response cleanups that may have a higher volume of waste that must be processed in a short period of time," company officials said.

The request doesn't change the amount of waste the facility can treat in a year, officials said.

Dioxins are highly toxic and have been linked to cancer and reproductive and developmental problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Ex-NFL player, Michigan State trustee charged in misdemeanor

EAST LANSING (AP) — A former NFL player and current Michigan State University trustee has been charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.

The Lansing State Journal reported that Mitch Lyons was arraigned Friday in Jackson County District Court.

Lyons, 47, is a Republican from the Grand Rapids area. He faces a Jan. 29 hearing.

Details of the charge were not released, but Lyons' attorney, Brian Lennon, said Friday that "the overall situation was a misunderstanding."

Lyons played football from 1988-92 at MSU. He spent seven years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons. He has been a MSU trustee since 2011.

Man breaks into apartment, attacks woman with sword, police say

BATTLE CREEK (AP) — A man broke into an apartment in southern Michigan and attacked the mother of his 13-year-old child with a sword, police said.

The Battle Creek Police Department said the 35-year-old woman is in serious condition after being stabbed multiple times early Friday with a 3-foot sword. She was taken to a hospital, where she underwent surgery.

The sword was found at the scene.

Police said the 35-year-old man fled, but was identified to investigators by the child. He was spotted a short time later by a Kalamazoo County Sheriff's deputy near Kalamazoo and was taken into custody without incident. He has been jailed and is expected to face charges.

The attack is under investigation.

Detroit-area judge on the hook for $1.1M to former employee

DETROIT (AP) — A former court employee who said she was illegally fired will have to pursue a Detroit-area judge for a $734,000 jury verdict — not taxpayers.

The Michigan Supreme Court said Friday it will let an appeals court decision stand. That means Dearborn Judge Mark Somers is responsible for paying the award to Julie Pucci, as well as more than $400,000 in legal fees.

Somers said he eliminated Pucci's job during a 2006 staff reorganization at 19th District Court. But Pucci sued, alleging she was fired after she complained that the judge was sending religious messages on stationery and proselytizing from the bench.

Before trial, Somers signed an order effectively making the City of Dearborn, which pays for District Court operations, liable for employment decisions. But the jury verdict against him was in his "personal capacity," not in his official role as a judge.

The appeals court said it was a critical distinction that frees Dearborn from liability in the Pucci case.

Ferry on St. Clair River shut down after ice damages dock

MARINE CITY (AP) — A ferry connecting cities in the U.S. and Canada across the St. Clair River has been shut down indefinitely due to damage by an ice jam to its Canadian dock.

The Times Herald of Port Huron reported owners of the Bluewater Ferry announced the closure Thursday and aren't sure when the ferry connecting Marine City, Michigan, and Sombra, Ontario, will resume operations. Extensive structural damage is reported at the dock.

Rob Dalgety, who owns the ferry with his brother, said contractors planned to assess the damage Friday and determine what steps are needed next. He said traffic on the ferry is typically slow this time of year, though it's used daily by workers crossing the border.

Ice jams along the St. Clair River have caused some recent flooding, as well.

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