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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Feb 9, 2018 at 9:00 AM

AAA Michigan warns drivers to stay off roads if possible

ST. JOSEPH (AP) — AAA Michigan is recommending that drivers stay off the road if possible today when a winter storm is expected to dump up to a foot of snow on some southern sections of the state.

The National Weather Service says snow that began Thursday evening is expected to continue through the day today, totaling 8-12 inches by day's end in parts of southwestern Michigan including Berrien, St. Joseph and Cass counties.

In Kalamazoo and Jackson counties, accumulations of 6-10 inches are forecast.

In southeastern Michigan, a winter storm watch is in effect through tonight with 5-9 inches forecast in Detroit and its suburbs. Lower accumulations are expected to the north.

Forecasters said travel will be "very difficult to impossible" at times.

Members of Congress want 1-year deadline for Asian carp plan

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — Some members of Congress want a one-year deadline for completing a federal study on keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses on a crucial Illinois waterway.

In a letter Thursday to heads of House spending committees, 26 lawmakers from Great Lakes states said the next federal budget should order the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finish its Brandon Road Lock and Dam study by February 2019.

“Given the gravity of the situation, I hope the corps will present its findings even sooner than anticipated,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, who serves as co-chairman of the Great Lakes Task Force. “It is widely accepted that if Asian carp are able to enter the Great Lakes, it will be nearly impossible to repair the damage done to the ecosystem as well as the economy. Time is of the essence and we cannot afford any further delays.”

A draft released last year recommended a $275 million upgrade of the lock and dam near Joliet, Illinois, a choke point between the Illinois River and Lake Michigan. The river is infested with Asian carp, which could damage native fish if they become established in the lakes.

The lawmakers' letter said electric barriers and other existing protections aren't enough.

Wolverine World Wide expects to spend $40M on groundwater

ROCKFORD (AP) — A footwear manufacturer that's working to clean up dump sites in West Michigan said Thursday that it expects to spend $40 million addressing groundwater issues.

Wolverine World Wide said it expects to spend as much as $35 million for ongoing testing and monitoring of groundwater and providing bottled drinking water and water filter systems for people affected by groundwater problems. It said the remaining estimated costs are associated with consulting and other expenses this year.

The company used chemicals at its former tannery in Rockford to waterproof leather for shoes.

Wolverine, however, said it doesn't believe the contamination is responsible for reports of elevated lead levels in water. A law firm representing about 250 clients affected by contamination says two clients' properties have high lead levels.

Michigan man, 99, passed exam before killing teens in wrong-way crash

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A 99-year-old man killed two teenagers in a head-on crash by driving his RV at night without headlights on the wrong side of a Florida highway, investigators said, and records show he recently passed a re-examination in his home state of Michigan that allowed him to keep his driver's license.

Michigan driving records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press show that someone reported Walter Roney to state motor vehicle officials in September 2017, recommending the Dearborn resident be re-examined to determine whether he was still competent even though he had no recent accidents or tickets.

Roney passed that test Jan. 8, 29 days before Tuesday night's crash in Fort Pierce, Florida, that killed Santia Feketa, 18, and Britney Poindexter, 17. The best friends were on their way to a skating rink.

According to Michigan officials, drivers who are re-examined may be required to pass a driving test and tests of their vision, road sign and law knowledge to keep their license. They can also have restrictions such as a ban on night-time driving implemented.

Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Michigan Secretary of State's Office, said the re-examination determined Roney had an acceptable medical condition. Woodhams declined to specify what the condition was, citing privacy laws, and could not say what tests Roney was given.

"He was able to demonstrate to the department at the re-examination that whatever the question was, he had addressed it," Woodhams said.

Police say teen in custody after school shooting threat

BROOKLYN (AP) — Authorities said a 14-year-old boy has been taken into custody after allegedly threatening a shooting at a school in southern Michigan that prompted officials to cancel classes.

Columbia Township Police Chief David Elwell said the student was escorted by police from his home along with a parent to a health facility, where he was admitted for evaluation.

Police haven't released details of the alleged threat, but they said no injuries were reported.

Elwell told the Jackson Citizen Patriot that evidence was retrieved by police at the student's home. He declined to say what types of evidence was found.

The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office is expected to review the case following the police investigation.

Columbia School District Superintendent Pam Campbell said the district was notified early Thursday about the threat against Columbia Central Junior High School. She said a tip came in late Wednesday to the state's OK2SAY program and prompted the district to cancel classes Thursday.

Husband's bond set at $1 million after wife set on fire

HOLLY (AP) — A 55-year-old man has been arraigned on assault with intent to murder and first-degree arson charges after his wife was doused with gasoline and set on fire.

A judge on Wednesday set David Garnett Jr.'s bond at $1 million.

Police said Garnett's 56-year-old wife suffered second- and third-degree burns to one of her legs after an argument Monday evening in their Holly home, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit. She escaped through a bedroom window and sought help from neighbors who called police.

The Detroit News reported that she was released from a hospital on Wednesday.

Garnett is being held in the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac and is due back in court on Feb. 15. No defense attorney was listed Thursday on court documents.

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