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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 23, 2018 at 9:00 AM

DNR bans open burning in 15 mid-Michigan counties

LANSING (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources has banned open burning in 15 mid-Michigan counties because of dry conditions.

The ban prohibits the burning of leaves and debris, and includes burn barrels and other types of open burning.

The DNR says the likelihood of fire spreading out of control is high.

The area covered by the ban stretches from Saginaw Bay to Muskegon on Lake Michigan. It includes the following counties: Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Mecosta, Osceola, Wexford, Missaukee, Clare, Isabella, Midland, Bay, Gladwin and Arenac.

Man who fled police, killed 2 in car crash, is charged

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A southwestern Michigan man whom authorities say fled police and crashed into a car, killing two people, faces five charges including two counts each of operating while intoxicated causing death and fleeing an officer.

A judge set bond at $500,000 for Thomas William Vyverman of Kalamazoo during his arraignment Thursday. Vyverman also is charged with resisting and obstructing.

Kalamazoo police said an officer on foot responding to a call about a driver with a gun tried to stop Vyverman, but he sped away in a truck. A patrol car chased him, but police said they discontinued the pursuit before the truck hit a car carrying 66-year-old Juan Muniz and his wife, 62-year-old Mary Muniz.

Vyverman fled on foot before being arrested.

State House OKs bill linking charter, public schools on ballots

LANSING (AP) — Charter schools could receive the same designation as public schools in a district's millage ballot under a bill narrowly approved by the Michigan House.

Legislators on Thursday voted 56-53 to pass an amendment to the General Property Tax Act allowing districts to describe charter schools as "public schools" on ballots.

The initiative now heads to the Senate. It follows a January law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder to let charter schools receive revenue from certain voter-approved property tax hikes.

Supporters say the adjustment is needed given the length of some districts' current ballots, which must list each individual charter school.

Democrats counter that voters would be unaware of their tax dollars being funneled to for-profit education corporations.

Judge orders Michigan family to remove 3 potbellied pigs

YPSILANTI (AP) — A judge has ordered a Washtenaw County family to remove three of their four potbellied pigs from their rental home.

Stephanie Rowland, 38, went to court earlier this year to fight a citation that called for the pigs' removal after a neighbor filed a complaint in August 2017. The City of Ypsilanti’s ordinance prohibits livestock.

Rowland argued that the pigs provide emotional support and medical assistance, and can be kept at the home under the Fair Housing Act. One of the pigs is trained to respond to seizures and low blood sugar, she said.

Judge Kirk W. Tabbey ruled Wednesday that Rowland must remove three of the pigs by April 18 because the law only covers one animal, The Ann Arbor News reported. Tabbey ordered the city to investigate and find reasonable accommodation for the fourth pig.

The family plans to find a short-term home for the pigs while looking for a larger home they can all live in.

No limit to Michigan school union resignations, state court says

SAGINAW (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has cleared the way for public school employees to quit a union at any time.

The court this week rejected an appeal from the Michigan Education Association, known as the MEA. It means a 2017 appeals court decision will stand.

The appeals court said restricting school union resignations to just one month a year conflicts with the Legislature's goal of giving employees more choices under Michigan's right-to-work law.

The law says workers can't be forced to support a union to keep a job. The MEA had argued that the resignation rule should be an internal union matter.

The cases involved schools in Saginaw, Standish, Grand Blanc and Battle Creek. The appeals began after a series of decisions by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.

Mail carrier dies after being pinned by postal vehicle

LYNDON TWP. (AP) — A mail carrier has died after being pinned by a U.S. Postal Service vehicle that rolled down a driveway in Michigan.

State police said 56-year-old Tracy Sylo of Pinckney died Wednesday in Washtenaw County's Lyndon Township while delivering a package to a home.

Police said the mail truck was parked at the top of the driveway of a home that sits on a hill. The vehicle rolled and struck the mail carrier, pinning her between the vehicle and a metal guardrail.

A statement from police says Sylo died at the scene.

The death is under investigation and police are working to determine why the truck rolled.

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