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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM

2 Michigan residents stuck in Carlsbad Caverns elevator for 3 hours

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Three tourists visiting New Mexico's famed Carlsbad Caverns National Park were trapped in an elevator 740 feet underground for three hours after the elevator broke down, officials said Tuesday.

Rescue workers on Monday used harnesses to hoist the three out of the elevator's escape hatch and transfer them to a working elevator, the National Park Service said in a statement.

No one was injured and those rescued — two Michigan residents ages 17 and 46, and a 66-year-old New Mexico woman — were in good spirits after they were lifted to the surface, the park service said.

Park rangers talked with the three while they were stuck inside the elevator, keeping them updated on efforts to get them out.

An inspection of the elevator that stalled indicated that a worn cable that sends signals to the elevator controls caused the problem.

Michigan medical marijuana card holders to see tax change

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan's marijuana industry likely won't face any changes from the federal government, but the state has altered a tax on medical marijuana card holders.

The federal budget passed last week indicated that the government will continue to not enforce federal drug laws in states with legalized medical marijuana, the Detroit Free Press reported.

But Michigan's Department of Treasury issued a bulletin earlier this year that said it expects medical marijuana card holders to pay a 6 percent tax on purchased products regardless of where it's sold. Those who use dispensaries to purchase medical marijuana will pay the 6 percent sales tax and a 3 percent excise tax at the dispensary.

The tax will now also apply to patients buying products from a caregiver certified to grow a regulated amount of plants for patients. Patients who currently use a caregiver haven't paid taxes on the products they've purchased since the old medical marijuana law was passed in 2008.

The tax will be an honor system for those patients because they'll have to claim what they've purchased on their annual state tax returns as a use tax, according a Treasury Department spokesman.

Searchers find 2 bodies in northern Michigan swamp

HOUGHTON LAKE (AP) — Search crews found two bodies in a northern Michigan swamp believed to be those of a man and woman missing since November 2017, police said.

Crews with search dogs found the bodies on Monday after reaching a previously inaccessible area of the Dead Stream Swamp in Missaukee County, the state police said. That is near where a truck belonging to 34-year-old Jeff Hurley of Prudenville was found in November stuck in mud during the search for him and 19-year-old Alexandria Foust of Cadillac.

Foust's aunt, Jerri Hooker, said the family is fairly certain that the bodies are those of the couple while awaiting for investigators to determine how they died.

Judge ousts Macomb County clerk over residency requirement

WARREN (AP) — A woman who benefited from President Donald Trump's popularity has been ordered to leave the office of clerk in Michigan's third-largest county.

Karen Spranger was accused of not living at a house in Warren when she filed to run for Macomb County clerk in 2016. A judge on Tuesday said she's disqualified from the $109,000-a-year job.

Spranger declined to speak to reporters as she left the county government building.

She has said she was poor and unemployed when she ran for office, but still was able to live at a house with no utilities.

Spranger was unknown before she won the clerk's race as a Republican. Trump, another Republican, got 53 percent of the vote in Macomb County. In two previous presidential elections, the county backed Democrat Barack Obama.

Grand Rapids airport starts work on $30 million repair project

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Gerald R. Ford International Airport has started work on a $30 million project to repair the area where aircraft are parked, loaded and refueled.

Construction on the terminal apron at the Grand Rapids airport will be completed in seven phases over two years to allow for adequate gate space for air carriers as the busy summer travel months approach. Construction started this week.

The project will remove aging concrete pavement and replace it with new concrete.

In addition to the apron repair, the airport is installing new LED lighting in the apron area to reduce energy usage as well as upgrading the stormwater drainage system and underground utilities.

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