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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 3, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Michigan OKs Nestle's bid to pump more water for bottling

OSCEOLA TWP. (AP) — Michigan officials have approved a permit allowing Nestle Waters North America Inc. to pump more groundwater for its Ice Mountain brand.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ruled Monday the company's application to increase water output to 400 gallons a minute meets state standards.

Officials said in a statement that most of the public comments they received expressed opposition to the permit, but the department "thoroughly and conscientiously" applied the law in its review.

The company had been permitted to withdraw 250 gallons a minute from an underground aquifer in West Michigan's Osceola Township. The township originally denied a permit application by Nestle to build a pumping station to get more groundwater. A Mason County judge ruled Nestle could build the station, and the township appealed.

Man dies, officer wounded in shooting in southern Michigan

JACKSON (AP) — A man has died and a police officer was wounded in a leg following an exchange of gunfire in southern Michigan on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

The shooting happened in Jackson after police were called to respond to a report of a domestic assault. The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported three officers were on the scene when 34-year-old Christopher Hall opened fire, prompting police to shoot back.

Authorities said Hall died at the scene and the officer was hospitalized in stable condition. State police Detective 1st Lt. Tom DeClercq said preliminary findings showed two Jackson officers fired at Hall.

DeClercq said a woman injured before police arrived was in stable condition.

Floyd Hall said his son has some mental health concerns and wasn't on medication. "He had these demons bothering him,” the father said.

Federal funds expected to help construct sea lamprey barrier

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Federal funding is expected to help with the construction of a proposed river barrier aimed at controlling sea lamprey access into the Grand River.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission expects a $7 million increase to its annual budget that would help pay for the barrier.

The barrier is part of a Grand River restoration project and would deny sea lampreys access to more than 1,900 miles of new stream habitat.

The adjustable hydraulic structure would be upstream of a dam that currently serves as a barrier to the eel-like parasites that attack fish such as trout, salmon and whitefish. They invaded the Great Lakes in the last century and decimated native fish until a poison was developed that brought them under control.

Muskegon police to standardize officers’ service guns

MUSKEGON (AP) — Public safety officers in Muskegon are getting new, standardized guns.

The Muskegon City Commission approved a plan last month to spend nearly $50,000 of drug forfeiture money to purchase 90 new 9-mm handguns and holsters. Muskegon police officers previously had to buy their own pistols when hired.

"I haven't ever worked for a department that you had to buy your own guns," said Jeffrey Lewis, director of public safety. "That presents its own inherent problems. We currently own all of our long guns, but by us now owning all of them, we know what certain type they're using and what was issued to who and when."

The new guns are gender-neutral and efficient, according to Lewis. Standardizing weapons will hold officers more accountable in case of an officer-involved shooting and help curtail investigative discrepancies, he said.

Officers should receive their new guns by spring qualification exams in May.

Ex-director of Michigan animal shelter faces cruelty charge

HOWELL TWP. (AP) — A former director of a non-profit Michigan pet rescue shelter has been charged with animal cruelty several months after about 120 animals were seized by authorities.

Sharen Kizer, 77, of Howell is scheduled for arraignment April 11 after being charged last week with one felony count.

Livingston County Animal Control in December 2017 seized about 120 dogs and cats as well as a few birds from Last Chance Rescue in Howell Township and two other sites. The seizure followed complaints about the rescue's conditions and care of animals.

Kizer's ex-husband and Howell attorney Tom Kizer said a lawyer from his firm will defend her. He said she's dedicated more than 20 years to rescuing animals and he'd "be shocked if she ever abused animals."

Man cleared in girl's death loses lawsuit against doctors

CADILLAC (AP) — A man charged with killing a Cadillac toddler before the case was dropped has lost an appeal in a lawsuit against doctors who examined evidence.

David Ferris claimed his constitutional rights were violated because opinions by the doctors led to a murder charge against him in Wexford County. A federal appeals court said Friday that the doctors might have been negligent but they didn't violate Ferris' rights.

Nineteen-month-old Kalla Fisher died in 2013. She was the daughter of Ferris' future wife.

Ferris was charged with murder, but the case was dropped after a Detroit-area forensic pathologist found errors in the autopsy and a different cause of death.

The Grand Rapids Press said Ferris settled a lawsuit against Cadillac police and the Wexford County medical examiner for $250,000.

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