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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 18, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Some families seeking money after 30 dogs die in kennel fire

FRUITPORT TWP. (AP) — Some dog owners are seeking compensation after 30 pets were killed during a spring break fire at a Muskegon County kennel.

Jennifer Nunez told WOOD-TV that her family is heartbroken over the death of Harley, a Newfoundland that cost more than $1,200. A daughter goes to bed with Harley's bandana.

A GoFundMe account has raised nearly $900 for victims.

Janet Rehfus, owner of Storm's Ahead Kennels in Fruitport Township, said she's working with an insurance company and her attorney. Rehfus said her "No. 1 priority" is to help families.

The fire occurred March 30 at the kennel. Authorities believe it was an accident, possibly due to an electrical problem.

Michigan House: No future deer sterilization for Ann Arbor

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan House agreed Tuesday to halt future sterilization of hunting game, potentially drawing the curtain on Ann Arbor's endeavors to contain a raging deer population.

In a 69-40 vote, lawmakers approved a bill prohibiting the state Department of Natural Resources from issuing more sterilization permits until April 1, 2022. Ann Arbor's permit — the only one in existence throughout Michigan — would remain valid until 2020.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

An ongoing deer infestation in Ann Arbor has especially proven difficult to tackle with traditional hunting due to the dense urban setting in some neighborhoods, which makes direct shooting more hazardous. As a result, the city contracted with the private company White Buffalo in an experimental research program that involves using a tranquilizer gun on the deer and then removing her ovaries. So far, 72 deer have been neutered in the last two years, and the city has earmarked $370,000 this year to pursue further deer management efforts.

The unusual method has drawn scorn from some lawmakers who find the idea of tranquilizing and surgically neutering wildlife inappropriate. Now, they hope the practice is seeing its final years in Michigan.

State seeks to toss El-Sayed's request on eligibility to run

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan secretary of state is seeking to dismiss Democrat Abdul El-Sayed's lawsuit that seeks a declaratory judgment that he's eligible to run for governor.

In a Tuesday filing, Republican Ruth Johnson said there is no "actual controversy" ripe for judicial review. She said the deadline for someone to challenge El-Sayed's candidacy is May 1, and the elections bureau is in a holding pattern.

El-Sayed pre-emptively sued in March at the request of the Michigan Democratic Party, due to questions over whether he will have been a registered and qualified Michigan voter for four years before the election. He studied and worked in New York until moving back to Michigan in 2015.

El-Sayed is declaring vindication after the state's legal response, calling the eligibility issue a "manufactured controversy."

Olympic medalist Wieber sues USA Gymnastics, Michigan State

EAST LANSING (AP) — Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber is the latest gymnast to sue Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee over former sports doctor Larry Nasssar's sexual abuse.

Wieber was on the "Fierce Five" team that won gold in 2012. She filed a lawsuit in California on Tuesday alleging MSU and former USA Gymnastics leaders hid Nassar's conduct from the public and law enforcement. She says the abuse spanned between 2006 and 2012, her medical records were destroyed, and she and her teammates "were not protected."

More than 250 women and girls say Nassar sexually assaulting them under the guise of treatment. He's now in prison.

Accusers include three other members of the 2012 team — Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney.

Those being sued have denied cover-up allegations.

State working on plans to replace frequently struck overpass

BYRON TWP. (AP) — State Department of Transportation officials are working on plans to replace and upgrade a West Michigan overpass that has been struck seven times this year by oversized trucks.

The project on the 100th Street bridge over U.S. 131 in Kent County's Byron Township tentatively is scheduled for 2020.

Two tractor-trailers hit the bridge in January, damaging fascia beams. Only eastbound traffic is allowed on 100th Street.

The bridge is expected to be repaired with traffic in both directions restored by Memorial Day. A resurfacing project on U.S. 131 will include removal of a few inches of pavement that will increase clearance beneath the bridge.

Between 1985 and 2003, there only were six documented times in which the bridge was struck by vehicles with high loads.

Former Macomb County clerk appealing ouster by judge

WARREN (AP) — A woman who was removed from office as the elected clerk in Macomb County is appealing the decision.

Karen Spranger filed documents Tuesday in the Michigan appeals court. She says she was entitled to a jury trial.

A judge ordered Spranger out of office in March. County officials successfully argued that she didn't live at the Macomb County address listed on her 2016 campaign document.

Spranger was unknown before she won the clerk's race as a Republican. She benefited from the popularity of President Donald Trump, who got 53 percent of the vote in Macomb County.

She insists she lived at the Warren house, although it didn't have utilities.

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