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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 26, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Woman found dead in fire-gutted home identified

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS (AP) — Investigators said a woman whose body was found in a vacant, boarded-up Muskegon-area home gutted by fire died with a lighter in her hand.

Muskegon Heights Fire Chief Christopher Dean said 48-year-old Yolanda Tate may have used the lighter for illumination before the fire began early Saturday. Dean said Wednesday that the Muskegon Heights woman didn't live at the home and it wasn't clear what she was doing there.

Michigan State Police fire investigators found her body on the home's second floor Tuesday. Dean said the body was partially covered by debris from a roof collapse.

A cause of death hasn't been released, but Dean said there were no obvious signs of trauma.

Dean said the home was boarded up before the fire, but some boards had been removed.

Group challenging state's approval of Nestle's water permit

LANSING (AP) — A group is trying to stop Nestle Waters North America Inc. from pumping more West Michigan groundwater for its Ice Mountain brand.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation said Wednesday that within 60 days it will file a petition for a contested case against Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality, which this month approved Nestle's application to remove 400 gallons of water per minute from an Osceola Township aquifer. Nestle formerly had been permitted to withdraw 250 gallons per minute.

The conservation group says the DEQ has "clearly bent the law to favor Nestle" by granting the permit before the company could provide "real data" on the consequences of withdrawing the additional water.

Nestle issued a statement saying more than 16 years of scientific data supported its application

The DEQ declined comment.

Detroit funeral home's license suspended after violations

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit funeral home was shut down Wednesday after state inspectors found decomposing embalmed bodies and other violations.

The mortuary science license of Cantrell Funeral Home on the city's east side has been summarily suspended, according to Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Violations include two improperly stored bodies covered in what appeared to be mold and a third body with unknown fluids covering the facial area. Inspections also turned up an unsanitary embalming room.

The establishment also was operating with an expired prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration. The state says money for prepaid funeral goods or services had not been deposited with an authorized escrow agent within 30 days of receipt.

State officials and state police were at the funeral home Wednesday as bodies were removed in hearses.

Owner Raymond Cantrell told reporters that some bodies were stored in the garage "so that we wouldn't have an aroma filling up the funeral home."

"If I had them in the funeral home, then my funeral home would not smell fresh," he said.

Hear ye, hear ye — eh? Supreme Court hears case in UP

SAULT STE. MARIE (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has crossed the Mackinac Bridge for the first time, hearing a case in the Upper Peninsula as part of an effort to take its work outside Lansing.

The case is a dispute over liability in a golf cart crash in suburban Detroit. A golfer was hurt when he was struck by a cart driven by another golfer. Is it a case of ordinary negligence or a higher legal standard known as reckless misconduct?

The court heard arguments Wednesday at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie.

Michigan's top court has had two justices from Sault Ste. Marie, the last in 1973.

Police shooting of hatchet-wielding man ruled self-defense

OAK PARK (AP) — Prosecutors said a suburban Detroit police officer who fatally shot a hatchet-wielding man in December 2017 acted in self-defense.

The office of Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper determined earlier this year that the officer was cleared of wrongdoing in the death of 48-year-old Todd A. Stone.

Oak Park police said Stone called them and said he had a gun and hatchet. He also told police he'd shoot up the neighborhood. Officers responded and one of them shot Stone three times as he advanced toward police.

Family members said Stone had mental health issues and had been diagnosed with cancer. His mother Margie Stone told MLive that the situation could have been handled another way.

Oak Park police said the officer followed department policies. Mayor Marian McLellan said no policy changes are needed.

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