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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • May 1, 2018 at 9:00 AM

2-year-old dies after being found in central Michigan pond

PIERSON (AP) — A 2-year-old boy has died after being pulled from a pond near the family's rural home in central Michigan, police said.

Michigan State Police said emergency crews were called Sunday afternoon to the home near the Montcalm County village of Pierson about the child being found unresponsive in the water by family members.

Family members and medical workers tried to revive the boy, police said, but weren't successful. Alexander Sheldon was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

Police said an investigation was continuing into the circumstances of the drowning at the home about 25 miles north of Grand Rapids.

Crews finish sealing damaged Great Lakes electric cables

MACKINAW CITY (AP) — Officials said Monday that crews have finished capping and sealing two electric cables that were severed by a suspected boat anchor strike in the waterway that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

A team of investigators led by the U.S. Coast Guard said the cables owned by American Transmission Co. were returned to the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The company is working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on a plan to remove them.

Officials said they're still investigating what caused the damage, although the state attorney general said a tugboat anchor was dragged across them April 1.

About 600 gallons of mineral oil insulation fluid leaked from the cables, while roughly 625 gallons were recovered. 

Also damaged were two oil pipelines and another company's out-of-service electric cables.

Belle Tire agrees to $343,000 deal with government over pay

ALLEN PARK (AP) — The government says a Michigan-based tire dealer has agreed to pay $343,000 in back wages to 1,200 employees.

Belle Tire was accused of failing to include bonuses and commissions in pay rates when calculating overtime. The agreement announced Monday by the U.S. Labor Department affects employees at 100 stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, although most are in Michigan.

Allen Park-based Belle Tire said it wasn't aware of the wrong calculations until the government raised the issue. The company said a core belief is "to do the right thing" for customers and employees.

Labor Department official Timolin Mitchell said Belle Tire was very cooperative during the investigation.

West Michigan mom sentenced to at least 23 years for girl's death

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A Kalamazoo woman has been sentenced to at least 23 years in prison for the death of her 4-year-old daughter, who was found wrapped in blankets and duct tape.

On Monday, a judge ordered Kelly Ballinger, 34, to serve a sentence of between 23 years, nine months and 50 years.

Jurors last month convicted Ballinger of first-degree child abuse and involuntary manslaughter in the asphyxiation death of Desaray Thompson.

A separate jury found Ballinger's boyfriend, Matthew Longenecker, guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse.

Authorities said the couple restrained Desaray with blankets and duct tape the night she died, including a blanket placed over her face. An autopsy found evidence of past abuse, such as bruising, cuts and likely a skull fracture.

Longenecker is awaiting sentencing.

Bear captured after wandering around Michigan neighborhood

MIDLAND (AP) — Wildlife workers have tranquilized and captured a black bear that was wandering around a mid-Michigan community.

The bear traveled through the backyards of a neighborhood in the city of Midland on Monday morning. WNEM-TV reported the bear was trapped inside the attached garage of a home, where it was shot with several tranquilizer darts. The 3- or 4-year-old male bear was then loaded into a bear trap so it could be taken to northern Michigan for release.

Dozens of people gathered to try to get a look at the bear. Midland police Sgt. Chris Wenzell told MLive.com that it's "a spectacle because it doesn't happen very often."

No injuries were reported.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said black bears are generally fearful of humans.

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