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State Briefs

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

Firefighters contain 250-acre wildfire in Newaygo County forest

BROOKS TWP. (AP) — Firefighters have contained a wildfire that burned a portion of a forest in West Michigan, authorities said.

The fire covered about 250 acres in Newaygo County near Bills Lake. Firefighters responded Tuesday and officials said cooler temperatures and a decrease in winds helped the flames die down.

No injuries were reported, but a few homes were evacuated as a precaution.

The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.

Other smaller fires were reported elsewhere in the state this week. The National Weather Service had issued a red flag warning Tuesday for Michigan's entire Lower Peninsula, saying high winds, dry conditions and warm temperatures could cause wildfires to quickly spread.

90-year-old dies after SUV hit by falling tree in Kent County

LOWELL TWP. (AP) — Police said a 90-year-old man has died after the SUV in which he was riding was crushed by a falling tree in West Michigan.

The Kent County Sheriff's Department said Howard Thumser of Lowell was pronounced dead at the scene of Tuesday afternoon's accident in Lowell Township.

An initial investigation found his 83-year-old wife, Judith Thumser, was driving when witnesses say a tree fell and hit another tree, sending the second tree falling onto the windshield and roof of the SUV. Judith Thumser had what were described as minor injuries.

The death is being investigated as accidental.

The Kent County Road Commission responded and removed the fallen tree.

Lansing-area township reopens 7 sex assault cases

MERIDIAN TWP. (AP) — Authorities in a Michigan community have reopened seven sexual assault cases, prompted by a 2004 abuse report that failed to result in charges against now-disgraced Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Meridian Township Police Chief Dave Hall said Wednesday that nearly 600 cases reported over 17 years have been reviewed and the seven reopened cases will be given to prosecutors. None of the cases involves Nassar.

Hall said police looked at the old cases to see if anything was missed. The seven reopened cases had not previously been submitted to prosecutors.

Brianne Randall-Gay was 17 when she told police in 2004 that Nassar had molested her during an appointment. Meridian Township police dropped the case after Nassar insisted he performed a legitimate procedure.

Township officials later apologized and said police were deceived. And her complaint about Nassar prompted township officials to begin looking at older cases that did not involve him.

Bill approved to let 10- to 13-year-olds hunt on public land

LANSING (AP) — Children as young as 10 could hunt on public land under a bill advancing in Michigan's Legislature.

State law now lets those who are 10-13 hunt with a gun on private property if they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or authorized adult. The measure approved 102-7 by the House on Wednesday would allow 10- to 13-year-olds to also hunt deer, bear and elk on public land.

The sponsor, Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, said many youth hunters cannot access private land. He wants to expand opportunities for young hunters.

Supporters say the bill would fix an oversight because youth hunters already can hunt on private land open to the public but not other public land.

87-year-old woman who owned pill mill gets year in prison

DETROIT (AP) — An 87-year-old Ypsilanti woman who hired doctors to peddle dangerous drugs has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Detroit federal Judge Arthur Tarnow on Wednesday ordered one year and one day imprisonment for Lillian Meghnot. The sentence includes about $40,000 in restitution and three years of supervised release.

Meghnot's husband ran a corrupt medical office near Ann Arbor. She took over after his death in 2011 and admits she conspired with doctors to sell illegal prescriptions for powerful opioids. Meghnot has said she made a "great big mistake."

Sentencing guidelines called for a prison sentence of at least 17 ½ years. Prosecutors recommended just two years because of relatively light sentences already given to two doctors who were co-defendants.

Meghnot sought a year of home confinement.

Michigan offers grants for invasive species control projects

LANSING (AP) — State agencies in Michigan are inviting requests for funding of projects intended to prevent and control invasive species.

The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program expects to distribute about $3.6 million this year.

Plants, animals and other organisms become invasive when they're introduced to an area where they're not native and cause harm to the environment, economy or human health as they spread.

The grant program is overseen by Michigan's departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development.

In the four years since it was created, the program has awarded some $14 million to 78 projects targeting invaders such as phragmites, Japanese knotweed and oak wilt.

A handbook with information on applying for grants is available online. A webinar explaining the process is scheduled for May 23.

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