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State Briefs

By the Associated Press • Sep 28, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Overseas cigarette shipment turns costly for Michigan man

LANSING (AP) — A Michigan man who sent thousands of cigarettes to a friend overseas appears to be on the hook for thousands of dollars in taxes.

Davor Vulic purchased 1,800 cartons of cigarettes from an out-of-state business and shipped them to a friend in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who covered all costs. The Michigan appeals court says Vulic is liable for state taxes, even if the cartons were never opened in Michigan and he didn't make a profit.

In a 2-1 decision, the court says Vulic was "in control" of a tobacco product, which is enough to trigger the tax.

Judge Amy Ronayne Krause disagreed. She said the "unusual facts" of the case probably weren't anticipated by the Michigan Legislature.

Krause said Vulic wasn't a consumer or user of the cigarettes.

Police say 2 kids hurt in shooting at home used for child care

DEARBORN (AP) — Two young children were wounded in an apparently accidental shooting at a home that was being used for child care in suburban Detroit, police said.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said a preliminary investigation has revealed a toddler in the home "accessed a handgun and the weapon discharged" at about 10:20 a.m. Wednesday.

The wounded children both are believed to be 3 years old. They were hospitalized in critical, but stable condition.

Haddad said the gun was kept in the Dearborn home, west of Detroit. Several other children were at the home at the time of the shooting and were taken to the police station so they could be reunited with their parents.

Ex-Macomb County engineer pleads guilty to federal charge

DETROIT (AP) — A former county official in suburban Detroit has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery as part of a corruption scandal.

Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch said former Macomb County chief engineer James Pistilli, 68, of Holly entered the plea Wednesday.

Lemisch said Pistilli, while working for a private engineering firm in 2014, conspired with others to pay a $2,000 cash bribe to Steven Hohensee, who was then the superintendent of the Department of Public Works for Washington Township. Pistilli did not know that Hohensee was cooperating with the FBI.

Pistilli faces up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. He's scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 30, 2018.

Egg industry equipment maker moves to new Michigan facility

LOWELL (AP) — A company that makes computerized equipment for cage-free egg production has moved to a new $2 million facility in West Michigan that's more than twice the size of its previous headquarters.

Poultry Management Systems Inc. is planning to create more than two dozen high-tech jobs at the facility in Lowell, the Grand Rapids Press reported. The 36-year-old company was based at the corporate offices of Herbruck's Poultry Ranch in Saranac.

The new facility will host software development, light manufacturing and assembly of electronic components. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. supported the expansion with a $175,000 performance-based grant. The company says the site also would work for future expansion.

State commission votes to lift rule on proximity of liquor stores

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has voted to lift a longstanding rule prohibiting liquor stores from operating within a half-mile of each other.

The Detroit News reported approval Tuesday from the three-member panel allows the rule-making process to proceed.

The proposal prompted public safety and business concerns. Michigan legislators could intervene, however, before the rule is officially revoked.

Some liquor store owners say that they built or bought their businesses with the expectation that other stores couldn't open within a half-mile. They also say that because Michigan sets minimum liquor prices, their ability to compete already is limited.

Commission Chairman Andrew Deloney said he doesn't think state government should provide liquor stores with "protection" from competition.

The state says Michigan retail liquor sales topped $1 billion in 2016.

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