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State Briefs

• Dec 4, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Here are some of the stories making news across Michigan today:

Searchers scour swamp for couple missing for nearly 1 month

HOUGHTON LAKE (AP) — Volunteers have searched part of a northern Michigan swamp for a man and a woman who've been missing nearly a month.

Twelve volunteers joined six members of the Wexaukee Amateur Radio Club during Saturday's search for 34-year-old Jeff Hurley of Prudenville and 19-year-old Alexandria Foust of Cadillac.

The search of the Dead Stream Swamp began near the site where hunters found Hurley's truck stuck in mud Nov. 7 in a wooded area of Missaukee County.

The groups zigzagged through the swamp, searching the stream banks and an old railroad for possible clues.

Michigan State Police plan to organize additional searches throughout the week.

Anyone with information on Hurley and Foust's disappearance should call troopers at the Houghton Lake State Police post at 989-422-5103.

Michigan task force suggests drone use limits to lawmakers

LANSING (AP) — A new report by a Michigan task force says the state Legislature should limit the operation of drones around areas such as correctional facilities, tourist destinations and prominent bridges.

The 27-member Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force was created earlier this year to form statewide policy on the operation and regulation of unmanned aircraft systems. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature will review the recommendations in the panel's report, which was released last month.

"As the use of drones becomes more popular for commercial and recreational use, it is critically important that we develop a statewide policy to ensure the safety of Michiganders while still allowing the creative freedom necessary for developing new applications for this technology," Snyder said in a statement.

The report released Nov. 22 report had 13 recommendations, including the creation of an Unmanned Aerial System Joint Program Office, developing education and outreach strategies and expanding the American Center for Mobility to include unmanned aircraft.

That center is a test site for autonomous vehicles.

The panel's report said it worked to balance safety needs while respecting the Federal Aviation Administration's authority over airspace.

"With this in mind, the UASTF recommends that the Legislature consider legislation that would prohibit interference with a key facility, as currently defined in statute with a UAS. This legislation should include no specific airspace restriction, but rather a prohibition on a certain conduct such as 'interference' or similarly defined term," the task force's report states.

The report also specifically names Mackinac Island as an area that should be protected.

Highland Township girl critically injured during dog attack

HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP (AP) — A 7-year-old Oakland County girl has been critically injured after an attack by two dogs her parents had taken in.

The sheriff's office says the dogs began biting the girl Thursday afternoon after she opened the gate to their pen outside her family's Highland Township home, northwest of Detroit.

The girl's mother was able to get the dogs back into the pen and suffered a deep bite to one of her arms. The girl suffered wounds to her neck and was being treated at a hospital.

Sheriff's officials say the family had received the dogs from a Humane Society in Pennsylvania. Oakland County authorities seized one of the dogs. The other escaped under the pen's fence.

The girl's parents signed four other dogs over to local Animal Control officials.

Township under scrutiny for use of surplus military gear

THETFORD TOWNSHIP (AP) — The Genesee County sheriff says authorities are investigating how a township police department has used more than $1 million in surplus military equipment from the federal government.

Thetford Township police Chief Robert Kenny said he has participated in the program since 2008. He denies any wrongdoing.

The township has roughly 7,000 residents, north of Flint. A township trustee, Stan Piechnik, says some equipment, including all-terrain vehicles, has been used by the police chief's friends.

The Journal says records show the township has received mine detecting sets, rugged terrain forklifts and trailer-mounted hydro seeders.

Township Supervisor Gary Stevens says he doesn't see any benefits for residents. Sheriff Robert Pickell (Pi-KELL') confirms there's an investigation but declined to offer many details.

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