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State Briefs

By the Associated Press • Dec 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM

High winds cause power outages, affect Mackinac Bridge

MACKINAW CITY (AP) — High winds swept across Michigan on Tuesday, knocking down trees and power lines and prompting a partial closure of the Mackinac Bridge.

Winds were reported gusting more than 50 mph on Tuesday morning in places. Consumers Energy reported more than 100,000 outages, mostly in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula. DTE Energy reported several thousand scattered outages.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority said the bridge connecting Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas was closed Tuesday morning to all vehicles except for passenger cars, passenger vans and empty pickups.

In southwestern Michigan, a motorcyclist died after crashing early Tuesday into a utility truck. Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern said the truck was parked alongside a road in Kalamazoo County's Cooper Township with its warning lights activated to survey storm damage when it was hit.

High waves cause temporary shutdown of Michigan oil pipeline

ST. IGNACE (AP) — State officials said the flow of crude oil through twin underwater pipelines has been halted temporarily because of high winds and waves in the channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.

The Michigan Agency for Energy said the temporary shutdown of Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 is in keeping with a November agreement between the state and the Canadian oil transport company. 

Under the deal, operation of the line will stop when bad weather causes wave heights of 8 feet or higher for longer than an hour. Waves exceeded 9 feet on Tuesday.

The state agency said Enbridge shut down the lines at 11:37 a.m. and will resume the oil flow when conditions improve.

Line 5 carries oil from Superior, Wisconsin, to refineries at Sarnia, Ontario.

Public meetings planned on Michigan underwater oil pipelines

LANSING (AP) — State officials are kicking off a series of public discussions about the future of twin oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

They'll take feedback on a consultant's report analyzing options for Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5, which runs between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario. A nearly 5-mile-long segment lies beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which links Lakes Huron and Michigan.

The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. today in Taylor. The others will be Dec. 12 in St. Ignace and Dec. 13 in Traverse City.

Hosting the meetings are the Michigan Agency for Energy, the state attorney general's office, and the departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources.

The report by Dynamic Risk Systems Inc. analyzes six alternatives, including putting the pipelines in a tunnel beneath the straits.

Ann Arbor details plans for hunt to manage deer population

ANN ARBOR (AP) — Plans are being detailed for Ann Arbor's expanded 2018 deer hunt as part of the city's ongoing deer management efforts.

The Ann Arbor News reported nonprofit contractor White Buffalo will complete sterilizations from Jan. 2-7 by tranquilizing up to 26 female deer and surgically removing their ovaries. A hunt to kill up to 250 deer is scheduled for Jan. 8-31.

A number of parks will be closed from 3 p.m. to midnight every day for the hunt.

It could be the city's biggest hunt if it goes according to plan. A total of 156 deer were killed during hunts the last two winters.

Nichols Arboretum at the University of Michigan and some other properties at the school and Concordia University are expected to be closed on some days in January for the hunt.

John Conyers resigns from Congress amid harassment allegations

DETROIT (AP) — Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned from Congress on Tuesday after a nearly 53-year career, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job in the torrent of sexual misconduct allegations sweeping through the nation's workplaces.

The 88-year-old civil rights leader and longest-serving member of the House announced what he referred to as his "retirement" on Detroit talk radio, while continuing to deny he groped or sexually harassed women who worked for him.

"My legacy can't be compromised or diminished in any way by what we're going through now," said the congressman, who called into the radio show from the hospital where he was taken last week after complaining of lightheadedness. "This, too, shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children."

He endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to succeed him.

Conyers, who was first elected in 1964 and went on to become a founding member in 1971 of the Congressional Black Caucus, easily won re-election last year to his 27th term in his heavily Democratic district in and around Detroit. But after being publicly accused by one woman after another in recent weeks, he faced growing calls to resign from colleagues in the House, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

No prison for woman who stole $176,000 from Social Security

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit woman who looted the Social Security system for nearly 30 years has been sentenced to a halfway house for stealing $176,000.

Linda Pesenecker's mother died in 1986, but she never informed the government. Her mother's Social Security payments were mailed or flowed into their bank account until 2013.

The U.S. Attorney's Office asked for 18 months in prison Tuesday, noting that Pesenecker forged her mother's signature on a letter when investigators asked about her health.

Prison sentences are uncommon in Social Security cases, even when the fraud is significant. Pesenecker got a break from Judge Bernard Friedman. She'll spend six months in a halfway house with opportunities to leave during the day to work.

She blames her decisions on financial problems and years of trying to stay drug-free.

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