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State Briefs

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

Grand Rapids hospital resumes full care after heat returns

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A Grand Rapids hospital said Wednesday that it reopened all departments more than a day after directing emergency patients elsewhere because it lost heat following a steam plant explosion.

Mercy Health St. Mary's Hospital said it fully reopened its emergency department late Wednesday morning. WOOD-TV reported the hospital limited its number of scheduled surgeries for Wednesday, with plans to resume a full surgical schedule today.

The hospital lost heating after a boiler explosion late Monday at the Veolia Energy plant that provides steam for about 130 buildings in the city's downtown area.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum also closed Tuesday but reopened Wednesday.

Mayor of Upper Peninsula city dies after stroke

MARQUETTE (AP) — Marquette Mayor Tom Baldini has died after taking the top office for the city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula just last month. He was 74.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dave Campana said Baldini died Tuesday after suffering a stroke over the weekend.

Baldini was a high school government teacher in Marquette for nearly 20 years before becoming an aide to then-Gov. James Blanchard in 1984. In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated him as the U.S. chairman of the International Joint Commission for Canada and the United States managing the waterways shared by the two countries.

Baldini was elected to the Marquette City Commission in 2014 and as mayor in November.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, said Baldini was an icon in Michigan Democratic politics and the ultimate champion for the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan school district chief dies in apparent ladder fall

THREE RIVERS (AP) — Police said the superintendent of a southwestern Michigan school district has died after apparently falling from a ladder while trimming tree limbs.

Michigan State Police said Roger Rathburn was found on the ground by family members Tuesday evening at Sauganash Golf Club in Three Rivers. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rathburn was the superintendent of the 700-student Mendon Community School District.

Police said Rathburn's cause of death hasn't been determined, but he was alone on a ladder that was about 20 feet high.

A school district statement said Rathburn was a champion for kids with enthusiasm and his unparalleled commitment. The district said the staff is devastated by the tragic accident.

Michigan regulators say tax cuts likely to reduce utility bills

LANSING (AP) — Michigan regulators are ordering 13 utilities to study the impact of new federal tax cuts and how savings will be passed along to consumers through lower electric and gas bills.

The order was issued Wednesday during a special meeting called by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Utilities have until Jan. 19 to file comments with the state on how they propose to return savings to customers.

Commissioner Rachael Eubanks said utilities will likely see a "significant" reduction in federal taxes, and their response to the state will "provide broader input regarding the appropriate avenue for how to extend benefits to customers."

Commissioners want the savings calculated from the effective date of the federal law, which is next Monday.

Child badly mauled by pit bull at Kalamazoo home, police say

KALAMAZOO (AP) — Police in Kalamazoo said prosecutors will decide whether anyone will face criminal charges over a pit bull attack that badly injured a child.

Emergency crews were called to a home early Saturday after the attack on the child. Police said the child had been dropped off at the house to be watched by a family friend, whose dog mauled the youngster.

The child was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Detective Shannon Bagley said Wednesday that the latest information he had was that the child was in serious condition.

Bagley said the police report about the attack will be sent to the prosecutor's office for review.

Coast Guard ice-breaking tug frees 1,000-foot freighter

NEEBISH ISLAND (AP) — A 1,000-foot freighter has been freed from ice off the eastern edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The James R. Barker was heading to Duluth, Minnesota, when it was stopped Tuesday near Neebish Island in the St. Marys River, southeast of Sault Ste. Marie. The Coast Guard's 140-foot Biscayne Bay ice-breaking tug was called in to help.

The freighter is owned by the Interlake Steamship Co.

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