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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jan 12, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Fiat Chrysler to invest $1B in Michigan plant, pay out bonuses

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler is moving production of heavy-duty trucks from Mexico to Michigan and paying bonuses to U.S. workers in response to the passage of U.S. tax reform late last year.

The automaker will invest $1 billion in its Warren Truck Assembly Plant to make the Ram Heavy Duty Truck starting in 2020. That truck is currently made in Saltillo, Mexico, where workers will continue to make commercial vehicles.

FCA said the Warren plant will add 2,500 new jobs.

The company also plans to pay $2,000 bonuses this spring to about 60,000 hourly and salaried U.S. employees. Senior executives won't get the bonus.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company should adjust its manufacturing footprint to reflect "improvement in the U.S. business environment." He said employees should also share in the tax savings.

Michigan attorney general seeks long prison sentence for Nassar

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan attorney general's office has asked a judge to sentence a disgraced Michigan sports doctor to 40-125 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting seven girls.

The office filed its sentencing memorandum Wednesday for Larry Nassar, 54, ahead of a sentencing hearing beginning next week in Ingham County. He faces a minimum sentence of 25 years.

The Lansing State Journal reported that Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis wrote in the filing that Nassar for decades preyed upon unknowing victims at every turn and at every opportunity," including at USA Gymnastics training facilities.

A message seeking comment was left for one of Nassar's attorneys.

A federal judge in December 2017 sentenced Nassar to 60 years in prison for three child pornography convictions. Nassar is appealing that sentence.

Man gets life without parole for beating death of 4-year-old boy

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A West Michigan man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the beating death of his girlfriend's 4-year-old son.

Elis Ortiz-Nieves struggled with officers and at one point was forcibly removed from the courtroom while Kent County Circuit Judge Mark Trusock described injuries suffered by Giovanni Mejias prior to his June 13, 2017, death.

An autopsy showed the boy died from internal bleeding caused by an abdominal tear. He also suffered seven blows to his head, and cigarettes were extinguished on his body.

Trusock told Ortiz-Nieves, "You are a monster and, quite frankly, you are evil."

Ortiz-Nieves told the packed courtroom he never abused the boy. He was convicted of felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

The victim's grandmother, Nora Villarreal-Mulero, said Ortiz-Nieves "tore our family apart."

Five months in jail for Michigan man who cut railroad wires

BATTLE CREEK (AP) — Over the objections of prosecutors, a judge has sentenced a man to just five months in jail for cutting railroad safety wires in the Battle Creek area.

Jeff Taylor is a former employee for Canadian National Railway who now runs an Upper Peninsula motel. His lawyer said Taylor had mental health problems and wasn't targeting a specific train.

Railroad crossing arms went down and red flashing lights were activated when the wires were cut. Prosecutors said Taylor cut 10 wires on three different days while visiting family, forcing train engineers to rely on their own awareness to avoid collisions or other problems.

Taylor appeared in Grand Rapids federal court on Wednesday.

Defense attorney William Weise said Taylor believed his conduct "would be a nuisance" to the railroad, not anything worse.

Michigan towing company worker struck and killed, police say

BRIDGEPORT TWP. (AP) — Authorities said a suspected drunken driver struck and killed a towing company employee who was loading a vehicle onto a flatbed truck in Michigan.

The crash happened Wednesday night in Saginaw County's Bridgeport Township. The Saginaw News reported township police Chief David Duffett identified the Mike's Wrecker Service employee as 41-year-old Thomas Tripp of Saginaw.

Duffett said a 49-year-old Bridgeport Township woman suspected of hitting Tripp was being held at the Saginaw County Jail pending formal charges.

The crash is under investigation.

Township appeals decision on Nestle pump station permit

OSCEOLA TWP. (AP) — An appeals court is being asked to overturn a ruling that a bottled-water company should be allowed to build a pumping station as part of its plans to get more groundwater in West Michigan for the Ice Mountain brand.

Nestle Waters North America sued after Osceola County's Osceola Township rejected a zoning permit. Nestle wants to withdraw up to 400 gallons a minute, with help from a pipeline booster station at SpringHill Camps, a summer camp.

The Detroit News reported Osceola Township on Wednesday appealed Mason County Judge Susan Sniegowski's December 2017 ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Nestle has said the judge's decision was appropriate.

The dispute is separate from a decision to increase water output. That request is pending at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

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