State Briefs

Associated Press • Feb 2, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Annual Ann Arbor deer cull comes up short of city's goal

ANN ARBOR (AP) — An annual effort to reduce Ann Arbor's deer population has come up short of the city's goal.

Sharpshooters killed 115 deer from Jan. 8 through Wednesday. Plans had called for up to 250 deer to be culled in the hunt in city parks, nature areas and other locations.

A memo from the city's administrator to the Ann Arbor City Council said challenges included the inability to get to some areas where deer were located, weather patterns, and — to a lesser extent — interruptions from protesters.

People opposing the hunt gathered near shooting zones. When they saw sharpshooters, they yelled: "Stop the shoot! Save the deer!"

A total of 156 deer were killed during culls in 2016 and 2017.

Doctor jailed by ICE for 1992 misdemeanors released on bond

BATTLE CREEK (AP) — A Polish-born doctor who legally came to the U.S. as a young child was released on bond Thursday following his arrest by immigration agents over misdemeanor convictions 25 years ago.

Lukasz Niec posted a $10,000 bond and was released from a county jail in Battle Creek, Michigan. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say Niec was arrested Jan. 16 for "administrative immigration violations" and awaits removal proceedings.

ICE did not comment Thursday on the status of his case. Individuals in immigration court can be detained for months.

The agency said the 43-year-old Kalamazoo doctor, who has a scheduled hearing on Feb. 22, can be deported for the 1992 convictions dating to when he was in high school.

The convictions were for malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen goods. Relatives say Niec pleaded guilty through a program to help young offenders and was told it wouldn't be used in a deportation.

The agency has said he came under scrutiny after more than a dozen "encounters with local law enforcement," mostly involving driving infractions, after the convictions. He was charged in 2013 with domestic violence but was acquitted.

The Kalamazoo doctor and his wife both have a daughter from a previous relationship. They married in July 2016.

Niec's attorney, Russell Abrutyn, told The Associated Press ahead of the release that Niec's return "would mean the world" to his family, which has been "devastated without him at home."

Bronson Healthcare, which owns the hospital where Niec works, released a statement after his arrest, saying it "simply does not make sense" to lock up a "skilled and caring physician." Niec has been on the Bronson staff since 2007.

Governor wants to boost funding for water infrastructure

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder wants to improve the state's water infrastructure by investing $110 million annually to help ensure access to safe drinking water.

Snyder's office said Thursday the money would come from a new state fee on water customers. It would be used for priority projects such as water main and lead service line replacement, upgrades for failing infrastructure and collection of information on water infrastructure.

Lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint has been blamed primarily on his administration's failures in 2014 and 2015.

The proposal would implement a $1 annual fee per person starting in 2020 and increase by $1 per person to $5 annually per person in 2024. The proposal would expire in 2040. Customers of public water supply systems serving 1,000 people or more would be charged.

Police: Man kills 2 workers at different Michigan companies

TAYLOR (AP) — Authorities say a former trucking company employee fatally shot two workers at separate Detroit-area businesses before being wounded by responding officers.

Taylor Police Chief John Blair told WDIV-TV that the suspect walked into BSD Linehaul about 10:30 a.m. Thursday and fired shots from what is believed to have been an assault rifle.

Blair said the suspect then ran outside and carjacked a semi-trailer. The trucking company is southwest of Detroit.

Another person was killed about 30 miles away at a business in Pontiac, north of Detroit.

The suspect was later shot by police in Waterford, near Pontiac. He was being treated at a hospital.

Blair said the suspect was let go by the trucking company in November and described him as "a disgruntled employee" who "came back for some sort of vengeance."

Trial date scheduled for man in Michigan bike crash case

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A new trial date has been scheduled for a man involved in a 2016 crash that killed and injured multiple bicyclists in southwestern Michigan.

A settlement conference is scheduled for April 13 for Charles Pickett in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court. Jury selection is scheduled to start April 23.

The update comes after the Michigan Supreme Court recently decided against hearing an appeal of murder charges.

Pickett is accused of driving under the influence of drugs and plowing into a group of bicyclists in Cooper Township on June 7, 2016, killing five and injuring four. His girlfriend told police he downed handfuls of pain pills and muscle relaxers before driving.

Pickett's lawyer has argued the evidence established, at most, the elements of reckless driving causing death.

Crews step up efforts to patch potholes on crumbling freeway

WARREN (AP) — Road crews are stepping up efforts to patch potholes on a busy stretch of I-696 in the Detroit area following reports of vehicles being damaged by concrete that may have been loosed by fluctuating winter temperatures.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says crews worked extended hours Thursday on the freeway as well as along I-75 ahead of anticipated snow in the coming days. The extra work is in Macomb and Oakland counties.

Vehicle damage reports have come this week. A $90 million construction project starting later this year is expected to shut down part of I-696, but MDOT has said it's working to do what it can ahead of time fixing damage linked to freezing and thawing.

Authorities: Missing girl, 16, found dead was missing shoe

KALAMAZOO (AP) — Authorities say a 16-year-old girl whose body was found over the weekend in a wooded area of southwestern Michigan was missing a shoe.

Police are seeking information from the public about the death of Mujey Dumbuya, which is being investigated as a homicide. Her body was found Sunday in Kalamazoo and one of her pink tennis shoes was missing. Cause of death wasn't released.

Police say she was reported as a possible runaway Jan. 25 in Grand Rapids. Family members say, however, that she was reported as missing — not as a runway — after she left for the bus a day earlier and didn't show up at school.

Police found her body after it was spotted by two people out for a walk.

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