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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 20, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Van Buren County teen arraigned after school threat arrest

PAW PAW (AP) — A southwestern Michigan 15-year-old has been arraigned in juvenile court following a threat of violence at his school and the discovery of guns and pipe bomb materials at his home.

The youth faced charges Monday of making a terrorist threat, two counts of possession of a shortened barrel firearm, possession of stolen firearms, and possession of bomb-making materials.

Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott said the Paw Paw High School student was arrested Sunday and is being held at a juvenile detention facility. Abbott said the student's family alerted authorities to the threat.

Abbott said he believes something "was going to happen" Monday morning.

Paw Paw Public Schools called off Monday classes as a precaution due to the threat. A search of the high school determined it was safe.

After woman's body found in Grand Rapids alley, man charged

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A Grand Rapids man has been arrested in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found in an alley.

The Grand Rapids Police Department said Monday that James Mitz, 47, faces charges of maintaining a drug house and failing to report a dead body.

Police said investigators believe 26-year-old Hillary Ann Schihl of Grand Rapids died in Mitz's home, and he moved her body from his property to avoid being involved in the investigation. Her body was found March 11.

Police said Mitz was arrested Friday. Online jail records show he remained incarcerated Monday.

Police have said the cause and manner of Schihl's death cannot be determined until toxicology results are completed.

Gov. Snyder approves cybersecurity FOIA exemptions

LANSING (AP) — Open-records disclosures can no longer include information on cybersecurity plans and vulnerabilities in Michigan.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Monday that allows for the exclusion of cybersecurity information shared with Michigan State Police and other government bodies. The changes cleared the Legislature earlier this month in a bill sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo.

Supporters say the exemption reassures companies that sensitive information shared with officials in the event of a security breach does not surface in public-records requests under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act. The exclusion also applies to requests that could trigger future security breaches.

The Michigan Press Association opposes the curtailment, saying it allows for excessive exemption-taking.

Last week, the state announced that a recent audit found phishing vulnerabilities among its public employees.

Fire blamed in 3 deaths was 2nd of morning at same building

IRONWOOD (AP) — Authorities said a fire in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that's blamed in the deaths of three people was the second on the same morning at the same building.

The Ironwood Public Safety Department on Monday released updated information about the investigation into the Feb. 21 fire, which destroyed a building in downtown Ironwood that had apartments on two floors as well as another adjacent building.

The department said a small cooking-related fire was reported at 2:34 a.m. and extinguished. The call about the second fire that's blamed in the deaths came in about 3:45 a.m.

The department has said 57-year-old Mark Arnold Verrete, 51-year-old Patrick James Somerville and 27-year-old Levi Dean Watkins all died. They all were residents of Ironwood.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

5-year sentence upheld for man who talked about attacks

DETROIT (AP) — A court has upheld a five-year prison sentence for a Detroit-area man who talked about making attacks on behalf of the Islamic State group — a key decision that can serve as a precedent in other cases.

Khalil Abu Rayyan, 23, was convicted of gun-related crimes. He wasn't charged with terrorism and never attacked anyone, but the judge who gave him the long sentence said he couldn't ignore Rayyan's online fascination with terrorism.

A federal appeals court said Monday that Judge George Caram Steeh carefully used his discretion to come up with a "reasonable sentence." Rayyan's guidelines were much lower than the five-year punishment.

Rayyan apologized and said he didn't hurt anyone.

The appeals court hears federal cases from Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

New website features fiscal data on Michigan public schools

LANSING (AP) — The fiscal health of each public school in Michigan now can be viewed on a new website.

The Michigan Treasury department says the MI School Financials Dashboard is easy to use and provides visual financial data about local and intermediate school districts and public academies.

It also features data on revenues and expenditures, enrollment and per-pupil funding. Schools are required to report such data to the Center for Educational Performance and Information.

Last year, the state treasury department made public the MI Community Dashboard, which highlights financial data reported annually by counties, cities, villages and townships in Michigan.

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