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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 27, 2018 at 9:00 AM

US wins lawsuit in Michigan over antique lighthouse lenses

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has ruled in favor of the government in a dispute over a Michigan man’s ownership of two antique lighthouse lenses worth at least $600,000.

The decision means Steve Gronow of Howell must surrender the lenses. He called it a "huge disappointment."

The government sued Gronow, saying he had no right to lenses from the Spring Point Ledge lighthouse in Maine and the Belle Isle lighthouse in Detroit.

The Coast Guard says it's still the owner of the lenses. The Maine lighthouse was automated around 1960 and the Detroit lighthouse was replaced in 1930.

Gronow bought one lens from an eBay seller and the other from the Henry County Historical Society in Indiana.

Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith said Monday that the government never gave up ownership, even if the lenses changed hands over the years.

Michigan agency OKs more support anchors for oil pipelines

LANSING (AP) — State officials have given Enbridge Inc. permission to install 22 more anchor supports along twin pipelines at the bottom of the waterway linking Lakes Michigan and Huron.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit last week allowing the supports for Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge said it's a "proactive" step to fasten the pipelines to the lake bottom and keep them in place when currents erode dirt beneath them.

The underwater pipes are part of a line that carries 23 million gallons of crude oil daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

The underwater segment already has 128 support anchors, Mlive reported.

Environmentalist groups that want the 65-year-old pipelines decommissioned say the extra supports won't make Line 5 safe or prevent a catastrophic spill.

Stray target-practice bullet kills Michigan woman, police say

RILEY TWP. (AP) — A 73-year-old woman was killed by a stray bullet that apparently came into her home from a neighbor's target practice in rural Michigan, police said.

Michigan State Police said Shirley Pfeil's husband reported that she collapsed Sunday shortly after he heard a "loud crack." He said she was shot while in a kitchen area of their home in St. Clair County’s Riley Township.

A 21-year-old man had been shooting at a berm on his nearby property, according to police. He's cooperating with investigators, authorities added.

The St. Clair County Prosecutor's Office is expected to review the case once police complete their investigation.

Lt. Dave Kaiser of the state police said target practice isn't illegal or uncommon in the area, but people must make sure they're shooting in a safe direction.

Police say man fatally shoots fabric store worker, then himself

LANSING TWP. (AP) — Police said a man has fatally shot a woman at a mid-Michigan fabric store before turning a handgun on himself.

Lansing Township Police Chief Adam Kline said the man went to the store at about 4:20 p.m. Monday to speak with a female employee with whom he had a prior relationship. Kline said a heated argument developed and the man pulled out a handgun and shot the woman several times. He then shot himself in the head.

Both died at the scene. Kline didn't disclose how many shots were fired.

The Lansing State Journal reported Kline said the woman was 26 and the man was 30. Their names haven't been released.

Man arrested after body of man found in bag in mid-Michigan

GAYLORD (AP) — Authorities said a man has been arrested after a body was found by hunters earlier this month in a large plastic bag in mid-Michigan.

The man was being held in the Otsego County Jail pending an arraignment after being arrested Friday.

The body of 67-year-old Robert Jack Counterman Jr. was found March 11 by rabbit hunters in a ditch in Gratiot County's Seville Township.

Counterman's last-known address was in the Gaylord area in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.

The death is being investigated as a homicide, but Counterman's cause of death hasn't been released. Gratiot County Sheriff Doug Wright told The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant that evidence found in Gaylord included what appeared to be a blood splatter on a wall.

Vandals damage bat research site in abandoned UP mine

IRON MOUNTAIN (AP) — Michigan officials are looking for vandals who broke into an abandoned iron mine in the Upper Peninsula where scientists are studying hibernating bats threatened by a deadly illness.

The Department of Natural Resources said the intruders disturbed the bats, stole cameras and no-trespassing signs, built a bonfire, and damaged a gate designed to keep people out but allow the bats to enter and exit.

Field supervisor Bill Scullon said the vandalism happened sometime during the winter and compromised the research project.

The old mine near the city of Norway is a small, horizontal shaft that once was winter habitat for more than 20,000 little brown, big brown and northern long-eared bats.

The DNR said their numbers have fallen to just a few thousand because of deaths from white-nose syndrome.

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