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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 6, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Crews continue removing oil from underwater electric cables

MACKINAW CITY (AP) — Crews continue to remove coolant fluid from electric cables that sprang a leak in the Straits of Mackinac earlier this week.

The U.S. Coast Guard said about 600 gallons of mineral-based synthetic oil escaped into the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. The cables are operated by Wisconsin-based American Transmission Co., which has taken them out of service.

A company contractor is removing about 800 gallons of oil remaining in the two damaged cables. The Coast Guard said about 10 percent was sucked out Wednesday.

Officials have said that there's little risk to the public or wildlife because the fluid will be diluted, while heavy shoreline ice should prevent anyone from coming in contact with the oil. Coast Guard air crews haven't spotted any oil on the surface.

Effort to make Michigan Legislature part time ending for now

LANSING (AP) — Organizers of a ballot drive to make the Michigan Legislature a part-time body and slash lawmakers' pay said Wednesday that the effort is ending for now due to a lack of petition signatures.

Norm Kammeraad said the Clean Michigan committee doesn't intend to file signatures with the Michigan Bureau of Elections and instead will keep names on file to contact supporters for another potential petition drive in 2019 or 2020.

Kammeraad said the committee collected roughly 325,000 signatures. The group needed about 315,000 valid signatures within a 180-day window to get the constitutional amendment on the November ballot, but couldn't use about 40,000 of them.

The ballot initiative was initially spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, but he handed off leadership of it before launching a run for governor.

Saginaw-area priest facing additional sexual assault charges

SAGINAW (AP) — A Catholic priest in the Saginaw area is facing additional sexual assault charges.

The Rev. Robert DeLand was jailed Thursday on charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Defense attorney Alan Crawford told The Saginaw News that the "charges are appalling" and called the investigation "a witch hunt."

DeLand of Freeland originally was charged in February with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting two males, ages 21 and 17. DeLand, 71, pleaded not guilty. The diocese has suspended him and a second priest who hasn't been charged.

Last month, police raided diocese offices, a bishop's home and the rectory at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

Detroit-area horse racing track to close and sell its assets

HAZEL PARK (AP) — A horse racing venue north of Detroit is shutting down after nearly 70 years of operations.

Hazel Park Raceway said Thursday that it has agreed to sell its assets and is expected to close the deal within a few weeks. Terms of the deal were not released.

About 90 employees are expected to lose their jobs. The company said it will attempt to offer services to help them search for other employment.

Hazel Park Raceway opened in 1949 with a five-eighths-mile track. It hosted only harness racing from 1985 to 2014, before switching back to thoroughbred use.

The raceway said in a release that changes in the gambling industry have had "a significant impact" on horse racing across the state.

Detroit-area man livestreams burglar after punching him out

WATERFORD TWP. (AP) — A man said he not only thwarted a break-in at his Detroit-area home, he beat up and broadcast the burglar live on social media.

Jonathen Abrams said he didn't know whether the man pushing through a door at his Waterford Township home Friday night was armed, so he punched him, WDIV-TV reported. Abrams said he caught the man outside after his teenage daughter called and told him someone had broken in.

Abrams said he "instantly punched" the man "out cold." He then used his cellphone to livestream the down-for-the-count intruder on Facebook.

“If anything happened, everyone would clearly see" it was not his fault, Abrams said.

Court records show Jacob Cruz, 32, was arraigned Wednesday on a breaking and entering charge.

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