State Briefs

Associated Press • Apr 10, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Michigan funeral service to be held for dogs in kennel fire

MUSKEGON (AP) — A West Michigan funeral home will host a community memorial service for 30 dogs that died in a boarding kennel fire late last month.

Clock Funeral Home of Muskegon is hosting the service April 12 for families to share memories of their pets that died at Storm's Ahead Kennel in Fruitport Township.

Each pet that perished in the March 30 fire has been identified. Public safety officials haven't yet determined what caused the fire, but they ruled out arson.

"This service will be an opportunity for the pet parents to honor the life of their four-legged family members, as well as receive support from each other and the surrounding community," said Jodi Clock of Clock Funeral Home. Therapy dogs and grief support will be provided at the service, she said.

Lake Orion-based Paw Pods donated urns and burial containers for the dogs.

The fire occurred while many area schools began spring break and families traveled out of town. The kennel was full when co-owner Janet Rehfus awoke at around 4:40 a.m. at her home near the kennel property. Rehfus noticed a glow from the fire and immediately called the fire department, but first responders couldn't rescue the pets in time.

The kennel was engulfed in flames when the firefighters arrived, according to Brian Michelli, public safety director for Fruitport Township.

"Many of those dogs have been coming to me for years, some of them were dogs that we bred and sold," Rehfus said. "We're heartbroken and trying to make sense of it all."

No liability for northern Michigan inn in bonfire burns

ARCADIA (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a century-old inn in a lawsuit over hot coals on a Lake Michigan beach.

The court said Watervale Inn is protected by a law that shields landowners from liability during recreational activities. The court last week reversed a decision by the Michigan appeals court.

A 10-year-old girl, Bailey Noble, suffered burns while stepping on the hidden remnants of a beach bonfire in 2013. Bailey wasn't staying at Watervale Inn in Benzie County, but a friend's family had been invited to use the beach.

The case was closely watched by people who allow public access to their properties. They feared that a decision against the inn could make them liable in the future.

Justice Kurtis Wilder didn't participate. He had handled the case while on the appeals court in 2017.

Adult trout release offers angling opportunities in 3 rivers

LANSING (AP) — More than 4,000 adult trout have been stocked in three southeastern Michigan rivers, giving anglers an opportunity for some good springtime catches.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the trout had been used for breeding at state hatcheries.

They were released in the Clinton River in the Auburn Hills-Rochester Hills area; the Huron River at Proud Lake Recreation Area; and the Spring Mill Pond at the Island Lake Recreation Area.

Special regulations apply for anglers wanting to pursue the trout.

The Huron River at Proud Lake Recreation Area is limited to flies only, catch-and-release fishing, while Spring Mill Pond at Island Lake is limited to artificial lures only, catch-and-release fishing, both from April 1-27.

The Michigan Fishing Guide has additional details.

Juvenile lifers win key ruling over good behavior credits

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has struck down a law that bars some Michigan prisoners from getting credit for good behavior.

The decision could clear the way for faster parole hearings for prisoners who were convicted of murder when they were teens.

Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith said it was unconstitutional for lawmakers to retroactively cut off good behavior or discipline credits for juvenile lifers in homicides that occurred before 1999.

Dozens have been resentenced to shorter sentences because of a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision. Goldsmith's ruling, released Monday, is important because credits could move prisoners even closer to freedom.

The judge turned down the state's request to suspend his decision for 14 days so it can pursue an appeal.

Mid-Michigan township closes offices after illnesses

BRIDGEPORT TWP. (AP) — A mid-Michigan township has closed its government center indefinitely after an odor made several people sick.

Bridgeport Township Fire Chief Patrick Nelson said three or four people in a front office at the Township Governmental Center reported feeling nauseous and lightheaded Friday.

Nelson said they didn't require medical attention, and people in other parts of the building weren't affected.

He said the offices will remain closed until environmental testing crews can assess and identify the source of the odor.

Nelson said the odor isn't persistent. Tests performed with his department's hazmat equipment detected nothing unusual.

Nelson said the government center was built atop a landfill in the 1970s.

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