State Briefs

Associated Press • Jun 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM

ArtPrize competition to be held every other year after 2018

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Organizers of the international ArtPrize competition are planning to hold the event every other year instead of annually.

The change was announced Thursday in Grand Rapids, meaning that after this year's 10th ArtPrize it will take place next in 2020. This year's Sept. 19-Oct. 7 event is expected to feature more than 2,100 artists at 190 venues vying for $500,000 in cash prizes.

Following ArtPrize 10, a new event is planned every other year starting in 2019. It's a citywide public art project put together by an artist or group of artists called "Project 1" its first year, "Project 2" in 2021 and so on.

ArtPrize Artistic Director Kevin Buist said the goal is to commission "immersive public artworks" in years when ArtPrize isn't taking place.

Feds investigate Michigan town for religious discrimination

PETOSKEY (AP) — Federal housing authorities are investigating religious discrimination complaints against a Michigan resort community that requires homeowners to be of "Christian persuasion."

The U.S. Department of Federal Housing notified the Bay View Association last month that the community near Petoskey failed to prove it's exempt from a law prohibiting discriminatory practices, the Petoskey News-Review reported. The seasonal community requires cottage owners to have a pastor or church leader attest to their church membership or attendance.

The woodsy resort town along Little Traverse Bay doesn't allow non-Christians to buy a home in the community. Some residents have even claimed that they were prevented from passing down their Bay View cottages to children or spouses who are non-practicing or affiliate with another religion.

A group of residents have filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the rule, alleging it violates the First Amendment. Attorney Sarah Prescott, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the residents, said the town is operating as both a state and religious entity.

"You can't have both," she told Michigan Radio.

"We need to do something," said Don Duquette, one of the residents involved in the lawsuit. "We're fighting for the soul of this place."

Duquette said his and 18 other formal complaints filed in 2016 allege religious discrimination in Bay View to federal housing officials. The complaints accuse the resort community of violating the Federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on religious beliefs.

Supporters of the religious requirement argue that getting rid of it would lead to less financial and volunteer support for the association because residents wouldn't be as invested in Christian values and tradition.

"It doesn't make sense to have members who don't embrace the mission voting on issues that will determine the future of our Christian organization," said Dick Crossland, a longtime Bay View resident.

A hearing is scheduled in federal court in Kalamazoo for July 30.

Police credit dog for saving missing Michigan toddler

PAW PAW (AP) — Michigan parents have their dog to thank for leaving a trail of paw prints that police used to track a 2-year-old who was missing for several hours.

Van Buren County authorities returned Princeton Peake to his parents after he escaped his locked home in Paw Paw early Wednesday.

Myhia Perez, Princeton's mother, said she woke up Wednesday to find her son missing from the bedroom and the front door unlocked. Domonic Peake, his father, said he panicked while searching the property surrounded by cornfields, woods and swamps. Peake only found his son's sippy cup.

"First thing I thought was he's face down in some water," Peake said. "I thought I was never going to see him again."

Perez said discovering that her son had gone missing was terrifying. "I about died," she said.

Sheriff Daniel Abbott said the family's pit-boxer mix named Apollo may have saved Princeton's life by staying by his side. Police followed Apollo's tracks to find Princeton in a muddy, wooded area up to a mile away. The toddler was discovered without his diaper, covered in scratches and bug bites.

"Without those dog tracks, without being able to track him for a half a mile in a muddy field, we wouldn't have had a good direction of travel of where that boy went," Abbott said.

Abbott had dog food and treats for Apollo delivered to the Peake home Friday.

"I owe it to my dog, because if my son was alone who knows what could have happened," Peake said.

He said Princeton is healthy and recovering at home. Two shiny new locks adorned the family's front door Friday, out of Princeton's reach.

Plans in works to redevelop blighted former hospital site

WESTLAND (AP) — Plans are in the works to redevelop a blighted suburban Detroit site that once housed a psychiatric hospital.

The Wayne County Commission on Thursday approved the sale of the 28-acre Westland property known as the Eloise Hospital Complex for $1. Plans call for developers to invest $20 million in creating a mixed-use development including affordable homes for senior citizens.

The agreement gives the developer the Kay Beard Building, the Commissary Building and several dilapidated structures. The Eloise site opened in 1839 as a poorhouse and a farm. It was the site of the Wayne County General Hospital, which closed in 1981.

The deal includes the nearby Potter's Field cemetery.

The development team includes JGH Consulting, Morgan Development and Samaritas Family Center, an organization that offers shelter to homeless families.

DTE seeks bigger property tax reduction for coal plant

MONROE (AP) — Southeastern Michigan officials say they're concerned that a utility is seeking a bigger reduction in property taxes for the Monroe Power Plant than previously expected.

Detroit-based DTE Energy is seeking a 60 percent cut for the coal-fired plant after saying it would ask the Michigan Tax Tribunal for a 45 percent cut. Officials learned earlier that DTE filed for a 60 percent property tax reduction for its Fermi 2 nuclear plant.

DTE spokesman Peter Ternes said the tax tribunal filings were "merely protective appeals that needed to be logged by a set deadline because agreements with the local taxing jurisdictions were not completed." He says the company wants to reach a "reasonable agreement."

The cut would affect funds for municipalities, schools and libraries, among others.

Officials remove dozens of dogs, cats from Michigan home

SALEM TWP. (AP) — An animal welfare group says it's rescued more than 100 dogs, cats and other animals from a home in Michigan where an unlicensed animal breeding operation was housed.

Humane Society of Huron Valley said it found 39 cats, 20 kittens, 18 dogs, 16 puppies, 14 chickens and a parrot Wednesday in conditions described as "deplorable" at the home in Washtenaw County's Salem Township, about 30 miles west of Detroit.

The Humane Society said the animals were living among piles of feces with dirty water. It said some were confined to a basement. Michele Baxter, the humane society's Cruelty & Rescue Manager, said some puppies and kittens were being sold for $1,100 to $1,800.

The case is expected to be investigated to determine whether criminal charges will be sought.

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