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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jun 29, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Governor’s education budget grants nearly $17 billion to schools

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a $16.8 billion education budget that includes a sizable increase in base aid for lower-funded K-12 districts in Michigan.

The outgoing Republican governor approved his final education budget Thursday.

It adds $120 to $240 for each student compared to last year's budget. It's the largest increase in 17 years.

The budget also buoys career and technical training — a priority of Snyder's — by funding high schools up to $50 more per student in those programs.

Democrats had rejected the proposed budget in the GOP-controlled Legislature, saying it won't be enough to reverse course in Michigan's most cash-strapped districts. They also castigated a provision that allows a quarter of the staff at some schools to be laid off if student performance does not improve.

Invasive species events planned at Michigan boat launches

LANSING (AP) — Several state agencies in Michigan are planning events at more than 80 boat launches to spread the word about invasive species.

The events are intended to boost awareness about non-native aquatic plants and animals that can disrupt natural ecosystems, tourism and the economy. They're scheduled for June 30 through July 8.

Officials with the departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and Rural Development will provide information on how boaters can prevent the spread of the harmful invaders. Among them are cleansing vessels, equipment and trailers of aquatic plants before launching.

Boaters also are urged to drain live wells, bilges and water from boats before leaving access sites.

Bait should not be released into water. Fish shouldn't be transferred to water bodies other than where they were caught.

ICE contract protest disrupts meeting; 7 arrested afterward

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — About 100 people protesting a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at a jail in West Michigan shut down a government meeting and police said seven were arrested for blocking traffic afterward.

The Grand Rapids Press reported Karla Barberi raised the issue at Thursday's Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting. She's a volunteer organizer with immigrant rights group Movimiento Cosecha GR.

Board Chairman Jim Saalfeld called for deputies to remove Barberi after she refused to sit, but she wasn't removed. The meeting was suspended.

Police blocked traffic as protesters marched, but those arrested refused to eventually clear the streets.

The contract, signed in 2012 and renewed in 2017, includes allowing the county jail to charge I.C.E. for each day it holds a person with a detainment request.

Man pleads guilty to littering in breakup of grounded boat

LUDINGTON (AP) — A man who authorities say grounded a 76-foot boat near the beach of a state park along Lake Michigan has pleaded guilty to littering to resolve the case.

Prosecutors in Mason County had charged Randall West, 51, of Grayling with reckless operation of a vessel. They said West grounded the Tica off Ludington State Park after it started taking in water on April 15, 2017.

The boat eventually broke up, scattering debris along the lakeshore.

The original charge was dismissed as part of this week's plea. A judge ordered West to pay more than $116,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

Authorities said West should have removed the boat before it broke up. They said it damaged the Lake Michigan ecosystem.

Man faces murder charge after woman's body found in creek

COMSTOCK TWP. (AP) — A 25-year-old southwestern Michigan man faces a murder charge after police found a woman's body in a creek.

Police said the body matches the description of a 24-year-old Kalamazoo woman reported missing early Thursday morning.

The body was discovered in nearby Comstock Township, south of Grand Rapids. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said in a news release that the missing woman's family and friends had not seen or heard from her since Sunday.

A formal identification of the body was pending. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Police arrested the Kalamazoo man at about 3 a.m. Thursday near the woman's home. He was being held in the Kalamazoo County Jail as prosecutors review the case.

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