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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jul 11, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Public hearing scheduled on anchor supports for oil pipeline

MACKINAW CITY (AP) — State regulators will take public comments on a proposal for more anchor supports in the Straits of Mackinac to bolster twin oil pipelines.

Enbridge Inc. is asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to allow installation of 48 additional supports for its Line 5 pipes. They would be attached to the pipes and screwed into the lakebed.

A public hearing is scheduled for today in Mackinaw City.

Line 5 extends from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A nearly 5-mile section runs beneath the straits, where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan converge.

The company has made several requests to install supports after gaps were discovered beneath the pipes. The DEQ granted a permit for 22 earlier this year.

Environmental groups want Line 5 decommissioned and say the supports wouldn't necessarily make it safer.

Mid-Michigan priest raising money for defense in theft case

WILLIAMSTON (AP) — A Lansing-area priest accused of embezzling more than $5 million from his church is trying to raise $300,000 for his defense just weeks before trial.

The Lansing State Journal said a group called Opus Bono has sent a letter on behalf of the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle. The letter says he's in "dire need."

Wehrle is charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Catholic Church in Okemos. He lived at a property worth more than $1 million in nearby Williamston.

The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 13.

Joe Maher, Opus Bono's president, said he doesn't believe there was "criminal intent" by Wehrle. The priest's attorney claims he had an agreement with a bishop to use church funds for a home.

Auditors said more than $5 million is missing.

2nd person sentenced in mid-Michigan cemetery attack

HAMILTON TWP. (AP) — A second person has been sentenced in a 2017 attack on a man who was digging for money he thought was hidden in a mid-Michigan cemetery.

The Morning Sun reported that Christie Austin, 43, of Evart was sentenced Monday to time served in jail in the beating of a 22-year-old Harrison man with a hammer and shovel in Clare County's Hamilton Township. Authorities said she and her co-defendant, Brett Ostrander, lured the victim to an area not used for graves, falsely telling him cash was buried there.

Austin pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in May and agreed to testify against Ostrander. He pleaded guilty to assault with intent to do great bodily harm and was sentenced last month to 8-20 years in prison.

Dogs, cats removed from filthy northern Michigan home

PARADISE TWP. (AP) — More than two dozen dogs and cats living in what's described as deplorable conditions have been removed from a home in Michigan's northwestern Lower Peninsula, officials said.

The animals were seized after Michigan State Police got a call Monday about several dogs running loose along a road in Grand Traverse County's Paradise Township. Police found more dogs and cats at a home where there was feces covering the floor.

Grand Traverse County Animal Control and the Cherryland Humane Society responded. One dog was found dead.

Some of the animals were found in the walls of the home. Police said all of the animals seized were in extremely poor health and appeared to be suffering from dehydration and starvation.

The home is expected to be condemned and charges could be brought.

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