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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jul 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Problem led to partially treated sewage in Grand River

PORTLAND (AP) — Officials say about 2.5 million gallons of partially treated sewage recently flowed from a lagoon at a mobile home park in mid-Michigan into the Grand River.

WOOD-TV said a report to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality by the operator of the lagoon near Portland blamed it on a "miscommunication/oversight between (the) contractor and wastewater operator."

The report says the new lagoon was brought online June 29 and no discharge was seen when it was checked June 30, but a discharge valve was noticed to be open July 2.

The TV station said water was tested for E. coli bacteria on July 2 and the results showed everything was OK.

Stinky 'corpse flower' in full bloom at Grand Rapids garden

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Visitors are flocking to a Michigan botanical garden to get a whiff of the unpleasant-smelling "corpse flower" that's in full bloom for the first time in 18 years.

The Amorphophallus titanium, also known as the "corpse flower," began blooming Wednesday at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. The garden's staff nicknamed the flower "Putricia" for its putrid smell, which is often compared to rotting meat.

The flower is opening for the first time since it was planted in 2000.

The whole conservatory currently smells and the flower's signature stench lives up to the hype, said Steve LaWarre, Meijer Gardens' horticulture director. Visitors have described the odor as similar to rotten Vidalia onions and mice in an old gym bag.

Corpse flowers, typically found in Indonesia and Sumatra, are the largest flowering structures in the world, said Wendy Overbeck, the gardens' horticulture manager. "Putricia" stands at 4.5 feet tall.

The flower will stay open for only a few days. It's expected to completely close by the end of Saturday.

Wreckage believed to be from 1997 plane crash found

ST. IGNACE (AP) — Authorities believe they have discovered the wreckage of a small plane that crashed more than 20 years ago in northern Michigan.

The Mackinac County Sheriff's Office said national forest personnel found the wreckage Wednesday in the Hiawatha National Forest near St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula.

A single-engine Piper took off Sept. 14, 1997, from Drummond Island in Lake Huron. The 45-year-old pilot, Mark Davies, and his wife, Janet, were heading to Howell, about 300 miles to the south. A flight plan wasn't filed.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane was seen on radar flying south, then turning and flying north. Then it disappeared.

A four-day search failed to find the remains of the couple or the plane.

Discovery of skull halts excavation at former gas plant site

MANISTEE (AP) — Officials said excavation at the site of a former manufactured gas plant in Michigan's northwestern Lower Peninsula is on hold after a human skull was found.

Police in Manistee ruled out any criminal activity after last week's discovery and turned the case over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for further investigation. Officials are reaching out to Native American tribes to see if they might have historical links to the site.

It's not known how long the skull may have been at the site.

Consumers Energy said work at the site has stopped. The utility said everyone involved wanted to make sure they don't disturb the site following the discovery.

The excavation is part of a remediation project to deal with contaminated soil at the former plant.

Officer charged with assault after suspect hit by police car

BENTON HARBOR (AP) — An officer who authorities say ran over a man who was fleeing police in southwestern Michigan has been charged with assault.

The Berrien County Prosecutor's Office said Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety officers were investigating a possible stolen lawn mower at about 1:45 a.m. May 10 when they came upon a man who was riding a bike without a light. The prosecutor's office said the man dropped the bike and ran before Steven Johnson, who no longer works for the department, intentionally hit him with a squad car.

WBND-TV reported defense lawyer Marc Curtis said Johnson didn't mean to hit the man.

Investigators reviewed police car video and body camera footage. The 51-year-old Sturgis man was arraigned Wednesday.

The man who fled pleaded guilty to charges including resisting police.

Businessman pleads guilty in theft of plastic crates

FARMINGTON (AP) — A Michigan hauling company president has pleaded guilty to wire fraud after plastic crates valued at more than $2.9 million were sold to a recycling firm for about $460,000.

The federal justice department said Thursday that Arshawn Hall's RAMA Enterprise Inc. was hired to transport auto parts in the crates and return the empty crates to a facility in Detroit. The government said the crates were diverted elsewhere.

Hall, of Farmington, also pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Detroit to willfully failing to file a 2012 federal income tax return on behalf of RAMA Enterprise.

He is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 29 and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and one year for the tax charge.

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