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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jul 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Man found guilty in slaying; victim's body dismembered

MUSKEGON (AP) — A West Michigan man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the slaying of another man whose dismembered body was found in a national forest by duck hunters.

A judge in Muskegon announced the verdict Wednesday for Anthony Blamer of Fremont following a bench trial last week.

Blamer, 29, testified that he shot 24-year-old D'Anthony Keenan as they sat in a vehicle at a car wash. Authorities have said money was taken from Keenan.

Keenan's body was missing its head and hands when discovered nearly a year ago in the Manistee National Forest, northwest of Grand Rapids. Blamer later led authorities to the missing body parts. He also faces a dismemberment charge in Newaygo County.

Blamer will be sentenced Sept. 10.

Officials say Menominee River cleanup nears completion

MENOMINEE (AP) — Officials say progress is being made on cleaning up a section of a river in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that was contaminated during years of industrial use.

Pollution from shipbuilding, paper manufacturing, wastewater treatment and other sources led to the designation of the lower three miles of the Menominee River as an "area of concern" more than 30 years ago. It was tainted with substances including coal tar, paint sludge and arsenic.

Government agencies have worked with local communities to remove contaminants from the river, which forms the boundary between the southern tip of the U.P. and the northeast corner of Wisconsin before emptying into Lake Michigan.

Jon Allan of Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes said restoration of the site is almost complete and will make it more suitable for fishing and swimming.

Grand Rapids OKs ordinance to allow medical marijuana facilities

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — The Grand Rapids City Commission has voted to allow medical marijuana facilities in the city.

The ordinance approved Tuesday will allow up to 53 provisioning centers and up to 83 medical marijuana facilities, which include growers, processors and others. They'll need proper state licensing and special land use approval from the city's Planning Commission.

The ordinance goes into effect Nov. 1.

The city's Planning Department had recommended up to 41 potential sites, while the Planning Commission sought up to 143 provisional centers and 293 other facilities. The distance requirement could be waived in specific instances involving parks, places of worship and rehabilitation facilities.

Michigan voters approved marijuana use in 2008 for some chronic medical conditions. Michigan voters will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in November.

Michigan village elects cat as mayor

OMENA (AP) — Politics in a small northern Michigan village have gone to the cats and dogs and goats and even chickens.

Omena's newly elected mayor is a feline named Sweet Tart. Dogs Diablo Shapiro and Punkin Anderson Harder are vice mayor and second vice mayor.

An election committee named Harley the goat press secretary, while Penny the chicken is special assistant for fowl affairs.

The seats are ceremonial. WPBN-TV reported that the election is a fundraiser costing $1 per vote and brought in more than $7,000 to the Omena Historical Society.

Candidates have to be animals and live in Omena, which has about 300 human residents and is north of Traverse City.

An inauguration and parade took place this past Saturday. The newly elected officers will serve three-year terms.

Michigan marks 50th donation to farmland preservation effort

BALTIMORE TWP. (AP) — A West Michigan farmer has become the 50th landowner to donate to a state conservation easement program aimed at preserving farmland.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced George Cullers of Barry County's Baltimore Township has donated 137 acres to be used as permanent farmland.

Cullers said he donated development rights in memory of his late wife, Donna, adding it "seemed right" to continue the nearly 160-year tradition of farming on the land.

The state says the 50 donated agricultural easements total 8,000 acres. Overall, the Development Rights Program holds 136 easements that preserve 25,000 acres.

Officials presented a resolution to Cullers and placed a 50th conservation easement sign on his lawn.

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