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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Sep 7, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Amway founder and Magic owner Richard DeVos dies at age 92

ADA (AP) — Billionaire Richard DeVos, co-founder of direct-selling giant Amway, owner of the Orlando Magic and father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, died Thursday. He was 92.

Family spokesman Nick Wasmiller said DeVos died at his West Michigan home due to complications from an infection.

DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, not far from Ada, where he later lived and died.

In 1949, he and friend Jay Van Andel took $49 and invested it into manufacturer and vitamin direct-seller Nutrilite. They became independent vitamin distributors and later used the company's person-to-person selling approach when starting Amway in Ada with an all-purpose household cleaning product.

They coined the name Amway as an abbreviation of "American Way." Over five decades, Amway became a multibillion-dollar international corporation. Van Andel died in 2004.

DeVos, who served as Amway's president until 1993, also was involved in the NBA, buying the Magic in 1991 for $70 million.

Woman dies in Allegan County house fire; rescue thwarted

OVERISEL TWP. (AP) — Authorities said a woman has been found dead after potential rescuers were unable to enter her burning home in Allegan County’s Overisel Township, near Holland.

The Allegan County Sheriff's Department said the woman was unable to exit the home after it caught fire at about 10 a.m. Thursday. A deputy and a neighbor tried to enter the home to rescue her, but were driven back by smoke and fire, police said.

The woman was found dead after the fire was extinguished, police said. Her name hasn't been released.

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.

Arrest made after West Michigan couple found slain in bedroom

BOWNE TWP. (AP) — Authorities said a family member has been arrested in connection with the slayings of a Kent County husband and wife who died from blows to their heads.

The Kent County Sheriff's Office said autopsies determined 66-year-old Theodore Syrek and 62-year-old Patty Syrek were victims of homicide. The agency said in a statement that a 33-year-old Caledonia Township man was arrested Wednesday night and was jailed Thursday pending formal charges.

The Kent County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the case.

Investigators found the Syreks dead in their bedroom in their Bowne Township home Tuesday. One of the Syreks' children had called police to ask them to check on the couple.

Write-in candidate for township supervisor wins by 1 vote

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A write-in candidate for supervisor of a southwestern Michigan township who lost a tiebreaker for the Republican nomination has prevailed by a single vote following a recount.

Robert Baker, who challenged an incumbent for a spot on the November ballot for the Ross Township post, picked a piece of paper marked "not elected" out of a box last month after an initial count showed both got 547 votes in the Republican primary.

Supervisor Gary Moore won the draw, so Baker sought a recount. The Kalamazoo Gazette and WWMT-TV reported Wednesday's recount had Baker with 554 votes and Moore with 553.

Baker, who gained support amid debate over whether to allow medical marijuana facilities in residential areas, said it was a "roller coaster."

Moore thanked officials and recount teams for their work.

Independent AG candidate wins appeal to stay on fall ballot

DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court has cleared the way to put an independent candidate for attorney general on Michigan's fall ballot.

In a 2-1 decision Thursday, the court says it won't upset a decision in favor of Chris Graveline, a former federal prosecutor. If Graveline has 5,000 valid petition signatures, his name will be on the ballot.

The Board of State Canvassers were expected to discuss Graveline's petitions today.

Graveline had challenged the state's requirement that he get 30,000 signatures within six months to run as an independent. He got about half in weeks. A Detroit federal judge agreed that the law violated his rights and set the threshold at 5,000.

Appeals court judges Karen Nelson Moore and Ronald Lee Gilman say Michigan's system "works to disadvantage independent candidates." In dissent, Judge Richard Griffin says his colleagues have "forever tainted the election."

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