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State Briefs

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

Prosecutor who put Jeffrey Willis in prison will lead group

MUSKEGON (AP) — The Muskegon County prosecutor who won murder convictions in two high-profile cases will lead a statewide group of prosecutors for a year.

D.J. Hilson is the next president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. The group provides training around the state and keeps county prosecutors informed about changes in criminal law and policy.

Hilson is the elected prosecutor in Muskegon County. St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Wendling said Hilson is a "natural choice" to lead the group.

Hilson last year successfully prosecuted Jeffrey Willis in the fatal shooting of a jogger and in May won another conviction against Willis in the abduction and death of a gas station attendant.

Michigan grants available to clean up scrap tire piles

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is still accepting applications for grants supporting cleanup and reuse of scrap tires.

Cast-off tires pose a fire risk and are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The grants pay to process them for use in paving products for roads, manufactured products and energy generation.

Grants are available for property owners to clean up old or abandoned scrap tire piles.

State officials say they'll give priority to sites where tires were accumulated prior to Jan. 1, 1991. Also favored will be collection sites that pose an imminent threat to public health, safety, welfare or the environment.

Local units of government and non-profit organizations can seek funding for cleanup days and roadside cleanup grants.

The application deadline is Sept. 28. Information is available online.

Immigrant siblings charged in dairy co-worker's death

SANDUSKY (AP) — Two siblings who immigration authorities say are in the U.S. illegally have been charged with murder in the death of a co-worker in Michigan.

The body of 42-year-old Brica Flores-Rivera was found Sept. 1 in Buel Township, 85 miles north of Detroit. Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki told the Huron Daily Tribune that the three lived together in Flynn Township. The Bay City Times said the three all worked at a dairy farm.

Leobardo Torres-Castillo and his sister, Francisca Vargas-Castillo, have been charged with murder.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said all three are from Mexico and don't have permission to be in the country.

A hearing to determine if they should be sent to trial is set for Oct. 16.

Mid-Michigan woman charged with murder in death of baby

SAGINAW (AP) — A Saginaw County woman has been arraigned on an open murder charge in the death of her 3-month-old son.

Saginaw County District Judge Elian E.H. Fichtner arraigned Kelise S. Clemmons, 28, of Buena Vista Township and ordered her held without bond. She was arrested Tuesday, six months to the day after her son, Elijah L. Frierson, died March 11 in his family's apartment.

Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Sharonndra Clement told The Saginaw News the child had a fractured skull.

Clement said Clemons told investigators "she fed the baby, laid him down, and woke up and he wasn't breathing."

Clemons has a preliminary examination scheduled for Oct. 3.

Michigan, Harvard focus on Detroit poverty, opioid problems

ANN ARBOR (AP) — The University of Michigan and Harvard University are teaming up to tackle poverty and opioid addiction in Detroit.

The schools announced Wednesday they will work with the city to identify steps to improve low-income residents' livelihoods. The effort pairs Michigan's ongoing Poverty Solutions Initiative with Harvard's statistical and computational research into forces influencing economic success or failure.

The universities also will share what they and other experts know about the opioid epidemic and plan national summits in the Detroit and Boston areas.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said he called Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who grew up in Pontiac near Detroit, after learning of Bacow's interest in working on national problems. They discussed areas of potential collaboration, and poverty and opioids rose to the top of their lists.

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