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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Feb 8, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Air Force pledges cooperation over toxins near former base

OSCODA (AP) — Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is pledging cooperation with the state of Michigan over toxic chemical pollution near a former military installation, despite a continuing dispute about cleanup responsibilities.

Wilson made the promise in a letter to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, who released it Thursday.

Peters complained to Wilson after the Air Force told Michigan in December 2018 that it wasn't bound by state standards involving chemicals known as PFAS. They are used in firefighting foam and have polluted surface and ground waters near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the Air Force isn't doing enough to clean it up.

In her letter, Wilson said the Air Force is complying with federal law and Assistant Secretary John Henderson plans to visit the state.

Court orders a look at jury deliberations in 2010 murder trial

DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court says deliberations in a 2010 Detroit homicide trial should be re-examined to determine if jurors' use of the internet spoiled the verdict.

A judge had ordered a new trial for Darrell Ewing, who is serving a life sentence for a gang-related shooting on a Detroit street. But the appeals court this week says a hearing first should be held to determine what effect, if any, the online information influenced jurors.

A juror says two other jurors looked up gang codes and gang history on the internet and shared the information during deliberations.

The appeals court acknowledged that "jurors move and memories fade" more than eight years after a trial. Some jurors might be deceased.

Judge accused of misconduct for handling money as prosecutor

LAPEER (AP) — A Lapeer County judge has been hit with a 96-page misconduct complaint filed by the agency that keeps an eye on Michigan's judiciary.

Much of the complaint involves Judge Byron Konschuh's handling of money when he was the Lapeer County prosecutor. The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission says money recovered in bad-check cases was often deposited in Konschuh's personal bank accounts.

He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor in 2016. The charge was ultimately dismissed after Konschuh stayed out of trouble for a certain period.

Konschuh was appointed to the bench in 2013 and elected to a six-year term in 2014.

The Judicial Tenure Commission is asking the state Supreme Court to appoint a special master to hear evidence against the judge. Any punishment would be up to the court.

Stolen cement truck hits vehicles at GM facility near Lansing

DELTA TWP. (AP) — Police said a person is in custody after driving a stolen cement truck through a locked gate at a General Motors facility in mid-Michigan and hitting several parked vehicles.

The Eaton County Sheriff's Office said no one was injured in the early Thursday collisions in Delta Township, near Lansing. The Sheriff's Office said the cement truck had been stolen in neighboring Ingham County, where it later was recovered.

The Sheriff's Office didn't say why the "male subject" drove the truck to Detroit-based GM's Customer Care and Aftersales facility. The department is investigating.

GM spokeswoman Erin Davis said that the truck caused some damage to the automaker's property and it contacted law enforcement about what happened.

Detroit police find cremated remains in abandoned funeral home

DETROIT (AP) — Police in Detroit have again found cremated remains inside an abandoned funeral home.

The Detroit Free Press reported at least seven sets of cremated remains were found Wednesday in the basement of the former Howell Funeral Home, which has been closed for several years.

Police conducted the search after the newspaper forwarded a tip it received from someone who had been in the building and photographed the remains in boxes on a shelf.

A spokesman for the state department that regulates funeral homes said the agency will open a consumer complaint to start an investigation.

The removal of the remains is the latest update in ongoing investigations into the alleged mishandling of remains at funeral homes. Authorities in Detroit last year found the remains of 63 fetuses at the Perry Funeral Home, and the mummified remains of 10 fetuses and a full-term infant at the closed Cantrell Funeral Home.

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