Grand Haven Tribune: State Briefs

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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Feb 28, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Police plan to expand swabbing drivers for drugs in Michigan

LANSING (AP) — A program that had some police officers asking drivers to allow a swab of their mouth to determine if they've been using drugs is expected to be expanded to more parts of Michigan.

An initial one-year pilot program started in late 2017 in Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. Police officers who are trained as drug recognition experts collected oral fluid if they suspected a driver is impaired by drugs. During the initial pilot program, it was used on 92 drivers.

Michigan State Police say the roadside test correlated well with lab and blood test results.

State police say a second pilot program including additional counties is expected to start this fall. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in those counties would need to agree to participate.

4th child dies due to Lapeer County mobile home fire

IMLAY CITY (AP) — Police said Wednesday that a fourth child has died after a fire at a mobile home in Michigan's Thumb region.

Imlay City police said Keyairah Kelley was just a month old. She and three other children died as a result of the fire early Tuesday, about 45 miles north of Detroit.

Keith Kelley, wife Krystal Whitney and a 19-month-old boy are in a hospital with severe burns.

Imlay City Police Chief Scott Pike said it could take weeks to determine the cause of the fire. Investigators have found no evidence of smoke detectors, he added.

Fire Chief Rick Horton said he recognized the children because he had read Christmas stories to them during a community event.

Grand Rapids police knocked over role in veteran's detention

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Activists are calling for the firing of a Grand Rapids police officer whom they accuse of racial profiling by notifying immigration officials about the arrest of a mentally ill Latino war veteran who is actually a U.S. citizen.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement held Jilmar Ramos-Gomez for three days in December 2018 before releasing the Michigan-born man.

Grand Rapids police Lt. Curt VanderKooi told I.C.E. about Ramos-Gomez' November 2018 arrest at a local hospital, referring to him as "loco," or crazy. Interim Police Chief David Kiddle said VanderKooi was reprimanded for "unprofessional language."

Dozens of people attended a city commission meeting Tuesday to express their displeasure with how Ramos-Gomez was treated. Miriam Aukerman, of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Ramos-Gomez was racially profiled.

Kiddle said he's using the case to review policies.

Ex-doctor sentenced for sexual misconduct involving patients

ANN ARBOR (AP) — A former University of Michigan doctor who lost his job and medical license after child pornography allegations surfaced has been sentenced for sexual misconduct involving patients.

The Ann Arbor News reported Mark Hoeltzel, 47, of Ann Arbor was sentenced this week in a Washtenaw County court to 5-15 years in prison for second-degree criminal sexual conduct and 13 months to two years for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Hoeltzel apologized, saying he "did not honor my role as a physician."

Hoeltzel, who was a pediatric rheumatology specialist, pleaded no contest in January. He was sentenced last year to 10 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to online enticement of a minor.

Hoeltzel practiced at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, before going to the University of Michigan in 2013.

Michigan Supreme Court suspends judge but doesn't stop pay

BRIGHTON (AP) — A Livingston County judge facing criminal charges and ethics violations has been suspended with pay by the Michigan Supreme Court.

The court suspended Theresa Brennan but didn't stop her $143,000 salary. It's not clear what work she's been doing: Brennan's caseload was yanked last June by the county's chief judge.

The Judicial Tenure Commission, a watchdog agency over the judiciary, had requested that her salary be put in escrow.

Brennan is accused of perjury and destroying evidence in her divorce case. In the misconduct matter, she's accused of many ethics violations in how she ran her office as well as for a relationship with a state police detective during a murder trial.

The ethics case is being presented by the staff of the Judicial Tenure Commission. Brennan says she's a victim of sexism.

EPA seeks comments on Kalamazoo-area pollution settlement

KALAMAZOO (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comments on a proposed settlement involving industrial pollution in southwestern Michigan.

The deal is between the federal agency, the city of Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Brownfield Authority. It focuses on the Panelyte Property beside the Allied Paper Landfill area, which is part of a Superfund site contaminated with toxic PCBs.

The EPA says the settlement requires the city to take short-term and long-term actions including periodic reviews, community relations, property clearance and traffic management.

Written comments are being accepted until March 28.

The agency has included the Kalamazoo site in Allegan and Kalamazoo counties on a list of high-priority Superfund cleanup targets. The site includes tainted soil and sediment in landfills, paper mill properties, and about 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

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