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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 14, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Ionia County explores search warrants for animal control staff

IONIA (AP) — An animal control official in West Michigan is objecting to a proposal that could require her staff to obtain a search warrant to investigate animal abuse.

Ionia County Animal Control Director Carly Quinn told county commissioners that animals "are going to suffer" if a warrant is necessary to investigate what's happening on fenced properties. She said everything can't be seen from the road.

The Daily News said the topic became a hot issue at a county meeting Tuesday.

Commissioner Chris Bredice said an animal control officer should face the same rules as a police officer who needs a warrant to search a property.

Another commissioner, Scott Wirtz, said the Constitution is more important to him than animal rights. He said he doesn't want residents to suffer.

As weather warms, coyote sightings more common in Michigan

LANSING (AP) — Michigan wildlife officials say it's the time of year when coyote sightings will be common around the state.

The Department of Natural Resources says coyotes are particularly visible during their breeding season, which runs from January through March. Sightings also can be expected in spring and summer, when they're caring for pups.

DNR furbearer specialist Adam Bump said coyotes are adaptable and will turn up in forests, fields, farmlands, backyards, neighborhoods and cities. They can become comfortable around humans when food is readily available.

Bump said people can avoid conflicts by removing food sources such as trash bins, bird feeders and pet food. It's also a good idea to clear brush and wood piles. He said people should never to try to tame coyotes.

Licensed coyote hunting is allowed year-round.

State halts new psychiatric hospital in Michigan’s Thumb region

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration is delaying construction of a new state psychiatric hospital in the Thumb region, citing concerns such as an inability to staff the facility.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the pause Wednesday. It says the current hospital in Caro has staffing shortages, and psychiatrists from other state hospitals have been pulled in.

The state says it has been tough finding a safe water source at an acceptable cost, and just 30 percent of the 86 patients have family within 75 miles.

DHHS Director Robert Gordon said the agency will ask an outside consultant to review the project.

State Rep. Phil Green, R-Millington, said the Whitmer administration's decision is "devastating to our community," and he is "disgusted at the blatant disregard" for Thumb residents.

Man killed by Kalamazoo police was former firefighter

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A man accused of trying to ambush police before he was fatally shot in Kalamazoo has been identified as a 31-year-old former firefighter.

Brandon Stacey was killed by police Tuesday during a shootout with two officers at a downtown plasma donation center. He was an employee at the business.

Officials in Parchment told the Kalamazoo Gazette that Stacey was a volunteer firefighter in that community years ago. Life EMS Ambulance says he worked for the ambulance service for 18 months until August 2017.

Kalamazoo police said a gunman fired shots at the plasma center and then urged staff to call 911. An officer was injured during the shootout, but the injury wasn't life-threatening.

State police were at Stacey's home in the Parchment area Tuesday. A neighbor, Ray Key, said Stacey and his wife were "likable people."

5 governors oppose Trump plan to cut Great Lakes spending

LANSING (AP) — Governors of five states oppose President Donald Trump's call for a 90 percent spending cut for a Great Lakes cleanup program.

The president's 2020 budget offers $30 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which gets $300 million most years. It removes toxic pollution, prevents algae blooms and species invasions, and restores wildlife habitat.

The governors said Wednesday the cut would cost jobs, hurt tourism and jeopardize public health. They urged Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, a former Indiana governor, to fully fund the program.

Issuing the statement were Democratic Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, along with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said numerous states, local governments and others also support the program, and that more details on the federal role will be released later.

Man makes own sandwich, helps customers before swiping $20

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — Authorities are looking for a man who made his own sandwich at a Subway shop in northern Michigan, rang up orders for customers and swiped $20 from the cash register before taking off.

The Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office said the man told workers Saturday at the Subway inside a Walmart store in Traverse City that he was an employee at another area Subway and asked to make his own sandwich. The workers told him no, but he allegedly walked behind the counter and made the sandwich anyway.

The Sheriff's Office said the man rang up several customers' orders and stole $20 before leaving.

Police are hoping surveillance footage may help identify the man. They're asking anyone who might know his identity to contact investigators.

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