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State Briefs

By The Associated press • Mar 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Presidential contenders O'Rourke, Gillibrand visit Michigan

CENTER LINE (AP) — Democratic presidential contenders showed Michigan's importance Monday, campaigning early in a state that Donald Trump became the first Republican in decades to win.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York stopped in the vote-rich Detroit area for multiple events, a year before the state's primary.

Trump, himself, will campaign in Michigan next week — another sign that the 2020 race is intensifying.

"I wanted to be here in this state as early as I possibly could," O'Rourke said after touring a carpentry apprenticeship school in Oakland County on Monday — a day he also reported raising more than $6 million online in the first 24 hours of his campaign. It was one of three stops he made.

In Oakland County, Gillibrand participated in a town hall that was to air Monday night on MSNBC. She blasted Trump for spreading "fear and hate and degradation across this country," and touted her ability to "bring people together" and pass bipartisan legislation.

Man arrested in 1986 slaying of southwestern Michigan woman

PAW PAW (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man in connection with a 1986 slaying in southwestern Michigan.

Michael Leon Curry, 51, was formally charged with felony murder Monday in Van Buren County District Court in the death of 59-year-old Wilda Wilkinson of Bangor.

The judge denied Curry bond. He's being held in the Van Buren County Jail.

Michigan State Police said Curry lived near Wilkinson at the time of the crime. WOOD-TV reported he was initially questioned by investigators and was never ruled out as a suspect, but police had to conduct numerous interviews and gather physical evidence before they could arrest him.

Police officer suspended while use of force in arrest investigated

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Grand Rapids' police chief said an officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the use of force during an arrest is investigated by the department's Internal Affairs Unit.

Interim Chief David Kiddle said Monday he was concerned after watching video footage of the incident that showed an officer using profanity and punching a man "close to 30 times" in the leg to gain compliance following a traffic stop.

Police didn't release the name of the officer.

The Grand Rapids Press reported the video of the encounter Sunday night was shot by a resident of the area.

The motorist was jailed on charges of resisting a police officer and driving with a suspended license. Kiddle said the motorist didn't report any injuries and didn't request medical attention.

Car dealer hits the gas on gift for Albion College

ALBION (AP) — An auto dealer and his wife are donating $5 million to Albion College to expand recreation and attract more students.

The money from Joe and Julie Serra will add 10,000 square feet to the Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. Albion Athletic Director Matt Arend said part of the gift will also help renovate Kresge Gym, which serves college sports teams.

Serra said he hopes other alumni will be inspired to give.

Serra played basketball at Albion, a private college 40 miles south of Lansing. He is president of Serra Automative.

Effort to revitalize Michigan ski resort faces challenges

MANCELONA (AP) — An effort to revitalize a northern Michigan ski resort is facing financial challenges as the state takes notice of alleged unlicensed operations at the site.

Sam Porter told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that he's very close to saving" Mount Mancelona after failing to keep his claim on the mountain due to missed mortgage payments. He still has the option to buy it.

Porter scooped up the ski hill in 2017 for $450,000 with plans that could help bring an influx of tourist traffic.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says Mount Mancelona holds no established or pending ski area licensing. LARA last week issued a cease-and-desist order for a Mount Mancelona ski lift. Porter said the lift wasn't open to the public and they've stopped using it.

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