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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 6, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Consumers Energy submits report on compressor station fire

JACKSON (AP) — Consumers Energy said Friday that a release of natural gas led to a compressor station fire that sparked concerns about keeping fuel flowing to millions of people during a bitter cold snap in January.

The Jackson-based utility said it has submitted its report on the fire to the Michigan Public Service Commission. It said a plume of natural gas was released by a safety fire-gate system, mixed with air outside because of high winds, and was ignited by "extremely hot equipment" at the Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County.

Consumers Energy said those were the findings of its two-month internal investigation and confirmed by a third-party consultant.

The utility said the fire "was precipitated by a safety venting fire-gate process that is proven safe and effective," but became hazardous in extreme weather.

People wrongly accused of unemployment fraud win major ruling

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan residents who were wrongly accused of defrauding the state’s unemployment program won a major ruling Friday as the Michigan Supreme Court set a favorable deadline for people to sue over decisions spit out from a disastrous computer system and enforced by staff.

The court said victims qualify if they filed a lawsuit, or notice of a lawsuit, within six months of losing wages or tax refunds.

The justices unanimously overturned an appeals court decision that had dashed the hopes of thousands of people with a different interpretation of the six-month window.

An automated computer system used by then-Gov. Rick Snyder's administration was a mess. People were accused of cheating to get jobless aid based solely on computers. They were forced to repay money, along with substantial penalties, and some were even forced into bankruptcy.

Although apologies and approximately $21 million in refunds were made, the state still is the target of lawsuits by people who said their constitutional rights were violated during the nerve-wracking saga.

Caregiver who triggered Amber Alert for child is sent to jail

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A caregiver who triggered an Amber Alert after authorities say she took a 1-year-old child to another city without permission has been sentenced to at least a year behind bars.

Iyesha Gibbs was given her punishment Thursday after entering a guilty plea last month to a charge of kidnapping/child enticement in Kent County Circuit Court.

Gibbs' attorney, John Grace, told the court his client had suffered from mental health issues and in the past had received treatment.

Authorities said Gibbs was babysitting last August in Grand Rapids and didn't respond when the child's mother tried to contact her. The mother called police and an Amber Alert was issued the next morning. Gibbs was tracked to Benton Harbor, where she was taken into custody and the child was found safe.

West Michigan man gets 1 year in jail for killing at age 14

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A man who was 14 when he fatally shot his sister's boyfriend is set to be released from jail in a year in an amended plea deal.

Jared Seagraves, 20, was resentenced Thursday to one year in the Kent County Jail, followed by probation.

Seagraves pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of 20-year-old Michael Haminger. Authorities have said Seagraves shot Haminger after an argument over homework.

Seagraves was initially sentenced to spend six years in adult prison after age 21.

Kent County prosecutors amended the sentence to account for the Haminger family's wishes and Seagraves' outstanding record at the Muskegon River Youth Home in Evart, where he has been living for the past six years. Seagraves, who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, has earned his GED diploma and begun community college classes since he moved into the youth home.

Michigan woman allegedly lived with man's corpse for weeks

MONROE (AP) — A woman has been taken into custody after authorities say they found her living in a southeastern Michigan apartment with the corpse of her boyfriend, who had apparently died several weeks earlier.

The Monroe Police Department said the circumstances surrounding the death of the 61-year-old man are under investigation. Police said the woman was being held on suspicion of concealing the death.

The man's name and additional details about the woman weren't immediately released.

Police were called Wednesday by a relative of the man who said his family hadn't heard from him in several weeks. Officers attempting to check on him found the woman at the apartment in Monroe. They found the man's body inside.

Juvenile lifer skips chance to possibly get new sentence

PONTIAC (AP) — A man convicted of killing three people when he was a teenager says he was "rotten from the beginning" and is skipping a chance to possibly get a new sentence from a judge in suburban Detroit.

Michael Kvam told a judge on Friday that he deserves to die in prison. WXYZ-TV quoted Kvam as saying, "I'm a killer, plain and simple."

Kvam was convicted of killing a teenager, a woman and a 9-year-old girl in Oakland County in 1984. He was 17 at the time of the homicides.

Under a U.S. Supreme Court decision, teens given automatic no-parole sentences are entitled to a new hearing. But Kvam, who's now 52, waived that opportunity Friday. It's possible that he would have received the same sentence.

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