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Man sues parents for getting rid of his vast porn collection

Associated Press • Apr 15, 2019 at 8:00 AM

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — An Indiana man is suing his parents for getting rid of his vast pornography collection, which he estimates is worth $29,000.

The 40-year-old man last week filed a lawsuit in federal court in Michigan, where he moved in with his parents in 2016 following a divorce.

He says that when he moved out 10 months later, they delivered his things to his new home in Muncie, Indiana, but that his 12 boxes of pornographic films and magazines were missing. His parents admit they dumped the porn, which included titles such as "Frisky Business" and "Big Bad Grannys."

The man filed a complaint with police, but the Ottawa County prosecutor declined to press charges. The lawsuit includes an email excerpt from the man's father, who told his son, "I did you a big favor by getting rid of all this stuff."

The man is seeking triple financial damages of roughly $87,000.

Village lists land for medical pot facilities

KALKASKA — Kalkaska village leaders unanimously agreed to sell nearly 10 acres of its taxpayer-owned land specifically for future medical marijuana facilities.

Members of the Village Council last week agreed to list for sale about 9.6 acres on the south side of East Dresden Street, along with the sale or lease of various village-owned and vacant spaces at the local airport.

Officials even hired a real estate brokerage team with expertise in the burgeoning medical marijuana property industry.

"You need somebody who knows what they are doing in terms of marketing these commercial properties," said Diana Needham, village trustee.

The real estate deal calls for a 3 percent commission to Team Bertram — the Traverse City-based real estate partnership of Ian and Melisa Bertram — with an exclusive listing right for 6 months. After that, the commission rate for the real estate team increases to 6 percent, according to the council-approved resolution.

The realtors are responsible for all title work for land sales, according to the agreement, and may earn a one-time commission payment the equivalent of one month's rent in any lease signing for the spaces at the airport.

The nearly 10 acres of village property now up for sale at 616 E. Dresden St. is within the municipality's industrial district and therefore already zoned for medical marijuana purposes. The decision to market the spot for the medical marijuana industry is based strictly on business analysis, said Scott Yost, village manager.

"We've been following the marketplace and have observed that property transactions seem to be at a higher value with the medical marijuana industry," Yost said.

He said village officials wish to test that hypothesis, especially if it can be done with "so-called green brokers." It's good business to hire specialists, Yost said.

Ian Bertram said he and his wife have worked with multiple buyers of upward of $250,000 worth of properties in the Traverse City area who are now awaiting local and state accreditation to begin medical marijuana operations. He sees Kalkaska as a growing market where officials have embraced the industry, Bertram said.

"I think they are going to pioneer the way for quite a few towns," he said. "Kalkaska is the first community we've worked with that had taxpayer lands for this."

Village President Harley Wales said Kalkaska selling land designated for medical marijuana facilities is the latest step in the community's efforts to stay at the forefront of Michigan's growing cannabis economy.

"We've tried to stay on the cutting edge of medical marijuana from the very beginning," Wales said.

Bertram said he already has an interested buyer for the East Dresden Street location who comes with hopes to build a medical marijuana cultivation facility there.

The Bertrams work from the Real Estate One office on East Front Street in downtown Traverse City.

The property sales are intended to help boost village coffers in the wake of some large expenses in the form of legal settlements, primarily from three pair of plaintiffs who sued the village in 2014 over health insurance coverage. The settlement cost the village $1.63 million to be paid over the course of two years — last year the first payments were made and the final payments are due in September this year.

Program to focus on recreational pot planning, zoning

SUTTONS BAY — Planning and zoning issues connected to Michigan's new recreational marijuana law will be the focus of a coming presentation.

The Leelanau County Planning Commission will host the free program set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, in the lower level of the Government Center, 8527 E. Government Center Drive, Suttons Bay. Snacks will be available during a social gathering until 7 p.m., when a talk about planning and zoning for recreational marijuana will be presented, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Mary Reilly, government and public policy educator with Michigan State University Extension, is expected to speak during the event, to which the public is invited to participate.

For more information, or to RSVP, call 231-256-9812 or send email to [email protected] online.

Effort seeks to place markers on unmarked graves in Lansing

LANSING — The remains of 60 boys who were institutionalized and unlucky in life lie in unmarked graves on a bare hill at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

They were wards of the state: juvenile delinquents, orphans, children from families who couldn't afford to feed or provide medical care for them during harsh times.

All of them died between 1856 and 1933 at the former Boys Training School in Lansing, which operated for more than a century on the city's east side.

A renewed effort is underway to place markers on their graves, the Lansing State Journal reported.

"A lot of boys were not juvenile delinquents," said Loretta Stanaway, president of Friends of Lansing's Historic Cemeteries. "Even those that were still deserve to have some kind of identity and recognition that they had lived and they died and they're here."

Only one boy's grave is marked. That marker bears the name of Richard McKimmy who died on Christmas Day 1926. He was 12. Stanaway said it's believed his family paid for a marker.

Some of the bodies of those buried before 1874 were moved from the Oak Park Cemetery to Mount Hope Cemetery, when the city closed the Oak Park site.

Stanaway's group is picking up the torch from long ago efforts to mark the graves.

Nancy Mahlow, a retired secretary from the Department of Environmental Quality, headed fundraising efforts a decade ago.

But instead of the $17,000 she needed to place markers on each grave, she raised only enough to engrave 61 names on the back of a 1950s marker erected at the site.

She's thrilled that the effort has started again.

"I really want to see these boys have an identity. They have their names on the monument but to be able to see their names laid out where they are actually buried, they deserve that much. I'm excited about it," she said.

Mahlow, president of the Eastside Neighborhood Organization, heard the story of the unmarked graves years ago and became fascinated with it. She wanted the boys to be remembered.

While working for the state, she spent hundreds of her lunch hours scouring state archives for information on the boys. She first had to get help from former Democratic Rep. Joan Bauer of Lansing to have the records unsealed.

"It just became an obsession, because I felt so bad that these boys died and they had no identity. It still bothers me to this day," she said. "I was on a mission to find out when they were born, when they died, and what they died of."

Mahlow found the cause of death for many of the youths. They mostly were afflictions of their times — tuberculosis, pneumonia, typhoid fever and measles.

They ranged in age from 11 to 18. About half the boys who died were black and half were white, she said. One was from Canada and another from Austria. Mahlow doesn't know how they ended up in Michigan.

One youth was in there for stealing $2.25. Another took flour, pork and rice cakes.

Contrary to urban legends, she found no signs that they were abused or died in a fire at the school, she said.

The school operated from 1856 to 1972. It had a hospital, dental clinic, farm, barber shop, tannery, newspaper, band and football team, Mahlow said, giving the disadvantaged kids opportunity.

Most of the buildings were torn down in 1973 except for what's now the Don Johnson Fieldhouse, built in 1925, and renovated in 1976. A smaller building used for storing sports equipment also remains.

Portions of the land were sold off in later years, including the land that is home to Eastern High School, Lansing Catholic High School and the East Village subdivision.

Stanaway said the hill of unmarked graves is a relatively unknown part of Lansing history.

"There have been people born and raised here who don't know this exists," Stanaway said.

Stanaway said at least $18,000 is needed to provide 8-inch by 16-inch flat grey granite markers. The boy's names, year of birth and year of death will be on the markers.

A fundraiser will be held April 28 at the cemetery.

"When you think about it, most of us are driven by a few basic desires and one of those is to have a legacy. For these boys, this is their legacy. For good or bad, it's what remains of them," Stanaway said.

The boys, so unlucky in life, deserve some lasting recognition.

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