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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 23, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Man who impersonated mom stole $175K from Social Security

DETROIT (AP) — A man who impersonated his late mother's voice has pleaded guilty to illegally collecting $175,000 in Social Security benefits for nearly 16 years.

Frank Johnson apparently fooled the Social Security Administration with the impersonation in 2013. But he admits a similar attempt in 2017 failed and "his scheme unraveled."

Johnson's plea deal Monday said he forged his mother's signature on checks and also used a debit-style card that was regularly loaded with Social Security benefits.

The government didn't know his mother had died.

Johnson could get a year or more in prison, although people convicted of Social Security fraud in southeastern Michigan rarely get locked up. He'll return to Detroit federal court Aug. 19.

Ionia man justified in fatally shooting intruder, prosecutor says

SEBEWA TWP. (AP) — A prosecutor said a 69-year-old mid-Michigan homeowner was justified when he fatally shot a man who broke into his home and attacked him.

Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler ruled Monday that the homeowner acted in self-defense Jan. 1 and won't face charges for shooting 40-year-old Justin Eddy of Lansing.

The Lansing State Journal reported that while Eddy was unarmed at the time, Butler said the homeowner was "nonetheless in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm" when Eddy forced his way into the home in Sebewa Township at around 10:30 that night.

Authorities have said Eddy told the man and his 63-year-old wife he was being chased by someone, and then began acting erratically and attacked the homeowner.

Plans canceled for wind farm in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

L'ANSE TWP. (AP) — A company says it's not moving forward on plans for a wind farm in Michigan's Upper Peninsula due to factors including delays in the planning process.

Renewable Energy Systems recently announced that it's decided to stop development of the Summit Lake Wind Farm project in Baraga County's L'Anse Township. A release from the company says the project, which was proposed last year, no longer made sense financially and logistically.

The company had proposed a wind energy facility with 49 turbines, each almost 500 feet tall.

Plans for the wind farm faced opposition by some including the group Friends of the Huron Mountains, which welcomed the update on the project's cancellation.

Detroit denies request to leave petroleum coke pit uncovered

DETROIT (AP) — Marathon Petroleum's request to avoid covering a petroleum coke storage pit in southwest Detroit has been denied.

Detroit's buildings department said the company failed to show that people living near the refinery would not be affected by emissions.

Petroleum coke — also called pet coke — is a byproduct of refining crude oil.

Marathon says the pit is surrounded by 30-foot-high walls and that it isn't necessary to install a covering to meet emission reduction requirements.

The city says refinery officials "offered no analytical data or air monitoring data of any sort that would conclusively show that there are no fugitive dust emissions from the coke pit, among other things."

Marathon spokesman Chuck Rice said the company is reviewing its "options in light of the city's decision."

Nearby residents long have complained about pollutants from the refinery.

Marquette breaks record of days under 60, weather bureau says

MARQUETTE (AP) — The National Weather Service said the Upper Peninsula city of Marquette has set a chilly record by going nearly 200 straight days without the temperature reaching at least 60 degrees.

The weather service in Marquette reported Thursday that the Lake Superior port city had gone 197 days without reaching 60 degrees, breaking the previous record of 196 days set in 1970.

Jim Salzwedel is observation program leader with the weather service's Marquette bureau. He said Sunday that the city's cold streak ended at 198 days on Saturday, when the temperature reached 65 degrees in Marquette. Before Saturday, the last time it had reached 60 degrees in Marquette was last Oct. 3.

Marquette's weather service observations go back to 1962.

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