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State Briefs

Tribune Staff • May 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Fire at Ionia County poultry operation kills 250K hens

SARANAC (AP) — About 250,000 hens have been killed during a fire at a mid-Michigan poultry operation.

The blaze started Tuesday evening in a barn at Herbruck's Poultry Ranch in Saranac, east of Grand Rapids. Operations resumed Wednesday.

The ranch supplies eggs to McDonald's restaurants and other customers, MLive reported.

Herb Herbruck, one of the company's operators, said in a statement that about 250,000 hens were in the barn. The fire was contained to one barn and did not spread to other structures at the ranch.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The family-owned company was founded in 1958. The company's website says it has 6 million egg-laying hens.

Michigan police investigate dogs found dead in trash bags

YPSILANTI TWP. (AP) — Police in southeastern Michigan's Ypsilanti Township have launched an animal cruelty investigation after several dogs were found dead in trash bags dumped along roadways.

Sgt. Eugene Rush of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office said a work crew found the carcasses of puppies and four adult dogs, some of which had been cut up, in trash bags along roads near Willow Run Airport on April 23. The next day, the same crew found a bag with dead puppies and two more bagged dogs along another roadway, Rush said.

Rush told the Detroit Free Press that "it's a horrific crime" and investigators believe the cases are connected.

The adult dogs appeared to be pit bull mixes, Rush said, but it's unclear when the dogs were dumped along the roads.

Detroit suburb to seek emergency declaration due to flooding

DEARBORN HEIGHTS (AP) — A suburban Detroit community plans to seek an emergency declaration due to flooding that followed heavy rainfall.

Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko said his office asked the state police Wednesday to consider a declaration and will do a financial assessment of any damage before submitting an official request to the state.

Flooding primarily is located in an area referred to as South Dearborn Heights.

"We experienced 3 inches of rain last night," Dearborn Heights Fire Chief Dave Brogan told WDIV-TV on Wednesday. "We've had several calls of people trapped in their homes who have medical problems or physical limitations that we're helping ... and we've had a lot of homes filling up with smoke from water flooding up to their electrical outlets."

Overnight rain across the Detroit area left scores of basements flooded and made some local streets impassable. Some vehicles had to be towed from the water.

Former Macomb County clerk charged with larceny

WARREN (AP) — A political novice who rode President Donald Trump's popularity to a countywide office in suburban Detroit has been charged with withdrawing $1,660 from an elderly woman's bank account.

The Macomb County prosecutor announced a larceny charge Wednesday against Karen Spranger.

Spranger was the county clerk for 15 months before a judge removed her from office in 2018. A judge said she wasn't living at a Warren house when she filed to run for clerk in 2016. The house had no utilities.

Police said Spranger's whereabouts are unknown. Investigators haven't been able to find her for an interview.

Spranger was unknown before she won the county clerk's race as a Republican. She benefited from Trump's popularity. He got 53 percent of the vote in Macomb County.

Mid-Michigan police chief charged with lying to detectives

CHARLOTTE (AP) — A mid-Michigan police chief has been arraigned on official misconduct and other charges for allegedly lying that his wife had been sexually assaulted by a sheriff's deputy.

Potterville Police Chief Shane Bartlett also was arraigned Wednesday on charges of lying to police in a violent crime investigation and making a false report of a felony.

His attorney, Matt Newburg, said he'll vigorously challenge the allegations.

Authorities say the charges stem from a Michigan State Police investigation that started when Bartlett's wife, Kellie, accused an Eaton County deputy of sexual assault. Kellie Bartlett at the time was a clerk with the Eaton County Sheriff's Office. She's been charged with filing a false report and several other counts.

Potterville City Manager Aaron Sheridan said Shane Bartlett has been suspended with pay.

Avoid touching toxic foam on waterways, state officials say

LANSING (AP) — The state says people should avoid contact with toxic foam from chemicals that may be found floating on some lakes, rivers and streams.

Michigan Health and Human Services officials say anyone who touches foam from perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) should wash it off. The concern is inadvertently transferring the chemicals into a person's mouth while eating.

State toxicology and response section manager Deb MacKenzie-Taylor said levels of PFAS in foam can vary, but the chemicals are often more highly concentrated in foam than in surface water.

The industrial compounds have been used in some firefighting foam, waterproofing, carpeting and other products. They can get into drinking water when products containing the chemicals are spilled onto the ground or in lakes or rivers.

Detroit homeowner finds mummified human torso in basement

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police say a mummified human torso has been found in the basement of a home on the city's west side.

Police said the small torso was discovered Wednesday afternoon while the homeowner was working on the home. It was found in the basement near a bar area.

Cmdr. Brian Mounsey said the homeowner bought the property two years ago as an investment and nobody has lived there since.

It's difficult to tell how long the torso has been in the house because of decomposition, but Mounsey said it probably has been in the basement since the current homeowner bought the property.

Police said it's unclear what gender the person was.

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