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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • May 17, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Man dies in Barry County corn silo accident

CASTLETON TWP. (AP) — Michigan State Police are investigating the death of a West Michigan man who became trapped beneath corn in a silo.

Police said 72-year-old Robert Othmer of Vermontville was working inside the silo in Barry County’s Castleton Township at about 10 a.m. Thursday when he became trapped beneath the corn. Family members attempted to pull him free but were unable to do so.

Police said Othmer was finally removed from the silo by first responders, but they were unable to save his life.

It wasn't clear how Othmer became trapped beneath the corn.

Right to Life files paperwork for abortion petition drive

LANSING (AP) — Anti-abortion group Right to Life of Michigan has filed paperwork to begin a petition drive to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure.

The organization made the expected announcement Wednesday, a day after the Republican-led Legislature passed bills to prohibit the dilation and evacuation method and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would veto them.

Right to Life, which calls the procedure "dismemberment," needs to collect about 340,000 valid voter signatures. If it does, the Legislature could enact the initiated legislation on its own and sidestep a Whitmer veto.

Right to Life says it has received a "large outpouring of requests to get involved," but it does not plan to begin circulating petitions until the Board of State Canvassers approves the form of the petition.

Mid-Michigan man gets life sentence for murder of great aunt

MIDLAND (AP) — A judge has sentenced a mid-Michigan man to life in prison without parole for the first-degree, premeditated murder of his great aunt.

Joel B. Wallace, 34, of Reese learned his punishment following his March conviction in the slaying of 74-year-old Victoria Kilbourne of Midland.

Her remains were found June 30, 2018, in a shallow grave on Wallace's hunting property in Presque Isle County. Family and friends had reported her missing five days earlier.

Fingerprints found on tape used to bind Kilbourne's hands, feet and mouth were determined to be a match for Wallace by forensic investigator Kenneth Binder of the Michigan State Police, who testified during the trial.

Kilbourne was a hairdresser.

Clerk in small county seeks safety glass for 'sitting ducks'

ALPENA (AP) — The clerk in a small county in the northern Lower Peninsula is urging officials to install bulletproof glass at the courthouse, saying her employees are "sitting ducks."

Bonnie Friedrichs made a pitch this week to Alpena County commissioners. She said her staff is "totally at the mercy of anyone" who wants to shoot or throw rocks at the windows.

Friedrichs referred to a recent shooting at a local business.

The Alpena News said the county finance committee agreed to find out how much it would cost to replace windows. Maintenance superintendent Wes Wilder said bulletproof glass is expensive and smaller windows could lower the cost.

Bubbly farewell leads to suspension for school leader

DEARBORN HEIGHTS (AP) — A school superintendent in suburban Detroit has been suspended without pay for five days for serving champagne during a celebration for two retiring educators.

The school year was over last June in Dearborn Heights District 7 and no students were in the building. But the school board says Jennifer Mast violated a policy prohibiting alcohol on school property.

Mast said it was "completely innocent." She said a dozen adults drank half of a bottle of champagne.

School board President Mandy Diroff declined to discuss the matter with the Detroit Free Press.

Several teachers spoke on Mast's behalf Wednesday, but the school board didn't reopen the matter. Mast said her suspension is longer than a three-day suspension that was given to a past superintendent who made an error costing thousands of dollars.

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