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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • May 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Searchers find small plane in Lake Michigan; 2 men missing

FRANKFORT (AP) — Authorities have found the wreckage of a small plane that went missing over Lake Michigan with two men aboard.

The Michigan State Police and Benzie County Sheriff's Office said searchers found the plane Wednesday about 5 miles from the coastal city of Frankfort. They said the plane was in water about 515 feet deep.

Searchers used a rover with video equipment to confirm it was the plane, and searched the aircraft and surrounding area, but didn't find the men. Authorities earlier identified them as 65-year-old Randal Dippold, of Perry, and 53-year-old Emanuel Manos, of Monroe.

The plane took off May 12 from Ontonagon in the Upper Peninsula and was heading to Monroe in southeastern Michigan when it reportedly had engine trouble.

Census Bureau estimates slow growth in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — U.S. Census Bureau estimates say Grand Rapids and its surrounding suburbs led much of Michigan's population growth last year.

The Detroit News reported the West Michigan city surpassed the 200,000 population mark in the yearly estimates released Thursday. Grand Rapids showed a population of 200,217 as of last summer, an increase of 1,135 residents.

Growth also was reported in surrounding communities.

The figures show that Detroit's population continued to decline, but the losses were smaller than in past years. The estimates show 672,662 residents as of last summer, a loss of 1,526.

The Detroit area's biggest gainers included the suburbs of Macomb Township, Canton Township and Novi.

Farm worker electrocuted when steel truss touches power line

PENN TWP. (AP) — A southern Michigan sheriff said a farm worker was fatally electrocuted when a steel truss he was holding touched a power line.

Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke said 19-year-old Rocky Stoner of Marcellus was injured Thursday morning at Sparks Cedarlee Farms in Penn Township.

Stoner was working on building a storage facility at the time. Behnke said a co-worker was using a forklift to move the truss into position while Stoner held the truss.

The worker on the forklift immediately called 911 and administered first aid, Behnke said, but Stoner couldn't be revived. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Southern Michigan man arrested after body found in home

STURGIS (AP) — Police said a southern Michigan man has been arrested after they found the body of a woman in his apartment.

The Sturgis Police Department said a 35-year-old Sturgis man is being charged with open murder, dismemberment of a corpse and failure to report a death after being arrested Wednesday night.

Police said they received an anonymous tip that the man was storing a woman's body inside his apartment.

The victim had not been previously reported missing, police said. The victim's name was withheld pending notification of relatives.

Michigan lawmakers set extra session amid insurance talks

LANSING (AP) — Michigan lawmakers will gather today for an additional day of session before the Memorial Day weekend as Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer work on a possible deal to reduce the state's high auto insurance premiums.

The House and Senate will meet to potentially vote today following hours of private talks at the Capitol on Thursday about legislation that would overhaul the no-fault insurance law. Legislators reported progress but did not say if an agreement had been struck.

Michigan is the only state to require that drivers buy unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) benefits as part of their car insurance policy. Lawmakers want to let motorists opt out of full coverage if they have other health insurance to cover their crash injuries.

Whitmer signs bills to allow parole of seriously ill inmates

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed laws letting Michigan release seriously ill and incapacitated prisoners early by having them treated at nursing homes or hospitals instead.

Whitmer said the four new measures will help the state properly manage treatment options for an aging prisoner population while reducing costs.

Those eligible will remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, but be paroled before their earliest release dates if cared for in non-prison facilities. The state could save money because the treatment of "medically frail" inmates could be fully or partly covered by federal insurance programs.

The Democratic governor signed the legislation Wednesday. It had received overwhelmingly legislative approval and will take effect in August.

Couple whose newborn died wins key ruling from court

LANSING (AP) — A Lansing couple trying to keep custody of two children can argue that legitimate religious beliefs prevent them from seeking medical care for their children.

The Michigan Supreme Court said Rachel and Joshua Piland can request that jury instruction if they present sufficient evidence during a custody trial in Ingham County. The Pilands say their beliefs trump any allegations of neglect.

The court released a brief order Thursday, six weeks after hearing arguments.

Two children were removed from the home after a newborn girl died of jaundice after an at-home birth in 2017. A midwife who had assisted them suggested the baby be taken to a doctor, but the Pilands declined, saying the child's health was in God's hands.

The parents face involuntary manslaughter charges in the girl's death.

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