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State Briefs

by the associated press • Jun 11, 2019 at 8:00 AM

High water likely to blame for damage at Holland park

HOLLAND (AP) — Officials say high Great Lakes water levels likely are to blame for damage to a seawall at a West Michigan park.

The Holland Sentinel reported the damage at Kollen Park in Holland is on the east end of the boardwalk and west end at the boat launch where a section of sidewalk collapsed.

The park is located along Lake Macatawa, which is connected to Lake Michigan by a channel. The newspaper said the damage likely happened during a late May storm.

Brian White, the city's transportation services director, said officials are putting together different options to make repairs and are hoping they will be completed by July 4.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said flooding and coastal erosion threats will continue along Great Lakes coasts, especially during storms.

22 caught in Michigan sting targeting child sex solicitation

FLINT (AP) — Authorities in Michigan say they've arrested 22 people as part of an online child sex sting targeting suspects who are accused of soliciting sex with children.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell announced the arrests Sunday and said they were believed to be targeting children for sexual purposes in Genesee County. He said some live in the county and others are from Saginaw, Shiawassee, Oakland, Wayne, Lapeer and Tuscola counties.

Pickell wrote in a Facebook post that the investigation is "a sobering reminder that we must be more vigilant than ever protecting our children."

The sheriff said Monday an online ad was put up to draw suspects as part of the investigation, which involved the newly formed Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team. The team also arrested a person suspected of sexually assaulting a 2-year-old and another accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old, Pickell said.

Father dies week after Michigan crash that killed daughter

GRANT TWP. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died nearly a week after his teenage daughter was killed when a farm truck struck them along a West Michigan road.

Eric Scott was hospitalized after he and 14-year-old Kaitlynn Scott were hit June 3 in Oceana County's Grant Township while walking their dog. Kaitlynn died at the scene.

Michigan State Police said Eric Scott died early Monday at a Muskegon hospital.

Police said a farm truck went onto the road's shoulder and struck the Scotts. Police don't believe the 57-year-old driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but they are still investigating the crash.

Kaitlynn was a student of Montague Middle School in Muskegon County.

Michigan hotel offers free room to women seeking abortions

YALE (AP) — A hotel manager in Michigan's rural Thumb region is offering free lodging to women who come from states that have passed tough abortion restrictions to have the procedure.

The Detroit Free Press reported Yale Hotel manager Shelley O'Brien proffered an invitation on Facebook that includes roundtrip transportation to appointments. O'Brien, a 55-year-old mother and grandmother, says she wants to help women "maintain autonomy" over their bodies.

Several conservative states such as Alabama and Missouri have passed restrictions taking aim at the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion across the United States. Many such laws are being challenged in the courts and may not go into effect.

Michigan currently has less restrictive abortion laws.

O'Brien told the newspaper in a story published Friday that nobody has taken her up on the offer.

Google plans $17M office expansions in Detroit, Ann Arbor

TAYLOR (AP) — Google is committing to spend $17 million to upgrade and expand offices in Detroit and Ann Arbor, a move the tech giant says will give it the capacity to "significantly" increase its Michigan workforce in coming years.

Google has more than 600 employees statewide.

The company announced its plans Monday at a "Grow with Google" workshop in Taylor, while declining to say how many jobs it may add.

Google says once the office expansions are done, its footprint will total more than 260,000 square feet across Michigan.

The announcement was applauded by elected officials such as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Gary Peters.

Google's workshops focus on improving small businesses' online presence with digital skills. Additional workshops are being held in Grand Rapids and Jackson this week.

Michigan crews to conduct fishery research in Great Lakes

LANSING (AP) — Research crews are conducting fish population surveys on Michigan's Great Lakes waters this summer and fall.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the teams are working from vessels based in Alpena, Charlevoix, Macomb County's Harrison Township and Marquette.

The research vessel Tanner focuses on Lake Huron, Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River and their lake trout, walleye and forage fish populations. The Channel Cat studies walleye, yellow perch and lake sturgeon on Lakes St. Clair and Erie.

The Lake Char assesses the status of Lake Superior's self-sustaining lake trout, whitefish and other cold-water fish. The survey vessel Steelhead focuses on yellow perch, whitefish, lake trout, chinook salmon and forage fish in Lake Michigan.

Officials say the public is welcome to visit the vessels when they're in port.

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