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State Briefs

by the associated press • Jun 12, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan bill boosts spending to combat lead, abusive clergy

LANSING (AP) — A $28.8 million spending bill that has received final legislative approval would allocate funding to combat lead in Michigan drinking water systems and investigate sexual assaults by clergy.

The Senate sent the supplemental budget measure to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday.

It includes $3 million for public health services needed as a result of Michigan implementing the nation's toughest lead-in-water rules in the wake of Flint's water crisis.

There also is $635,000 for the state attorney general's criminal probe of abuse by Catholic priests. Lawmakers are allotting an additional $10 million to compensate wrongfully convicted inmates and $5 million to support outreach and preparation for participation in the 2020 Census.

Also included in the bill is $5 million to help the state implement the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

Worker rescued after trench collapse in Kent County

WYOMING (AP) — A construction worker has been hospitalized after being rescued from a trench that collapsed in West Michigan.

Wyoming Fire Chief Brian Bennett said crews were working to install sewer and water pipes in a housing development Tuesday morning when the ground started caving in due to the heavily saturated soil. Bennett said the man was trapped from the waist down for around 30 minutes before crews were able to free him.

The man suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Bennett said. The man's name hasn't been released.

The worker was inside a steel safety box that excavators work within when in a hole.

Authorities said the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

$8.6M federal grant to improve Michigan railroad safety

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan is receiving an $8.6 million federal grant to improve the condition of railroad tracks in the state.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation will go to Lake State Railway's Mackinaw Subdivision. The company operates about 375 miles of track. They run from its Saginaw headquarters north to Gaylord and Alpena and south to Plymouth, with shorter lines reaching Midland and Bay City.

U.S. Reps. Dan Kildee, Jack Bergman and John Moolenaar announced the grant Tuesday. They said it would boost the economic competitiveness of the areas served by the rails by giving auto suppliers, farmers and other businesses a reliable means of getting their products to market.

Michigan man gets 16 years in prison for boy's beating death

LANSING (AP) — A Michigan man whose stepson died after he beat the 4-year-old several times and whipped him with a leather belt has been sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Orlando Steele on Monday to 16-25 years in prison, the Lansing State Journal reported.

Steele pleaded guilty in April to a reduced charge of second-degree child abuse in the July 2015 death of Ja'Haad Wood, who had a lacerated liver and more than 50 blunt-force injuries.

Steele — a fourth-time offender — told police that he beat the boy to discipline him several times the day before his death, including with a leather belt.

Ja'Haad's mother, Jessica Wood, met Steele two months before her son was killed, according to a Child Protective Services petition to terminate Wood's parental rights. Steele would stay at home and watch the kids while Wood worked, often disciplining the children, the CPS report found.

Missing Michigan dog turns up months later, miles away

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — A dog that vanished from her northern Michigan home turned up more than two months later roughly 30 miles away.

WPBN-TV reported Hazel disappeared in March from Traverse City while her family was on vacation. Jennifer Janiga said they immediately started searching for her when they returned. Janiga said she was "riding around with food, treats and a leash in my car" as she held out hope.

The TV station said Janiga got a call from her veterinarian saying the dog — which had an identifying microchip — was found 73 days after going missing by a couple in Leelanau County.

Janiga said Hazel "jumped in my husband's arms" and "knew that she was home." She had cuts and lost weight, but is doing OK.

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