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State Briefs

by the associated press • Jun 26, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Man charged after 2 men fatally shot in West Michigan

HASTINGS (AP) — A 63-year-old man has been charged with murder in the fatal shootings of two men in Barry County.

Jon Otis Barnett was ordered held on $10 million bond following a hearing Monday in Hastings. He faces assault and weapons charges, as well, and authorities said he also tried to strangle his wife.

Authorities said 21-year-old Bryce DeGood and 73-year-old Gary Peake were found dead Friday afternoon of gunshot wounds in Orangeville Township. Peake was found in a home and DeGood by a road.

A possible motive for the shootings wasn't immediately released.

Prosecutors say Barnett could face more charges, since he allegedly shot at motorists who tried to help DeGood. A witness called 911.

Utility plans $478M work at nuclear plant, wants rate hike

BRIDGMAN (AP) — A utility is planning $478 million in infrastructure improvements at the Cook Nuclear Plant in southwestern Michigan and is asking for higher rates to help pay for it.

Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Indiana Michigan Power says the work at the plant along Lake Michigan would take place this year and 2020.

The utility on Monday submitted its plans to the Michigan Public Service Commission for review. The "Michigan Plan" would also update poles and wires; add more new equipment to lines, substations and homes; and trim trees.

The utility is asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to review base rates for an overall increase of about $58.5 million, or nearly 19 percent. The company says the monthly increase for a typical residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per month would be $36.

Gray wolf at Detroit Zoo dies during surgery to remove mass

ROYAL OAK (AP) — The Detroit Zoo said an 11-year-old gray wolf has died during surgery to remove a mass in her chest.

Zoo officials said Wazi suffered cardiac arrest and died Monday. The mass had been discovered during a health exam, and veterinarians determined surgery was the only option because of its size and location.

The zoo said the wolf "was intelligent, fearless, curious and sassy," and "adored" by employees, volunteers and visitors.

The zoo's lone surviving wolf is a male named Kaska.

Michigan high court taking up fight over private school aid

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to take up a major lower-court decision that allows Michigan tax dollars to flow to private schools.

A coalition of public school groups and the American Civil Liberties Union had urged the state's high court to reverse an October 2018 opinion by the appeals court. The court said private schools can receive public money to help them comply with health, safety and welfare rules.

In Tuesday's order, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman said the court needs to resolve the issue with a "final decision."

Critics say the Michigan Constitution clearly states that no public money can aid a private school.

The Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, approved $2.5 million in 2016 for state requirements at private schools.

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