Waves, wind pound Lake Michigan coast, erode properties
SOUTH HAVEN (AP) — Property owners and local governments are assessing the damage from a day of relentless waves and high winds along Lake Michigan in western and northern Michigan.
The National Weather Service said the wind speed exceeded 50 mph Wednesday up and down the coast. Waves crashed into piers and lighthouses, drawing spectators with cameras to see the spectacle.
Tom Durant, a 76-year-old in South Haven, called it a "once-in-a-lifetime thing."
Near Grand Haven, homeowner Paul Griffeth said he's lost at least 80 feet of beach due to high water and rough weather.
In Manistee, the Coast Guard station was cut off due to flooded roads. Karen Hudson, who has a condo near the water, said the lake is "angry."
Paul Swidorski, who works for an excavation company, said the amount of work this year is "off the charts" as property owners seek help to protect homes.
Native American tribe begins work on $100M casino expansion
WAYLAND (AP) — A Native American tribe is planning a $100 million expansion of its West Michigan casino that will include new dining, entertainment and gaming space.
The Gun Lake Tribe said preliminary site work has started at the casino in Wayland, MLive.com reported Thursday.
"We are proud of the effort of our team members that has driven the continued success of Gun Lake Casino and our Tribe's contributions to Michigan's economy in the last eight years," Tribal Chairman Bob Peters said in a statement. "These expansion plans allow us to build on these efforts and provide even more employment opportunities and increased economic impact in our local communities."
About 76,000 square feet of space will be added to the casino, which has been open since 2011. The expansion will accommodate more than 2,000 slot machines, 47 games tables, a high-limit room, a 300-seat buffet and a 225-seat café. The new space is expected to open in summer 2021.
The casino already employs 1,100 people and officials said the expansion will lead to an additional 125 hires.
The announcement comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that it properly ended a lawsuit over the tribe's casino. In 2008, a Michigan resident sued the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians after the tribe received the go-ahead to build a casino on land near the man's property.
Man convicted of killing cop as teen gets shorter sentence
DETROIT (AP) — A judge has reduced the life sentence of a Detroit man who has spent 42 years in prison for the fatal shooting of an off-duty police officer.
Charles Lewis was 17 years old in 1976 when Gerald Sypitkowski was killed. Judge Qiana Lillard said it was a "spur of the moment ... robbery that went bad."
The Detroit News said the judge on Thursday resentenced Lewis to 37-60 years in prison. His attorney, Sanford Schulman, believes the 60-year-old Lewis will be immediately eligible for release.
Lewis' case was reopened because the U.S. Supreme Court said teens can't automatically be sentenced to life terms like adults convicted of murder. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office didn't ask for another life sentence, but still wanted Lewis to serve a term of years.
Program will guide Michigan's transition to renewable fuels
LANSING (AP) — State officials have developed a program to help Michigan residents and businesses deal with the energy industry's transition from fossil fuels to renewable power sources.
MI Power Grid will serve as a clearinghouse for information and help with integrating clean energy technologies into the power grid.
The initiative comes as older coal plants are phased out and an industry dominated by large generators evolves to smaller, more widespread sources such as wind and solar.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the program Thursday with the Michigan Public Service Commission.
MI Power Grid will sponsor sessions about adapting to changes in the energy industry, including revisions of regulations and utility programs.
Laura Sherman of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council says it will help energy companies boost competition and reliability while reducing costs.