Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EDT
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Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EDT

SEVERE WEATHER-MICHIGAN

Officials say tornado touched down in Shiawassee County

VERNON, Mich. (AP) — The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Shiawassee County.

The White Lake-based weather service says a tornado touched down at 7:03 p.m. Thursday in Vernon, about 21 miles (33.79 kilometres) southwest of Flint. Officials say the same tornado touched down in nearby Durand at about 7:05 p.m.

Severe weather also was reported in nearby Genesee County.

Michigan State Police said first-responders confirmed at least 21 homes were damaged, but no injuries were immediately reported. Power lines also were downed.

Weather service officials say an unconfirmed tornado in Flushing, near Flint in Genesee County, reportedly touched down at 7:12 p.m.

The tornadic activity happened on a day that also included severe thunderstorm warnings, watches, flooding, high winds and hail throughout lower Michigan.

STUDENTS-TAX PREP

College students get experience by handling tax returns

(Information from: The Mining Journal, http://www.miningjournal.net)

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — Students at Northern Michigan University are getting experience by volunteering to prepare tax returns for people in the Marquette area.

The Mining Journal reports that the walk-in service is offered four hours a week through the tax season. There’s no charge for people with a certain income. An estimated 160 returns were handled in 2018.

Kyle McGorisk, an accounting major, says, “it’s an educational experience for both parties.” He says students learn about tax compliance in the real world instead of simply absorbing it in a classroom. The program is run through Beta Alpha Psi, an academic business fraternity.

Logan Turner, a senior, says he normally prepares his own taxes, but he gave the job to another student this week. It saved him time and helped his friend, too.

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FISH DEATHS

Winter fish kills may become noticeable as snow, ice melt

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State officials say small numbers of dead fish may be common sights in Michigan waters as winter’s snow and ice melt.

Gary Whelan of the Department of Natural Resources says very cold temperatures and heavy snow can kill fish and other aquatic animals such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish.

Shallow lakes with lots of vegetation are especially prone to winter kill. Aquatic plants covered by ice and snow die from lack of sunlight and use up dissolved oxygen as they decay, which can cause fish to suffocate.

Canals in urban areas also susceptible because of runoff and pollution from roads, lawns and septic systems.

Whelan says the fish kills typically happen late in winter but can go unnoticed until the water warms and fish rise to the surface.

GRAND RAPIDS DEATHS

2 women found fatally shot in Grand Rapids home; man sought

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have identified two women found fatally shot at a home in western Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says the Kent County Medical Examiner has ruled the deaths of 47-year-old Charletta Baber-Bey and 25-year-old Keyona Griffin to be homicides.

Baber-Bey and Griffin were found dead in their home around 1 p.m. Wednesday. Officers went there after getting a 911 call from someone inside the home. The relationship between the women wasn’t immediately known.

Police say Baber-Bey’s 45-year-old boyfriend who also lived at the home is a person of interest in the case.

SECRETARY OF STATE-FINANCES

Benson discloses finances, urges lawmakers to require it

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is voluntarily disclosing her personal financial information while calling on the Legislature to make such disclosures mandatory.

Michigan is one of two states to not require financial disclosures from lawmakers. Other state officials do not have to file, either.

Benson posted a form on her department’s website Thursday. The Democrat says “it’s basic information that our citizens have a right to know.”

Also this week, Benson launched a “transparency” webpage with links to her calendar, agency spending and information like how to file a public-records request.

Benson disclosed $300,000 in income from leading the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, $70,000 from working at Wayne State University and her husband’s $165,000 salary from the city of Detroit. She also listed bank and retirement accounts.

LAKE ICE ARRESTS-KIDNAPPING

Men sought in boy’s kidnapping arrested on icy Lake Superior

WHITEFISH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A registered sex offender and another man have been arrested on kidnapping and other charges while trying to cross an icy Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with the sex offender’s 5-year-old son.

The Chippewa County sheriff’s office says 53-year-old George Cunningham and 68-year-old Jon Stygler were caught early Thursday about two miles out from Whitefish Point and about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the Canadian mainland.

Officers tracked them with snowmobiles after two adults and several children were bound at knifepoint before the boy was taken from a home in Whitefish Township.

An Amber Alert was issued for the boy.

Cunningham and Stygler were arraigned Thursday. Michigan State Police sex offender records show Cunningham was convicted in 2015 in Ohio on charges involving a child younger than 13.

Both men are due in court March 25. Neither had defence attorneys Thursday.

PRIEST-ABUSE

Priest who was Saginaw principal in ’80s accused of abuse

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — Church leaders in the Saginaw Diocese say a priest who was a local school principal in the 1980s is on a list of priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse.

Francis Landwermeyer died in September in Texas. The Saginaw Diocese says it learned Wednesday that he was accused of sexually abusing minors elsewhere, although his name was publicly disclosed by the Jesuit order in December.

Landwermeyer was principal of Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central High School from 1985 to 1988. The Saginaw Diocese says it’s not aware of any abuse allegations when he was at the school. But it’s encouraging people to contact authorities if they have information.

The Jesuits say Landwermeyer’s alleged abuse occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. He worked in many states. He quit the priesthood in 2011.

AP-US-WOLVES-US-PROTECTIONS-THE-LATEST

The Latest: Wolves resilient, but proposal tests expansion

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A proposal to strip grey wolves of federal protections could curtail their rapid expansion across vast swaths of the U.S., yet the predators already are proving to be resilient in states where hunting and trapping occur.

The Interior Department on Thursday declared grey wolves recovered across the Lower 48 states. If finalized, the proposal would allow hunting in more areas.

The species has seen a remarkable turnaround — from near-extermination to more than 6,000 grey wolves spread across nine states.

Critics say hunts could kill thousands of the animals and prevent their further spread.

But in the Northern Rockies, where legal wolf harvests began a decade ago, the animal’s numbers have held relatively steady and packs have expanded west into Oregon, Washington and California.

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MICHIGAN LAB-DOGS

Humane Society seeks release of dogs from Michigan lab

MATTAWAN, Mich. (AP) — The Humane Society of the United States is pushing for the release of three dozen dogs from a west Michigan laboratory, alleging that the animals are being fed fungicides.

The animal rights organization on Tuesday released the findings of an undercover investigation it conducted last year at Charles River Laboratories in Mattawan.

The humane society says the lab was hired to use 36 beagles in a yearlong pesticide test for a new product being developed by Corteva Agriscience, which is a division of DowDuPont. The society alleges that the dogs will be euthanized in July.

Corteva says the animal testing is required by regulators in Brazil. Dow says the company is looking for alternatives that wouldn’t involve testing on animals.

The lab says it’s committed to treating animals ethically.

The Associated Press

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