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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jan 22, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan cancer study considers toxic air pollution

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Michigan regulators are expanding an investigation into air pollution produced by a medical-device manufacturer, and the results could be factored into a cancer study.

The Department of Environmental Quality this month announced plans to widen air-quality testing around the Viant Medical facility in Grand Rapids, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

The department issued several pollution violations after noting elevated emissions of ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. The company uses the chemical to sterilize medical equipment.

Exposure to the toxin at low levels over months or years can harm the eyes, skin, respiratory passages and the nervous system, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Constant exposure over time could cause neuropathy, kidney damage, liver damage. Pregnant women could miscarry.

Viant said it is cooperating with the investigation.

A public meeting on the issue is scheduled for March 6.

School bus chief has fatal heart attack while shoveling snow

PORTAGE (AP) — A man in charge of transportation at a southwestern Michigan school district has died while shoveling snow.

Portage district officials said Mike Westbrook died Saturday from a heart attack.

Superintendent Mark Bielang told families that Westbrook's "work impacted every student who rides a bus." He said Westbrook was "masterful" at bus logistics in the Kalamazoo-area district.

Westbrook had worked for the school district since 2002.

Detroit-area man charged with killing 73-year-old father

ROYAL OAK (AP) — A 31-year-old Detroit-area man has been charged with killing his father, who was found dead with his hands and legs bound.

Dane Matthew Steward of Royal Oak appeared in court Monday on a first-degree murder charge and was ordered held without bond.

Police said they found 73-year-old Dennis Steward's body Thursday inside the home the two men shared. An autopsy determined he died from strangulation and had likely been dead for more than a day. His car was missing.

Authorities issued an alert for the vehicle and Dane Steward. A Berrien County Sheriff's Office deputy reported he had contact with Dane Steward early Thursday near the Michigan-Indiana border, where his car had run out of gas.

Steward was arrested Thursday night after leading police on an hour-long chase through several counties.

Driver who says he was high strikes state police vehicle

DETROIT (AP) — State police said a man who admitted smoking marijuana lost control of his car and struck a trooper's vehicle on the shoulder of I-75 in Detroit on Sunday.

No injuries were reported.

The trooper had stopped to check a crash on southbound I-75, near the Davison Freeway. 

The 26-year-old driver of a Chevrolet Malibu was arrested and taken to a hospital for a blood test. In a tweet, state police said, "C'mon Man!!!"

Marijuana is legal for Michigan residents who are at least 21, but it's illegal to drive while under the influence.

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