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State Briefs

• Feb 15, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Divers recover body of missing snowmobiler from Kent County lake

SPENCER TWP. (AP) — Divers have recovered the body of a snowmobiler who drove into open water on a lake in West Michigan.

Sgt. Joel Roon of the Kent County Sheriff's Office said the body of 29-year-old Joseph Brown was found Thursday afternoon in water 50-60 feet deep in Lincoln Lake in Spencer Township.

Roon said searchers used sonar-equipped underwater robots, then an underwater camera, before divers recovered the body.

The search for Brown began Wednesday night when another snowmobiler reported Brown had apparently driven into open water. Police said the caller was rescued from unstable ice by a hovercraft.

Michigan lawmakers block Whitmer order in rare move

LANSING (AP) — Republican lawmakers on Thursday blocked Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's bid to restructure the state environmental agency — the first time the full Legislature has rejected a gubernatorial executive order since 1977.

The GOP-led Senate voted 22-16 against the order along party lines, criticizing her attempt to abolish new rule-making and permitting panels, and to establish an "environmental justice" office without defining what the term means.

The Republican-controlled House voted down the order last week.

Whitmer is awaiting a legal opinion from Attorney General Dana Nessel on whether the commissions created last year violate federal environmental law. One panel oversees environmental rule-making — though the governor ultimately has the final say — while another can approve, modify or reverse permit decisions that have been challenged by companies or other parties.

Whitmer has criticized the commissions as a nonessential layer of bureaucracy that "keeps us from actually cleaning up drinking water."

Sensible bonds will be part of new project in 5 courts statewide

LANSING (AP) — Five Michigan courts, from the Detroit area to the Upper Peninsula, will participate in a program to try to reduce jail costs by setting reasonable bonds for people awaiting trial.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack said no one should sit in jail just because they can't afford to pay bail. She wants judges to set bail amounts that protect rights and public safety as well as save money for local governments.

Courts in Hamtramck, Clinton Township, Mount Pleasant, Flint and Escanaba will participate in the program. Judges will set bonds based on statistical models of risk.

The state Supreme Court says more than 7,500 jail inmates are awaiting trial, and many have been charged with non-violent crimes.

Public's help sought after 53 dogs rescued near Detroit

STERLING HEIGHTS (AP) — A suburban Detroit animal control agency is asking the public for help after rescuing 53 dogs from being hoarded.

Macomb County Animal Control said the dogs were seized Wednesday while a Sterling Heights man was loading them into a moving van to take them to a new home.

Animal Control Chief Jeff Randazzo told The Detroit News the dogs are anemic, stressed out and suffer from malnutrition. He said the hoarder told authorities he rescued the mixed-breed dogs from the streets of Detroit.

The agency is asking the public for donations to help cover medical expenses. It also asks for donated dog food, blankets, towels, disinfectants, anti-bacterial laundry soap and Dawn dishwashing liquid.

Randazzo is working with nearby shelters to take in some of the rescued dogs.

Sports groups back plan for keeping carp out of Great Lakes

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — Hunting and fishing groups have teamed up to support a plan for preventing Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

They have formed the Great Lakes Conservation Coalition, which will push for funding of a strategy proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The $778 million plan calls for installing technologies such as noisemakers and a water-flushing lock at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois, to prevent the carp from migrating upstream to Lake Michigan.

Scientists say the invasive fish could out-compete native species if they become established in the lake.

The Michigan United Conservation Clubs is a member of the new coalition. Director Amy Trotter said a carp invasion could harm an outdoor sports industry that pumps $11.2 billion into the state's economy annually.

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