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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 4, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan expected to see subzero wind-chill start to March

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan is in store for a bitter-cold start to March with temperatures 20-30 degrees below normal through Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said an arctic air mass is moving across Michigan, bringing temperatures in the northern part of the state as low as minus 13 on Sunday evening into this morning. Lake-effect snow showers also are possible.

The weather service office in Grand Rapids said temperatures will only reach the teens and 20s in west-central Michigan.

In Detroit, the high today and Tuesday is forecast at 19. The high temperature is expected to be 15 today in Flint and Saginaw. Wind chills are expected to dip as low as minus 13 in Sandusky and Bad Axe tonight into Tuesday morning.

Grand Rapids-area man admits threatening call to Sen. Booker

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A West Michigan man has pleaded guilty to making a threatening phone call last October to presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

In a news release, the FBI says that Rick Simmons, 52, of Kentwood entered his plea last week in federal court in which he admitted to leaving a profane voice mail message at Booker's Camden, New Jersey, office that included a threat to put a gun into Booker's face.

When Simmons returns to court June 5, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Booker officially announced last month that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

Indiana police follow footprints in snow to Mich. man accused in arson

PORTLAND, Ind. (AP) — Northeastern Indiana police said they followed footprints in the snow to find a Michigan man who's accused of setting a house fire.

Cody John Conkright, 25, of Grand Rapids is charged with arson in the Feb. 20 fire. He's being held on a $50,000 bond.

Police arrested Conkright after following his footprints from a fire-damaged vacant house in Portland, Indiana, about 75 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The Star Press reported that on the day of the fire, Conkright's behavior in a local restaurant prompted a stalking complaint from a customer.

Michigan Department of Correction records show Conkright was convicted in 2013 of criminal sexual conduct and assault with a dangerous weapon in Michigan's Newaygo County.

Man's body found in home days after fatal stabbing

BENTON HARBOR (AP) — Police in southwestern Michigan said a man's body was found in a basement 4-5 days after he was fatally stabbed.

Benton Harbor police located Sylvester Booth's body early Saturday. His 60-year-old roommate was arrested.

Police said Booth was stabbed during a dispute over money. He was 57 years old.

No liability for state in deaths of 2 bicyclists

BROOKLYN (AP) — The Michigan Department of Transportation won't be liable in the deaths of two women who were struck while riding bicycles in Jackson County.

The state appeals court late last month ruled in favor of the state in a lawsuit by families of Deborah Patterson and Mary Massengill. They were killed in 2016 when a 76-year-old driver hit them from behind.

Patterson and Massengill were riding in a bike lane on Wamplers Lake Road, near Brooklyn. Their estates argued that MDOT had created a problem by making a bike lane without widening the road.

But the appeals court agreed with a lower court judge. The court says a "certain amount of risk is inherent" near moving vehicles.

The driver was convicted of committing a moving violation causing death.

Grants awarded to rural development, infrastructure projects

LANSING (AP) — More than a dozen grants have been awarded to promote the sustainability of land-based industries in Michigan and support infrastructure benefiting rural communities.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says about $1.2 million will go to 16 projects.

Funding includes $100,000 for Marquette County to replace influent pumps at a wastewater treatment facility. The Michigan Asparagus Industry Research Farm also will get $100,000 to buy an automated sorting machine. Hillsdale will get $100,000 for storm sewer and road improvements.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell said that "through targeted investments and matching funds from businesses, local municipalities and others" the grants can provide opportunities for thousands of businesses and employees "in every corner of the state."

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