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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Mar 15, 2019 at 8:00 AM

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

WHITEFISH TWP. (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 said George Cunningham, 53, and Jon Stygler, 68, were caught early Thursday about 2 miles out from Whitefish Point and about 15 miles 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.

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

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Authorities have identified two women found fatally shot at a home in Grand Rapids.

Police said 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 at around 1 p.m. Wednesday. Grand Rapids police officers went there after getting a 911 call from someone inside the home.

The relationship between the women wasn't immediately known.

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

Winter fish kills may become noticeable as snow, ice melt

LANSING (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 said 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 are also susceptible because of runoff and pollution from roads, lawns and septic systems.

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

Priest who was Saginaw principal in '80s accused of sex abuse

SAGINAW (AP) — Church leaders in the Saginaw Diocese said 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 2018 in Texas. The Saginaw Diocese said it learned Wednesday that he was accused of sexually abusing minors elsewhere, although his name was publicly disclosed by the Jesuit order in December 2018.

Landwermeyer was principal of Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central High School from 1985-88. The Saginaw Diocese said 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.

Bloomberg charity to help Michigan fight opioid deaths

LANSING (AP) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charity will invest $10 million to help Michigan fight opioid overdose deaths.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies' funding was announced Thursday and is designed to speed up access to treatment and improve prevention. Projects may include expanding distribution of naloxone and medications for opioid use disorder and enhancing systems to improve data collection to help speed response.

It's part of a $50 million initiative announced last year, with Pennsylvania earlier picked to get a share of the funding.

Opioids were responsible for more than three-quarters of Michigan's nearly 2,700 drug overdose deaths in 2017.

Bloomberg said in a release that Bloomberg Philanthropies hopes its work "in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania spares more families the heartbreak of losing a loved one to opioid addiction or overdose."

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