State Breifs

Associated Press • Jun 20, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Here’s what’s making news across Michigan today:

Great Lakes states, provinces team up on invasive species

TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — The eight states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes region have agreed to cooperate on enforcing invasive species laws.

They will share information and team up to investigate suspected violations, including possession and transport of banned exotic species such as Asian carp . An organization representing the region's governors and premiers announced Monday that all the jurisdictions have signed onto the deal.

More than 180 non-native species have been introduced into the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. They compete with native species and damage sport and commercial fishing, tourism and recreation.

The regional group previously identified the 21 "least wanted" non-native fish, plants and invertebrates that pose a particularly high risk.

The group consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec and Wisconsin.\

Man who won lottery millions during divorce case must share

PONTIAC (AP) — A suburban Detroit man who was in the middle of a divorce when he won more than $30 million must share the lottery windfall with his ex-wife.

The Michigan appeals court says a marriage isn't over until it's over. It means Mary Beth Zelasko can keep $15 million awarded by an arbitrator, although she and Rich Zelasko had been separated for two years when he bought the Mega Millions ticket in 2013. Their divorce wasn't final until 2018.

In a court filing, an attorney for Rich Zelasko said, "Rich was lucky, but it was his luck, not Mary's, that produced the lottery proceeds." But arbitrator John Mills said the ticket was marital property. The couple had agreed to have Mills make certain decisions during the divorce case.

The appeals court last week found no errors.

Michigan seeks federal aid as wet spring slows crop planting

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the federal government to approve Michigan farmers for disaster assistance because of wet weather that's making it hard to plant crops.

Whitmer made the request Wednesday in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Michigan is going through one of its wettest periods on record, with nearly 38 inches of rain between May 1, 2018, and April 30.

As of June 9, only 3.5 days this year had provided proper conditions for field work. About 63 percent of the state's corn crop had been planted, down from 88 percent on the same date in 2018. Less than half of the soybean crop had been planted.

Soggy fields also have prevented harvesting hay for livestock.

Officials say 64 of Michigan's 83 counties are seeking disaster designations.

Michigan unemployment rate increases to 4.2% in May

LANSING (AP) — Michigan's unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.2 percent in May while the number of jobless workers increased for a third straight month.

Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate was six-tenths of a percentage point higher than last month's national unemployment rate of 3.6 percent.

Total employment was unchanged in May while the number of jobless workers increased by 5,000. The department says the 207,000 unemployed workers last month was the state's highest total since April 2018.

Director Jason Palmer of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says the increase Michigan's jobless rate last month "reflected an increase in unemployment and a decrease in payroll jobs."

Mom who died in Michigan river with 2 girls was 'tired, sad'

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A Michigan woman who drove her car into a river, killing herself and twin daughters, had been talking about being "sad and lonely," a family member said.

The bodies of Ineza McClinton, 44, and 9-year-old twins Angel and Faith McClinton were recovered Monday and Tuesday from the Kalamazoo River. Police released their names Wednesday.

McClinton was "having some difficulties in her life," another daughter, Tishyron McClinton, said . "She was talking about how she was tired, sad and lonely. Never in a million years would I thought she had a plot or a plan."

Kalamazoo police said two more girls were let out of the car before it went into the river Monday at Verburg Park. Their relationship to Ineza McClinton was not immediately known. Capt. Brad Misner declined further comment.

"We're still in the middle of the investigation," he said.

Ineza McClinton and the twins lived in Grand Rapids, 50 miles north, but had family in the Kalamazoo area. Tishyron McClinton said she was among relatives Monday night.

"She had something to tell me, but when I asked her what it was, she couldn't really get it out," Tishyron McClinton said.

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