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State Briefs

by the associated press • Jul 11, 2019 at 8:00 AM

States, provinces OK plan to protect Great Lakes from carp

ANN ARBOR (AP) — U.S. states and Canadian provinces have endorsed a plan to build up defenses on an Illinois waterway in hopes of keeping invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

A resolution issued Wednesday by the region's eight governors and two premiers supports a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blueprint for blocking the carps' path at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois.

The plan would use technology such as underwater loudspeakers, electric cables and air bubble curtains to deter the fish from migrating between the Illinois River and Lake Michigan through Chicago-area waterways.

The resolution urges Congress to appropriate funds for the project, which is expected to cost at least $778 million. It says the region's states and provinces will support Illinois in its role as co-sponsor.

2 charged in Gerald Ford grave vandalism could clear records

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Two young people who were charged after the gravesite of former President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford in Grand Rapids was defaced could see their records wiped clean.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said Tuesday that Christian Johnson, 19, and Alexis Brinkert, 18, would receive alternative sentences that will include visiting the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids and learning about the legacy of the Fords.

Becker said if they successfully complete the diversion program, they won't have convictions on their records.

Johnson and Brinkert turned themselves in after the March incident. Johnson earlier apologized, saying he didn't know what the gravesite was, and returned a letter that was broken off a wall at the memorial site.

The Fords are buried outside the Ford Presidential Museum.

Police: 'Dangerous' inmate escapes from Indiana State Prison

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — Northern Indiana police are searching for an inmate they describe as dangerous who escaped from the grounds of the Indiana State Prison.

Michigan City police said Travis Hornett, 39, escaped late Wednesday morning from the prison grounds while on a work detail.

Police said Hornett is "considered dangerous" and the public should call 911 immediately if they see him to report his location.

Hornett is described as white and Hispanic with brown hair and eyes. He's about 5 feet, 4 inches tall; weighs about 160 pounds; and was wearing khaki clothes when he escaped.

The Northwest Indiana Times reported that Hornett was sentenced last year on a burglary charge.

Michigan agencies offer $3.6M to fight invasive species

LANSING (AP) — Michigan agencies say grants totaling $3.6 million are available to support projects intended to prevent the spread of invasive species.

The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program is overseen by the departments of Natural Resources; Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; and Agriculture and Rural Development. It was started in 2014.

This year's priority is detecting and controlling high-risk invasive species such as European frogbit, Japanese stiltgrass, giant hogweed and hemlock woolly adelgid.

Also being emphasized are efforts to boost public awareness of decontamination practices that can limit their spread, such as making sure that vehicles and recreational gear are free of plants and other debris.

Officials say they'll also welcome proposals to boost control methods for more established invaders, including Eurasian watermilfoil, starry stonewort, oak wilt, and Japanese and giant knotweed.

US-Canada train tunnel cleared, rails fixed after derailment

PORT HURON (AP) — An international train tunnel connecting Michigan's Port Huron to Sarnia, Ontario, has been cleared and repaired following a multi-car train derailment that spilled sulfuric acid and damaged the tracks.

The Times Herald of Port Huron reported the final train car was removed from the tunnel northeast of Detroit last week and remaining liquids were pumped out. About 40 freight cars left the tracks June 28 in the tunnel beneath the St. Clair River. No one was injured.

Canadian National Railway said crews laid new track for the entire tunnel and the first train has passed through since the derailment. CN said the spilled sulfuric acid was removed or neutralized, and there's no anticipated environmental harm or public safety threats.

Safety officials in the U.S. and Canada are investigating.

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