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Priest accused of embezzlement seeks $800K seized by police

(Information from: Lansing State Journal,

MASON, Mich. (AP) — The attorney for a priest accused of embezzling money from a Lansing-area church wants $800,000 seized by Michigan State Police released to his client.

The Rev. Jonathan Wehrle (WUR’-lee) is charged with embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Parish in Okemos. But prosecutors say an ongoing audit shows an estimated $5 million is missing from the Roman Catholic church.

The Lansing State Journal reports Wehrle’s attorney argued Friday that the priest and his mother should have access to nearly $800,000 seized by police.

A judge who heard that request must decide whether there’s enough evidence to send Wehrle to trial. That hearing resumes Sept. 1.

Wehrle was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Lansing on May 9. He’s currently free on a personal recognizance bond.



Neighborhoods Day in Detroit to feature cleanups, festivals

DETROIT (AP) — Cleanups, festivals, health fairs and school supply giveaways are among the more than 200 events and activities planned for the annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day.

Neighborhoods Day starts at sunup Saturday at a number of locations around the city.

One organization will give groceries to needy families and individuals. Others will plant flowers. Block clubs will put boards on doors and windows of vacant houses. Trash also will be cleared from illegal dumping sites.

Volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are scheduled to paint and clean up around 15 schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Other volunteers will visit residents at nursing homes. Neighborhood peace walks also are scheduled.

ARISE Detroit! is a nonprofit, community mobilization coalition of more than 400 churches, block clubs and businesses.


Temporary traffic control order coming for Dream Cruise

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) — A temporary traffic control order will be in place for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, north of Detroit.

The Oakland County sheriff’s office says commercial vehicles, vehicles with trailers and those weighing more than 10,000 pounds are prohibited from being operated on Woodward Avenue between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Aug. 19.

Motorists violating the order will be directed off Woodward and could be ticketed.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard says the order will streamline the flow of traffic, enhance viewing of the cruise and add a layer of protection for those attending the event.

The Dream Cruise draws tens of thousands of classic and vintage cars, and hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts.

The route takes the cars through a number of Oakland County communities.


The Latest: Chicago police say professor, British man found

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say a Northwestern University professor and a University of Oxford employee wanted in the fatal stabbing of a Chicago man are in custody in Oakland, California.

Wyndham Lathem and Andrew Warren were wanted in the killing of Trenton Cornell-Duranleau. The body of the 26-year-old Cornell-Duranleau was found July 27 in a 10th floor apartment of a Chicago high-rise building.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that the two suspects were detained in California by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Authorities haven’t detailed the relationship between 42-year-old Lathem and Cornell-Duranleau, who moved to Chicago from the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area after receiving his cosmetology license.

Chicago police say the 56-year-old Warren, who lives in England, came to the U.S. recently for the first time.


The Latest: VW executive pleads guilty in emissions scandal

DETROIT (AP) — A former German Volkswagen executive has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in Detroit in a scheme to cheat emission rules on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles.

Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty to both charges Friday.

Schmidt is a former manager of a VW engineering office in suburban Detroit. He was arrested in January.

VW admits using software to get around emission standards. It pleaded guilty in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties, on top of billions more to buy back cars.

Schmidt is accused of telling regulators technical problems were to blame for the difference in emissions in road and lab tests.

Most of the VW employees charged in a scheme are in Germany and out of reach of U.S. authorities.


Prosecutor: Flint woman killed mother in 1991 for insurance

(Information from: The Flint Journal,

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor says a Flint woman accused of participating in the killing of her mother 25 years ago was motivated by the potential of collecting on a life insurance policy.

The Flint Journal reports that 47-year-old Gabrielle Houston and 45-year-old Kareem Grant were arraigned Thursday in Genesee District Court on charges including first-degree premeditated murder, felony firearm and armed robbery.

Flint investigators who worked on the cold case declined to comment in detail about what led to the arrests in 46-year-old Ida Houston’s murder. She was fatally shot in her home in 1991.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says Gabrielle Houston was a beneficiary on a life insurance policy covering Ida Houston.

Gabrielle Houston and Grant are being held without bond. Court records didn’t list attorneys for them Friday.



Michigan dog healed, seeking home after porcupine encounter

(Information from: The Bay City Times,

STANDISH, Mich. (AP) — A young dog in Michigan found emaciated and full of porcupine quills two months ago has recuperated and is ready for a permanent home.

The Bay City Times reports that a group of friends walking the Sterling Truck Trails in Standish found Wishbone the coonhound June 17. The dog was underweight and his mouth, face, chest and front legs permeated with 300 to 400 quills.

Wishbone has been rehabilitated at Arenac Bay Veterinary Services. Arenac County Animal Control Director Catherine Lemunyon says the dog is now nearly 60 pounds and is “friendly, social and very happy.”

Wishbone is being fostered by Mike Brechtelsbauer, who takes him camping and sailing in the Saginaw Bay. Lemunyon says her office now accepting adoption applications for the dog.



Weather Service confirms tornado hit northern Michigan

KEWADIN, Mich. (AP) — The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down Thursday in northern Michigan as a wave of severe thunderstorms moved through.

The weather service’s Gaylord office said Friday that a preliminary survey of storm damage along the southern shore of Antrim County’s Birch Lake showed that an EF-0 tornado with winds of about 80 mph touched down Thursday evening, leaving a quarter-mile-long trail of damage.

No injuries have been reported.

The weather service had issued a tornado warning for Antrim County in advance of the storms.

The agency’s storm survey crew was continuing to assess damage from the storms Friday afternoon.

Those storms caused power outages and followed storms Wednesday that brought flooding and knocked out electricity service to thousands in Michigan.


16 students safely escape burning Indiana school bus

AUBURN, Ind. (AP) — Northeastern Indiana officials say 16 students and a school bus driver escaped to safety after the bus caught fire and was badly damaged.

Firefighters in Auburn summoned just before 7 a.m. Friday arrived to find the engine compartment and driver’s area of the DeKalb Central school district bus engulfed by flames.

Schools Superintendent Steve Teders says the driver stopped and evacuated the students from the bus after spotting smoke coming from under its front hood. He says the students were checked out by medics and released.

The Auburn Fire Department says the blaze was under control within six minutes of firefighters arriving on the scene in the city about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne. The fire’s cause wasn’t immediately determined.