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FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT-MICHIGAN

US-Canada train tunnel cleared, rails fixed after derailment

(Information from: Times Herald, http://www.thetimesherald.com)

PORT HURON, Mich. (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 reports 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 early on June 28 in the tunnel beneath the St. Clair River. No one was injured.

Canadian National Railway says crews laid new track for the entire tunnel and the first train has passed through since the derailment. CN says 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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GERALD FORD GRAVE

2 charged in Gerald Ford grave vandalism could clear records

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

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said Tuesday that 19-year-old Christian Johnson and 18-year-old Alexis Brinkert 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 says 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 RAID-GIRL KILLED

Dad of girl, 7, killed by officer enters plea in teen death

(Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/)

DETROIT (AP) — The father of a 7-year-old girl who was accidentally killed by a Detroit police officer during a 2010 raid has reached a plea agreement in the slaying of a teenager that led to the raid.

The Detroit News reports Charles Jones pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges including manslaughter. He’s expected to get 10-20 years in prison when sentenced July 26.

His daughter Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot while she slept on a couch. Detroit reached an $8.25 million settlement with her family.

Chauncey Owens, who police were searching for in the raid, was convicted of murder in the death of 17-year-old Je’rean Blake. Charles Jones was convicted of second degree murder for providing the gun, but a state appeals court in 2017 gave him a new trial.

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INVASIVE SPECIES GRANTS

Michigan agencies offer $3.6M to fight invasive species

LANSING, Mich. (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.

TREE-TRIMMING PRISONER PROGRAM

Utility, prisons start tree-trimming job program for inmates

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — DTE Energy and Michigan’s prison system have launched a tree-trimming program that aims to fill open jobs and find full-time employment for released inmates.

State, utility and union officials announced the program Tuesday at the Parnall Correctional Facility’s Vocational Village in Jackson. The first class of 24 started there last month.

Prisoners who complete the training program will be eligible to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 17 and take an open job with a local tree-trimming supplier.

Creators say the prisoners gain experience and get a job upon release — a challenge for many parolees. A stable job also reduces the chance they will return to prison.

Officials add the new pool of eligible workers also will ease a shortage of trained people for the tree-trimming work.

BENTON HARBOR SCHOOLS

Whitmer travels to Benton Harbor to resume talks on schools

(Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has traveled to Benton Harbor for a second time to meet with school board members to discuss how to potentially avoid closing the city’s high schools.

The Detroit News reported Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Benton Harbor Area School board leaders met Tuesday afternoon to discuss future steps after the school board last week rejected her revised plan that would require the high schools to close in 2020 if the district didn’t meet certain academic and financial benchmarks such as improving students’ performance on the state-required tests.

Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown and board President Steve Mitchell said in a joint statement “the lines of communication are open among all parties and we look forward to future discussions to identify a solution that puts Benton Harbor students first.”

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MUD DAY

Mudded majesty: Kids made merry amid Detroit-area park’s mud

WESTLAND, Mich. (AP) — An annual clash between good, clean fun and down-and-dirty theatrics has once again left scores of mud-covered children smiling in a suburban Detroit park.

Children participated in the 32nd annual Wayne County Mud Day on Tuesday at Nankin Mills Park in Westland, a suburb west of Detroit. Participants frolicked, bathed and lounged in a large mud pit, then sloppily engaged in Mud Limbo and Wheelbarrow Races.

There also was majesty amid the muck and mud: Phoenix Crowder and Riley Tulgetske were crowned Mud Day King and Queen.

A local fire department rig sprayed water to rinse off the mud-caked revelers — to the chagrin of some mud enthusiasts.

GREAT LAKES-HIGH WATER

Great Lakes water levels continue surge; 2 set records

DETROIT (AP) — Water levels in two of the Great Lakes are the highest ever recorded.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that Lakes Erie and Ontario last month reached their highest points since record-keeping began in 1918.

Also setting a new mark was Lake St. Clair, which is part of the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Erie.

Meanwhile, Lake Superior’s level set a record for the month of June. Lakes Huron and Michigan missed setting a monthly record by less than an inch.

Previous highs for June were reached in 1986 on Lakes Superior, St. Clair and Erie and in 2017 on Lake Ontario.

Hydrologist Keith Kompoltowicz (kom-POL-toe-witz) of the Army Corps says three months of abnormally wet weather have kept stream flows into the Great Lakes well above average.

APARTMENT SHOOTING

Woman found guilty in fatal shootings of 2 in leasing office

GRAND BLANC, Mich. (AP) — A Flint-area woman has been found guilty but mentally ill in the slayings of two women who worked in the leasing office of the apartment complex where she lived.

Jacquelyne Tyson was convicted Tuesday of first- and second-degree murder in Genesee County Circuit Court. She faces sentencing on Aug. 6.

Lyric Work and Tamara Johnson were shot July 26, 2016 in the Grand Oaks Apartments leasing office in Grand Blanc.

The 45-year-old Johnson died at the scene. The 20-year-old Work was pregnant. She was taken off life support at a hospital several days later. Her daughter was delivered seven weeks early by cesarean section.

DETROIT BORDER-DEVELOPMENT

Deal to reopen roadway at Detroit border to 2-way traffic

(Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/)

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. (AP) — A roadway between the poverty-pocked east side of Detroit and the upscale suburb of Grosse Pointe Park will reopen to two-way traffic after the officials of the cities approved the move.

The Grosse Pointe Park City Council passed an agreement Monday to reopen Kercheval Avenue by Aug. 1. The Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved the deal that also would develop properties near the cities’ border.

Grosse Pointe Park City Manager Dale Krajniak says the “distinction between the communities will be seamless” in the area after traffic on the street was curbed five years ago.

In 2014, Grosse Pointe Park restored drivers’ access from Detroit on Kercheval Avenue, which workers blocked with traffic barriers and farmers market sheds. Some residents of Detroit, which is majority black, said the barricades and sheds were erected as a hostile act by the mostly white community.

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