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GREAT LAKES-INVASIVE MUSSELS

Strategy offered for fixing damage from invasive mussels

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A coalition of agencies and groups in the Great Lakes region has released a plan for developing solutions to problems caused by invasive mussels.

The strategy is intended to guide investments, policies and research into zebra and quagga mussels. The mussels arrived in the lakes in the 1980s and have spread across much of the nation.

They’ve done billions of dollars’ worth of damage by disrupting aquatic food webs, degrading fish habitat and clogging water intake pipes.

Great Lakes Commission John Linc Stine says more effective tools are needed to eradicate the mussels.

The strategy sets goals to guide development of methods to restore damaged ecosystems.

Members of the Invasive Mussel Collaborative include federal, state, provincial and tribal agencies as well as private stakeholder groups and research institutions.

SHERIFF ARRESTED

Michigan sheriff issues apology after drunken driving arrest

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — A mid-Michigan sheriff says he was arrested for suspected drunken driving this month after leaving a deer hunting camp in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

A statement from Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson released Thursday by his office says the arrest for operating while intoxicated happened Nov. 16 in Kalkaska County. He says he plans to plead guilty and has “failed to hold myself to the standards to which I have set for myself.”

Stephenson says he drank alcohol at the camp and left to get cellphone reception. He says he felt the alcohol “take an effect while driving,” so he stopped.

The statement says a Kalkaska County sheriff’s deputy who responded after getting a call from a passer-by arrested him. Stephenson says he “will accept full responsibility.”

BELLE ISLE-UTILITIES

Detroit’s Belle Isle loses gas service after line struck

DETROIT (AP) — Officials say Detroit’s Belle Isle is without natural gas service after a utility contractor struck a line while working to upgrade the electrical grid at the island park.

DTE Energy Co. says in a statement that a contractor was preparing to feed an electric line under the Detroit River when the gas line was hit. The flow of gas was shut off and no one was injured.

The Detroit-based utility says it’s working with facilities at the park on temporary heating sources while work takes place to restore gas service. Crews are in the process of converting buildings on Belle Isle from Detroit Public Lighting Department infrastructure to a new grid operated by DTE.

PLASTIC CRATE THEFT

Businessman sentenced to prison in theft of plastic crates

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan hauling company president who pleaded guilty to wire fraud after plastic crates valued at more than $2.9 million were sold to a recycling firm for about $460,000 has been sentenced to 33 months in prison.

The Justice Department says in a statement that Arshawn Hall learned his punishment Thursday in Detroit federal court.

Hall’s RAMA Enterprise Inc. was hired to transport auto parts in the crates and return the empty crates. The government says the crates were diverted elsewhere.

The Farmington man also pleaded guilty to willfully failing to file a 2012 federal income tax return on behalf of RAMA Enterprise. A judge also ordered Hall to serve three years of supervised release, pay more than $2.9 million in restitution and pay more than $142,000 to the IRS.

STAMP-MICHIGAN RIVER

Michigan UP river will be on a postage stamp in 2019

IRONWOOD, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan river will be featured in a new set of postage stamps highlighting scenic rivers.

The Ontonagon River in the Upper Peninsula will be one of 12 stamps to be released in 2019. The Daily Globe in Ironwood reports the stamp shows a branch of the river in Gogebic (Go-GEY’-bic) County.

The newspaper says sections of the Ontonagon River were designated as part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers system in 1992. Forty-three miles are designated as wild, and 35 miles are listed as scenic.

Stamp services director Mary-Anne Penner says stamps highlighting history, entertainment and nature tell “America’s story.”

HAITIAN-ASYLUM

US agrees to release Haitian held for 2 years in asylum case

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. government has agreed to release a Haitian man who was granted asylum but has been in custody for two years because of appeals.

Judge Judith Levy disclosed the deal Thursday, a day after holding a hearing in federal court in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ansly Damus is a teacher from Haiti who entered the U.S. in 2016 and sought asylum, saying his life was at risk because he criticized a political leader.

The American Civil Liberties Union says Damus has been locked up in a windowless room at a jail in Chardon, Ohio.

Levy doesn’t have a role in the asylum dispute. But the ACLU sued to try to win his release while the case is pending.

Damus will wear an ankle monitor and live with a couple in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

GARY CASINOS

New owner seeks to move Gary casinos off Lake Michigan

GARY, Ind. (AP) — Some former Indiana casino executives are behind a new company buying the two Gary casinos with aims of moving them off the Lake Michigan shore.

The new entity Spectacle Entertainment has announced it is buying the Majestic Star Casino boats in Gary for an undisclosed price. Spectacle is led by former executives of Centaur Gaming, which sold Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Grand in Shelbyville to Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp. this year for $1.7 billion.

Spectacle General Counsel John Keeler says the company will seek approval from the state Legislature to relocate one of the Majestic Star casinos elsewhere in Gary and the other to another city. He says one possibility is Terre Haute, which is where Spectacle investor and vice chairman Greg Gibson lives.

ABORTION DRUGS-TELEMEDICINE BAN

Michigan Senate OKs extension of abortion telemedicine ban

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Michigan Senate has voted to make permanent a ban against doctors prescribing abortion drugs via an internet camera.

The provision in a 2012 abortion law is set to expire after this year. The GOP-backed bill, approved 25-12 along mostly party lines Thursday, would extend the prohibition permanently.

The law requires that physicians do a physical exam of a patient wanting a medical abortion, in which drugs are used to end a pregnancy. They also must be present when the drugs are dispensed.

Before voting, senators amended the legislation to also ban doctors from using telemedicine to diagnose that a woman is pregnant. Democrats say the bill — now headed to the House — would especially hurt rural women’s ability to access health care.

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Senate Bill 1198: http://bit.ly/2FLkUkr