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AP-US-FUNERAL-HOME-INVESTIGATIONS-DETROIT

Police find cremated remains in abandoned funeral home

(Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com)

DETROIT (AP) — Police in Detroit have again found cremated remains inside an abandoned funeral home.

The Detroit Free Press reports at least seven sets of cremated remains were found Wednesday in the basement of the former Howell Funeral Home, which has been closed for several years.

The newspaper says that police conducted the search after it forwarded a tip it received from someone who had been in the building and photographed the remains in boxes on a shelf.

A spokesman for the state department that regulates funeral homes says the agency will open a consumer complaint to start an investigation.

The removal of the remains is the latest update in ongoing investigations into the alleged mishandling of remains at funeral homes. Authorities in Detroit last year found the remains of 63 fetuses at the Perry Funeral Home and the mummified remains of 10 fetuses and a full-term infant at the closed Cantrell Funeral Home.

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This story has been corrected to indicate that the remains at Cantrell Funeral Home were found last year, not last week.

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JOHN DINGELL-HEALTH-THE LATEST

The Latest: Dingell: ‘You’re not done with me just yet’

DETROIT (AP) — Former Rep. John Dingell has tweeted “you’re not done with me just yet” after a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history is receiving hospice care.

Dingell posted the message Wednesday evening. Referring to his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, he wrote, “The Lovely Deborah is insisting I rest and stay off here, but after long negotiations we’ve worked out a deal where she’ll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages.”

He thanked supporters for “all your incredibly kind words and prayers. You’re not done with me just yet.”

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the 92-year-old Dingell’s condition.

FLINT WATER

Judge: Give me weeks for decision in big Flint water case

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge says it will likely take weeks for him to decide whether Michigan’s former health director will continue to face involuntary manslaughter charges arising from the Flint water crisis.

The issue for Genesee County Judge Joseph Farah is whether to overturn a ruling last summer by a judge in a lower court. Nick Lyon has been ordered to trial in the death of two men who had Legionnaires’ disease. He’s accused of failing to timely tell the public in 2015 about an outbreak that has been linked to bacteria in Flint’s lead-tainted water.

Farah said Wednesday that he wants to get an opinion released within 90 days. He praised lawyers on both sides for “wonderful” arguments in an extraordinary case.

Attorney John Bursch says Lyon had no legal duty under Michigan law and can’t be charged with manslaughter.

ENVIRONMENTAL ORDER

GOP-led Michigan House rejects Whitmer’s environmental order

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Republican-led House has voted to reject Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that abolished three new panels that have a role in environmental rule-making and permitting.

Lawmakers voted Wednesday on party lines.

Whitmer’s order issued Monday restructures and reorganizes the Department of Environmental Quality. It also eliminates a commission, committee and board that were created under 2018 Republican-passed laws that gave the panels of industry representatives and others more say in regulatory decisions.

The Senate, which would also need to vote for the order to be blocked, may hold a hearing.

Whitmer, in turn, is seeking a legal opinion from Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. She wants to know if the laws creating the commissions violate federal law, including by slowing down the process of writing rules and issuing permits.

YELLOW PERCH LIMIT

Michigan reduces catch limit for popular yellow perch

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is cutting in half its catch limit for yellow perch this year.

Starting April 1, the daily possession limit for the popular sport fish will be 25 on most waters. That’s down from the previous maximum of 50.

There are two exceptions to the new rule.

The limit will remain at 50 for Lake Erie. Lake Gogebic in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties will have the 25-fish daily limit, but with no more than five of those fish being 12 inches (30 centimeters) or longer.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved the new regulation last year after extensive public and scientific reviews.

Officials say the change will help ensure a balanced population of perch, one of the state’s most sought-after game fish species.

CORRUPTION PROBE-SUBURBS

Detroit-area official convicted of corruption gets 17 years

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit official convicted of corruption for taking bribes has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Dean Reynolds, a former trustee in Macomb County’s Clinton Township, also was ordered to pay $15,000 in fines during his sentencing Wednesday on four counts of bribery conspiracy and 10 counts of accepting bribes in connection with millions of dollars in township garbage, towing, and engineering contracts

It took jurors only about an hour last June to convict the 51-year-old Reynolds in Port Huron federal court. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says evidence showed Reynolds demanded and took over $150,000 in bribes in separate bribery conspiracies involving four different government contracts.

Reynolds is the only person who has stood trial in a wide-ranging corruption scandal. His was the 17th conviction.

WINTER WEATHER

Icy weather shuts schools in Michigan, causes power outages

DETROIT (AP) — Hundreds of schools are closed in Michigan as freezing rain leaves roads slippery and cuts power to thousands of homes and businesses, while flooding caused by an ice jam prompted an evacuation.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for a large swath of the Midwest, spanning from Nebraska through Michigan. The warnings come in the wake of the snow, ice and shivering cold hitting normally mild cities in the West.

School districts including Detroit’s were closed Wednesday, as was Wayne State University. In mid-Michigan, flooding caused by an ice jam along the Grand River in Portland prompted officials to evacuate about 50 people from homes near the river.

Major utilities reported more than 50,000 customers were without power early Wednesday, mostly in western Michigan, after freezing rain brought down trees and power lines.

ISLE ROYALE WOLVES

Wolf taken to Isle Royale last fall returns to mainland

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A gray wolf that was moved to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior last fall has wandered back to the mainland.

The female was among four wolves flown to the island in hopes of rebuilding a population that had nearly died out. Officials said Wednesday she recently crossed an ice bridge back to the area where she was captured, near the border between northeastern Minnesota and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Another of the translocated wolves died, leaving just two newcomers at the park.

Officials believe two wolves that have been there for years remain alive, although they haven’t been spotted in the few days since scientists arrived for their annual winter study of Isle Royale’s wolves and moose.

Superintendent Phyllis Green says the wolf translocation program will continue.

RESULTS-GENERAL MOTORS

GM posts $8.1 billion 2018 profit on strong vehicle pricing

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is posting an $8.1 billion net profit for 2018 as it got better prices for vehicles sold in the U.S., its most lucrative market.

The performance was far better than the previous year, when the company lost $3.9 billion after a giant tax accounting charge.

GM made $10.8 billion before taxes in North America, meaning big profit-sharing checks for about 46,500 union workers in the U.S. They’ll get $10,750 each, down from last year’s $11,500.

The company said Wednesday that it made $5.58 per share for the year. Without special items for restructuring, the profit was $6.54, beating Wall Street expectations of $6.29.

GM made $1.40 per share in the fourth quarter. Excluding restructuring charges, the company made $1.43, beating Wall Street estimates of $1.24.