Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

TRIBE-LAND DISPUTE

Judge: NW Lower Peninsula is not an Indian reservation

PETOSKEY, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected an effort to have portions of the northwestern Lower Peninsula declared an American Indian reservation.

In a 51-page decision, Judge Paul Maloney says an 1855 treaty placed in historical context can’t “plausibly be read” to have created a reservation for the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.

The lawsuit against Michigan targeted more than 300 square miles (777 sq. kilometers) in Emmet and Charlevoix counties. Representatives of the tribe have said they want to end legal conflicts between members and state and local governments.

Opponents feared that a reservation declaration would scramble zoning rules, law enforcement and taxation in many communities.

Attorney Lance Boldrey tells the Detroit Free Press that a victory by the Little Traverse Bay Band could have set a precedent in other parts of Michigan.

DETROIT-FATAL DOG ATTACK

Funeral held for 9-year-old Detroit girl killed by dogs

DETROIT (AP) — A private funeral Mass has been held for a 9-year-old Detroit girl who was killed by three dogs while she rode her bike.

The Detroit News reports that purple and pink flowers decorated the entrance at St. Cunegunda Church. Those were Emma Hernandez’s favorite colors. Church bells could be heard throughout the neighborhood Saturday.

A woman in the neighborhood, Alicia Castillo, called it a “beautiful scene.”

Emma was attacked Monday while riding her bike in an alley near her home. The owner of the dogs, Pierre Cleveland, has been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes for failing to control the dogs. One dog was fatally shot during the attack.

Defense attorney Emmett Greenwood says Cleveland tried to get the pit bulls or pit bull mixes off Emma.

LUNCH DEBT ERASED

Another Michigan brewer pays unpaid school lunch bills

WHITEHALL, Mich. (AP) — Small beer companies are helping students eat lunch.

Fetch Brewing has paid $5,500 to erase unpaid lunch bills in Whitehall and Montague schools, near Muskegon in western Michigan. Co-owner Jen Hain says she and her husband were inspired by the generosity of Mitten Brewing , which paid debts in the Suttons Bay and Fennville districts.

Hain tells WOOD-TV it’s a “significant amount” for Fetch Brewing in Whitehall. But she says communities in the White Lake area have supported their business.

Hain hopes some parents who didn’t owe much still will make a payment that could help other struggling families in Whitehall and Montague as the new school year begins.

MARIJUANA REVENUE-MICHIGAN

Pew warns Michigan: Legal pot an uncertain revenue source

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

DETROIT (AP) — While recreational marijuana sales in Michigan are expected to initially rocket, a public policy organization warns that legal pot is an unpredictable revenue source.

The Detroit Free Press reports that investors at the Capital Cannabis Conference in Detroit forecast Michigan’s market could exceed $2 billion. But a Pew Charitable Trusts study released Aug. 19 says taxes and the black market could upset revenue goals.

The study cites high taxes in California as a reason the black market there has continued to thrive and the legal pot market has not met revenue expectations. A Michigan Cannabis Business Association representative says the ballot proposal to legalize marijuana in Michigan set tax rates low for that reason.

Michigan’s market for legal recreational marijuana should open by early 2020.

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MISSING COUPLE-LAKE

Michigan couple found dead in lake week after first date

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — Two people missing for a week after meeting online have been found dead in a car in Lake Erie in southeastern Michigan.

A Monroe County sheriff’s detective believes the driver might have been confused after leaving a bar and mistakenly drove the car into the lake off Toledo Beach marina.

The victims have been identified as 50-year-old Jill Parrinello-Davey of Manchester and 48-year-old Darrin Gabbard of Allen Park. Det. Sgt. Rob Moody tells the Monroe News that investigators consider it an accident.

The Chevy Malibu was discovered Friday by divers. Moody says the couple connected online and were likely meeting each other for the first time on Aug. 16.

ROAD FUNDING

No consensus on Michigan road fix as budget deadline nears

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state lawmakers who are struggling to find consensus on better funding Michigan’s roads are bracing for an intense final month of deliberations before the deadline to pass a budget.

Talks continue between the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders. But with legislators returning from their summer break, there is considerable uncertainty over the path forward — including exactly how much more they may agree to spend, how to go about raising it and how the money would be distributed across the state.

Though tax increases, fund shifts and pension-related refinancing moves are under consideration, the sides do not appear close to a resolution nearly six months after Whitmer’s proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase to “fix the damn roads” quickly flamed out.

1882 MANSION REOPENS

Niles mansion, built in 1882, reopens after renovations

NILES, Mich. (AP) — A historic mansion owned by a small city in southwestern Michigan has reopened after a $275,000 renovation that restored the balcony and porch and made other improvements.

The project at Chapin Mansion in Niles lasted five months. The cost was covered by government grants and donations from the public.

The 1882 house was built by businessman Henry Chapin and his wife, Ruby. It’s the home of the Niles History Center after the couple’s grandchildren gave it to the city.

Director Christina Arsenau tells the South Bend Tribune she often heard complaints about the lack of accessibility. She says it made sense to install a ramp while shoring up a sinking porch and making other renovations.

Arsenau says the mansion typifies American Aesthetic design, popular for about a decade during the Victorian era.

COLD CASE-LETTER

Letter among clues in Michigan fatal hit-and-run cold case

(Information from: Midland Daily News, http://www.ourmidland.com)

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Police in a central Michigan county are seeking the public’s help in solving a 1991 fatal hit-and-run crash. One of the few clues: An anonymous letter of apology sent years later by someone who claimed to be the driver.

The Midland Daily News reports the Midland County sheriff’s office wants information about the crash that killed 24-year-old Gregory McRoberts nearly three decades ago. The Midland man was riding a bicycle, and his body was found about a month later in a ditch.

McRoberts’ relatives received a letter in 2005 from someone claiming to be the driver. It included an account of the crash as well as an apology.

The sheriff’s Facebook page says the family seeks “closure to years of speculation and grief by connecting with the letter writer.”

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CANDIDATE-RACIST COMMENT

Candidate: Marysville should be as white “as possible”

MARYSVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A city council candidate in Michigan shocked a public forum when she said she wants to keep “Marysville a white community as much as possible.”

Jean Cramer made the comment Thursday in response to a question about diversity in Marysville, a city in St. Clair County, 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Detroit. The Times Herald in Port Huron says she’s one of five candidates running for three council seats in November.

After the forum, Cramer told the newspaper that she’s not “against blacks” but believes married couples “need to be the same race.”

Mayor Dan Damman, who isn’t running for re-election, says Cramer’s comments were “vile” and “jaw-dropping.” Council member Paul Wessel says Marysville is open to anyone who arrives in the city.

RV CAPITAL-RECESSION FEARS

Economists warn falling RV sales signal impending recession

(Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com)

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — Economists are warning that a downturn in shipments of recreational vehicles from the northern Indiana “RV Capital of the World” suggests an impending recession.

RV Industry Association data shows more than 80% of recreational vehicles sold in the U.S. are produced in Indiana, and roughly 65% of those come from Elkhart County.

The Indianapolis Star reports that wholesale shipments of RVs are down 20% so far this year. Companies such as Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. have slashed output and cut back the work week to slow production.

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks says consumers don’t buy RVs and other big-ticket items when money is tight, so economists watch for declines in the RV sector and a slowdown in auto sales as signals of a contracting U.S. economy.

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