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MISSING MAN-CHRISTMAS EVE

Suspect arraigned in slaying, mutilation of Flint-area man

BENNINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 50-year-old mid-Michigan man has been arraigned in the slaying of a man who last was seen on Christmas Eve. Mark Latunski appeared via video Monday in 66th District Court in Corunna on murder and mutilation of a body charges. Family members reported 25-year-old Kevin Bacon of Swartz Creek missing when he didn’t show up for Christmas Day breakfast. Bacon’s roommate told MLive.com that Bacon was going to see a man he had met on a dating app. Bacon’s body was found Saturday in a home in Bennington Township, about 80 miles northwest of Detroit. Latunski was being held without bond and was to receive a court-appointed attorney.

MICHIGAN PIPELINE

Enbridge retrieves rod from bottom of Straits of Mackinac

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge says it has retrieved a 45-foot steel rod that was resting against an underwater oil pipeline where Lakes Michigan and Huron converge. The debris was in the Straits of Mackinac since September. That’s when a borehole collapsed during work in advance of the construction of a tunnel to surround the pipes. Enbridge says favorable weather conditions allowed it to deploy a remote-operated vehicle to remove the rod Saturday. Under an agreement with Michigan, Enbridge will shut down the underwater segment of Line 5 and replace it with a pipe housed in a tunnel drilled through bedrock beneath the straits.  

RACIAL DISPUTE

Woman acquitted of ethnic intimidation in striking black man

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A white woman accused of hitting a black man and using a racial slur in western Michigan has been convicted of assault but acquitted of ethnic intimidation. An attorney for Shelly Hueckel says she was upset by an appraisal for her car at a car dealership and wasn’t motivated by race. Kent County Judge Paul Sullivan agreed, although he also told Hueckel, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” The victim, Terrance Smith, isn’t happy with the verdict.

CHEMICAL CLEANUP-FREEWAY

Whitmer orders review of inspections after discovery of ooze

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered Michigan’s environmental agency to review its pollution-inspection procedures and says her administration is reviewing if criminal charges can be filed after the discovery of a green substance along Interstate 696 in suburban Detroit. She called the ooze “very concerning” Monday. She says the situation shows the need for “broad reforms” to address underfunding and understaffing at the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Whitmer is urging lawmakers to better fund the agency and to pass legislation ensuring polluters pay for cleanup. The substance is groundwater contaminated by industrial waste from a closed-down electroplating shop.

LAWMAKER CHARGED

Supreme Court: Inman recall petition OK despite missing word

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court says an attempt to recall a state lawmaker from office can continue. Monday’s unanimous order reverses a lower court and election officials who tossed petitions because of a missing word. A group wants to recall Rep. Larry Inman, a Traverse City-area Republican who is fighting federal charges in an alleged scheme to trade votes on legislation for campaign donations. It is uncertain if Inman will actually face a recall in May. The committee trying to recall him may not have turned in enough valid voter signatures. 

MICHIGAN STUDENT KILLED

Man charged in Michigan student’s death held without bail

CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors say a Michigan State University student home on break in Chicago was fatally shot by her boyfriend as he played with a gun in an apartment on the South Side. A judge on Monday ordered 18-year-old Lafayette Hodges held without bail. He faces involuntary manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Lyniah Bell. She was shot in the head. The Chicago Tribune reports that Judge Arthur Wesley Willis calls the death an avoidable tragedy. Bell was a freshman at MSU and was planning to major in business and journalism. 

US STEEL-CHEMICAL SPILL

Groups want tougher U.S. Steel fine for Lake Michigan spill

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — The leaders of 18 environmental and civic groups want U.S. Steel to face tougher penalties over a spill of hazardous substances from a northwestern Indiana plant into Lake Michigan. The groups submitted a letter this month to a federal judge in Hammond arguing that the fine of about $600,000 included in a proposed settlement with the U.S. Justice Department is inadequate. Federal officials reached the settlement with U.S. Steel  in response to an April 2017 spill its Portage, Indiana, plant. That spill involved the release of 902 pounds of the toxic heavy metal hexavalent chromium.

TESLA-FATAL CRASH INDIANA

Telsa rear-ends fire truck in Indiana, killing Arizona woman

CLOVERDALE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana police are investigating a crash involving a Tesla car that rear-ended a fire truck parked along Interstate 70, killing an Arizona woman and seriously injuring her husband. Indiana State Police say 25-year-old Derrick N. Monet of Prescott Valley, Arizona, was behind the wheel of a 2019 Tesla in western Indiana’s Putnam County on Sunday when he failed to the see the fire truck parked along the highway and plowed into its rear. Monet and his 23-year-old wife, Jenna N. Monet, were seriously injured and she later died. Ames says authorities are investigating whether the Tesla’s autopilot mode was on at the time of the crash.

AP-US-WINTER-STORM-UPPER-MIDWEST

Powerful winter storm lingers in Upper Midwest

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A fierce winter storm that created blizzard conditions in parts of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota shut down interstates, led to hundreds of vehicle crashes and brought a metropolitan area of 200,000 to a standstill. Residents in the Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota area who are used to snowstorms were told to stay home after a foot of heavy, wet snow made that fell on top of a sheet of ice made travel difficult and stoked early fears about spring flooding. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning in northeastern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

MISSING BOY-MICHIGAN

Support continues for family of boy who died on Christmas

ST. LOUIS, Mich. (AP) — The family of a 5-year-old boy who disappeared on Christmas and died in a Michigan pond hasn’t been forgotten by the. Hundreds of people set aside their holiday to search for Beau Belson in Montcalm County. Many turned out again Sunday for a fundraiser to help the family. The boy’s grandmother, Holly Messer, calls it “amazing.” Organizers had to find more chairs to accommodate the crowd at the Moose Lodge in St. Louis. Beau, who was autistic, disappeared while playing outside near a home in Six Lakes. His body was found the next day in an icy pond.