Tue, 07 May 2013 13:53:11 EDT

(Snyder-Disaster Declaration)
Gov. Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster for 19 counties and two cities - Grand Rapids and Ionia - in connection with the severe flooding that has affected parts of Michigan.
Along with Grand Rapids and Ionia, the governor's disaster declaration also covers the following counties: Baraga, Barry, Benzie, Genesee, Gogebic, Gratiot, Houghton, Ionia, Kent, Keweenaw, Marquette, Mecosta, Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ontonagon, Osceola, Ottawa and Saginaw.
The Governor says the declaration will ensure that all possible resources, in accordance with the Michigan Emergency Management Plan, are provided to assist the local response to the flooding, which took place April 9 through May 3.
He adds that the declaration makes available "all the state resources that are needed to continue supporting local officials in their ongoing work to keep the public safe as the recovery efforts begin."
The governor has also asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to join state and local officials later this week to assess the extent of damage to homes, businesses, public facilities and infrastructure.
The Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) process is the initial step to assist state officials in determining whether a federal declaration should be requested.


(Grand Haven-Heeringa Investigation-UPDATE)
A heavy police presence converged on Grand Haven's Harbor Island today (Tuesday) following up on what authorities say was a tip in the abduction case of a missing Muskegon County woman.
At least two Michigan State Police canine teams were brought in to canvass the island for any clues in the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa (HAIR-ing-UH). The 25-year old went missing late last month during her closing shift at a gas station in Norton Shores.
As of 11:30 this morning no findings of significance were reported and troopers said they were beginning to wrap up the Grand Haven search.
The trooper said that even though the tip was somewhat vague he and fellow officers are taking every plausible lead very seriously and following up.
Police believe Heeringa was abducted because all of her personal belongings were found in the store and no money was missing from the cash register.
(Walt Zerlaut, WGHN, Grand Haven)


(Royal Oak-Barricaded Gunman)
Police remain on the scene of a barricaded gunman situation in Royal Oak.
Police Chief Corrigan ODonohue said officers arrived at the home near I-75 and 11 Mile Road around 10:20 a.m. this morning (Tuesday), looking for a murder suspect in a homicide that occurred in Franklin. He says they have reason to believe the suspect is in the home.
Neighbors have been told to either leave their homes or stay inside, away from the windows.
No injuries have been reported. Oakland County Sheriffs deputies are assisting.
(Stephanie Davis, WWJ, Detroit)


(Capitol-Game Species)
The Michigan Senate today (Tue) put the final touches on legislation that allows the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to designate game species.
The measure renders moot, a potential voter referendum to block a wolf hunt, since the NRC, as well as the legislature retains the ability to schedule a wolf hunt.
The Senate gave immediate effect to the bill today (Tue) and sent it to Governor Rick Snyder's desk for his signature.
Approval of the measure caps off extremely quick action, as many have applauded the effort because it ensures the state can schedule a gray wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula, where residents say wolves are becoming a nuisance in populated areas.
Opponents of a wolf hunt say it could result in the animal again winding up on the endangered species list. Supporters of a hunt say that won't happen because the hunt will be strictly managed.


(Sanilac Co-False Cancer Claim)
A Thumb area woman is facing fraud charges for faking cancer.
Michigan State Police began investigating 38-year old Sara Ylen of Lexington a year ago. Detectives say Ylen allegedly was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago, but authorities say none of the physicians identified, by her, actually made the diagnosis.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan also began investigations after receiving a complaint from Mercy Hospice, with the Blues paying out nearly $100-thousand dollars in hospice care for Ylen.
She was arraigned Monday on two counts each of false pretenses of $20,000 or more and false pretenses $1,000 to $20,000 and one count each of using a computer to commit a crime and health care fraud. Ylen faces up to 15 years in prison. A preliminary examination is set for May 16.
Ylen is also facing separate charges in St. Clair County of false reporting of a felony and tampering with evidence. She will be arraigned on those charges May 22 and faces up to 10 years in prison.
In 2001, Ylen claimed that a man had sexually assaulted her in St. Clair County. The man was convicted in 2003 and sent to prison. Further investigations showed that the charges were false and they were dropped but not until after the man had spent ten years behind bars.
(WPHM, Port Huron)


(Emmet Co-Body Found)
Police in northwest lower Michigan are investigating after a body was found at a home near Petoskey.
A Michigan State Police spokesman topld the Petoskey News-Review that a "deceased male" was discovered near the residence on Resort-Pike Road, just off of U.S. 31 just after 9:20 a.m. this morning (Tuesday).
No other details are available.
The Emmet County Sheriff's Department and Petoskey Department of Public Safety are also involved in the investigation.


(MI-Veterans Assistance)
Michigan military service members and veterans struggling to keep their homes because of the mortgage foreclosure crisis could be eligible for financial assistance from the state.
Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Jeff Barnes announced today (Tuesday) that $5 million is now available under the Michigan Veterans Homeowners Assistance Program to assist military service members and veterans who are losing or have already lost their homes to foreclosure since 2006.
Eligible Michigan residents include active and reserve military service members, Air and National Guard, honorably discharged veterans and surviving spouses of Michigan service members who had a combated-related death.
The grants will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out. Grants will be sent directly to the vendors, like the lenders.
Military service members and veterans interested in applying for MiVHAP grants can request applications and obtain more information by calling 517-284-5296 or by visiting www.michigan.gov/veterans.
(Help from: WWJ, Detroit)


(Saginaw Co-Schools Financial Crisis)
Administrators in the Buena Vista school district in Saginaw County cancelled classes today (Tuesday) and laid off teachers and all other workers except the district superintendent, because of financial difficulties.
The school board scheduled a special community meeting at 6:00 p.m. tonight at the central office, to review options for the district. The Buena Vista Schools have told employees there's not enough money to make its payroll on May 24th.
Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook said in a statement that Buena Vistas school board and administration gave up on their students and employees by laying everyone off.
The state education department is withholding the Buena Vista district's state aid payments for April, May and June to collect money the district kept despite discontinuing an agreement with the Wolverine Training Center.
(WSGW, Saginaw)


(Grand Rapids-Girlfriend Murder Arrest)
An open murder arrest warrant is being issued for a Grand Rapids man accused of killing his girlfriend earlier this year.
Police are looking for 25-year-old Jahleel Hoskins, who they believe killed Latrice Maze, although the woman's body has never been found. Hoskins is also accused of tampering with evidence in the case, by allegedly disposing of the body.
The 26-year-old Maze has been missing since March 19th and police say they are working under the assumption that she is dead.
Her disappearance turned into a homicide investigation last week.
Another man, 27-year-old Gregory Shanklin, also is charged in connection with the missing woman. Shanklin is charged with perjury for allegedly lying to police during an investigative subpoena.
(Katie Dzienis, WOOD, Grand Rapids/24/7 News Source)


(Grand Rapids-Ford Museum Exhibit)
A ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning (Tuesday) opened the newest exhibit at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.
"Growing Up Grand" puts President Ford's early life on display. It's part of a series of events this year honoring his 100th birthday in July.
Today's ceremony will include remarks from former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia, and former Secretary of the Treasury Paul ONeil, who served as deputy director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budgets during Fords administration.
Tonight, a panel including former Vice President Dick Cheney, former speech writer Ben Stein and journalist Bob Schieffer will talk of their memories of the nation's 38th President and his impact on the country.
With the opening of the new exhibit, daughter Susan Ford Bales says she hopes Grand Rapids will appreciate her dad as much as he appreciated growing up there.
Museum admission is free today and cake will be served.
(Greg Ghering, WOOD, Grand Rapids/24/7 News Source)



(Gogebic Co-Murder Suspect-UPDATE)
Police in Louisiana have released the name of the Upper Peninsula man arrested on Friday for a murder in that state.
20-year-old Mason Chiapuzio of Ironwood Township is being held in the Ontonagon County Jail without bond.
Michigan State Police from the Wakefield Post and U.S. Marshals arrested him at his home on Friday.
According to reports, Chiapuzio is accused in the shooting death of a 29-year old Baton Rouge man who was killed during a robbery on April 15, 2012.
Baton Rouge Police say two other people in Louisiana have been arrested in the case. Theyve been accused of helping Chiapuzio plan the murder.
(Rick Allen, WCCY/WOLV, Houghton)


(Ottawa/Kent Co-Contact Advisory Lifted-UPDATE)
Authorities have lifted the no-contact advisory for the Grand River in Kent County.
The Health Department advises anyone in or near the river to avoid getting any water in your mouth, though, and to be careful in general.
In addition, homeowners with wells should test their water for bacteria and chemicals, if wells got flooded or damaged.
On Monday, a no body contact advisory was lifted for the entire length of the Grand River in Ottawa County. Health officials canceled the alert after microorganism levels returned to more acceptable levels.
The advisories have been in effect since April 18th when severe flooding forced an upstream sewage overflow into the river at Grandville pushing contamination to an unsafe level.
That same day the city of Coopersville also notified the health department that it too had been unable to prevent a sewage dump into the Grand. That triggered a no body contact advisory for nearby Deer Creek that empties into the Grand River.
Ottawa County health officials also cleared Deer Creek for body contact.
(Greg Ghering, WOOD, Grand Rapids/Walt Zerlaut, WGHN, Grand Haven)


(Gogebic Co-Murder Suspect-UPDATE)
Police in Louisiana have released the name of the Upper Peninsula man arrested on Friday for a murder in that state.
20-year-old Mason Chiapuzio of Ironwood Township is being held in the Ontonagon County Jail without bond.
Michigan State Police from the Wakefield Post and U.S. Marshals arrested him at his home on Friday.
According to reports, Chiapuzio is accused in the shooting death of a 29-year old Baton Rouge man who was killed during a robbery on April 15, 2012.
Baton Rouge Police say two other people in Louisiana have been arrested in the case. Theyve been accused of helping Chiapuzio plan the murder.
(Rick Allen, WCCY/WOLV, Houghton)

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