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(AREA) -- Amtrak and Michigan plan to invest millions of dollars over the coming years to improve service on the state's three passenger train lines. Upgraded tracks between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will allow trains to travel faster, leading to shorter trips. More amenities are being ordered and officials hope that increased ridership will mean lower state subsidies for service. Michigan for years has underwritten the Blue Water line between Port Huron and Chicago, which includes a stop in East Lansing, and the Pere Marquette between Grand Rapids and Chicago. Changes mean the state also must pick up the tab for the Wolverine between Pontiac and Chicago. Michigan taxpayers will pay more than $25 million for the fiscal year that started last week to operate the lines.

Friday, 04 October 2013 10:28

Senator Green co-sponsors Taser legislation

(AREA) -- State Senator Mike Green of Mayville on Wednesday signed onto public safety legislation that would allow Concealed Pistol License holders to carry a non-lethal Taser into a no-carry zone. Senator Green says by allowing law-abiding individuals with the proper training to carry Tasers into areas restricted for pistols, you are empowering them with the non-lethal ability to defend themselves and other innocent life from violence. 

Senate Bills 572 and 573 would allow a device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology, such as a Taser, to be carried in the pistol free zones outlined in state law. These zones include schools, day care centers, sports arenas, taverns, churches, large entertainment facilities, hospitals and college dorms or classrooms.

Sponsors of the legislation have noted that any person who uses a Taser for anything other than self-defense would be guilty of a misdemeanor and face up to 2-years in prison and a fine of $2,000. The bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

(FREMONT TOWNSHIP) -- Sanilac County Sheriff's deputies say a 19-year old Croswell man was injured after he struck a deer and rolled his vehicle along Wellman Line Road west of Todd Road in Fremont Township Thursday night. Cody Turner located his cell phone and called 9-1-1 after he became trapped inside his Ford Ranger pickup. Deputies say Turner was traveling east along Wellman Line around 8 p.m. when the deer jumped out in front him causing him to lose control of the pickup and overturn in the ditch. Turner was transported by Croswell EMS to a Port Huron area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Deputies say alcohol was not a factor in the crash. Croswell Police and Croswell Fire and Rescue personnel assisted at the scene.

(MARYSVILLE) -- Police say a 12-year-old boy is among those responsible for major vandalism at two Port Huron-area businesses, including a shuttered factory. Damage of $25,000 to $30,000 at the former Blue Water Plastics factory in Marysville was discovered in late September, but it could approach $80,000. Police say the young people broke into the building three or four times. Last weekend, police say the 12-year-old and a 15-year-old threw a brick through a window car-repair business, stole keys to vehicles, discharged fire extinguishers and caused other damage. Police say they also tried to steal a 44-foot motorhome. The damage at Marysville Car Care Center has been estimated at more than $100,000. Police say the young people will be charged as juveniles.

Members of the Sanilac Career Center's Bio-Tech Program and the Sanilac County FFA Chapter were presented a check Thursday morning. The $10,000 check comes from the Monsanto Fund's America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program. It will be used to help fund a new maple syrup production lab for the Bio-Tech program. Robert Sollman, the Sanilac County FFA Chapter Adviser and instructor of the Career Center's Bio-Tech program, says seven area farmers nominated the program for the grant. Jana Fritz, the Regional Sales Manager for Monsanto, presented the check. She says that seven school districts in Michigan received grants through the program, with a total of $85,000 being awarded throughout the state.

Pictured: from left to right, Robert Sollman, Jana Fritz, and Sanilac County FFA members Courtney Gordon and Jared Shinn

(AREA) -- The Monsanto Fund has launched its 4th year of America's Farmers Grow Communities, providing farmers in eligible counties the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local nonprofit organization of their choice. Farmers in the Thumb and Blue Water area are encouraged to sign up. There will be 1,289 winners across 39 states. Since the program started, $370,000 has been invested in rural communities throughout the state of Michigan. FFA chapters have received a total of $40,000 in Grow Communities donations, $70,000  has been given to fire and health related organizations, service organizations, like food pantries, have received $92,500 and a total of $30,000 has been donated to 4-H clubs across the state. Farmers and rural community members may visit www.americasfarmers.com/growcommunities or call 1-877-267-3332 to submit an idea for a nonprofit in need of funding.

Last year, the donation doubled to $5,000 for certain counties declared natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to drought. Cliff Gordon selected the Sanilac County FFA and Sanilac County FFA Alumni organizations to split the money. The Sanilac County FFA used their $2,500 grant to teach youth season extension production techniques. The Sanilac County FFA Alumni directed their $2,500 grant toward materials for a permanent building at the Sanilac County 4-H Fairgrounds in Sandusky to house the Life's Greatest Miracle Birth exhibit at the fair.

(SPEAKER TOWNSHIP) -- A 56-year old old Clio man was seriously injured after his motorcycle collided with a deer shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday on Burnsline Road near Arendt Road in Speaker Township. Sanilac County Sheriff's deputies say that Douglas Killion, the lone occupant, was traveling west along Burnsline Road on his 2007 Yamaha V Star when the deer jumped into his path. Deputies say that the impact caused both Killion and his bike to skid approximately 50 yards down the roadway. Killion, who was wearing a helmet, was transported to a Lapeer area hospital for treatment. Deputies report that alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash.

(EAST CHINA TOWNSHIP) -- St. Clair County Sheriff's deputies say a car ended up in the St. Clair River Wednesday morning following a crash that occurred just before 11 a.m. in East China Township. Employees of Lamee's Riverside Boats in the 5900 block of River Road were pulling a boat from the water to take to a business located across the road. The driver of the truck that was pulling the boat pulled out in front of a car that was traveling south on River Road. The car spun around and went down the river bank before coming to rest in about two feet of water. No serious injuries were reported. The driver of the truck suffered a minor hand injury. Marine City Fire and Rescue and Tri-Hospital EMS assisted at the scene.

(CASCO TOWNSHIP) -- Three suspects believed to be involved in several home invasions in southern St. Clair County were arrested Tuesday. Sheriff Tim Donnellon says a call came into St. Clair County Central Dispatch about a break-in at a home in the 4000 block of Church Road in Casco Township. The caller stated that she had only been gone for about 45 minutes and found her home had been broken into upon her return. Michigan State Police Troopers were sent to the residence to investigate. At that time, Deputy Black observed a dark colored Ford Crown Victoria in the area. The registered owner of the vehicle had a suspended license. During a routine traffic stop, it was learned that the driver, a 26-year old Detroit man, had a suspended driver's license. A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of items stolen from the home on Church Road. The driver and two passengers, a 20-year old Detroit man and a 25-year old Taylor man, were taken into custody and remain lodged in the St. Clair County jail. Each is expected to be arraigned on charges including home invasion. Authorities also learned that all three suspect had outstanding warrants from other departments.

(AREA) -- ITCTransmission announced Tuesday that Phase 1 of its 140-mile Thumb Loop high-voltage transmission line has been placed into service. Phase 1 consists of 62 miles of double-circuit, 345,000 volt lines from the new Bauer substation in Tuscola County to the new Rapson substation in Huron County. According to Gregory Ioanidis, President of ITC Michigan, the project will strengthen the transmission grid in the Thumb and serve as a backbone for the interconnection of new generation sources in the area.

During the construction phase, ITC estimates that the entire Thumb Loop project will have a direct impact of $366 million to the Michigan economy, including jobs with local contractors, vendors and suppliers. Officials say the area economy benefits from the demand for supplies and services such as concrete, hardware, fuel, gravel and trucking, as well as food, lodging and other personal needs for construction crews.

Work is proceeding on schedule for the remaining segments of the Thumb Loop project. All poles have been erected and the conductors are being installed along the 20-mile Phase 2 section in St. Clair County. Construction on Phase 3 from the Rapson substation in Huron County through Sanilac County to the Greenwood substation in St. Clair County will get underway in the first quarter of 2014. The entire project will be completed and in service in 2015.

ITCTransmission is a subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corporation, the nation's largest independent electricity transmission company based in Novi.