(LAPEER) -- A Thumb man convicted of felony murder and home invasion in the 2006 slaying of an 86-year-old Lapeer County woman has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Frank Choate of Sandusky was given the mandatory term earlier this week in a Lapeer County courtroom. Choate's lawyer has said he maintains his innocence. An appeal is planned. A jury convicted Choate in November in the case. Police found Marie Warren beaten to death on October 1, 2006 in Deerfield Township. Her fingers and thumbs had been cut off. Choate was charged in 2011 with home invasion and other charges, and the murder charge was added later.
(LAPEER) -- Officials say a security officer hired to help protect a Michigan charter school left an unloaded handgun unattended in a school bathroom. Chatfield School Director Matt Young says that the security officer "made a breach in security protocol" in leaving the gun "for a few moments" on Monday. Young says no children at the school in Lapeer were in contact with the gun or put in danger. The school for kindergarten through eighth grade recently hired the security officer, who is retired from the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department, to help strengthen security. The county prosecutor's office says a criminal charge isn't expected, since no one was harmed.
(AREA) -- Two Sanilac County schools were recognized as Academic State Champions by Bridge Magazine, finishing in the top ten of the 4th grade test score ranking. Croswell-Lexington Schools was ranked ninth in the state and Deckerville Community Schools was ranked tenth. By finishing in the top 10, these schools were in the top 2 percent of schools in the state. Cros-Lex also received recognition in the Rural Schools category as third in the state. Cros-Lex Superintendent Dr. Kevin Miller says the district knows the great academic things the teachers, aides, and administrative staffs are doing for Cros-Lex students, but it sure is nice when it's recognized statewide by independent organizations. The winners, ranging from small rural districts to urban charter schools, are the state's best at raising student achievement above expected scores for the student body's income level, according to a formula developed by Bridge Magazine and the Lansing research firm of Public Sector Consultants. Out of 560 districts statewide, Kingston Community Schools in Tuscola County was ranked 8th overall and Croswell-Lexington in Sanilac County came in 20th. Teachers and parents can find more information on the Academic State Champions online at www.bridgemi.com
(AREA) -- The Committee on House Administration Chair Candice Miller and Representative Todd Rokita of Indiana joined the effort this week to save taxpayers nearly $500 million and return $199 million to the Treasury for deficit reduction by terminating the obsolete Election Assistance Commission and eliminating the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. Chairwoman Miller says that the bill is small, but a necessary step to prove we are serious about our nation's financial health. The country is facing an astonishing $16 trillion debt. Miller says simply increasing the debt limit, again, without making much-needed cuts would be wildly irresponsible. Congresswoman Candice Miller was recently appointed Chair of the Committee on House Administration and serves Michigan's 10th Congressional District, including northern Macomb County, a portion of Tuscola County, and St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron and Lapeer counties.
(SANDUSKY) -- Sanilac County's annual Dry Bean meeting is Thursday, January 17 at the Westpark Motor Inn in Sandusky. The program will start at 10:30 a.m. All growers and industry representatives are welcome. For more information contact the Sanilac County MSU Extension Office at 810-648-2515.
(BAD AXE) -- A 40-year old Detroit man was arrested during a traffic stop Sunday in Bad Axe after a joint investigation between Bad Axe Police and the Huron County Sheriff's Department. Heroin, crack cocaine and powder cocaine were seized, along with a loaded handgun from the vehicle. The suspect, Corey Thompson, is currently on parole for six previous felony convictions, which include armed robbery, carjacking, and drug and weapon violations. He was arraigned Monday for delivery of heroin and more charges are expected. At the time of the stop Sunday, a raid was taking place in the 100 block of W. Huron Avenue by Bad Axe Police and Sheriff's deputies. A 34-year old Bad Axe resident that had a felony warrant for possession of bath salts was found inside the home. The charge stems from the large bath salts related raid last October in Bad Axe. A Port Hope man and second Bad Axe man were found inside the home and face charges.
January has started off as a busy month for drug-related arrests in Huron County. Last Monday, 19-year old Matthew Gola of Gagetown was arraigned in District Court for delivery of marijuana stemming from sales in Harbor Beach. On Wednesday, January 9, 23-year old Korey Deiter of Bad Axe was arraigned on charges of selling bath salts within the county. Thursday, January 10, 28-year old Christopher Goring of Bay Port was arrested for possession of heroin during a traffic stop in Fair Haven Township. Last Friday, January 11, 22-year old Jesse Deacons plead guilty to possession of morphine in Huron County Circuit Court. 32-year old Walter Bedford of Caseville was taken into custody in December for delivery of heroin following a joint investigation between the Sheriff's Department and Bad Axe Police.
Residents are encouraged to report illegal drug activity to authorities by calling the Huron County Sheriff's Department at 989-269-6500, Bad Axe Police Department at 989-269-9242 or the confidential tip line at 989-269-2861.
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- A joint effort between the Michigan State Police, Brown City Police and officers from the Marlette Police Department resulted in the arrest of a breaking and entering suspect. Troopers from the Caro Post were sent to the breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property complaint in Sanilac County's Flynn Township early Saturday. A 9-1-1 call reported suspects stealing property from a garage on Montgomery Road. Troopers say a 25-year old Imlay City man was found waiting in a pickup on the roadway for another suspect, who was located at the residence when police arrived. The Imlay City man attempted to drive away, but was stopped by Brown City Police. The man was arrested for operating while intoxicated, breaking and entering, malicious destruction of property, larceny, and receiving and concealing stolen property. He remains jailed pending arraignment. The second suspect has been identified by police and charges are pending.
(AREA) -- Law enforcement agencies in 22 counties arrested 103 drunk drivers during a drunk driving crackdown December 27 through January 1. Thirty drivers arrested for a blood alcohol content of .17 or higher under Michigan's High BAC Law. More than 100 law enforcement agencies participated in the crackdown, including officers from St. Clair County. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning coordinated the effort, which was supported by federal traffic safety funds. Officers also made 3,106 traffic stops, issued 18 seat belt and child restraint citations, 209 speeding tickets and 606 tickets for other traffic violations. Fifty fugitives were arrested and 156 uninsured motorists were cited. Preliminary reports indicate 12 people died in traffic crashes over the New Year's holiday in Michigan, according to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center. Half of the deaths involved alcohol and four of the victims were unbuckled. This is a decrease from last year's New Year's holiday period when 14 people were killed in traffic crashes and five of those crashes involved alcohol.
(SANDUSKY) -- Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki advises motorists that on Tuesday, January 15, North Elk Street between M-46 and Argyle Street in Sandusky will be temporarily closed to local traffic as crews begin repair work on the roadway. To access the Records/Administration Division at the Sheriff's Department, residents will need to enter by the west-side parking lot.
(TUSCOLA COUNTY) -- Acting on a citizen tip, Troopers from the State Police Caro Post raided a meth lab on Bevens Road in Indianfields Township near Caro. Two suspects were taken into custody and the State Police Methamphetamine Team was called to the scene to clean up the hazardous chemicals found at the home. Investigation regarding the suspects responsible for the manufacturing of the methamphetamine continues. Residents are asked to report any information regarding meth labs being operated in the Thumb to State Police at 989-673-2156. Troopers were assisted by the Michigan Department of Corrections, Caro Police and Fire Departments and the Thumb Narcotics Unit.