(PORT HURON) -- The Michigan appeals court has overturned a no-parole sentence for a St. Clair County woman who was convicted of killing her father and attempting to murder her mother. Tia Skinner's life sentence will be revisited because the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory no-parole sentences for teens convicted of murder. She was 17 at the time of the attack. Skinner could get the same sentence, but a judge will be allowed to consider many factors. Paul and Mara Skinner were attacked at their home in Yale in November 2010. Prosecutors said Skinner was angry at her parents and plotted with two young men, Jonathan Kurtz and James Preston, to carry out the crimes. She was in the basement. Skinner is getting a new hearing because it's her first appeal since the Supreme Court decision.
(WORTH TOWNSHIP) -- Two Worth Township men were arrested after a concerned citizen witnessed the pair driving off with a stolen boat. The suspicious vehicle was noticed in the 8500 block of St. Clair Road, north of Fisher Road Wednesday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. traveling at a slow rate of speed. The concerned resident called 9-1-1 after observing a green aluminum boat hanging out the back of the van. The caller was familiar with the boat and followed the suspicious vehicle until Sheriff's deputies arrived. Deputies were able to stop the van and recover the boat. The two men were arrested for larceny and bond was set at $25,000 pending arraignment. The incident remains under investigation.
(PORT HOPE) -- Authorities say at least three cattle died following a barn fire in the Thumb. Reports say crews responded to the blaze just before 9 a.m. Wednesday at 6750 Minnick Road near Port Hope. Most of the cattle in the barn were removed safely. No people were reported injured. The barn, a skid steer, and hay was destroyed in the blaze, but an attached lean-to structure was saved. Port Hope firefighters were assisted by the Harbor Beach and Sigel and Sherman Township Fire Departments. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
(AREA) -- The low water levels of the Great Lakes and Saginaw Bay and their impact on the Bay and Thumb regions will be the focus of a March town hall meeting hosted by State Senator Mike Green of Mayville. The meeting will be held on March 18 at 6 p.m. in the Davidson Room of the Double Tree Hotel in Bay City. The event will include special guest Jon Allan, recently appointed director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. Local officials, stakeholders and policy groups have also been invited to participate. It is open to the public at no cost and will include ample opportunity for questions and answers. Senator Green says that while debates over Great Lakes policy are not without controversy, he believes that the discussion will help lead to common sense solutions with bipartisan support.
(SANDUSKY) -- Sandusky resident Roger Williamson was appointed to fill the vacant seat on the Sandusky City Council Monday night. Williamson replaces former council member Doug Guibord, who resigned in January. The term expires on December 31, 2013. Williamson also assumes the duties held by Guibord on the Ordinance Committee and Chairman position on the Board of Public Works. In other business, the council approved the 2013-2014 General Fund Budget in the amount of $1,651,150. Contracts for City Manager David Faber and Police Chief Brett Lester were also approved.
(SANDUSKY) -- A local farmer has helped the Sanilac County FFA and the Sanilac County FFA Alumni organizations better serve their community with a $5,000 donation. Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the America's Farmers Grow Communities program provides farmers in eligible counties the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local nonprofit organization of their choice. With certain counties declared natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to drought, the donation doubled to $5,000. The USDA declared Sanilac County a disaster area in 2012, allowing Cliff Gordon the opportunity to choose two organizations. The Sanilac County FFA plans to use their $2,500 grant from Monsanto to teach youth season extension production techniques. The Sanilac County FFA Alumni will direct 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. The group has organized and staffed the Miracle of Birth tent at the fairgrounds for several years, allowing visitors the chance to witness the live births of calves, piglets, chickens, and horses. This year, the Monsanto Fund will invest nearly $6 million in rural America through the Grow Communities program.
(CROSWELL) -- Four candidates will be interviewed for the open Croswell City Manager position on Sunday, February 24. The interviews will be held at the Aitkin Memorial District Library beginning at Noon. The Michigan Municipal League assisted the city council in conducting the search for a replacement after John Espinoza retired in December 2012. There were 23 applicants for the position, which were narrowed down to the top four during a meeting last week. The candidates include Samuel Moore, Community Development Director for the Village of Cass City since 2009; former manager of Fowlerville, Clawson, and Pleasant Ridge from 1998-2012, Joseph Merucci; Elaine Leven, assistant to the Oakland Township Manager since 2005; and retired Port Huron Fire Chief Robert Eick. Following interviews, the Croswell City Council will narrow the number of finalists and the Michigan Municipal League will begin background and reference checks before a hiring decision is made. Former Imlay City Administrator Amy Planck has been serving as the interim city manager since January 3, working on a part-time basis.
(AREA) -- State Senator Mike Green of Mayville introduced a package of bills Tuesday to exempt veteran service organizations from charging or paying sales tax on fundraiser revenue. Current state law provides an exemption to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations if their annual revenue is less than $5,000. Green's legislation would make veteran groups eligible for the exemption and increase the allowable sales threshold for all groups to $25,000. The threshold has not been updated since the 1990's. Veteran service organizations include the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and American Veterans, among others. Although VSO's provide extensive charitable and honorary services to active duty service members and local veterans, they are not offered the sales tax exemption. Senator Green says many of these organizations are struggling financially due to declining membership, increased costs and tough economic times. During the 2011-12 legislative session, Green introduced a similar bill after a local veterans group in his district was subjected to the sales tax on proceeds raised during a fundraiser for a soldier severely wounded during combat operations in Afghanistan. The 31st Senate District includes Arenac, Bay, Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties.
(PORT HURON) -- Port Huron Public Safety Director Michael Reaves has announced the promotion of Daniel Mainguy as Fire Operations Chief effective February 23. Battalion Chief Mainguy began working for the city in October 1986 as a part-time police cadet and dispatcher. Chief Mainguy later accepted a full time firefighter position in October 1992. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2003 and then to Captain/Inspector in April 2007. Since July 2011, Chief Mainguy has served as a Battalion Chief for the Port Huron Fire Department. Reaves says the promotion was due to the recent reorganization of the two public safety divisions serving the city of Port Huron into one Department of Public Safety with separate police and fire divisions. Chief Mainguy says he looks forward to the challenge of his new position within the fire division, where he has devoted his entire career of fire service to the community of Port Huron.
(MARYSVILLE) -- The Macomb County Sheriff Department says a 56-year old Marysville man was killed in a single-vehicle crash around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday on 32 Mile Road, west of Haven Ridge Road. Deputies say the victim, Charles Brett Alexander, was traveling east on 32 Mile Road when his vehicle left the roadway and hit a telephone pole. Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities say it appears Alexander had left the Lake Orion General Motors plant just before the crash and alcohol is not believed to be a factor. An investigation continues.