(PORT AUSTIN) -- The dispute over a 19th-century lighthouse lens located in the Thumb is headed for trial later this year. U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington set the trial date for December 17 earlier this month. The settlement conference is scheduled for June 6 and a final pretrial conference will take place on December 3 if a settlement isn't reached. The federal government is suing Huron City Museums, saying it lacks approval to store and display the Fresnel lens that was used in the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse on Lake Huron. The U.S. Coast Guard gave it to the city of Harbor Beach in 1970's under certain conditions for display in the Grice House Museum. In 1987, Harbor Beach let Huron City Museums use it. The government says the lens is rarely available to the public and is stored in a building with no fire-suppression system, near Port Austin. Back in December, the foundation that runs the Huron City Museums asked a Bay City federal judge to dismiss the case.
(AREA) -- MDOT says nine Michigan counties will use $2.7 million in state Category F funds to upgrade roads in urban areas to "all-season" status to support local economic growth and keep Michigan open for business year-round. Locally, St. Clair County will benefit from the funding. The St. Clair County Road Commission will reconstruct 0.9 miles of Dove Street from 2,500 feet east of Michigan Road to 2,500 west of Michigan Road. The project will reconstruct a critical segment of an all-season road network that services the city of Port Huron's industrial park and provides connections from I-94, west of the city limits, to the I-69 Business Loop and the I-94 Business Loop. The $470,000 project will receive $375,000 in state Transportation Economic Development Fund Category F funding with a $95,000 match from the road commission.
(TUSCOLA COUNTY) -- Troopers from the Michigan State Police Caro Post investigated a single-vehicle crash that killed a 55-year old Mayville man Sunday evening on Saginaw Road near the intersection of Gorden Road in Tuscola County's Fremont Township. Troopers say a pickup driven by the victim, Kin Lado Geilhart, was traveling east on Saginaw Road when it went off the roadway crossing over Gorden Road and crashed into a tree. Geilhart was transported to St. Mary's Medical Center in Saginaw where he was pronounced dead. Troopers were assisted by Tuscola County Sheriff's deputies and the Mayville Fire Department.
(BERLIN TOWNSHIP) -- St. Clair County Sheriff's deputies say the victim in Friday's early morning house fire in Berlin Township has yet to be identified. The blaze in the 900 block of Lathrop Road began shortly after 4 a.m. Firefighters from Berlin Township and deputies from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department discovered the home fully engulfed in flames. The fire was extinguished two hours later. It was determined that four people were in the house at the time of the blaze. The victim is believed to be the homeowner, a 69-year old woman. Investigators were not able to positively identify the woman. Also in the home was a 45-year old man who resided there, a 35-year old Harsens Island man, and a 25-year old woman from Capac.The fire remains under investigation. At this point, no criminal activity is believed to a contributing factor.
(WORTH TOWNSHIP) -- Sanilac County Sheriff's deputies investigated a one-vehicle roll over crash on East Galbraith Line Road near Babcock Road in Worth Township early Saturday morning. Deputies say 20-year old Katie McKillop of Port Huron was eastbound on Galbraith Line when she lost control of her car on the icy, snow-covered roadway around 3:45 a.m. She skidded into a ditch, struck a mailbox, and overturned, coming to rest in a field. McKillop was taken by ambulance to Port Huron Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, a 23-year old Fort Gratiot area man, was not injured. Alcohol was not a factor in the mishap. Croswell EMS and the Birchville Township Fire Department assisted at the scene.
(MARLETTE) -- A Sanilac County jury has returned a guilty verdict against 37-year old Earl Allen Northrop, Jr. of Marlette on three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, three counts of second degree criminal conduct, kidnapping, and second degree child abuse. The jury heard evidence that on February 13, 2012, Northrop had duct-taped, gagged, threatened and committed sexual acts involving a relative of his who was a minor between the ages of 13 and 16. Sanilac County Prosecutor James V. Young expressed his appreciation to the jury and was extremely proud of the minor child's courage to report what happened to her immediately. He also commended the work of the Michigan State Police, Crime Lab Forensic Scientist Experts and the Sexual Assault Expert. The trial was held before Circuit Court Judge Donald Teeple. Northrop could be sentenced to life in prison when he appears before Judge Teeple for sentencing on April 8th.
(ST. CLAIR COUNTY) -- The Michigan Department of Transportation says hundreds of lights along southeast Michigan freeways aren't working due to aging infrastructure, copper thieves and a lack of money for replacements. Roughly 20 percent of the about 5,500 lights on poles that MDOT is responsible for along freeways in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties are dark. MDOT also maintains about 5,000 lights beneath overpasses. MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi says about 1,100 of the lights on poles aren't working, including those on 200 poles removed due to structural deficiencies. He says copper thieves who mainly target transformer cabinets also are to blame for some outages. MDOT has identified the area around Interstate 94, east of I-75, as one of the worst hit by thieves.
(MARLETTE) -- A snowmobiler reported missing from the Marlette area was found dead in Tuscola County Thursday evening by a volunteer fireman from the Marlette Fire Department. Authorities say the family of 32-year old Donald Robbins III reported him missing Thursday morning. No one had heard from him since 10 p.m. Monday. A search was conducted in an area between Marlette and property owned by the family in the Kingston area. Police say it appears that Robbins failed to negotiate a large drainage ditch, which resulted in the fatal crash. The accident remains under investigation.
(AREA) -- State Representative Terry Brown of Pigeon introduced a bill last week that would help owners of small-capacity residential water wells to handle well disputes during the dispute resolution process. The current law, enacted during the lame duck session last year, allows an opt-out of arbitration at any time. Brown's bill would completely remove that opt-out for owners of large capacity agricultural wells. The bill also contains a three-day opt-out provision for owners of nonagricultural wells.
(BERLIN TOWNSHIP) -- Authorities say a woman has died following a house fire in St. Clair County. The sheriff's department says crews responding to the home in Berlin Township on Friday morning found it fully engulfed in flames. Investigators say three people inside the house at the time that the fire started escaped uninjured, but the woman wasn't able to get out. Several area departments responded to the blaze. The woman's identity wasn't immediately released. The cause of the fire is under investigation.