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(PORT HURON) -- Items from the historic St. Joseph's rectory in Port Huron will soon be sold off before the building is torn down in June. The rectory was donated to Blue Water Habitat for Humanity, which will auction items at the property on April 30. Among items to be sold are five marble fireplace mantles and a winding staircase. David Miles is facilities and building supervisor for Holy Trinity Parish, which includes St. Joseph's, and vice president of Blue Water Habitat. He says items that don't sell will be salvaged by Habitat for sale at its ReStore. The 7,000-square-foot Second Empire-style house was built in the late 1800's. The church decided to demolish the house after unsuccessfully trying to sell it.

(PORT HURON) -- Authorities in Port Huron are awaiting lab test results to determine what caused the death of a 35-year-old man who collapsed after a mixed martial arts match. The man told a trainer he wasn't feeling well after losing the fight Saturday night at a Port Huron American Legion Post. A paramedic on site administered help before emergency crews arrived. An autopsy was performed Sunday but didn't determine what cause the man's death. The man's name hasn't been released. He was a native of West Africa living in Canada. Michigan lawmakers have been considering regulating amateur mixed martial arts fights in the state. Proposals include requiring fighters have HIV and hepatitis tests and requiring promoters to be licensed and to cover some injured fighters' medical expenses.

(AREA) -- Criminal justice agencies across Michigan are getting $1.2 million in federal grants to strengthen anti-drug and crime-fighting efforts. The funding was announced Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan State Police. The grants come from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and are focused on technology enhancements. The Thumb Narcotics Unit out of Lapeer County was awarded $66,710 for Multijurisdictional Task Forces. The T.N.U. serves Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties and identifies and targets narcotics traffickers of all levels. The Port Huron Police Department was awarded $50,000 to allow officers to work overtime and focus on problem areas that are determined based on criminal and traffic statistics. The department was also awarded $40,000 for technology enhancement projects. The St. Clair County Sheriff's Department will receive $50,000 for Residential Substance Abuse Treatment, which will provide an intensive treatment program addressing the substance abuse and criminal behavior of felony offenders during their incarceration. $69,630 was awarded to the St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney's office for the purchase of an updated electronic prosecution solution that enables the ten law enforcement agencies in St. Clair County to electronically communicate with the office. The Clay Township Police Department was awarded $17,953 for technology enhancement projects. Agencies receiving funding have until July 31 to spend the money. Byrne JAG grants are named in honor of New York City police Officer Edward Byrne, who was fatally shot in 1988 on orders from a drug dealer. 

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 11:20

Michigan farmers tweak row crop plantings

(AREA) -- With spring dragging its feet, Michigan's row crop farmers are eager to hit the fields and get their 2013 growing season under way. According to information released this week by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Michigan Field Office, wheat acreage is up from last year, and corn is losing some ground to soybeans. Soybean plantings are estimated at 2.1 million acres this year-up 100,000 acres from 2012-while corn slipped 50,000 acres from last year to total 2.6 million. Following a banner harvest last summer, wheat growers planted 20,000 more acres last fall than the prior year-590,000 acres total. That's still substantially lower than the 700,000 acres harvested in 2011, which yielded the state's production record of 51 million bushels. Plantings that fall slipped approximately 130,000 acres, but yielded in 2012 a record 76 bushels per acre. Dry edible bean planting intentions for 2013 are 190,000 acres, down 10,000 acres from last year. Plantings of the state's other common row crops-barley, hay and oats-remain steady compared to recent years.

(CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP) -- A judge has set a $2.1 million bond for a 23-year-old Tuscola County man accused of partially stuffing his ex-girlfriend into a Christmas bag in the basement of her suburban Detroit home. Jonathan Elbers of Reese was arraigned Monday on assault with intent to murder, home invasion, unlawful imprisonment and assaulting an officer causing injury charges. He is lodged in the Macomb County Jail. Officers went to the woman's Chesterfield Township home Friday to check on her safety and heard her scream for help. Elbers suffered a head injury after she struck him with a porcelain statue. He escaped from officers after a struggle. A rifle and duct tape was found in his parked truck. Elbers was arrested Sunday hiding in a deer blind.

Monday, 08 April 2013 14:26

Ira Township man drowns in pond

(IRA TOWNSHIP) -- St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon says a 74-year old Ira Township man drowned in a pond on his property Monday. Deputies say the victim left his home in the 6700 block of Starville Road in the morning. When he didn't return for lunch, his wife went looking for him and asked a neighbor for help. The neighbor spotted the man floating in the pond shortly after 1 p.m. and pulled him from the water. Deputies say it is still unknown why the man was around the water and there were no signs of foul play. Ira Township Fire and Rescue and Tri Hospital EMS personnel assisted at the scene.

(CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP) -- Southeastern Michigan police say they've caught a man accused of trying to abduct and kill his 20-year-old ex-girlfriend, who fought back by beaning him with a porcelain statue. Police in Macomb County's Chesterfield Township found 23-year-old Jonathan Elbers of Reese hiding in a deer blind about three miles from the attack site at around 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Elbers is charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, home invasion and resisting police. Authorities say the Tuscola County man shoved the woman into a Christmas tree bag and threatened to kill her. Detective Sgt. Deron Myers says officers making a welfare check Friday herd the woman scream. Elbers broke free from the officers during a struggle and fled from the house. They found a rifle and duct tape in his truck.

(PORT HURON) -- The Port Huron Area School District was recently awarded a $99,365 grant through the Michigan Energy Office for installation of energy efficient lighting in seven elementary schools. The seven elementary schools were built between 1924 and 1965 and serve 2,787 students. The project will replace or retrofit obsolete lighting and ballasts containing PCB's with newer lighting technologies, helping the schools become more energy efficient and cutting costs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PCB ballasts can be a significant source of PCB emissions in schools. Exposure to PCB's can have toxic effects in children. Port Huron Area School District Superintendent H. Ronald Wollen says the lighting upgrades are estimated to reduce the school's energy bills by $15,000 a year.

(CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP) -- A 23-year-old Tuscola County man is on the run after police say he tied up his ex-girlfriend and partially put her inside a Christmas tree bag. Police went to check on the 20-year-old Chesterfield Township woman's safety about 1 a.m. Friday after her family called from Florida. Officers heard her scream for help when they called her name. The ex-boyfriend, Jonathan Elbers of Reese, broke free from the officers during a struggle and fled from the house. The victim told police that Elbers was upset after they recently broke up. She said he tied her with electrical cord and choked her. Police say she struck him in the head with a porcelain statue. A rifle and duct tape was found in the man's truck which was parked nearby. Anyone with information on Elber's whereabouts is asked to call the Chesterfield Township Police Department at 586-949-2322 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

(TUSCOLA COUNTY) -- Officials say 20 governments around Michigan are getting a share of more than $39,000 to fund river, stream, and creek cleanup events. The state Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Commission on Thursday announced funding through Michigan's Volunteer River, Stream, and Creek Cleanup Program. It provides $500 to $5,000 grants to improve Michigan's waters. Local governments often partner with nonprofits or other volunteer groups to perform the cleanups, which include removal of trash and other debris from streams and stream banks. Removal of fallen trees, branches and rocks isn't allowed under the program.  Projects include work in the Tuscola Conservation District. The 5th Annual Cass River Cleanup is set to receive $600 to clean a 5-7 miles section of the river from the dam in the City of Vassar to M-46, removing trash, tires, and scrap metal.