(PORT HURON) -- A Michigan judge says he'll rule July 9 whether an Oregon woman will stand trial on murder and other charges after the body of her 89-year-old mother was found behind a thrift store. St. Clair County District Judge John Monaghan held a hearing Tuesday on the charges against Kelly Rhodes of Salem, Oregon. The body of Mary Grenia was found March 12 covered with a blanket behind a Goodwill Industries store in Port Huron Township. 49-year-old Rhodes was arrested March 20 in Belleville, Illinois. She's charged with an open count of murder and abuse of a vulnerable adult. Open murder means a jury can determine whether it's first- or second-degree murder.
(DECKERVILLE) -- The Deckerville School Board Monday approved the 2012-2013 revised budget as presented with revenues of $5,043,415 and expenditures of $4,962,415. $81,000 will be added to the fund equity, which is projected to have $2,500,884 as of June 30. The proposed 2013-2014 budget was presented to the board showing revenues at $4,733,933 with expenditures totaling $5,178,815. A deficit of $444,882 will be taken from the fund equity.
In other business, the board accepted with regret the retirement of 6th grade teacher, Patti Cowan and Counselor Larry Romain effective June 30. Mrs. Cowan taught for the district for 30-years, while Mr. Romain served the students for 27-years. The hiring of a 4th grade teacher for next school year was also approved.
The Deckerville School Board went into closed session to discuss the evaluations of the Athletic Director, Night Custodial and Indoor Maintenance Supervisor, Outside Maintenance and Grounds Supervisor, Computer Technician, Business Manager and Secretaries. Contracts were extended with no increases.
(YPSILANTI) -- An Eastern Michigan University instructor plans to ride a bicycle 450 miles across the state to raise money to help students at the Ypsilanti school. John Fike's trek will begin on Saturday. He wants to raise $4,000 to help fund study abroad programs at Eastern or to help students start their fundraising careers through the EMU Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Program. The 70-year-old part-time lecturer in Eastern's political science department started an intense regimen of cycling about 10 years ago to combat the onset of Type 2 diabetes. It'll take about two weeks for Fike to complete the journey that will take him to Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, South Haven, Grand Haven, Big Rapids, Mount Pleasant, Bay City and Lexington.
(BAD AXE) -- Bad Axe School Board members accepted the retirement of High School Principal Wayne Brady during Monday's meeting. Mr. Brady has served the Bad Axe district for over 40-years. The board also approved the layoffs of Physical Education instructor Ron Johnston and Special Education teacher Toni Powers. Superintendent Don Schelke informed the board that four teachers have already committed to accepting the $20,000 buyout and the deadline to sign up is July 8. Superintendent Schelke will leave his post July 1. His position and the principal position will become part-time. Greg Newland was selected by the board to fill both positions as a cost-saving move. The layoffs and severance package are also cost savings measures as the district faces increases in health care, utility costs, and teacher salaries.
(SANDUSKY) -- The Sandusky High School's Food 4 Friends organization is holding the first of three free food distributions this week. Students raised money for the cause over the Memorial Day weekend in hopes of helping out area families in need. Free food will be distributed on Wednesday, June 26 at the former Sandusky Middle School at 935 S. Sandusky Road from Noon-2 p.m. Anyone in need is welcome to attend. The other distribution dates will be July 31 and August 14 at the same location and time.
(IRA TOWNSHIP) -- An 82-year old Grosse Pointe Woods woman was killed in a three-car crash in Ira Township Sunday afternoon. St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon says the victim, Angela Bournias, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 79-year old George Bournias. The vehicle was traveling north on M-29 near Perch Road at about 5:40 p.m. when Bournias made a left hand turn into the path of a Jeep driven by a 23-year old from Clay Township. The driver was unable to avoid the collision. The third vehicle, driven by a 19-year old from Clay Township, was struck while it was sitting in the driveway of the Bouvier Bay Marina. Deputies say neither speed nor alcohol appear to be factors in the crash. Mr. Bournias was transported to Mt. Clemens McLaren Hospital by Tri-Hospital EMS. The other two drivers involved in the crash declined medical treatment.
(PORT SANILAC) -- Sanilac County health officials used an 8-year-old German shepherd mix's unique sniffing skills to make area waters safer for swimmers. Sable was taken to beaches around Sanilac County last week to check for human waste. Scott Reynolds is Sable's handler and co-owner of Environmental Canine Services, which trains dogs to detect human waste in watersheds. Sanilac County takes water samples once a week in summer. The samples can detect certain contaminants, but take about 24 hours to process, and cannot indicate the origin or whether it is from humans or animals. It takes Sable one quick sniff to determine the presence of human fecal matter. Reports say he didn't find much in the sand, but he detected human waste in samples from Forester Township, Marlette, Peck, Sandusky and the Argyle areas. Sable's visit cost $850, covered by grant money from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
(HARSENS ISLAND) -- A nearly-century-old message in a bottle found in the St. Clair River will be on display next month at the Tashmoo Days celebration. The event will be held on July 20 in celebration of days when Detroit residents ferried to Tashmoo Park on Harsens Island, located in St. Clair County's Clay Township. Until the park closed in 1951, it was a summer destination with a pavilion, amusement rides, bathhouse and beach. Diver Dave Leander of Shelby Township found the bottle last year in dirt in 30 feet of water near where the Tashmoo steamship once docked. "Having a good time at Tashmoo" was the message in neat cursive writing. It was written on June 30, 1915, by Selina Pramstaller and Tillie Esper of Detroit.
(AREA) -- Michigan Farm Bureau is disappointed in the U.S. House of Representatives' failure to approve its version of the 2013 farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. MFB President Wayne Wood of Marlette says the bill would have benefited farmers by transitioning away from direct payments, placing a greater reliance on enhanced risk management tools, including expanded crop insurance options for specialty crops. Wood says the balanced bill would have also provided significant budget savings to taxpayers and is needed to provide farmers certainty, while giving consumers price and supply stability at the grocery store.
Congresswoman Candice Miller commented on the bills' defeat. "I am disappointed that this bill went down to defeat in a bipartisan way - many Republicans did not think $40 billion of cuts and reforms were enough; and nearly every Democrat would not vote for any bill that contained sensible cuts and reforms to our nation's generous food stamp program. America needs a farm bill; we cannot walk away from our agricultural heritage. Although the path forward is as clear as mud, I am committed to working together to achieve a balanced approach towards securing our food supply and making positive improvements to our agricultural industry in a fiscally responsible way. I think separating the agricultural portion of the bill from nutrition programs should be among the considered options."
The current farm bill expires at the end of September following a 9-month extension approved in January 2013, when the House failed to move last year's farm bill proposal to the full floor for a vote.
(KINGSTON TOWNSHIP) -- A 36-year-old Kingston Township man was seriously injured after striking a deer while riding his motorcycle on Bevins Road, just east of Burmon Road in Tuscola County's Kingston Township around 10:20 p.m. Thursday. According to State Police at the Caro post, the man was ejected from the bike and sustained multiple injuries. He was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital in Saginaw for treatment. Troopers believe that alcohol was also a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.