(PORT HURON) -- An Oregon woman accused of dumping the body of her 89-year-old mother behind a Michigan thrift store has been charged with murder. New charges against Kelly Rhodes of Salem, Oregon, were disclosed Wednesday when she appeared in court on a charge of moving the body of 89-year old Mary Gertrude Grenia. The body was covered with a blanket behind a Goodwill Industries store in Port Huron Township and found in March. 49-year-old Rhodes was charged with open murder and abuse of a vulnerable adult. Open murder means a jury can determine if it's first or second-degree murder. The new charges came after prosecutors received an autopsy report Tuesday. Rhodes remains jailed without bond. Her preliminary exam is set for Tuesday, June 25.
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- The Sanilac County Finance and Administration Committee received a monthly update on the status of the jail during their meeting Tuesday afternoon. Jail Observation Representative Loton Eastman reported that the project is 97% complete. The fire marshall inspected the jail Monday and had nothing negative to report. An open house is scheduled for Saturday, June 29th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The public is invited to attend. In other business, committee members accepted a grant from the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Authority in the amount of $46,964. The grant will be used to purchase and train a new explosive and tracking K-9 for the Sanilac County Sheriff Department, as well as a new vehicle for the K-9.
(PORT HURON) -- The 52-year-old man charged with open murder in the slaying of a 26-year-old Port Huron man will face a jury trial. Port Huron resident Michael Poole was bound over to Circuit Court Tuesday during his preliminary exam. Poole is accused of killing David Long, whose throat was slit as they gathered around a bonfire in the 600 block of Stanton Street earlier this month. Police say the men were part of a small group at the bonfire and that the two had been arguing throughout the day. Witnesses said Poole fled after Long was attacked. He was arrested not long after the incident, at his home in the 1100 block of 10th Street. Poole remains jailed in St. Clair County. His next court date has not been scheduled.
(SANDUSKY) -- The Sandusky City Council met Monday night and approved the use of Diamond Trail Park for a glow walk to benefit the SAVE Council and Eva's Place. The event will take place Thursday, June 27th. In other business, City Manager Dave Faber announced that the BS&A Tax Assessing program is now online. Anyone living in the Sandusky city limits can sign up for a profile at the city website and view their property and tax records for free. There is a $2 charge to view any additional properties. Council members also voted to begin accepting credit cards for water and tax payments. The Sandusky City Council meets again on Monday, July 1 at 5:30 p.m.
(PORT HURON) -- A Thumb-area woman charged with making a false report of rape and tampering with evidence has been ordered to trial. Court officials say a date has not yet been scheduled. 38-year old Sara Ylen accused two men of sexual assault at her Lexington home last September, but authorities say an attack didn't happen. A doctor testified Tuesday that he used gauze to examine her injuries and found that makeup was used to create phony bruises. A judge in St. Clair County found probable cause to send the case to trial. Ylen's credibility has been questioned before. A man who spent nearly a decade in prison after being convicted of raping her was released last fall. In another pending case, Ylen is charged with fraud in Sanilac County. She's accused of deceiving an insurance company and the public into believing she had cancer. Her preliminary exam in that case is set for July 9 in Sanilac County District Court.
PHOTO COURTESTY OF THE SANILAC COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- A canine detection team will be in Sanilac County Thursday, June 20 sweeping beaches for the presence of raw human sewage. Dogs from the Environmental Canine Services based in Vermontville, Michigan, are trained to detect human sewage entering into a watershed. The Sanilac County Health Department was able to obtain a grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the sweep of bathing beaches monitored by the health department.
(PIGEON) -- State Representative Terry Brown of Pigeon says state and federal grants will be used to modify the roads around Star of the West Milling Co.'s facility in Rapson. The company is spending $3 million to expand its operations, which will include a new fertilizer plant, dry bean receiving facility, and additional grain storage. The expansion will result in 20 new jobs.
The state's Transportation Economic Development Fund, administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation, will provide $480,000 for the project. The remainder of the $1.067 million project will be funded by federal money, the Huron County Road Commission, and Star of the West.
The road work involves moving the intersection of Verona Road and Huron City Road north by 1,200 feet. Crews will construct an 11-foot-wide paved shoulder on the east side of Verona Road to act as an acceleration/deceleration lane for trucks entering and leaving the facility. Verona Road will also be widened and resurfaced from Huron City Road to M-142.
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- Four Sanilac County residents were honored as "Citizens of the Year" for two separate life-saving incidents during the Sanilac County Police and Firemen's Awards banquet on Saturday evening at the Sanilac Shrine Park.
Chris Gossman and Hannah Toner of Croswell were cited for their live-saving actions following an accident that occurred behind their home on April 5, 2013. After hearing a loud crash, they saw a vehicle go into the Black River. While Hannah was calling 911 to report the incident, she stayed on the line to direct rescue efforts until EMS arrived. Gossman jumped into the water and waded to the truck, helping the driver to shore and assisting him to the top of the river bank. The victim, who had a seizure, was taken to the hospital by Croswell EMS and has made a complete recovery.
Oetiker Corporation employees Mark Liosong and Margaret Rowe also received "Citizen of the Year" honors for saving the life of fellow employee Bill Kuhl. When they realized Mr. Kuhl was unresponsive, they placed an AED on him and "shocked" him prior to EMS arrival. Once EMS arrived and provided CPR, the patient had a return of circulation. He has made a complete recovery. Their quick response and actions played a vital role in his positive outcome.
Sanilac County's "Law Enforcement Officer of the Year" is Deputy Shelly Park. She was honored for leading an investigation into a string of home invasions that culminated with the arrest and conviction of two area men and the closing of several complaints. The investigations spanned a period from December 2011 through May 2012.
Sanilac County Sheriff's Dispatcher Michelle Obee is the "Dispatcher of the Year" for her actions following an armed robbery of the Watertown Party Store on October 26, 2012. Dispatcher Obee, with only 5-month's experience on the job, maintained her composure with the caller and obtained all of the pertinent information to assist officers from 11 patrol units in the investigation. The robbers were ultimately arrested and have been prosecuted. Dispatcher Sandra Robinson received a "Meritorious Service Award" for her dispatch work in connection with the same complaint.
A "Meritorious Service Award" was also presented to Sanilac County Sheriff's Dispatcher Connie Smith for her actions following a burglary in progress, which was reported in Elmer Township on October 23, 2012. Dispatcher Smith directed area police units throughout the chase and the suspects were ultimately arrested on Gates Road.
The members of the Port Sanilac Fire Department were honored with the "Firefighter of the Year" award for their actions in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 27, 2013 when fire broke out at the Parkway Place Apartments, at 7081 Huron Street in Port Sanilac. Fire Crews immediately checked the apartments and were able to get the last 10 of 17 residents of the complex out through patio doors to safety. Evacuated residents were taken to a temporary shelter and later taken to West Park Inn in Sandusky for temporary lodging. Due to heroic actions of the Port Sanilac Fire Department that frigid morning, there were no injuries or lives lost in the major fire.
EMTP Jeremy Beatty and EMT Chad Schmidt from Sanilac EMS were named "EMT'S of the Year." They received the award for their life-saving actions at the scene of a personal injury accident on December 28, 2012, at the intersection of Marlette and Wood Roads. The driver of the truck was seriously injured after striking some trees. The patient was unable to maintain his own airway and EMTP Beatty performed a tracheotomy, allowing the man to breathe while EMT Schmidt treated the man for other life-threatening injuries. Beatty and Schmidt are credited with savings the man's life. EMT Schmidt also works for Marlette EMS, which was the lead rig at the time of the accident.
"Meritorious Service Awards" were presented to Dr. Matthew Gormley and EMT'S Michael Bales, David Phetteplace, Sean Murray and Patricia Dawson for their actions in saving the life of Dr. Gormley's son. On May 16, 2012, the little boy ran in front of an oncoming car at the family's home near Croswell. The boy was seriously injured. Dr. Gormley administered first aid and upon arrival the EMT'S applied their EMS skills as the boy was rushed to a Detroit Area children's hospital. The boy has made a complete recovery, due to the skill and dedication of these medical specialists.
Elk Township firefighter and EMT Bill Parcell also received a "Meritorious Service Award." He was nominated for his actions on July 21, 2012 by Travis Sparr who was struck in the head by a baseball and knocked unconscious. Mr. Parsell called EMS and started medical treatment, keeping his airway open and keeping the swelling down. Sparr was flight-cared to a Saginaw hospital. He is making a very slow recovery and stated that he would not be here today, if it wasn't for Parcell's quick actions.
The "Presidents Award" was given to Deckerville fireman Stu Stoutenburg for 51-years of dedicated service. Mr. Stoutenburg has been a member of the Deckerville Fire Department since 1962 and continues to respond to fire calls and other emergencies in the Deckerville area.
A special "Bronze" Award was presented posthumously in honor of Brandon Trowhill, to his wife Danielle. Brandon was a dedicated officer for the Sanilac County Sheriff's Department as well as the Deckerville Police Department for over 7-years. He passed away unexpectedly in January of this year.
(LAPEER COUNTY) -- Construction has started at the intersection of Millville and Oregon Roads in Lapeer County. The intersection is completely closed to traffic and motorists are advised to seek an alternate route. Lapeer County Road Commission officials say Oregon is open from Main to Suncrest Drive. Northbound traffic may use Hayes Road or M-24 to by-pass construction, which is expected to continue into August.