Competency exams ordered for suspect
HOWELL — Judges in two Michigan counties have ordered a man charged in a shooting spree that targeted motorists to undergo forensic competency and criminal responsibility examinations.
District court judges in Novi and Howell ordered the exams during hearings Wednesday in cases against Raulie Casteel.
The 43-year-old unemployed geologist is charged with 60 counts, including multiple counts of assault with intent to murder, in connection with shootings in Wixom and Oakland County's Commerce Township.
He's also charged with six counts in a single case in Livingston County.
Defense attorneys say he's a married, college-educated man with no criminal history.
Casteel is suspected in two dozen random shootings along a 100-mile freeway corridor. Shootings also took place in Ingham and Shiawassee counties.
Spending cuts could hurt Great Lakes
TRAVERSE CITY — Environmental activists say federal programs designed to protect and clean up the Great Lakes will take a big hit if Congress and President Barack Obama don't reach a budget deal soon.
Without a deficit reduction agreement, across-the-board spending cuts will kick in Jan. 1. Leaders of advocacy groups said Wednesday that would mean an 8.2 percent reduction in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a multi-year program dealing with some of the region's top ecological threats such as invasive species and toxic pollution.
The program received $300 million this year. The cut presumably would reduce it to $275 million in 2013.
Joel Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes said slashing the restoration program would damage the environment and the regional economy, including the fishing and tourism industries.
DNR surveyor locates piece of state history
ATLANTA — A state Department of Natural Resources land surveyor has recovered an original wooden survey post that was set in a stream 162 years ago in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.