Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 15, 2012

Michigan in Brief: 11/15/2012


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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.

The DNR announced Wednesday that Matt Dontz used waders, GPS coordinates and notes from 1850 to find the post in Montmorency County about 5 miles northeast of Atlanta.

At the time the post was set, the DNR says the U.S. government's General Land Office would use them to mark a section or quarter corner every half-mile.

The posts were usually cedar stakes that had one end shaped into a point so they could be driven into the ground. Dontz says the water helped preserve the post.

The DNR says student assistant Ethan Richmond was instrumental in finding the post Oct. 25.

Police officer shot outside funeral home

DETROIT — A Detroit police officer was shot Wednesday after a high-speed car chase that ended when the driver being sought stopped in front of a funeral home, ran through the building and fired on police outside, a police spokeswoman said.

The single slug hit the officer's bulletproof vest in his back and lodged there. The officer, an 11-year veteran, was hospitalized in stable condition, spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said.

The suspect, who was being sought on a warrant for assault with intent to murder, was shot by the other officers and was in temporary serious condition at a nearby hospital, Stephens said. Neither his nor the officer's name has been released.

Man gets life in woman's fatal stabbing

MOUNT CLEMENS — A man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally stabbing a grandmother inside her suburban Detroit home.

Joseph Reiner was sentenced Wednesday in Macomb County Circuit Court in the death of 69-year-old JoAnne Eisenhardt, who was stabbed in the neck in February 2011 at her home in Macomb Township. She died the following September.

During the hearing, son Howard Eisenhardt addressed Reiner as a "little coward."