Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

February 1, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 02/01/2013

Shooting spree suspect found competent

NOVI — A man charged in a shooting spree that targeted motorists along a highway corridor in four Michigan counties has been found competent to stand trial in Oakland County.

The findings were discussed during a hearing Thursday in Novi District Court.

Raulie Casteel faces a separate set of charges in Howell District Court, where the state attorney general's office has brought seven counts against the 43-year-old Wixom resident.

He was found competent for trial there during a hearing held Wednesday.

Casteel faces 60 counts in Oakland County, including assault with intent to murder. The AG's office brought a terrorism charge against him.

Authorities say the unemployed geologist shot at two-dozen cars along Interstate 96 in October.

Casteel lawyer Charles Groh says he's "pursuing all possible defenses" for his client.

Senate OKs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

LANSING — The state Senate on Thursday again approved an operational overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan — the state's largest health insurer — about a month after Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed one of his top priorities because of last-minute abortion provisions added to gain majority Republicans' support.

The bills that won unanimous approval no longer include language that would prevent insurers and businesses from providing elective abortion coverage in employee health plans.

The plan now heads to the House, where its future is murkier because a new crop of lawmakers took office weeks after the Republican governor's veto. The proposed reworking of Blue Cross does away with a law that gives the insurer immunity from paying about $100 million a year in taxes to state and local governments in exchange for providing insurance coverage regardless of a customer's health status.

Man speeds before fatal U.P. snowmobile crash

CRYSTAL FALLS — Authorities in Michigan's Upper Peninsula say a 54-year-old Illinois man was speeding on a snowmobile when he left a road and hit a tree, killing himself.

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