Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 27, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 01/27/2013


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Davenport to host active shooter simulation

BATTLE CREEK — Davenport University plans to host a full-scale active shooter simulation event at its Battle Creek campus on Monday. says Battle Creek police and area emergency responders will be on site. They'll be prepared to deploy equipment as part of the drill, which will have four active shooter scenarios within the campus setting.

Police are to notify the federal building, Battle Creek High School and area businesses that the event is only a drill.

Man wanted in Arizona escapes from lockup

DETROIT — A manhunt is under way for a federal prisoner who switched identities with another inmate to escape from a Michigan jail.

The U.S. marshal's office says 34-year-old Rocky Marquez walked out of the Wayne County jail on Jan. 20. He had been awaiting extradition to Arizona to face numerous charges.

Wayne County sheriff's spokeswoman Paula Bridges says officials realized Marquez was missing on Friday.

Marquez was arrested Jan. 15 by the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team. An AK-47 assault rifle was confiscated. He was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in Detroit federal court.

A statement from the marshal's office says "Marquez should be considered armed and dangerous."

Historic Fleming School destroyed in fire

HOWELL — A historic school in Howell has been destroyed in a fire.

The Fleming School was a Michigan State historic site and vintage schoolhouse renovated in the 1990s for use by Howell schoolchildren.

Howell Deputy Fire Chief Ron Hicks calls it a "total loss." Passers-by called in the fire early Friday.

The fire marshal's report could be completed by Monday, but Chief Andy Pless tells the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus that the fire is considered suspicious.

The school originally was a log building erected in 1850 and was replaced in 1880 with the current one-room schoolhouse.

It was closed in 1957.

In 1993, it was restored and served as an educational site for Howell Public Schools students.

Propane shortage due to cold, repairs

RAPID RIVER — Gov. Rick Snyder has declared an energy emergency in the Upper Peninsula due to a shortage of propane.

The declaration suspends state and federal rules that limit the number of hours a driver can spend on the road delivering fuel. The shortage is being caused by demand due to cold weather and a pipeline repair at a propane terminal in Rapid River, just north of Escanaba.

Propane trucks must travel longer distances to get the fuel and deliver it. Snyder says his order will ensure that supplies are sufficient. The order is good through Feb. 3.

Propane is commonly used for heating homes in rural areas not served by natural gas.

Weather hampers moose survey

MARQUETTE — Poor weather is making it hard for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to count the number of moose in the Upper Peninsula.

The DNR surveys the moose population every two years. The census is based on the number of animals spotted by crews flying over prime moose range in Baraga, Iron and Marquette counties.

It's typically done in January, when the ground is covered with snow. That makes it easier to see the animals.

But wildlife biologist Bill Scullon says there's been too little snow cover for most of January. Once the snow did fall, it was too windy to operate the fixed-wing aircraft.

The survey is about 20 percent complete. If it can't be finished this year, officials say they'll discuss whether to try again next year.

Grand Rapids lifts boil water advisory

GRAND RAPIDS — A boil water advisory has been lifted for a Grand Rapids neighborhood following a water main break this week that created a giant sinkhole.

A 30-inch main split apart just after midnight Wednesday and cut water to 85 homes. The resulting sinkhole was so large that it held an entire tree.

Water service to area residents was restored about 24 hours later, but a boil water advisory remained in effect as a safety precaution. The city distributed bottled water to those affected.

According to, the city released a statement Saturday that said testing found no coliform bacteria, and "the water is safe to drink."

Fire destroys condos in complex

WARREN — A half-dozen condos have been destroyed in what Warren officials say is the second fire at the complex in as many days.

No one was hurt.

WDIV-TV reports the first fire took place Friday, causing water and smoke damage.

The second fire on Saturday morning was much worse.

WXYZ-TV says at least five families lost their homes. Margaret Thompson tells the station she lost everything she owns.

Mich. State Police honors trooper

MONROE — A trooper for nearly 40 years has been named Michigan State Police trooper of the year.

Richard Northrup of Tecumseh was honored this week at a ceremony in Lansing. He's assigned to the Monroe post and has spent his career in southeastern Michigan.

The head of the state police praised Northrup for his work performance, leadership skills and extensive community service. He's been associated with the Boy Scouts for decades.

The Howell High School graduate began his career at the Jackson post in 1974. Northrup was community service officer for eight years at the Adrian post, teaching and mentoring students in Lenawee County schools.

Japanese is learned by thousands

DETROIT — Spanish and French are commonly taught in Michigan schools. Japanese can be heard in classrooms, too.

Japan's Consulate General in Detroit is reporting that 4,300 students are learning Japanese at 56 Michigan schools, including some elementary schools.

In addition, 2,100 students are studying Japanese on 17 college campuses, led by the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University.

The Japanese government's representative in Michigan is Kuninori Matsuda. He says he's met many students studying Japanese and believes their skill with the language will lead to good jobs in the state.

Japan estimates that nearly 900 businesses in Ohio and Michigan are wholly or partly owned by Japanese.

School officer who left gun keeps job

LAPEER — Officials say a security officer who left his gun unattended in a Lapeer charter school's restroom will keep his job.

According to Chatfield School Director Matt Young, the school reviewed the incident and has decided the unnamed officer "is a good fit for the position."

But Young says the K-8 school about 45 miles northwest of Detroit has revised its security procedures and added additional protocols. The Flint Journal reports they include installing "a lock box in a male staff restroom for our security officer to secure his weapon in while he uses that restroom."

The county prosecutor's office has said a criminal charge isn't necessary, since no one was harmed.

Chatfield recently hired the officer to help strengthen security. He's retired from the Lapeer County sheriff's department.