State briefing

Wildfire aid: U.P. farmers send hay

MASS CITY, Mich. (AP) — Truckers and farmers in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula plan to haul hay to help victims of a Kansas wildfire, which has burned more than 1,000 square miles (2,590 square kilometers).

Marty Dehaan of Mass City tells The Daily Mining Gazette that many ranchers in southern Kansas “have lost everything.”

Dehaan is leading the effort with trucker and beef farmer Jan Streater of Lake Linden. Dehaan’s father, Rick Dehaan, of Mass City is also aboard.

Round bales of hay weigh 900 pounds (408 kilograms) or more. The hay will be hauled more than 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) to Kansas next Friday.

Anyone willing to help with donations, hay or trucking can call (906) 458-8933.

Kayaker faces tough conditions

GRINDSTONE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Missouri kayaker who’s trying to paddle the Great Lakes is waiting for conditions to clear before she gets back in the water after trouble in Lake Huron.

The Huron County sheriff says 52-year-old Traci Lynn Martin had problems with her rudder Friday. She also faced strong winds and ice.

Martin was checked by a medical crew but declined additional treatment. She’s wearing a survival suit on her journey, which will last months.

Sheriff Kelly Hanson says it could be days before Martin resumes her trip. He says the weekend forecast calls for 20 mph (32 kph) winds.

Martin is from the Kansas City, Missouri, area. Her trip began in Michigan on March 9. She wants to paddle around the Great Lakes and the Atlantic seaboard.

Walleye, yellow perch catch increased

CLEVELAND (AP) — The commission that oversees fishing on Lake Erie is allowing a big increase in the number of walleye and yellow perch that can be caught this year.

The Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission agreed Friday to a 20 percent increase in the total allowable catch for walleye.

The group also increased the total allowable catch for yellow perch by 13 percent.

The limits are for both sport anglers in Ohio, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania along with anglers and commercial operations in Canada.

Cleveland.com reports that excellent spring hatches in 2014 and 2015 are behind the increases.

Liquor retailer rule dropped in MI

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State regulators have dropped a 1979 rule that generally required a half-mile distance between liquor retailers.

The Detroit News says the change by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission occurred Thursday. A trade association that represents stores has filed a lawsuit, saying the commission was required to hold a public hearing.

Auday Arabo, president of the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, compared the commission’s actions to that of a dictator.

Supporters of the half-mile restriction say it protects communities and gives retailers some room against potential competitors. But the commission says the half-mile rule discriminates against qualified applicants.

Elderly couple put on wrong flight

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A 96-year-old woman and an 89-year-old man were wheeled to the wrong gate at a South Florida airport and ended up on a flight to upstate New York instead of Michigan.

Helen Wheeker and her husband, George Nobel, ended up Ogdensburg, New York instead of Grand Rapids, Michigan after being put on the wrong Allegiant Air flight on Wednesday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

A malfunctioning boarding-pass scanner was blamed for not catching the mix-up.