April 24

4/24/19 – Senate budget boosts roads, but far short of Whitmer’s plan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A transportation budget advancing in Michigan’s Legislature would boost road spending, but far short of the $1.9 billion net increase proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. A Senate-controlled subcommittee approved the bill Tuesday, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. It does not include revenue from the Democratic governor’s proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase, which has been rejected by GOP lawmakers. The Senate plan would fully implement 2015 road-funding laws a year earlier, so $132 million more is spent in the next fiscal year. Senate Republicans plan to outline an alternative road-funding plan this summer.
April 24

4/24/19 – US expands probe into air bag failures to 12.3M vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators have expanded an investigation into malfunctioning air bag controls to include 12.3 million vehicles because the bags may not inflate in a crash. As many as five deaths are blamed on the problem. The probe covers parts made by made by ZF-TRW that were installed in Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Fiat Chrysler vehicles from the 2010 through 2019 model years. Government documents say electrical signals can interfere with a circuit that monitors crash sensors. The interference can damage the circuit. Investigators recently found two serious crashes involving 2018 and 2019 Toyota […]
April 24

4/24/19 – Pence to visit Michigan to tout trade deal, raise money

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Michigan to tout the new North American trade agreement and to raise money for President Donald’s Trump re-election campaign. Pence will have three events in the Detroit area Wednesday. He will first participate in a fundraiser in Detroit for Trump Victory, a joint account with the Republican National Committee used for high-dollar gifts. He next will tour Ford’s truck plant in Dearborn and then visit a Taylor business to speak to auto industry officials about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the tentative pact that would replace NAFTA. The revised version, signed by […]
April 24

4/24/19 – Michigan child poverty rate drops, but 20% live in poverty

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s child poverty rate dropped over five years, but hundreds of thousands of kids — or one in five — are still living in poverty. The annual Kids Count Profile released Tuesday by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation reports about 416,000 of Michigan’s children lived in poverty in 2017. That was down from roughly 549,000 in 2012. The study also finds a spike in child abuse and neglect, with confirmed cases up nearly 30 percent. Michigan’s bottom-ranked counties for child well-being are Lake, Luce, Alcona, Schoolcraft and Muskegon. The top five are Livingston, Clinton, Ottawa, […]
April 24

4/24/19 – Michigan court tightens legal standard on car searches

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has tightened the legal standard for searching people during a traffic stop. The court ruled in favor of a car passenger who said his rights were violated when police in Jackson County searched his backpack without his consent. The backpack held marijuana and methamphetamine. But in a unanimous decision Monday, the Supreme Court says the search was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says Larry Mead had a “legitimate expectation” of privacy. Mead was a passenger in a car stopped by a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy looked in Mead’s backpack after the driver […]
April 23

4/23/19 – Easter bombings a response to NZ attacks

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s state minister of defense said Tuesday that the Easter attack on churches, hotels and other sites was “carried out in retaliation” for the shooting massacre at two New Zealand mosques last month, as the Islamic State group sought to claim responsibility for the attack. The comments by Ruwan Wijewardene came shortly before the Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the bombings in and outside of Colombo that killed over 320 people. But neither Wijewardene nor IS provided evidence to immediately support their claims, and authorities previously blamed a little-known Islamic extremist […]
April 23

4/23/19 – Michigan adoption agency flips LGBT policy after settlement

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A major faith-based foster care and adoption contractor for the state of Michigan is reversing its policy and will place children with same-sex couples to comply with a legal settlement. Bethany Christian Services and the state confirmed the change Monday. Bethany Christian Services says while it is “disappointed” with how the settlement has been implemented, it will nonetheless reverse its policy so it continues foster care and adoption work for the state. As of February, Bethany Christian Services was responsible for 1,159 — or more than 8% — of cases of children under state supervision. Democratic […]
April 23

4/23/19 – Dry, windy weather makes Michigan vulnerable to wildfires

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State officials say much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is at high risk for wildfires because of recent dry, windy weather. The Department of Natural Resources says areas of highest concern run from southwestern Michigan to the top of the northern Lower Peninsula. Danger is also elevated between southeastern Michigan and the top of the “Thumb” area. DNR staffers this year have fought 46 fires that burned nearly 360 acres. Prevention specialist Paul Rogers advises waiting until late evening to burn yard debris or use all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers and other outdoor machinery that can ignite dry […]
April 23

4/23/19 – Precautions taken after 2 mumps cases at Michigan jail

MARSHALL, Mich. (AP) — Health officials say precautions are being taken after two cases of mumps were confirmed in inmates at the Calhoun County jail in southern Michigan. The Calhoun County Health Department said Monday there have been no confirmed mumps cases in the county outside of the jail. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports the sheriff’s office says inmates in contact with the mumps were segregated and unvaccinated inmates were given immunizations. Mumps is caused by a virus. It’s contagious and spread through coughing and sneezing. Cases of mumps have been reported elsewhere in the U.S. this year. Officials said […]
April 22

4/22/19 – Whitmer nets GOP, business support for tuition-free programs

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is netting key support from the business community and some Republican lawmakers for her large-scale plans to provide debt-free tuition to high school graduates and older adults who want to learn new job skills. The development is a boost for one of the Democrat’s signature policy goals — increasing the number of working-age adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 60% by 2030, from 45% now. Michigan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rich Studley is pledging the group’s “full, unequivocal” backing of her proposals, known as Michigan Reconnect and the […]
April 22

4/22/19 – Michigan gas prices down 10 cents to $2.82 per gallon

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says average gas prices statewide are down about 10 cents from a week ago to about $2.82 per gallon. The Dearborn-based auto club says Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded is about 6 cents less than a year ago and marks the first weekly decrease in over two months. Still, AAA says more increases are expected this spring. The state’s highest average was about $2.90 a gallon in the Marquette area. The lowest was about $2.75 in the Flint and Grand Rapids areas. Prices in the Detroit area were about $2.83 per […]
April 22

4/22/19 – Easter Sunday bomb blasts kill more than 200 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Nine bombings of churches, luxury hotels and other sites on Easter Sunday killed more than 200 people and wounded hundreds more in Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence since a devastating civil war in the South Asian island nation ended a decade ago. Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the blasts as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, and police said 13 suspects were arrested, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Wijewardena said most of the bombings were believed to have been suicide attacks. The explosions — mostly in or around Colombo, the capital — collapsed […]
April 19

4/19/19 – Thawing ice allows re-deploying of Great Lakes data buoys

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — As ice thaws around the Great Lakes, technicians are preparing to re-deploy buoys that gather a wealth of information for use in research, water safety efforts and recreation. About a dozen research institutions operate buoys in the lakes. Many of them provide data to the nonprofit Great Lakes Observing System, which makes it available online. Its website offers real-time data from the buoys, which are returned to the water as soon as harbors and boat launches are ice-free. It can help boaters and anglers avoid potentially dangerous conditions, while scientists get material that feeds computer […]
April 19

4/19/19 – Michigan launches pilot program for farmers to grow hemp

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is launching a pilot program to aid farmers and processors interested in growing industrial hemp during the 2019 planting season. The U.S. government is implementing a national program to start in 2020. But the state already has the authority to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Participating farmers and processors will have to obtain a license and enter into a research agreement with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The agency said Thursday it will schedule several events where people can apply for and obtain a research agreement. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan […]
April 18

4/18/19 – Measles exposure sites reported in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MI –(Mlive)- State health officials have traced the travel of two recent measles patients from Southeast Michigan to a handful of locations across the state, including two sites in Grand Rapids. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air where an infected person was present. Symptoms of the disease can take 1-3 weeks after exposure to appear, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials are attempting to prevent further exposures after 42 cases have already been reported in 2019. One of the newest confirmed cases is a patient from Southeast Michigan […]
April 18

4/18/19 – Whitmer orders jail study, says status quo ‘isn’t working’

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is ordering a comprehensive review of Michigan’s jail and pretrial incarceration system, saying the status quo “isn’t working.” Whitmer on Wednesday signed an executive order to begin a bipartisan study of jail and court data. She says jail populations have nearly tripled in the last 35 years and crime is at a 50-year low. A 21-member task force will work with The Pew Charitable Trusts and make recommendations by year’s end. Joining the Democratic governor at the signing of the order were Chief Justice Bridge McCormack, Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield, Democratic Attorney […]
April 18

4/18/19 – House OKs bill to forgive schools from making up snow days

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan school districts would not have to make up snow days that occur during state-declared emergencies under a bill advancing in the Legislature. The House approved the measure on a 101-7 vote Wednesday. It goes to the Senate for consideration next. The legislation is intended to address the high number of canceled schools days. State law forgives districts from making up six days canceled for emergencies, and schools can get a waiver for three additional days. Legislators say the wintry weather has been so extreme that the law should be loosened. The five-day period from Jan. […]
April 18

4/18/19 – Michigan governor open to allowing Great Lakes oil tunnel

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she’s open to allowing construction of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet, despite ordering state officials not to act on a tunnel plan developed by her predecessor. Whitmer told reporters Wednesday in Lansing her goal remains getting Enbridge’s Line 5 out of the Straits of Mackinac as quickly as possible. Former Gov. Rick Snyder negotiated a deal with Enbridge to run a new pipeline through a subterranean tunnel that the company hopes to complete by 2024. Whitmer stopped work on implementing the deal last […]
April 17

4/17/19 – BBB says “wait”

-The Better Business Bureau is warning individuals to “wait to donate” to make sure donations are going to the official Notre Dame rebuilding fund and not into the hands of scammers. Scammers will take advantage of whatever is in the news. They expect to see Notre Dame fundraising appeals on social media and crowdfunding sites. Some will be from well-intentioned people who are not directly involved with the cathedral, but some may be from scammers. BBB is urging people to wait to donate until an official rebuilding fund is established. Donations are more likely to be tax-deductible if they wait […]
April 15

4/15/19 – Fire Engulfs Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

PARIS (AP) — Firefighters battled a massive blaze Monday at the French capital’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral that sent ash pouring onto tourists and flames shooting out of the world-famous 12th century monument.  The roof and spire at the center of the building have collapsed. It is unclear whether anyone has been hurt. French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saving the fire is “potentially linked” to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead. Flames are shooting out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most […]