October 10

10/10/19 – Americans in German synagogue as gunman hit door

BERLIN (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Germany says 10 Americans were inside the synagogue in the eastern city of Halle that a gunman unsuccessfully tried to enter on Yom Kippur. Ambassador Richard Grenell tweeted on Wednesday that “all are safe and unharmed.” A heavily armed assailant shot at the door of the synagogue as 70 to 80 people inside were observing Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day. Witnesses and German authorities say the gunman then killed two people while firing outside the building and into a nearby kebab shop.
October 10

10/10/19 – Power cut in California to prevent deadly fires

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — More than a million people in California were without electricity Wednesday as the state’s largest utility pulled the plug to prevent a repeat of the past two years when windblown power lines sparked deadly wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes. The unpopular move that disrupted daily life — prompted by forecasts calling for dry, gusty weather — came after catastrophic fires sent Pacific Gas & Electric Co. into bankruptcy and forced it to take more aggressive steps to prevent blazes. The drastic measure caused long lines at supermarkets and hardware stores as people rushed to buy […]
October 10

10/10/19 – Ex-director accused of embezzling $20K from Habitat for Humanity

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI –(Mlive) – The former executive director of Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity is accused of embezzling from the organization, and using some of the money to take his family to Disney World. Andrew Paul Mann, 35, of Laketon Township has been charged with embezzlement of between $1,000 and $20,000 from a nonprofit organization, which is a 10-year felony. The prosecutor’s office alleges he took just over $21,000, but the amount could exceed $50,000, said Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat. It’s alleged that between October 2017 and July 2019, Mann used a company credit card for […]
October 10

10/10/19 – Counselors cheer passage of bill protecting their jobs

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan counselors are cheering after the initial passage of legislation aimed at safeguarding their ability to practice psychotherapy. The state House voted unanimously this week to advance the bill to the Senate. It would clarify the scope of practice for Michigan’s 10,000 licensed professional counselors. The measure is a response to a state department’s proposed revision of counseling rules. A state spokesman says existing law does not give counselors the authority to diagnose and use psychotherapy technique. Counselors say they have been doing so for years, however, and the rule changes would have significant consequences for […]
October 9

10/9/19 – Republicans propose undoing some Whitmer budget vetoes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control Michigan’s Legislature are proposing to reverse some budget vetoes that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued last week. Supplemental spending bills introduced in the Senate on Tuesday would fund scholarships for students who attend in-state private colleges and a per-student funding increase for charter schools. Republicans also want to make payments to local governments that can’t tax state-owned land, fund a summer program for third-graders lagging in reading and ensure that about 120 sheriff’s deputies keep patrolling county and local roads. A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says lawmakers are preparing for […]
October 9

10/9/19 – GM talks hit snag over job security guarantees

DETROIT (AP) — Talks between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have hit a snag over what the union says is GM’s unwillingness to guarantee new products for U.S. factories. Union Vice President Terry Dittes (DIT-ez) says in a letter to members Tuesday that a lack of commitment by GM to UAW-represented factories has weighed heavily on bargainers. He says any pay gains will be meaningless without job security from new products. Dittes says he told the company that there is no job security when GM sells vehicles in the U.S. that are made in other countries. The […]
October 9

10/9/19 – State sprays 14 counties to combat mosquito virus

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Aerial organic pesticide spraying has been completed in 14 counties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to combat eastern equine encephalitis, a rare mosquito-borne virus. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services says Tuesday that the treatment covers more than 557,000 acres (225,409 hectares). Four of 10 people confirmed to have the virus in Michigan have died. Several dozen cases have been confirmed in horses and other animals. State and local officials continue to urge residents to take precautions such as avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn, applying insect repellants and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants. Mosquitoes […]
October 8

10/8/18 – Supreme Court takes up cases involving LGBT and civil rights laws

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in two cases over whether federal civil rights law protects LGBT people from job discrimination. The cases Tuesday are the court’s first on LGBT rights since Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement and replacement by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A decision is expected by early summer 2020. The issue is whether a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that bars discrimination in employment because of sex covers LGBT people. The Trump administration has changed course from the Obama administration and now supports the employers in arguing that the civil […]
October 8

10/8/19 – Group argues GRPS is now a two-tier education system

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Mlive) – Retired educators and parents addressed the Grand Rapids Board of Education Monday, Oct. 7, about their concerns the district has become a two-tiered educational system. The group, Grand Rapids Education for Justice (GREJ), argue that students in test-in theme schools perform consistently higher on tests, while the test scores of students in predominately minority schools and from poorer families remain significantly lower. Members describe Tier 1 schools as magnet, charter and choice schools that require applications with academic and behavioral standards, while Tier 2 schools are traditional schools that are required to accept and educate […]
October 8

10/8/19 – Governor concerned about strike impact

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she’s concerned about the growing impact of the United Auto Workers union’s strike against General Motors. Whitmer visited workers on the picket lines at a GM plant near the state capital of Lansing Monday as the strike entered its fourth week. She says it’s important for both sides to find common ground as quickly as possible. Whitmer is concerned about the state’s economy as the strike impact spreads to the automobile supply chain. The strike by 49,000 workers began Sept. 16 halted production at GM’s U.S. factories. On Monday, GM shut down […]
October 8

10/8/19 – Michigan becomes 5th state to join age-friendly network

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is the fifth state to partner with the AARP and the World Health Organization to be age-friendly, so people can age in place in their homes and communities. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer helped announce Michigan’s application and certification on Monday at an AARP conference near Lansing. Michigan is one of the most rapidly aging states in the country. Projections show that in 2025, it will be the first state where residents age 65 and older outnumber those 18 and younger — a decade ahead of the nation as a whole. Whitmer says Michigan is the […]
October 7

10/7/19 – Gas Prices in Michigan

DEARBORN, Mich., (October 7, 2019) – Gas prices in Michigan are down after jumping 13 cents to $2.71 per gallon on October 4. Michigan drivers are now paying an average price of $2.69 per gallon for regular unleaded, 7 cents more than a week ago and 1 cent more than this time last month. Despite the increase, drivers are still paying about 31 cents less than this same time last year. “Maintenance issues at a Detroit refinery likely contributed to the recent spike in the Michigan state average,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The refinery […]
October 7

10/7/19 – Spending vetoed by Whitmer may be revived , if deal reached

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn’t specifying which of the near-$1 billion in vetoed funding she wants to restore if a budget deal can be reached with the Republican-led Legislature. But a look at what the Democrat backed in her initial plan provides an indication of what ultimately may be revived. The list includes scholarships for students at in-state private colleges, the Pure Michigan advertising program and a funding increase for charter schools. Other spending that Whitmer vetoed after previously supporting it includes payments to counties to house state inmates and hire deputies for road patrols. Whitmer says […]
October 7

10/7/19 – GM-UAW talks take turn for worse; settlement not near

DETROIT (AP) — The top negotiator in contract talks between General Motors and the United Auto Workers says bargaining has hit a big snag. In an email to union members, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes (DIT-ez) casts doubt on whether there will be a settlement soon in a dispute that’s led to a 21-day strike by 49,000 union members. Dittes’ letter says the union presented a proposal to the company Saturday. He says GM responded Sunday by reverting back to an offer that had been rejected and made few changes. He says the company isn’t willing to fairly compensate workers. […]
September 13

9/13/19 – FACT CHECK Democratic Primary Debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten Democrats seeking the presidency tripped over some details as they sparred in a debate thick with policy and personal stories. Several made provocative accusations that President Donald Trump inspired the deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas, last month. On the policy front, Bernie Sanders claimed his approach to health care has a stamp of approval from everyone who studies such matters, which is not the case. Joe Biden misrepresented recent history when he said the administration he served as vice president didn’t put migrant kids in “cages.” Here’s a look at some of the assertions in […]
September 4

9/4/19 – Road Closures Expected in Downtown Grand Rapids Over Next Two Months

(Grand Rapids) A major artery in downtown Grand Rapids, running along one of the largest attractions in the city, will be closing down over the next few months. You should be prepared if you travel along Fulton between Ottawa and Division.  That section, right outside the Van Andel Arena, will start to close down beginning next week as crews work on the new 13-story Residence Inn by Marriott at 10 Ionia Ave.  The work will center around underground utilities that will force the closure of several streets. As a result, sections of the road will start to close to traffic […]