5/26/17 – Memorial Day Events List
Here is a listing of 2017 Memorial Day ceremonies and parades in the West Michigan area. If you don’t see a community event listed, please email us – joel@wcsg.
Parade (10am Griswold Auditorium to Oakwood Cemetery)
Ceremony (Cascade Township Library 10am)
Grand Rapids 5/30
Parade in downtown (7PM)
Parade (starts at Wedgewood Park 9am)
Parade (starts at 8th and Central – 9:30)
Ceremony (Civil War Memorial – 11am)
Ceremony (Veterans Park 10am)
Parade (10am Michigan Avenue to Riverside Cemetery)
Kentwood 5/ 29
Parade (Starts at 48th and Eastern 9am, Ceremony at AM Legion 208)
Parade and Cermony (9:30am with the opening ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Wall; free lunch at the VFW Post #4073 follows closing ceremony at Oakridge Cemetery)
Parade (Starts at 9 a.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin)
South Haven 5/29
Parade (Starts at Center Street and Michigan Avenue to Lakeview Cemetery 9am)
Memorial Service at Veterans Memorial Garden 7pm
5/26/17 – G-7 summit
TAORMINA, Italy (AP) — The chairman of the European Union’s council says there is “no doubt that this will be the most challenging G-7 summit in years.”
Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, the host of this year’s G-7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, spoke Friday as the two-day summit of the world’s wealthy democracies began.
Gentiloni says “We will make an important declaration today here in Taormina on climate change, on great migrant flows, on free trade in the world on which so many jobs depend and the future prospects for our economy.”
5/26/17 – Michigan Senate holds Memorial Day ceremony
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has held its annual Memorial Day ceremony honoring fallen troops.
The chamber was filled Thursday with veterans of all military conflicts from World War II to the Iraq War, along with their families and friends.
Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, who heads the state’s Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, said in a keynote speech that the holiday remembers the courage of those who come from all walks of life.
State Sen. Patrick Colbeck led the ceremony and introduced a veteran who served in three world conflicts: World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. Retired U.S. Marine Corps. Chief Warrant Officer Donald Woodworth served in nine campaigns and has received numerous medals and awards.
5/26/17 – ‘Choose Life’ license plate bill
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan drivers soon might be able to drive around with “Choose Life” license plates.
The Republican-controlled House passed legislation Thursday that would allow drivers to buy a plate for $35 with some proceeds going to the Choose Life Michigan Fund.
Opponents say the state should not endorse such a political license plate that would give money to anti-abortion nonprofit groups such as crisis pregnancy centers. State Sen. Patrick Colbeck sponsored the bill and says it would be entirely optional to buy the plate.
He says the bill would address suicide prevention since it is part of the “Choose Life” message and would help organizations that support people making life-affirming decisions.
The legislation was passed largely along party lines and is expected to soon go to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.
5/26/17 – Michigan dunes developers clash with conservationists
SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan developer who plans to create a private marina and nearly 40 home sites near the Saugatuck Dunes State Park is facing pushback from conservation groups.
The property spanning more than 300 acres once belonged to oil tycoon Aubrey McClendon, who proposed large-scale development that didn’t materialize before his death last year.
David Swan is president of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. He says the development proposed by the land’s new owner, Jeff Padnos, and development company Cottage Home is “McClendon 2.0.”
Swan’s concerns include maintaining vital wetlands, disturbing fish populations, historic resources and a negative economic impact.
Cottage Home President Brian Bosgraaf says the project is taking a “conservation-based development” approach.
Padnos purchased the property last year. Bosgraaf expects to start selling home sites in June.
5/26/17 – Overdose Reversal Drug
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has authorized the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue a standing order pre-authorizing pharmacists to distribute the overdose reversal drug naloxone to eligible individuals.
Snyder’s office said Thursday that pharmacies that obtain the standing order will be able to dispense naloxone to those at risk of an opioid-related overdose and to family members, friends, or others who might be able to help such individuals. Naloxone currently is only available to be administered by law enforcement and other first responders.
Health and Human Service Department chief medical executive Dr. Eden Wells says the shorter response time allowed by the standing order is a vital step in reducing opioid-related deaths in Michigan.
5/26/17 – Great Lakes fish surveys
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Crews with four Michigan research vessels are beginning annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations.
The Department of Natural Resources says the studies produce information for conserving and managing the lakes’ fish, which support a multi-billion-dollar tourist economy.
The agency’s newest research vessel is the Tanner, launched last year. Its team focuses on lake trout and walleye in Lake Huron, plus broader fisheries assessments in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River.
The Lake Char is deployed on Lake Superior, where it helps determine lake trout harvest quotas and provides insights on damage caused by parasitic sea lamprey.
The vessel Channel Cat studies fish in Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, while the vessel Steelhead covers Lake Michigan.
Officials say visitors are welcome when the vessels are in port.
5/26/17 – Holiday lane restrictions
This Memorial Day weekend, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is removing lane restrictions on almost 70 percent of its road and bridge projects statewide to ease traffic delays for holiday travelers. AAA Michigan estimates more than 1.2 million people from Michigan are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 2.5 percent increase from the 2016 holiday. AAA says 2017 will mark Michigan’s fifth consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel.
Beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, May 26, and continuing until 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, 78 out of 112 projects statewide will have lane restrictions removed. While motorists will see suspended operations in most MDOT construction zones for the weekend, drivers are advised that equipment and certain traffic configurations, like temporary shifts or shoulder closures, may remain in place.
5/25/17 – Public should remain vigilant
(AP) – British Prime Minister Theresa May says progress is being made in the Manchester bombing investigation but the national threat level remains critical – meaning another attack may be imminent. Speaking after a meeting of the government’s COBRA crisis committee, May said “the public should remain vigilant.” May said 8 suspects are in custody and “progress is being made.”
5/25/17 – Flint Water
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Flint officials say more city residents will be eligible for help paying their water and sewer bills amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water.
The office of Mayor Karen Weaver announced this week that officials are expanding the effort.
With the update, City of Flint utility customers with a monthly income level of up to 200 percent of the national poverty guidelines can take advantage of a “match” program announced last month. The expansion is supported by the United Way of Genesee County.
The program will provide matching payments of up to $350 not exceeding the balance of customers’ water and sewer bill.
The Flint Journal reports an earlier program was open to residents with an income at or below 150 percent of the national poverty guidelines.
5/25/17 – Airport Screening
Travelers at some U.S. airports are being asked to place electronic devices bigger than a cellphone in separate bins so that they can be examined more closely.
The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday that it has been testing the procedure at 10 airports for more than a year, and it may be expanded nationwide.
The TSA says the approach is designed to “de-clutter” carry-on bags to make it easier for screeners to examine their contents.
A TSA spokesman says people enrolled in the Precheck program will still be able to leave their laptops in their bags during screening.
5/25/17 – Lawsuit over snowplow crash
KALKASKA, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court says county road commissions can be exposed to lawsuits if snowplow drivers are operating on the wrong side of the road.
The court ruled in favor of a northern Michigan woman who was injured when a Kalkaska County snowplow struck her car in 2013. Carrie Flanagin says the truck crossed the centerline on a two-lane road. The driver denies it and claims Flanagin had crossed into his lane.
The road commission says governmental immunity should apply. The appeals court acknowledged Tuesday that snowplows and other public vehicles can cross a centerline under certain conditions. But the court also said drivers must ensure that it’s safe to do.
The lawsuit now returns to Kalkaska County court unless the road commission goes to the Michigan Supreme Court.
5/25/17 – Great Lakes pipeline standards
DETROIT (AP) — Legislation proposed in the U.S. Senate would toughen liability standards for oil pipelines crossing the Great Lakes.
The measure is part of a package introduced Wednesday by Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. They say the bills are intended to boost safety of pipelines in and near the lakes. That includes Line 5 operated by Enbridge and running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.
Pipelines that cross portions of the lakes are classified as “onshore,” so they’re held to less stringent liability standards than offshore lines. The bill would change that, requiring operators to cover all oil spill cleanup costs.
Other measures would strengthen federal authority to shut down pipelines because of unsafe conditions, require additional review of spill response plans and increase public access to pipeline information.
5/25/17 – Detroit’s population continues to decline
DETROIT (AP) — New figures say Detroit’s population continues to decline amid efforts to revitalize the city.
The population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau say Detroit is the nation’s 23rd largest city with a population of 672,795 last summer, a loss of 3,541 since 2015.
Mayor Mike Duggan’s office says, however, that new construction and utility hookups suggest the decades-long population exodus is stemming. About 1.8 million people lived in Detroit in the 1950s, when it was No. 5.
The numbers show the Detroit area ranks 14th among U.S. metropolitan areas, with 4.3 million people in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, St. Clair and Lapeer counties.
Grand Rapids is the state’s second-largest city with an estimated 196,445 residents, up 0.7 percent. The state’s fastest-growing communities are suburban townships in urban counties.
5/25/17 – Senate OKs tax break certain retirees
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Certain employees retired from government work would get a tax break under legislation approved unanimously by the Michigan Senate.
The bill passed Wednesday and sent to the House would aid public retirees born after 1945 who receive retirement or pension benefits from an agency that wasn’t covered by Social Security. Republican Sen. Ken Horn of Frankenmuth says his measure would benefit more than 900 retired police and firefighters, mostly from Detroit or the state police.
The bill would retroactively increase an income tax deduction by between $20,000 and $25,000 for those retired as of 2013. Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican legislators previously made more retirement income taxable instead of exempt.
The Senate Fiscal Agency says the revenue reduction would likely be minimal.
5/25/17 – Dogs in restaurants
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Patrons could bring their dogs along while eating in outdoor areas of restaurants under a bill advancing in the Michigan Legislature.
State law generally prohibits live animals at restaurants. The legislation was approved 32-6 by the Senate on Wednesday and sent to the House for consideration.
The bill would allow dogs on restaurant patios under certain circumstances.
Dogs would have to be leashed and couldn’t pass through the restaurant interior or sit in chairs or on customers’ laps. Patios would have to be free of dog hair. Surfaces contaminated by dog waste would have to be disinfected immediately.
The legislation wouldn’t require restaurant owners to allow dogs, and local communities could pass ordinances prohibiting dogs on restaurant patios.
5/25/17 – Michigan’s pension system
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislative economists estimate that it would cost $410 million in the first year to close Michigan’s pension system to newly hired teachers and instead provide them a 401(k) only.
The nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency released its analysis Wednesday, a day after Republican-sponsored legislation was introduced.
The bill would affect new school employees hired after Sept. 30. The analysis estimates transition costs would total $2.3 billion in the first full five years, or about $465 million annually.
Majority Republican lawmakers say the pension plan should be closed to new hires so the state stops accumulating debt. Gov. Rick Snyder and Democrats say a 7-year-old hybrid pension/401(k) plan is working and upfront costs of a switch are too high.
5/24/17 – President spends day in Italy
(AP) – President Donald Trump spent Wednesday in Italy. He had a half hour meeting with Pope Francis. The Vatican says after a visit by President Trump, they are hoping for “serene collaboration” with the United States to help migrants and provide health care and education in the U.S.
The Vatican says the two sides also agreed on their “joint commitment in favor of life and freedom of worship and conscience.”
Ivanka Trump met with human trafficking victims in Rome.
She spoke with African women who have been freed in Italy from human traffickers. The encounter was arranged by the Rome-based Catholic charity Sant’Egidio Community, which has ties with the Vatican and which has helped Syrian refugees arrive safely in Italy via “humanitarian corridors”
The president’s daughter and adviser has held meetings at the White House on human trafficking.
After Italy, the President will continue on to Belgium.
5/24/17 – Governing police body camera footage
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers are looking to create guidelines for body camera footage obtained by law enforcement officers.
The state House passed a bill Tuesday that would require police departments to have written policies on using body cameras and maintaining and handling recordings. It would prohibit certain footage from being obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Republican Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake is sponsoring the bill and says there are hardly any rules on how departments should handle footage.
Lisa McGraw, public affairs manager for the Michigan Press Association, opposes the legislation and says the footage should be made available to the public because if there is an instance of an officer behaving inappropriately, the public should know.
The legislation passed unanimously and now goes to the Senate.
5/24/17 – School employees’ pension system
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature have introduced long-expected legislation to close the school employees’ pension system to new hires and provide them a 401(k) only.
The bills proposed Tuesday in the House and Senate are identical. They would affect teachers and others hired after Sept. 30 and are modeled after a plan that has been offered to state employees hired since 1997.
Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, has expressed concern with the switch due to potential upfront transition costs, and the disagreement threatens to stall enactment of the next state budget.
The main bill sponsors, Sen. Phil Pavlov of St. Clair Township and Rep. Tom Albert of Lowell, say the measures would help keep a promise for current and future retirees while eventually putting more money into classrooms.
5/24/17 – Funding to keep Great Lakes clean
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s administration says it’s time for state and local governments to pay for cleanups of iconic but polluted waterways such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.
But supporters of those programs say the cleanups are already a team effort. They are fighting a proposal in the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 budget plan to cut $427 million for regional waterway restorations.
Many members of Congress in both parties also oppose defunding the cleanup efforts, which are popular with constituents.
Supporters say federal grants often require state or local funding matches. And federal agencies can help forge agreements among states that compete with each other economically and may have significant political differences.
5/24/17 – Legislation to help human trafficking victims
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that allows more victims of human trafficking to have their criminal records dismissed.
Snyder signed a bill Tuesday that removes the restriction that a victim is only eligible for deferral or dismissal of criminal charges if they had no prior convictions. The bill was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian and she says it will help lead victims to rebuild better lives.
Snyder says Michigan needs to do everything it can to assist victims of human trafficking.
Victims previously weren’t eligible for dismissal or deferral of charges if they had previous prostitution-related charges on their record.
In 2015, Snyder signed into law that made human trafficking punishable by life imprisonment.
5/24/17 – Michigan to receive nearly $400,000 from Target
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state will receive nearly $400,000 from an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve a multi-state probe into the discounter’s pre-Christmas data breach in 2013.
Target’s breach affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers. The breach forced Target to overhaul its security system. The company offered free credit reports for potentially affected shoppers.
The settlement requires Target to maintain appropriate encryption policies and take other security steps.
Schuette said Tuesday in a statement that the state’s proceeds from the settlement will go to its General Fund.
The settlement involves 47 states and the District of Columbia.
5/24/17 – National Guard to test residential wells
GRAYLING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan National Guard plans to test residential drinking wells near its main training facility after a plume of toxic chemicals was discovered in groundwater.
MLive reports that a meeting about the testing was held Friday for residents living near Camp Grayling. The National Guard says about 100 homes with private wells just west and south of the Grayling Army Airfield are at risk of contamination from toxic fluorocarbons.
Tests in March detected chemicals at concentrations above the federal health advisory level in the airfield’s five monitoring wells. The contaminants are tied to thyroid, kidney, liver, reproductive and other health problems.
Project manager Rob MacLeod says the Guard will take samples from private wells because the boundaries of the plume are unclear.
5/23/17 – Manchester blast
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester police say the man who set off an improvised explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England died in the attack.
Police said Tuesday 22 people died in the attack Monday night. It wasn’t clear if that included the suspected suicide bomber. Dozens more were injured.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said forensic investigations are continuing as police try to determine if the attacker had accomplices.
He did not provide any information about the individual who detonated the device.
For the young crowd of music fans, the Ariana Grande concert was supposed to be a night of high-energy candy pop and fun on a school night. The scene quickly turned into sheer terror when a bomb went off at the end, sending terrified parents into a desperate search for their loved ones _ many of them teenagers and ‘tweens. Police say children are among the 22 people killed. About 60 others are wounded.
5/23/17 – Congress $4.1 trillion budget
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is sending Congress a $4.1 trillion spending plan that relies on faster economic growth and steep cuts in a range of support programs for low-income individuals to balance the government’s books over the next decade.
The proposed budget, for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, was being delivered to Congress Tuesday, setting off an extended debate . Lawmakers from both parties have said major changes will be needed as the measure moves through Congress.
The proposal projects that this year’s deficit will rise to $603 billion, up from the actual deficit of $585 billion last year.
5/23/17 – “Reach for Peace”
ERUSALEM (AP) — President Donald Trump is telling an audience of Israelis that the Palestinians are “ready to reach for peace.”
Speaking at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Trump says he is “personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement.”
He says his meetings earlier in the day with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lead him to believe that “the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace.”
But Trump also noted that Hamas and Hezbollah rockets are being launched into Israeli communities and schools.
He says a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremism must be built.
5/23/17 – Times Square Crash
NEW YORK (AP) — The father of a Michigan tourist killed by an out-of-control driver in Times Square has left a note at a makeshift memorial to thank New Yorkers for their support.
Thomas Elsman on Saturday visited the site where 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman was killed.
His daughter had been visiting New York City with her mother and younger sister when she died Thursday.
Authorities say Richard Rojas steered his car onto a sidewalk and into pedestrians for three blocks before crashing.
Elsman left his note at a concrete block that has become a makeshift memorial, covered with people’s names along with candles, flowers and stuffed animals.
His note said there were “no words that can express our gratitude” for the support.
5/23/17 – Election Recount
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation up for a vote in the Michigan Senate would double the fee for losing candidates to file recount petitions if they are down by more than 5 percentage points.
The bill is a response to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount last fall despite her winning 1 percent of the vote.
The Republican-sponsored measure to be approved Tuesday would increase recount fees from $125 per precinct to $250 if losing candidates are behind by more than 5 points.
Supporters say Stein’s recount showed current fees are too low to cover costs. The recount covered more than 40 percent of the statewide vote before courts stopped it.
5/22/17 – Pres. Trump in Israel
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — As President Donald Trump shook hands with Israeli Cabinet ministers and dignitaries, it didn’t take long for Mideast politics to make their way into the presidential visit.
Israel Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home Party, told the president that the time has come for the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has backed away from that promise since taking office, saying the issue needs more study.
Israel captured east Jerusalem 50 years ago and claims the area — home to sensitive Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites — as part of its capital. The Palestinians also claim east Jerusalem as their capital.
5/22/17 – WMU Scholarship
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A scholarship for medical school students has been named after Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn.
The school says Saturday that the scholarship will cover more than $100,000 in annual tuition for eligible Western Michigan graduates who are admitted into the Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine degree program.
The scholarship fund is endowed with $2.2 million in contributions from community leaders, Western Michigan University trustees, and Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare.
Dunn is founding chair of the medical school board. He is expected to retire July 31 after 10 years as Western Michigan’s president.
The school says Dunn sparked community interest in the creation of a medical school during his 2007 State of the University address.
The university and medical school are in Kalamazoo in southwestern Michigan.
5/22/17 – Grants to monitor lake, river conditions
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Five organizations have been awarded grants to monitor water quality in Michigan lakes and rivers.
The state Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Commission divided $51,000 among the groups under the Michigan Clean Water Corps Program.
The Missaukee Conservation District will monitor macroinvertebrates and stream habitat conditions in the Upper Muskegon River and Manistee River watersheds.
Jamestown Charter Township/Trinity Christian Reformed Church will monitor macroinvertebrate and habitat conditions in Rush Creek, a Grand River tributary.
Muskegon River Watershed Assembly will add macroinvertebrate and habitat monitoring sites along creeks within the Muskegon River watershed.
Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway will develop a macroinvertebrate monitoring program along the Rabbit River in Allegan County.
St. Joseph County Conservation District will conduct a road/stream crossing inventory within the St. Joseph River watershed.
5/22/17 – Plane Dumps Fuel in Lake MI
DETROIT (AP) — A Delta Air Lines spokesman says a flight on its way to Seoul, South Korea, had to dump fuel and return to Detroit Metropolitan Airport after a cockpit light showed there was possibly an open maintenance panel on the outside of the aircraft.
The Detroit Free Press reports that spokesman Trebor Banstetter said Flight 159 took off from Detroit at 4:48 p.m. Saturday and that the indicator light came on about 30 minutes later.
Banstetter said the aircraft circled Lake Michigan and dumped fuel for about an hour to help ensure a safe landing. He said the plane, which had 375 passengers on board, landed “safely without incident” shortly before 7 p.m.
He added that maintenance staff would look at the plane and the Atlanta-based airline would accommodate passengers.
5/22/17 – FORD-CEO
DETROIT (AP) — Ford is replacing its CEO amid questions about its current performance and future strategy.
A person familiar with the situation says CEO Mark Fields is retiring at age 56 after 28 years at the company. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement hasn’t been made.
Fields will be replaced by Jim Hackett, who joined Ford’s board in 2013, this person says. Hackett has led Ford’s mobility unit since last year. He is the former CEO of office furniture maker Steelcase.
Fields helped lead Ford’s turnaround a decade ago as president of its Americas division.
But the company’s stock price has fallen almost 40 percent in the three years since he became CEO.
5/22/17 –Gas Prices-Michigan
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 8 cents per gallon in the past week.
The Dearborn-based auto club says late Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.49 per gallon. That’s about 9 cents more than it was at the same point last year.
AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.37 per gallon in the Marquette area. It’s the second consecutive week that the Marquette area had the lowest average price. The highest average was about $2.54 per gallon in the Saginaw, Bay City and Midland areas.
The Detroit-area’s average was up about 6 cents from last week to about $2.46 per gallon.
AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.
5/19/17 – Rube Goldberg Exhibit Opens in GR
You may have seen his handiwork in popular music videos and movies. The iconic contraptions that seem to mesmerize anyone watching them as they transform simple everyday objects into a complex machine that doesn’t produce anything more than action.
Now, the Grand Rapids Art Museum will feature a comprehensive retrospection of artist Rube Goldberg entitled The Art of Rube Goldberg. Chief Curator Ron Platt hopes you’ll view the exhibit as more than a simple display of machinery.
“I think an appreciation and a better understanding of who he was. A connection with our own sort of, sense of wonder with the way the world operates. And just sort of enjoying it with other people.”
While they’re enchanting to watch, those ‘Rube Goldberg Machines’ reflect the anxious relationship man has with modern technology. Platt says Goldberg lived in an era of huge advancements; automobiles, air travel and the atomic bomb. While he describes that tense relationship through his sketched contraptions and cartoons, it’s almost like he is experiencing it with us today.
“We scramble to keep up with technology. We’re obsessed with it, we’re a little afraid of it. We laugh at it. We’re mystified by it. And it’s just something that we all are living with day to day.”
The exhibit will feature Goldberg’s sketches, iconic invention drawings and Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoons. The artwork spans a 70 year career covering politics, sports, daily life, and fashion.
The current exhibit also features ‘Rube Goldberg Machines’ invented by local school children and a series of hands-on activities that families can enjoy.
There will also be several events to coincide with the run of the exhibit which will go through August 27, 2017.
Support for the exhibit is provided by the Wege Foundation, Herman Miller Cares, James and Mary Nelson, Dirk Hoffius, and Greg and Meg Willit. Additional funding is provided by the GRAM Exhibition Society.
For more information, visit www.artmuseumgr.org.
5/19/17 – Ballast Water
DETROIT (AP) — A U.S. Senate committee has voted to create one national standard for ballast water discharges from commercial ships and prohibit states from imposing tougher requirements.
The bill cleared the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Thursday and heads to the full Senate.
Ballast water keeps ships stable in rough seas. But it often harbors invasive species from other countries that escape when the water is discharged at U.S. ports.
Zebra and quagga mussels are among damaging invaders that have reached the Great Lakes in ballast water.
Shippers favor the bill, saying they could install expensive treatment systems that meet federal standards but still violate state regulations.
Environmental groups say states in the Great Lakes region and elsewhere should be able to exceed federal requirements when necessary to protect their waters.
5/19/17 – Benton Harbor recall case
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is looking at the conviction of a Benton Harbor activist who was accused of altering dates on petitions to recall a mayor.
The court will consider whether it was proper to allow evidence of Ed Pinkney’s history of activism in Benton Harbor, even if it wasn’t directly related to the crime. The court said Wednesday it will hear arguments in the months ahead.
The 2014 recall election against James Hightower wasn’t held after local courts said the petitions were spoiled. Hightower was Benton Harbor’s mayor at the time.
Pinkney testified that another person made illegal changes to the recall petitions. But investigators couldn’t find anyone with the name that was offered.
Pinkney was sentenced to 2½ years in prison and will be released in June.
5/19/17 – Michigan Budget
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders have canceled budget talks with Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration due to their dispute with the governor over switching new teachers away from a pension into a 401(k) retirement plan.
Snyder opposes closing the pension system to newly hired school employees.
The move to cancel a Friday meeting between top lawmakers and Snyder’s budget director could put at risk a quick resolution of the next budget, which Snyder and the GOP-led Legislature like to finish in early June.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Tom Leonard want to see progress on talks over the teacher retirement system before resuming budget negotiations.
5/19/17 – Local Woman died in Times Square
NEW YORK (AP) — Police say an 18-year-old woman killed by a car that plowed through pedestrians in Times Square was a tourist from Portage, Michigan.
Alyssa Elsman died Thursday when a man drove his car down the sidewalk for three blocks into the heart of New York City’s theater district.
Twenty-three people were struck by the car before it was stopped by a security barrier.
Police say Elsman’s 13-year-old sister was among the people who were struck but survived.
Police identify the driver of the car as Richard Rojas, a Navy veteran from the Bronx. They say he was captured at the scene and arrested. He’s in custody.
5/18/17 – Special prosecutor appointed in probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to lead a federal investigation into allegations that Donald Trump’s campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election that put him in the White House.
Mueller will investigate and help to prosecute any crimes he uncovers.
Meanwhile, stocks have dropped as financial markets are rattled by the latest turbulence in Washington and fears that it could impact tax reform and other business-friendly policies.
5/18/17 – MI Unemployment
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state says Michigan’s unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in April, further depleting the ranks of jobless people.
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday the rate fell from a revised rate of 5.0 percent in March and compared with a national April rate of 4.4 percent. Last month’s jobless rate in Michigan was two-tenths of a percentage point lower than the state’s year-ago rate of 4.9 percent.
The agency says total employment in Michigan rose by 18,000 in April while the number of unemployed dropped by 17,000. It says the size of the state’s workforce changed little during the month.
Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Director Jason Palmer said the number of unemployed people in Michigan has fallen by 28,000 since February.
5/18/17 – Electronic data protection resolution
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State lawmakers are looking at a measure that would prohibit police and other law enforcement officers from unlawfully searching through and confiscating electronic data and communications.
The Michigan House unanimously passed a joint resolution Wednesday that would amend the state constitution to add electronic data to the list of private property items needing warrants before being searched or collected.
Items would include a person’s cellphone, computer, iPad or other electronics.
The measure now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate.
State Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, says residents want their privacy protected. He adds that a state Senate vote would be similar to the House’s passage of the resolution.
To go before voters in the next general election, the resolution must be approved by two-thirds votes in both the House and Senate.
5/18/17 – Wage dispute at Hudsonville nursery
HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A wholesale plant nursery in western Michigan has agreed to pay $60,000 to 75 people to settle a dispute about wages.
The workers will get various amounts under the deal between the owners of Sawyer Nursery and the U.S. Labor Department. The agreement was filed Tuesday in federal court in Grand Rapids. The parties are asking a judge to approve it.
Sawyer Nursery grows perennial plants for the wholesale market in Hudsonville, southwest of Grand Rapids. The government accused the owners of not paying overtime.
The nursery’s website says the business has been successful because of the “quality and work ethic” of employees.
5/18/17 – Great Lakes Grant
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan is establishing a research institute focused on sustainable management of the Great Lakes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is funding the new Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research with a five-year, $20 million grant.
Nine universities across the Great Lakes region are taking part, along with non-governmental organizations and businesses.
Scientists with the institute will work with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor on research of topics such as weather and climate, invasive species and harmful algal blooms.
University of Michigan ecologist Bradley Cardinale will direct the cooperative institute.
Other academic partners include Central Michigan University, Cornell University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the University of Windsor and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
5/18/17 – MI Parks
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for outside partners to help raise money and public support for state parks, trails and waterways.
Parks and Recreation Director Ron Olson says businesses that support the initiatives help promote outdoor recreation, a key sector of the state economy.
Under a program called “These Goods are Good for Michigan,” a winery, a brewer and a coffee maker created special product lines honoring state parks. They donated a portion of the sales to the park system.
The DNR is inviting businesses and other partners to develop initiatives for a planned celebration of the 100th year of the Michigan State Park Commission.
They could include activities such as sharing information about the centennial through employee communications and underwriting portions of the educational campaign.
5/18/17 – MI Ballot Initiatives
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s elections board will meet to consider ballot initiatives that would legalize recreational marijuana use and repeal a law that requires union-level wages on state-financed building projects.
The meeting is set for Thursday afternoon in Lansing.
If the petitions are cleared, the ballot committees can begin collecting the roughly 252,000 valid voter signatures needed to put the bills before the Republican-led Legislature.
Lawmakers likely would not act on the marijuana measure and instead let it go to a statewide vote in 2018.
But GOP legislators could pass the repeal of the prevailing wage law to bypass Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s past veto threat.
Also Thursday, the Board of State Canvassers will consider a proposed constitutional amendment that would make the Legislature a part-time body and curtail legislators’ compensation.
5/17/17 – Tornadoes in Wisconsin, Oklahoma leave 2 dead
CHICAGO (AP) — Two people have died and dozens are injured after tornadoes flattened a mobile home park in Wisconsin and a housing subdivision in Oklahoma during powerful spring storms that battered an area from the South Plains of Texas to the Great Lakes.
The storms hit late in the afternoon Tuesday and into the evening, leveling the Prairie Lake Estate Mobile Park near Chetek, Wisconsin. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told KMSP-TV that when first responders arrived at the scene, they could hear the people crying for help in the rubble.
In Oklahoma, another tornado damaged much of a subdivision on the southern fringe of Elk City. Fire Chaplain Danny Ringer told reporters at the scene late Tuesday that one person was known dead from the twister, although details were lacking.
5/17/17 – Human Trafficking
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Human trafficking victims forced or coerced into prostitution could get certain criminal charges deferred or dismissed under a bill approved by the Michigan Legislature.
The state Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would allow some prostitution-related charges to be dropped regardless of any prior convictions.
State Rep. Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, says currently human trafficking victims currently are not eligible for deferrals or dismissals if they have previous prostitution-related convictions.
Kahle is the bill’s sponsor and says it would change Michigan’s law and help victims lead better and more whole lives.
University of Michigan Human Trafficking Clinic Director Bridgette Carr says the legislation does not go far enough to address the issue of recognizing human trafficking victims as victims.
The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for signature.
5/17/17 – Soldier killed in Hawaii
HONOLULU (AP) — Army officials have identified the soldier who died when the military truck he was riding in crashed during training in Hawaii.
The Army said Tuesday it’s investigating the crash Sunday that killed 36-year-old Sgt. Terrence Hinton.
Police say the truck driven by a 20-year-old soldier went out of control on a turn, struck a guardrail and overturned into a culvert.
Police have begun a negligent homicide investigation.
The 36-year-old Hinton, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division on Oahu. He enlisted in 2009 and served in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, before moving to Hawaii in 2016. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and Kuwait in 2014.
Major General Christopher Cavoli, commander of the 25th Infantry Division, said it is a tragedy to lose a soldier.
Another soldier was treated for minor injuries.
5/17/17 – Good Food Fund
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A loan fund designed to boost access to healthy food in underserved Michigan communities has made more than $10 million in investments.
The two-year-old Michigan Good Food Fund announced Wednesday it surpassed that mark through financing six enterprises in southeastern Michigan, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and the Upper Peninsula. The $10.5 million in financing also aims to spur economic opportunity through the creation of community stores, cafes and food processing centers.
Projects include a Kalamazoo market anchoring a rehabilitated retail strip and a healthy food cafe in a Marquette library. Another recipient is a kitchen and processing center in the Detroit suburb of Inkster serving three food companies.
The public-private partnership includes the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Fair Food Network, Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems, and Capital Impact Partners.
5/17/17 – Michigan Budget
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan economists will meet to give Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers revised tax revenue estimates needed before they finalize the next state budget in coming weeks.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Capitol.
Legislative economists project that revenues for education spending are higher than was estimated months ago while dollars for general spending are lower.
Republican lawmakers have approved initial budget plans that would leave uncommitted hundreds of millions in spending or savings suggested by Snyder. Budget talks are expected to intensify once a consensus is reached on how much money the state will have for the fiscal that starts in the fall.
5/17/17 – Bridge Walk Changes
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials are banning most vehicles from the Mackinac Bridge during the annual Labor Day bridge walk because of concerns about terrorism.
Tens of thousands of people join the annual walk across the nearly 5-mile-long bridge, which links Michigan’s two peninsulas where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.
Walkers use two lanes on the bridge, while the other two have been reserved for vehicles.
Under the policy announced Tuesday, the only vehicles allowed between 6:30 a.m. and noon will be buses carrying walkers. That likely means a huge traffic tie-up, but officials say safety must come first.
Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue of the Michigan State Police says there are no known threats against the bridge walk.
But terrorists in a number of locations have driven vehicles into large crowds.
5/16/17 – Fatal Indiana Crash
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Authorities have identified four people who died after a semitrailer in western Indiana slammed into the back of a car and then hit a flatbed truck hauling steel bars.
Indiana State Police said Monday that the semitrailer driver was 38-year-old Jeffrey Kolkman of Jenison, Michigan.
They say the three people in the car who were killed were 48-year-old driver Brian Lee and his 23-year-old son, Aaron Lee, both of West Terre Haute, Indiana, and 45-year-old Stephanie Swaim of Brazil, Indiana.
Vigo County Coroner Susan Amos says all four victims died on impact.
Police say the car erupted into flames after it was struck Saturday evening along Interstate 70 west of Terre Haute. They say the steel bars on the flatbed skewered the semitrailer.
5/16/17 – Michigan Budget
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Overall tax collections are holding steady, but lower estimates in Michigan’s general fund and higher projections in the school aid fund could impact Republican lawmakers’ push to cut taxes or move new teachers to a 401(k)-only retirement plan.
The House Fiscal Agency said Monday that the education fund will have $364 million more over this fiscal year and next than projected in January, but it will be offset by $377 million less than expected in the general fund.
GOP legislators have proposed setting aside spending that Gov. Rick Snyder wants — potentially to cover the cost of closing pensions to new teachers or to cut the personal income tax. Having more education dollars might help Republicans persuade Snyder to make the retirement change.
Economists will reach consensus revenue estimates Wednesday.
5/16/17 – Prison Spending
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s corrections director says a Senate-approved plan to cut tens of millions of dollars in prison spending would lead to layoffs and low staffing levels that would make prisons unsafe.
Heidi Washington lodged her criticism Monday, days after a Republican senator suggested that Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal favors inmates over schoolkids. The Snyder administration typically hasn’t aggressively pushed back so much in public against spending blueprints passed by the GOP-led Legislature.
Washington says the prison population isn’t declining rapidly enough to justify a prison closure and the Senate plan would hurt the Corrections Department’s ability to later shut one down.
Republican Sen. John Proos of St. Joseph says cutting the prisons budget would save money that could be spent on education, roads or to give people a tax cut.
5/16/17 – Ford Job Cuts
DETROIT (AP) — The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford Motor Co. is planning substantial job cuts in order to boost profits and raise its stock price.
The newspaper says the cuts would target salaried employees and would reduce Ford’s global headcount by an equivalent of 10 percent.
Ford didn’t confirm the report Monday night.
In a statement, the company said it’s focused on reducing costs and improving efficiency. But Ford said it hasn’t announced any job cuts and won’t comment on speculation.
Investors are concerned that U.S. sales are peaking and Ford’s market share is slipping.
Ford’s shares have lost more than a third of their value since Mark Fields became CEO in 2014. Electric car maker Tesla Inc. recently surpassed Ford in market value even though it sells far fewer vehicles.
5/16/17 – Police Crash Funeral
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered U.S. and state flags to be lowered in honor of a western Michigan police officer who died last week while on duty.
Flags will be lowered to half-staff Tuesday on all state buildings and within the Capitol Complex for Norton Shores Officer Jonathan Ginka. Snyder says in a release that Ginka “was a dedicated officer and will be deeply missed.”
A service also has been scheduled for Tuesday morning at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in North Muskegon.
Ginka was alone in his cruiser early Wednesday when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. The 34-year-old died at a hospital.
He had been with the department for 10 years.
5/16/17 – Parks Open House
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has scheduled an open house to get public comments on a management plan for the Port Crescent and Sleeper state parks in Huron County.
The event will be June 15 and starts at 6 p.m. EDT at the Sleeper State Park Outdoor Center in Caseville.
Both parks are located along Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay in Michigan’s “Thumb” region.
The 787-acre Sleeper State Park features ancient dune forests and a secluded campground.
The 600-acre Port Crescent State Park offers 3 miles of sandy shoreline, waterfront campsites and the largest dunes on the eastern side of Michigan.
5/16/17 – MI Christmas Tree
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The search is on for the next Christmas tree that will stand outside the Michigan Capitol building.
State officials are seeking nominations of trees that must meet several criteria. The tree must be a spruce or a fir, be at least 55 feet tall and within easy access of a road with no interference from wires.
Also, the owner must donate the tree at no cost.
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget officially launched its search Monday. It will work with the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association to bring the tree to Lansing.
Nominations are requested by July 30.
5/16/17 – Detroit Teachers Union
DETROIT (AP) — The union that represents Detroit teachers says it wants to continue negotiations after its executive board rejected a tentative contract agreement with the city’s public school district.
Ivy Bailey, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, says in a statement that the union’s board indicated Monday that the tentative deal didn’t move the district forward or “place students first.” Details about terms of the agreement haven’t been released.
The union representing more than 3,000 teachers on Friday had reached the tentative agreement that Bailey described as the “best deal we could.” Talks started in March and the current contract expires June 30.
The Detroit district is formally known as the Detroit Public Schools Community District. It was created by the Legislature as part of a bailout of the old district.
5/15/17 – Derek Jeter
NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter has become the 22nd player to have his number retired by the New York Yankees.
Wearing No. 2, Jeter captained the ballclub during much of a 20-year career that ended in 2014 and included five World Series titles and a team-record 3,465 hits.
The Yankees also unveiled a plaque in his honor that will be placed in Monument Park behind center field.
He said “there isn’t a person or player I would trade places with that’s playing now or ever.”
Jeter picked Mother’s Day for the ceremony, and his grandmother, parents, sister, nephew and pregnant wife joined him for the ceremony before Game 2 of a twinbill against the Astros.
5/15/17 – Fishing Season
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — Drop a line: Fishing season is starting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The state Department of Natural Resources says the seasons for walleye, northern pike and muskellunge open Monday for all Upper Peninsula waters. That includes the Great Lakes, inland waterways and the St. Marys River, which runs between Sault Ste. Marie and the city of the same name in Ontario.
Wildlife officials say anglers should consult the DNR’s annual Fishing Guide for regulations governing the Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters, Big Island Lakes Complex, Sylvania Wilderness Area and the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Catch-and-release of large- and smallmouth bass is currently allowed on most waters statewide.
Officials also remind anglers to make sure they have bought a new fishing license for the season, which began April 1.
5/15/17 – Gas Prices
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have risen by about 6 cents per gallon in the past week.
The Dearborn-based auto club says late Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.40 per gallon. That’s about 13 cents more than it was at the same point last year.
AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.34 per gallon in the Marquette area. The highest average was about $2.42 per gallon in the Ann Arbor area.
The Detroit-area’s average was up about 3 cents from last week to about $2.39 per gallon.
AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.
5/15/17 – North Korea
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has boasted of a successful weekend launch of a new type of “medium long-range” ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.
Outsiders also see a significant technological jump, with Sunday’s test-fire apparently flying higher and for a longer time period than any other such previous missile.
Amid condemnation in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, a jubilant leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that North Korean weapons could strike the U.S. mainland and Pacific holdings.
North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness, but Monday’s claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North’s goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
5/15/17 – Cyber Attack
(AP)-Global cyber chaos is spreading as companies boot up computers at work following the weekend’s worldwide ransom-ware cyberattack.
Microsoft’s top lawyer is laying some of the blame for Friday’s massive cyberattack on U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency. They are blamed for stockpiling software codes that can be used by hackers.
The full extend of the damage from the cyberattack felt in 150 countries is still unclear and could worsen if more malicious variations of the online extortion scheme appear.
A Michigan-based cyber-security researcher who works for the firm Proofpoint, says he is happy the outbreak was stopped fairly quickly, but Darien Huss says he is concerned that another attack could be coming soon.
5/12/17 – Police officers memorialized at Richmond Park
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Mlive) – A group about 350 gathered in Northwest Grand Rapids to pause and remember police officers from local departments who have died in the line of duty, whose names are now etched in a memorial of community support.
The display, which includes bricks personalized in honor of the fallen officers, was unveiled during a Police Memorial Service on Thursday, May 11, at Richmond Park.
Among those families were the parents of Officer Robert Kozminski, killed in the line of duty on July 8, 2007.
The project, which cost about $40,000, was completed by Skipp’s Landscapping, Belden Brick, Patten Monument, Black Monument and artist and sculptor Mic Carlson.
Two prospective community college students aiming for a career in law enforcement were each presented a $1,000 scholarship. The scholarship bears the name of Trevor P. Slot, another police officer killed in the line of duty.
5/12/17 – Flags being lowered in Michigan
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is ordering flags lowered to half-staff within the state Capitol complex to honor the memory of a state House representative.
John Kivela was found dead in his Lansing home on Tuesday, hours after being released from jail. The Marquette Democrat was arrested Monday for suspected drunk driving.
Snyder also is ordering flags to be lowered Friday in Kivela’s 109th District in the Upper Peninsula. He was serving his third term in the House.
Kivela pleaded guilty to a drunken driving offense in December 2015 and said that he “battled alcoholism” for most of his adult life. A spokesman said he had entered treatment to get better.
A service is being held in his honor at 2 p.m. Saturday at Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
5/12/17 – Settlement for 3-liter VWs
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco has approved a $1.2 billion settlement with owners of about 88,500 Volkswagens with 3-liter diesel engines rigged to cheat on emissions tests.
Judge Charles Breyer gave the deal final approval during a hearing Thursday. The deal ends most of the litigation over VW’s cheating scandal, which became public in 2015.
Owners of 3-liter models from 2009-2012 that can’t be fixed to meet pollution standards will be offered buybacks. They also will get compensation from $7,755 to $13,880.
Those who own newer cars will get compensation of $7,039 to $16,114. If VW can’t fix the newer cars, then the owners’ attorneys can return to court to seek buybacks. That could push the value of the settlement to $4 billion.
5/12/17 – School evacuated
FRASER, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit high school has been evacuated and about a dozen students were taken to hospitals as a precaution after they reported feeling ill.
Emergency crews were called to the Arts Academy in the Woods on Thursday afternoon. The charter school is in Fraser, just north of Detroit.
Principal Michael Mitchell says some students were reportedly coughing in a classroom and complaining of breathing problems. Two teachers also were taken to hospitals as a precaution.
Officials were trying to determine what may have caused the reported illnesses, but Mitchell says “there was no smell, no taste, no visual sign of anything.”
The school has about 350 students.
5/12/17 – Oil found in creek in Flint-area community
CLIO, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say oil has been found in a creek in the Flint-area community of Clio.
The Flint Journal reports crews responded Thursday evening after a film of oil was spotted on Pine Run Creek in Clio’s downtown.
There was no immediate estimate of how much oil was in the creek, which eventually flows into the Flint River. The source of the oil was under investigation.
The Genesee County Hazardous Materials team and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality were notified about the discovery.
5/11/17 – MDOT Open House
-MDOT will be hosting a public open house Thursday concerning the upcoming reconstruction project that will impact 3 miles of the M-6. Members of MDOT, the road commission and city officials will be on hand to answer questions. The meeting will take place between 4pm and 6pm at the Jamestown Township offices on Riley Street. The $10 million dollar project will rebuild the M-6 that runs between I-196 and Wilson. After the 4th of July that part of the highway will be closed to traffic.
5/11/17 – Flint to get $100 million in federal aid
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Flint will receive $100 million in federal funding to address the city’s drinking water crisis after the supply was contaminated with lead.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed the aid into law this week, months after it was initially approved by then-President Barack Obama and Congress. State lawmakers in recent weeks passed a bill to send the money along to Flint.
The federal aid requires a $20 million state match, which will be provided from funding already authorized last year.
The new money will be used to replace corroded pipes that leached lead and to update aging water mains and infrastructure. Water meters will be replaced and an engineering study will be done.
5/11/17 – DeVos heckled at graduation
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Education Secretary Betsy Devos had a tough audience for her commencement speech at a historically black university in Florida.
She spoke to a crowd at Bethune-Cookman University.
DeVos said she and the Trump administration are fully committed to the success of every student across the country. She asked them to avoid the “chorus of conflict” seen on cable TV. And she sought common ground by praising the school’s founder and mission.
5/11/17 – Police Crash
NORTON SHORES, Mich. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a crash that killed an on-duty police officer in western Michigan.
Police say Norton Shores officer Jonathan Ginka was alone in his cruiser early Wednesday morning when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.
The 34-year-old Ginka was trapped in the car and had to be removed by medical personnel. He later died at a hospital.
Someone called 911 about 2:30 a.m. to report the crash. The state police is trying to determine what caused the crash. The impact destroyed the police cruiser.
Norton Shores Police Chief Jon Gale said Ginka was a 10-year veteran of the police department. He is survived by a wife, two children, his parents and a brother.
Norton Shores is northwest of Grand Rapids.
5/11/17 – Memorial for LSSU Pres.
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — Lake Superior State University is holding a one-hour memorial for its president who died after brain surgery.
The event is scheduled for Thursday at the Arts Center auditorium at the Sault Ste. Marie campus. Thomas Pleger died Sunday at age 48.
He was president of Lake Superior State for about three years after a 21-year career in the University of Wisconsin system. The school says it will celebrate Pleger’s accomplishments, compassion and “unflagging support” for higher education.
Pleger’s family plans to hold a private service at another time. Another public event is planned when most students return to campus in August.
5/10/17 – New Judge for Supreme Court
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan appeals court Judge Kurtis Wilder has been promoted to the state Supreme Court.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointment Tuesday, three weeks after Robert Young Jr. resigned. Wilder is considered a conservative judge who has spent nearly two decades on the appeals court.
Wilder says it’s his job to “say what the law is, not what it ought to be.”
Republicans have a 5-2 majority on the Supreme Court. Snyder has appointed four of the seven justices; three of those four have subsequently won election on their own.
Snyder appointee Joan Larsen is being nominated by President Donald Trump for a seat on a federal appeals court. She will continue to be a Supreme Court justice while her nomination is pending in the U.S. Senate.
5/10/17 – FBI Director James Comey
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says that Republicans and Democrats will soon “be thanking me” for firing FBI Director James Comey.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning that Comey had “lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike.” He added: “when things calm down, they will be thanking me!”
Trump abruptly fired Comey Tuesday night.
5/10/17 – Pointing laser at planes a crime
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has new laws that make it a crime to intentionally shine a laser at an aircraft or a moving train.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s office says he signed the legislation Tuesday.
The main law would make shining a laser a felony with a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It’s already a federal crime, but state police said a Michigan law would help investigators quickly pursue people who are pointing lasers near airports.
A laser pointer can temporarily blind a pilot.
5/10/17 – Michigan lawmaker found dead
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder and other state elected officials say they are saddened by the death of Michigan Rep. John Kivela whose body was found in a Lansing home after a possible drunken driving arrest.
Snyder called the Marquette Democrat a “great guy” in announcing Kivela’s death Tuesday to reporters during a news conference on a state Supreme Court appointment.
Lansing police spokesman Robert Merritt says “at this point, there are no obvious indications of foul play” associated with Kivela’s death.
Kivela was arrested Monday along a highway in Clinton County. Sheriff Lawrence Jerue would not discuss the charge against Kivela, but the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday it was for suspected drunken driving.
Kivela pleaded guilty in December 2015 to drunken driving after his arrest the previous month in Clinton County.
5/9/17 – Teacher Pensions
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says transition and other costs that would come with closing the pension system to newly hired teachers may be lower than estimated previously.
The Republican governor told reporters Monday he is “always open-minded” to discussions with lawmakers. GOP legislative leaders are pushing to end a hybrid pension-401(k) plan that new school employees qualify for and instead give new hires a 401(k) only.
Snyder has been resistant previously, citing large upfront costs associated with closing a pension plan.
But he says there is new data showing that the costs of such a switch “might be somewhat less, but we’re still making determinations of what those may be.”
A legislative analysis of past legislation estimated costs ranging from $1.6 billion to $3.8 billion in the first five years.
5/9/17 – School closures
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder wants legislators to update Michigan’s school accountability law to allow for future “partnership” agreements that are delaying the potential state-ordered closure of low-performing schools.
Snyder said Monday the law could be “much simpler.” He wants to establish a warning system to more quickly identify underperforming schools and to formalize the partnership model.
The new agreements between the state and nine districts kept Snyder’s administration from following through on a threat to close 37 schools ranked in the bottom 5 percent statewide for at least three straight years. Snyder says closing the schools was not the best option.
The districts will have up to three years to reach agreed-upon goals. Under the deals, districts team with local and state officials and others to turn around their schools’ performance.
5/9/17 – Kalamazoo shooting
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A June 13 trial will be postponed in the case of a Michigan man charged with killing six people during a day of picking up Uber riders.
The Kalamazoo County prosecutor says Jason Dalton wants the state appeals court to review a decision about his statements to police. The court might decline, but the step still means that the trial won’t start as scheduled.
Dalton is charged with murder and attempted murder. Investigators have quoted him as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the night of the shootings in February 2016. He’s not accused of shooting customers.
Dalton has been found competent to understand the charges and assist his attorney.
5/9/17 – More freezing temperatures
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Chilly overnight temperatures in Michigan are threatening some fruit crops and sensitive outdoor plants at homes.
Temperatures dipped into the high 20s early Tuesday in the Traverse City area. The Traverse City Record-Eagle notes that fruit tree blossoms are safe above the freezing mark, but they can be jeopardized when the temperature dips too far below that level.
Mark Morrison at Morrison Farms in Williamsburg says he expects the cold spring weather will affect sweet cherries the most at the 100-acre apple and cherry orchard.
In southeastern Michigan and the state’s Thumb region, the National Weather Service issued an early Tuesday freeze warning. MLive.com says people were encouraged to cover cold-sensitive outdoor plants to protect them from possible damage.
Overnight temperatures are expected to be warmer later in the week.
5/9/17 – GVSU grant to help Foster Kids
-Grand Valley State University is joining other higher education institutions in Michigan as they work together to increase the success rate of foster care students.
GVSU is getting a 3-year, $375,000 grant to establish a new initiative this fall. It will pay for a life skills coach who will support up to 25 students who have experienced foster care and six student mentors.
More than 80% of the population aspire to attend college but only 20% graduate from college.
5/8/17 – NMU Body Farm
MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — Northern Michigan University is planning a new forensic anthropology major that will include what school officials call the world’s first cold-weather “body farm.”
Body farms are research centers where the human body’s decomposition is studied in various environments.
There are currently eight “body farms” across the globe, but all of those are in moderate to warm climates and relatively little is known about how a human body decomposes in cold weather.
The Michigan Public Radio Network reports that Northern Michigan University will debut a forensic anthropology major this fall that will include the world’s first cold-weather body farm.
Alan McEvoy heads the university’s Anthropology Department. He says the research facility will attract students, law enforcement and scientists for hands-on training and basic research.
5/8/17 – Gray Wolves in parts of the Midwest
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan could find themselves in the crosshairs of hunters as soon as this fall.
A ruling is expected soon from the same appeals court that recently lifted protections for wolves in Wyoming. Officials say that whether Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan can hold wolf seasons this fall would depend in part on how soon the court rules.
Meanwhile, wolf-hunting supporters in Congress aren’t giving up even though a Minnesota representative was instrumental in killing an effort that would have allowed the three Midwest states to resume wolf hunting.
Gray wolves were once hunted to the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states, but they recovered under Endangered Species Act protections and reintroduction programs. They now number around 5,500.
5/8/17 – Michigan’s pistol registration
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker has drafted legislation that aims to eliminate the state’s pistol registration mandate.
Under current state law, a person cannot purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol in Michigan without first obtaining a license for it.
But MLive.com reports that a bill introduced by Republican state Rep. Lee Chatfield of Levering would make those registrations optional, and eliminate the $250 fine for not registering.
Chatfield says Michigan’s requirement does little to fight crime and the government has no need for a “list of law-abiding citizens who legally purchase pistols.”
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. It would need to pass the full House, full Senate and be approved by Gov. Rick Snyder to become law.
5/8/17 – LSSU President passes away
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — Lake Superior State University says school President Thomas Pleger has died following brain surgery. He was 48.
School spokesman John Shibley says Pleger’s wife, Teresa, told school administrators her husband died Sunday, two days after undergoing brain surgery.
A school statement says Pleger was taken to a hospital in Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday before being transferred to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey.
The school says Pleger underwent surgery there Friday and was in intensive-care recovering with family before he died early Sunday.
Interim Provost David Roland Finley, who will be assuming day-to-day operations of the school, says he extends his “profound condolences to Teresa” and Pleger’s relatives.
Pleger became the school’s eighth president in July 2014. He had previously spent 21 years with the University of Wisconsin system.
5/8/17 – Gas prices continue to go down
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have fallen by about 8 cents per gallon in the past week.
The Dearborn-based auto club says late Sunday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.34 per gallon. That’s about 12 cents more than it was at the same point last year.
AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.24 per gallon in the Flint area. The highest average was about $2.45 per gallon in the Jackson area. It’s the sixth week in a row that the Jackson area recorded the highest average price in Michigan.
The Detroit-area’s average was down about 6 cents from last week to about $2.36 per gallon.
AAA Michigan surveys daily fuel prices at 2,800 gas stations across the state.
5/8/17 France Gets New President
PARIS (AP) – French President-elect Emmanuel Macron becomes the youngest and newest president of France. The 39-ear-old defeated rival Marine Le Pen in a runoff. Macron’s campaign was based on promises to revive the country through radical pro-business measures and pro-European policies.
Today is a French national holiday and marks the end of World War II.
The official transfer of power will take place Sunday, a week after the election.