The Associated Press

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DETROIT - The Michigan Supreme Court has put the brakes on a lawsuit that accuses state prison officials of failing to prevent the sexual assault of male teen inmates.

The court ordered a stay Friday and told the appeals court to consider whether it can be a class-action case, possibly affecting hundreds of people. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The first TV ad urging passage of a Michigan sales tax increase says the roads aren't just bad, they're dangerous.

A group backing a "yes" vote on a May ballot measure will start airing the 30-second ad Monday.

It features a mid-Michigan mother who says her family is on the road a lot for kids' basketball and soccer, and she worries about concrete falling from bridges.

Buddha painting in Dambulla cave temple in Sri Lanka. People in Sri Lanka have practiced Theravada Buddhism for centuries.
Bernard Gagnon / wikimedia commons

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan has received $2 million to establish the Thai Professorship of Theravada Buddhism.

The school says Thursday the gift will enhance one of the largest Buddhist studies programs in North America. The holder of the endowed chair will teach courses and conduct research to advance knowledge of Thai Buddhism.

Freezing temperatures and drifts of snow likely took a small bite out of U.S. auto sales last month, but most automakers are still reporting gains thanks to the strong economy.

General Motors' sales rose 4.2% over last February, while Chrysler's sales were up 5.6%. Nissan's sales were up 2.7%. However, those gains were smaller than analysts had predicted.

Sai Pradeep Reddy Kobaku / university of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - It may be the tiniest University of Michigan logo ever made, but it's more than just an effort to show "how small can you go."

Researchers at the Ann Arbor school's College of Engineering have replicated a 3-micron-thick, two-layered block "M" to test a system that they say could be used to deliver drugs at different times and rates or to different parts of the body.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Pension cuts are kicking in for roughly 12,000 city of Detroit retirees.

The 4.5 percent reduction is a result of Detroit's bankruptcy. Pension fund spokeswoman Tina Bassett tells the Detroit Free Press that about 1,450 retirees with very low incomes have qualified for financial help from a separate fund. Some people will get as much as $180.

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Michigan is joining the federal government in appealing a decision that restores legal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

Federal Judge Beryl Howell ruled in December that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred by dropping the region's wolf population from the list of endangered and threatened species in 2012.

  WYANDOTTE, Mich. (AP) - The federal government is supporting a Detroit-area teenager who accuses several schools of discriminating against him because he's transgender.

In a court filing last week, the U.S. Justice Department urged a judge to deny a request to dismiss the lawsuit at an early stage. The government says the boy so far has stated a "plausible claim" under federal law.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.  - Another round of winter weather is expected to make travel difficult in parts of Michigan as bitterly cold temperatures moderate somewhat.

Temperatures on Tuesday morning ranged from just above zero to the low 20s. It was 6 in Detroit, 7 in Grand Rapids and 17 in Traverse City.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

  LANSING, Mich. (AP) - As Michigan readies for a vote on raising taxes to smooth a deteriorating network of roads, one reason is because it's contending with the reality that federal money for the projects is down.

About $1 billion from the Federal Highway Trust Fund was made available to Michigan in 2013. That's 8 percent less than five years earlier and 15 percent less when adjusted for inflation, according to figures compiled by the Associated Press.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Winter's icy grip on Michigan has some in the Legislature arguing once again that the state should allow schools more days for weather-related closures before they must add extra days to the end of the school year.

Schools can be closed for up to six days before they must make up time to receive full funding from the state. But Michigan's 852 school districts missed an average of 9.5 school days in the 2013-2014 school year. And this winter is shaping up to be harsh as well.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UPDATED 5/11/15

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan appeals court has rejected challenges from people who don't want a new digital meter from DTE Energy.

The court says state regulators did nothing illegal or unreasonable in approving an opt-out program. It allows DTE to charge customers about $10 a month to send someone to a house to record electricity usage by hand. Customers who opt-out will get new meters but the radio transmitter will be turned off.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan businesses that hire unemployed veterans would be eligible for up to $4,000 in tax credits under recently proposed legislation.

The Hire MI Heroes Act is expected to be introduced as legislation in Michigan's House and Senate soon with bipartisan support.


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - For the second consecutive winter, bitter weather threatens to turn the surface of the Great Lakes into a vast frozen plain.

The federal Great Lakes research laboratory in Ann Arbor reports Friday that nearly 81 percent of the five lakes' surface area is ice-covered. On Thursday, the ice cover exceeded 85 percent.

  The lab's George Leshkevich says the small drop-off probably happened because winds broke apart some ice, creating open spots.

DETROIT (AP) - The family of a Detroit mosque leader shot 20 times by FBI agents has failed to persuade a federal court to reinstate a lawsuit against the government.

An appeals court this week upheld a decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the estate of Luqman Abdullah. The decision centers on a technical point: The court says a three-year deadline to sue was missed.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's elections director has released proposed wording of a road funding ballot proposal asking voters if they want to increase the state sales tax.

Chris Thomas published his proposed language Friday. The Board of State Canvassers will meet next week to determine the constitutional amendment's wording in the May 5 special election.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. - A new report says lobbyists spent a near record total of about $37 million in 2014 trying to influence legislation in Michigan.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network said Tuesday that lobbyists' spending in 2014 totaled $37,038,329. That's just short of the record spending reported for 2012, a total of $37,152,883.

user RachelEllen / Flickr

DETROIT - Bitterly cold weather is expected to persist across Michigan into the weekend.

Temperatures moderated from Sunday and Monday's deep freeze, with readings Tuesday morning ranging from 8 below zero in Monroe to 18 above in Ludington. Highs were expected in the low 20s.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

NEWBERRY, Mich. (AP) - An Arctic cold front has settled over Michigan, sending temperatures plunging to minus 27 in the Upper Peninsula and minus 22 in the northern Lower Peninsula.

The deep freeze Sunday came with an easing of the blowing snow that forced a number of Upper Peninsula roads to close Saturday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) - A state labor commission has ruled in favor of school employees in suburban Detroit who argued that a 10-year contract in the Taylor district was an illegal move to force them to pay union dues.

In a 2-1 decision Friday, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission ordered the Taylor district and the union to take no adverse action against teachers or other employees who decline to support the union. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Confusion surrounding the legality of marijuana dispensaries and non-smokable forms of the drug are prompting lawmakers to propose changes to Michigan's 5-year-old law that legalized marijuana for medical use.

Bipartisan legislation would allow for "provisioning centers" where patients with a state-issued medical marijuana card could obtain marijuana.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The judge who delayed his retirement to oversee Detroit's historic bankruptcy is stepping down next week.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court asked a federal appeals court on Friday to name another judge to take the case. Detroit emerged from bankruptcy in December but there still will be some issues ahead.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Democrats are gathering to conduct party business and to re-elect their leader for another two-year term.

Lon Johnson is expected to be chosen as chairman again at the party's convention Saturday afternoon in Detroit. He took charge in 2013.

  He says the party's infrastructure has improved under his watch, but Democrats have to start winning races.

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - One of the country's top Islamic leaders is holding prayers away from his Detroit-area mosque as his relationship deteriorates with board members.

The Detroit Free Press reports Imam Hassan al-Qazwini led prayers Friday at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan and Ohio researchers are building a "sound map" of religion in Midwestern communities to explore religious diversity in a novel way.

Religious and comparative studies professors from Michigan State University and Ohio State University received a $30,000 grant from the Humanities without Walls consortium. It's funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A judge has rejected a challenge from opponents of Michigan's right-to-work law who claimed people were illegally locked out of the Capitol when lawmakers debated the legislation in 2012.

Court of Claims Judge Deborah Servitto ruled in favor of the Legislature and dismissed the lawsuit Friday. She says the rights of the public were not impaired when the Capitol was temporarily closed by state police due to overcrowding.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Health experts hope a change in Michigan's vaccination waiver policy ensures more kids are immunized in a state with the country's fourth-highest percentage of kindergartners exempted from at least one vaccine.

The new rule was sought by Gov. Rick Snyder's administration and approved by lawmakers. It took effect Jan. 1 and comes amid a rise in whooping cough and measles cases.

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The mayor of Toledo, Ohio, has died five days after suffering cardiac arrest while driving during a snowstorm.

A city spokeswoman, Stacy Weber, says Mayor D. Michael Collins died Friday at the University of Toledo Medical Center.

The 70-year-old Collins was in his first term as mayor of Ohio's fourth-largest city. He was a former police officer and City Council member.

City officials say he was found unconscious after crashing his SUV into a utility pole Sunday when he suffered cardiac arrest.

1995-1996 Toyota Camry.
IFCAR / wikimedia commons

MINNEAPOLIS - A federal jury has ordered Toyota Motor Corp. to pay nearly $11 million to victims of a fatal wreck after deciding a design flaw in the 1996 Camry was partially to blame for the Minnesota crash.

The verdict, which also held the driver partially responsible, was announced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Koua Fong Lee's 1996 Camry crashed into another vehicle in St. Paul. Lee testified he tried to stop, but that the car wouldn't slow.

The Great Lakes from space.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - President Barack Obama's proposed budget for 2016 seeks a $50 million cut in a multi-year program to clean up the Great Lakes.

The president's spending plan released Monday requests $250 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, down from $300 million appropriated for this year.