The Associated Press

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  KENTWOOD, Mich. (AP) - A company in the Grand Rapids area is not required to provide employee health insurance for birth control as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan State University study says that a growing number of America's community colleges are adding an international focus to their programs.

  The study by Michigan State's International Business Center says that community colleges plan to have 24 percent of their programs "fully internationalized" by 2024. That's up from 8 percent today.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Some hospitals in Michigan's Upper Peninsula are implementing restrictions on visitors to help prevent patients and staff from catching the flu.

  The Mining Journal of Marquette reported Wednesday that each patient at UP Health System-Marquette is allowed only two visitors and those are limited to the patient's advocate, immediate family member or significant other.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Detroit's Democratic mayor will serve as master of ceremonies for the inauguration of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley in Lansing.

  Mayor Mike Duggan joins Snyder and Calley Jan. 1 at the Capitol. Snyder said in a news release that Duggan "has been a great partner in the effort to reinvent" the state and city.

DETROIT (AP) - After years of declining population, Michigan's leading population expert says the industrial state finally seems to be on track toward growth again.

  The U.S. Census reported this month that Michigan's population rose a razor-thin 0.1 percent to 9.91 million in 2014, the third straight increase.

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. (AP) - An anonymous donor has helped a northern Michigan conservancy buy a large, undeveloped stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline.

The Petoskey News-Review reports this week that the Little Traverse Conservancy has closed on the deal that includes roughly 2,400 feet of shoreline between Harbor Springs and Cross Village in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Changes in how doctors are paid for treating some injured employees covered by workers' compensation are expected to address the long-term use of pain relievers and help cut medical costs for Michigan job providers.

The Michigan Workers' Compensation Agency says the new rules prevent reimbursements for opioid treatment beyond 90 days for non-cancer related chronic pain unless physicians meet detailed reporting requirements.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's lawmakers aren't likely to wait long next year before taking another shot at tackling the cyanobacteria problem in Lake Erie.

  The Legislature ran out of time this month before it could pass a bill that outlined new rules for farmers and water treatment plant operators.

Aaron Cooley Themm

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Officials in western Michigan's Ottawa County are expected to discuss the removal of a sign bearing the Bible's Psalm 19:1 verse from a public park.

  Mlive.com reports that parks and recreation staff were told to take down the sign which had been in Hager Park since the late 1960s or early 1970s after a Georgetown Township resident complained it promoted a particular religious view using public resources.

The issue has been added to the Jan. 13 Ottawa County commissioners' work session meeting.

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Seth Rogen comedy that ticked off North Korea is being released today in some 300 independent theaters in the U.S.    

Theaters in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Traverse City and Ironwood will be among those screening the controversial movie "The Interview."

Salvation Army

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - All that glitters isn't gold, and the Salvation Army says it discovered that two metal bars dropped in a donation bucket in Muskegon weren't genuine.

Salvation Army spokesman Roger Snider announced Wednesday morning that the one-ounce bars turned up in a  kettle Tuesday evening and had an estimated value of about $2,370.

  But he says a further check showed that the bars were replicas and not solid gold.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is reviewing hundreds of bills approved by the Legislature in the waning days of the lame-duck session.

Lawmakers sent the governor 224 bills since the November election.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan utilities are bracing for extremely strong winds, a year after a storm put thousands of people in the dark at Christmas.

  DTE Energy spokeswoman Randi Berris says crews are on standby Wednesday in case weather forecasters are right in predicting gusts of 45 mph or higher in southeastern Michigan. Consumers Energy says it also will be ready.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment has been increasing lately.
U of M

WASHINGTON - A survey finds U.S. consumers are more optimistic about the economy than at any other time in the past eight years, buoyed by more jobs and falling gas prices.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment has jumped to 93.6 from 88.8 in November.

U.S. Govt Printing Office

ALBEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Former three-term Democratic Michigan U.S. Rep. Don Albosta has died. He was 89.

C.M. Humpula Funeral Home says Albosta died Thursday. 

The Saginaw-born Albosta served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and was a farmer. He was elected to the Saginaw County Commission and Michigan House before serving in Congress in 1979-1984.

Albosta lost his re-election bid to Republican Bill Schuette in 1984.

Pension protest in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Detroit's two pension funds will get $195 million from the state on Feb. 9.

A three-member board overseeing Michigan's contribution to Detroit's bankruptcy case approved the payment Monday. The money is intended to strengthen the pension funds and prevent cuts from going deeper than 4.5 percent for retirees. It also prevents any sale of city-owned art.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak is not seeking another two-year term, which means someone else, will lead the party through the 2016 election cycle.

Wolf on Isle Royale.
IsleRoyaleWolf.org

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A federal judge has overturned an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list.

The order affects wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protections from those wolves in 2012 and handed over management to the states.

In an order Friday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the removal was "arbitrary and capricious" and violates the federal Endangered Species Act.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A proposed tax hike aimed at improving Michigan's transportation infrastructure and schools is heading to voters.

  The Michigan Legislature has put a sales tax increase on the May statewide ballot as part of a road funding plan.

Goldom / Wikimedia

DETROIT - Ford says it's expanding a recall for faulty driver's side air bag inflators to the entire U.S. as demanded by the government.

The move adds 447,000 Ford vehicles to the list of those recalled due to driver's inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp. The inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel into drivers and passengers.

Ford's action puts pressure on BMW and Chrysler, the only two automakers that haven't agreed to national recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made the demand, saying the inflators are dangerous.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gas prices in part of Michigan have fallen below two dollars a gallon.

Gasbuddy.com reports motorists in Greenville and Lowell, near Grand Rapids, are paying $1.99 a gallon. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

  DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has helped push enrollment for health coverage through the national Affordable Care Act before Monday's deadline.

  He attended a press conference Saturday to kick off a free enrollment assistance event running from noon to 5 p.m. at the Detroit Public Library on Woodward Avenue. U.S. Health and Human Services Region V Director Kathleen Falk also participated.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO   (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will be several more years before cleanup work begins on the next phase of an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River.

  According to agency officials, it will take at least until 2017 to select and implement a plan for cleaning 22 miles of the Kalamazoo River Superfund site.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING    (AP) - The president of Michigan State University is getting a raise - whether she likes it or not.

  Trustees raised Lou Anna Simon's salary by 44 percent Friday to $750,000 and awarded her a $100,000 bonus. Simon has declined raises since 2007 and donated bonuses back to the university.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING   (AP) - About 200 people gathered outside Michigan State University's commencement ceremonies to protest a speech by columnist George Will over his commentary on sexual assault reporting at colleges.

  The Lansing State Journal reports that Will didn't mention the protests during his speech to undergraduates Saturday on the East Lansing campus.

LUNDIN MINING

UPDATED: 12/15/14 at 12:00 pm

MARQUETTE (AP) - State regulators will answer questions from the public about a proposed surface water discharge permit for the Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill in the Upper Peninsula.

  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is conducting a public hearing on the permit January 13th, 2015. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Westwood High School Auditorium in Ishpeming.

Flooding in Detroit in August 2014.
Michigan State Police

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder has approved more than $2.7 million to provide financial assistance to Michigan counties and communities impacted by last spring's flooding and last winter's deep freeze.

Image from an MRI brain scan video.
Jon Olav Eikenes / Flickr

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan is expanding efforts to offer more treatment options for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities who are at risk of being imprisoned.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit's emergency manager says the city no longer will be in a financial emergency when it officially exits bankruptcy.

  That means Kevyn Orr's job will be done once the bankruptcy court approves the exit. He's recommending that he relinquish his position as emergency manager.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit's police chief says his department needs stun guns, especially after an officer was attacked with a razor blade.

  Chief James Craig tells The Detroit News that he's talked to the mayor about purchasing Tasers. He acknowledges they're controversial and is open to a public discussion about their use.

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