The Associated Press

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A winter storm has unloaded up to a foot of snow as it passed across Michigan's Lower Peninsula, snarling traffic, stranding thousands of air travelers and extending the weekend for hundreds of schools.

The storm has made driving slow and dangerous throughout the region.

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - The pope has elevated a historic church in suburban Detroit to the status of minor basilica.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit says that Pope Francis awarded the honor to the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak.


DETROIT (AP) - The chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts is scheduled to visit Detroit's cultural center area, including the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Jane Chu's planned tour on Monday includes the Sugar Hill Arts District and the Woodward Garden Block. She's also set to visit the art museum and speak with reporters there.

The Department of Natural Resources

HANCOCK, Mich. (AP) - State officials have closed 32 waterfront campsites at F.J. McLain State Park in the Upper Peninsula because of unsafe conditions and erosion along the Lake Superior shoreline.

  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 18 sites at the park near Hancock will remain closed permanently, while 14 will be evaluated in the spring for safety and accessibility.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers are making third-graders' reading proficiency a significant focus this year.

  They have unspecified plans to improve kids' literacy long before they're 8 or 9 years old. But it remains unclear how far policymakers will go to deal with students who still aren't reading well enough by the end of third grade.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - This winter has yet to wallop the Detroit area, but that could change as what may be the first major snowstorm of the season heads toward southern Michigan.

  The National Weather Service in White Lake Township says snow is expected to start falling around midnight Sunday and continue for about 24 hours.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Snyder administration says an official overseeing Michigan's prison food contract with Aramark Correctional Services has left the job after five months.

Ed Buss is an ex-Florida and Indiana prison chief. He began work Sept. 2 overseeing Michigan's three-year, $145 million contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark.

The Detroit Public Library.
Detroit Public Library

DETROIT - Two ex-contractors for the Detroit Public Library have been sentenced to more than two years in prison for their role in a $1.4 million kickback scheme.

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh on Tuesday sentenced 44-year-old James Henley of Detroit to 27 months in prison and 32-year-old Ricardo Hearn of Royal Oak to 28 months in prison. The pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Andrian Clark / Flickr

DETROIT - Federal health officials say about 300,000 Michigan residents have signed up for health care through the federal exchange, most with financial help.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters Tuesday that the 299,750 sign-ups as of Jan. 16 represent those who have selected a health plan or re-enrolled, not paid. Of those, 33% enrolled for the first time.

House in Detroit.
Jason Irla / Flickr

DETROIT - Mayor Mike Duggan has released a plan to allow Detroit municipal workers, retirees and their families to pay half the price of their winning auction bids for city-owned houses.

Duggan told reporters Monday that the program will help strengthen neighborhoods and return more residents to home ownership.

He says the plan could be in place by mid-February if approved by City Council.

The city owns thousands of empty houses. It is tearing down those that can't be rehabilitated while attempting to sell others to buyers willing to fix them up and move in. Detroit began auctioning vacant houses last year through its land bank.

A wind turbine in the Garden Wind Farm in the Upper Peninsula.
Garden Wind Farm Project

GARDEN, Mich. - Eleven people who live near the first wind farm in Michigan's Upper Peninsula say the whir of turbines has reduced property values, diminished their sleep and put birds at risk.

They filed a lawsuit last week in federal court against Heritage Sustainable Energy and the U.S. government, seeking to block expansion and require more study on the impacts.

The 2015 Ford Mustang.
Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang is on its way to China.

Ford says its first shipload of around 100 Mustangs has left Portland, Oregon, and is headed to China. Shipments to Europe will begin later this year.

MLK, Jr. at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.
Bentley Historical Library

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Events are planned around Michigan to honor Martin Luther King Jr., including appearances by the mother of Trayvon Martin.

Sybrina Fulton is scheduled to speak Monday at Grand Valley State University's Fieldhouse Arena and Grand Rapids Community College's Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse. Her 17-year-old son was fatally shot in 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer, sparking widespread protests.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Wolf attacks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula killed at least 26 cattle and 17 hunting dogs last year. says the numbers come from the Department of Natural Resources, through Dec. 22. The number of attacks, 35, was higher than the 20 reported in 2013.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan will pay for a study within a year to determine what it costs to sufficiently educate a student.

The law signed this week by Governor Rick Snyder requires the state to then report the study's finding to the Legislature, governor and state auditor.

Gov. Rick Snyder.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Republican Governor Rick Snyder launches his second-term agenda with a State of the State speech Tuesday outlining priorities such as a focus on jobs in the skilled trades and a re-evaluation of government programs.

But he also has unfinished business from his 2014 address.

As promised, he created an office to attract immigrants and won federal approval so Michigan can run a visa center seeking foreign entrepreneurs.

Gov. Rick Snyder.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder expects to make mid-year cuts in the state budget because tax revenue is $289 million short of initial predictions.

His administration and legislative economists are meeting Friday to settle on revised budget numbers. The shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars is mostly being blamed on businesses cashing in tax credits at a higher rate than expected.

Kildee says one way Iran can show it can be trusted to work with the U.S. is if Iran releases Amir Hekmati, a Flint man who has been imprisoned in Iran for nearly three years. A retired U.S. marine, Hekmati was arrested on charges of spying while visiting
Hekmati family

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan plans to leave his guest seat empty at next week's State of the Union address to call attention to the case of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents turned out Tuesday to complain about the quality of Flint's water and safety concerns.

Chanting “Clean water…that’s all we want,” a small group gathered outside city hall to protest against the quality of the city’s water and rising water bills.

Michigan Supreme Court
photo courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Supreme Court has heard arguments in a case that will determine whether state workers are covered by a right-to-work law.

The law says public and private workers in Michigan can't be forced to pay union fees as a condition of having a job. The dispute at the state's highest court Tuesday centered on whether the law steps on the turf of the Civil Service Commission.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has torn his right Achilles tendon and will be in a cast for six weeks.

The Republican governor told reporters Sunday that he felt a "pop" after jogging during a vacation in Florida. He's since visited doctors in Florida and Michigan.

GALESBURG, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say all lanes have reopened on Interstate 94 in southwestern Michigan two days after the 193-vehicle pileup on the snowy highway.

  State transportation officials say the eastbound lanes reopened Sunday morning, a few hours after those on the westbound side.

  Efforts to reopen the highway stalled Saturday as crews tried to remove acid from a tanker truck.

user anna / Flickr

  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.