The Associated Press

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Dexter Tornado
1:13 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Dept. of Corrections crews help in tornado cleanup

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

DEXTER, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Department of Corrections work crews are helping cleanup efforts following last week's tornado that hit Washtenaw County.

The department says crews from its Special Alternative Incarceration Program in Chelsea, a prison boot camp, will be in the Dexter area at least through Wednesday.

The department says the crews will work longer if requested.

Also Tuesday, the Washtenaw County Building Inspection Division announced that it will give priority to permit applications that are submitted as a result of Thursday's tornado damage.

Politics
4:58 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Bing gives council consent deal counter-proposal

Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The City Council has received a draft of Mayor Dave Bing's counter-proposal to a state-authored consent agreement involving Detroit's poor finances.

Bing says Monday in a release that a draft of the Financial Stability Agreement was sent Sunday to the nine council members.

The draft was prepared with input from the mayor's staff and council staff.

Bing said the counter-proposal "is designed to provide a reliable roadmap for the city and state to collaborate in resolving the city's short-term cash flow challenges and long-term structural changes."

Bing and council members said the agreement proposed last week by Gov. Rick Snyder gives a nine-member financial advisory board whose members would be appointed by state and city officials too much authority over the decisions made by the elected mayor and City Council.

Politics
1:27 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Union-backed measures a step closer to November ballot in Michigan

Dmitri Beljan Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Two proposed constitutional amendments supported by Michigan unions have cleared procedural hurdles allowing their campaigns to continue.

The forms of petitions sponsored by the groups were approved Monday by the Board of State Canvassers. Supporters would need to collect at least 322,609 valid voter signatures to put the proposed constitutional amendments before voters in November.

The newest of the proposals aims to put what is now called the Michigan Quality Community Care Council in the state constitution.

The proposal would protect some collective bargaining rights for employees, a clause opponents say may conflict with federal law.

The other proposal is backed by a broad union coalition. The Protect Our Jobs campaign would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the constitution and serve as a pre-emptive strike against possible right-to-work legislation.

Dexter Tornado
11:20 am
Mon March 19, 2012

More homes damaged by Dexter tornado than originally thought

DEXTER, Mich. (AP) — Officials now say 207 homes were damaged in last week's tornado in Dexter and about 20 will need to be demolished.

Dexter Area Fire Chief Loren Yates provided the figures on Monday. Officials initially said Thursday's tornado damaged more than 100 homes and destroyed at least 13. Still, Yates says the numbers could change again as efforts continue to assess the damage inflicted by the storm.

Meanwhile Monday, classes were resuming for students in the Washtenaw County community. Dexter Community Schools had canceled classes Friday.

No serious injuries were reported following the tornado, which hit Dexter, located west of Ann Arbor, as well as other parts of the county.

Cleanup efforts continued over the weekend. At Sunday church services, thanks was expressed that no lives were lost in the storm.

Postal Service
2:57 pm
Sun March 18, 2012

Michigan postal centers prepare to close & consolidate

usps.com

An ailing U.S. Postal Service is preparing to close and consolidate processing facilities across Michigan as the state in turn emerges from its own economic woes. The agency's planned actions affect operations in and around Gaylord, Iron Mountain, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Saginaw.

The moves affect 475 jobs, though officials say that number includes an undetermined mix of layoffs, transfers and retraining.
    

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Economy
10:34 am
Sun March 18, 2012

Pure Michigan rolling out Summer tourism ads

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — As the seasons turn, it's time for this year's Pure Michigan national advertising campaign.

The $12 million ad blitz on cable TV starts Monday and runs through June on more than 20 networks, ranging from Animal Planet to CNN to the Weather Channel.

Crime
8:37 pm
Sat March 17, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court declines to weigh in on issue involving jury discussions

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from a Macomb County man who claims his constitutional rights were violated when jurors were allowed to discuss evidence before the end of his trial.

The court heard arguments but recently decided not to issue a formal opinion. A state appeals court ruling upholding Maurice Richards' carjacking conviction will stand.

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Dexter Tornado
8:33 pm
Sat March 17, 2012

Dexter tornado cleanup continues

DEXTER, Mich. (AP) — The American Red Cross says hundreds of volunteers turned out to help people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado in Washtenaw County.

Spokeswoman Jenni Hawes says the village of Dexter is quickly getting cleaned up. The Red Cross moved its services Saturday to Creekside Intermediate School, which is more centrally located.

A tornado damaged more than 100 homes Thursday and destroyed at least 13.   The Red Cross no longer will offer an overnight shelter. No one had spent the last two nights at a school.

Weather
7:01 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Severe weather rips through parts of southeast Michigan

Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

DEXTER, Mich. (AP) — A Washtenaw County official says his office is responding to reports of "lots of damage" after reports of at least one tornado striking the ground.

County director of Emergency Management Marc Breckenridge says he could not confirm any reports of injuries or deaths from the twister Thursday afternoon. He could not provide details of the damage. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

National Weather Service spotters are reporting a tornado touchdown in the Dexter and Pinckney area of Washtenaw County. Weather Service Observation Program Leader Debra Elliott says radar also "is highly suggesting" a touchdown.

Annarbor.com posted a video of the possible twister near Dexter.

Rain, hail and high winds have been moving across parts of southeastern Michigan late Thursday afternoon.

Politics
2:29 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Lawmakers may seek less expensive Michigan budget

Michigan's Capitol in Lansing.
user auntowwee Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Lower-than-expected tax collections could threaten parts of Gov. Rick Snyder's next state government budget plan.

Republicans who control the Michigan Senate have preliminary plans to spend roughly $150 million less overall than Snyder has proposed for the fiscal year starting in October.

The targets include about $25 million less than Snyder proposed for information technology system upgrades and $45 million less on the state prison system.

The Senate targets do not reduce Snyder's funding proposals for education. Proposed spending would be relatively flat for K-12 schools, while universities and community colleges could get average increases of about 3 percent.

The Snyder administration says it's too early to change its budget plan, noting more information will be available when state economists gather in May for an official revenue estimating conference.

Politics
2:58 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Mayor Bing: I won't be Detroit's emergency manager

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.
Dave Hogg Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he won't accept the position of emergency manager for the city even if it's offered by the state.

The mayor's remarks came Wednesday during a forum at Wayne County Community College District, one day after state officials delivered a proposed consent agreement for the city. The proposal was an ultimatum that would shift political power, consolidate public utilities and shrink city staff and salaries.

Bing says he disagrees with the proposed consent deal and had no input in the consent agreement proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder and Treasurer Andy Dillon.

Detroit is facing cash flow problems and a $197 million budget deficit. A state review team has already been digging into its troubled finances, and the governor could appoint an emergency manager.

Politics
1:28 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Governor Snyder urges Detroit leaders to accept consent deal

Detroit City Council chamber
City of Detroit Facebook page

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is urging Detroit leaders to accept a consent agreement that would make them accountable to a financial advisory board, even though Mayor Dave Bing and some council members are unhappy with the deal.

Speaking Wednesday in Lansing, the Republican governor says the initial reaction from officials has been "go away."

He says it's a "cultural challenge" to get leaders to accept that the city can't fix its financial woes on its own.

Snyder could appoint an emergency manager, but prefers to reach a consent agreement he says would leave the mayor and council members in charge of policy. City leaders got details of the agreement Tuesday and found lots to criticize.

Bing called Snyder "disingenuous." Snyder says it's unfortunate "to make a personal attack out of this."

Education
1:26 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

East Detroit school gives 'white flight' warning

East Detroit High School
East Detroit Public Schools

EASTPOINTE, Mich. (AP) - A suburban Detroit school board member warns that his district's participation in a Michigan Schools of Choice program could lead to white students leaving the district.

On Monday night, the East Detroit Board of Education in a 5-2 vote approved opening the district to neighboring Wayne County schools, including Detroit and Harper Woods.

The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens and MLlive.com report board member Jon Gruenberg said Schools of Choice in other districts has caused a "second wave of white flight."

He predicted that could happen in East Detroit, where the number of minority students continues to increase.

East Detroit school officials long had opposed the Schools of Choice concept, but said the district needed to participate in order to survive financially.

Auto
10:47 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Feds investigate Ford Tauruses for stuck throttles

2005 Ford Taurus wikimedia commons

Update: March 13, 2:35pm

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded its investigation to include some Murcury Sable models in addition to Tauruses.

The investigation now includes vehicles from the 2001-2006 model years and could affect as many as 1.9 million cars.

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DETROIT (AP) - Federal safety regulators are investigating complaints of throttles sticking in some Ford Tauruses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website that 14 people have complained about the cars from the 2005 and 2006 model years, about 360,000 in all. No crashes or injuries have been reported, but the agency says a driver ran a red light and entered an intersection before the car could be stopped.

The agency says the cruise control cable may become detached and hold the throttle open. Drivers have reported that it was hard to stop the car with the brakes, and several said they had to shut off the engine or shift into neutral to stop.

Ford says it is cooperating in the probe. The cars have not been recalled.

Sports
6:04 pm
Sun March 11, 2012

Spartans win Big 10 title

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Brandon Wood scored a season-high 21 points to help No. 8 Michigan State defeat No. 7 Ohio State 68-64 on Sunday in the Big Ten tournament championship game.

Draymond Green, who had 12 points and nine rebounds in the final, was named the most outstanding player of the tournament. The Spartans (27-7) claimed their first tournament title since 2000 in a dramatic game that featured 16 lead changes.

Jared Sullinger scored 18 points and Deshaun Thomas and William Buford added 11 each for the Buckeyes (27-7), who were denied a third straight title.

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Science/Medicine
3:28 pm
Sun March 11, 2012

Michigan lawmakers may soon debate changes to state's abortion laws

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers might soon take some initial votes on bills related to abortion law in the state.

Legislation awaiting a vote in the Republican-led House would require a doctor or an assistant to do some screening before an abortion to make sure a pregnant woman isn't being forced or coerced to have the abortion against her will. Other bills would provide penalties for coercing a woman to have an abortion against her will.

Politics
6:46 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

Michigan Democrats pick their favorites in state races

DETROIT (AP) — Democrats have chosen their favorites for this fall's Michigan Supreme Court and education board races, hoping once again to give their candidates a five-month jump in fundraising and campaigning over Republicans.

Votes at Saturday's state convention in Detroit were nonbinding, since Democrats can't nominate candidates until the party's September convention. Republicans will nominate candidates in August.

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Offbeat
2:45 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

Feeling Lucky? Mega Millions jackpot grows

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to an estimated $171 million for the next drawing in the multistate lottery game.

The grand prize amount rolled over because no player matched all the winning numbers to take the $148 million jackpot up for grabs Friday night. Mega Millions will be played again on Tuesday.

One player who bought a ticket in Michigan won a prize of $250,000 and three others won $10,000.

The winning numbers from Friday were: nine, 10, 27, 36 and 42. The Mega Ball number was 11.

Environment
2:37 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

The Great Lakes - On Thin Ice?

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A published report says the amount of ice covering the Great Lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years.

The report published last month by the American Meteorological Society says only about 5 percent of the Great Lakes surface froze over this year.

A Duluth News Tribune report (http://bit.ly/z5DoW8 ) says researchers determined ice coverage by scanning U.S. Coast Guard reports and satellite images taken from 1973 to 2010.

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Hutaree
12:55 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

FBI agent: Hutaree leader had knowledge of explosives

David Stone Sr.
(Courtesy of the US Marshal's Service)

DETROIT (AP) — An FBI agent who trained with a southern Michigan militia says he was concerned about the leader's knowledge of explosives.

Steve Haug testified Friday in the trial of seven people charged with conspiring to rebel against the government. He posed as a truck driver in 2009 to join the Hutaree and secretly record conversations.

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