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The Associated Press

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LANSING, Mich. - The chairman of a legislative committee investigating Flint's water crisis says it will take longer than initially projected to produce a report with recommendations.

Republican Sen. Jim Stamas of Midland had hoped to issue findings by now. But he announced Friday that discussions continue, and the report will be issued "in the future."

Simon Brass / Flickr

Michigan is closing one of its 32 prisons to save $22 million in the next fiscal year.

The Pugsley Correctional Facility in Grand Traverse County will close in September. The minimum security prison has more than 1,300 beds and 230 employees. It’s been open since 1956.

The corrections department made the announcement Tuesday, a day before a legislative committee is expected to endorse the closure in the next state budget.

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A judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state School Reform Office from appointing a chief executive officer to oversee four academically low-performing East Detroit Public Schools.

Macomb County Circuit Judge Joseph Toia ruled Friday there is a risk that allowing a takeover would cause the school district "irreparable harm." He has scheduled a hearing on the issue for June 13.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Auto-centric Michigan is preparing for the advent of self-driving cars by pushing legislation to allow for public sales and operation - not just testing only.

While the widespread use of driverless cars may be years away, lawmakers and transportation leaders say the technology is progressing so rapidly that Michigan must stay ahead of the curve or risk losing automotive research and development to other states.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A report obtained by a newspaper says replacing water pipes due to the lead-tainted crisis in Flint could be at least twice the price of previous estimates.

The Detroit Free Press reports  that engineering company Rowe Professional Services told the state that the average cost for replacing a service water line through a completed pilot project was $7,500.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality previously estimated it would cost $4,000, but the company's report said costs could be higher if average permit fees of $2,400 per site are included.

WARRENSKI / CREATIVE COMMONS

OTTAWA, Ohio (AP) - Whirlpool Corp. says it's installing wind turbines to help power two more of its factories in Ohio.

  The appliance maker based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, says it will spend $13.5 million to bring wind energy to its plants in Ottawa and Marion.

  Whirlpool says the 1.5-megawatt turbines are the same design as those built at its Findlay factory.

  The company says anticipates the wind turbine should help offset electricity consumption by 34 percent at its Ottawa plant that makes freezers.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A Washtenaw County man has a real heart - after 555 days without one.

Stan Larkin received a heart transplant on May 9 at University of Michigan hospital and soon plans to return home to Ypsilanti.

Larkin's story is remarkable. Before the transplant, the 25-year-old carried a backpack with an artificial heart that pumped blood. The Ann Arbor News  says he was diagnosed with a disease that causes irregular heartbeats and can lead to sudden death.

A brother, Domonique Larkin, also needed a heart transplant.

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ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) - An Upper Peninsula city has won a key ruling in a legal dispute over how to value big-box stores for tax purposes.

Value has been a hot issue in Michigan, especially in the U.P. where communities have been forced to give refunds based on decisions by the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

But Escanaba successfully argued that the Tribunal used the wrong standard to determine the value of a Menards store. In a 3-0 decision released Friday, the Michigan appeals court sent the case back to the Tribunal for more work.

detroit symphony orchestra
ELAINE ROACH VIA MUSICIANS OF THE DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Symphony Orchestra says it has received a roughly $3 million donation for its music education programs.

The ensemble on Friday announced the $2.9 million gift from the estate of Dr. Clyde and Helen Wu. Orchestra officials say the bequest is the second largest in its 129-year history.

The DSO says the money will help sustain programs through its Wu Family Academy for Learning & Engagement.

The orchestra plans to honor the couple's legacy with a portrait-hanging and dedication Saturday evening before a concert at Orchestra Hall.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ROMULUS – An Associated Press investigation has found that people crashed cars into or otherwise breached the security fencing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport more than authorities have disclosed. In all, there were 14 intrusions from 2004 through mid-February.

Officials cited four incidents when AP revealed problems with airport defenses last year.

Federal records showed another five the airport had not told AP about. There also were four breaches in 2015 - the most in any year in Detroit - and one in February.

MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT / COURT.MI.GOV

DETROIT – The Michigan Supreme Court has announced amendments to state rules aimed at keeping people from jail time because they can't pay court fines or fees.

The Detroit News reports changes announced Wednesday take effect Sept. 1. The court says job status, available cash, basic living expenses and other special circumstances can be considered.

Earlier this year, a Detroit-area judge accused of sending poor people to jail if they couldn't immediately pay fines agreed to end so-called pay-or-stay sentences after an American Civil Liberties Union challenge.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING – Michigan is paying criminal defense bills for two state employees charged amid Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water.

The state Department of Environmental Quality is paying fees for Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, who are charged with evidence tampering, misconduct in office and safe drinking water violations.

The Detroit Free Press reports Michigan must provide or pay for defense for state employees sued in connection with their jobs, but not those facing criminal charges.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

TOLEDO – Ohio's plan to take a big bite out of what's feeding the toxic cyanobacteria in western Lake Erie leans heavily on programs put in place over the last few years.

The strategy obtained by The Associated Press calls for additional water monitoring and more oversight of existing programs, but no new money toward targeting the blooms threatening drinking water.

The plan being rolled out Wednesday is the state's blueprint for reaching a 40% reduction in the phosphorus runoff that fuels the cyanobacteria in the lake's western end.

LANSING – Coercing a woman to have an abortion would be a misdemeanor in Michigan, under a bill sent to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Senate approved the legislation, 26-11, Wednesday with all Democrats and one Republican voting against it. The bill would make coercion a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000; $10,000 if the accused is the father of the embryo or fetus.

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DETROIT – Charges have been filed in two shootings that killed a child and injured another in Detroit.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy defended her decision to charge relatives of victims who shot themselves after finding unsecured guns at home. She says adults who "adopt, bear or look after children" must be held responsible.

Five-year-old Mariah Davis shot herself in the neck after finding a gun under a pillow on May 11. Her grandparents were charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter and other crimes.

TomCasperson.com

LANSING – A Michigan senator has introduced legislation that could stop transgender students from using bathrooms that don't match their "biological sex."

Sen. Tom Casperson, a Republican, unveiled a bill Wednesday that would offer accommodations to transgender students with parental consent. But the accommodation can't include a bathroom, locker room or shower used by students "of the opposite biological sex."

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says the legislation is not a priority for the Senate. It's been assigned to a committee.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

GRAND RAPIDS – Michigan's attorney general says his office is investigating allegations of mistreatment at a state-run nursing home for veterans and is encouraging potential victims or witnesses to come forward.

Courser/Gamrat websites

LANSING – Two Michigan lawmakers who were forced from office in a sex scandal face a key hearing on charges that they committed felony misconduct in office.

The preliminary exam scheduled to begin Wednesday in a Lansing courtroom will determine if there is probable cause to go to trial. Todd Courser resigned last September and Cindy Gamrat became the fourth legislator to ever be expelled.

The conservative Republicans had an extramarital affair.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Cancer patients and survivors are lobbying lawmakers to make Michigan the latest state to require equal insurance coverage of chemotherapy regardless of whether the drugs are given by needle or taken orally.

The bill addresses the tendency for chemo pills to cost patients much more out of pocket than IV chemo.

Activists form a bucket brigade to carry water from the state Capitol.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Activists came to the state Capitol today to dramatize the need for tens of millions of dollars to fix Flint’s damaged water system.

A line of people passed little buckets of water from a faucet inside the Capitol building to a 20-gallon drum outside. 

Ryan Bates with Michigan United says they wanted to show what it’s like to live in Flint without tap water people can trust. 

Bates says state lawmakers should be doing more to help.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has approved spending another $128 million to address the water crisis in Flint, where residents have to use faucet filters or bottled water because of lead contamination.

The emergency aid legislation that passed 34-3 Wednesday next goes to the House for consideration.

It's the fourth round of funding being considered by lawmakers since the health disaster was confirmed seven months ago.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators previously authorized $67 million for the emergency – mostly state money but also federal funds.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

FLINT, Mich. - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will greet President Barack Obama at a Flint airport and talk to him about efforts to solve the city's drinking water mess.

Spokesman Ari Adler says the Republican governor is pleased to try to seek more federal support for Flint during Obama's visit Wednesday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A group of 20 lawmakers backs a bill to require more rigorous medical training for police officers.

  The bill sponsor is Republican state Rep. Hank Vaupel. He says some rural police aren't properly equipped to rescue people undergoing heroin or prescription opioid overdoses. His bill would require all emergency first responders, including police, to stay current on CPR training suited for the overdoses.

Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - A former Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for sexual abuse connected to his work at a Michigan high school in the 1980s.

  At age 75, James Rapp likely will die in prison. He's been in prison for similar crimes in Oklahoma, one of many stops as a priest.

  Rapp's victims from Lumen Christi High School spoke for more than two hours in a Jackson courtroom Friday. He pleaded no contest in February to criminal sexual conduct.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has told University of Michigan graduates to be wary of partisan politics and intolerance.

  Bloomberg delivered Saturday's spring commencement address at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

  In a prepared speech, Bloomberg said the United States is facing "serious and difficult challenges," but candidates in this year's presidential election are "blaming our problems on easy targets."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools says the district will have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further funding from the state.

  The Detroit Free Press reports  that former bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said in an email Saturday that the district also will be unable to fund summer school or special education programs after June 30.

  Rhodes was appointed by the state to oversee the district's finances.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Dept.

A man accused of killing six people in southwestern Michigan has been found competent to understand the murder charges against him and assist his attorney.

 A judge held a brief hearing Friday to acknowledge the exam results for Jason Dalton. His criminal case in Kalamazoo was on hold for weeks while experts determined whether he understood the process.

 The exam wasn't intended to determine whether Dalton was insane at the time of the Feb. 20 shootings. That's a separate matter.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Political pressure for seats in the Michigan House is revving up as the candidate filing deadline approaches on Tuesday.

While Republican strategists largely contest the opinion, some Democrats say 2016 could be the best shot they have had to seize back the House from GOP control since 2010, when Republicans scored a landslide 20-seat victory. That was the largest seat swap since 1964.

Ann Arbor Democratic Rep. Adam Zemke, a Democrat campaign leader, says, "Everything is lined up for us in 2016."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint residents are being urged to run water in tubs and kitchens each day to flush any lead and coat the pipes with chemical protection.

  The announcement was made Saturday at a forum attended by state and federal officials. The state of Michigan says it will pay for the extra water use, which starts May 1 and lasts for two weeks.

  The cost is expected to be $300,000.

  Flint still is recovering from using the Flint River for 18 months without corrosion control. The water leached lead from old plumbing.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Education officials say students will be spending less time taking the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, this spring.

  Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman Jan Ellis tells the Detroit Free Press that students will spend no more than four to eight hours total on the test, down from seven to 16 hours last year. The change came after complaints about the new exam taking too long, with reports of students being exhausted and school staff being overwhelmed.

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