The Associated Press

The Michigan State Capitol.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill to clarify that Michigan never intended to give out-of-state companies a lower tax liability in a 2007 business tax overhaul.

The legislation is designed to ensure the state isn't forced to pay $1.1 billion in refunds in 134 cases after a July ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court in a case involving IBM. The administration and lawmakers worried the court's 4-3 decision could affect other cases in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 tax years.

Snyder said in statement Friday that the bill is a "common-sense solution" encouraging companies to invest and create jobs in Michigan. The state estimates most of the $1.1 billion in refunds would have been paid in the fiscal year that starts in October, throwing the budget out of balance.

The flag flying at Fort McHenry today. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" on September 14, 1814. He was inspired by a battle he witnessed there.
user Bohemian Baltimore / Wikimedia Commons

A tune that reverberates through ballparks, auditoriums and community gatherings is getting an amped-up workout during its 200th anniversary.

One of the biggest and flashiest salutes to "The Star-Spangled Banner" comes Saturday at the University of Michigan. The Ann Arbor school's marching band, a 500-voice choir and dance team combine during a football halftime show.

The university also plans a sing-along Friday, the same day it opens an exhibit on the national anthem's cultural history.

More from AP:

Major festivities also are happening in Baltimore, including a flag-raising ceremony Sunday at Fort McHenry National Monument. That's where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics on Sept. 14, 1814, during a pivotal War of 1812 battle.

Many events nationwide are encouraged by the Star Spangled Music Foundation. It's founded by Michigan musicology professor Mark Clague.

A demolition in Flint.
Genesee County Land Bank

FLINT – Michigan is giving $2.6 million to Genesee County's land bank to demolish and improve 225 blighted properties in Flint's Civic Park neighborhood.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority is making the grant with money from the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

The land bank now owns about half of the properties in the Civic Park area, and 71 more properties are recent tax foreclosures. The land bank says most are in need of demolition and greening because of deterioration and theft by metal and other scrappers.

State housing authority acting executive director Wayne Workman says the award will allow strategic demolitions and help preserve the neighborhood.

The Genesee County Land Bank also received $20 million last October to demolish, green, and maintain more than 1,600 properties.

user: vitualis / flickr

LANSING – Michigan health officials say they are investigating severe respiratory illnesses in children but haven't confirmed if the cases are associated with a national outbreak.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Tuesday it's received reports of an increase in such illnesses and is working with local health agencies. Officials are forwarding samples to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cases of the suspected germ known as enterovirus 68 have been confirmed in Missouri and Illinois. The CDC is testing to determine if the virus caused illnesses reported in 10 states, including Michigan.

The virus is an uncommon strain of a common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through autumn. The virus can cause mild coldlike symptoms but officials say these cases are unusually severe with serious breathing problems.

WASHINGTON (AP) - An outside group backed by Karl Rove is starting to run ads in Michigan's Senate race accusing the Democratic nominee of voting in Congress to curry favor with billionaire donor Tom Steyer.

Crossroads GPS placed the $800,000, one-week buy on Friday. It is the first spending from the group in Michigan's Senate race.

In the 30-second ad, a narrator tells voters that congressman Gary Peters opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport oil from Canadian tar sands.

McBride family

DETROIT (AP) - A judge has sentenced a suburban Detroit man to 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman on his porch.

Theodore Wafer was sentenced Wednesday for the second-degree murder of Renisha McBride. Before sentencing, the 55-year-old Dearborn Heights man told the young woman's parents he was sorry for what happened during the early morning hours of Nov. 2.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - An increase in Michigan's minimum wage is set to launch, and with it comes a test of whether the gradual rise will help workers, harm businesses or neither.

The first bump comes Monday, when the wage moves up from $7.40 an hour to $8.15. The 25 percent overall raise comes in annual increments, capping at $9.25 in 2018.

It directly affects about 4 percent of the state's roughly 2.5 million hourly workers who earn the minimum wage or lower. It could help some who make more since employers likely will adjust their pay scales.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Political TV ads are set to escalate in the final two months of the race between Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Democrat Mark Schauer. If the ads that have already run in the contest are any indication, themes will used time and again.

Some charges are inaccurate or lack context the public might find useful. Snyder never cut education funding by $1 billion in his first year. State-based K-12 funding has gone up every year of his term. But he did slash universities' funding and deprive the K-12 school fund of revenue through a business tax cut.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State Police troopers are putting special emphasis on dangerous driving behaviors over Labor Day weekend.

In a news release, the state police say troopers are joining their counterparts from across the country in a traffic safety initiative called Operation C.A.R.E.

Operation C.A.R.E. was formed to deter three causes of highway fatalities: aggressive driving, impaired driving and failure to use restraints.

DETROIT (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter has told a group of Muslim Americans in Detroit they should take a role in supporting peace and justice efforts.

Carter delivered the keynote at Saturday's Islamic Society of North America convention at Cobo Center.

The society is among America's leading Muslim groups. The Detroit area has one of the nation's largest Muslim populations.

The Detroit News reports that Carter said he hopes Muslim Americans "will use the principals of Allah to bring peace and justice to all."

Lake Improvement Association / Flickr

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The federal government is coming up with more money to help farmers cut down on the fertilizers that are feeding cyanobacteria, sometimes referred to as blue-green algae, in Lake Erie.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio announced Friday that an additional $1 million will go into a program that will give grants to farmers who plant winter crops.

Researchers say winter crops help to stop fertilizers from washing into streams and rivers that flow into Lake Erie.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

CLINTON TOWNSHIP – A federal appeals court has thrown out a $2.2 million verdict in a lawsuit by three women who were fired in 2004 at a court in Macomb County.

In a 3-0 decision, the court says Judge Linda Davis has immunity. The case is going back to Detroit federal court to possibly come up with a different remedy for the women.

Patricia Barachkov, Nancy Englar and Carol Diehl were fired at Clinton Township District Court when Davis was chief judge. They said the firings were politically motivated and they weren't given a chance to fight their dismissals.

A lighthouse on Pelee Island in Lake Erie.
Richard Hsu / Flickr

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Residents of a small Canadian island are being warned not to drink their well water because of potentially toxic bacteria in Lake Erie.

Cyanobacteria blooms causing the warning are the same stuff that contaminated the drinking water of about 400,000 people in the Toledo area earlier this month.

Some 300 people who live on Canada's Pelee Island year-round are also being told not to bathe or cook with water from their private wells that draw water from the lake.

The warning from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in Ontario also says residents and visitors to the island shouldn't swim in the lake.

The island about 50 miles east of Toledo is situated along the U.S.-Canadian border in Lake Erie.

A section of new pipeline for Enbridge's line 6B.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

OXFORD, Mich. (AP) - A group that opposes expanding an underground oil pipeline in Michigan says two of its members are in custody after locking themselves to a truck belonging to a company involved with the project.

The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands says the men used bicycle U-locks on Monday to attach themselves by the neck to a truck at a Precision Pipeline storage yard in the Oakland County village of Oxford.

Spokesman Jake McGraw says firefighters cut the men loose after about 2 1/2 hours. He says sheriff's deputies were taking the protesters to jail.

Precision Pipeline is the primary contractor for expansion of the line owned by the Canadian company Enbridge Inc.

A section of the line ruptured in 2010, spilling more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.

A Detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A judge is holding a hearing on the federal government's request to terminate an 11-year-old agreement with the Detroit Police Department to reduce excessive force and make other improvements.

The government says the city is in compliance. A hearing is planned forMonday in federal court.

Before the 2003 agreement, the U.S. Justice Department said it found constitutional violations within the department. Between 1995 and 2000, police killed nearly 50 people, including six people who were unarmed and shot in the back. Nineteen people died while in custody.

A court-appointed monitor has been watching the department during the consent agreement.

The government says it still will keep an eye on Detroit police by reviewing internal audits, offering technical assistance and making on-site visits.

Morguefile

LANSING – State officials say billions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage were dumped in Detroit area rivers and streams after flooding from heavy rains earlier this month.

Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Laura Verona tells The Detroit News for a story Friday that about 46% of the nearly 10 billion gallons of sewage released Aug. 11 by water treatment facilities was raw, diluted or partially treated sewage.

The state agency has put together a preliminary report on the sewage release.

Combined sewers and retention basins in some communities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties overflowed due to the Aug. 11 storm. Some areas received more than 6 inches of rain. Water from the storm left parts of freeways flooded and damaged thousands of homes.

user dbking / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - A lawyer has urged a judge to order Michigan to recognize same-sex marriages performed in March, saying the unions are valid even if a higher court reinstates the state's gay marriage ban.

More than 300 couples were married before an appeals court suspended a decision that had overturned the ban. The American Civil Liberties Union insists those marriages are legitimate. But Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, unlike the federal government, won't recognize them while the legality of gay marriage remains contested in court.

ACLU attorney Julian Mortenson says a marriage performed when gay marriage was legal can't be broken by the state. He urged federal Judge Mark Goldsmith to issue an injunction Thursday.

Michigan wants Goldsmith to wait. A Cincinnati-based appeals court recently heard arguments in cases from four states.

SM Giovanni and SM Angela with Edmund Cardinal Szoka.
Felician Sisters of North America / Flickr

DETROIT - Cardinal Edmund Szoka, the former governor of Vatican City and the head of the Detroit archdiocese, has died. He was 86.

The Archdiocese of Detroit says Szoka died of natural causes Wednesday night at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan.

Pope John Paul II made Szoka a cardinal in 1988. Not long after, he became the Vatican's point man for finance. By 1998, he was running the Vatican City, one of the world's smallest countries.

Since his retirement from active ministry in 2006, Szoka had been living in the Detroit suburb of Northville.

Outside the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti.
Michigan Department of Corrections

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP – The Michigan Court of Appeals  has cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit by dozens of male guards who say they've been denied overtime and job assignments at the state's only prison for women.

In a 3-0 opinion released Wednesday, the court affirmed the decision of a Washtenaw County judge.

The lawsuit centers on employment rules at the Huron Valley prison for women. In response to allegations of sexual abuse at the prison, the Civil Service Commission approved job qualifications that put only women in certain jobs.

The lawsuit claims the Michigan Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of male officers at the prison.

The appeals court says officers have cleared the threshold for a class-action lawsuit, based on the number of plaintiffs, common issues and other factors.

Renisha McBride.
Family photo

DETROIT - A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch is being sued by her parents for more than $10 million.

The lawsuit against Theodore Wafer was filed Tuesday in Wayne County court, 12 days after a jury convicted him of second-degree murder in the death of Renisha McBride.

The 19-year-old was shot in the face in Dearborn Heights. Wafer says he acted in self-defense after hearing pounding at his doors last Nov. 2, but the jury found deadly force was unreasonable.

The 55-year-old Wafer is in custody awaiting his sentence on Sept. 3. The lawsuit was filed by attorney Gerald Thurswell on behalf of McBride's parents, Monica McBride and Walter Simmons.

They accuse Wafer of wrongful death and negligence.

Colorful used cars
Zelda Richardson

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration says it wants to require that future cars and trucks be equipped with technology that enables them to warn each other of potential danger in time to avoid collisions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a research report released Monday that such technology could prevent an estimated 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year, saving 1,083 lives.

The safety administration also announced that it was taking the first step toward drafting rules to require automakers to include the technology in new cars.

The technology uses a radio signal that continually transmits a vehicle's position, heading, speed and other information. Similarly equipped cars and trucks receive the information and their computers alert the driver to an impending collision.

NOAA

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan Water Center is forming a five-year partnership with a federal agency to oversee scientific research dealing with ecologically sensitive coastal areas.

Officials said Monday the center has been awarded a $20 million contract to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the program.

It supports studies of how land use, pollution, habitat degradation and climate change affect estuary areas, which are brackish places where rivers meet the oceans or large lakes such as the Great Lakes. They host an abundance of plant and animal life and help filter pollutants. They also shield coastal areas from storms and prevent erosion.

University of Michigan scientist Don Scavia says research under the program should help policymakers protect and restore estuaries.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Toledo officials are stressing that the city's water is safe to drink as they continue to monitor for the toxin produced by Lake Erie cyanobacteria blooms  that shut down services two weeks ago to about 400,000 people.

Officials say tests on untreated water coming into a city plant are showing a "strong presence" of the toxin microcystin, but the treated water is safe.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING – Michigan voters have viewed at least $20 million worth of political ads in competitive gubernatorial and U.S. Senate campaigns.

But whether they will see Gov. Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer, or Terri Lynn Land and Gary Peters, in one-on-one debates this fall is in question.

Debates appear to have lost cachet in Michigan's statewide races.

In 2010, Snyder and Democrat Virg Bernero had just one debate in the governor's race. Two years later, incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow and GOP challenger Pete Hoekstra couldn't agree on even one debate.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) - The Woodward Dream Cruise is back for its 20th installment.

The annual celebration of classic car culture officially kicks off today. It runs through a number of Oakland County communities along the route.

Organizers say the cruise is expected to draw tens of thousands of classic and vintage cars. It's promoted as the world's largest one-day automotive event, drawing people and vehicles from all over.

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Officials in Oakland County have estimated flood damage from Monday's rain storm at $337 million, but warn the amount could increase as more assessments are received.

Communities in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties are trying to determine how much the final costs will be after more than 6 inches of rain fell in some areas.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says Friday that "the damage estimate does not reflect the magnitude of the task that lies ahead" for residents.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, says President Obama should be more open about his plans for U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

The U.S. has been dropping bombs on Islamic militants in northern Iraq for a week.

The group, commonly known as ISIS, has been expanding its hold on the region and destabilizing the Iraqi government and forcing Christians to flee.

Congressman Fred Upton is concerned President Obama may expand the U.S. role in Iraq without congressional approval.

Michigan State Police

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Law enforcement officials in 40 Michigan counties are kicking off a new enforcement campaign aimed at curbing drunken driving.

The "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign starts Friday and runs through Sept. 1, including the Labor Day weekend.

Law enforcement officers from 150 local police departments, sheriff offices and Michigan State Police posts will conduct stepped up drunk driving and seat belt enforcement.

As part of the effort, the campaign is using the fictitious Traffic Safety Brewing Company to get its message through to drivers.  "Call a Cab Cider" and "Left My Keys at Home Lager" are safety-themed brews reminding people to drink alcohol responsibly.

Additional details, including a list of counties involved, are posted on the Michigan State Police website.

Saginaw River, Bay City
User: Juan N Only / Flickr

BAY CITY, Mich. - Bay City crews are expected work over the course of several months on repairs at the site of a water main break that drained up to 20 million gallons of water.

The Bay City Times reports crews worked Wednesday on one water main and discussed plans to repair the break in another main that prompted water-use restrictions for days after officials became aware of the problem Saturday.

After reviewing blueprints, officials determined an 8-inch water main broke. Officials earlier said it was a 24-inch main. The water made its way into an abandoned, 36-inch storm drain that discharges into the Saginaw River.

Detailed plans for a fix are pending. Water from Bay City serves the city of 35,000 and much of the surrounding county.

Lundin Mining

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by state environmental regulators to allow construction of a nickel and copper mine in the Upper Peninsula.

A three-judge panel unanimously sided with the Department of Environmental Quality, which issued mining and groundwater discharge permits to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. The Marquette County mine is now owned by Lundin Mining Corp.

DEQ officials approved a mining permit for the project in 2007, drawing legal challenges from environmentalists and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. A DEQ administrative law judge and a circuit court judge affirmed the department's decisions, and opponents took the case to the Court of Appeals.

The mine has been constructed and is scheduled to begin producing minerals this fall.

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