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The Associated Press

cars on a highway
Joe Shlabotnik / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan police and the state Department of Transportation are working to stop wrong-way drivers.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Transportation Department has been installing better signs, new lane guides and modifying exit ramps. Officials are concentrating efforts in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Chronic wasting disease
Flickr user Rachel Kramer / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

An advisory panel is calling for stepped-up efforts to prevent the spread of a deadly disease among Michigan deer.

The Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group recently presented a set of recommendations to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, a policymaking group whose members are appointed by the governor.

The commission assembled experts from around the U.S. to review the latest science and management developments on the disease.

The "Sparty" statue on the MSU campus
Betsy Weber / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Michigan State University trustee is calling for the university president to resign over the school's handling of the sexual assault scandal involving former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

Mitch Lyons issued a statement Saturday breaking with fellow board members who said a day earlier they supported President Lou Anna Simon.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

 A federal judge has declined to dismiss a lawsuit over Michigan's ban on straight-party voting.

The decision Friday means Judge Gershwin Drain will hold a trial on whether the law violates the rights of black voters, who typically vote Democratic. The decision wasn't a big surprise: The same judge expressed concern and suspended the ban before the 2016 election.

MSU Board of Trustees

EAST LANSING, Mich.- Brian Breslin will not seek re-election this year as a Michigan State University trustee.

Sarah Anderson, spokeswoman for the Michigan Republican Party, says Breslin has informed party officials. Voters choose candidates who are nominated by political parties.

  Breslin is chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees. He has expressed support for President Lou Anna Simon during the controversy over Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted girls while he was an MSU sports doctor.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Livingston County's Hamburg Township is expected to be swarming with meteorite hunters this weekend.

People have found more than a half-dozen suspected fragments from a meteor that streaked through the night sky early this week.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Legislation nearing Gov. Rick Snyder's desk would let charter schools receive revenue from voter-approved property tax hikes.

The Republican-led House narrowly approved the bill 55-52 Thursday, largely along party lines, after a different version previously cleared a divided Senate.

Michigan State Capitol Building
Phillip Hofmeister / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in Gov. Rick Snyder's tenure, a legislative chamber has voted to override one of his vetoes.

The Republican-led state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to support a tax cut for people who trade in their car for a new one. If the GOP-controlled House does the same, it would be just the fourth veto override in Michigan in the last 66 years.

user dgtmedia-simone / wikimedia commons

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he'll step down next year after leading the combined company since 2009.

Marchionne, 65, told media at the Detroit auto show that FCA will release a business plan through 2022 around June. The company will announce his successor sometime after that. Candidates include Mike Manley, who leads the company's Ram and Jeep brands, and Reid Bigland, who leads the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands and U.S. sales. 

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

After 30 years of living in the United States, Detroiter Jorge Garcia was deported to his native country of Mexico on Monday.

Garcia, a 39-year-old landscaper from Lincoln Park, came to the U.S. with an undocumented family member when he was 10 years old. He will be leaving behind his wife and two children, all of whom are U.S. citizens.

Sleeping Bear Dunes
flickr user Danielle Lynch / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

An iconic home that overlooks a scenic channel in northern Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will be demolished this year.

The demolition is called for under a long-standing agreement between the park and the home's late owner, Edward Cole. He died at age 84 in November 2015.

The home overlooks a channel to Lake Michigan that's a popular spot for summer swimmers, sunbathers and kayakers along North Bar Lake.

Lake Huron
Perry Quan / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Rising water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are keeping shoreline stabilization, dock and hoist companies in Michigan busy.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the Army Corps of Engineers says water levels for the two lakes averaged 580 feet in December, nearly two feet higher than the long-term average.

Officials predict water levels will have an overall increase of 4 to 6 inches this year.

media.gm.com/media

General Motors says it is making the first mass-production autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals.

The company says it has filed a petition with the federal government seeking permission to put the vehicles on the road sometime next year with no human backup drivers.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's tax revenue projections have changed little since eight months ago, meaning Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers are seeing no big surprises as they prepare to work on the next state budget.

The Snyder administration and legislative economists agreed to revised numbers Thursday. Combined revenue in the $23 billion school aid and general funds is just $13.1 million more than previously estimated for the current fiscal year and $16.4 million lower than past estimates for the next budget year.

Sign of Flint Police Headquarters
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint City Council has approved a $24,500 payment to a former police investigator who said he was demoted after reporting the possible mistreatment of another officer.

The Flint Journal reports the lawsuit alleged that police Chief Tim Johnson retaliated against Rodney Williams after he allegedly corroborated claims of gender discrimination that Capt. Leigh Golden brought against Johnson and the police department.

marijuana bud
Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

DETROIT - An official says a pending lawsuit by a business group over medical marijuana regulations in Detroit means the industry will be on hold in the city until it's resolved.

The Detroit Free Press reports Detroit's deputy corporation counsel Charles Raimi said in a recent memo that it "would be improper, administratively wasteful and confusing to the public" to implement the new ordinance or take action on permitting or licensing of marijuana facilities amid the lawsuit.

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann

A federal judge says some Michigan lawmakers must sit for interviews about a law that bans straight-party voting.

The questions will be limited to what they might have said about their motives to people outside their offices. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub says communications between lawmakers and their staff are protected.

YouTube

FLINT - The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to review a judge's decision to reinstate sexual assault charges against former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves.

The state's high court on Wednesday joined three Michigan Court of Appeals judges, who in August denied Cleaves' request. Earlier, Genesee County Judge Archie Hayman reinstated the case against Cleaves, who faces charges including unlawful imprisonment and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

DETROIT - Hundreds of Iraqi nationals held for months under U.S. deportation orders will get a shot at freedom while they fight their removal.

Detroit federal Judge Mark Goldsmith on Tuesday ordered immigration judges to release the detainees unless they're a public safety risk. The order applies to people who have been held for at least six months.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's mayor says city employees are focused first and foremost on replacing lead water pipes but are also working to provide status reports required under a legal settlement.

Karen Weaver issued a statement Thursday in response to plaintiffs asking a federal judge to intervene because they say Flint hasn't been sharing information, as it agreed to do.

Weaver says no one wants to get the lead out of Flint more than her.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan store owners are optimistic their after-Christmas sales will be as strong as pre-holiday sales have been this year. 

Meegan Holland, with the Michigan Retailers Association, says the growth of gift cards as presents has boosted post-holiday sales. 

"They often don't spend just what the gift card is worth," says Holland. "They are buying more than that."

Anecdotally, retailers say this has been a very good holiday shopping season. But we won't know how good until major retailers report their fourth quarter numbers next year. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A new Michigan law is aimed at encouraging the development of grocery stores in underserved urban areas.

  Legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder expands the definition of property eligible for certain state economic development incentives to include supermarkets, grocery stores, produce markets or delis in downtowns or commercial areas. At least 5 percent of the community revitalization incentives will have to go toward such businesses unless there are insufficient applications.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan store owners expect to be very busy this weekend.

Meegan Holland, with the Michigan Retailers Association, says with Christmas falling on Monday many holiday buyers will be shopping in stores and online.

“Going into this Super Saturday weekend, 45% of people still have some Christmas shopping to do,” says Holland, “It could be an epic weekend.”

A payment technology firm says that holiday spending is surging in the days before Christmas.

Judge's gavel
Pixabay.com

The Michigan Supreme Court says the state must return more than $550 million to school employees who had money deducted for retiree health care.

Michigan State Police

DETROIT (AP) - A former Michigan State Police trooper has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Detroit teenager who crashed an all-terrain vehicle after being shot with the officer's stun gun.

The Wayne County prosecutor planned to hold a news conference Wednesday. Court records show that besides second-degree murder, Mark Bessner is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Toy car with Christmas tree tied to roof
Nancy Hoang / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

AAA projects that nearly 3.5 million people from Michigan are expected to travel over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

The auto club released its annual forecast this week, saying Michigan will see a 3.4 percent increase from last year's holiday period.

Authorities say it could take months before DNA from the remains of three children found in Montana can be compared to DNA in the 2010 disappearance of three Michigan brothers.

Michigan state police Detective Lt. Jeremy Brewer says a backlog of cases is awaiting DNA testing. Brewer says once available, the results will be compared to DNA collected in the case of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The former superintendent of the Benton Harbor Area Schools has been convicted of embezzlement charges stemming from payouts he received for unused vacation days.

A Berrien County jury convicted Leonard Seawood on Friday on all five counts of embezzlement and obtaining money under false pretenses.

He was accused of embezzling more than $40,000 from the district by taking payouts for unused vacation days.

Shayan Sanyal / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A Detroit man who spent decades in prison for murder because of a single hair is seeking millions of dollars now that his conviction has been thrown out.

 

Ledura Watkins was released in June after prosecutors said hair evidence in the 1970s was flawed based on current FBI standards. He filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking $168 million, including $84 million for each of his nearly 42 years behind bars.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) testifies at a hearing in 2009.
Rep. John Conyers office / Flickr

Representative John Conyers is leaving Congress.

Conyers, who has been battling sexual harassment allegations by former female staffers, said he is retiring. However, NPR’s Don Gonyea has confirmed with Conyers' attorney that he is leaving office effective today, making it a resignation.

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