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Health
1:25 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

MDCH reports summer's second Michigan West Nile fatality

user xpistwv MorgueFile.com

Michigan officials say a second person has died from the West Nile virus, and 18 more cases have been reported this week.

Today, the Michigan Department of Community Health released figures (see chart) showing two deaths and 41 cases this season.

Officials last week said an elderly woman in Washtenaw County died from West Nile. Details of the most recent death were not released.

The data shows cases span several counties, including nine cases in Wayne, eight in Macomb, six in Oakland and seven in Detroit.

Yesterday, federal officials reported four times the usual number of cases in the current U.S. West Nile outbreak.

So far, 1,118 illnesses and 41 deaths have been reported nationwide. Typically, fewer than 300 cases are reported by mid-August.

Prevention tips include draining standing water in your yard, avoiding skin exposure to mosquitos, wearing mosquito repellant and reporting sick or dead animals to authorities.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Offbeat
10:03 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Michigan Lottery contacted by $337M jackpot winner

Feeling lucky?
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Lottery says it has been contacted by the winner of last week's $337 million Powerball jackpot.

In a news release issued Wednesday, the lottery says details about the ticket-holder won't be released until the prize is officially claimed.

The winning ticket for the Aug. 15 drawing was sold at a Sunoco station in Lapeer.

It was the third-largest Powerball jackpot in the game's history. Lottery officials have said the winner could take home a $241 million lump sum.

Politics & Government
10:01 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Detroit Mayor to declare "No Violence Day in Detroit"

Bob Jagendorf Flickr

DETROIT (AP) — The 22nd of each month will become a "No Violence Day in Detroit" following a proclamation by Mayor Dave Bing.

Bing is expected to issue the proclamation Wednesday evening to the United Communities of America at Fellowship Chapel on the city's northwest side.

Concerns about violent crime in Detroit are rising.

Through Aug. 12, the number of homicides is one fewer than the 221 committed over the same period last year. Assault, larceny, rape and car theft reports are up.

The state police and Wayne County sheriff's office are assisting Detroit police on patrols in some city neighborhoods.

The United Communities of America helped organize a January "Thou Shall Not Kill" motorcade led by hearses through crime-ridden neighborhoods to call an end to killings in the city.

Education
1:22 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Spirit of Detroit statue shows off school spirit

Detroit Public Schools detroitk12.org

The Detroit school district has kicked off its fall enrollment drive in a big way, draping a 300-square-foot T-shirt over the Spirit of Detroit statue in front of city hall.

Leaders of the Detroit Public Schools are working to attract families to the district's new buildings and stabilize attendance that has seen losses to charter and suburban schools.

The T-shirt with the slogan "I'm in" was unveiled this morning and will decorate the statue through Sept. 4.

Business
3:26 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Utility customers get credits after 2-day outage

user wheat_in_your_hair Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - About 8,000 DTE Energy Co. customers in Oakland County will receive credits on future bills after losing service this summer due to a substation fire.

The Detroit News reports Friday that the credits will range from $25 to $250 and show up on bills over the next several months.

Residences and businesses in Royal Oak and Berkley, north of Detroit, lost power for two days last month.

DTE Energy spokesman Len Singer says the amount of the credits will depend on the length of time customers were without electricity.

The newspaper reports that customers can seek a $25 credit if an outage lasts more than 16 hours under normal conditions or more than 120 hours under catastrophic conditions.

Law
10:48 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Michigan Court: Teachers deduction for retiree health care unconstitutional

Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled unconstitutional a state law forcing school employees to pay 3 percent of their salary toward retiree health care.

A copy of Thursday's 2-1 ruling was released Friday.

The contribution was put into place in 2010, and unions representing teachers filed suit. In 2011, retired Ingham County Circuit Judge James Giddings, who was hearing the case before he stepped down and returned to finish the job, ruled that school employees were paying into a system that may not ultimately benefit them.

The contribution was instituted as part of an effort to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the state. MLive.com reports some unions want the money to be refunded.

Law
10:04 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Former assistant state attorney ordered to pay $4.5M to gay U-M student

Andrew Shirvell

DETROIT (AP) - A jury has awarded a gay University of Michigan student body president $4.5 million in his lawsuit against a former Michigan assistant attorney general who posted about him in an anti-gay blog.

The U.S. District Court jury in Detroit ruled Thursday in favor of Christopher Armstrong. He claims he suffered distress after a blog created by Andrew Shirvell accused him of enticing minors with alcohol and recruiting people to become homosexual.

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Economy
7:20 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Michigan jobless rate up 0.4 points to 9 percent

Unemployment rate, labor force over time
Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's unemployment rate is on the rise, jumping 0.4 percentage points to 9 percent in the latest figures from the state.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July that was released Wednesday remains 1.6 percentage points below July 2011's rate of 10.6 percent. The national rate has fallen 0.8 percentage points in that time.

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Politics & Government
2:51 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Michigan Senate approves healthcare changes for teachers

The Michigan Senate.
cedarbenddrive Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has approved a compromise bill that would end state-provided health coverage in retirement for new public school employees and require current workers to pay more for their pensions.

The measure passed Wednesday includes further study of a plan sought by some in the Republican majority to push new hires into a 401 (k)-style plan.

State officials say the proposal reduces by at least $15 billion a roughly $45 billion liability on the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. That comes partly from the state putting $130 million toward retirement costs that school districts are facing.

A version of the bill was previously passed by the House. That chamber is expected to approve the Senate measure.

The legislation would then head to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

Politics & Government
12:56 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Michigan's State Community Health director Dazzo resigns

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The director of Michigan's Department of Community Health has stepped down.

Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday accepted Olga Dazzo's resignation and appointed former department director James Haveman Jr. as her replacement.

Snyder's office says in a release that Dazzo has decided to return to the private sector. Snyder appointed her to the post in December 2010.

Snyder says Dazzo "wants to more directly work with the health care system to bring about positive change."

In taking the job, Haveman resigned from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Board of Directors. His appointment is subject to Senate approval. He is scheduled to start Sept. 1.

Haveman served from 1996 to 2003 as Community Health director and from 1991 to 1996 as head of the state Department of Mental Health.

Education
1:43 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Flint's Kettering University gets $15.5 million pledge

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Kettering University is getting a $15.5 million pledge from the C.S. Mott Foundation, the largest such gift in the school's history.

C.S. Mott Foundation's pledge of support announced Monday is aimed at strengthening the school's leadership in higher education and expanding its role as a strategic partner in the Flint area's revitalization efforts.

The C.S. Mott Foundation intends to provide a series of grants to Kettering over three or more years. The first, of $2 million, was made in May.

The grants aim to increase enrollment, nurture the school's economic impact on the Flint area, communicate the university's identity to a broad audience and build alumni relationships.

Politics & Government
10:07 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Review team says Allen Park needs emergency manager

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - A team responsible for reviewing Allen Park's finances says Gov. Snyder should appoint an emergency manager to run the city southwest of Detroit.

The review team cited the city's deficit, $1 million in delinquent vendor payments, delayed pension payments and significant cash flow shortages. The city also had not filed an approved deficit-elimination plan for the 2011 fiscal year.

The review team also determined City Council is "manifestly dysfunctional."

Snyder appointed the review team last month and a report was due within 60 days.

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Car accident
8:44 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Oakland County chief recovering after crash

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Oakland County's top elected official is in stable condition after suffering several broken bones and a gash to his scalp in a two-car crash in suburban Detroit.

Officials at McLaren Health Center in Pontiac say 74-year-old L. Brooks Patterson remained hospitalized Saturday, one day after the car he was riding in collided with another vehicle in Auburn Hills.

Patterson underwent surgery Friday night to repair broken bones.

Dr. Tressa Gardner, director of emergency services at McLaren, tells The Detroit News that Patterson is "doing great."

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Law
3:58 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Appeals Court: Sexually abused female prisoners must pay debts before collecting settlement money

Michigan Court of Appeals
user BotMultichill Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Court of Appeals says women who were sexually abused in state prisons must pay the victim restitution and child support they owe before collecting settlement money from their class-action suit.

A three-judge appeals court panel ruled today that an order protecting the names of the women who sued should remain in effect.

But the court also says that where there's a conflict between protecting the women's identities and making sure that they pay victim restitution and child support, the courts must make sure the debts get paid.

Politics & Government
11:09 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Judge allows wiggle room on some absentee ballots

user jdurham MorgueFile.com

Local governments that missed a June deadline to send absentee ballots to Michigan members of the armed forces still can count the votes if they're returned after Tuesday.

A federal judge in Grand Rapids approved a compromise Monday between the U.S. Justice Department and the state of Michigan. The government filed a lawsuit after learning that dozens of clerks missed the deadline.

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Law
2:05 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Kilpatrick case jurors' identities will be kept from public

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Dave Hogg Wikimedia Commons

A judge says the names and hometowns of jurors will only be known by lawyers in the upcoming corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds says she's concerned about the privacy of jurors. At a hearing today, she said jurors will be identified in court by a number in place of their names to everyone except the lawyers.

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Law
11:39 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Feds want southern Michigan militia leader to serve prison time

David Stone Sr.
U.S. Marshall Service

DETROIT (AP) - Prosecutors are urging a judge to send the leader of a southern Michigan militia to prison for possessing a machine gun and other illegal weapons.

David Stone is returning to Detroit federal court next week. In March, he and other members of the Hutaree were cleared of conspiring to rebel against the government, but Stone pleaded guilty to a gun crime.

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Law
3:50 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court: Parents can be exempt from paying child support in extreme cases

The Michigan Supreme Court
Michigan Supreme Court courts.michigan.gov

Tuesday night, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that if a parent can prove they are unable to pay child support, they cannot be charged with a felony for the nonsupport.

The catch is, proving an inability to pay is quite difficult. Defendants must prove that they have sold off assets and exhausted their resources to be protected under the decision.

The ruling revolved around three Michigan cases in which parents argued they were unable to pay child support. The parents charged with nonsupport said they were denied their constitutional right to due process when circuit courts refused to consider evidence of their inability to pay.

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Transportation
10:37 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Freighter carrying iron ore pellets runs aground

The grounded ship is on the right, with an incoming freighter on the left.
Jojeann Riley

The U.S. Coast Guard says a freighter carrying iron ore pellets has run aground on the Canadian side of southern Lake Huron, about one mile offshore of Sarnia, Ontario. The agency there's no reports of injuries or pollution after the shipped named Buffalo ran aground late Wednesday while en route to Cleveland.

The U.S. Coast Guard is assisting Thursday in the response and sent a 41-foot boat to the scene. Sarnia is located across the St. Clair River from Port Huron, Michigan, about 55 miles northeast of Detroit.

Auto
10:12 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Toyota recalls RAV4 SUVs and Lexus sedans

A 2012 RAV4. Toyota is recalling RAV4s from the 2006 to 2011 model years.
Toyota publicity still

Toyota is recalling 778,000 RAV4 SUVs and Lexus HS 250h sedans to fix a suspension problem that could cause crashes.

The company says if rear suspension nuts aren't tightened properly after a wheel alignment, the arms can rust and separate from the vehicle. Toyota reported nine crashes and three minor injuries from the problem.

RAV4s covered by the recall are from the 2006 to 2011 model years. The Lexus sedans are from 2010 only.

Toyota says it's developing a plan to fix the problem. It will notify owners by mail when it's time to take the vehicles into dealers for a free repair.

In the meantime, the company is telling drivers to contact their dealers if they hear an abnormal sound in the rear of the vehicle.

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