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Politics & Government
12:30 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Citizenship box on Michigan ballot goes to court

file photo
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has been ordered to court as critics try to stop the use of a citizen check-off box on the November 6th ballot.

Detroit federal Judge Paul Borman has set a hearing for Friday. A coalition of civil rights groups and labor unions is asking Borman to issue an injunction.

Law
11:13 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Michigan prison inmate owes $353 after losing teeth trial

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan inmate who blamed prison officials for his bad teeth has another cavity to fill: a $353 bill for his failed lawsuit.

A judge has ordered Jerry Flanory to pay for transcript costs, copy fees and a nominal $20 for the state's cost of the one-day trial. The money will go to the state of Michigan.

Flanory claimed his teeth and gums suffered because he was cut off from toothpaste at a prison in the Upper Peninsula. The state denied the allegations and said the Flint man had only five teeth when he entered prison.

Law
11:53 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Kilpatrick trial resumes; ex-lawmaker is witness

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - After a day off, the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has resumed with a former state senator in the witness chair.

Prosecutors on Thursday asked former Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow about approving state grants in 2000 when Kilpatrick was a member of the House.

The government alleges that Kilpatrick illegally funneled tax dollars to his pal, Bobby Ferguson. Kilpatrick, his father, Ferguson and the city's former water boss are charged with a racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.

The government's main claim is that Kilpatrick received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash through bribery, extortion and other methods when he was mayor, from 2002 to fall 2008. He resigned four years ago in another scandal and now lives in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Arts & Culture
1:30 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

West Michigan Underwater Preserve becomes official

Approximately five miles north of Pentwater, the Comanche is a 75 - 100' tugboat in 75' of water.
WMUP

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - A number of Lake Michigan shipwrecks are now being officially protected and promoted as Michigan's 13th underwater preserve.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the West Michigan Underwater Preserve recently became official with the filing of paperwork with the state.

The new preserve covers about 345 square miles and features 13 identified shipwrecks and three other diving structures.

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Offbeat
12:30 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Michigan Christmas tree, pumpkin crops doing well

HOLLY, Mich. (AP) - Despite a few hiccups due to some wild weather, Michigan's holiday crops are looking good.

The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday that the state's Christmas tree growers say that while some trees were victims of the weather, it's unlikely to affect consumers.

Pumpkin growers say they're doing well after the drought and heat of the summer.

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Auto
11:00 am
Sun September 23, 2012

GM offers big discounts to boost Volt sales

Chevy Volt (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is offering big discounts to boost sales of the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car that struggled to attract buyers until its price began dropping early this year.

Discounts run as high as $10,000 per Volt, according to figures from TrueCar DOT com, an auto pricing website. They include low-interest financing and subsidized leases.

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Law
5:12 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Mitch Albom, charity sued over Haiti orphanage

Mitch Albom

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Operators of a Haiti orphanage are suing journalist Mitch Albom and one of his charities, claiming the best-selling author broke terms of an agreement about running the orphanage after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

The Caring and Sharing Mission charity and its Inkster, Michigan founder, the Reverend John Hearn, filed a lawsuit in a Pontiac court this week claiming the Detroit Free Press columnist and his A Hole in the Roof Foundation didn't follow an operating agreement they entered into with the Port-au-Prince mission after the quake.

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Offbeat
5:07 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Win the lottery, lose your privacy?

file photo
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Multistate lottery winners in Michigan could remain anonymous under a measure being considered by the Michigan Senate.

The bill would prohibit the disclosure unless the winner agrees to it in writing. Lottery officials are authorized to disclose a multistate game winner's identity.

Sterling Heights Republican and bill sponsor Tory Rocca says winners should be allowed keep their privacy, particularly for their own safety.

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Environment & Science
4:13 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Michigan energy company withdraws gas drilling application

The U.S. Forest Service says that Savoy Energy has informed federal agencies it's withdrawing an application to drill below a site called the Mason Tract in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.
user {inercia} Flickr

A Traverse City company is abandoning a nearly decade-long effort to extract natural gas in  an environmentally sensitive area. 

The U.S. Forest Service says that Savoy Energy has informed federal agencies it's withdrawing an application to drill below a site called the Mason Tract in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula. 

Law
11:50 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Lawyers upset over news story in Kilpatrick case

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

DETROIT (AP) - Defense lawyers in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are objecting to news coverage and asking a judge to move the case out of town.

The attorneys cited a story Monday in the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper said a juror in a recent trial involving Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson didn't disclose certain information about herself.

Ferguson's lawyer, Gerald Evelyn, said Tuesday that the story was an "outrage" and would intimidate jurors in the Kilpatrick case. Jury selection is expected to end this week.

Judge Nancy Edmunds says the story was distressing, but she isn't stopping jury selection. Free Press attorney Herschel Fink says the remarks by defense lawyers are "self-serving."

Kilpatrick is on trial with Ferguson, his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, and former water boss Victor Mercado.

Environment & Science
2:42 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Feds begin safety inspection at Palisades plant

Palisades Nuclear Plant.
Entergy Corporation

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A team from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has begun a special inspection of the Palisades nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan.

The inspectors will be following up on two incidents in 2011 that caused the plant's safety rating to be downgraded, making it among the nation's poorest performing nuclear plants.

One problem was an electrical fault that caused a reactor shutdown and the other was failure of a water pump that cools safety equipment.

NRC spokeswoman Prema Chandrathil said Monday the eight-member inspector team began work Monday and will remain at Palisades for about two weeks. They'll be determining whether problem areas have been fixed and examining the plant's safety culture.

Afterward, they'll prepare a report that will determine whether Palisades' rating will go up, down or stay the same.

Law
2:38 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Ex-Pontiac councilman charged with corruption

Pontiac, Michigan.

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - An FBI sting operation has led to corruption charges against a former Pontiac city council member.

Federal authorities say Everett Seay accepted $25,000 from a man who needed city approval to open a money-handling business in Pontiac. The government says Seay was told the shop would be used to launder drug profits.

Seay also is accused of helping transport 35 pounds of cocaine for $15,000. The cocaine was fake, and the man who wanted to open a money-handling business actually was an undercover agent. The alleged crimes occurred in 2008 and 2009 when Seay was on the Pontiac council.

Seay was due in court Monday and could not immediately be reached for comment. Two other people also were charged.

Law
11:39 am
Sun September 16, 2012

Trial starting over Michigan inmate's bad tooth

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - An inmate who blames Michigan prison officials for gum disease is getting his day in court.

Jerry Flanory's lawsuit against three people is going to trial Monday in federal court in Marquette. He claims he lost a tooth in 2006 and suffered gum disease because he was denied toothpaste as a punishment for not attending prison classes.

The state says the doomed tooth was already loose and that Flanory had access to plenty of toothpaste.

Economy
8:49 pm
Sat September 15, 2012

Store that specialized in Michigan goods closes

Michigania store in Lansing is just a short walk from the state capitol building
indianlakeartisans.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - After 26 years, a well-known Lansing store that specialized in selling Michigan-made products is closing.

Michigania offered a range of goods, from art to Leelanau County wine to Grand Rapids marinade. Manager Alice Foster-Stocum tells the Lansing State Journal that the decision to close involved many factors. She agrees it's been a destination store for years in downtown Lansing near the Capitol.

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Education
1:39 pm
Sat September 15, 2012

Michigan schools mull Pledge of Allegiance, US flag bills

file photo
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The time-honored tradition of students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance soon could be enshrined into Michigan law - along with a requirement that every public school classroom have a U.S. flag.

The Michigan Legislature has approved the measures with little resistance, and the flag legislation is heading to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.

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Environment & Science
11:59 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Dow chemical sampling properties in Midland, Michigan for dioxin pollution

Dow Chemical's headquarters in Midland.
wikimedia commons

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says Dow Chemical Co. is ahead of schedule as it samples residential properties in Midland for dioxin.

The DEQ this week approved Dow's request to begin work on 300 properties that had been scheduled for inspection next year.

It's part of a five-year plan to clean up neighborhoods contaminated for decades by airborne dioxin from a Dow plant in Midland, where the company is based.

Of about 150 properties sampled thus far, 22 have had dioxin levels higher than 250 parts per trillion, which triggers a company-funded cleanup if the owners want it.

Results from this fall's sampling will be available next spring. Any needed cleanups will get started then.

Dow is negotiating with federal officials over cleanup of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers.

Law
11:09 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Coast Guard offers reward in Michigan laser case

The U.S. Coast Guard in West Michigan is looking for someone who directed a green laser at one of its helicopters.
U.S. Coast Guard Facebook

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard is offering a $1,000 reward for information after someone directed a green laser at one of its helicopters during training off West Michigan.

The Coast Guard said Thursday that the laser was pointed at the helicopter the night of Aug. 17 from near Muskegon at Pioneer Park, where a group of people was seen around a campfire flashing a pattern of light signals. The Coast Guard says the people fled when a boat crew approached them.

No injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard warns that lasers can impair the vision of pilots. Cases of people pointing lasers at planes or helicopters have been reported elsewhere.

Tips in the case may be directed to the Coast Guard.

Politics & Government
4:00 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Pledge of Allegiance bill passes in Michigan House

The Michigan House has passed legislation requiring every state public school classroom to have a U.S. flag and provide an opportunity for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The House approved two measures Wednesday. The flag legislation already passed the Senate and goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for signature.

The Senate will consider the pledge legislation.

Many students already recite the pledge but there's no required opportunity to do so. The bill specifies no student would be compelled to say it.

Law
3:35 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

U.S. Labor Department wins back pay for bakery staff

DETROIT (AP) - The U.S. Labor Department says a Detroit-based bakery chain has agreed to pay $63,000 in back wages to 21 employees whom it wrongly classified as independent contractors.

The agency said Wednesday that its investigation found that Sheila's Bakery LLC committed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act at its three locations.

The agency says the misclassification of the workers deprived them of federally mandated overtime pay at time-and-a-half when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. Instead, they got a flat hourly rate or a flat weekly salary of $340 to $400.

The government says it loses substantial amounts of income, Social Security and Medicare tax payments because of the misclassification of employees as contractors.

Politics & Government
8:31 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Vice President's wife to campaign in Michigan this Saturday

Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden
Official White House portrait

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign says the wife of Vice President Joe Biden will speak at events in three Michigan cities on Saturday.

The campaign says Jill Biden will appear in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. It says details on her appearances will be announced later.

The stops come during a planned tour during which the vice president's wife will appear Friday in Minneapolis and Sunday in Pittsburgh.

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