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Law
2:01 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Appeals Court says Mich. 5-year welfare limit OK

The Michigan Court of Appeals
Mike Russell Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Court of Appeals says state officials can take away welfare benefits under a five-year federal limit even if recipients still qualify for cash assistance under state law.

The ruling released today overturns a Genesee Circuit Court decision that state Human Services Director Maura Corrigan lacked authority to enforce the five-year limit.

Michigan has its own four-year limit, but it doesn't count months where someone with a disability can't work or where family members are caring for a disabled spouse or child and can't hold an outside job.

The Appeals Court also says Corrigan violated the Administrative Procedures Act where state funds were involved.

The Department of Human Services is reviewing the opinion. A message seeking comment was left for the Center for Civil Justice, which brought the suit.

Law
11:57 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Appeals court strikes down Michigan stun gun ban

user jasonesbain wikimedia commons

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan appeals court says the state can't stop people from owning stun guns.

A three-judge panel at the court says the Michigan and U.S. constitutions allow people to bear arms. The court says a total prohibition on stun guns can't stand.

The decision released Wednesday involved cases from Bay City and Muskegon. In Bay City, a store employee was carrying a stun gun while he worked behind the counter. In Muskegon, a stun gun was seized from a man at his home.

A new Michigan law that takes effect in August would allow people to have stun guns if they also have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. That law was not at issue in the cases at the appeals court.

Economy
7:16 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Gov. Snyder approves loans for weather-wracked Michigan farmers

Gov. Rick Snyder, (R) Michigan
governor's office

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has approved loans to Michigan fruit farmers who sustained an estimated $210 million in losses following rough spring weather. 

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Law
7:09 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Mistrial declared in Detroit corruption case

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the bid-rigging trial of a Detroit contractor whose business flourished when Kwame Kilpatrick was mayor.

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Politics
6:33 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Gov. Snyder to sign next Michigan budget into law

Governor Snyder is set to sign the state's $48 billion budget later this afternoon.
Photo courtesy of the Snyder Administration

The $48 billion spending plan for the budget year that starts Oct. 1 is about to be signed into law. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has scheduled a bill-signing ceremony for Tuesday afternoon at the Romney Building across from the Capitol.

The package includes a small cut in individual income taxes, twice as much money for film credits, a slight increase in education funding and a down payment on school employees' health care costs in retirement.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate passed the budget bills three weeks ago. Snyder has the right to veto portions of the bills.

Democrats have criticized the GOP budget plan for not spending more on education.

Education
5:24 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Michigan higher education construction projects at a glance

University of Michigan Flint will receive $16.6 million for renovations to the Murchie Science Laboratory Building
User acrylicartist MorgueFile.com

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill today that calls for investment in infrastructure projects at Michigan's colleges and universities.

The bills funnel more than $300 million into 18 projects on college campuses across the state.

Snyder approved the bills at Wayne State University in Detroit. That school will get $30 million for a new bio-medical research facility.

Wayne State President Allan Gilmour says that will involve refurbishing a now-defunct Cadillac dealership, and construction for at least one brand-new building.

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Law
12:52 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Abuelazam gets life without parole, other Flint stabbing cases remain

Mug shot of Elias Abuelazam
Arlington, Virginia Police Department

A prosecutor handling charges from a 2010 stabbing spree in the Flint area says he'll talk to victims and relatives about offering plea deals to close the remaining cases.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says he needs to balance their feelings with the costs of taking eight more cases to trial. Elias Abuelazam was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday, a month after being convicted in the first murder trial.

Abuelazam still faces two murder trials and six attempted murder trials. He's also charged with attempted murder in Toledo, Ohio.

It's not known if the 35-year-old Abuelazam is even interested in settling the remaining cases. The next court hearing won't occur until near Labor Day.

Education
6:33 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Michigan colleges, universities getting $300M for projects

Michigan Municipal League Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign a bill investing more than $300 million in infrastructure projects at Michigan's colleges and universities.

The governor's office says a signing ceremony is scheduled for Monday afternoon at Wayne State University. The Detroit school is planning a biomedical research building. MLive.com reports the legislation authorizes and assists construction for 18 projects at public universities and community colleges across the state. The House Fiscal Agency says the combined long-term costs of the projects are estimated at about $613 million. The state's share is $305 million.

Other projects include a bioscience building at Central Michigan University and an engineering center at Oakland University.

Environment & Science
1:50 pm
Sun June 24, 2012

PCB cleanup continues along Kalamazoo River

An artist's rendering of a polychlorinated biphenyls molecule
Foxriverwatch.com

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Cleanup of sediments contaminated with PCBs continues along parts of the Kalamazoo River.

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Sports
1:44 pm
Sun June 24, 2012

Howell Schools plan end of pay-to-play policy

High school football players work out during a summer practice
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan public school district plans to do away with fees parents pay to allow their children to participate in sports.

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Law
3:44 pm
Sat June 23, 2012

Genesee County cracks down on unlicensed dogs

A guilty look?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - After a brief amnesty, Genesee County officials are sending a small army of enforcers door to door to find dogs that don't have a license.

The Animal Control Department predicts the crackdown could raise more than $250,000 in fees this summer. There are 18 full-time workers who will sell licenses on the spot or write tickets.

Chief animal control officer Walt Rodabaugh tells The Flint Journal (http://bit.ly/MfgUWd ) that many roads "have never been touched before." He says some residents haven't seen someone from his department in decades.

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Education
3:34 pm
Sat June 23, 2012

Michigan State University drops health insurance mandate for students

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University has dropped mandatory health insurance for students after opposition from lawmakers.

Officials said Friday that insurance available through the school will be voluntary, but they'll still ask if students have coverage this fall. Only 320 students were automatically signed up last year.

But one of them was the son of a state lawmaker, Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, who got a bill. It turned out that Farrington's son had insurance.

Economy
10:53 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Debate over renewable energy ballot issue heats up in Michigan

Solar? Wind? Geothermal? Oil? Coal? Natural Gas? What's the solution to Michigan's future energy needs? Or, is the real question, How much of each?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Supporters say a ballot measure requiring that utilities get more of their electricity from renewable sources would make Michigan a leader in clean energy and create jobs.

Opponents say it would cost electric customers more money and make it harder to provide reliable energy.

On Monday, opponents with the Clean Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE) for Michigan Coalition plan to ramp up statewide efforts to defeat the issue. They argue the requirement doesn't belong in the state constitution.

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Environment & Science
10:45 am
Sat June 23, 2012

No date set for reopening of Palisades nuclear power plant

COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A spokesman says work continues at the Palisades nuclear plant 10 days after the southwestern Michigan facility was shut down to repair a leak in a water tank.

Palisades spokesman Mark Savage said Friday that crews are analyzing and evaluating the tank.

The plant in Van Buren County's Covert Township voluntarily shut down June 12th.

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Arts & Culture
3:03 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Detroit Zoo gets 4 crocodiles from Zoo Miami

One of the Detroit Zoo's new African slender-snouted crocodiles
Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo has some new residents: four crocodiles.

The zoo located in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak says the four African slender-snouted crocodiles - two pairs of 21-year-old brothers - are from Zoo Miami.

They'll be on display for the Detroit Zoological Society's annual Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser tonight. Their new home is the Detroit Zoo's former hippo habitat.

The new crocodiles are about 5 feet long and weigh around 30 pounds. They can grow up to 13 feet and weigh as much as 500 pounds.

Transportation
4:08 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Michigan police: 8,050 citations in seat belt crackdown

Of those stopped in 2011, 94.5 percent of drivers were buckled up.
user Gerdbrendel Wikimedia Commons

State police say an annual Michigan enforcement crackdown on motorists who fail to use seat belts and child safety seats led to 8,050 citations. That's down about 1,000 from 2011.

This year's Click It or Ticket campaign ran from May 21 to June 1.

State police say they have reports from law enforcement agencies in 26 counties. They say a preliminary count shows that officers stopped 14,761 vehicles during the crackdown.

The state has reported a slight drop in the rate of seat belt law compliance, from a record-high 97.9 percent in 2009 to 94.5 percent in 2011.

The enforcement effort led to a number of other citations, including 95 drunken driving arrests and 53 drug arrests. Thy also cited about 1,000 insurance violations and 535 suspended license violations.

Environment & Science
2:00 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

The University of Michigan to lead a $152M NASA satellite project

The program is aimed at improving extreme weather prediction for storms like Hurricane Isabel, seen here.
Mike Trenchard Earth Sciences & Image Analysis Laboratory , Johnson Space Center (Wikimedia Commons)

The University of Michigan has been selected to lead a $152 million NASA satellite project aimed at improving hurricane and extreme weather prediction.

The school announced today that the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System is designed to make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes. It's made up of small satellites to be carried into orbit.

Information collected will enable scientists to explore key air-sea interactions that take place near the core of storms.

Principal investigator Christopher Ruf is a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, and electrical engineering and computer sciences. The satellite system science team includes Aaron Ridley and Derek Posselt, who are professors of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences.

Politics & Government
1:48 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Former Mich. lawmaker Van Regenmorter dies at 73

Former West Michigan lawmaker William Van Regenmorter, whose noteworthy accomplishments included his authorship of the Crime Victim's Rights Act of 1985, has died. He was 73.

Family friend Joseph Crawford says Van Regenmorter, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2003, died Monday at his home in Ottawa County's Georgetown Township.

The Republican served in the House from 1983-90 before being elected to the Senate, where he served from 1991-2002. He became a representative again from 2003-06.

Van Regenmorter served as chairman of the House and Senate judiciary committees for more than 16 years. Under the Crime Victim's Rights Act, victims are required to be notified and consulted during the various steps of the legal process, such as before a prosecutor offers a plea bargain to a defendant.

Sports
7:00 pm
Sun June 17, 2012

NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins at MIS, ends winless streak

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
NASCAR

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced to his first Sprint Cup victory in four years, ending a 143-race winless streak Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

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Health
11:28 am
Thu June 14, 2012

University of Michigan 6 new stem cell lines available for research

colony of embryonic stem cells, from the H9 cell line
en.wikipedia.org

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Six new human embryonic stem cell lines derived at the University of Michigan are available for federal research.

University of Michigan Health System officials say in a release Thursday that researchers can begin using the stem cell lines to study the origins of diseases and potential treatments. U-M now has eight cell lines on the U.S. National Institutes of Health's registry, including five that carry genetic mutations for serious diseases including hemophilia B, Huntington's disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

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