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Law
11:21 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Michigan Supreme Court to hear dispute over court costs

Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court soon will hear arguments in a dispute over whether convicts can be ordered to pay the operating costs of local courts.

Fred Cunningham is asking the Supreme Court to throw out a $1,000 bill that was part of his sentence for a drug crime in Allegan County, southwest of Grand Rapids.

Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.

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Sports
8:25 am
Sat March 29, 2014

MSU and U of M reach the Elite Eight

UNDATED (AP) - The NCAA men's regional finals are set following Friday night's action. Second seed Michigan will take on No. 8 Kentucky in the Midwest final at Indianapolis, and fourth seed Michigan St. will battle No. 7 Connecticut in the East at New York's Madison Square Garden.

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Auto
6:12 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

GM adding 824,000 vehicles to ignition recall

The Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky are all involved in the recall.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is adding 824,000 small cars to its ongoing recall tied to defective ignition switches.

The company will add vehicles from the 2008-2011 model years to a recall that initially covered cars only through the 2007 model year.

The Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky are all involved in the recall.

GM says around 5,000 of the faulty switches were used for repairs on 2008-2011 model year cars. GM says it's expanding the recall to make sure it finds all the switches.

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Breaking
7:05 am
Fri March 28, 2014

US Rep. Mike Rogers won't seek re-election

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee announced his plans on Friday morning during an interview on Detroit radio station WJR-AM.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT – Seven-term Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan says he won't seek re-election.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee announced his plans on Friday morning during an interview on Detroit radio station WJR-AM. He says he'll serve out the end of his term and plans to start a national radio program.

Last year, Rogers had said he would not run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan this year, saying the best way for him to make a difference in Washington is staying in the House.

Environment & Science
4:16 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Study planned on adapting to changing water levels

NOAA

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan is planning a wide-ranging study of how people in the Great Lakes region can adapt to changing water levels.

Don Scavia of the university's Graham Sustainability Institute announced the study Thursday in Ann Arbor at the conclusion of a seminar on the topic for scientists, policymakers and advocates.

It will be modeled after a broad analysis that university experts conducted last year on the natural gas extraction process known as "fracking."

Great Lakes levels fluctuate with the seasons and over longer periods. They've risen substantially in the past year after a sustained low period, but it's uncertain how long the comeback will continue.

Scavia says that shoreline property owners, communities and businesses need to accept that lake levels will not remain stable and make necessary adjustments.

Politics & Government
11:53 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Democrats ask for recognition of recent gay marriages in Michigan

The Rev. Bill Freeman signs marriage licenses and performs cermonies at Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Muskegon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan's congressional Democrats are asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for federal recognition of the more than 300 same-sex marriages performed in the state this past weekend. The letter is signed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, and Reps. John Dingell, Sander Levin, Gary Peters and Dan Kildee.

A judge ruled last Friday that Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, but the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on further same-sex weddings while it deliberates the Michigan marriage case.

Yesterday, Gov. Snyder said the marriages performed over the weekend in Michigan are legal, but they cannot be officially recognized by the state because of current law. Here's what he said:

In January, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the government would honor same-sex marriages in Utah in a case very similar to Michigan's. The Justice Department so far has said it's monitoring the situation in Michigan.

Politics & Government
12:15 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Bills deleting 'retarded' from laws go to Snyder

State Capitol building, Lansing, Michigan
Ifmuth Flickr

LANSING – The terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" will be removed from state laws under legislation being sent to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The bills incorporate a recent recommendation from a mental health commission appointed by Snyder. The bipartisan legislation strikes references to outdated language from various statutes and replaces them with terms such as "developmentally disabled" or "intellectually disabled."

The legislation unanimously passed the House and Senate this month and was approved by the Senate for delivery to Snyder Tuesday.

Democratic bill sponsor Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor says it's "a fundamental first step" toward "ensuring everyone in our state is treated with the dignity and the respect they deserve."

Environment & Science
11:07 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Tests planned for workers after mercury spill in East Lansing

600,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into wetlands near Kalamazoo
user greg l wikimedia commons

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - East Lansing has arranged for wastewater treatment plant employees to be tested for mercury poisoning after a November spill was disclosed last week.

The Lansing State Journal reports the city is investigating how the spill occurred and why it wasn't immediately reported. Public Works Director Todd Sneathen says he interviewed workers Monday and arranged for tests for as many as 16.

The state says a call to a pollution tip line reported at least 1.5 pounds of mercury spilled.

Sneathen says the city learned of the spill on Thursday when a group of plant workers came forward and requested a meeting.

Sneathen says workers used a vacuum to clean up the spill.

Jim Wilson, Ingham County's environmental health director, says officials found high levels of mercury inside the vacuum.

Politics & Government
10:06 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Bill Clinton to headline fundraiser in Michigan

Center for American Progress Action Fund flickr

DETROIT – Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Michigan Democrats next month.

The Michigan Democratic Party announced Sunday that Clinton will speak at the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, which is scheduled for April 26 at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson says in a statement that Clinton's appearance will be a boost to the party's efforts in the state this year.

Past speakers at the Michigan dinner include Vice President Joe Biden and former presidential contenders John Edwards and John Kerry.

Education
8:14 am
Sun March 23, 2014

'Hotel Rwanda' manager who saved 1,200 from massacre to speak at U-M

ANN ARBOR – The man credited with saving more than 1,200 people during the Rwandan genocide will speak this week at the University of Michigan as part of a 20th anniversary commemoration of the slaughter.

Paul Rusesabagina's talk is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the Rackham Graduate School.

Rusesabagina gave refuge to Tutsis and moderate Hutus at the hotel he managed during the 100-day massacre that killed more than 500,000 in 1994. Those sheltered by Rusesabagina – a Hutu – included his Tutsi wife and children.

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Auto
3:33 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

GM chief prepares to testify before Congress on recalls

Mary Barra has only been on the job as CEO for three months. Now she’s facing scrutiny for how the automaker handled or mishandled a major safety recall affecting more than one-and-a-half million cars.
General Motors

Members of Congress will have tough questions for the new CEO of General Motors.

Mary Barra is expected to testify in front of the Energy and Commerce Committee next month.

Barra has only been on the job as CEO for three months. Now she’s facing scrutiny for how the automaker handled or mishandled a major safety recall affecting more than 1.5 million cars.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she’s confident in Barra’s leadership.

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Politics & Government
1:41 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

Medical pot bills would OK edibles, dispensaries in Michigan

More than 100,000 patients and 27,000 caregivers are licensed by the state to use and grow marijuana.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING – More than five years after Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana, advocates say gaps in the law cause needless confusion and prosecution.

Two Republican House bills aim to clarify the law by legalizing dispensaries and edibles. Neither was directly addressed in the 2008 law, but court rulings have since judged them illegal. More than 100,000 patients and 27,000 caregivers are licensed by the state to use and grow marijuana.

Economy
4:11 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Boom in domestic energy production helping some industries, but Michigan's jobless rate rises

Michigan's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate has risen 0.4 percentage points in the latest monthly report to 8.1%.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Manufacturers are taking advantage of lower domestic oil and gas prices, and many of them are using those cost savings to hire more workers.

The boom in domestic oil and natural gas production is fueling growth in manufacturing across the country and especially in urban areas, according to a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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Environment & Science
1:16 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Senators want faster action on stopping Asian carp

DNR

TRAVERSE CITY – A group of U.S. senators wants the federal government to move faster on preventing Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through waterways in the Chicago area.

Eleven senators from states in the region sent a letter Tuesday to the assistant secretary of the Army, whose office oversees the Army Corps of Engineers. The letter asks a series of questions about when the Corps might begin tasks such as adding barriers at the southernmost lock in the Chicago Area Waterway System.

It also asks what authorization the Corps needs from Congress to move more quickly toward short- and long-term solutions.

The Corps issued a report in January with options for blocking the invasive carp's path to Lake Michigan, but says Congress and regional stakeholders must choose the final plan.

Politics & Government
1:15 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Michigan's congressional delegation supports U.S. sanctions on Russia over Crimea

Crimea's location on the globe.
users: The Emirr, Spesh531 Wikimedia Commons

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are hopeful that U.S. and European Union sanctions will put enough pressure on Russia to change what’s been happening in Crimea.

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Politics & Government
7:01 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Michigan governor plans trade trip to Europe

LANSING – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder plans to travel to Europe in early April for a trade mission focused on the automotive industry and manufacturing.

Spokeswoman Sara Wurfel tells the Detroit Free Press the weeklong visit will include meetings and events in Italy and Germany.

Wurfel says the trip will be "automobile industry and manufacturing focused in nature." She says Snyder will be accompanied by officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Detroit Regional Chamber. More details are to be released later.

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Education
6:59 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Howell students reprimanded for racist Tweets

HOWELL – High school officials in Howell say they've reprimanded students involved in posting racist messages on Twitter after the school's nearly all-white basketball team defeated a team with black and white players.

The Flint Journal reports messages were posted after Howell beat Grand Blanc on Thursday 54-49 in a Class A regional final at Linden High School. The messages made reference to Howell's team being white and included a Ku Klux Klan reference.

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Politics & Government
11:08 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Businesses fight jobless benefits for workers fired for using medical marijuana

LANSING – Michigan's leading business group is urging the state appeals court to rule out jobless benefits for people who are fired for using medical marijuana.

The appeals court has cases involving people who sought benefits after being dismissed. Judges in Kent and Ingham counties have ruled in favor of the workers.

Rich Studley of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce says businesses are in a "no-win situation." He says employers would have to ignore marijuana use or else pay higher unemployment taxes if a fired worker collects unemployment aid.

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Politics & Government
11:05 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Scammed homeowners to get state payout

LANSING – More than 112 victims of a foreclosure rescue scam in Michigan will be helped after the state attorney general's office prosecuted a company for making misleading or false statements to homeowners.

Attorney General Bill Schuette says about $115,000 will come from a state fund to victims who paid between $595 and $3,000 to Hope4Homeowners.

Then-Attorney General Mike Cox charged Help4Homeowners in Oakland County. It was convicted of three counts of violating Michigan's credit services law.

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Law
6:04 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Michigan law enforcement boosting drunken driving patrols

The Michigan State Police said this week that officers from 144 agencies in 26 counties are part of the crackdown that runs through April 7.
Dave Trumpie Capitol Gains

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Local, county and state law enforcement officials say they're stepping up patrols to catch drunken drivers during a period that includes St. Patrick's Day, the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments and spring break.

The Michigan State Police said this week that officers from 144 agencies in 26 counties are part of the crackdown that runs through April 7. The effort is coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and receives federal traffic safety funds.

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