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Environment
5:12 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Michigan and 4 other states join feds to push for Great Lakes wind farms

A wind farm off the coast of Sweden
Mariusz Paździora wikimedia commons

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Federal officials say a deal to speed up consideration of proposed offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes should cut red tape and open the way for more clean energy production.

Officials announced the agreement Friday between the federal government and Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania.

There are no wind turbines in the Great Lakes now. But one project is in the works for Lake Erie.

Nancy Sutley of the White House Council on Environmental Quality said there's "tremendous" potential for wind energy development in the region. She said it's hard to know when other offshore wind proposals may arise, but government agencies should have an efficient system in place to evaluate them.

Politics
11:10 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Top Snyder aide: More needed from Detroit unions

State and city leaders have been working to avoid an emergency manager appointment in Detroit, but so far, no deal has been reached.
user jodelli Flickr

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder's chief of staff says more concessions will be needed from Detroit unions before a financial oversight deal can be worked out with city leaders, but he adds "we're moving strongly forward" toward agreement.

Dennis Muchmore said during Friday's taping of public television's "Off the Record" program that he thinks five of nine city council members ultimately will approve a deal between the state and the city. At the moment only three have publicly expressed support.

If an agreement isn't reached by next Thursday, Snyder will have to decide whether to appoint an emergency manager with sweeping powers to run Detroit. Muchmore says an appeal period starts then, so the absolute deadline on a decision isn't until April 13.

Council members are expected to vote early next week.

Economy
10:04 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Some Red Cross workers in Michigan go on strike

American Red Cross workers during a previous strike (file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More than 200 American Red Cross workers in Michigan are on strike in a dispute related to contract negotiations.

Red Cross spokeswoman Monica Stoneking tells The Associated Press some blood drives have been cancelled or rescheduled because of Friday's work stoppage.

The American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region had earlier gotten notices of intent to strike from staff members represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 459 and Teamsters Local 580. The Great Lakes region covers more than 60 counties.

Stoneking says Friday marks the third time the unions have gone on strike in the past two years.

The Teamsters union said in a statement Thursday night announcing the strike that staffing concerns and health care benefits are among the reasons for the labor action.

Politics
6:55 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Review of emergency manager petitions continues

Opponents of the campaign aimed at overturning Michigan's revised emergency manager law have until April 9 to challenge voter signatures turned in on petitions supporting the repeal effort.

The deadline for challenging signatures that may be invalid was set this week by state election officials.

Election officials are reviewing signatures turned in by a group called Stand Up for Democracy. The group wants to give voters a chance to overturn Michigan's 2011 emergency manager law during the November election.

The group turned in petitions containing 225,885 signatures. The coalition must have at least 161,305 valid voter signatures to make the ballot.

State election officials are expected to determine by late April whether enough valid signatures were filed.

Politics
10:15 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Court says some welfare recipients in Michigan wrongly cut off

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A judge says some Michigan welfare recipients protected from losing benefits under state law can't be cut off because they exceed federal limits.

Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey Neithercut ruled Tuesday that state Department of Human Services director Maura Corrigan "exceeded her authority" by ending benefits for most welfare recipients once they reached the five-year federal limit.

Michigan lawmakers in 2007 adopted a four-year limit that had several exceptions, then approved stricter enforcement last year.

The four-year limit doesn't include months where a parent is needed at home to care for a disabled child or other family member, but those months count under the federal limit.

Neithercut says the state can't deny benefits to those who haven't reached the four-year state cap.

The department says it's reviewing the decision.

Benton Harbor
6:35 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Benton Harbor school board approves consolidation

Woodley Wonder Works Flickr

The school board in Benton Harbor has voted to consolidate its schools as part of a five-year plan to eliminate the southwestern Michigan district's deficit.

WSJM-AM and WNDU-TV report the board voted Tuesday night to go forward with the reorganization, which faced opposition from some students and parents. Following the changes, the district will have four K-8 schools, a high school and a Pre-K program. The district's administrative offices also will move.

Superintendent Leonard Seawood says the district plans to complete the changes by 2016. He says the changes will be "historic for our students."

Officials say the consolidation is part of an effort to avoid the possible appointment of a state-appointed emergency financial manager because of the district's financial difficulties.

Crime
4:24 pm
Sun March 25, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court sets new deadline in misconduct case

INKSTER, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is extending the deadline for a report on possible misconduct by a Detroit-area judge.

Sylvia James, a District Court judge in Inkster, is accused of misspending more than $100,000, either for her personal use or for community projects unrelated to the court. The Supreme Court wanted a recommendation from the Judicial Tenure Commission by mid-May, but the deadline has been pushed to June 15.

James denies any wrongdoing. A hearing with six weeks of testimony was held earlier this year.

Politics
7:07 pm
Sat March 24, 2012

Detroit mayor undergoes surgery, will remain in hospital for 5 to 7 more days

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing (file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

DETROIT (AP) — Mayor Dave Bing has had surgery Saturday to repair a perforation of his intestines and is expected to remain in a Detroit hospital for five to seven days.

Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, chair of surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, says in a release the procedure was successful and the 68-year-old Bing "is resting comfortably."

Dulchavsky says he expects a "faster than normal recovery."

Auto/Economy
3:39 pm
Sat March 24, 2012

GM recalling vans, SUVs to fix steering problem

General Motors is recalling more than 6,000 big vans and SUVs because their steering can fail. The recall affects certain 2012 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, and Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL SUVs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website Saturday that a gear shaft can break, causing a loss of steering. GM says no crashes or injuries have been reported.

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Politics
4:42 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Judges dismiss challenge to Michigan House redistricting

New congressional district maps close up of southeast Michigan.
Michigan House of Representatives

DETROIT (AP) - A coalition of labor and civil rights groups appears to have lost a lawsuit challenging new boundaries for Detroit seats in the Michigan House.

A three-judge panel said a majority was in favor of ending the case, and a written opinion will follow. The judges heard arguments Friday on the state of Michigan's request to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the new map is illegal because it dilutes the political representation of minorities and forces some black incumbents to run against each other in Detroit this year. The boundaries were approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican.

John Bursch of the attorney general's office defended the map, noting the 10 House seats in Detroit have a majority black population.

Politics
12:35 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Michigan appeals court considers Detroit finances timeline

Downtown Detroit
user andrea44 Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Court of Appeals is considering a case that would influence how quickly the state may decide what to do about the city of Detroit's troubled finances.

The appeals court has set a deadline of Friday afternoon for certain briefs to be filed in the case.

The state is trying to overturn Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette's ruling that Michigan officials can't enter into a consent agreement with Detroit until he gives further orders. Collette has ruled a state review team analyzing Detroit's finances must comply with the Open Meetings Act.

Collette set a March 29 hearing in the case. But Gov. Rick Snyder wants the review team to report to him by Monday with the recommendation of a consent agreement or an emergency manager for Detroit.

Politics
11:06 am
Fri March 23, 2012

In Michigan, State House Republicans block efforts to set up health exchange

The Michigan House of Representatives
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan is making little progress toward creating a statewide health exchange required by federal law, held up by House Republicans who want to wait until the U.S. Supreme
Court decides if the law is constitutional.

The high court will hear arguments over the Affordable Care Act starting Monday.

Justices could uphold the law, strike it down completely or get rid of some provisions. House Republicans say the state shouldn't spend $9.8 million in federal funds on planning the exchange until
the court rules this summer.

But state and federal officials say Michigan could run out of time to put a state-run health exchange in place by Jan. 1.

They warn the federal government then would install its own exchange where consumers could compare private health insurance plans online.

Politics
10:11 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing admitted to hospital

Detroit mayor Dave Bing (file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Update 10:11 a.m.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's chief of staff Kirk Lewis sent this update to the media this morning:

I spoke with the Mayor this morning. Doctors have diagnosed him with an inflammation of the intestine; a commonly diagnosed, non-life-threatening condition.

He continues to rest comfortably, and a decision will be made later today regarding his release.

The Mayor is alert, upbeat and tells me he’s ready to return to the office.

9:28 a.m.

Mayor Bing commented on his visit to the Henry Ford Hospital on WJR 760 AM this morning.

From the Detroit Free Press:

...host Paul W. Smith said he spoke to Mayor Dave Bing by telephone Thursday night and Bing told him: “They think I might have a bit of colitis.”

Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine, or colon.

Bing also said he was doing well and expected to be released today, Smith said...

The mayor said in January that he weighs only 10 pounds more than he did during his pro basketball days, and that he plays tennis and never eats junk food.

Thursday, March 22, 7:09 p.m.

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has been hospitalized for observation after discomfort following dental treatment.

Bing press secretary Naomi Patton says Bing had a dental appointment Thursday morning and "continued to experience some discomfort."

Patton says in an email that Bing went to Henry Ford Hospital on Thursday afternoon "and was subsequently admitted for observation and as a precautionary measure."

The 68-year-old Bing is a former businessman and retired NBA player who spent most of his career with the Detroit Pistons.

He was elected to a four-year term as mayor in 2009.

Sports
6:35 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Couch, garbage fires reported after MSU's loss

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some couch and garbage fires were reported near Michigan State University after its men's basketball team lost to Louisville in the West Regional semifinals.

Authorities say a crowd in the hundreds that gathered Thursday night at the Cedar Village apartment complex near the East Lansing campus was mostly peaceful after the Cardinals beat the Spartans 57-44 in Phoenix.

The area has been the site of past disturbances following Michigan State sports events.

No injuries were reported. Police say one arrest related to a fire was reported. The crowd thinned by late Thursday.

Crime
7:01 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Traverse City may lose its federal courthouse

(loveamourlove.com)

The federal courthouse in Traverse City is on a list of 60 nationwide that may face closure.

The federal government is considering closing up to 60 courthouse across the country as part of an effort to cut costs.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show federal courthouses facilities in 29 states could be on the chopping block.   Many of the court sites are in rural areas and critics say closing them could make it more difficult for people to get to court proceedings.

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Politics
12:38 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Judge says he won't lift consent agreement ban

Wikimedia Commons

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan judge has denied a request related to the actions of the state-appointed review team analyzing Detroit's troubled finances.

Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette on Thursday turned down a request from Gov. Rick Snyder and the financial review team to lift an earlier order keeping them from moving ahead with a consent agreement with Detroit city officials.

The judge said that must wait until his March 29 hearing examining whether the review team failed to comply with Michigan's Open Meetings Act.

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Courts
12:06 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Jury at militia trial watches video of bomb tests

Seven on trial: top left, David Stone Sr. of Clayton, MI; Tina Stone of Clayton, MI; Jacob Ward of Huron, OH; David Stone Jr. of Adrian, MI. Bottom left, Michael Meeks of Manchester, MI,; Kristopher Sickles of Sandusky, OH; Thomas Piatek of Whiting, IN.
Base photo U.S. Marshals / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Jurors at the trial of seven Michigan militia members have watched dramatic video of bombs made by investigators from materials or diagrams linked to the group.

The jury heard loud booms Thursday and saw close-up photos of the impact of explosives on cars. Members of the Hutaree militia are charged with conspiring to rebel against the government as well as conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.

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Politics
10:21 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Judge rules Moroun, Bridge Company officials no longer in contempt of court

Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards lifted the civil contempt finding against the Ambassador Bridge owners today, saying they had been complying with his orders to turn the disputed Gateway project over to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The ruling means that bridge owners Manuel (Matty) Moroun, his son Matthew, and bridge company president Dan Stamper are no longer under threat of jailing and no longer are required to attend subsequent court hearings in the case.

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Politics
1:36 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Rep. Miller switches support from Perry to Romney

Miller represents Michigan's 10th Congressional District
Candice Miller's official website

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Rep. Candice Miller has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney after originally backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry dropped out before Michigan's Feb. 28 GOP presidential primary, but remained on the ballot. The Romney campaign announced Miller's support on Wednesday.

She says Romney is the "person we need to lead our country" on the economy and other issues.

Miller is serving her fifth term as the congresswoman from Michigan's 10th District, which includes northern Macomb County and much of Michigan's Thumb. Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney won 16 of Michigan's GOP
national convention delegates in the primary election, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won 14.

The Santorum campaign continues to contest whether Romney should have gotten two at-large delegates or only one.

Politics
11:31 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Tribe considers recognizing same-sex marriages

HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. (AP) - The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians' tribal council is considering a constitutional amendment that would recognize same-sex marriages.

The Petoskey News-Review and WPBN-TV report the American Indian tribe would be the first in Michigan and among a few nationwide to legalize gay marriages if the amendment is adopted.

Most of the about 4,000 people in the tribe live in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula. If the measure is approved, at least one of partner would have to be a member of the tribe. The idea was initially encouraged by two tribal citizens in a letter to the tribal council urging consideration of an amendment.

The proposal currently is in a public comment period. The current tribal constitution defines marriage as between "one man and one woman."

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