The Associated Press

Pages

Science/Medicine
3:28 pm
Sun March 11, 2012

Michigan lawmakers may soon debate changes to state's abortion laws

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers might soon take some initial votes on bills related to abortion law in the state.

Legislation awaiting a vote in the Republican-led House would require a doctor or an assistant to do some screening before an abortion to make sure a pregnant woman isn't being forced or coerced to have the abortion against her will. Other bills would provide penalties for coercing a woman to have an abortion against her will.

Politics
6:46 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

Michigan Democrats pick their favorites in state races

DETROIT (AP) — Democrats have chosen their favorites for this fall's Michigan Supreme Court and education board races, hoping once again to give their candidates a five-month jump in fundraising and campaigning over Republicans.

Votes at Saturday's state convention in Detroit were nonbinding, since Democrats can't nominate candidates until the party's September convention. Republicans will nominate candidates in August.

Read more
Offbeat
2:45 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

Feeling Lucky? Mega Millions jackpot grows

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to an estimated $171 million for the next drawing in the multistate lottery game.

The grand prize amount rolled over because no player matched all the winning numbers to take the $148 million jackpot up for grabs Friday night. Mega Millions will be played again on Tuesday.

One player who bought a ticket in Michigan won a prize of $250,000 and three others won $10,000.

The winning numbers from Friday were: nine, 10, 27, 36 and 42. The Mega Ball number was 11.

Environment
2:37 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

The Great Lakes - On Thin Ice?

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A published report says the amount of ice covering the Great Lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years.

The report published last month by the American Meteorological Society says only about 5 percent of the Great Lakes surface froze over this year.

A Duluth News Tribune report (http://bit.ly/z5DoW8 ) says researchers determined ice coverage by scanning U.S. Coast Guard reports and satellite images taken from 1973 to 2010.

Read more
Hutaree
12:55 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

FBI agent: Hutaree leader had knowledge of explosives

David Stone Sr.
(Courtesy of the US Marshal's Service)

DETROIT (AP) — An FBI agent who trained with a southern Michigan militia says he was concerned about the leader's knowledge of explosives.

Steve Haug testified Friday in the trial of seven people charged with conspiring to rebel against the government. He posed as a truck driver in 2009 to join the Hutaree and secretly record conversations.

Read more
Politics
10:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Records: Detroit contractor extorted $58.5 million

DETROIT (AP) - Federal court records claim a Detroit businessman and ally of disgraced ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick obtained $58.5 million by extorting contractors and through other illegal conduct.

The allegations surfaced in a seizure warrant affidavit that was unsealed Thursday and reported by The Detroit News.

The affidavit provides the most detailed account to date of the alleged trail running through the racketeering conspiracy case against Ferguson and Kilpatrick. It says Ferguson spent a fraction of the cash on his kids' college education, his girlfriend and construction equipment.

Ferguson's attorney, Gerald Evelyn, said he hadn't read the affidavit but has challenged FBI searches in a separate bid-rigging case against Ferguson.

The 43-year-old Ferguson is awaiting trial in separate federal corruption and bid-rigging cases.

Detroit
6:44 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Detroit mayor to ask Mich. for $125M-$150M loan

Ifmuth Flickr

Update 7:15 a.m.:

Bing spokeswoman Naomi Patton said in an email to The Associated Press on Friday morning that the mayor has no such specific plans, however, to seek the help from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

Original post:

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing plans to ask the state of Michigan for a $125 million to $150 million loan to shore up Detroit's finances and avoid a state-appointed emergency manager.

Bing's plans to seek the help from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder were reported Thursday evening by The Wall Street Journal following an interview with the Democratic mayor.

The Detroit News reported Friday that Bing's office confirmed the plans. Bing spokeswoman Naomi Patton tells the newspaper a request hasn't yet been formally made to Snyder.

The Associated Press sent emails Friday morning seeking comment from Patton and the governor's office.

Detroit faces cash flow problems and a nearly $200 million budget deficit. Bing and Snyder have said they would prefer to avoid an emergency manager. A consent agreement is a possibility.

Education
7:05 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court hears arguments in Detroit Public Schools emergency manager lawsuit

Michigan Supreme Court
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is considering a case related to whether the timing of the oath of office should affect the status of Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Roy Roberts.

The court heard oral arguments in the case Thursday.

The case was brought by Robert Davis, an activist who has filed several suits challenging aspects of Michigan's emergency manager law.

Read more
Politics
4:56 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Autism coverage bills clear Michigan Senate committee

Flickr
cedarbenddrive Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate soon could vote on bills aimed at requiring insurance companies to cover some types of treatment for autism.

The Senate's Health Policy Committee on Thursday approved a bipartisan package of bills related to autism coverage, sending the bills to the Senate floor. They go to the House if the Senate passes them.

One bill sets up a fund to help reimburse insurers for paid claims related to diagnosis and treatment of autism. That provision is included in hopes of lessening opposition from business and insurance groups.

Previous efforts to mandate autism coverage have stalled in Michigan.

More than half the states require insurers to provide autism coverage. Gov. Rick Snyder says it's time or Michigan to join them.

Politics
3:01 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Consent agreement may be part of Detroit's future

DETROIT (AP) - A high-stakes game of political brinksmanship could result in a consent agreement that keeps a state-appointed emergency manager out of Detroit.

But elected officials and municipal unions first would have to agree on concessions aimed at shoring up the city's financially-battered books.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he prefers a consent agreement with the city, which faces cash flow problems and a nearly $200 million budget deficit.

A consent agreement likely would include stiff requirements and still could lead to a manager if Detroit fails to comply. But it could help keep civic pride intact while retaining local control.

Mayor Dave Bing for months has used the threat of an emergency manager to cajole city unions into accepting wage and health benefit reductions. Deals have been reached but remain un-ratified.

Politics
1:30 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Michigan group wants corporate donors to be revealed

Former Michigan secretary of state candidate Jocelyn Benson announces launch of a ballot campaign to require corporations to disclose their political spending. The rollout took place on the steps of the state Capitol in Lansing.
Rick Pluta MPRN

Corporations would have to report their spending on political advertising and lobbying under a proposed amendment to the state constitution. Organizers announced the drive today, although they won’t start gathering signatures until later this month.

All amendments to the state constitution must be approved by voters.

A 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on their own political ads. The court says it’s up to states to decide whether to require disclosure.

Jocelyn Benson was the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2010 for Michigan Secretary of State, and is leading the effort to adopt the amendment.

“It’s really important when you think about our role not just as voters, but as consumers – when we buy products, we deserve and we have a right to know if the money we spend on companies or on products are being spent to influence political campaigns or lobby elected officials. This amendment would create that right,” said Benson.

The amendment would require companies to immediately disclose any spending for a political purpose, and where the money came from. Benson’s campaign is aiming for the November ballot.

The Associated Press reports that "backers have until July 9 to collect the 322,609 signatures needed to get the measure on the November ballot."

Politics
11:29 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Judge: Bridge owner loses control of construction

Flickr
The Ambassador Bridge Jim Wallace

DETROIT (AP) - A judge has ordered the company that controls the Ambassador Bridge to surrender control of its portion of a project on the U.S. side of the international crossing to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards ordered Thursday that an account be set up to fund the work.

A next court hearing is March 22.

The Detroit International Bridge Co. has said it's making progress on its share of the $230 million Gateway Project and pledged to complete the work.

In January, Edwards put 84-year-old billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun and his top executive, Dan Stamper, in jail for contempt of court for failing to follow orders on the project, which includes connecting the bridge with Canada to area interstates.

They were released by the Michigan appeals court.

Politics
6:45 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Michigan Court of Appeals strikes down GOP reapportionment of Oakland County commission

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld part of a lower court's ruling involving redistricting in Oakland County.

The court ruled Wednesday that the law passed last year by the GOP-controlled Legislature was a local act affecting only one government and needed to pass with two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate to meet state constitutional requirements.

Read more
Politics
5:52 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Another former Wayne County official indicted

DETROIT (AP) — A former high-ranking Wayne County official has been indicted on corruption charges in an investigation of kickbacks tied to a health program.

Michael Grundy is accused of enriching himself by having a contractor inflate invoices and pass him the cash. Grundy was an assistant county executive and director of HealthChoice until he was fired last fall.

He's charged with conspiracy, fraud and extortion. His lawyer had no immediate comment Wednesday.

Grundy was placed on leave in October and then fired in November by Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.

Read more
Education
4:15 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Michigan legislature passes school union dues bill

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Update 4:15 pm

The Michigan legislature has passed a bill to prohibit public schools from automatically collecting union dues from the paychecks of teachers and other employees.

Republican Representative Joe Haveman says the bill’s intent is to focus schools on educating children.

 “The focus of our school administration has to be on teaching the kids.   Let’s get out of the business of collecting bills for other people," says Haveman.

Critics complain the real intent is to weaken teachers’ unions.

Read more
Crime
11:54 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Michigan's governor calls for 'smart justice' to fight crime

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R)

Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan should fight crime by arresting more criminals while also steering youths toward school and jobs and sending some of the accused to drug and mental health courts.

In remarks prepared for Wednesday in Flint, Snyder says the state needs a system of "smart justice" that includes prevention and intervention.

That means making sure those who commit crimes get punished, whether they're involved in retail theft, drug trafficking or murder.

But he says it also means giving inner-city youths a chance to work in parks and receive job training. Under Snyder's public safety plan, ex-cons would get help with literacy and job skills.

Snyder also wants to require that all school-age children attend school in order for their families to receive welfare benefits.

Detroit
6:36 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Mayor Bing set to deliver 3rd State of City address

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing
Corvair Owner Flickr

Mayor Dave Bing will deliver his third State of the City address as he, the City Council and union leaders seek fiscal answers to keep the state from appointing an emergency manager.

He's giving the speech at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Erma Henderson Auditorium at City Hall.

In prior years, the event was held at the Max Fisher Music Center. The move to City Hall is designed to save money. A preliminary review from the state showed a nearly $200 million general fund deficit for 2011.

Municipal unions have yet to ratify concessions aimed at cutting into the deficit.

A review team is looking over the city's books to determine if a financial emergency exists, a step that could lead to Gov. Rick Snyder appointing an emergency manager.

Economy
9:53 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Pentagon plan will cut deep into the Michigan Air National Guard

A Pentagon report says planned Air National Guard cuts would eliminate about 850 jobs at Michigan's Selfridge and Kellogg bases, drawing criticism from Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin and others from the state's congressional delegation.

The Detroit News quotes an Air Force report saying Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County's Harrison Township would lose 724 jobs with the relocation A-10 fighters.

It says Kellogg Air Guard Station in Battle Creek would lose a net 122 jobs.

Democrat Levin says he's asked the military to give him "the methodology and justification for these plans." He says he'll question the Air Force secretary and chief of staff in committee March 20.

Harrison Township Republican Rep. Candice Miller calls the cuts "a step in the wrong direction."

Auto/Economy
3:08 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Fiat may shift Dodge Dart launch off April Fool's

The 2013 Dodge Dart was officially unveiled at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

GENEVA (AP) - Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he may shift the date of the Dodge Dart's production launch off of April 1 to "to avoid being jinxed" by an April Fool's Day launch.

The Dodge Dart is the first Chrysler model to use Fiat architecture under the nearly three-year-old alliance.

Marchionne on Tuesday called the Dodge Dart "a huge step forward in terms of moving the brand into the American heartland."

Fiat, which controls a 58.8 percent share of Chrysler, sells the city car 500 in the United States, hitting sales of 2 million last year.

It plans to bring over the 500L - a larger version of the 500 that was launched at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday - in 2013.

Politics
9:32 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Reopening Flint city lockup among Snyder's plans

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder plans to call for $4.5 million to reopen the Flint city lockup to free space in the Genesee County Jail.

The Flint Journal reports Tuesday the proposal is among those the Republican governor is expected to unveil Wednesday morning during his public safety plan at the Flint City Hall Annex.

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown has said opening the lockup is important because criminals are "laughing at the system."

Snyder says it's unacceptable that Flint, Detroit, Pontiac and Saginaw rank among the nation's top 10 in violent crime rates for cities with at least 50,000 people.

His plan's expected to include $15 million for what he has called law enforcement "enhancements." He also says changes must include crime prevention and criminal justice reforms.

Pages