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Politics
1:30 pm
Sat November 12, 2011

Stronger fireworks may soon be available in MI

A Roman Candle
Flickr/jcarter

Michigan could soon expand the lineup of legal fireworks that consumers can buy without special permits.

The state Legislature has approved measures that would allow some consumer fireworks such as firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles to legally be sold in the state. Governor Snyder likely will sign the bill in time for it to become law in 2012.

Politics
2:40 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

Michigan GOP presidential primary ballot lists 11 candidates

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Eleven Republican presidential candidates are on the ballot so far for Michigan's Feb. 28 presidential primary.

The Michigan Department of State released the list Friday. President Barack Obama is the only Democrat. Democratic activists plan to nominate their favorite at May 5 party caucuses, not through a primary election.

The chairmen of the state Democratic and Republican parties have until Tuesday to add the names of other candidates to the list, and candidates have until Dec. 9 to remove their names.

The GOP list includes Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. All eight participated in a southeast Michigan debate Wednesday night.

Others on the GOP list are Gary Johnson, Fred Karger and Buddy Roemer.

politics
11:18 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Michigan Supreme Court won't intervene in $100M deal with Prisoners

user: abay flickr.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to intervene in a dispute over a $100 million settlement with former and current female prisoners who claimed they were sexually harassed behind bars Oakland County wants the women's names so victims of their crimes can also be paid. While that dispute is pending, the county wants the state to suspend payments.

Politics
12:25 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

Permit allowing group to 'Occupy' Detroit park to expire

The group pitched tents Oct. 14 in the park
user: detdan flickr.com

DETROIT (AP) - A permit allowing a group to camp out overnight  in a Detroit park while protesting the roles of Wall Street and banks  in the nation's economic troubles is scheduled to expire next week.

Lucianna  Sabgash of Occupy Detroit said Thursday city workers  have posted signs stating Grand Circus Park closes at 10 p.m. She says the permit runs out on Monday, but the group is  expected to seek a renewal.

Auto/Economy
3:22 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

Michigan solar company suspends production, plans job cuts

Solar panels in Michigan
Ford Motor Company Flickr

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Solar energy product maker Energy Conversion Devices Inc. says it has temporarily suspended manufacturing and is planning about 500 job cuts.

The Auburn Hills-based company announced Tuesday that manufacturing has been halted because of excess inventory. The company says about 400 workers will be furloughed at its manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Mexico and Ontario, Canada.

The production cuts include United Solar Ovonic facilities in Greenville, where more than 140 layoffs recently were announced. Other Michigan manufacturing facilities are in Auburn Hills.

The company said that to help cut costs about 500 full-time job cuts were expected by the end of the year.

Energy Conversion Devices has been restructuring its operations since May. It said it expects to return to normal production levels within 60 days.

Politics
11:07 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Some elections workers don't show in Pontiac, Michigan

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Some Pontiac elections workers didn't show up to the polls following the recent firing of the city's clerk by a state-appointed emergency financial manager.

The Oakland Press, the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News and WWJ-AM report voting took place as scheduled Tuesday. Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard says other workers have been brought in and precincts consolidated after some workers didn't show up as expected.

Oakland County's elections director and a representative from the secretary of state were on hand to assist. Voters in Pontiac were choosing Democratic and Republican nominees for the state House's 29th District and making school board picks.

Lou Schimmel last month fired Yvette Talley as well as the city's attorney and director of public works in what he called a realignment of City Hall.

Recreation
10:20 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Snowmobile permits rising $10 to $45 in Michigan

A snowmobile trail near Cadillac, Michigan.
user harrisMI Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state is increasing snowmobile permit fees for the 2011 season.

 The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that this season the price for a permit is $45, an increase of $10 over last year's price. The fee will be $45 through the 2015 snowmobile season. A state law signed in 2008 provided for the incremental increase in snowmobile trail fees, which support maintenance and grooming of the state's snowmobile trail network.

Politics
4:26 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Michigan Attorney General sues to shut down 2 abortion clinics

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a lawsuit to close two women's clinics that provide abortions in Saginaw and the Lansing area.

Schuette's office filed a complaint Monday in Eaton County Circuit Court seeking to dissolve Health Care Clinic Inc. in Delta Township and Women's Choice Clinic Inc. in Saginaw. The attorney general's office says an investigation included evidence of improper medical records disposal at the clinics owned by Richard Remund.

The Associated Press left a telephone message Monday for Remund. A person answering the phone at Health Care Clinic declined comment.

Schuette asks state health officials to review evidence suggesting improper records disposal and that at least half of procedures performed at the clinics were abortions. Schuette says the second would put the clinics under more stringent regulations.

Senior Citizens
2:15 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

Playground for senior citizens opens in Ohio

This senior playground is located in a British park
The Royal Parks website

A community near Akron, Ohio opened a new playground last week - one specially designed for senior citizens.
    

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the playground consists of eight pieces of low-impact athletic equipment designed for older adults.
    

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Grand Rapids
10:44 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Report: Gun training continued after stray bullets

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Police reports say Grand Valley State University officers continued firearms training at a West Michigan gun range after a first report that stray bullets may have struck a home about a half-mile away.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Friday that the documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the officers were midway through a training session Sept. 29 when a man drove up saying his house had been hit by two bullets.

The police reports say officers at the North Ottawa Rod and Gun Club's rifle range in Grand Haven Township relocated training to an adjacent pistol range.

Later police would learn a contractor working in a nearby development was wounded in the arm.

Allendale-based Grand Valley State University says it's launched an internal investigation.

Militia
11:25 am
Wed November 2, 2011

Guilty plea set next week in Michigan militia probe

Joshua Clough following his arrest.
U.S. Marshals Service

DETROIT (AP) - One of nine people charged in an investigation of a southern Michigan militia apparently has agreed to plead guilty next week.

Records show Joshua Clough of Lenawee County is due in federal court next Tuesday to change his plea, three months before trial. He's accused of conspiring to rebel against the government among other charges, but it's not clear what's in his deal with prosecutors. No details were filed.

It would be the first guilty plea since charges were filed against nine people in spring 2010. Trial for the others is set for February.

Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday with Clough's attorney and a prosecutor.

The government claims members of Hutaree were scheming to kill a police officer, then attack law enforcement.

Politics
12:23 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Michigan rethinking car limit for food stamp clients

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says a state agency is reassessing whether cars and trucks should be counted as assets for people receiving food stamps.

The state Department of Human Services last month began telling applicants with assets of more than $5,000 in bank accounts, second homes or vehicles with market values of more than $15,000 they'd no longer be eligible for assistance.

The Michigan League for Human Services says many people applying for food stamps are recently unemployed and requesting help for the first time.

Applicants say they need their cars to get to school or job interviews so they can get back on their feet financially.

Snyder told reporters Tuesday that criticism of the vehicle limit is a "valid issue" and that DHS officials are reviewing the policy.

Politics
7:37 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Pontiac's emergency manager fires department heads

Pontiac, Michigan
Dave Garvin Flickr

A state-appointed emergency financial manager for the city of Pontiac has fired the city's clerk, attorney and director of public works in what he says is realignment in City Hall.

The Oakland Press of Pontiac reports Lou Schimmel fired the department heads effective Friday. The changes
are part of what Schimmel, who was appointed to the post in September by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, says is an effort to put together his own team.

The clerk's office is being merged with human resources and the law department is being outsourced.

An employee with United Water, which is contracted to manage the city's wastewater treatment facilities, will run the public works department.

Schimmel was appointed to fill the post held for 14 months by Michael Stampfler.

Politics
5:11 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Some Michigan welfare cuts delayed by court order

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's plan to end welfare benefits for thousands of families has been at least temporarily blocked by a court order.

Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey Neithercut issued a preliminary injunction Monday that would prevent the Michigan Department of Human Services from using a five-year lifetime limit based on federal regulations to end benefits for welfare recipients. Some families were expected to begin losing benefits under that policy in November.

The state filed an appeal Monday afternoon with the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The five-year cutoff was adopted by the state department entering the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. It's separate from a new state law that sets a stricter four-year lifetime limit for receiving welfare benefits.

Roughly 11,000 cases would be affected by the five-year limit.

Politics
1:29 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Snyder says rail service 'vital' to Michigan's future

Railroad trestle in Grand Ledge, MI
user joeldinda Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder says improving passenger and freight rail service is "vital to Michigan's future."

He made the remarks in a statement shortly before giving the keynote address Monday during the Michigan Rail Summit at the Lansing Center.

Top federal and state transportation officials, elected officials and experts also will speak.

Snyder says improving passenger and freight rail service "paves the way" for growth in agriculture and manufacturing, enhances property values and stimulates local economies.

He says Michigan is well positioned to become a major transportation hub linking the economies of Canada other Midwestern states "so that the entire region benefits." Nearly 800,000 passengers rode Amtrak trains in Michigan during the last fiscal year, a record.

Religion
6:26 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Warren priest put on leave after sex abuse report

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit says it has placed a 66-year-old priest on leave after finding "sufficient substance" behind a complaint that he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor early in his ministry.

The 1.3 million-member archdiocese announced Sunday that the Rev. Gary Schulte went on administrative leave Friday from St. Sylvester Parish in Warren. The Associated Press left a phone message Sunday for Schulte.

The archdiocese says its victim assistance coordinator received a complaint in September. The archdiocese says it "found the complaint to be of sufficient substance" to require restrictions on Schulte's work as a priest, including barring him from celebrating Mass.

Schulte was ordained in 1972 and also has worked at parishes in the Detroit suburbs of Clawson, Beverly Hills, Royal Oak and Madison Heights.

State surplus
2:35 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

State surplus store no longer open on weekdays

MiStore sells all kinds of stuff
State of MI website

The state of Michigan says its surplus store no longer will be open on weekdays and instead will open only on the third Saturday of each month.

The change takes effect Tuesday. MiStore, as it's known, will hold its first Saturday opening Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The state store has a vast inventory of surplus items. Some are property seized by police, while others were voluntarily surrendered at airports.

The store also has property no longer needed by government agencies, such as desks and computers. Among the items for sale are police cars, flat screen TVs, jewelry, cameras, paddle boats, pocket knives and lawn maintenance equipment.

The surplus store is located at 3201 W. St. Joseph St., Lansing, MI, 48917.

Energy
3:46 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Temporary fix may help more low-income residents get help with their heat bills

Thermostat
user midnightcomm Flickr

A state program that used to provide heating assistance to 95,000 low-income Michigan residents remains in limbo, but a temporary solution may be worked out this week to help more people stay warm.

Rep. Ken Horn says he's hoping a Wednesday meeting between state officials and Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy staff will lead to a fix until another way to fund the program can be found. He'd like to see the two utilities agree to turn on indigent customers' heat and keep it on through winter, then roll the unpaid bills into their next rate increase.

Michigan law forbids utility companies from shutting off heat between November 1 and March 30 to customers aged 65 and older. But others could face being disconnected if they can't pay their bills.

Education
2:51 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Detroit Schools recalling 89 laid-off teachers

Davison Elementary students
DPS website

Some laid-off teachers in the Detroit Public Schools are being recalled by the district which has enrolled more students this fall than expected.

The district said Saturday in a release that principals at 34 schools have requested more teachers, and that 44 teachers were added to classrooms by October 19.

Twenty-three others have reported back to work and another 22 are expected to return. Some teachers and parents have complained of classes with more students than allowed under the teachers' union contract.

The district says it has 22 classrooms out of more than 4,000 that have exceeded student number limits.

The district ended last school year with about 74,000 students and budgeted for 66,000 this fall. Spokesman Steve Wasko said projections have been exceeded by almost 300 students.

Politics
1:15 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Wayne County's ex-economic development director repays severance

 DETROIT (AP) - Wayne County's former economic development director has returned money she received as part of a controversial severance deal that has led to an FBI probe.

County Executive Robert Ficano announced Thursday that the repayment has been made by Turkia Mullin.

The severance deal was for $200,000. Mullin received $135,900 after taxes last month after she left her old job to run Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.

Ficano has fired a part-time employee and placed the county's corporation counsel and a deputy executive on 30-day suspension after an internal investigation into the severance deal. He earlier
defended Mullin's severance deal, but later said protocol was not followed.

Federal agents have since gotten involved, serving subpoenas this month seeking records.

County commissioners are meeting Thursday and looking into the payout to Mullin.

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