LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Five years after Michigan targeted copper thefts plaguing cities like Detroit and disrupting railroads and utilities, plans to better restrict sales of stolen scrap metal are caught in a legislative fight.
Lawmakers are generally in agreement over giving law enforcement more tools to crack down on the problem.
But a provision to make people wait three days for payment for copper wire, air conditioners and catalytic converters is angering scrap buyers and dividing legislators.
This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockely discuss the trial challenging Michigan's same-sex marriage ban, the mayor of Flint's proposal to fight blight in the city, and what President Obama's budget proposal could mean for Michigan.
"Flint Mayor Dayne Walling is calling for a $70 million "war on blight" to help tear down nearly 6,000 buildings in the financially troubled city. Walling made the declaration Monday in his State of the City speech," the Associated Press reports.
Great Lakes 90% covered with ice
All of the Great Lakes combined have 90% ice cover. According to the Detroit Free Press, "that's the most ice cover in 34 years."
Lawmakers want to ban term "retard" from state law
"Michigan lawmakers are looking to remove the terms 'mental retardation' and 'mentally retarded' from state law. Bipartisan bills would strike references to outdated language such as 'retarded' from various statutes and instead use terms such as 'developmentally disabled' or 'intellectually disabled'," the Associated Press reports.
Flint’s mayor says his and other Michigan cities need more revenue sharing dollars from the state.
Mayor Dayne Walling delivered Flint’s “State of the City” speech yesterday. Walling outlined a lot of plans for Flint's future. But he says, without more money from the state, delivering basic services will continue to be a struggle.
“Our local communities were the ones that took the longest, most permanent cuts. And we need to be first in line,” says Walling.
But revenue sharing does not appear to be high on the legislative agenda in Lansing.
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - There is no direct deposit this week for teachers and other employees in the Flint school district.
They were required to pick up their check in person Friday as the struggling district confirms that it's paying people who actually work. Spokesman Brian Smith tells The Flint Journal it's too early to know if any problems were uncovered.
He says there might be legitimate reasons for someone who didn't pick up a check.
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan-Flint is responding to a growth in its engineering program by investing in high-tech equipment for the students.
The Flint Journal reports that engineering enrollment has doubled since 2008 and now stands at 320 students. To meet the demand, the school has acquired a $75,000 microscope that magnifies objects 60,000 times and expects to get a $100,000 three-dimensional printer. The department also is hiring two new professors.
Flint’s emergency manager says a special blue ribbon committee looking at ways to better run the city should continue to meet behind closed doors.
Emergency Manager Darnell Earley appointed the 23 member committee this month. The panel will be meeting for the next several months to study how best to run the city. And those meetings are taking place behind closed doors.
Flint school officials have until Wednesday to deliver a new deficit elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education.
Flint School Board members tonight will review an agreement calling for a 19% compensation cut to school district employees. Specific wage and benefit cuts will be worked out during the next several months.
The wage and benefit concession was announced last week. The cuts would begin in July and last until 2018, when Flint School District officials project the district will have eliminated its multi-million dollar deficit.
Flint has seen a drop of more than 20 percent in the number of murders this year compared to last year's all-time high of 67.
Unless there is a new murder on New Year's Eve, Flint will close 2013 with 52 homicides. That is the lowest number since 2009.
James Tolbert is Flint's chief of police. He attributed the decrease to increased patrolling, use of data to target hot spots of criminal activity, and increased arrests of those with outstanding warrants.
What was once the tallest building in Flint is now just a pile of rubble. This morning, 1,000 lbs. of explosives brought the building down. Demolition crews spent weeks preparing the building to be imploded.
The 19-story Genesee Towers building has stood in the heart of Flint’s downtown for the past 45 years. But a series of explosions brought the building down in a matter of seconds.
When the dust settled, all that was left was a pile of rubble.
The long-empty Genesee Towers has been emblematic of Flint’s economic woes.
“Essentially it’s both a physical barrier and a psychological barrier,” says Dave Lurvey, the demolition project manager. “I think that building being down on the ground is going to help people focus on progress rather than blight.”
The tall pile of rubble will remain on the site through the holidays.
The cleanup probably won’t be complete until the spring.
Developers plan to turn the site of the former office building into a downtown park.
Flint’s tallest building is going to be demolished this weekend.
Experts have spent weeks preparing the 45 year old building for Sunday morning’s implosion.
The 19 story Genesee Towers has been an empty eyesore in downtown Flint for years. The city acquired the building in 2010 and sold it to the Uptown Reinvestment Corp., the city’s downtown development agency, in 2012.
General Motors plans to make a “significant manufacturing” announcement in Flint today.
General Motors officials have declined to say what they plan to announce at the Flint Assembly plant.
But they have confirmed that Governor Rick Snyder and GM North America President Mark Reuss will be there.
The announcement in Flint coincides with an appearance by outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., where he’s scheduled to speak on the automaker’s plans for future investment in the U.S.