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Michigan lawmakers are working to draw more medical providers to low-resource areas by raising caps for a loan repayment program for health professionals in those areas.  

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A person briefed on the matter says the Justice Department is investigating whether General Motors broke any laws with its slow response to a deadly problem with ignition switches on certain small cars.  The probe is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is not public.

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Legislation nearing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's desk would let community service be a requirement to receive welfare benefits. The legislation is sponsored by Republican Senator Joe Hune of Livingston County's Hamburg Township. The state Human Services Department already includes community service among the work participation programs it can require for cash assistance recipients. A bill approved 91-19 Tuesday by Republican-led House would codify the practice into law.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Legislation nearing the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder would let high schools award diplomas to Vietnam War-era veterans who enlisted or were drafted before graduating. State law already lets schools grant diplomas to veterans who served honorably during World War II or the Korean War. The Michigan House on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill making Vietnam veterans eligible.

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So, what's a dropped vowel among friends?   Aretha Franklin says she has no beef with President Barack Obama - even though he botched the spelling of her signature song last week.

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land has relentlessly attacked Democrat Gary Peters for supporting the federal health care law.  

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The final phase of demolition has begun for a well-known vacant Detroit housing project that once was home to boxer Joe Louis and members of the Supremes.  Active demolition began Monday on four 15-story towers that are part of the former Frederick Douglass Homes, better known as the Brewster projects.  Louis once lived at the project near downtown Detroit, as did members of the Supremes before the musical trio became vital voices of the Motown sound. Other demolition work began at the site last year.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - General Motors Co.'s chief executive Mary Barra is expected to get an honorary degree when she speaks at the University of Michigan's spring commencement. The university says in a story posted on its website today that Barra will speak at the May 3 event at Michigan Stadium. The Ann Arbor News reported the confirmation earlier in the day. Barra is expected to get an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. The school's Board of Regents votes March 20 on whether to confer the degree. Five others are recommended for honorary degrees.

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       Legislation to rewrite or clarify recent changes in Michigan's foreclosure rules has taken a step forward.

     The bill approved 107-3 by the House last week retains main elements of a law signed last summer by Governor Rick Snyder, including taking away someone's right to save his or her property if an inspector discovers the home's in bad shape due to neglect or other reasons.

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       Michigan cities are getting behind legislation to create local stock exchanges allowing residents to invest in smaller businesses.

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Actress Mariska Hargitay plans to join Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to discuss proposed legislation that would speed up sexual assault kit testing.  Worthy's office also says the Detroit Rape Kit Project will be discussed at the press conference later today. She has been pushing for more funding to process the backlog of kits. 

Hargitay stars on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." She also is founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation. The foundation works with police and prosecutors on eliminating the backlog of testing for sexual assault kits. 

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William Clay Ford Senior, who helped steer Ford Motor Company for more than five decades and owned the NFL's Detroit Lions, has died at the age of 88.  The company said in a statement Sunday that Ford died of pneumonia at his home. He was the last surviving grandson of company founder Henry Ford.  Ford served as an employee and board member of the automaker for more than half of its 100-year history. The company says in a statement that he was instrumental in setting the design direction for the company's vehicles. CEO Alan Mulally says in a statement that Ford had a profound impact on the company.

     

 Closing arguments have ended in a challenge to Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, which was approved by voters in 2004.

     Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman says Friday he expects to make a decision within two weeks.

     The trial was dominated by different views from scholars about the welfare of children raised by same-sex parents. Two Detroit-area women are trying to convince the judge that there's no "rational" basis under law for Michigan to ban same-sex marriage.

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        Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has signed legislation designed to offer more treatment options in Michigan for people with mental illness, including those who are jailed or at risk of being imprisoned.

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      A person familiar with the event says that new General Motors chief executive Mary Barra is expected to speak at the University of Michigan's spring commencement in May.      The person asked not to be identified Wednesday because the speaker hasn't been officially announced. Barra is the first woman to head a major U.S. automaker.

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        Books, furnishings and other contents from the suburban Detroit home of the late author Elmore Leonard are being sold at a three-day estate sale. The sale at the home in Oakland County's Bloomfield Township runs Thursday through Saturday. A listing on the website EstateSales.net says items include first edition "and/or signed books, furniture, lamps, linens, rugs, garden accessories, outdoor furniture and more."

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 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Great Lakes water levels rebounded sharply last year after a prolonged low period dating from the late 1990s.

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 A university economist says children raised by heterosexual couples have a much greater chance of making normal progress through school than kids living with same-sex parents.

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       Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law changing sentencing rules for juvenile defendants convicted of murder and other serious crimes.

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       Congress has given final approval to a bill designating 32,000 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness.      With U.S. House passage of the bill, it now heads to President Barack Obama for signature. The U.S. Senate passed it in June 2013.      The lakeshore is headquartered in Empire in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.      Hunting and fishing would be permitted in the wilderness areas.      More than 1.4 million people visited Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2011, pumping about $120 million into the local economy.      Democratic Michigan U.S.

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Great Lakes advocates are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for funding of environmental projects and to discuss strategies for dealing with challenges such as invasive species.  More than 100 people from the eight-state region are attending the Great Lakes Commission's semiannual meeting and other activities.

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(Detroit)-A University of Texas professor will face a vigorous cross-examination in the trial over Michigan's gay-marriage ban.  Mark Regnerus is returning to the witness chair this morning in Detroit federal court. He testified Monday for the state of Michigan. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette  is defending a 2004 constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman. 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are looking to remove the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" from state law.  The legislation in Lansing incorporates some recent recommendations from a mental health commission appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. 

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The final witness for two women challenging Michigan's gay-marriage ban is a Harvard University professor who has written a history of marriage in the U.S.

 A Democratic official says Debbie Dingell will seek the House seat currently held by her husband, who has announced plans to retire after the longest congressional career in history.

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