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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 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.

Same Sex Parents

 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.

(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.

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.

One of the few remaining gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park has been found dead after escaping to the mainland across a Lake Superior ice bridge, a scientist said Tuesday.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says its license sales system will be offline for parts of Tuesday and Friday so it can be updated.  You won't be able to buy licenses online or in stores during those times. 

WASHINGTON (AP) - A person familiar with his plans says Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, will announce his retirement later today.  The 87-year-old Dingell was first elected in 1955, filling the House seat vacated by his late father. The person was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of Dingell's announcement.  He became the longest-serving member of Congress last year.  His plans were first reported by The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township are expected to decide in May on a proposed public transit tax to raise nearly $4.4 million in annual funding.  The Ann Arbor News reports campaigns with competing messages are taking place after the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority voted last week to place a 0.7-mill transit tax on the May 6 ballot in the three Washtenaw County communities

The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

A 55-year-old restaurant manager died and more than two dozen others were taken to hospitals Saturday after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall, police said.

Suffolk County police identified the man who died as Steven Nelson, a manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.

Police said 28 others affected by carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.

University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The federal government has awarded an $8.5 million, five-year contract to the University of Michigan's Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center to coordinate the United States Renal Data System.  The national data system collects, analyzes and distributes information about patients with chronic kidney disease.   

The university announced the contract Thursday, saying that about 13 percent of Americans have chronic kidney disease. It says that each year, 100,000 Americans develop end-stage kidney disease that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Under pressure to increase the number of minority students, the University of Michigan Board of Regents today approved an Associate Vice President's job that will specifically focus on enrollment management, with an eye towards more diversity of campus.   Provost Martha Pollack announced the position last month, promising to hire someone to help recruit qualified minority students to the university. 

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DETROIT (AP) - The office Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says the blueprint for the city's restructuring through and after bankruptcy is expected to be filed Friday in federal court.       Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes had set a March 1 deadline for the long-awaited plan of adjustment. The plan will spell out how individual creditors will be treated as Orr reduces the city's $18 billion debt.       Spokesman Bill Nowling says Orr's office plans to file the plan with the court Friday.

Michigan Senate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has voted to spend more for winter road maintenance and to adjust the budget to account for a delay in the expansion of Medicaid. The legislation includes $100 million to fix potholes and help governments with higher-than-usual salting and snow plowing bills. Expanding Medicaid to more low-income adults was supposed to occur in January before senators delayed  it until April.