Michigan News

 Hot air balloons will take to the skies over Howell this weekend for the 30th annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest.

     The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus reports  that the event takes place Friday through Sunday at Howell High School. Forty-three balloons with Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Tennessee pilots are scheduled to compete.

     Balloon launch and fly-in times are 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and 6 to 8 a.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday.


  Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jane Seymour's new show is filming in the Detroit area.

     The actress isn't working on a new movie or a scripted series, however.

     She's the host of a national 13-part series called "Feel Grand with Jane Seymour" that's being produced by Detroit Public Television.

     Seymour will be joined on the show by medical experts such as author Deepak Chopra and Susan Blumenthal, former U.S. assistant surgeon general.

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Michigan welcomes office to help skilled immigrants get jobs

Highly skilled immigrants in Michigan now have a new resource to help them find jobs. The national nonprofit organization Upwardly Global opened a new office in Detroit on Monday.

Upwardly Global says immigrants and refugees often have valuable job skills that are in high demand in the United States. But the group says they often still have trouble finding work because of cultural differences.

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Police say a 58-year-old University of Michigan employee who was struck by a bus has died.  The Ann Arbor News reports Nancy Sanders was crossing a street on Thursday morning in Ann Arbor when she was struck by the university bus.


An effort by deep-pocketed philanthropists to save the bankrupt city of Detroit's art treasures culminated today when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder authorized $195 million in state help. The bill signing in Detroit was part of what's dubbed the Grand Bargain. The deal also includes $366 million from foundations and a $100 million fundraising pledge by the Detroit Institute of Arts.


The University of Michigan has approved a 2.6 percent increase in tuition and fees for in-state undergraduates. 

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Michigan's jobless rate jumps very slightly to 7.5 percent

Michigan's monthly unemployment rate has edged up slightly 7.5 percent. It's a statistically small nudge of one-tenth of a percentage point, and most of the change is attributed to more people looking for jobs.

A one-tenth of a percentage point shift in the unemployment rate represents about 2,000 people, and statistically that's considered virtually unchanged from the month before. The slight bump in the rate is attributed primarily to more people joining the workforce to compete for jobs.

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MI Supreme Court: Judges can't impose fines for court costs on their own

The Michigan Supreme Court says judges can't order people convicted of a crime to pay the costs to the legal system -- unless it's been specifically allowed by the Legislature.


State health director says Snyder not to blame for home care failings

Michigan's top health official is defending Gov. Rick Snyder amid claims his administration put in-home care patients in danger.

A new audit shows the state allowed convicted felons to work with vulnerable Medicaid patients. That includes people convicted of Medicaid fraud and violent crimes including assault and murder.


Sign-ups for expanded Medicaid program soar over 300,000

More than 300,000 low-income Michiganders have signed up for the state's expanded Medicaid program.

In just eleven weeks, the Healthy Michigan program has almost reached the sign-up goal for its entire first year. State officials say that bodes well for the success of the program.

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Audit slams state for $160 million in improper payments for in-home care

Two state departments are under fire for mismanaging a program that provides in-home care for Medicaid patients.

A new audit shows the program has misspent at least $160 million since 2010.

The Michigan auditor general's report says the state also failed to make sure money was actually used to deliver services and that caregivers were qualified.

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State auditors say Michigan improperly spent $160 million over three years caring for Medicaid recipients needing in-home services. 


Detroit City Council has reaffirmed its approval to move artwork threatened by the city's bankruptcy into a charitable trust. 

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John Covington has resigned as chancellor of the turnaround district for Michigan's worst-performing schools after three years. Covington said Monday he's leaving to care for his ailing mother and become a school consultant.

General Motors is recalling 3.2 million more cars in the U.S. because of ignition switch problems.  

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The Detroit Zoo plans to "break ice" on a center dedicated to penguins. Officials are to take part in an "ice-breaking" ceremony  today for the $29.5 million, 33,000-square-foot Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the zoo in suburban Royal Oak. 


Oral arguments have been officially scheduled by a federal appeals court about Michigan's dispute over gay marriage. 

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Snyder: More needs to be done to help refugees in Michigan

The number of refugees who have settled in Michigan has grown in recent years - and Governor Rick Snyder says more should be done to help them.

At a town hall meeting at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Snyder called on community leaders to help the state find ways to help refugees.

"It's important that we find ways to help these people - they've gone through terrible circumstances - about making them feel welcome in our country," Snyder told reporters after the town hall.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Michigan forges official relationship with Israel on industrial R&D

Gov. Rick Snyder has cemented a formal relationship between Michigan and Israel to collaborate on industrial research and development.

The governor and Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad signed a memorandum of understanding Monday in Dearborn.
Snyder says the deal was reached after more than a year of talks with Israeli officials.

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Michigan Supreme Court takes two more medical marijuana cases

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear two more medical marijuana cases. Two medical marijuana cardholders want the state's highest court to rule that a voter-approved law shields them from criminal charges.

In both cases, the defendants say the fact that they have medical marijuana cards should protect them from prosecution even if they did not abide by the letter of the law.


The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education has approved hiring company to run its custodial services starting in July.  The Ann Arbor News reports 114 custodians will no longer be employees of the district as of June 30. Crew chiefs also would be laid off. 


Snyder: Restoring MEAP test not his preference

Governor Rick Snyder says he's not giving up on plans to change Michigan's standardized student test. That's despite a provision in the School Aid budget that lawmakers could send to the governor soon. It says schools have to stick with the current test - the MEAP -- for at least another year.

The governor wants the state to use "Smarter Balanced," a new student test that's aligned with the controversial "Common Core" education standards.

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Michigan film incentives to stay at $50 million, Senate leader wants more

The top Republican in the state Senate says he's not satisfied with the amount of money lawmakers have set aside for film and TV productions.

The Legislature is expected to wrap up a state budget this week. It will include $50 million in film incentives. That's the same as last year, but half of that money is now slated to continue into future budgets.

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'Right to work' part of discussions on roads package

Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol over road funding may have resurrected the controversy over Michigan's right-to-work law.

There's a lot of deal-making happening in Lansing as the Legislature enters the final days before its summer recess. The two biggest issues are finishing the state budget, and coming up with more than $1.2) billion new dollars a year for roads - Governor Rick Snyder's top priority before lawmakers leave Lansing.


Michigan lawmakers have given initial approval to a school budget that boosts spending by 4 percent and prohibits the state from replacing its standardized test next year with one developed by a group of states. The bill approved 4-1 Tuesday by a House-Senate conference committee is expected to win final legislative approval this week.