Michigan News

  Gov. Rick Snyder is preparing to sign Michigan's $53 billion spending plan for the budget year starting in about three months.

     The Republican governor has scheduled a Tuesday afternoon ceremony to sign the $15.8 billion education budget bill on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing. He also may sign the $37.5 billion budget bill that covers all other state spending if it's proofed in time.

   Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws stiffening criminal penalties for drive-by shooters and people who shoot into buildings.

     People who intentionally shoot from a vehicle get up to four years in prison if they endanger another's safety. The laws signed yesterday increase the prison time to 10 years and put in place longer sentences if there are injuries or death.

     The new law also clarifies that shooting into a potentially occupied structure is a crime without prosecutors needing to prove the structure was actually occupied at the time of the shooting.

  A federal investigator says a health care center for veterans in Ann Arbor has not dealt adequately with complaints about unsafe practices.

     The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System was among facilities mentioned in a letter to President Barack Obama from Carolyn Lerner of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

     The letter released yesterday says a whistleblower reported that employees were "practicing unsafe and unsanitary work practices" and untrained workers were improperly handling instruments.

 A group working to save part of Rosie the Riveter's old factory says it has signed a purchase agreement for the property.

     The Yankee Air Museum announced yesterday it is moving forward with a deal to buy 144,000 square feet of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant.

     The museum says in a statement that, assuming an upcoming inspection goes well, it will close on the purchase "in a few weeks."

     The Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant campaign has raised millions of dollars in an effort to save part of the factory for use as the museum's new home.

 The grandson of a founder of an iconic Michigan soft drink company says he was fired because of his age.

     Hugh Rosenthal was marketing director at Detroit-based Faygo when he lost his job at age 68 in 2012. He tells the Detroit Free Press there was no legitimate business reason to let him go.

     Rosenthal's lawsuit is in Flint federal court. The Free Press says Faygo vice president Al Chittaro declined to comment.

   The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to hold a public meeting this week to discuss the federal agency's safety assessment of the Palisades power plant in southwestern Michigan.

     The NRC announced yesterday the meeting will take place Thursday at the Beach Haven Event Center in South Haven. Agency staffers will discuss the results of safety inspection findings at Palisades, which is located 5 miles away on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Van Buren County's Covert Township.

 Michigan will receive $2.5 million from the federal government for efforts to protect shore lands and coastal ecosystems, along with public access and recreation.

     The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the funding this week to the state's coastal management program. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will administer the grant, which will generate an additional $2 million in state and local spending.

 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.