Michigan News

University Of Michigan Economic Forecast

Nov 23, 2019
General Motors

A respected economic report from the University of Michigan says the state’s economy has stalled, but growth is expected to return next year.        

KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP PHOTO

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has temporarily halted the sale of marijuana products intended for vaping so that they can be tested for a compound linked to lung illnesses.

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Today the Michigan Dept. of Health & Human Services announced that overdose deaths decreased slightly in 2018. It's the first decline in six years. You can read the release below. 

LANSING, Mich. – After several years of increases in overdose deaths, in 2018 Michigan experienced a decrease overall, including a slight decline in opioid-related overdose deaths, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today. In 2018, there were 2,599 overdose deaths, 2,036 of which were opioid-related.

DAN CHARLES / NPR

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Egg-laying hens in Michigan will have to be housed in cage-free systems before 2025 under a new law.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist signed the legislation Thursday because Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is on a trade trip in Israel.

The law will also prohibit non-cage-free eggs from being sold in Michigan starting in 2025.

Gilchrist says the measure will ensure Michigan’s standards for protecting animal welfare are among the strongest in the U.S. while ensuring egg producers can thrive.

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PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) — State police say human remains discovered by a Michigan hunter 31 years ago have been identified as an Oklahoma woman.

First Lieutenant Chuck Christensen says that the identity was made by comparing a femur bone with a public genealogy database and interviewing family members. Marcia Bateman of Oklahoma City was 28 years old when she disappeared in 1988.

Christensen says Bateman’s death remains under investigation. He says she was “living on the street a little and somewhat transient.”

Michigan GOP Leader Uses Expletive To Call Governor 'Crazy'

Nov 22, 2019
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Republican legislative leader in Michigan apologized Thursday for using an expletive to describe Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as crazy, saying it was "disrespectful and unnecessary."

MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — The state Corrections Department has been hit with a class-action lawsuit on behalf of inmates who say they’ve been overwhelmed by chronic mold and other unsanitary conditions at Michigan’s only prison for women.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Detroit federal court, says the Huron Valley prison in Washtenaw County is “operating under a state of degradation, filth and inhumanity.” Lawyers say women have suffered health problems because of mold and their complaints have gone unheeded.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE FAMILY OF JILMAR RAMOS-GOMEZ

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Lawyers for a Latino American war veteran who was wrongfully detained by immigration agents in Michigan have filed a $1 million claim against the U.S. government for his three days in custody.

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez is a Michigan-born U.S. citizen. Yet he was taken into custody after his release a year ago from a Kent County, Michigan, jail for an alleged crime. The American Civil Liberties Union says Ramos-Gomez’ “shocking mistreatment” only exacerbated his post-traumatic stress disorder from his service as a Marine in Afghanistan.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Eight former Michigan lawmakers are suing to challenge the state’s legislative term limits, alleging they are unconstitutional and ensure that the Legislature lacks experience.

Those filing suit in Grand Rapids federal court Wednesday include three Republicans and five Democrats. They say Michigan’s term limits law has increased the power of lobbyists, unelected “bureaucrats” in the executive branch and political dynasties.

Michigan Issues 1st Recreational Marijuana Licenses

Nov 20, 2019
RICHARD VOGEL/AP PHOTO, FILE

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan has issued the first licenses to a business planning to grow and sell marijuana for recreational use.

Ann Arbor-based Exclusive Brands already has medical marijuana operations. It received recreational licenses Tuesday. It wants to start selling marijuana to adults age 21 and over as soon as Dec. 1.

Recreational marijuana is unlikely to be available on a widespread basis in Michigan until licensed growers can harvest the first crop, possibly in March or April.

Michigan Secretary of State's office via AP

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says her department is making it easier for transgender people to get a driver’s license or state ID card.

Starting Monday, those wanting to correct the sex designation on their license can go to a branch office to have their photo taken, fill out a form and pay $9. They no longer will need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order.

RICK BOWMER/AP PHOTO/FILE

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Michigan health authorities are reporting a 6th fatality linked to Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Berrien County Health Department officials said Monday the victim was one of two people who contracted the mosquito borne virus. The death occurred Saturday.

Cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis first appeared in West Michigan at the end of August. The virus has been reported in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. The outbreak has resulted in 10 human cases and 46 animal cases.

John Raoux/AP Photo/

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Court clerks around Michigan are criticizing a proposal to allow phones and other electronic devices in courthouses.

Among their objections: They fear they’ll lose money.

The Michigan Supreme Court is holding a public hearing Wednesday in Lansing.

Courts typically charge people to make copies of public documents. Someone with an electronic device could do it for free. For example, Mason County charges $1 per page. Clerk Cheryl Kelly says the proposed rule “would put a dent in our revenue.”

Benton Harbor Trash Pickup Stops Amid Cash Controversy

Nov 17, 2019
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Trash is piling up in Benton Harbor.

No curbside trash was picked up Friday for the third consecutive day amid a controversy over payments to the contractor, Wecycle Industrial Sanitation.

Wecycle manager Willie “Curly” Williams says a monthly payment of $39,000 was given to a former employee. Williams says the trash hauler won’t resume pickup until it gets another payment from Benton Harbor.

Michigan Easing Permit Process To Fight Lakeshore Erosion

Nov 17, 2019
Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — State regulators say they want to make it easier for lakeshore property owners to get permits to temporarily fix the effects of high water, especially along Lake Michigan.

The permit fee is being reduced to $100, and a public notice in most cases won’t be required. The goal is to stabilize eroding shore with sandbags, although the bags must eventually be removed.

United Auto Workers Approve New 4-Year Contract With Ford

Nov 16, 2019
David Zalubowski/AP Photo

DETROIT (AP) — Members of the United Auto Workers union at Ford Motor Co. have voted to approve a new contract with the company.

The union says in a statement Friday night that 56.3% of workers who voted were in favor of the deal.

The four-year agreement reached Oct. 31 gives workers a mix of pay raises and lump-sum payments as well as a $9,000 ratification bonus. The company also promises $6 billion in U.S. factory investments. Ford gets to close an engine factory near Detroit but its 600 workers there will get jobs at a nearby plant.

Liberal PAC Files 3rd Challenge To Michigan Election Laws

Nov 16, 2019
Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A liberal group has filed a third challenge to portions of Michigan’s election laws, contesting rules governing how people can register to vote in the two weeks before an election.

The suit brought Friday is related to a 2018 ballot initiative that expanded voting options.

Priorities USA says the Republican-led Legislature last year imposed “onerous restrictions” on those registering in person and was wrong to not let voters register at polling places on Election Day.

John Raoux/AP Photo/File

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general plans a crackdown on illegal robocalls.

Dana Nessel on Friday announced a dozen initiatives aimed at putting a halt to the calls, many of which she says are scams.

Her office plans to educate residents so they can protect themselves, step up enforcement, work with the Legislature to update state laws and be a model that other states can follow. Nessel is urging people to hang up if they get an illegal robocall and to report it to her office.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Michigan lawmakers have left the state Capitol for a two-week break.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher say that’s despite the fact that they haven’t yet reached a deal to restore critical funding in the state budget.

You can learn more about MichMash at wdet.org/michmash. Or subcribe to MichMash wherever you get your podcasts.

RICK BOWMER/AP PHOTO/FILE

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Health officials in a southwestern Michigan county say cold weather has ended this year’s mosquito season and with it the threat of a deadly mosquito-borne virus.

Berrien County Health Department spokeswoman Gillian Conrad says recent cold, snowy weather wiped out mosquitoes that were spreading the eastern equine encephalitis virus.

Health officials say there were 10 confirmed human cases of that rare virus this year in southwest Michigan. Five of those people died.

AP Photo

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation to prohibit the sale of an over-the-counter cough suppressant to minors unless they have a prescription.

The restriction on dextromethorphan will take effect next July. Dextromethorphan, or DXM, is found in many cough and cold medicines but has been abused by teenagers seeking a hallucinogenic high.

Retailers selling the over-the-counter drug will be required to ask for ID unless a customer appears to be at least 25 years old.

Hunters Hit The Woods For Firearms Deer Season

Nov 15, 2019
Bob Kuhns/National Parks Service

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Thousands of hunters will trek into Michigan woods and fields Friday as firearms deer season opens.

The season runs through Nov. 30.

The Department of Natural Resources’ annual forecast says overall deer numbers are low in the Upper Peninsula and buck sightings have been limited.

Buck numbers appear on the upswing in the northern Lower Peninsula. They are abundant in many parts of southern Michigan, where bachelor herds have been spotted.

Carlos Osorio/AP Photo/File

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan drivers who want unlimited lifetime coverage for crash injuries will pay $100 per vehicle starting in July — a reduction from record $220 they are assessed now.

The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association announced the 55% fee cut Wednesday, months after the passage of a new law making the mandatory benefit optional beginning next summer.

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

BANGOR, Mich. (AP) — Southwestern Michigan police say a man using heavy machinery to clear snow died after he became trapped beneath part of the machinery.

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office says the 40-year-old man was using a skid-steer loader to move snow Tuesday morning at a business near Bangor when he became trapped beneath its bucket.

Police say the man was working under the bucket area to clean snow from near machinery pedals when the bucket lowered onto him.

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Democratic group is challenging Michigan’s restrictions on transporting voters to the polls and helping people apply for absentee ballots, asking a federal judge to block enforcement of the laws.

The lawsuit was filed late Tuesday. It is the second voting-related suit brought in two weeks by Priorities USA, a super PAC that plans to spend millions of dollars to mobilize and turn out voters in Michigan.

Michigan Prison Museum To Close At End Of Year

Nov 13, 2019
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JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A museum at a former southern Michigan prison is closing at the end of December.

Cell Block 7 in Jackson allows visitors to step into the cells and walk the corridors of what was once the largest walled institution in the world. The museum’s website invites people to “spend some time on the inside” during a self-guided tour.

The museum opened five years ago under an agreement between the state of Michigan and the Ella Sharp Museum, also in Jackson. Ella Sharp director Diane Gutenkauf says the costs are too high.

Paul Sancya/AP Photo

DETROIT (AP) — A double lung transplant recipient who severely damaged those internal organs by vaping has been identified as a Michigan teenager.

Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit described to reporters Tuesday the procedure that saved the 17-year-old's life and pleaded for the public to understand the dangers of vaping.

The teen was admitted in early September to a Detroit-area hospital with what appeared to be pneumonia. He was eventually taken to Henry Ford Hospital and the transplant was performed Oct. 15.

Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo

 

McDonald's got tough on its former CEO, who was fired last week for having a consensual relationship with an employee.

Now, some workers say, the company needs to get tougher on sexual harassment in its restaurants.

On Tuesday, former McDonald's employee Jenna Ries filed a class-action lawsuit against the company and one of its Michigan franchisees. Ries says she and female colleagues were subjected to repeated physical and verbal harassment.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan Republican legislative leader is drawing criticism from state Democrats for likening abortion to the "scourge" of slavery.

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told Hillsdale College's radio station last week that allowing abortion is comparable to "the scourge we endured when we still had slavery in this country."

Democratic state Sen. Erika Geiss says Shirkey's remarks were "incredibly insensitive." Geiss, who is black, said Tuesday it is wrong to compare anything to the "atrocities of slavery" and what it did to black families.

Weather Service: Snowfall Records Set In Michigan

Nov 12, 2019
Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

DETROIT (AP) — It was a snowfall for the record books in Detroit and Flint.

The National Weather Service forecast office for Detroit/Pontiac says a record daily maximum snowfall of 8.5 inches at Detroit Metro Airport on Monday broke a record that had stood for nearly 94 years. It was the highest November daily snowfall, topping the previous high mark of 6.2 inches set on Nov. 15, 1925. It also broke the old record for Nov. 11 of 4.1 inches set in 1984.

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