Michigan News

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the influenza-related deaths of two Michigan children.

Officials did not release any other additional information related to the deaths, other than one was a child in northern Michigan and the other child was in western Michigan.

In a statement, the department reiterated the importance of flu vaccinations for anyone older than six months of age.

The state House and Senate are playing volleyball with money to fix a sinkhole in Macomb County.

A House bill originally gave the city a three million dollar grant. It also approved millions of dollars for Flint.

The Senate changed Fraser’s $3 million grant to a $5 million dollar loan.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) said they did this in part to encourage other communities to maintain their infrastructure – instead of waiting for a crisis to get a handout from the state. 

A campaign committee controlled by Republican leaders is facing fines and questions over how it lost track of many thousands of dollars during the last election.

A growing number of Flint water customers are being told to pay past due bills, or risk having their service shut off.

The city is under pressure to get more water customers to pay up now that state subsidies have ended and the city faces mounting costs.

A few weeks ago, the city informed 18 delinquent customers that if they didn’t pay up, their water would be cut off.  According to city spokeswoman Kristin Moore, several paid the minimum amount due to keep their water service on.  But the rest will start losing their service next week.

Now that a judge has approved a legal settlement to replace lead pipes in Flint, the city is acting quickly to get the process moving.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal under which the state of Michigan will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years. 

Last year, Flint removed nearly 800 lead and galvanized steel service lines. This year, the plan is to replace 6,000.         

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says city residents are ready.

One lawsuit filed over the Flint water crisis has ended with a landmark settlement.

Federal Judge David Lawson officially signed off on a four-year deal that lays out a series of remedies for Flint’s lead-tainted tap water, and its lingering impacts.

In the short term, that includes keeping bottled water distribution centers open, and expanding efforts to make sure residents have properly installed water filters.

In the longer run, there are strict requirements for frequent water testing, detailed reporting, and water treatment protocols.

A jury in Tennessee has found the owner of a Massachusetts lab that sold contaminated steroids not guilty of second degree murder.  

But the jury did find Barry Cadden guilty on multiple racketeering and mail fraud counts.  

Hundreds of people around the country were sickened when their doctors injected them with steroids produced by Cadden's compounding pharmacy.  The steroid medicine was tainted with a fungus. 

Dr. Larry Nassar has been found responsible for sexual assault, for the first time since this scandal erupted in the fall. 

Insects and diseases are posing a threat to Michigan's forests.

That's according to a report released yesterday by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The report, which is a part of the National Forest Health Monitoring Program, includes an analysis of issues that threaten Michigan's 20 million acres of forest land for 2016.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers and local officials will try again this year to shut down a tax break that’s allowed big box stores to cut their property taxes.

 

A controversial item in the current budget is the focus of a lawsuit filed today.

 

Concealed pistol licenses way up in Mich.

Mar 21, 2017

The number of concealed pistol licenses approved in Michigan surged 42% last year, compared to the year before. That's according to a recent report from the Michigan State Police.

About 170,000 concealed pistol licenses were issued in Michigan in the year ending September 30, 2016.

That's up from approximately 120,000  issued the previous year, and from about 37,000 issued ten years ago.

According to the State Police, there are slightly more than 600,000 active concealed pistol licenses in Michigan.

Anyone who drives in Michigan is no stranger to the high cost of auto insurance in the state.

A study from gobankingrates.com finds the high cost of insurance contributes to Michigan being the most expensive state to own a car.

According to the study, it costs nearly $5,000 annually to own and maintain a vehicle in Michigan, with more than half that cost coming in the form of auto insurance premiums.

The city of Flint will start cutting off service to delinquent residential water customers next month.

The city plans to cutoff water service at two apartment complexes and 18 residential customers that are delinquent on their water and sewer bills.

A city spokeswoman says the accounts have not been paid for at least five months, and have racked up more than $2,500 to $6,000 in unpaid bills.  In some cases, the water and sewer bills haven’t been paid for years.

The effort to allow any Michigan voter to request an absentee ballot may be close to critical mass in the state Senate. That’s as more Republicans are accepting the idea that anyone who wants to mail in or drop off their ballot should be allowed to without having to lie to do it.

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A new report is raising questions about transparency in Michigan Supreme Court elections.

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He says in 2016 so-called "dark money" helped the two Republican incumbents outspend their Democratic challengers by more than 30 to one.

A new bill introduced by Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters proposes a comprehensive review of the U.S. criminal justice system. The bill has received bipartisan support, as well as the support of many major police organizations and civil rights groups.

"When you combine all the support, I believe that's the kind of coalition necessary to give this commission the political power to see it's recommendations actually enacted into law," Peters said. 

JCPenney released its list of 138 planned store closures nationwide, including seven Michigan stores. The closures are part of a plan to "optimize its national retail operations" in order to return to profitability, according to the company. It will also relocate a supply chain facility in Buena Park, California. The closures will cut about 5,000 jobs nationwide. JCPenney says it will provide outplacement support services for eligible associates. Liquidation of the stores will begin April 17.

The stores to be closed in Michigan are:

Lakeview Square Mall, Battle Creek

The city of Flint is getting a big bundle of cash from the federal government to help the city’s recovery from its water crisis.

Congress approved $100 million for Flint last year, but it took until this week for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to formally award it.  

“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” Pruitt said in a written statement, “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

Michigan’s Irish traditions go back nearly 250 years.

The first Irish immigrants largely settled on the East Coast, in large cities like Boston and New York. But they soon started heading west.

Because Detroit was founded by the French, it was an established as a Catholic city, which was attractive to many of the Irish facing persecution by Protestants back home.

A federal judge says ET Rover Pipeline can immediately seize land from 58 private property owners in Lenawee, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties.

The company said delay would add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of building the new natural gas pipeline.

One of the properties affected by the order is Post 46 Hunting and Fishing Club, which owns 90 acres of wooded land in Pinckney.

Board member Brad Coy says workers have already started to prepare a path for the pipeline.

The governor and legislature would be subject to public records requests, under bills approved by the state House today.

“When you exempt the governor and you exempt the state legislature from the Freedom of Information Act, it’s not true transparency,” said state Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, a bill sponsor. “So this is a victory for citizens of the state of Michigan and journalists alike to learn a little more about how their government works.”

Pressure’s growing on Michigan’s congressional Republicans who have to make a decision whether to support a healthcare overhaul that could be voted on next week.

AARP of Michigan says the proposed replacement to Obamacare would mean higher costs for older people.

“It is simply unacceptable,” said Paula Cunningham, state director of the AARP of Michigan. She says the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act would mean higher costs for older people.

“Do the math,” she said. “You know, what does that do to their income?”

Michigan arts and humanities funding may soon be taking a hit. 

President Trump's proposed budget calls for an end to the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), one of the largest sources of funding for arts and humanities funds nationwide.

The endowment provides more than $1 million in funding every year to the state of Michigan. 

Michigan's average teacher salary has dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to data recently released by the state. Public school teachers are hit the hardest.

David Crim is with the Michigan Education Association. He says salary cuts drive young people away from pursuing education as a career.

"We're losing some of the best and brightest young teachers because they can't afford to pay off student loans while paying the cost of housing, food, and other essentials," Crim said.

Flint is stepping up its efforts to get more city residents to use water filters.

Around 700 faculty and staff members at Michigan State University say they will not help immigration officials that attempt to apprehend, deport, or determine the immigration status of students.

Staff members have been signing a "Statement of Solidarity," which promises to support students that want to remain in the US.

A Detroit man will go to trial on terrorism charges for making threatening comments toward police officers on Facebook.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Nehru Littleton, 40, with two felonies after he posted last July: “F   them racist a     white cops!!! Kill them ALL!!! Black Lives Matter!!! Black people should start killing all white cops just like they are killing us!!!”

Schuette announced the charges in October, after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy declined to prosecute, saying there wasn’t enough evidence.

Eight places of worship in Michigan – in metro Detroit and near Kalamazoo – have officially joined a growing number of churches and synagogues across the country that have agreed to house and protect unauthorized immigrants who fear deportation.

At least eight Michigan houses of worship announced plans to form a “sanctuary network” on Tuesday.

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