LANSING, MI – The federal government has approved the Capital Region International airport's request for designation as a foreign trade zone.
The designation from the U.S. Commerce Department was nearly a year in the making. Brent Case directs Lansing's foreign trade zone. He says this status means local companies will not have to pay duties on import products until they ship them out of the foreign trade zone.
LANSING, MI – State House Democrats are urging the Republican-controlled Senate to extend unemployment benefits. They say Michigan's 15% jobless rate shows it is time to act.
Legislation passed by the House would provide $138 million in federal stimulus for some unemployed workers completing job training programs. But business groups say that would create new unemployment taxes and financial strain on small businesses.
DEARBORN, MI – Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has announced the state is applying for more than $800 million in federal stimulus money for what's envisioned to be the first step toward a high-speed rail network.
Granholm made the announcement Monday with local and federal lawmakers in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, a stop on the proposed Detroit-to-Chicago line.
Granholm says the funding isn't guaranteed. Monday is the deadline for federal grant applications.
LANSING, MI – Hundreds of Lansing General Motors' workers are getting reacquainted with regular shift work. Laid-off hourly workers began returning to work at GM's Delta Township facility in late July. But they've overlapped shifts for retraining and retooling purposes. Monday, for the first time in eight months, the facility is running two, separate full-time shifts.
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm will announce the next step her administration is taking to build a high-speed rail line that will connect metro Detroit with Chicago and the rest of the Midwest. The governor will make the announcement today at train stations in Dearborn and Jackson.
Michigan is part of a consortium of eight states seeking a share of $8,000,000,000 in federal stimulus money set aside to build rail lines for trains that will travel as fast as 110 miles per hour.
CINCINNATI – Kroger is recalling a store-brand bread that could contain ingredients not listed on the label. The ingredients could cause reactions in people allergic to milk. The recall affects stores in Michigan and a dozen other states.
MORGANTOWN, WV – The Dean of Michigan State University's college of Agriculture and Natural Resources is a finalist for a job in West Virginia. Jeffrey Armstrong is among a group of three finalists to become Provost of the West Virginia University in Morgantown.
The university is looking to fill the vacancy created when former Provost Gerald Lang resigned in the wake of a scandal involving a master's degree that was improperly awarded to the daughter of the state's Governor.
EAST LANSING, MI – General Motors highest-ranking local executive is retiring. In a message on his Facebook page, Lansing Regional Plant Manager Randy Thayer says he looks forward to "new opportunities" after 36 years with the automaker. The on-line message did not say when he would leave GM.
Thayer currently heads operations at both of the company's Lansing plants. He is a Lansing native and serves on the boards of a number of community organizations.
FORT WAYNE, IN – Fresh off their only off-day in August, the well-rested Lansing Lugnuts scored eight runs in the first inning en route to a 15-7 thrashing of the first place Fort Wayne TinCaps in the opener of a four-game series last night at Parkview Field. The two teams play the second game of the series tonight at 7:05.
EAST LANSING, MI – A state House committee took testimony Thursday on whether drivers with unpaid parking should be allowed to renew their licenses.
AUDIO: The bill would prevent scofflaws from renewing their licenses if they have three unpaid parking tickets. Current law revokes the ability to renew after six unpaid tickets. Those who support the bill say it would create incentives to pay down tickets and allow local governments to collect lost revenue.
EAST LANSING, MI – About 70 Michigan Army National Guard soldiers are leaving home for what will be a 10-month deployment to Iraq. Members of the 238th Aviation Battalion based in Grand Ledge held a deployment ceremony Thursday in Lansing.
The unit's mission is to transport wounded troops to medical installations. Major General Jerry Cannon commands the unit's headquarters. He says resources in Iraq to support the troops continue to improve.
ANN ARBOR, MI – More than 900 current or former female inmates have filed claims for a piece of a $100 million settlement with the state resolving claims that prisoners were sexually assaulted by male corrections staff.
A judge on Thursday gave final approval to the settlement in Ann Arbor after preliminarily signing off last month.
It was previously thought up to 500 women could qualify for the settlement. But an attorney told the judge that more women came forward when the class-action settlement was announced.
Lansing, MI – What's it like to be convicted of a felony at age 16 and spend the next nine years in an adult prison? Dwayne Betts tells his story in a new book called "A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison".
LANSING, MI – Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says more needs to be done to protect children from sexual predators who use Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites to meet their victims.
Using a computer to solicit a child to have sex is already a crime. But Attorney General Mike Cox says the 1994 statute does not reflect how child molesters have turned to social networking sites to make contact and gather information about prospective victims.
JACKSON, MI – A Jackson County commissioner who held up a sign with a crossed-out swastika last week at a health care protest outside Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer's office says the sign misrepresented his views.
Phil Duckham said at a board of commissioners meeting Tuesday night the sign did not convey his message properly.
But he told the Jackson Citizen Patriot that he stands by his comparisons between Nazi politics and President Barack Obama's plans for restructuring America.
LANSING, MI – The tiny community of Standish is suddenly becoming an important stop for Republican gubernatorial candidates campaigning against bringing Guantanamo detainees from Cuba to the state prison.
The Obama administration has sent officials to look over the maximum security prison. It's also considering moving the detainees to a federal military prison in Leavenworth, Kan.
LANSING, MI – The state Legislature is trying to solve problems with high school math requirements. Both the House and Senate would like to see more options created for students struggling with the algebra-two graduation requirement. Lawmakers say some vocational training should be offered in place of the course.
MARQUETTE, MI – Environmental groups vow they'll appeal if the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality once again approves permits for a nickel and copper mine in Marquette County.
The National Wildlife Federation and local entities filed suit in 2007, saying Kennecott Minerals Company's application contained serious flaws and would hurt the environment. On Tuesday, an administrative law judge upheld their approval.
EAST LANSING, MI – Area schoolchildren and Mayor Virg Bernero have opened what officials say is Lansing's first community-built playground. About 50 volunteers created the site in about a half-day last Saturday, erecting play equipment and seating in Burchard Park near the Grand River south of Old Town.
Brittany Hoskiew is with the Old Town Commercial Association. She hopes the playground will attract more families to the district:
TOKYO – Soprano Hildegard Behrens, one of the finest Wagnerian performers of her generation, has died while traveling in Japan. She was 72.
Jonathan Friend, artistic administrator of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, said Tuesday in an e-mail to opera officials that Behrens felt unwell while traveling to a festival near Tokyo. She went to a Tokyo hospital, where she died of an apparent aneurism.
Friend's e-mail was shared with The Associated Press by Jack Mastroianni, director of IMG Artists.