LANSING, MI – Gov. Jennifer Granholm in the past has championed a tax credit for the working poor and spoken passionately about protecting the state's neediest citizens. But social services groups say the Democratic governor hasn't spoken out loudly enough against some lawmakers' calls for cuts in welfare benefits and less money for a tax credit for low-income working families.
LANSING, MI – The Lansing City Council last night approved changes to the rules governing its meetings. The changes move open public comment time to the end of the meeting.
Council president Derrick Quinney says the changes will help improve the efficiency of the meetings. He says he's not sure if overall decorum will improve, saying that all the steps taken so far to fix that problem have not changed it.
LANSING, MI – State House Speaker Andy Dillon says legislative leaders are close to reaching a budget deal in closed-door negotiations with Governor Granholm.
AUDIO: Dillon says the leaders are close to agreement on the budget for the coming fiscal year. But he says they want to reach a two-year deal, and that's where they are finding more disagreements over where to cut programs and spend federal stimulus money.
DETROIT – The demolition of Detroit's Tiger Stadium soon will resume after a brief break.
Only a small section of the historic ballpark remains standing along Michigan Avenue, alongside piles of rubble and demolition equipment.
Officials tell The Detroit News columnist Laura Berman that work paused because permission was required from the state to partially close the avenue. The permit was issued last week and demolition is due to finish by Oct. 1.
LANSING, MI – State lawmakers say the old Michigan Central Depot in Detroit could bring federal stimulus money into the state if it's renovated. The state Senate held a hearing Monday to discuss the future of the building and of the state as a hub for international trade.
DAYTON, OH – The Lansing Lugnuts beat the Dayton Dragons 7-3 last night at Fifth Third Field. The victory gave the Lugnuts a fifth consecutive series split of a four-game series, one against each opponent in the Midwest League's Eastern Division. It also pulled Lansing within three games of South Bend for the final playoff spot in the division, setting up a battle tonight between the Lugnuts and Silver Hawks.
DETROIT – Carlos Pena hit his AL-best 38th homer and drove in four runs to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 11-7 on Monday for a split of their four-game series.
Tampa Bay scored six times in the first inning, capped by Pena's two-run drive. James Shields remained unbeaten against Detroit, and Jason Bartlett added a solo homer as the Rays moved within five games of idle Boston in the wild-card race.
Tampa Bay hosts the Red Sox on Tuesday night, the start of a three-game series.
LANSING, MI – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alma Wheeler Smith has revised a plan to raise Michigan income taxes and use the money to cover tuition for college students and preschool for all 4-year-olds.
The state representative from Washtenaw County's Salem Township said Monday her bills now make all taxpayers eligible for full tuition reimbursement through a tax credit. An earlier plan had limited full reimbursement to those making $107,000 or less.
ANN ARBOR, MI – University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez is defending his program against allegations the school violated NCAA rules.
The Detroit Free Press reported that players say the amount of time they spend on football training and practice greatly exceeds NCAA limits. Rodriguez says his staff knows the rules and obeys the rules. At an emotional press conference, Rodriguez said he understands the value of athletes spending time on their studies:
LANSING, MI – The state is once again refusing to send its monthly revenue sharing payment to Detroit. The cash-strapped city is late filing a legally required audit of its books with the Michigan Treasury.
DETROIT – State Superintendent Mike Flanagan wanted schools to rethink the way they educate children, and dozens of districts have responded so far to the Michigan Department of Education's Project Reimagine.
Yet the Detroit Free Press reports that it remains to be seen whether the ideas suggested are the type of bold plans that can help children learn while boosting the state's chances of winning a slice of federal stimulus money.
SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, MI – The bloom could be off Michigan's $124 million per year blueberry industry after two destructive viruses infected bushes in three locations.
Particularly upsetting to scientists is where one of the outbreaks occurred -- Michigan State University's agricultural research station in Allegan County's Saugatuck Township, about four miles from Lake Michigan.
An outbreak of blueberry shock is forcing scientists to destroy plants that represent two decades and millions of dollars of research.
LANSING, MI – A Democratic lawmaker and candidate for governor will turn in legislation this week that would guarantee free tuition for in-state students attending public universities and community colleges. Smith says her plan would be an improvement on the Michigan Promise scholarship.
The Michigan Promise is a $4000 scholarship. That covers roughly the cost of two years at a community college.
LANSING, MI – The Lansing City Council is considering a set of changes to its rules tonight.The changes include moving public comment time to the end of the meeting. Supporters say the change will make the meetings shorter and more efficient.
ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan says it is investigating allegations that its football program regularly violates NCAA rules limiting how much time players can spend on training and practice.
In a statement issued to The Associated Press on Sunday, Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said the school believes it has followed "both the letter and intent of the NCAA rules" but will still investigate. Martin says the school has reached out to the Big 10 and the NCAA.
LANSING, MI – A mid-Michigan coalition of labor, faith and civil-rights leaders is getting behind comprehensive federal immigration reform.
Organizers of the Michigan coalition of Reform Immigration for America say an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is the centerpiece of its agenda. Chris Michaelakis is with the United Food and Commercial Workers of Michigan:
DAYTON, OH – The Dayton Dragons handed the Lansing Lugnuts an 8-2 defeat on Sunday night at Fifth Third Field. The teams play the finale of their four-game series tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field.
LANSING, MI – House Speaker Andy Dillon has released a draft bill outlining his plan to save money by putting all public employees into a single insurance pool. The top Democrat in the state House says he expects hearings to begin on the plan next week.
LANSING, MI – A state lawmaker says Michigan could bring in a lot of revenue if it re-taps closed gas and oil wells.
Representative Mike Simpson says the state could work with oil companies that pump CO-2 into reserves to draw out the remaining fuel. One site he'd like to see tapped is beneath Pigeon River in the northern Lower Peninsula.
LANSING, MI – A bill approved this week by the state Senate would require Michigan boaters to clean their boats before putting them in the state's waterways.
AUDIO: The bill would threaten boat owners with a fine if they launch watercrafts with aquatic plants or animals attached. Lawmakers say the point of the legislation is to curb the threat of invasive species in Michigan's lakes and streams.
LANSING, MI – A 13-member board appointed mostly by the governor would play a key role in developing a statewide health care coverage plan for public employees pitched by the top Democrat in the Michigan Legislature.
House Speaker Andy Dillon introduced a draft version of a key part of his proposal Friday. It could be introduced and assigned to a special legislative committee as early as next week.
Dillon says up to $900 million a year could be saved with the plan.
EAST LANSING, MI – Author Steve Lopez will be in East Lansing Sunday and Monday to talk about his book "The Soloist". The book is the selected title for this year's "One Book, One Community" program, with East Lansing residents encouraged to join incoming Michigan State University freshmen in reading and discussion.
LANSING, MI – The state Senate has rejected Governor Granholm's plan to disband the Department of History, Arts and Libraries. The governor's plan would divvy the functions of the department among other state departments. She says it could save the state as much as $2 million.
But Senate Republicans say Michigan's historical perspective would be in jeopardy if museums such as the Michigan Historical Center were handed over to the Department of Natural Resources. State Senator Cameron Brown.