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In Michigan
9:46 am
Wed June 17, 2009

MI Supreme Court says judges can ban veils

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Supreme Court says judges may order women not to wear face-covering veils when appearing in court. The court adopted the rule by a 5-2 vote. And it refused to adopt an exception for clothing that reflects a sincerely held religious belief.

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In Michigan
9:34 am
Wed June 17, 2009

State jobless rate hits 14.1 percent

LANSING (MI) – Michigan's unemployment rate surged to 14.1% in May. That's a jump of more than a full percentage point from the month before.

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There are 682,000 people out of work in Michigan and looking for jobs. When people who've given up looking, or are working part-time but seeking full-time employment are figured in, the rate of unemployment and under-employment goes to more than 20 percent.

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In Michigan
7:02 am
Wed June 17, 2009

Panel begins work on indigent defense bills

LANSING, MI – The chair of a special legislative subcommittee says he wants to reform Michigan's system for appointing public defenders before the end of the summer.

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State Representative Bob Constan wants to create an independent agency to defend people who are accused of crimes, but cannot afford an attorney. Right now, each county runs its own system, and, in many cases, the fees they pay are some of the lowest in the country.

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In Michigan
7:02 am
Wed June 17, 2009

Senate subcommittee approves DCH budget cuts

LANSING, MI – State Senate Republicans are planning to vote Wednesday on a four percent Medicaid budget cut for the coming fiscal year.

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The Senate Appropriations committee will discuss the cuts in an effort to plug holes in the state budget. The Medicaid cut would be in addition to a four percent cut made already this year.

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Sports
6:04 am
Wed June 17, 2009

Lugnuts lose to Dragons

DAYTON, OH – The Dayton Dragons defeated the Lansing Lugnuts last night 6-3 in a rain-shortened contest at Fifth Third Field. The Lugnuts and Dragons wrap up their four-game series tonight at 7.

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Sports
5:52 am
Wed June 17, 2009

Cardinals rout Tigers 11-2

ST. LOUIS – Albert Pujols hit his fifth home run in five games, and Adam Wainwright worked seven strong innings to help the St. Louis Cardinals rout the Detroit Tigers and ace Justin
Verlander 11-2 last night.

Pujols's 23rd homer went an estimated 446 feet over the left field wall off Ryan Perry to start the sixth. Chris Duncan followed with a 418-foot shot that gave the light-hitting Cardinals back-to-back homers for the first time all season.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Tue June 16, 2009

Farmers Ins. to expand in west Mich., create 1,600 jobs

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP, MI – Farmers Group Inc. says it will expand its Grand Rapids-area campus, creating 1,600 jobs.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm joined representatives of the Los Angeles-based insurer Tuesday to announce the project.

The announcement was made moments after state officials granted $62 million in tax incentives for the project over 18 years.

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In Michigan
5:14 pm
Tue June 16, 2009

GM to sell Saab to Swedish automaker

DETROIT, MI – General Motors has reached a tentative deal to sell its Saab division.

GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with Koenigsegg Automotive for the purchase of Saab. The purchase price has not been released.

Koenigsegg is a small maker of expensive sports cars in Sweden. The company has just 45 employees. It will take over Saab, which has about 3,400 employees.

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In Michigan
5:09 pm
Tue June 16, 2009

Senate subcommittee approves DCH budget cuts

LANSING, MI – State Senate Republicans are expected to approve bigger cuts to the Medicaid health care program for poor families. The Senate Appropriations Committee is poised to vote for a 4% cut in the coming fiscal year to doctors, hospitals, and other Medicaid providers. That's on top of cuts already ordered this year.

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In Michigan
4:42 pm
Tue June 16, 2009

Panel begins work on indigent defense bills

LANSING, MI – The chair of a special legislative subcommittee says he wants to reform Michigan's system for appointing public defenders before the end of the summer.

State Representative Bob Constan wants to create an independent agency to defend people who are accused of crimes, but cannot afford an attorney. Right now, each county runs its own system, and, in many cases, the fees they pay are some of the lowest in the country.

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In Michigan
3:31 pm
Tue June 16, 2009

Mich. senators vote to cut college scholarships

LANSING, MI – A Michigan Senate subcommittee has voted to eliminate a scholarship that gives thousands of state students up to $4,000 to help pay college bills.

The elimination of the Michigan Promise Grant would save the state up to $140 million a year. But Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration likely will resist the move started by Tuesday's Senate subcommittee vote.

Lawmakers and Granholm are scrambling to eliminate a projected general fund budget shortfall of at least $1.8 billion for the fiscal year that starts in October.

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In Michigan
3:22 pm
Tue June 16, 2009

State Police Lansing HQ move draws more criticism

LANSING, MI – The state's plan to move the Michigan State Police into a new downtown Lansing headquarters again is drawing criticism.

The agency is scheduled to move into the new $40 million building early next year. The move has drawn criticism since it was approved in 2007.

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Science/Tech
10:50 am
Tue June 16, 2009

Bald eagles lead to traffic hazard in Michigan

OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI – A nest of bald eagles in one southwestern Michigan community is attracting so much attention from bird watchers that officials plan to ban roadside gawkers from
the area.

The bald eagles nesting in Kent County's Oakfield Township about 20 miles northeast of Grand Rapids have been attracting crowds with binoculars and cameras to a 5-foot-wide shoulder of the road.

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In Michigan
6:38 am
Tue June 16, 2009

Investigators say Discount Dave blaze was arson

Investigators say the May 3 fire at Discount Dave's in south Lansing was deliberately set.
Kevin Lavery, WKAR News

LANSING, MI – The Lansing Fire Marshal has declared the fire at Buy-Rite Furniture last month to be a case of arson.

AUDIO: The May 3 fire destroyed the South Washington Avenue furniture store. After six weeks of investigation, Fire Marshal Phil Sabon now says arson was the cause.

"Today, we're reporting that the fire was intentionally set, and continually will be under investigation at this time," Sabon says.

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In Michigan
6:02 am
Tue June 16, 2009

Hearings on public defense to begin

LANSING, MI – A state House subcommittee will begin work today on a plan to ensure that criminal defendants who can't pay for an attorney are still well-represented in court. A report released a year ago says Michigan has one of the worst public defender systems in the nation.

Laura Sager is with the Michigan Campaign for Justice. She says the public is losing confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system, and the Legislature needs to act.

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In Michigan
5:56 am
Tue June 16, 2009

State House committee to continue tax reform discussion

LANSING, MI – A state House committee will continue hearings this week on how to change Michigan's tax structure.

Republicans and Democrats throughout Lansing agree state taxes need to be updated to help fix Michigan's budget deficit and mend its economy. But ideas of how to tweak the sales tax, the business tax or the income tax are as varied as the economists and lobbyists testifying at the Capitol.

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Sports
5:52 am
Tue June 16, 2009

Game 7 is most-watched NHL game in 36 years

NEW YORK – Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals is the most-watched NHL game in 36 years.

The Pittsburgh Penguins' championship-clinching 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on NBC on Friday night averaged 8 million viewers. The network says that's the most since Game 6 of the 1973 Stanley Cup finals between Montreal and Chicago.

Game 7 earned a 4.3 rating and 8 share. It was the highest rating for a series-ending game since Game 7 of the 2003 Anaheim-New Jersey series.

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Sports
5:48 am
Tue June 16, 2009

Detroit Shock coach Laimbeer steps down, Mahorn takes over

AUBURN HILLS, MI – Bill Laimbeer is stepping down as head coach of the Detroit Shock, leaving the defending WNBA champions only three games into the season.

The team says assistant coach Rick Mahorn will take over as head coach, and assistant coach Cheryl Reeve will keep her title and also become the team's new general manager.

Laimbeer took over the Shock in 2002 and led them to six playoff appearances and three WNBA championships.

A team statement did not give a reason for Laimbeer's departure.

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Sports
5:46 am
Tue June 16, 2009

Lugnuts rout Dayton

DAYTON, OH – A night after getting routed 13-0, the Lansing Lugnuts had their best win of the year, beating the Dayton Dragons 11-2 last night at Fifth Third Field. Tonight at 7 p.m., Lansing and Dayton play the third game in their four-game series.

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In Michigan
6:22 pm
Mon June 15, 2009

LCC unions oppose dismissal of counselors

EAST LANSING, MI – Lansing Community College President Brent Knight says the economy is forcing the school to consider the termination of three long-time counselors at the school. Unionized faculty and staff say the school should tap its general fund to keep the counselors. But Knight says he's reluctant to do that: "Most people think the college should have more money in reserves. And those who would spent that money---I would like to ask them---do you think that the next 24 months in Michigan are going to be better or worse?"

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In Michigan
6:11 pm
Mon June 15, 2009

State Rep backs MagLev, if privately funded

EAST LANSING, MI – State Representative Bill Rogers says he would support a proposed elevated rail system between Detroit, Ann Arbor and Lansing, if private investors finance the project.

Rogers heads a legislative task force looking into a Magnetic Levitation rail line that would run above existing highways. One Michigan company, Interstate Traveler, says there's enough money now to build a prototype of the MagLev.

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Top Stories
3:49 pm
Mon June 15, 2009

LCC employees protest plan to cut school counselors

Lansing Community College.
Melissa Ingells, WKAR News

LANSING, MI – Unionized employees at Lansing Community College are urging the administration not to dismiss three school counselors. Administrators are considering the cuts to address a $3.2 million budget deficit.

Opponents say the counselors perform a critical service at the school. Michigan Association of Higher Education spokeswoman Sally Pierce says LCC should take a closer look at its spending priorities.

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In Michigan
12:07 pm
Mon June 15, 2009

State House committee to continue tax reform discussion

LANSING, MI – A state House committee will continue hearings this week on how to change Michigan's tax structure.

Republicans and Democrats throughout Lansing agree state taxes need to be updated to help fix Michigan's budget deficit and mend its economy. But ideas of how to tweak the sales tax, the business tax or the income tax are as varied as the economists and lobbyists testifying at the Capitol.

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Top Stories
11:50 am
Mon June 15, 2009

State task force considers MagLev train

Gretchen Millich, WKAR News

EAST LANSING, MI – Rep. Bill Rogers (R-Brighton) says he would recommend building a hydrogen-powered rail line in Michigan, if the project does not require any public funding.

Rogers heads a task force exploring the feasibility of the MagLev train.

AUDIO:

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Business
11:02 am
Mon June 15, 2009

AAA Michigan: State gas prices drop 10 cents

DEARBORN, MI – AAA Michigan says gasoline prices are down 10 cents per gallon over the past week to a statewide average of $2.83.

The auto club said Monday the statewide average is $1.29 per gallon lower than last year at this time.

Of the cities it surveys, AAA Michigan says the cheapest price for self-serve regular fuel is in the Benton Harbor area, where it's $2.77 a gallon. The highest average can be found in the Marquette area at $2.90.

The statewide average for biodiesel is $2.62 and $2.48 for ethanol.

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Business
11:00 am
Mon June 15, 2009

Classic boat maker Grand Craft Corp. shuts down

HOLLAND, MI – Classic wooden boat builder Grand Craft Corp. has shut down operations, apparently left high and dry by the foundering economy.

The 30-year-old company specialized in handcrafted mahogany runabouts reminiscent of classic designs from the 1920s and 1930s. Customers included entertainers Jennifer Lopez, Tim Allen, Kid Rock and Robert Redford, who purchased two of them.

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Arts & Culture
10:58 am
Mon June 15, 2009

Pontiac fest to go on without Chrysler as sponsor

PONTIAC, MI – The annual Arts, Beats & Eats festival in Pontiac is looking for new funding after getting word that Chrysler, its main sponsor in past years, won't be funding the
event this year.

The Oakland Press, the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report Monday that organizers say the event still will go on Sept. 4-7.

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Arts & Culture
10:53 am
Mon June 15, 2009

National arts test scores offer clouded picture

WASHINGTON – WASHINGTON (AP) - Half of the country's eighth graders answered multiple-choice questions about music correctly on national tests.

But the results for music and art tests issued Monday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress raise more questions than they answer.

Considered the benchmark of how students perform across the country, the NAEP report doesn't say how many students are actually taking classes in the arts.

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Sports
10:51 am
Mon June 15, 2009

Mark Martin wins NASCAR race in Michigan

BROOKLYN, MI – Mark Martin literally coasted to victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

Martin coasted to the finish of yesterday's LifeLock 400 as his gas tank went dry halfway through the final trip around the 2-mile oval.

The win was the third of the year for the 50-year-old Martin. Jeff Gordon finished second, Denny Hamlin was third and pole-sitter Brian Vickers came in ninth.

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Sports
10:49 am
Mon June 15, 2009

Wild Willis walks 8, Pirates beat Tigers 6-3

PITTSBURGH – PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Tigers' interleague schedule runs another two weeks and it continues tomorrow with the first of three in St. Louis.

Detroit is coming off a weekend series in which it lost two of three to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The Bucs took yesterday's rubber game 6-3 as wildness once again got the better of Dontrelle Willis.

The one-time 20-game winner walked eight in 3 2-3 innings, gave up six hits and all six Pirates runs. Willis (1-4) threw only 43 of 88 pitches for strikes.

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