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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LANSING, MI – Budget talks at the state Capitol are proceeding slowly. Republican and Democratic leaders will meet again this week in an effort to move the process forward.
It's appearing less and less likely the Legislature and Governor Granholm will meet a self-imposed deadline of early July to wrap up work on a spending plan for the coming fiscal year, and lay to rest a deficit pegged at $1.6 billion.
LANSING, MI – A state House subcommittee will begin work Tuesday 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.
DETROIT – The National Summit has downsized along with the rest of the economy.
But organizers of the three-day gathering of leaders starting today in Detroit say their agenda remains the same -- draft plans to boost U.S. manufacturing, energy, technology and environmental efforts.
Organizers hoped to draw 5,000 to Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. But they moved to the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center and lowered expected attendance to 2,000.
EAST LANSING, MI – A legislative task force meets today at Michigan State University to take public testimony on a proposed high-speed rail system in Michigan. A company in Whitmore Lake says it can build a suspended track above existing freeways for a "Magnetic Levitation" or "Maglev" train that travels up to 200 miles an hour.
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says General Motors is trying to force car dealers into contracts that violate Texas law. Abbott filed an objection Friday in GM's pending bankruptcy case in federal court in New York.
Abbott says the contracts are a "take-it-or-leave" deal that prevents dealers from selling other brands, requires them to order new GM cars they may not want to sell and alters state law regarding dealer locations.
KALAMAZOO, MI – Vice President Joe Biden says he believes General Motors will be able to emerge from bankruptcy in 60 to 90 days. Biden spoke today in Kalamazoo at a ceremony to mark the beginning of a project to widen part of I-94. It's the 2000th transportation project funded by the stimulus package that was signed into law by President Obama in February.
East Lansing, MI – The state will have to defend Michigan's patchwork system for ensuring legal representation for criminal defendants who can't afford to pay attorneys. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the case must move forward.
EAST LANSING, MI – Michigan State University Friday dedicated a major expansion of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. The celebration also looked ahead to the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or F-RIB, a newly-awarded research facility which will be constructed at MSU.
EAST LANSING, MI – We may not have hit 90 degree temperatures yet, but our book reviewer Lev Raphael has some steamy summer reading for us this month. It's Flora Fraser's "Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire."
BASEL, Switzerland – BASEL, Switzerland (AP) - Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis AG says it's produced a first batch of experimental swine flu vaccine.
The vaccine hasn't been tested and cannot be used in humans yet. It was made in cells, rather than grown in eggs as is usually the case with vaccines.
But because vaccines grown in cells account for less than 5 percent of the world's flu vaccine capacity, Novartis' announcement is unlikely to provide a major boost to the world's pandemic vaccine supply.