(Detroit, MI) – (Detroit, MI) - Drivers planning to travel this Memorial Day weekend will see slightly higher gas prices.
AAA Michigan says gas prices typically rise as the summer tourism season begins. Spokesperson Nancy Cain says the prices won't be anywhere near last year's record highs: "The interesting thing this year is gas prices have been significantly lower than the same time last year. For example right now gas prices are about a $1.58 less a gallon than they were the same time last year."
East Lansing, MI – In our Under the Radar segment, book reviewer Lev Raphael reviews "Burn Notice: The End Game" by Tod Goldberg. It's a recession special--a mass-market paperback that crosses over into the land of TV, but is still a good read even if you don't know the program it's based on.
Traverse City, MI – Traverse City, MI (AP) - Crews have mostly reined in two wildfires in the Upper Peninsula, but officials say the danger of other fires breaking out remains high across northern Michigan.
Teams were winning the battle against fires in Marquette and Baraga counties Friday morning.
The Department of Natural Resources says the 811-acre fire southwest of Ishpeming is 98% contained. 33 structures have been lost, including 21 homes. No injuries have been reported.
(Washington, DC) – Washington, DC (AP) - New U.S. Labor Department figures show Michigan's unemployment rate again topped the nation in April at 12.9%.
The state lost 38,400 jobs in the month, trailing California and Texas in that category, as the recession continued its toll on U.S. workers. Employers in California slashed 63,700 positions, the most in the country.
Michigan's jobless rate was followed by Oregon at 12%, South Carolina at 11.5% and Rhode Island at 11.1%.
Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP) - Lansing-based Demmer Corp. has announced it's laying off about 125 employees because of a delay in securing military manufacturing work.
The Lansing State Journal reports Thursday the defense, aerospace and automotive supplier is awaiting a contract that has been pushed back from May 1 to late June. Demmer hopes to recall the workers once the contract is awarded.
(Lansing, MI) – (Lansing, MI) - The Michigan Senate honored military veterans Thursday. The annual Memorial Day ceremony includes reading the names of the state's servicemembers killed over the past year. This year, 15 names were read.
The Michigan Public Radio Network's Laura Weber files this audio postcard.
Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is challenging Blue Cross-Blue Shield's plans to raise the insurance rates paid by people who buy their own coverage.
Most people still get health coverage through their employers. But that's a shrinking share of the insurance market. The still-small but fastest-growing segment is people who buy their own insurance because they've lost their job, or their employer does not offer health coverage.
Traverse City, MI – TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) Scientists say some of Michigan's mammal species are migrating rapidly northward, probably because of climate change.
Researchers studied records of nine common mammals such as opossums, white-footed mice and eastern chipmunks. They found that species historically from the South are gaining ground in northern Michigan. Meanwhile, historically northern species are declining.
Dayton, Ohio – DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - The federal government is making $50 million in federal funds available for green energy job training in communities hurt by layoffs in the auto industry.
President Obama's director of recovery for auto communities and workers Ed Montgomery announced the program Thursday in Dayton. He says funds will be used to train workers for jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. It also will provide counseling and placement services to laid-off autoworkers.
Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mich. (AP) The definition of a hate crime in Michigan would be expanded through legislation approved by the state House.
The Democratic-led chamber approved the bills by 66-43 votes Wednesday mostly along party lines. The legislation now goes to the Republican-led Senate where a similar House-approved measure died last year.
East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) Michigan libraries need to upgrade their internet service if they want to better serve their clients. That was the message Wednesday at the Michigan Broadband Summit in East Lansing.
East Lansing, MI (WKAR News) – East Lansing, MI (WKAR News) A national health care advocacy organization says the high consolidation of private insurance companies in Michigan is driving up the cost of premiums for individuals and businesses.
(Detroit, MI) – DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings have taken a two-games-to-none lead over Chicago in their best-of-seven Stanley Cup Western Conference final. The Wings beat the 'Hawks last night in overtime 3-2 as Mikael Samuelsson scored the winning goal.
(Lansing, MI) – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - It's well known that Michigan is going through its worst recession since FDR was president. These trying times have forced millions of people to re-budget and re-evaluate their spending priorities. It's a hard thing for any adult.
Lansing, MI – A state House committee has approved legislation that would ban smoking in most workplaces. The legislation would exempt casinos, cigar bars and tobacco shops. The committee wrapped up a few months of testimony by voting for the three smoking ban bills.
(Lansing, MI) – Governor Jennifer Granholm will sign legislation to give Michigan homeowners facing foreclosure a 90-day window to stay in their house and potentially work out a resolution with their lender.
The state Senate unanimously approved the bills Tuesday. The House passed the legislation last week.
(Lansing, MI) – A state House committee plans to vote today on a workplace smoking ban.
The House committee heard testimony over the past few months. Casino executives want to be exempt from the ban because they say it would hurt business and cause them to get rid of employees, but doctors say there should be no exemptions because the chemicals in second-hand smoke will slowly kill employees anyway.
New York , NY – NEW YORK (AP) Ralph Nader is calling on Congress to hold hearings into dealership and factory closures at automakers Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp.
The consumer activist and former presidential candidate sent a letter Monday to Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank saying Congress should take a more active role overseeing the automakers' restructuring before "irreversible measures" are taken.
The restructuring has so far been led by the autos task force, a group of advisers appointed by President Barack Obama.
Warren, MI – WARREN, Mich. (AP) A suburban Detroit mayor is putting together proposals to lure General Motors Corp.'s headquarters from downtown Detroit to the automaker's Warren Tech Center. Warren Mayor Jim Fouts says Monday he expects to deliver his plans to GM by the federal government's June 1 restructuring deadline.
GM's design, engineering and other operations are at the Tech Center, about 20 miles northeast of its Renaissance Center headquarters.
Lansing, MI – The federal government has sent Michigan $3.8 billion in stimulus money since President Obama signed the recovery act three months ago. The state has used that first round of money to help balance its budget, to avoid cutting people off Medicaid, to extend the length of jobless benefits, and to launch construction projects.
Washington, DC – WASHINGTON, DC (AP) Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, one of President Barack Obama's candidates for the Supreme Court, will be at the White House on Tuesday. An administration official says the Democratic governor is coming to the White House for an event unrelated to the Supreme Court. It is not clear whether Granholm will be meeting with Obama about the upcoming vacancy on the court.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because details of Tuesday's event have not been announced.
DETROIT (AP) – DETROIT (AP) - There are 44,000 potential bargains at nearly 800 Chrysler lots across the country. The automaker is dropping the dealers as part of its wide-ranging restructuring plan designed to leave it with a leaner network of about 2,400 showrooms.
The dealers being shuttered have just a few weeks to sell their Chryslers, Dodges and Jeeps or risk losing thousands of dollars on them. That means big savings for buyers.
Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP) Michigan plans to schedule the bulk of its six upcoming unpaid furlough days for most state employees on Fridays in June, July, August and September. That is expected to close many state offices on those days except for essential services.
The state says Friday that where "administratively feasible" the furlough days will be June 19, July 6, July 24, August 7, August 21 and September 4.