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In Michigan
5:15 pm
Fri May 15, 2009

Ingham reports first case of H1N1

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR Radio)

Ingham County has its first confirmed case of the H1N1 flu virus. County Medical Director Dean Sienko says the virus was confirmed in a 49-year-old man by the Michigan Department of Community Health. The man has NOT been hospitalized and is recovering.

County officials say they anticipate more confirmed cases in Ingham County, as the H1N1 virus continues to spread throughout the world.

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In Michigan
2:13 pm
Fri May 15, 2009

Economists peg 09-10 deficit at $1.7 billion

Lansing, MI – Lansing, Mi (MPRN)
State economists this morning estimated Michigan's budget deficit for the coming fiscal year will be $1.7 billion.

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In Michigan
1:33 pm
Fri May 15, 2009

More Michigan budget cuts planned for 2009-10

Lansing, MI – Michigan's budget director says state departments will be asked to submit 8% cuts for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Lawmakers still are working on budget bills for the next fiscal year based on Gov. Jennifer Granholm's February proposal. But with revenues shrinking, budget director Bob Emerson said Friday that departments are being asked to trim 8% from that earlier plan.

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In Michigan
8:15 am
Fri May 15, 2009

GM Sends Termination Letters to Dealers

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR Radio)
Many Lansing-area GM dealers are still waiting for notification from the automaker that their franchise agreements will not be renewed. General Motors began sending letters to 1,100 dealerships across the country Thursday.

GM says it wants underperforming retailers who sell fewer than 35 cars each year to "wind down" by the end of 2010. The company has chosen not to release its dealer closure list.

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In Michigan
6:08 pm
Thu May 14, 2009

Dow seeks federal funds for Midland battery plant

Midland, MI – Midland, MI (AP)
Dow Chemical Co. says it wants to create a $665 million facility to manufacture advanced batteries in Midland.

Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew Liveris announced Thursday at the company's annual meeting that KD Advanced Battery Group has listed Midland as its preferred site for the project on an application for federal funding. The group is a partnership of Midland-based Dow, Missouri-based Kokam America Inc. and others.

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In Michigan
5:44 pm
Thu May 14, 2009

Michigan still working on employee furlough plan

Lansing, MI – Lansing, Mich. (AP)
The state of Michigan still is trying to determine exactly how it will schedule furlough days for roughly 38,000 of its employees.

The move is expected to save the state about $21.7 million. It is part of a plan to eliminate a projected $1.3 billion budget deficit in an executive order issued by Gov. Jennifer Granholm last week. More than half of the state's 53,000 state employees will be required to take at least six furlough days before Sept. 30.

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In Michigan
5:13 pm
Thu May 14, 2009

State Senate GOP unveils statewide healthcare plan

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR Radio)

Republican state senators unveiled a plan Thursday to ensure medical care for poor people who do not have health coverage. The legislation would create a pool that would be funded by all the companies that sell insurance in Michigan, and by fees charged to doctors and hospitals. The MI-Health fund would cover people well below the poverty line.

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In Michigan
5:02 pm
Thu May 14, 2009

Okemos GM dealer expects area closings

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR)

A GM car dealer in Okemos says he expects several car dealerships in mid-Michigan will get bad news from General Motors Friday. General Motors is thinning the ranks of dealerships nationwide to make those remaining more profitable.

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In Michigan
3:14 pm
Thu May 14, 2009

Chrysler to shutter four Lansing-area dealerships

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR Radio)
Chrysler has identified four Lansing area dealerships it wants to shut down due to Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The dropped dealers include Story Chrysler Jeep on Michigan Avenue in Lansing and Beacon Sales in Charlotte.

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In Michigan
6:17 pm
Wed May 13, 2009

AP source: Obama has more than 6 people for court

Washington, DC – WASHINGTON (AP)
A source tells The Associated Press that President Barack Obama is considering Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and more than five other people as nominees for the Supreme Court.

An official familiar with Obama's decision-making said others include Solicitor General Elena Kagan, California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Appeals Court judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Pamela Wood - people who have been mentioned frequently as potential candidates.

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In Michigan
6:10 pm
Wed May 13, 2009

State House passes home foreclosure bills

Lansing, MI – State House Democrats and the Senate GOP found middle ground Wednesday on foreclosure legislation that would give homeowners 90 days to work with lenders.

Foreclosure bills have travelled back and forth from the House and Senate for a couple months. Democrats wanted to include the threat of court proceedings as incentive for lenders to work with homeowners. Republicans argued the only group benefiting from the courts was trial lawyers.

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In Michigan
5:14 pm
Wed May 13, 2009

Groups protest MI budget cuts

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN)

People opposed to the hundreds of millions of dollars in state budget cuts were at the state Capitol Wednesday. It's a near-daily occurrence since Governor Granholm's cuts were unveiled last week, and approved by legislative committees.

Advocates for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and law enforcement are all trying to make their case that there are better options than cutting their budgets.

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In Michigan
3:17 pm
Wed May 13, 2009

More bad news ahead for Michigan state budgets

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mich. (AP)
Michigan's economic difficulties are worse than state analysts expected just a few months ago. That's creating more bad news for the state budget situation because of declining tax revenues. The latest report came Wednesday from the Senate Fiscal Agency.

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In Michigan
2:02 pm
Wed May 13, 2009

Michigan adds 69 species to endangered list

Traverse City, MI – TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP)
Dozens of plants and animals have been added to the list of species that may disappear from Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday the state's threatened and endangered species list has been updated to add 69 members. Among them are several freshwater mollusks and a bird called the cerulean warbler.

The endangered list now includes 396 species.

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In Michigan
1:55 pm
Wed May 13, 2009

Auto suppliers lobby for federal support

Washington, DC – Washington, DC (AP)

Auto suppliers are asking lawmakers for federal support, warning that the U.S. supply base could buckle under from the declining fortunes of General Motors and Chrysler. Several small auto suppliers said during a congressional hearing Wednesday that Chrysler's bankruptcy has left them in limbo, with some awaiting payment for millions of dollars worth of parts. The companies manufacture tooling, plastic molds and metal castings for cars and trucks.

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In Michigan
9:08 am
Wed May 13, 2009

Reports: GM to export China-built cars to US

SHANGHAI (AP) - – SHANGHAI (AP) - Reports say General Motors Corp. plans to begin exports of vehicles made in China to the United States within two years.

A spokeswoman for GM in China did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reports, which are said to be based on a company recovery plan given to U.S. lawmakers.

The Shanghai Securities News and other reports today say GM intends to sell 17,335 made-in-China passenger cars in the U.S. market by 2011. It says by 2014 exports would triple to more than 51,000.

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In Michigan
8:41 am
Wed May 13, 2009

Stollak's Swan Song

Mary Alice Stollak leads the MSU Children's Choir in rehearsal.
Kevin Lavery, WKAR News

East Lansing, MI – A mid-Michigan institution is presenting a special performance Thursday night. The Michigan State University Children's Choir is saying goodbye to its founding director, Mary Alice Stollak. After 16 years at the helm, Stollak is preparing to retire. In that time, Stollak has shaped a choral group that's risen from small-town admiration to international acclaim.

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In Michigan
5:22 pm
Tue May 12, 2009

Michigan regulators allow electric rate increase

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (AP)
State regulators are letting Michigan's second-largest utility raise residential electric rates, but not as much as the utility wanted.

The Public Service Commission on Tuesday ordered Consumers Energy Co. to offset any residential rate increase it plans to automatically implement Thursday with proceeds from the sale of a nuclear plant.

Regulators estimate the average Consumers Energy household will see a $2.99 hike on their monthly bill for six months, an increase of more than 3%.

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In Michigan
1:50 pm
Tue May 12, 2009

Okemos closing two elementary schools

Okemos, MI –
The Okemos Board of Education has voted to close two elementary schools.
Wardcliff and Central schools will both shut down after the 2009-2010 school year.

The Lansing State Journal says the closings will save the district $1,500,000 a year.

The three remaining elementary schools in the district will house kindergarten through fourth grades. The two middle schools will be converted to house fifth and sixth graders in one building, and seventh and eighth graders in the other.

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In Michigan
11:57 am
Tue May 12, 2009

House Democrats unveil new statewide healthcare legislation

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - State House Democrats announced a plan yesterday to make statewide healthcare accessible for everyone.

The healthcare plan would create a pool of money to cover the costs of catastrophic medical events for the uninsured. No one would be turned away from receiving treatment, and no one would be rejected from an insurance company for a preexisting medical condition.

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In Michigan
11:57 am
Tue May 12, 2009

Governor still hopeful GM can avoid bankruptcy

Lansing, MI – Governor Granholm says she still hopes General Motors can avoid bankruptcy court.

She says this is a "critical time" for Michigan as GM negotiates with its unions and its creditors on a deal to keep it out of bankruptcy. She says it should be a last resort, but that there are bondholders that may not agree to the conditions GM set out.

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In Michigan
11:56 am
Tue May 12, 2009

N. Capital Ramp deal rejected by council

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The Lansing City Council has again rejected a proposal to sell the North Capital Parking Ramp to Lansing Community College. Supporters say the $2.7 million deal would have kept the city from having to invest millions of dollars in repairs to the 40-year-old structure. They also say it would have prevented LCC from building a new parking ramp adjacent to a residential neighborhood.

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In Michigan
10:16 am
Tue May 12, 2009

Council, mayoral candidates file for City of Lansing primary

Lansing City Hall.
Kevin Lavery, WKAR Radio News

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Yesterday was the deadline to register to run for mayor and four open city council seats in Lansing.

City councilmember Carol Wood, attorney Charles Ford and local musician Ben Hassenger are looking to unseat incumbent Mayor Virg Bernero.

Six candidates have filed to run for two open at large seats on the city council, including incumbents Brian Jeffries and Kathie Dunbar and former councilmember Harold Leeman.

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In Michigan
9:08 am
Tue May 12, 2009

State Senate committee passes corrections bills

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A state Senate committee voted unanimously Tuesday to send to the floor a set of bills designed to lower corrections costs to the state.

The bills would require reports from the state's parolee tracking system.

They would also introduce more far reaching programs between church congregations and prisoners preparing to reenter society.

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In Michigan
9:07 am
Tue May 12, 2009

Michigan gets Cs and Ds for protecting infrastructure

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A report by a group of civil engineers says Michigan needs to spend more to fix and upgrade its roads, bridges, waterworks, and electric grid.

Transportation and water systems got particularly low marks from the Michigan chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Kirk Steidle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, agrees with the findings.

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In Michigan
6:26 pm
Mon May 11, 2009

Blues plan to offer autism coverage in Michigan

Lansing, MI –
Lansing, MI (AP)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has announced plans to offer coverage for some autism treatments focused on intensive early intervention.

The insurer said Monday the new benefit option would cover children aged 2 to 5 who use a treatment called applied behavioral analysis.

If approved by state regulators the option would be available to buy starting in July for customer groups that already have outpatient mental health coverage.

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In Michigan
6:15 pm
Mon May 11, 2009

GM CEO says tasks are large to avoid bankruptcy

Detroit, MI – East Lansing, MI (AP)
General Motors' top executive says bankruptcy is becoming more probable but there is still hope that the company can restructure and avoid court protection.

CEO Fritz Henderson says the automaker is looking at its operations country-by-country to determine where it might have file for bankruptcy.

He says a U.S. bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean that GM would file in other locations.

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In Michigan
12:28 am
Mon May 11, 2009

House Dems unveil new healthcare proposal

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - State House Democrats unveiled legislation Monday that would create a new plan to make statewide healthcare more accessible. Insurance companies would not be allowed to reject or raise rates for sick people. The plan would create a catastrophic emergency pool, which would cover $25,000 in medical costs per person, per year.

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In Michigan
12:24 am
Mon May 11, 2009

US sec'y says MI among first getting job grants

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says more money is coming to Michigan to help displaced auto workers. The labor secretary announced the state qualified for accelerated payments from the National Emergency Grant program because it has the nation's highest jobless rate, and it has programs ready to help retrain workers.

Some of the $6 million will also help pay for jobless benefits for 1500 workers.

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In Michigan
11:56 pm
Fri May 8, 2009

Journalist Dan Rather to address MSU graduate degree commencement ceremony

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Legendary TV newsman Dan Rather will address Michigan State University students receiving their graduate degrees this evening. The commencement ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Breslin Center.

Since leaving CBS News, Rather has been hosting "Dan Rather Reports," a weekly program of investigative reports and international news on HDNet, a high-definition channel available on cable and satellite services.

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