LANSING, MI – Budget negotiations are stepping up with the start of the state's new fiscal year now less than six weeks away. Governor Granholm says she still believes a shutdown can be averted. But there are a lot of details and disagreements to be settled first.
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm says the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy will be remembered as a voice for the under-privileged. She says he knew how to forge deals with those who disagreed with him.
"He came from a family of privilege, but he used that position in a way to be the megaphone for children, and for the elderly, and for people with disabilities," she says. "It's a huge loss in the Senate. It's not just a huge loss for Massachusetts. It's a huge loss for the nation."
EAST LANSING, MI – The health of retail businesses in Michigan continues to be weak but is slowly gaining strength.
AUDIO: The Michigan Retailers Association says July was the best month for state retailers in a year. Overall, businesses with sales declines still outnumber those with increasing sales. But for the third straight month, the gap has narrowed.
James Hallan is the association's President and CEO.
WIXOM, MI – Ford plans to sell its vacant Wixom plant to manufacturers of solar panel and batteries. Legislative committees in Lansing heard testimony Wednesday from Wixom officials and representatives from the companies.
AUDIO: The green-technology manufacturers need the Legislature to create tax credits in order to receive federal funding as well to set up shop in Wixom. Those refundable tax credits would not be reflected in the budget until 2012.
MASON, MI – Ingham County Commissioners have voted against putting a county-wide millage proposal on the ballot. The millage would have guaranteed funding for the sheriff's department for the next five years.
AUDIO: The millage would have offset cuts to the sheriff's department and provided funding for road patrols in rural townships that don't have their own police department.
Last night, the proposal was rejected by a vote of 10 to 6.
SOUTHFIELD, MI – A Michigan judge is being sued by a woman who says she was forced to remove her Muslim headscarf in his courtroom.
Melanie Elturk, an attorney for the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says the federal lawsuit against Wayne County Circuit Judge William Callahan will be filed Wednesday. The Michigan CAIR chapter is joining in the suit.
EAST LANSING, MI – A new study suggests paroling more people convicted of violent crimes would not pose a significant risk to the public.
Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending - or CAPPS - conducted the study. It showed 3% of sex offenders in Michigan returned to prison for another sex crime. The study also showed murderers and rapists are often denied their first parole.
Mason, MI – Ingham County Commissioners will vote tonight on whether to put a county-wide millage proposal on the November ballot that would guarantee funding for the sheriff's department. Budget cuts could eliminate sheriff's patrols in several rural townships that don't have their own police.
Deputy Jacob Newton is part of the sheriff's rural road patrol. Most of his time is spent making traffic stops and he's about to make another one.
SOUTHERN MICHIGAN – Governor Granholm climbed aboard an Amtrak train Monday to call attention to the states's efforts to win $800 million in federal stimulus funds. Michigan is part of an eight-state consortium trying to build a Midwest regional high-speed line with Chicago as its hub.
LANSING, MI – The federal government has approved the Capital Region International airport's request for designation as a foreign trade zone.
The designation from the U.S. Commerce Department was nearly a year in the making. Brent Case directs Lansing's foreign trade zone. He says this status means local companies will not have to pay duties on import products until they ship them out of the foreign trade zone.
LANSING, MI – State House Democrats are urging the Republican-controlled Senate to extend unemployment benefits. They say Michigan's 15% jobless rate shows it is time to act.
Legislation passed by the House would provide $138 million in federal stimulus for some unemployed workers completing job training programs. But business groups say that would create new unemployment taxes and financial strain on small businesses.
DEARBORN, MI – Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has announced the state is applying for more than $800 million in federal stimulus money for what's envisioned to be the first step toward a high-speed rail network.
Granholm made the announcement Monday with local and federal lawmakers in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, a stop on the proposed Detroit-to-Chicago line.
Granholm says the funding isn't guaranteed. Monday is the deadline for federal grant applications.
LANSING, MI – Hundreds of Lansing General Motors' workers are getting reacquainted with regular shift work. Laid-off hourly workers began returning to work at GM's Delta Township facility in late July. But they've overlapped shifts for retraining and retooling purposes. Monday, for the first time in eight months, the facility is running two, separate full-time shifts.
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm will announce the next step her administration is taking to build a high-speed rail line that will connect metro Detroit with Chicago and the rest of the Midwest. The governor will make the announcement today at train stations in Dearborn and Jackson.
Michigan is part of a consortium of eight states seeking a share of $8,000,000,000 in federal stimulus money set aside to build rail lines for trains that will travel as fast as 110 miles per hour.
CINCINNATI – Kroger is recalling a store-brand bread that could contain ingredients not listed on the label. The ingredients could cause reactions in people allergic to milk. The recall affects stores in Michigan and a dozen other states.
MORGANTOWN, WV – The Dean of Michigan State University's college of Agriculture and Natural Resources is a finalist for a job in West Virginia. Jeffrey Armstrong is among a group of three finalists to become Provost of the West Virginia University in Morgantown.
The university is looking to fill the vacancy created when former Provost Gerald Lang resigned in the wake of a scandal involving a master's degree that was improperly awarded to the daughter of the state's Governor.
EAST LANSING, MI – General Motors highest-ranking local executive is retiring. In a message on his Facebook page, Lansing Regional Plant Manager Randy Thayer says he looks forward to "new opportunities" after 36 years with the automaker. The on-line message did not say when he would leave GM.
Thayer currently heads operations at both of the company's Lansing plants. He is a Lansing native and serves on the boards of a number of community organizations.
FORT WAYNE, IN – Fresh off their only off-day in August, the well-rested Lansing Lugnuts scored eight runs in the first inning en route to a 15-7 thrashing of the first place Fort Wayne TinCaps in the opener of a four-game series last night at Parkview Field. The two teams play the second game of the series tonight at 7:05.
EAST LANSING, MI – A state House committee took testimony Thursday on whether drivers with unpaid parking should be allowed to renew their licenses.
AUDIO: The bill would prevent scofflaws from renewing their licenses if they have three unpaid parking tickets. Current law revokes the ability to renew after six unpaid tickets. Those who support the bill say it would create incentives to pay down tickets and allow local governments to collect lost revenue.
EAST LANSING, MI – About 70 Michigan Army National Guard soldiers are leaving home for what will be a 10-month deployment to Iraq. Members of the 238th Aviation Battalion based in Grand Ledge held a deployment ceremony Thursday in Lansing.
The unit's mission is to transport wounded troops to medical installations. Major General Jerry Cannon commands the unit's headquarters. He says resources in Iraq to support the troops continue to improve.
ANN ARBOR, MI – More than 900 current or former female inmates have filed claims for a piece of a $100 million settlement with the state resolving claims that prisoners were sexually assaulted by male corrections staff.
A judge on Thursday gave final approval to the settlement in Ann Arbor after preliminarily signing off last month.
It was previously thought up to 500 women could qualify for the settlement. But an attorney told the judge that more women came forward when the class-action settlement was announced.