East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Michigan congressman Mike Rogers is alerting veterans that changes to the G-I Bill could help them or a family member get a college education.

The biggest change to the G-I Bill is this: if a veteran chooses not to use the education benefit, it can be transferred to a spouse or a child.

The change takes effect August first, in advance of fall classes at colleges and universities.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Governor Granholm is to sign legislation this morning that will extend unemployment payments for laid-off workers by seven weeks.

Michigan's jobless workers currently qualify for up to 18 months of benefits.

The federal stimulus package offers states with high unemployment rates more funds to extend those payments even further.

Michigan which has the nation's highest jobless rate - almost 12 percent.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Michigan's spring wildfire season is arriving.

State forest officials say the greatest wildfire risk is usually between mid-April and Memorial Day.

Dead leaves, grass and sticks are drying out quickly.

New, more fire-resistant growth hasn't developed yet.

And as the weather improves, homeowners are cleaning yards and burning the waste.

Michigan DNR officials say stands of pine trees are most vulnerable to wildfires.

East Lansing, MI – Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
A Republican lawmaker says planning the state budget over a two year period instead of one could help reduce spending.

State Representative John Proos says the state doesn't give local governments enough time to evaluate programs, and to adjust their budgets when the state cuts spending.

Proos says he would like the state to adopt two-year budgets before the next governor takes office in 2011.

East Lansing, MI – Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
Governor Granholm has signed legislation that extends payments to unemployed workers by seven weeks.

This is the second time this year the payments have been extended.

The extension will allow some laid-off workers to collect benefits for up to 79 weeks.

That's almost 20 months.

State officials estimate as many as 200,000 people may qualify for extended unemployment benefits this year.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - VIDEO EXTRA - Cartoonist Jef Mallett, author of the syndicated comic strip, "Frazz," talks about creating a character.

Kalamazoo, MI – Kalamazoo, MI (MPRN) - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says she believes lawmakers could vote later this year on a health care reform proposal.

The Michigan Democrat was in Kalamazoo today to address the Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Stabenow says interest groups representing business, labor, consumer groups and the insurance industry are working together on changing the nation's health care system.

She says that shows that compromise on major issues is possible.

Dearborn, MI – Dearborn, MI (AP)

Police say two people have been killed in what they believe was a murder-suicide at a community college in Dearborn.

Deputy Police Chief Gregg Brighton says Henry Ford Community College was locked down in the early Friday afternoon shortly after a 911 call came in of shots fired.

Officers responded after 12:30 p.m., set up a perimeter around the fine arts building and as officers entered they heard another gunshot.

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra says one of the state's three main taxes has to go.

He says he'd like to get rid of either the business tax, income tax or sales tax to fix Michigan's economy.

But he says he wouldn't eliminate a business tax in favor of a more complicated graduated income tax.

Hoekstra appeared on the Michigan public television show "Off The Record."

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel has asked the state Court of Appeals to clear the way for transferring the downtown Cobo Center from the city to a regional authority.

The mayor is embroiled in a fight with the city council, which is trying to block the deal. A judge in Detroit just upheld the council's position.

Council members say the city wasn't getting enough for giving up the convention center that is home to the North American International Auto Show.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A new report shows Michigan gives more money away in tax breaks than it collects in revenue.

There's a $10 billion discrepancy between how much the state gives away, versus how much it brings in, according to the report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Sharon Parks is president of the Michigan League for Human Services.

She says state legislative committees need to discuss the costs and the benefits of the tax breaks being handed out.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A new report says climate change is hurting Michigan corn farmers.

The study by the group Environment America says global warming is stunting corn growth.

And state environmentalists says that's costing Michigan farmers $32 million in lost crops.

Lucinda Hohman is with Environment Michigan.

She says there's no single solution.

But she says a first step would be to shift from burning coal to generate electricity to using wind and solar power.

Ann Arbor, MI – Ann Arbor, MI (MPRN) - The 2010 race for Michigan governor is barely underway and a leading
candidate says he has decided not to run.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced Thursday that
he will sit out the race.

He says he can't set aside his responsibilities as county
executive to mount a statewide campaign.

Bill Ballenger is the editor of Inside Michigan Politics. He says Patterson was a definite contender for the GOP nomination.

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The organization governing soccer in the United States has invited three Michigan venues to express their level of interest in hosting potential World Cup matches.

U.S. soccer is bidding to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

U.S. Soccer included Ford Field in Detroit, Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, and Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor among 70 venues they would like to consider.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The Lansing City Council has set a public hearing on a proposal to sell a city parking ramp to Lansing Community College.

This is the second time the sale of the ramp has come before the council for a vote.

Last September the council rejected a plan to sell the North Capital Ramp to the college for $2.7 million.

Councilmember Eric Hewitt voted against the deal last year and says he'll vote against it again.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP) - Burned Iraqi boy to receive surgery in Michigan

A badly burned Iraqi boy has arrived in Lansing with the National Guard physician's assistant who brought him to Michigan for medical treatment.

Major David Howell and the 12-year-old, Mohammed, were honored Thursday with a welcome ceremony at the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The boy was an infant when he was badly burned along the left side of his face, head and body by an exploding oil lamp.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The Masters golf tournament tees off Thursday at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

One of the amateurs invited to play in the first major tournament of the year is Jack Newman, a junior on the Michigan State University golf team. It's the first time a golfer from MSU has qualified to play in the Masters.

WKAR's Scott Pohl reports.

Washington DC – Washington, DC (AP)

The Obama administration has sent a team of 15 people to Detroit to work with General Motors Corp. as it tries to restructure by June 1.

An administration official says the team will be in Detroit over
the next two weeks to accelerate the restructuring process laid out
by President Barack Obama last week.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mich. (AP)

A state-appointed task force will
recommend improvements to Michigan's child welfare system,
including a way to raise more money for abuse and neglect
prevention programs through a higher beer tax.

The upcoming Michigan Child Welfare Improvement Task Force
report was discussed Wednesday by state Department of Human
Services officials.

A final report could be out as early as next

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - State House Democrats introduced legislation Wednesday that would require autism treatment to be covered by health insurance.

Parents of autistic children say insurance companies are discriminating against their families by denying the children speech therapy and other costly treatments.

James Espinoza has a son with autism.

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - The Michigan Court of Appeals says the state cannot accept a Muslim ritual as a legal divorce.

The couple this case was married in India, but lived in Michigan when the marriage broke up.

Last year, the husband got a divorce in India in a ceremony that included repeating "I divorce thee" three times.

India recognizes the Muslim tradition as a legal way to end a marriage.

But the state Court of Appeals says Michigan does not.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has called a special meeting of the City Council tonight to vote on a controversial plan to sell the city's North Capital Parking Ramp.

The city council rejected a proposal last year that would have sold the ramp to Lansing Community College for two-point-seven million dollars.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Governor Granholm says Michigan will use big tax breaks to aggressively court alternative energy entrepreneurs.

She has signed into law tax credits worth hundreds of millions of dollars to battery researchers and manufacturers.

The governor says Asia is currently the major producer of automotive batteries, including the one that powers the still-experimental Chevy Volt.

The tax credits will also help businesses win federal alternative energy research grants.

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A new study says Michigan ranks below the national average of residents without health insurance.

The Families U-S-A report shows 28.8% of Michigan residents were uninsured for some time in 2007 and 2008.

The national average is 32.1%.

Ron Pollack is executive director of Families U-S-A.

He says the number of uninsured in the country has gone up because families cannot afford to pay the growing cost of premiums.

East Lansing, MI – Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
Michigan's top insurance regulator is challenging homeowner's insurance rates that were set using the clients' credit scores.

The state Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation has notified three companies that it's rejected their rate requests.

The agency says there's nothing in Michigan's insurance code that allows companies to look at their clients' credit scores.

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Michigan State's magic evaporated when North Carolina claimed its fifth NCAA basketball championship with an 89-72 victory over the Spartans.

North Carolina started the season as the unanimous No. 1 pick and breezed through the tournament. They became the first team to win all six games by double digits since Duke in 2001.

The Spartans lost for the first time in three championship game appearances.

East Lansing, MI – EAST LANSING, MI (WKAR) - About 200 people attended a rally for the Michigan State University men's basketball team today, the day after the Spartans lost the national championship game to North Carolina.

Word of the rally only got out an hour or so before the team was scheduled to arrive back at their home, the Breslin Center, but the fans greeting for coach Tom Izzo and the team was energetic.

While dissappointed with the result, Izzo expressed pride in his squad.

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - The new majority on the Michigan Supreme Court has begun chipping away at some of the precedents set when the court was controlled by Republicans.

The state Supreme Court's Republican majority was fractured last November when voters replaced GOP Justice Cliff Taylor with Democrat Dianne Hathaway.

The court is now controlled by a Republican majority in name only because Justice Betty Weaver sides so often with the three Democratic justices.

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Governor Granholm says the MSU men's basketball team has become a symbol for a state that's struggling for respect.

The governor says the Spartans' success is not just a diversion from the problems people in Michigan are facing - such as the near-collapse of the auto industry, and the nation's highest unemployment rate.

She says MSU also represents Michigan's efforts to turn around its fortunes.