News

ANN ARBOR, MI – ANN ARBOR, MI (AP) - The Ann Arbor News says steep losses have forced it to cease publishing a print edition in July after 174 years as a daily paper. The News says it's moving to an online product.

The other seven Newhouse family dailies in Michigan also are making big cuts. The Flint Journal, The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times will print three days a week starting June 1.

EAST LANSING, MI – EAST LANSING, MI (AP) - Michigan State University analysts say tourism in the state is expected to decline by 3%-4% this year. The forecast was presented Monday at a tourism conference in Detroit.

Analysts say travel spending and volume both will be down this year because of the economy and low consumer confidence. Michigan's tourism industry typically gets about 70% of its tourists from within the state, which has been hit hard by recession.

EAST LANSING, MI – EAST LANSING, MI (AP) - Eleven Michigan State University students are safe after being briefly kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint on a Guatemalan highway during a spring break trip last week.

The State News reported Thursday the students, a tour guide and two bus company employees were near the end of a three-hour drive when several armed men approached their tour bus and boarded it with guns.

LANSING, MI – LANSING, MI (MPRN) - Governor Granholm says she will not support new tax breaks or tax cuts unless there is a way to replace the revenue the state budget would lose.

The state Senate approved a $10,000 tax break for first-time homebuyers this week that was widely supported by Republicans and Democrats. The estimated cost to the state budget is more than a billion dollars.

EAST LANSING, MI – EAST LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Relations between the United States and Canada were discussed Friday at Michigan State University. MSU's Canadian Studies Center and the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research sponsored the gathering of officials from both countries.

Dennis Moore, public affairs officer with the Canadian Consulate in Detroit, says when America's economy suffers, so does Canada's. Moore says the Canadian government is talking with the automakers about their Canadian operations.

LANSING, Mi – LANSING, Mi (WKAR) - Information technology is one of the few industries that's actually thriving in today's economy. From e-mail screens to e-coli scanners, IT permeates nearly every aspect of our lives. We tend to take for granted the genius of electronic convenience. But educators and employers say we cannot do the same for the human skills that bring technology to life.

EAST LANSING, Mi – EAST LANSING, Mi (WKAR) - Most of the players in the NCAA basketball tournament have dreamed of playing in the "Big Dance" since they were kids. When Michigan State's Goran Suton was a kid, playing collegiate basketball was the furthest thing from his mind. Suton grew up in Sarajevo. His family's emigration to America has brought him from a life of strife and warfare, to one of bouncing basketballs, championships -- and maybe the NBA.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Parents of Lansing school children are concerned about the district's proposal to close some schools and consolidate others. The district took public comments on the plan last night at Eastern High School.

A district task force recommends the construction of four new elementary schools and one new high school, which would then allow the district to close a dozen or more older schools.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (WKAR) - Lansing's Ottawa Street Power Station has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The 70-year-old Art Deco building is being rehabilitated by Accident Fund Insurance.

Bob Christenson is with the State Historic Preservation Office. He says the Power Station was built to provide electricity and steam heat to city during its rapid growth early in the 20th century.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (MPRN) - The House Judiciary Committee passed a package of bills Wednesday to repeal Michigan's drug company immunity law.

Representatives from drug manufacturer Pfizer testified before the committee that if the law is rescinded, drug makers and jobs would leave Michigan.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Starting next month, more than one million Michigan residents on the federal food assistance program will have more to spend on groceries. The boost is part of the federal economic stimulus package.

On April 1, eligible families will automatically receive a 13.6 percent increase in their food assistance benefits.

That works out to about $80 more each month for a family of four.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Artists and leaders of local arts groups gathered Wednesday to discuss how to lobby for greater state funding.

In her budget, Governor Jennifer Granholm proposed a cut of $7.5 million in mini-grants to arts organizations.

State representative Joan Bauer of Lansing told the group how to reach legislators on the appropriate sub-committees about restoring the mini-grants.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (MPRN) - Environmental groups are preparing to battle Governor Granholm's proposal to scrap Michigan's wetlands protection program and turn it over to the federal government. They will meet at the state Capitol today to make their case to lawmakers.

Michigan is one of just two states to issue its own permits for developing on or near a marsh or stream.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (MPRN) - Law enforcement officials and judges are pushing Governor Granholm to continue funding mental health courts. The Governor has proposed cutting the funding from Michigan's 2010 budget.

The coalition says the court pilot programs offer irreplaceable treatment for mentally ill, nonviolent offenders, at a bargain to taxpayers who would otherwise pay for their incarceration.

Lansing, MI – LANSING (WKAR) - The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation is denying the request of seven auto insurance companies who've asked permission to enact rate increases.

The state says those companies are using discriminatory tactics. The disapproved insurers include such names as Progressive and Michigan Millers.

Insurance regulator Ken Ross says those companies use credit scoring to determine how high to set their premiums.

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