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.