WKAR

In Michigan
10:12 am
Wed May 6, 2009

House panel opens hearings on juvenile lifer law

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A state House committee opened hearings Wednesday on repealing a law that allows judges to send violent juvenile offenders to prison for life with no chance of parole.

State Representative Dan Scripps says the state has too many people convicted as juveniles locked up with no chance of ever being released.

Tearful family members of victims asked the state House Judiciary Committee to keep the law as it is.

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In Michigan
9:24 am
Tue May 5, 2009

Market still on track for late fall completion

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Lansing city officials are confident that construction of a new city market will begin in about a month.

The city received five new bids for the project yesterday.

All of the original bids, issued last week, came in over budget.

Eric Hart is the Director of the Lansing entertainment and Public Facilities Authority.

He says new bids range from $1.6 million to about $2 million.

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In Michigan
9:21 am
Tue May 5, 2009

Lansing school district grapples with restructuring

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Like many urban districts across the country, the Lansing school system is struggling with steadily declining enrollment.

Late last year, the school board appointed a task force to find ways to downsize the district to cut its losses. The task force came up with a so-called 'right sizing' plan that presented a smaller infrastructure, and a blueprint for a number of large-scale improvements.

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In Michigan
9:20 am
Tue May 5, 2009

Budget director outlines $304 M in cuts

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Local governments, law enforcement and health care will all suffer under spending cuts that were outlined Tuesday by Governor Granholm's budget chief.

The cuts were quickly approved by House and Senate budget committees.

The budget plan calls for laying off state troopers, and forcing employees to take furlough days.

Doctors and hospitals say cuts to Medicaid payments will force providers to take fewer patients.

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In Michigan
9:19 am
Tue May 5, 2009

CDC No Longer Recommends Closing Schools

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The state of Michigan now has eight confirmed cases of swine flu.

Wednesday, the state announced six new cases in Ottawa County.

There are a total of 47 probable cases across the state.

Greg Holzman is the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health.

He says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now recommending that school districts NOT close schools, even if they have a confirmed case.

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In Focus Today
9:18 am
Tue May 5, 2009

School closure is a tough blow for Lansing neighborhood

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The Lansing School District will hold an informational meeting for parents at Grand River Elementary School tonight.

The district is closing Grand River and another elementary, Moores Park, in June. It's part of a plan to address declining enrollment, budget problems and aging school buildings in the district.

Parents, teachers and administrators fought to save Moores Park Elementary...and so did its neighbors.

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In Michigan
6:05 pm
Mon May 4, 2009

Mich. schools with swine flu asked to close 7 days

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP)
Michigan officials are recommending that schools and child care facilities close down for seven calendar days if they have a confirmed or probable case of swine flu.

The recommendations issued Monday come as at least 10 schools
around the state are closed because of the flu outbreak.

The state says approximately one-third of Michigan's 47 probable or confirmed cases involves K-12 students.

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In Michigan
5:56 pm
Mon May 4, 2009

Fowlerville, other schools close on flu report

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (AP/WKAR)
Dozens of schools across southern Michigan were closed Monday in hopes of curtailing the spread of swine flu.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, state and local health officials reported 45 probable cases in Michigan.

The largest concentration is in Kent County, which is reporting 18 probable cases.

They're waiting for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the results, although state-level testing its expected to begin soon.

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In Michigan
9:31 am
Mon May 4, 2009

Virg Bernero runs for mayor again

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero kicked off his reelection campaign over the weekend.

Bernero is seeking his second term in the Mayor's office.

He told supporters Saturday that the economic crisis faced by the state is an opportunity to improve the community.

Bernero is being challenged by city Councilmember Carol Wood, Lansing Attorney Charles Ford and local musician Ben Hassenger.

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In Michigan
9:23 am
Mon May 4, 2009

Plymouth-Canton, Utica schools close on flu report

Plymouth, MI – Plymouth, MI (AP) - Dozens of schools across southern Michigan are closed today in hopes of curtailing the spread of swine flu.

State and local health officials as of late last night said there were 39 probable cases in Michigan.

They're waiting for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the results, although state-level testing its expected to begin soon.

Two cases already have been confirmed, one each in Livingston and Ottawa counties.

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In Michigan
9:22 am
Mon May 4, 2009

MI budget cuts to be outlined

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Governor Granholm's budget officials will outline more than $300 million dollars in cuts to legislative committees Tuesday.

It's a first step toward balancing a budget that's facing a $1.3 billion dollar deficit.

The cuts would be even bigger, except the governor apparently intends to use Michigan's federal stimulus money to cover most of the shortfall.

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In Michigan
9:22 am
Mon May 4, 2009

Fowlerville, other schools close on flu report

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP/WKAR) - Dozens of schools across southern Michigan were closed today in hopes of curtailing the spread of swine flu.

As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, state and local health officials reported 49 probable cases in Michigan that will be tested by the federal government.

Twelve new probable cases reported Monday include six in Kent
County, two in Wayne County one each in Ottawa, Chippewa, Clare and
Washtenaw counties.

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In Michigan
5:57 am
Mon May 4, 2009

Budget cuts to be unveiled tomorrow

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI -- Governor Granholm and her budget team are putting the final touches to an executive order that will roll back state spending by about $300 million.

The spending cuts will address just a fraction of a deficit now pegged at about $1.3 billion.

State officials say carving that much out of state spending would force thousands of layoffs, and idle crucial services.

They're relying on federal stimulus funds to help close the gap.

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In Michigan
6:25 pm
Fri May 1, 2009

H1N1's reach likely widening in Michigan

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

Michigan officials late Friday afternoon reported another 10 probable cases of swine flu.

The newest probable cases are in Ottawa, Kent, Macomb and Hillsdale counties, all in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula.

Ten of the cases were contracted by students at Hope College in Holland, Ottawa County Health Department officials said.

Michigan now has a total of 16 probable cases.

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In Michigan
6:18 pm
Fri May 1, 2009

PSC says fuel demand to decline

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI
Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

The state's utility regulating agency says consumers shouldn't have to worry about shortages of fuel or electricity this summer.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says the recession is tamping down demand for fuel and electricity.

Gasoline use is expected to decline by 4% this summer compared to last summer, and diesel use is also expected to go down.

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In Michigan
6:13 pm
Fri May 1, 2009

Granholm repeats confidence in Chrysler's future

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI
Rick Pluta (MPRN)

Governor Granholm uses her weekly radio address to reiterate her support for Chrysler's turnaround plan that includes a partnership with the Italian carmaker Fiat.

She says it provides some certainty about Chrysler's future, although she's disappointed the company has to use bankruptcy restructuring to finish the deal.

Chrysler's idled all its plants while the bankruptcy proceedings are underway.

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In Michigan
6:10 pm
Fri May 1, 2009

Mich. leaders make progress on state budget deal

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP)

Michigan's state government leaders have hammered out the basic framework of a plan to help erase a budget deficit that likely exceeds $1 billion.

Senate Republicans said Friday the framework calls for about $300 million in budget cuts from various state departments in this fiscal year.

Money from the federal stimulus package will help fill in the rest of the budget hole caused in large part by falling tax revenues during the recession.

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In Michigan
5:45 pm
Fri May 1, 2009

MI Has Six New Probable Flu Cases

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI
Kevin Lavery, WKAR Radio News

Michigan health officials are reporting six new probable cases of swine flu in the state.

All of the cases are in Ottawa County.

At this point, there are only two confirmed H-1-N-1 influenza cases in Michigan.

Janet Olszewski directs the Michigan Department of Community Health.

She says the six new probable cases do not raise the state's level of alert.

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In Michigan
6:20 pm
Thu April 30, 2009

Michigan Senate approves 4th battery tax credit

Lansing, MI – The Michigan Senate has approved a $100 million tax credit for the company that will supply batteries for the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid car.

State economic development officials two weeks ago awarded the refundable tax credit to Korean-based LG Chem and a U.S. subsidiary, Troy-based Compact Inc.

But the credit also needs legislative approval by May 30 to take effect.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 36-0 Thursday to send the
legislation to the Democrat-led House.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Thu April 30, 2009

Mich. utility plans 5% increase on electric bills

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP)
Consumers Energy Co. plans to raise residential and business electric bills 5% in mid-May.

Michigan's second-largest utility is taking advantage of a new state law that lets it automatically increase power bills if regulators do not act by May 14.

The typical Consumers Energy household would pay $4 more a month according to papers filed late Wednesday.

That is less than the Jackson-based utility's original request to add $10 to monthly residential bills.

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In Michigan
6:13 pm
Thu April 30, 2009

State's second H1N1 flu case confirmed

Lansing, MI – AP / Scott Pohl, WKAR Radio News
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday confirmed Michigan's second case of swine
flu.

The 34-year-old woman from Ottawa County west of Grand Rapids
was released from a hospital last week.

State officials do not know her travel history yet.

But state Department of Community Health Director Janet Olszewski
says many newly infected people did not travel to Mexico or other places with known cases of H1N1.

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In Michigan
6:08 pm
Thu April 30, 2009

Chrysler bankruptcy raises questions for workers

Auburn Hills, MI – Auburn Hills, MI (AP/MPRN)
Fears that a Chrysler LLC bankruptcy could devastate southeast Michigan and harm Chrysler workers and retirees nationwide were abating somewhat as details of the deal were released Thursday.

"It's the best deal we can come up with," said Mark Conner,
who works on the production line that makes Jeep Wranglers at
Chrysler's plant in Toledo, Ohio.

"Anything else that could have happened would be worse."

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In Michigan
6:44 am
Thu April 30, 2009

Chrysler may be headed for bankruptcy

Auburn Hills, MI – Chrysler could be headed for bankruptcy protection.

A source tells The Associated Press that the automaker's restructuring plan hit a roadblock when talks broke off with its lenders early today.

Chrysler's deadline to get more federal aid by cutting labor costs, slashing debt and taking on a partner is 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

The company has reached new deals with its unions in the U. S. and Canada.

And an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat was to be signed later today.

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In Michigan
6:19 pm
Wed April 29, 2009

AP sources: Fiat to sign Chrysler partnership deal

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

Three people briefed on the deal say Italian automaker Fiat Group SpA will sign paperwork by Thursday to become a partner with Chrysler LLC.

The partnership is the last piece of a huge restructuring plan
needed to keep Chrysler alive.

The U.S. government has lent Chrysler $4 billion and gave it until Thursday to get concessions from unions, reduce debt and take on a partner or face liquidation.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Wed April 29, 2009

Smoking ban tabled by budget crisis

East Lansing, MI – Rick Pluta (Michigan Public Radio Network)

A ban on smoking in most Michigan workplaces will have to wait until after the state's budget crisis is resolved. State Representative Bert Johnson chairs the legislative committee discussing the issue.

He says a smoking ban will need the support of the House and the Senate.

But, he says, the leadership of both chambers is focused on the state's billion-dollar budget emergency.

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In Michigan
6:13 pm
Wed April 29, 2009

Worst case: Michigan deficit could reach $1.3B

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP)

Michigan likely is looking at a budget shortfall this year that could reach $1.3 billion.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Jennifer Granholm earlier pegged the deficit at $785 million.

But Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Wednesday that, in a worst-case scenario, the shortfall could climb to $1.3 billion.

That's because annual and quarterly state income tax payments paid this month are down. The revenue picture will be clearer after Thursday.

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In Michigan
6:10 pm
Wed April 29, 2009

Sparrow Hospital Implementing Swine Flu Plan

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

Michigan health officials say they're reviewing their plans for treating swine flu in the region.

Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a 34-year-old Livingston County woman is the first actual case in the state.

The CDC is also testing a probable case from Ottawa County.

Robin Roach is the director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Sparrow Health System in Lansing.

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In Michigan
6:21 pm
Tue April 28, 2009

Government, major Chrysler debtholders reach deal

Washington, DC – Washington, DC (AP)

A person familiar with the talks says the Treasury Department has reached a tentative agreement with four of Chrysler's major debtholders as the automaker races to stave off bankruptcy.

Under the agreement, the four banks will forgo claims to their portion of Chrysler's $6.9 billion debt in exchange for $2 billion in cash when the deal closes.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been formally announced.

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In Michigan
5:44 pm
Tue April 28, 2009

GM to force more than 1,000 dealers to close

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)
General Motors Corp. says it will force 1,000 to 1,200 underperforming dealerships to close their doors as the automaker tries to thin dealer ranks to make the remaining outlets stronger.

Dealers were told of the move in a video conference Tuesday.

In addition, the company expects to lose 500 Hummer and Saturn dealers when the brands close or are sold, and it expects 400 dealers to close voluntarily.

Another 500 would be consolidated into other dealers.

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In Michigan
5:41 pm
Tue April 28, 2009

Ingham Cty says region is ready for swine flu

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

Ingham County healthcare providers and public safety departments are ready for a possible swine flu outbreak.

That was the message Tuesday from the director of the Ingham County Heath Department.

County Heath Department director Dean Sienko says he's been in contact with local hospitals, pharmacies and police and fire departments to plan a course of action if the swine flu is found here.

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