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 (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 (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.
East Lansing, MI – A local state representative is forming a taskforce to look at the feasibility of building a Magnetic Levitation, or MagLev, train system between Lansing and Detroit.
Brighton Republican Bill Rogers says the high-speed transportation system would be the first of its kind in the United States. Rogers says the MagLev rail system would revolutionize transportation in the state.
Rogers says the system he envisions would be privately funded and operated.
Lansing, MI – LANSING (AP) - Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she is "getting close" to a deal with Michigan's public universities to provide some tuition relief for students and families headed into next school year.
Granholm wants universities to freeze tuition rates in exchange for some of the federal stimulus money headed Michigan's way.
But the Democratic governor has run into opposition because she proposed a 3% cut to university state aid for the budget year that begins in October.
Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - The cost of visiting a state park or recreation area could go down next year for Michigan residents. House and Senate leaders say the Legislature will adopt a plan soon to dump the $24 annual windshield sticker and the $6 daily entry fee.
Instead, park users would pay $10 for a license plate that gives them access to state parks, recreation areas, and boat launch sites.
Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - A state commission has recommended a 10% rollback in the salaries of the governor and other executive branch officers, and 110 state lawmakers. It's now up to the Legislature to approve the recommendation of the State Officers Compensation Commission.
Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was in Lansing Tuesday. He testified before a state Senate committee on health care reform.
Gingrich has been working on health care reform since retiring from Congress. He says making everyone's medical records electronic is key to ensuring proper care. And he says people need to take more responsibility for their health by quitting smoking, eating well, exercising, and controlling chronic conditions.